I love spices. Combing through my spice rack to create new flavor combinations for my meals is always a fun and interesting challenge. Sometimes, though, it’s nice to have a pre-made blend to jazz up what I’m cooking. Picking a particular spice blend for the night will often help shape my entire meal.
A couple years ago, I was at an event when I stumbled on a booth covered with different kinds of spice blends. The shop, Auntie Arwen’s Spices, had blends for almost anything you could imagine. (Some of the blend titles are admittedly problematic.) I had fun digging through different crates of spices, looking for some that would work well with the kinds of food I like to cook.
I’ve seen Auntie Arwen a couple times since then, and I always try to pick up a jar or two of her great blends. This past weekend, I ran into her booth at an event I was attending and decided to splurge. I picked up five new bottles.
When I started searching through the numerous crates, I decided that I wanted to pick up something for fish, something for pork, something for winter vegetables, and something that generally sounded interesting. Both the Pigs in Paradise Citrus-Ginger Rub and Malay Pirate Nonya Seafood Blend smelled super aggressive and I was instantly intrigued. Both smell spicy and tangy, and I can’t wait to try them out.
I ended up asking for a recommendation for a spice blend to use on vegetables I get a lot in the winter (squash, sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips, etc.), and was given the Mahout’s Joy East Indian Pilau Blend. I think the blend of cardamom, saffron, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and coriander will go terrific with roasted, puréed and mashed winter veggies.
Lastly, I picked up the Ultimate Garlic Insanity blend, which work with pretty much everything, and the “Around the Corner” Shawarma Spices, a pretty complex but harmonious blend of fifteen different spices.
All-in-all, I think I scooped up a great batch this weekend. I can’t wait to start cooking!