Saturday, March 14, 2009

Penzey's Spice Islands...

I have been meaning to go somewhere wonderful for a long time and today I finally got enough time away to slip into heaven...for a chef anyway.
I found a piece of culinary glory. It was nice to go with Tara , my dear friend who weathered the finer points of Culinary School with me in Scottsdale 13 years ago. In fact, I dare say it may have been that long since I have been back to Scottsdale. Nice to go with a fellow chef who would meander through all the spice islands with me and not roll her eyes when I got absolutely giddy over a spice I had not seen for a long time. Here is a peek...
It was like a wonderful dream wandering through all the spices...reasonably priced, even for me on a SAHM budget. I was so pleased. Okay. Pleased is not a strong enough word. INCANDESCENTLY HAPPY! Yes. Absolutely and irrefutably joyful. I think everyone should go. They had wonderful selection...A-Z.

One thing I adored was the jars of spice open for anyone to smell...I may in fact still have a cardamom pod up my sniffer. I couldn't get enough!

Wonderful descriptions on each jar of where the spices came from, why they are here, and where they are going. If only "life in abstract" could have a label like that! Right?!
So, we reluctantly finally did pull ourselves away and headed home with our goodie bags. I laugh now at the amount of sniffing that continued to happen in the car on the way home. To anyone else we probably looked insane. I get that look a lot. At any rate, I felt like I had been trick-0-treatin'...except I paid. It didn't blow my family budget and I felt like I could finally fill some of the empty places in my mean spice rack. Really, to a chef, there is nothing more pathetic than a spice rack that is empty. My goodness. This one looks like a shell of glory it once was. Not for long though!

Check out the loot I settled on.

Close up...Mace, a must have for all things fruity and nutty. I think that same rule applies to the spray cans of mace, but for a totally different reason.

Korintje Cassia Cinnamon is my preferred choice--it has a very nice strong cinnamon flavor. Tara went with the Vietnamese Cassia that was a little more sweet but had more cinnamon oil. I also got myself some of the amazing Maharajah curry powder. I like this blend because it has real saffron in it...and didn't blow my budget for the month. Yikes. Saffron...the real stuff was still pretty expensive. I couldn't bring myself to buy it. For now, I am still on the SAHM budget. Vindaloo is another amazing spice blend (great with lamb and chicken). More on that in the future. Oh... and meet my newest love, shallot pepper. I may never stop sniffing that jar.
Next up the Tarragon and the Herbs de Provence. Don't ask me to ever live without them again. I did in fact, buy two jars of the Herbs de Provence...because it has rosemary, fennel, thyme, savory, basil, tarragon, dill, oregano, lavender, chervil and marjoram all together in one jar. It's like having my own herb garden from France. I am a very happy girl. I can't get the smile off my face...what else is new?!

Last but certainly not ever present love. Lavender. I didn't see it in the store until I was checking out. I do think my heart skipped a beat. For under 4$, it was a steal. I paid for it anyway.

Now to start cooking with the jars of love. Thanks Tara for a fun trip. Thanks Penzey's Spices for bringing it all together for little old me...well...and anyone else who wants them!
Penzey's Spices
3310 N. Hayden Rd Suite 104
Scottsdale, Az 85251


TARA said...

Great post! I just brought mine in from the car for another sniff. Can't wait to get in the kitchen with these babies.....

Chef Tess said...

Tara! Thanks for a wonderful day! Too amazing! You really do rock girl! Yea, we need to cook with this stuff right away.

Anonymous said...

OMG, Love Penzeys. My husband and I go to our local Penzeys every Thanksgiving and again in the spring to re-fill and add to our current spice list and loves...