Well, with a blog name like “Urb’n’Spice”, it’s high time that I discuss the spicier side of the website – Mulling Over Spices. It is not that the focus of the website is about spices – not at all. The website/blog was created as a forum to provide a wider audience help and support with their culinary questions, concerns and issues, and to provide information and help make sense of some of what has us scratching our heads, culinary-wise.
From time to time, my inventive side gets the better of me and I just must create! Often this happens when I get a request for information. For example, when “kid-of-a-chef’s” gluten-free/grain-free dilemma was unable to find spice blends that she could use due to her dietary restrictions.
As well, I had a village acquaintance approach me expressing their frustration over how tired she was of cooking and eating bland food because of a strict sodium reduced diet. She had completely eliminated all salt from her cooking but had not thought of any alternatives that might make her food tasty or even (heaven forbid) palatable.
My spice blends have been developed with these requests in mind. As a starting point, I build a careful and consistent blend of ordinary herbs and spices. These blends make cooking just a little more interesting and add a significantly higher level of interest to a dish that would otherwise be lack-lustre, flat and uninspired without the addition of salt.
There are many spice blends on the market designed to suit almost any situation: gluten-free, salt-free, organic, etc. Despite all the selection available, creating custom blends is fun for this chef. It is not just the task of blending the spices and experimenting with the blend – but it is the testing, writing and sharing of the recipes with the featured spice blend that is most gratifying.
The “Urb’n’Spice Salt Substitute” was created many years ago for a family member who wanted to reduce his sodium intake due to health concerns. It is a blend of vegetable powders, zests and spices that will lift any dish (scrambled eggs, meat dishes, etc.) from bland to exciting.
Other Urb’n’Spice spice blends have been developed since that original blend to include:
- “Journalier” – Beef Seasoning
- “Chef’s Blend” – Poultry & Pork Seasoning and Spice Rub
- Pork Dry Rub Seasoning
- All Purpose Seasoning and Spice Rub
- Fish Seasoning and Spice Rub
- Roast Chicken or Brick Chicken Seasoning and Spice Rub
Not all spice creations have been used for seasoning purposes. Creating “Seasonal Spice Blends”, such as Mulling Spices and Holiday Simmering Potpourris can be as charming and nostalgic as they are fragrant.
With people wanting to cocoon at home with friends and family during the cooler weather, the old-fashioned tradition of serving mulled wines or ciders is becoming more popular once again.
There is something very cosy about the thought of it all – the warm mug in your hands, the fragrant spices wafting from the depths of the brew and the aroma in your kitchen during the slow “warming process”. One must not hurry the task – it is an excuse to take life just a little bit slower and just enjoy the moment.
Mulling Spices are a perfect balance of what is often referred to as the “warm spices” (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice) with a mixture of dried peels and spices. The spices which are used either loose or enclosed in a sachet are immersed in a pot with wine or cider and slowly warmed, enveloping your home into an aromatic and welcoming hideaway. Mulling Spices make a wonderful hostess gift to accompany the timeless gift of your favourite wine during the holidays.
Another old-fashioned practice that is being re-introduced is simmering spice potpourris.
Simmering Spice potpourris were historically used to usher in the Christmas season with the fragrance of spices simmering in a pot on the stove. In the good old days, this was accomplished on an open hearth. Water is added as needed to replenish the liquid and it is simmered as long as the fragrance is desired. It has been a part of our holiday season for many, many years- the fragrance envelops the house like a big warm hug.
Make it your mission to mull over spices this holiday season. Rediscover spices, herbs and spice combinations from a new and different perspective. There is so much more to experience!
“Variety’s the very spice of life that gives it all its flavour.”
William Cowper (1731-1800)
You can learn more about the history of Urb’n’Spice here. If you are interested in learning more about Urb’n’Spice Spice Blends, please feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find me on social media (see links below) -be sure to tag @urbnspice and #urbnspice so I am sure to see it. Enjoy!
The Urb’n’Spice Chef
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