Archive for the ‘ Spices ’ Category

Dancing To A Hot Beat With Peppers

Most of us enjoy a little fire and snap to our meal, some a lot more than others. Several have asked us if we carry Ghost Pepper, and the answer now is YES! Ranked 1 million in Scoville Units, you can only guess a little dab will do you. If you’re cooking chili, you’ll add a teaspoon or tablespoon to the whole pot. Any more than that, and you’ll have smoke coming out your ears!

And for those of you who used more than a dab of Ghost Pepper, milk may work, especially when it stays in your mouth. But one seasoned ghost lover said sucking on a lime helped cure the sting.

If you want something much milder, but still has a spirited spark to it, try Bird’s Eye Peppers. You’ll usually see them as dried tiny little peppers in miniature. When you add them to stews or soups, the liquid will hydrate them and release the oils and flavors. These darlings rate 100,000 in Scoville Units, which is twice as hot as peppers used in tabasco sauce.

Just remember that Stardust carries both these types of peppers. So if you’re looking to spice things up a bit in your dishes, we have what you need!

Introducing Our Grill And Barbecue Gift Box!

Summertime is on us, hot and heavy, and Father’s Day is around the corner. We know it’s been long time waiting in the wings, but our first gift box is here: the Grill and Barbecue Gift Box.

In this jewel of a box are eight selections for all your grilling needs, enough to titillate your palate and create a splash at your next outdoor event. Listed below are what’s included in this yummylicious set and how to use it for your next piece of meat:

  • • Barbeque Spice – This is a favorite delicious grilling flavor – hot, full flavored and Smokey. Use for grilling, barbecuing, meat, steak, hamburgers, chicken and fish. Mix in tomato sauce, 1-2 TB. Per cup, or rub on dry, 1-2 tsp. per pound.
  • Blackening Seasoning – This blend of spices is straight from Cajun country. Inspired by the cuisine of the bayou. Cajun Black is must for the “blackening” grilling, but is also good for other foods from the region including chicken wings, chops, and steaks.
  • Steak and Hickory Smoke – This full flavored seasoning adds a rich and Smokey flavor when used on Steak, beef, Chicken or pork. It’s a favorite for grilled meats – simply shake on chicken, steaks, or pork before grilling.
  • Steak and Chop Rub – Rub into beef, pork or lamb just before grilling or broiling. For Better Burgers, add rub to ground beef to make flavorful hamburger patties or brush onto hamburger patties while grilling to add extra flavor.
  • Rib Rub – Dry Rib Rub or Rib Rub Seasoning. For wonderful flavor use on Ribs, barbecuing, meat and steak. Plan on using 1/4 to 1/3 cup of rub for each rack of ribs.
  • Smoked Sea Salt – A rich salt with a smooth yet full-bodied smoky flavor. Add depth to any savory dish. Goes well with grilled foods, seafood, vegetables, and soups.  Smoked sea salt is cured by a slow roasting of Red Alder under sea salt to produce its distinctive flavor and color.
  • Jamaican ‘Jerk’ Blend – Makes a wonderful spice rub for chicken, beef, pork, fish and shrimp. Sprinkle on pasta, egg salad, burgers, pizza for an exciting and new flavor experience. 3 Tbs jerk blend in a marinade per pound of protein. Let Marinate for up to 12 hours.
  • Poultry rub – Rub generous amount of spice on chicken, turkey or other poultry before roasting or grilling. Also try on vegetables, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.

Let’s Chat About Chaat Masala

You’ve been asking about it; we finally got it in: Chaat Masala!

This seems like a no-nonsense spice, used in India and Pakistan for seasoning fresh fruit, salads, and vegetables. It adds a tangy, hot, spicy flavor to your foods, and can even be found at snack stands where ethnic foods are sold. Just sprinkle and enjoy.

Others have also used in drinks, such as citrus-based drinks, and can be used in yogurt or other sauces. Basically it’s used as a garnish, a way to doll up your food for a good romp in your mouth when you’re hungry.

Apparently, the black salt, one of the ingredients, is responsible for the majority of the taste. In Chaat Masala, here are the usual ingredients you’ll find in it: dried pomegranate seed, cumin, powdered green mango and some other unusual spices, such as Ajwain and Asafeotida. Tellicherry Pepper is another ingredient, and of course, the black salt.

If you don’t want to run around looking for these ingredients, come get this yummy spice from us and save your precious time for enjoying good food!


Taking The Secret Out Of Fenugreek

Fenugreek is a spice that leaves me scratching my head. What on earth is it? And even more, what on earth do you do with it? Actually, this ingredient is quite common in Indian cuisine. But don’t let the raw taste and smell of it fool you. The smell isn’t appetizing, and the taste will make you want to kick yourself for even trying it by itself.

So what does fenugreek taste like when cooked in a meal? Like your favorite breakfast of pancakes smothered with the finest maple syrup, if you can believe that. If you want to try it for yourself, you can always buy a pack and prepare in an Indian dish or with your next skewers of kabobs. This product can be used in different ways, either its leaves or seeds.

If you use the seeds, you’ll have to cook the food longer to bring out the flavor. The leaves can be used in curries. Either way, you’ll get similar flavors. But fenugreek isn’t limited to just Indian cuisine. Try some of this in your next Ethiopian dish.

What goes well with fenugreek? cumin, paprika, and coriander. But remember, a little goes a long way. Too much fenugreek, no matter what you do with it, can still leave you with a bitter taste. Good doses of lemon or lime juices can help balance out the taste. Or try pan-roasting first, which helps cut down on the bitterness.

If you’re looking for something new to play with in the kitchen try your hand at using fenugreek in your next Indian or Ethiopian dish.


Grains Of Paradise: A Taste Of Eden In Your Mouth

Ever been out in the woods on a zippy autumn day or a blazing hot afternoon, when the spicy scents of the forest come out to flirt with your sense of smell? Now try imagining that same taste in your mouth, but with a sudden bolt of hot sizzle rolling around on your tongue, leaving an almost floral/citrusy aftertaste.

That would be a light description of Grains Of Paradise, a West African spice that’s part of the Ginger family. On a lark, I popped one of these tiny little pods in my mouth and got the explosion of a peppery taste coupled with notes of an almost floral flavor, though some people mention they sense a citrus taste.

Either way, I loved this spice, and I’d never heard of it until we added it to our spice collection in the shoppe. So the big question is: How do you use it?  Well, first of all, you’ll need either a mortar and pestle to grind and crack open the seeds, which releases the full flavor; or investing in a small spice grinder is also a good idea.

Once you crack these pods open, you can use it in place of black pepper, add them to your steaks, potato salads, and even use it in your cobblers when you’re baking. The heat releases the flavors of Cardamom and Ginger, making your dishes fairly dance in your mouth.

Don’t let the step of crushing the seeds before using deter you. It’s not that hard; it’s quite simple to do. And like most spices, Grains Of Paradise is easy to use in your hot dishes you prepare. At Stardust Tea and Spice, we carry this spice, along with some spice grinders and mortars and pestles. So you’ll have everything you need to spice up your next meal.



Going Down Easy With Whole Star Anise

And The Star Of Our Kitchen Is . . . 

Most of you have, no doubt, seen this lovely spice relegated to the arts and crafts projects created by many of our illustrious, imaginative youngsters. But now it’s time to take this mysterious spice off the construction paper art work, and use it where it’s meant to be used: in our wonderful dishes we prepare.

You’ll recognize the smell right away, that familiar smell of licorice we all know too well. So what does this spice look like? A star, of course! Star Anise is actually a dried fruit from the evergreen tree, and mostly grown in China. When dried, it resembled an 8-point or 6-point star. And within the tips of the points, you’ll sometimes see the shiny, golden seed, which contains an oil you’ll see when it’s crushed.

Star Anise can be used whole, or you can use just the seeds. You can also grind it fresh just before use. If you use the whole stars, don’t over add, and be sure to remove them when your dish is finished cooking. Ground or whole, you’ll add tremendous flavor to your soups and stews when you drop these in the broth and allow them to simmer along with your other ingredients. The potent taste of this spice brings out the flavor in meats much like MSG, so for all those out there who want to remain MSG-free, this lovely spice can be the star of your kitchen! If you’re wanting a flavorful tea, use Star Anise to create a drink that’s soothing to your tummy.

What does Star Anise treat? Digestion is one area, along with calming colic and upset stomach, easing rheumatism, and increasing libido. You can also use this spice for freshening up your breath.

If you’d like to learn a little more about Star Anise and its uses, both kitchen and spiritual, check out these links below:

Quick Bites: Whole Star Anise

Other Uses For Star Anise

Building Great Flavors With Adobo Seasoning

I must admit, I had to do a double-take when I first saw the name of this seasoning. I thought adobe was something used to make houses in certain areas of the world. Then I looked again: A-D-O-B-O

This seasoning is used in Latin American and Caribbean cooking, and is derived from the Spanish term, “adobar,” which means to marinate. In older times this concoction was used to preserve meats, but now it’s turned into an everyday household spice.

If you note the ingredients, you probably have all these individual seasonings in your spice rack: Salt, Granulated Garlic, Oregano, Black Pepper, Tumeric, Onion Powder. If you don’t want to try to figure out how much of each, then we recommend just buying the spice ready-made.

You can use this product as a rub on chicken or fish, and some have even created a wet rub. If you want more flavor for your soups and stews, Adobo seasoning is an excellent choice. And yes, at Startdust Tea and Spice, we have the wonderful Adobo Seasoning for your enjoyment.

Simple Ways To Use Vanilla Beans

I must admit that when I see whole vanilla beans, I just want to bypass them altogether. Why? Even people who are allergic to fragrance often admit they can tolerate the aroma of vanilla. Here’s the thing, it’s like everything else that first strikes you as rather strange, until you learn what all the fuss is about, and vanilla beans are no exception. If you don’t know how to use them, seeing them resting peacefully in their cute little glass vials is about all you’ll want to do.

Personally, all I’ve ever used is vanilla extract, but even that doesn’t give you the impact of the power of vanilla the way the bean does. And the nice thing is that you can use both the outside husk and the seeds inside to flavor up a dish or dessert you’re wanting to make.

There are different varieties of vanilla beans, some with eye- brow-raising price tags. Others are more economical. But overall, people tend to notice the hefty price tag on these aromatic treats of nature. What you may not know is that it can take a few years to grow the plants, and on top of that, the beans have to stay on the vine for nine months before they are harvested.

But one thing is for sure, these beanie babies are definitely worth the wait.  We’ve included a link to a short, concise video that will give you a quick overview on how to use vanilla beans. If you’re in the Nashville, TN area, you can purchase them from us!

How To Use Vanilla Beans