Wednesday, December 3, 2008


This weekend I took a trip to a spice store. A while back, Snick had told me about a shop in the area that just sells spices, but it's not that close to my house and I'd just never had the need to go. But I finally went. And it was awesome.

And I'm totally reinspired to cook. I was kind of in a rut since the CSA ended. I think I have to face facts that I'm someone who is inspired by new things: new recipes, new ingredients. I get bored of making the same ol' same ol'.

So here what I got:

Fleur de Sel, my one "luxury" item. I bought a tiny jar, so it wasn't too expensive, though I calculated it out and it costs almost 100x's as much as that blue cylindar jar of normal salt. I don't care, it was a fun $9 splurge!

Sweet curry powder
Taco powder
Cilantro (I know, boring. I just happened to be out of it)
Green Goddess mix
A mix for sprinkling on sandwiches
Lemon Grass
Vanilla extract (again, boring, but I use a lot in winter cooking)

The lavender was the real reason I went to the store. I found a recipe for lavender shortbread cookies (I'll post it after I try it if it's any good), but haven't been able to find any dried lavender to make it with. And I couldn't find it in this store.

I asked at the counter, and got the most awesome example of food snobbery: "CULINARY lavender?" Yes, I answered. "You're going to COOK with it?" Yes, I answered. "Okay, we keep it in back so that only people who know it's for cooking will buy it."

Hee! So I got my culinary lavender.

Have any recipes I should try with my new spices? Link 'em or post 'em!

I made two great things with the Fleur de Sel last night. Soft pretzels, and caramel dark chocolate truffles with fleur de sel. Both were good, but the truffles were unbelievable. They took a zillion hours to make though. I'll never complain about the price of truffles again...I get it now! And I "ruined" some of mine by not tempering my chocolate after I had to take a break with one of the boys trying to use the potty. Oh well, they're still tasty, even if they're not all lovely.

Pics pics, to make my mouth water:


Susan said...

Hi, Snick reader and found your blog. I love baking and can't wait to hear how the lavendar cookies turn out. I have been wanting to try baking with lavendar but nervous. I splurge once in awhile and order spices over the web at Pensky's. They have a catalog and of course, website. I love ordering the more expensive vanilla and cinnamon. Happy baking.

Nancy said...

oh, you found Penzey's didn't you? :) My whole family LOVES that place...we request specific spices for Christmas gifts LOL And ... we're now all spice snobs. :) I never would have though it - but it's amazing what GOOD spices can do to a recipe.

Curious about those lavender cookies...and too funny about the response at the counter :)

Snickollet said...

"CULINARY lavender?" I love it. Keep us posted about the cookies.

So glad that Penzey's met your expectations. Oh, that place is like heaven. During the cold weather, I go through their Peppermint Hot Chocolate mix like it's water.

I'm dying to make soft pretzels now. YUMMERS. I have some fleur de sel that needs to be put to good use . . .

Susan said...

Ok, so you are talking about the store Penzey's and here I tell you about it via online store...Ha. It is a neat store.

Anonymous said...

Your caramel truffles look divine. Whoever came up with combining salt and caramel is genius! We’re giving away a flight of seven finishing salts on our blog – if you’d like to throw your name in the hat, just leave a comment telling us which of the salts would go the quickest in your kitchen!

What A Card said...

Susan, how funny! It was a Penzey's, and the store was divine! My husband and kids walked around smelling everything (they have jars out for you to smell), and I walked around trying not to buy everything :) Glad to hear the vanilla is worth it, though now I'm sad I passed on the cinnamon. Next time!

Snick, thanks for the rec, and I almost got the hot chocolate, too. I soooo need to go back!

just me said...

those truffles look mighty good. very impressive.

Mary Ellen said...

Those look so good!!
First a novel, then chocolate truffles. I am totally in awe of you this week...

Anonymous said...

Someone at work just made lavender shortbread and it was awesome! I love lavender with chocolate. GREAT example of food snobbery at the store :)

My friends all shop online at Penzey's and share their bounty with us. YUM!!!! Their Vietnamese cinnamon is unbelievable. I can't use anything else now.