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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Spicey Pictures

I made catsup today.  Catsup is the old-fashioned way of saying ketchup.  The spell checker in Blogger doesn't like catsup; it likes ketchup.  If I look for ketchup in the edition of The Joy of Cooking that I have which was published in 1977, I can't find ketchup.   But I can find a recipe for grape catsup, walnut catsup, and tomato catsup.   According to TJOC, catsup is a condiment that originated in Malaysia and its name is comes from the native word for 'taste'.

Last year, I made catsup and even though I didn't have all the spices, like blade mace, it was still really good.  Even better than organic ketchup.  I decided then that I need to make catsup every year. This year I had everything, including the blade mace, and I cooked it a little longer per Steve's request.  It is that much better.  Blade mace, in case you're wondering, is the whole piece of mace rather than ground mace.  Mace is the somewhat brittle net-like covering on a nutmeg, and it tastes very like nutmeg, only spicier and stronger.  Ground mace is a nice thing to add to your holiday stuffing.  Gives it a nice punch.

The spices you see in the picture above are allspice, cloves, stick cinnamon, celery seed, blade mace, black peppercorns, and bay leaf.  The mustard seed is hiding under there somewhere.  I get all my spices from an outfit called Penzeys.  Years ago, I received a catalog from them out of the blue, and while I was deciding on whether I should give them a try or not, I was surprised to see their storefront in the San Marco area of Jacksonville, Florida.  I drove around the block and parked and went in.

I would like to tell you with authority that they have every spice there is in the world, but I don't know what every spice in the world is.  I can tell you that they seem to have every spice in the world.  Lots of Indian spices.  Several different kinds of cinnamon, both as stick and ground.  I use their fancy Vietnamese cinnamon, which is the sweetest and the spiciest, for my baking.  But I recently bought a small jar of the Indonesian cinnamon to use with cumin and paprika for my exotic eastern European stuff, like stuffed cabbage.  For some reason, that combination does wonderful things to the stuffing.  Of the many peppercorns they have, I like to use the Black Sarawak because it's the spiciest.  It's the most peppery of the peppers and I figure in for a penny, in for a pound. I have three different paprikas from there- sweet Hungarian, smoked Spanish, and Hungarian half-sharp.  Beware the half-sharp; it's as hot as cayenne.  They have a bunch of different chilies, most of which I'll never use, but if you're into chilies, they probably have what you're looking for, whether it's Mexican, Asian or Indian.   I still have some older spices from the grocery store in the cupboard that need to be thrown out and replaced, but most of my spice jars are from Penzeys, and I don't buy my herbs and spices from anywhere else.  I can't really do them justice- if you like to cook, you should go check them out.  I should warn you that their website leaves a lot to be desired, but I think they make up for that in variety. 

Clockwise from upper left: blends, seeds, leaf herbs, basics: garlics, paprikas, salts, pepper
You could always just get a catalog.


Grandpa said...

And I couldn't find 'secateurs' in the dictionary! So I recalled your earlier post and made reference to it in my latest post - hope you don't mind - you may see a spike in traffic to your blog.

We call them 'kicap' - either tomato kicap or soy kicap. I recognise those spices except for celery seed and blade mace.

How nice to be able to make your own ketchup!

Toni aka irishlas said...

Thanks for sharing your spice connection. I will definitely have to check them out.

The ketchup aka catsup recipe you use - is it from Joy? I'd love to find a good low sodium recipe.

Paula said...

Grandpa- I'm not surprised that your couldn't find 'secateurs' in the dictionary...a lot of French gardening terms aren't there. 'Purin' for instance- that's an herbal fermentation- Purin d'Ortie is a fermentation of nettles that is supposed to make an excellent natural fertilizer. 'Grellinette' is French for broadfork. Sometimes I just learn the French for something first and that's what sticks. If you do a Google on secateurs, you'll find out that it means pruners. I don't mind you referencing my posts. I think I'm flattered, actually.

Toni- I did use the recipe from The Joy of Cooking, and you'll be very happy to know that salt is an optional ingredient thrown in at the very end of the recipe. I used maybe a teaspoon for the final half-gallon it yielded. WAIT! That my tomatoes yielded; I had to cut the recipe in half because I didn't have 8 quarts of tomatoes. Interestingly, I used two thirds the spices to one half the tomatoes, and didn't think it spicey enough, so on the final boil I added another bag of spice in. Last year's was just fine, though, so I think that if you have to adjust for fewer tomatoes, you're better off leaving the spice amounts as is. But then, I like it spicey!

tabitha said...

I love to taunt the spell check!

Unknown said...

I know this is an old post and you may already know, but there is a Penzeys brick and mortar store in the Pearl District in Portland. I really enjoy going there too.