Mom, Wife, Chef, Gardener, Dog Wrangler, Mom, Writer, Friend, Daughter, Sister, Mom, Creative Problem Solver, DIY Chick...figuring out life one day at a time.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mom/Online Shopper: The Portugese made it through, M'am.

Okay, so this only makes sense if you are in my head, but at the beginning of the month I did an online order through Penzeys Spices. While I was waiting for the order to arrive I would tell my husband that I was waiting for my shipment from the Portuguese to arrive. You know, Portuguese spice traders, spice really is only amusing if you are a nerd like me. Anyway, when the spices took a long time to reach us my husband would ask me if the Portuguese had arrived yet and I would joke that they were held up around the Horn of Africa or stuck in a storm...yeah, as I said, I'm a nerd. So last week the order finally got here. Luckily the problem was not Penzeys, which makes me glad because I love them and would be sad if I couldn't order from them. The problem was our post office. My tiny little town doesn't have door to door mail service, we have a central post office and if you have an address here in town then you get a post office box. Well, despite the fact that I had put both my street address and post office box on the shipping address somehow only the street address came through and somehow my post office couldn't figure out who the box belonged to. Two weeks later they finally figured it out and I got my spices.

My spice order, the large jars in back are cumin and coriander in jars I had lying around.

Oh happy day, I ordered large batches of Cumin and Coriander because I use them in almost everything and I was totally out. (I order them as whole spices so they last a long time) I also got some smoked paprika and a crushed red pepper called Aleppo pepper that I had read about in several recipes and wanted to try. The lovely people at Penzeys also sent me a lemon pepper mix and a catalog. Oh, the catalog, reading through it is like reading through toy catalogs was when I was a kid. All the different spices and spice mixes gave me lots of ideas for things to try myself. Plus there were recipes, some of which looked quite good.
I have already used the aleppo pepper and lemon pepper mix on several different things, with good results. The lemon pepper mix actually tastes of tangy lemon, not salty and fake like some of the cheaper spice blends you find in some grocery stores. The other night I got out some tilapia fillets and went old school, like my parents used to do when I was a kid. I hit the fish with the lemon pepper mix, some butter and fresh lemon juice and baked it.
fish ready for the oven.
To go with the fish I tried a grain casserole I have had the idea for but hadn't tried yet. I cooked up some bulgur and made a light white sauce, then stirred together the bulgur, white sauce, cheese, some dried herbs and a little of the aleppo pepper and baked it for half an hour at 350.

Bulgur casserole ready for the oven.
 The bulgur baked up creamy and almost like a corn pudding in texture, it turned out very yummy. It would also be great I think with a heartier grain like barley or farro, in fact the recipe is based on a baked farro recipe I saw Giada do. A quick saute of some zucchini and it was dinner.
Baked fish, bulgur casserole and sauteed zucchini.

All in all I have been very happy with my spice order. I believe I will be employing the services of those brave Portuguese Spice Traders again soon.

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