Now that autumn is in full swing, my family is craving foods made with pumpkins, apples and cranberries. I love to use fresh spices for my recipes. If the kids smell cinnamon, cloves and ginger when they come home after school, they know they’ll find their favorite Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread waiting for them. A few weeks ago, I visited the new Savory Spice Shop in Lincoln Square to restock my pantry. It was worth the trip. At a specialty store, spices and dried herbs are always fresh, and I’ve found the prices are less than what I would pay at a grocery store.
In the words Dave Trout, owner of Savory Spice Shop, his store has something for everyone, whether you are looking to enhance a family meal or make a gourmet recipe. Savory Spice Shop stocks around 400 dried herbs and spices as well as 170 hand-crafted spice blends. You can use a blend to quickly create a delicious weeknight meal (steak rubs, hamburger/chili seasonings), whip up a delicious dip for a party or give your popcorn an unexpected twist. Dave encourages people to taste before they buy. He would be happy to sell you as little as you need for a single recipe or as much as you might like to stock your kitchen. If you are a baker, you will love his selection of extracts, all of which are custom blended. The staff is helpful and friendly.
I asked Dave to recommend a few of his favorite spices. He adds California Fennel Pollen to chocolate chip cookies to give them a different flavor. To make a deeply flavored Sweet Potato Bisque, he boils the potatoes in chicken stock with Chai Spices, an aromatic blend of crystallized ginger nibs, cinnamon chips, cardamom pods, star anise and more. His soup recipe is available on their web site, or you can try my version made with Chai Spices, roasted butternut squash and coconut milk.