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“What Else You Got?”
After I have gotten to know my hosts in any given country well enough, I have been known to go with them into their kitchen/restaurant and study the difference spices that they have and use regularly. Many times, this would become a creative event where we would play with different flavors and create special dishes.
Now that we are well into summer, one such memory comes to mind. I was not in some exotic place far away, but in “My Kind of Town”, Chicago! This was several years ago, when all of us organic industry baby boomers were in attendance at a trade show. We had walked all day at the trade show for what seemed several miles on concrete floors, studying new products or selling our wares. We decided we earned the night out and would have to suffer by looking for the best blues clubs that Chicago had to offer. Kingston Mines, Blue Chicago, Chicago B.L.U.E.S. Bar; yes someone had to do it. Not only was the music great, but the evening was special. They were inviting folks from the audience to come up and sing as well. We were all so young in this fledgling organic industry that it was quite like a family. It was a blast.
Since the trade show was in the summer, the fruit was plentiful. Even though we were partaking in adult beverages, we could not completely debauch ourselves. As we were in the natural and organic food industry. we were carrying a backpack of fruit with us for snacks. Being in a high state of joy, I determined the fruit deserved a heightened state as well! So, an inquiry went out through our waiter to the kitchen; “do you have any cinnamon? sugar?” We were brought various spices so the apples and peaches were sliced and dipped in the spice. Again, we beckoned the waiter, “what else you got?” This became a side show for all of the adjacent tables, and the results were unanimous… this was pretty damn good!
I have tried to emulate the basic recipe that we ended up with that evening. I fondly call it Chicago Spiced Sugar. I actually keep a batch in my kitchen and use it as a general baking spice, but it is great on fruit. One of my favorite simple desserts is to sauté peach slices in coconut oil with a little maple syrup and the Chicago Spiced Sugar. Or simply try it on some buttered toast!
Chicago Spiced Sugar
HQOX Organic Allspice Ground - ¼ Teaspoon
HQOX Organic Cinnamon Ground – 1 Teaspoon
HQOX Organic Cloves Ground – ¼ Teaspoon
HQOX Organic Ginger Ground – ½ Teaspoon
HQOX Organic Nutmeg Ground – ¼ Teaspoon
Organic Cane Sugar – 1 Teaspoon
A few drops Organic Vanilla Extract (optional)