search instagram arrow-down

Recent Posts

Archives

Top Posts & Pages

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 5,642 other followers

likeable-blog-1337-1x.png

Thanks for Freshly Pressing me again!!

Freshly Pressed

Blog Stats

Blogs I Follow

Blog Stats

And again! Thank you to all who follow and support me!!

It’s Friday night and I’m organizing my herb and salt cabinet. Don’t pity me, I’m having a lovely thyme.

  • the brick-red of smoked Paprika
  • The sunny yellow of Hot Curry that stained my fingertips today as I filled tins
  • The rich deep brown of Saigon Cinnamon with its heady scent of holidays
  • Heady blends such as Tuscan Herb, Herbs de Provence, Za’atar,  and Greek seasoning are a potpourri that speak of spring and Aegean seas and ancient markets.

DSC_9249

Once, I walked amid the rough stalls –  dilapidated tables delineating space, laden with herbs and spices I could not identify by name. Rough burlap bags and cheap plastic buckets in garish colors sorted the precious ingredients. Today, I carefully scoop and measure these blends into tins; neatly labeled they move to my sealing and pricing station. I am lost in the snatches of life and time they provoke. Warm smells of baking, the tang in the back of your throat from rich curries and chillies, the earthy scent of oregano and the tang of the flavored sea salts.

The dribs and drabs left in the bags that don’t equal a salable amount come home with me…to be explored.

Prior to working at the store I bought my spices at bargain prices from Job Lots. I had no appreciation for the difference freshness and the lack of fillers brought to the ingredients. As I tossed the old plastic jars into the recycling bin, each thud said, “You get what you pay for!”

For dinner, I dug out a store-bought cheese fondue from the pantry. Yes it was imported and better than something Kraft would market, but it wasn’t “homemade” by any stretch.  I rubbed the fondue pot with fresh-cut garlic, added the glob from the foil package that resembled cheese,  and set the double boiler to high. A dash of Kirsch, a pinch of Smoked Paprika, a few strands from my stash of Saffron (purchased years ago from an upscale grocer) rounded out the dish. I  toasted garlic bread rounds soaked in a good Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Dinner was high in dairy content…

That said, I have decided to choose a spice each month which will be the defining influence of my life.  Since March has commented the spice will be Za’atar. Starting at the end of the alphabet and working forward? This middle-eastern blend is as old as time which is a good place to begin not only my spice journey but this story.

An ancient, middle eastern herb, Za’atar is both a plant and a herb blend. The plant became nearly extinct from over harvesting in the 1970s and is protected now. The herb blend is more prevalent.  Za’atar the blend usually consists of Oregano, Basil, Thyme, Savory, dried Sumac and Sesame seeds. It is an amazingly versatile blend, lending subtle flavor to everything from pot roast to flat bread. Remnants of the herb were found in King Tutankhamun’s Tomb and Pliny the Elder mentions it in his writings. Beyond the taste, it is claimed the herb and blend is believed to make the mind alert and the body strong.  A good goal for this month.

DSC_9254

 

15 comments on “Spice of Life

  1. Chris F says:

    A tiny bit of Za’tar is wonderful in tabouleh!

    1. How did I live so long and never hear of it? Thanks Chris!!

  2. Ahhh. A feast for eyes, too. Can just smell them. Lovely post for a grey (yet another foggy beginning and going downhill to even worse) day. Warming.
    Not familiar with Za’tar so intrigued now.

    1. Thanks Phil! I’m having fun learning new things about food every day!!

  3. Thank you so much! I have never heard of this spice. I remember the shock when I started buying direct from the farm and things began to taste so good. Similar to your spice journey. I have a lot to learn…

    1. I feel like I’m just scratching the surface of learning about spices, Susan. Luckily I have a great instructor!! Thanks for dropping by with a comment!!

  4. Beth says:

    So now this exotic Za’atar is on my “must try” list. Your first sentence gave me a huge laugh this morning (I find sorting and organizing kind of fun also:0)).

    Someday I’d love to hear more about your time in the East and will look back over your past posts to see if there are any about it. I so enjoy your writing and the richly sensory descriptions!

    1. Thank you Beth. I wrote my memoir about my travels back in my 20s. Your comments warmed my heart.

  5. Touring NH says:

    What a great way to explore new tastes. I’ll bet a bunch of new recipes will follow with each new spice!

    1. Yes indeed Laura! New recipes are in the making. Come home soon to share!

  6. I’ve never heard of it but it must have a hint of lemon. Sumac berries make a great “lemonade.”

    1. You are so astute! A Syrian gentleman was in the store the other day and declared it was a very authentic blend but suggested a tiny pinch of citrus! I didn’t know Sumac berries were edible! Do you mean the deep purple ones that grow wild?

      1. Yes, Native Americans used to make a drink from staghorn sumac berries that tasted just like lemonade. They are also used as a spice in various European countries. I think they’re red though-don’t get ahold of the wrong berries!

  7. Marie Keates says:

    I could almost smell those spices.

    1. Thanks Marie, I’m having fun adding new flavors to my cooking!

Love to know what you are thinking! And thank you for commenting.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Putnam, in the studio and beyond

Reflections and ruminations in Education, Beauty, Art and Philosophy

Gringa of the Barrio

A Sassy Barrio Gringa Telling It Like It Is

Badfish & Chips Cafe

Travel photos, memoirs & letters home...from anywhere in the world

The city of adventure

From there to back again (usually on a bike)

Nolsie Notes

My stories, observations, and art.

Shellie Troy Anderson

~ WRITER, REBEL, RACONTEUR ~ AND MOST OF THE TIME A MIDDLE-AGED DESK JOCKEY

Oh, the Places We See . . .

Honey, grab the GPS.

The Task at Hand

A Writer's On-Going Search for Just the Right Words

The Next Phase Blog

Social commentary and opinions: No guns, politics, or religion.

Breaking New Ground in Zone 6

The adventures of Southern gardeners starting over in New England

Marsha's Bungalow

the WW2 era chicken coop

iwalkalone.co.uk

the world one step at a time

Tootlepedal's Blog

A look at life in the borders

Susan's Musings

Whimsical Stuff from a Writer's Mind

Travels with Choppy

A dog and cat in clothing. Puns. Travel. Bacon. Not necessarily in that order.

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

A Sawyer's Daughter

The Life & Times of a Sawmill Man's Eldest Child

Formaggio Kitchen

Artisan cheese, charcuterie and specialty food.

Not Another Tall Blog

Not just another tall blog. Because being tall is NOT all we talk about! Follow me for tall talents, tall fashion, rock interviews and more!

On The Heath

where would-be writer works with words

The adventures of timbertwig in the forest of Burnley and the Rossendale Valley

crafts, permaculture, forest management, self employment, cycling

cheryl62blog

Time to change, live, encourage and reflect.

GARDEN OF EADY

Bring new life to your garden!

The Grey Enigma

Help is not coming. Neither is permisson. - https://twitter.com/Grey_Enigma

Ethereal Nature

The interface of the metaphysical, the physical, and the cultural

UP!::urban po'E.Tree(s)

by po'E.T. and the colors of pi

Kindness Blog

Kindness Images, Videos, True Life Stories, Quotes, Personal Reflections and Meditations.

Crazy Green Thumbs

Chronicling a delusional gardening experience.

New Hampsha' Bees

Raising bees holistically in New Hampshire

Nicholas Andriani

Adventure Travel and Gastronomy, Passionately Explored

AM Simpson

Loves Final Kiss

Indie Hero

Brian Marggraf, Author of Dream Brother: A Novel, Independent publishing advocate, New York City dweller

Therapeutic Misadventures

Daily musings on life after 60 & recreating oneself

valeriu dg barbu

©valeriu barbu

Writing Out Loud

A Place of Observation

cancer killing recipe

Just another WordPress.com site

Archon's Den

The Rants & Rambles of A Grumpy Old Dude

hoosiersunshine13

Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why. -Kurt Vonnegut

Once upon a time... I began to write

My journey in writing a novel

Not a Day Over 45

A View from Mid-Life

theflexifoodie.wordpress.com/

Delicious plant-based, whole food recipes & my healthy living tips!

Sharon Rawlette

Memoirist. Essayist. Philosopher.

Diane Tibert

~ writer - editor - publisher ~

Amintiri din Bucătărie

Memories from the Kitchen

White Shadows

Story of a white pearl that turned to ashes while waiting for a pheonix to be born inside her !

At Home in New Hampshire

Living and Writing in the North East

JOSELYN'S BRAWL

Two rare, life-threatening diseases that led to a bone marrow transplant and a snappy Buttkick List

Stephanie Raffelock

A good story can transform the way that you see the world.