Which spices do you use most often right now? A chat with AllSpicer Chad

Andy_Chad_Rory_State_Fair_JudgingYou’ve probably seen AllSpice staffer Chad around the shop. Perhaps he’s even helped you pick which spicy chile to buy, or suggested pairings of balsamics with olive oils.

If this is the case, you definitely know Chad (in between AllSpice owners Andy (L) and Rory (R) in the photo, right) is super-knowledgeable about the ingredients we carry — and an adventurous, prolific cook to boot.

We asked Chad about what he’s been cooking lately, and which ingredients he’s really loving right now:

Chad: Right now? I have been mental about cinnamon sticks, star anise, the Berbere blend … and Urfa peppers for a minute.

How do you use those ingredients?

Chad: [Early spring is] high soup season. So when I make chicken broth (with the leftovers from a rotisserie chicken, some carrot, onion, garlic, and celery) I toss in an star anise pod, a cinnamon stick, and a couple pinches of urfa chile.  It gives [the soup] southeast Asian something — with some kick to chicken and noodles. Sometimes that will also make the base for butternut squash soup.

The same cinnamon, anise, and urfa shakes up a white sauce for just about any hot dish recipe.  Just infuse in milk with a little onion prior to thickening. Substitute a cup and a half of sauce for every can of “Cream of Something” soup you’d otherwise use.

And the Berbere blend?

Berbere goes on everything.  Rub some on pork chops, chicken breasts or thighs, shrimp, or meaty cuts of fish before grilling.  Toss in a teaspoon or two in a pot of chicken and rice.  Mix a tablespoon or so with half a cup of yogurt, and coat some chicken pieces, then bake until well browned.  Sprinkle some on some halved cherry tomatoes and put them under the broiler for a bit, add a little grated cheese or dollops of Greek yogurt and serve with bread rounds or pita.  Mix some in your mayo for BLTs. Sprinkle Berbere blend over potatoes prior to roasting.

Did I mention it goes on everything?!?

What’s your go-to ingredient right now? What do you like to make with your favorite AllSpice products?