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Friday, October 11, 2013

The Spice Islands Cook Book with Turkish Oranges & Hot Spiced Cider

Vintage Cookbook: The Spice Islands Cook Book, The Spice Islands Home Economics Staff

Publication Details: Published by Specialty Brands Inc., various editions 1970's

First published in the 1960's, and then reprinted over the 1970's, The Spice Islands Cook Book is a terrific volume that was meant to promote the Spice Islands brand of spices, which still exists, as well as to educate on the proper use of a variety of spices that many might not have normally used in their cuisine.

The cookbook, which was most often published in a handy pocketbook format, was divided into the standard assortment of sections (i.e. Meats, Poultry, Soups, Etc.) with the notable addition of a section devoted to spiced beverages.

But it also had sections meant to immerse the home cook in, what the first section itself called, the "Romance of Spices". To meet this aim it includes chapters devoted to the use of spices as a general idea. One of its best sections, useful today as much as it was nearly forty years ago, is the "A Guide to Your Spice Shelf" area, which is over sixty pages devoted to an alphabetical listing of spices, their histories and their best applications, that spans from Allspice to Vanilla Bean.

Also handy are the Table of Equivalents, which gives substitutions should you be missing a specific spice,  and the usage charts that point to what are the most common uses of a specific spice or seasoning.

What also makes the book standout is its quirky recipes, many of which are really unique or an interesting blend of flavours, from Calves Liver a la Johnnie May to the Hawaiian Bean Pot!

We reflect that in our two featured recipes today, the truly novel Turkish Oranges and a drink for a cold winter's day, Hot Spiced Cider . As always, these are presented as they were in the original, though in this case we have added a blog editor's note to the first.

Turkish Oranges:

An intriguing addition to a buffet, try Turkish Oranges as an opening course or tossed with romaine lettuce for a delicious salad.

6 large oranges
1/2 cup pitted ripe olives
1 tablespoon Instant Minced Onions (Editor's note: 1 small chopped onion may, and likely should be substituted for this!)
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
2 teaspoons Beau Monde Seasoning (Editor's note: a seasoning salt may be substituted for this...or use half the amount of regular salt)
4 tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil

Pare oranges with sharp knife; cut in slices and remove seeds and the white membrane from center. Cut ripe olives into wedges. Alternate layers of oranges, olives and onions in a bowl. Combine cayenne, Beau Monde, vinegar and olive oil. Stir well and pour over the oranges. Chill for an hour or so for the flavours to develop. Serve cold. Makes 6 servings.

Hot Spiced Cider:

2 quarts cider
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 whole piece Stick Cinnamon
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 teaspoon whole cloves

Combine cider, brown sugar and salt in a saucepan. Add stick of cinnamon, allspice and cloves. Slowly bring to simmering; cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove spices with a slotted spoon. Serve hot. Makes 2 quarts.

The vintage version of The Spice Islands Cookbook is
relatively easy to find used on the internet. It is worth seeking out.

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