Shameless Plug: Lebanon Valley Spice Blends

In Recipies, Shameless plug on January 14, 2013 at 3:57 pm


I seldom purchase pre-mixed herb blends now that I have a continually producing herb garden. And Phyne Dyning rarely shows much enthusiasm for grocery store spice blends. They’re often over-laden with garlic or onion powder and typically contain way too much salt. The blends often arise from the vendor mixing odd lots of old spices. Some of them add monosodium glutamate (MSG) to compensate for the resulting loss of spice flavor.

Penzey’s Spice Company offers up some great spice blends that cooks can use as-is or they can add a bit more of a spice to get a particular flavor the desire. I usually keep some of their Krakow Nights or Tsardust Memories on hand. Both blends are excellent in Polish, Czech, or Russian entrees.

A few months ago, I stumbled upon Lebanon Valley’s blended offerings. Our area has a significant Bosnian population and there is a growing Iraqi presence as well. Both groups brought much-needed flavor diversity to a town where ketchup is thought of as a seasoning.

Our mass food retailers have taken note of the emerging flavor trends and nearly all of them offer Arabic, Bosnian, Thai, Vietnamese, and Burmese ingredients.

One morning, I was surveying the selections of Bosnian coffees after I pitched a five-pound can of tahini into my cart, alongside of several packs of Dobrova tea biscuits. There was a display of Lebanon Valley spices and spice blends adjacent to the coffee.

The price was right. Just under four bucks for 6.2 ounces. In fact, that’s a bargain.

I picked out jars of chicken spices, fish spices, beryani blend, and kebseh blend. A few days later, I went back for kabob spices, shwarma blend, and vegetable seasonings.

All are excellent.

The Lebanon Valley chicken spices are a favorite when they get liberally sprinkled over a young hen destined for the crock-pot. Crockery cooking intensifies flavors and six hours of slow cooking has the meat almost falling from the bones. The chicken is carefully removed from the crock and is then spread over hot coals or placed on baking sheets for oven finishing at 400 degrees. Either method gives the meat a great crust.

Look for more Phyne Dyning cooking suggestions, using Lebanon Valley’s spice blends, in the future.

Lebanon Valley spice blends are distributed by Tut’s Foods International of Dearborn, Michigan.


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