Fresh off the...er...plane I'm sitting to write this. Flew in early this afternoon, got home and started cooking for the week. I had a great time in Vancouver, and am grateful for my business there. The people I work with are competent, and fun; and it's always so restorative to be on the west coast of Canada- especially when the sun shines, as it did for my entire trip.
Why did I jump into the kitchen, while my bags sit mostly still unpacked? Because as I began to unravel my life from my suitcase I ran across my plunder from South China Seas Trading Co.
Chipotle peppers, Amchur, Ancho
A combination of all three spices already made it into a pureed tomato salsa stewing on the stove as I type. The chipotle adding a smoky flavour, while the Ancho and Amchur spiced and sweetened respectively. Ancho powder is made from a spicy, fleshy pepper and is best used in dishes which are stewed or simmered to bring out it's rich but subtle spice. If you're dipping your toe into spicy food, but don't want to dive in, try Ancho. Amchur is harder to find, and is a greenish-yellow powder of dried mangos. It has great tenderizing properties, so is used well in marinades. It adds a sweetness to your cooking without adding a sickening sugar high. I'll try marinating chicken in it next, with perhaps some sesame or peanut oil.
All of my colleagues left heavy handed from The South China Seas Trading Co. location in Granville Island while I was in meetings all day; so I persuaded them to take me to their second location on Victoria Dr. at Grant St. (just off Commercial Drive- a fab little cafe neighborhood). I was initiatied into this market's spice and hard-to-find-item greatness at this quaint location, and the others added more to their stock from this store. Black bean sauce, fresh succulent cactus leaves, aduki jelly and home-made vietnamese fish sauce walked out with us- all in our newly purchased reusable shopping bags which reflected our thoughts as we enjoyed our treasures- "Life is Too Short for Boring Food".