Please Mister Postman…

I’ve come up with double zeros when it comes to topics ideas tonight. I have a few recipes in the works, but they aren’t quite ready to share with you yet. So, while I’m off testing recipes, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite things that I buy mail order to keep you busy for a little while.

Cane Vinegar. I got a bottle of this in a gift package of Steen’s Cane Syrup. Steen’s in itself is pretty fantastic (see info on the cane syrup below). The flavor profile of this vinegar is mellow and slightly sweet. I use it anywhere that cider vinegar is called for. It’s not as stringent as cider vinegar, but that works for me because I’m not really a vinegar person. I love it in ketchup based sauces like sloppy joes and meatloaf, and it kills in coleslaw.

Cane Syrup. Okay, okay, my southern roots are showing, but cane syrup is really sublime. It’s sulfur-y flavor falls somewhere between dark corn syrup and molasses. I want nothing but this on waffles these days, and the pecan pie, oh the pecan pie!

Grub Rub. Here’s a recipe for you. Take one grass fed skirt or flank steak. Rub it very liberally with Gordon’s Grub Rub. Marinate overnight and throw on a good hot grill. The marinade has natural tenderizers (papain, a papaya enzyme) which does beautiful things to the slightly tougher than normal grass fed beef cuts. If you’re not trending toward sweeter rubs, then this might not be your cup of tea, but for the rest of us this will be your dream come true.

Roasted Garlic Pepper. I admit that I’ve actually never ordered this by mail. I’ve been lucky enough to pick this up the past few years at their really cute store located next to the ferry terminal in St. John. I love it on burgers and chicken.

Whole Black Peppercorns. I really dig the flavor of the Tellicherry black peppercorn. I don’t think I could possibly go back to preground pepper after tasting the slightly fruity and definitely spicy flavor of a good quality black peppercorn. I buy from Penzey’s, but good peppercorns can come from any quality spice shop.

Saporoso. This balsamic vinegar is the real deal. I discovered it when I visited Acetaia Malpigi in Modena, Italy. Next time you are at the grocery store or even the best gourmet store you know, look at the ingredients in the expensive vinegars. Real balsamic vinegar, the stuff that cost a month’s rent, has only one ingredient in it — grape must. I’m betting that you won’t be able to find a vinegar that hasn’t been cut with wine vinegar. If your super expensive vinegar lists any other ingredient in it then it’s not as good as it can get. The only thing separating this vinegar from the ultra expensive stuff is time; it’s not aged as long (six years instead of the minimum 12 years). While even this vinegar is too expensive to use on every salad and bruschetta you make, it’s affordable enough to actually use it at all. By the way, if you want to find out more about real balsamic vinegar, read this.

Porto Rico Coffee. I love their coffee for a few reasons. First, they roast their own coffee. Also, they carry a nice selection of fair trade organic coffees, but my favorite thing about Porto Rico Coffee Importers is that even with shipping they are still cheaper than most coffees available in stores near me. They also have sales that cut the low prices even lower.

Well, that’s it for now. I’m going to try some artisan grits next. I’ve heard loads about the grits from Anson Mills but haven’t tried them yet.

Have a good weekend y’all!

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