Spice of the Month: Allspice

Spice of the Month: Allspice

By Laura Coffee, Marketing & Owner Services Manager, Co-op Owner

This month’s spice is allspice. Allspice is produced by drying the unripe berries of a tree native to Mexico and Central America. The whole dried berries look a bit like big, brown peppercorns, but most of the time you’ll find it as a pre-ground spice. The color is very similar to cocoa powder, but the texture is more like powdered cloves. To me, the flavor is like a lighter combination of nutmeg and clove, though many people also get hints of cinnamon from it. Like those other spices, allspice is equally at home in sweet and savory dishes, so I have one of each for you to enjoy. If you’d like to participate in future installments for our Spice of the Month series, you can sign up through the Veteran’s Memorial Library.

Carrot Cake in a Cup

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 2 Tbsp grated carrot
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • generous pinch of allspice
  • small pinch of salt

Combine all the dry ingredients in an average size microwave safe mug and mix. Then add the milk, butter, vanilla, and grated carrot and stir until well combined. Tip: I like to use a butter knife for mixing instead of a spoon, as it’s better at getting into the corners of the mug. Place the mug in the microwave and run for 1 minute and 15 seconds. Look at the surface of the cake. If it still looks wet in the center put it back in the microwave for 10 more seconds. If the top still looks wet, continue microwaving in 10 second increments until the top of the cake looks dry. Every microwave will be a little bit different. Mine took about 2 minutes total.

This will be a very dense and moist cake because of the carrots, almost fudgy like a lava cake. Don’t try to eat the cake immediately, it will be very hot. Try to wait at least 2-3 minutes before eating to let all of the flavors really come together. 5 minutes is better. It will still be warm and gooey even after several minutes. I found the cake to be rich enough by itself, so I didn’t put anything on top. However, if you want to add a scoop of whipped cream, some vanilla ice cream, or a bit of whipped cream and cream cheese mixed together on top, go for it!

Easy Spice Rub

  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • salt to taste
  • 8oz protein*

Combine all of the dry spices in a small dish and mix well. Cut your protein into bite sized cubes and place in a bowl. Sprinkle in the spice mixture and toss until cubes are thoroughly coated. Lightly oil a frying pan and bring it up to medium heat. Place the cubes in the hot pan and cook until a safe temperature has been reached, flipping every few minutes. I served my finished dish over rice with a sprinkling of green onions. It would pair equally well with caramelized onions or roasted veggies and a dollop of tangy yogurt.

*There are a lot of different options here. I used pumfu for my dish. This blend will go equally well with tofu, chicken, beef, or lamb. I think it might also work well for mushrooms, though I haven’t tried it yet. You would need to either rinse the mushrooms or lightly coat them in oil to get the mixture to stick well – let me know if you try it!

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