Stuff and Nonsense: Cooking With Spiced Pantry: Jamaica


Cooking With Spiced Pantry: Jamaica

Back in May, Crate Joy threw a flash sale with up to 50% off many subscriptions. I'd had my eye on the Spiced Pantry box since February (when I was looking for ramen subscription boxes for The Husband) but the price was a little high for me at the time. But half off six months of delicious spices? Of course, I signed myself up.

Spiced Pantry is a monthly food subscription box featuring a different cuisine each month. Every box includes four ingredients (custom spice blends, grains, legumes, etc), an information card introducing that month's cuisine and ingredients, and the recipes to make with them.

Subscribers can chose between the standard or vegetarian plan. While I selected the standard plan, several of the meat-based recipes I've received include easy modifications to make them vegetarian, anyway. As with many subscription plans, it renews automatically every month until cancelled.

One of the reasons I subscribed to Spiced Pantry was the opportunity to try new spices and ingredients without committing myself to store-size quantities. Each box comes with enough of each ingredient to make each recipe provided at least once, with extra for repeats, do-overs, or experimentation.

Ingredients in June's Spiced Pantry box:
  1. Dried Hibiscus Petals
  2. Dried Pigeon Peas
  3. Jamaican Jerk Spice Blend
  4. Scotch Bonnet Chile Flakes

Recipes in June's Spiced Pantry box:
  1. Hibiscus Iced Tea (Agua de Jamaica)
  2. Jamaican Jerk Chicken
  3. Jamaican Patties
  4. Jamaican Rice and Pigeon Peas

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

The jerk chicken smelled simply heavenly and came off the grill perfectly cooked -- moist, tender and full of flavor. It was a little hot for The Husband so I might dial back the scotch bonnet pepper flakes next time (oh, yes, this is worth repeating). I might also use just legs (thigh with drumstick attached) instead of a mix of pieces as it's easy to grill all one cut.

Had intended to serve my jerk chicken with the rice and peas, but found I couldn't manage both dishes at the same time. Instead, I served my chicken with medium-grain white rice mixed with a liberal amount of cilantro and lime. Also the usual cucumber and tomato salad, because that's our go-to side.

Hibiscus Tea

Slightly tart and very refreshing, the hibiscus tea hits just the right balance between floral and spicy with just a little gentle heat from the ginger and cinnamon. I had only one empty pitcher on hand when I made this tea so I put the hibiscus flowers & ginger in a spice bag to avoid needing to strain or decant the tea after brewing (the cinnamon stick was big enough to be easily fished out on its own).

Jamaican Meat Patties

As you can see, my patties are more angular than rounded as I am not very skilled at rolling out dough circles. Despite their homeliness, the patties were surprisingly good for a first attempt. The filling need more flavor (and some sauce, maybe, as it was rather dry), but the pastry was wow.

The recipes provided by Spiced Pantry were clear and easy to follow, the amount of ingredients provided was just right, and the quality seemed high. All this resulted in dishes that were quite delicious and worth making again. Overall, I had a lot of fun creating June's dishes and look forward to exploring the tastes of México with July's box!

Read about my other Spiced Pantry experiences.

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