Tonguespank Spice Blends

When the word, “Tonguespank,” comes through on my subject line, I am immediately intrigued. Pair it with the phrase, “NEW LIQUOR & HEAT SPICE LINE” and I’ve come home.

Tonguespank Spice Company has come up with a table spice line that does exactly what its name promises. The Liquor and Heat blends take flavor to exciting depths, and can really transform a dish into something spectacularly spicy.

The spice is unique in that it is designed to be put on after cooking, so the diner can add as much or as little as their palate desires. Perfect for foods like grilled meats or vegetables; spice blends like Smoky Bourbon, Garlic Grappa, Citrus Rum, Wasabi Sake (I’m not quite that brave yet), and Scorpion Bourbon can really make things interesting.

Tonguespank indeed.
Tonguespank indeed.

So far I’ve tried the Smoky Bourbon on grilled steak and the Citrus Rum on some oven-roasted asparagus which are admittedly timid experiments when approached with serving suggestions like, “Sprinkle on eggs, pizza, baked potatoes, chili, steaks, burgers, pork chops, barbecue, ribs, etc.” I’m excited to expand my horizons a bit.

Check out Tonguespank.com for all they have to offer and online shopping info. It’s something a little different and may change your mind on oral corporal punishment.

I won’t judge.

©2014 Tracey Henry

Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans

So good.
So good.

“So here, in such context, we have an assemblage of classic and nouveau New Orleans cuisine. Some might innocently call it a cookbook. And if used in careful, Presbyterian moderation, it can be considered no worse than that. If you love New Orleans, if you love food, if you savor the great banquet of life, you could—once a week, perhaps—pull it down from a shelf and wallow in some joy. And then you could replace it on that shelf, perhaps a higher one, and leave it be for a fortnight or two. No problem.”

-David Simon, Preface of Treme. 

This is one of the many delicious reasons I love cookbooks in general. They can sit for months unattended, just waiting to submerge you in adventure, comfort or Epicurean euphoria.

Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans is born of the HBO series of the same name, is more than a fan fiction collection of recipes. It’s more than a coffee table book. It’s more than a last minute souvenir at the studio’s gift shop. It is, like the preface boasts, a place to wallow in some joy.

It’s a beautifully-written, serious and irreverent book filled with a history, stories, and oh yes, recipes, from some of the world’s greatest culinary powerhouses and the actors who play them on TV.

With a tentative non-creole hand, I attempted some of the recipes. The Bacon-Wrapped Pork Loin with Smothered Greens, Butternut Squash and Cane Syrup Jus, the Black Beans and Rum a la Austin Leslie, and the Bayona’s Café au Lait Pots de Crème. So far my Louisiana passport hasn’t been revoked, so I consider this success. I’d place the degree of difficulty at around the intermediate mark, but then I don’t think there’s an expectation to replicate and master every dish after a single attempt. It’s a guidebook to taste and feel your way along a culinary journey that is distinctly New Orleans.

So if you’re looking around for a holiday gift idea, or just want to throw a Treme-themed party to say au revoir in the show’s final season, they’ve written a book on the subject.

And you should cook it.

©Tracey Henry