A World of Flavor at Exotic Spice Company
With the brand-new Exotic Spice Company in Ojai, cooks can stay at home as their menus travel around the world picking up global flavors. The handcrafted blends and rubs use all-natural, healthful ingredients as they touch down on each of the world's seven continents.
"I decided to pursue my vision of starting a spice company based on the healthy, exotic recipes I was making in my kitchen," says owner Annelie Messina, who grew up in a multicultural environment in South Africa with parents who shared their love of travel.
With the spice mixes, cooks can go to "Asia" with an Indian yellow curry blend that was inspired by Messina's family recipe. It features turmeric, star anise, bay leaves, ginger and lemon peel. Messina recommends using the curry blend in stew or rubbing it on chicken with olive oil and chervil and finishing it with honey.
A coffee- and cocoa-based steak rub represents "Australia." It contains wattle seed, an Australian native that tastes of hazelnut, says Messina. The rub also contains garlic and sugar. Beyond steaks, sprinkle the rub on corn on the cob, she adds. It's also good on ground turkey burgers.
A trip to "Antarctica" unpacks an earthy, complex salt rub. It's made with sage, Himalayan pink salt, thyme, rosemary, black pepper, garlic and lemon zest. Rub it on poultry, fish or pork, says Messina, or use it in vinaigrettes or to top vegetables.
With its sweet and smoky flavors, the dry rub "Kansas City" represents North America. Chipotle and ancho chiles and cayenne pepper supply a kick that's rounded out with sugar, paprika, garlic, onion and mustard powder. In addition to ribs, steak or chicken, Messina says that the rub is delicious on garbanzo beans.
The various-weight spice blends and rubs are available in packets and in bulk.