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Spice Up Your Stocking Stuffers


Silver Cloud Estates offers extracts, spices and herbs.

If there’s a foodie — or three — on your Christmas list this year and you need the right stocking stuffer, consider a jar or two of spices, herbs, extracts or seasonings they might not have.

There are numerous choices out there, some of them local and some you can have delivered to your door.

Alamo City Pepper Products is a local line of gluten-free seasonings. If you enjoy adding a kick to your food, try the Hatch Green Chile Salt or Jalapeño Salt, while the Honey Chipotle Seasoning adds a sweet-hot touch to most any kind of meat. If someone on your list is a real hothead, you can get Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Chile), the hottest chile on the planet, in two forms: dried or powdered. You can find Alamo City Pepper Products at Whole Foods. You can order them, too, at alamocitypepperproducts.com.

Penzeys Spices hasn’t opened a store in San Antonio, but that doesn’t make them a stranger to many from who have been in need of anything from mulling spices to Peri Peri Seasoning. Turkish bay leaves, celery flakes and salt-free corned beef spices are just a few of the beauties you can find online as well as an impressive array of dried chiles, including dundicut peppers from Pakistan, Sanaam chiles and Turkish aleppo peppers. To learn more, click here.

Alamo City Pepper Products are gluten-free.

Silver Cloud Estates bills itself as being more about vanilla beans and vanilla extract, but it also has an exciting array of spices, herbs and extracts. Among the pure extracts are allspice, cappuccino, coconut and ginger, while the spices include Grains of Paradise, Korintje (Indonesian cinnamon), epazote powder, bourbon pepper and Moroccan raz el hanôut. For more information, click here.

You could also shop locally at any of the city’s many ethnic markets for spices and seasonings from around the world. A few favorites include:

  • Ali Baba International Food Market, 9307 Wurzbach Road
  • Himalayan Bazaar, 8466 Fredericksburg Road
  • Hung Phong, 243 Remount
  • International Food Market, 2449 Nacogdoches Road
  • Las Americas, 6623 San Pedro Ave.
  • Mustafa, 4081 Medical Drive
  • Salaam International Food Market, 3727 Colony Drive
  • Sari-Sari, 5742 Wurzbach Road
  • Seoul Oriental Food Market, 2415 Harry Wurzbach Road,
  • Tim’s Oriental Food Market, 7015 Bandera Road
  • Vietnam Market, 5360 Walzem Road

A few other places where you can find an array of spices include Gaucho Gourmet, 935 Isom Road; Melissa Guerra Tienda de Cocina in the Pearl Brewery, 200 E. Grayson St.; Sur la Table, 15900 La Cantera Parkway; and Central Market, 4821 Broadway.

You might also want to consider a spice book or two to add to the gift. A few suggestions include:

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At New Quarry Market, You Can Have Your Goat Two Ways


Mark Rodriguez (right) talks with customers about his Alamo City Pepper Products.

Sunday marked the grand opening of the Quarry Farmers and Ranchers Market. And it was indeed grand, with Mayor Julián Castro dropping by to mark the official opening. But the main attraction for many, and not just the younger set, was the pen Springfield Farms set up with baby goats that were glad to be fed and petted. A pair of hens was also on display, but they couldn’t compete with the goats for attention.

Oh, yeah, there were also fresh peaches, heirloom and conventional tomatoes, Indian cucumbers, kohlrabi, beans, blackberries, leeks and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables from nearby farms as well as baked goods, including some gluten-free, locally harvest honey, fresh cheeses and granola. One of the market’s organizers, David Lent, was handing out samples of organic watermelon.

Mark Rodriguez of Alamo City Pepper Products was sampling his series of seasonings, which included a powdered version of the Indian ghost pepper. Even a touch on the tip of a toothpick was enough to set one’s tongue on fire. Far milder but no less flavorful were the Jalapeño Salt, Honey Chipotle and Hatch Green Chile Salt.

A baby goat waits for a treat.

Koch Ranches offered grass-fed kebabs, hot dogs and sliders, including some made from ground cabrito, which proved to be the big seller of the morning. Did anybody make the connection between the cabrito on the bun and cabritos in the pen? Did anybody care?

They were more interested in checking out the varieties of squash on display, including calabaza, zucchini, yellow and pattypan, which one vendor said she liked to fix simply by sautéing it with salt, pepper and a little olive oil.

The lineup of farmers, ranchers and culinary artisans included Cowgirl Granola, Edelen Farm, Engel Farms, From Deborah’s Garden, Good Gluten-Free Foods, Humble House Foods, Koch Ranches, Markley Family Farm, My Father’s Farm, Nature’s Select, Orange Blossom Farm, Patty’s Petals, Sol y Luna Baking Co., Springfield Farm, The Gardener’s Feast, The Lemonade Co. and Zamudio Farm.

The market runs each Sunday from 8 a.m. to noon.

Indian cucumbers

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