Things are getting spicy in Minnesota, with several local spice companies offering Minnesota-made spice blends and rubs for chicken, fish, vegetables, and of course, meat. Here are some of the new makers to watch for at this summer’s
farmers’ markets, festivals, and at your local coops and grocery stores.
Tom and Nicole Dockman had an unusual wedding favor when they got married. They sent guests home with their 127-blend rub from the crusted Ribeye roasts that were served at the wedding dinner. Tom developed this rub after 20 years working in professional kitchens. Soon guests were inquiring where they could buy more rub, and a company was born. Currently, they have five blends for sale, including their Wing Blend, Rib Rub, and the original 127 seasoning blend. I use the 127 on steaks and the rib rub on pork. Try their Asian flavored Togarashi seasoning with Szechuan peppercorns, nori, and Japanese spices on your next grilled Salmon.
Ancient Indian Spice Company
I first met Deborah McLaren, the company owner, and her son, Anil, at Duluth’s Art in Bayfront Park artisan market. Anil has been making spices since he was five and roasts, grinds, and oversees the production of their seasonings. They work with small-batch farmers and are my go-to seasoning for lentil and vegetable curries and chicken Tikka Masala. They have a fantastic Chai seasoning that can be used in baked goods and drinks, and all blends are gluten-free and used with spices supporting small-batch farmers throughout India. I like their new 1-oz packages that allow you to try a wide variety of their blends.
My friend Heather Manley is an IT professional by day and spice blender and distiller by night with her Crooked Water Spirits Liquor Company and Heather’s Dirty Goodness Spice Company. Her original Heather’s Dirty Goodness is my go-to spice blend for chicken and turkey. I use it in chicken noodle soup, to rub a roast chicken or my Thanksgiving turkey. Her censored version is very spicy, and I use that when I am looking for the heat in black beans, on chicken wings, or Cajun fettuccini or pork chops. Be careful, though. It is hot. You can find these blends online. I also have seen them at various Kowalski’s Markets.
Jessica Tijerina is a local chef who teaches cooking classes around the Twin Cities rooted in teaching folks how to make global cuisine in their homes. She has recently launched Tijerina Global Spices, where she toasts and grinds her spice blends from around the world. All of the spice blends have zero added preservatives, colors, or flavors and are free of salt, allowing individuals to “salt to taste.” Her culinary Spice Blend trio lets you explore Mexico’s culinary world with her Carnitas blend, India with her Garam Masala, and Cuba with Her Mojo Rub. Not to be missed is her Vanilla Masala Chai blend of spiced black tea that you stir into water for an iced or hot Chai Tea latte that’s easy to make at home.
Michelle Mazzara is creating delicious spice blends with minimal salts or fillers for the grilling season. Her grilling and BBQ spice collection has some of my favorite spice combinations, including a meat lovers blend that is peppery and brings out the meaty flavor. We used her Smokehouse Spice House Rub on a slow-roasted Corned Beef Brisket this week. That was fantastic, and her citrus and seafood blends are delicious with scallops or halibut. Michelle and I both have senior dogs. She has created a spice blend for dogs and cats that you sprinkle on their food made with inflammation-reducing turmeric, parsley, and cinnamon. My dog loves it. You can order her spices at Luvafoodie.com or from Amazon and Walmart.