A great slow cooker spiced recipe!

The Camping Bucket DSC_0729

With Fall on the weather map and the holidays not too far away, spice baskets and bundles are becoming a hot item again! And fall always brings great slow cooker spiced recipes!

I have to try this new recipe in the slow cooker. It’s a 5 spice powder meatball concoction! I don’t have any 5 spice powder but I looked it up and thought it wouldn’t be too hard to try to concoct –

I do have 1 tsp. J.O. Spice Cinnamon, 1 tsp. J.O. Spice ground cloves, 1 tsp. J.O. Spice Fennel Seed*, 1 tsp. J.O. Spice star anise*, and 1 tsp. ground Szechwan pepper which are the ingredients for Chinese 5 spice powder. I have read that when you don’t have Szechwan pepper, just use regular black pepper or the 5 peppercorns blends…J.O. does sell both green and pink peppercorns, too, FYI. Some people also substitute allspice for the anise…I think it’s all in what you have, what you want to taste and your tastebuds. Either way, give your tastebuds a party!

*You will need to toast and then grind both of these.  Place some seeds on a baking sheet or saute pan, let heat until you can smell the seeds, then either grind in a mortar and pestle or in your blender. Star Anise is hard to grind down manually but it can be done. It’s worth all the hard work for the flavor!

After you have prepared the J.O. Fennel Seed and the J.O. Star Anise, combine them with the other 3 spices -blend them together in the blender or mortar and pestle.

(Store the remaining spice in an air tight container.  Some  more 5 spice powder recipe ideas:

  • Sprinkle over fish fillets, add brown sugar and soy sauce
  • Use on top of chicken, bake with soy sauce and rice wine vinegar
  • Sprinkle over vegetables in your stir fry

I think you’ll find that a little bit of work amounts to huge TASTE payoffs!)

5 Spice Powder Meatball Concoction a’ la J.O. Style!

Make your meatballs:

  • 1 1/2 pounds  ground meatloaf mix (beef, pork and veal)
  • cup  panko bread crumbs
  • eggs, lightly beaten
  • scallions, sliced, plus more for garnish
  • tsp. J.O. Spice ginger
  • teaspoon  J.O. onion powder
  • teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder (just a side note, this can be bought in the store but they say it’s fresher to do yourself.)
  • tablespoon  reduced-sodium soy sauce

Make these meatballs big -about a 1/3 cup each.

Combine these ingredients:

  • cup  beef broth
  • 1/2 cup  ketchup
  • can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • tablespoons  rice vinegar

Pour into the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the meatballs. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8 (make sure to check the meatball temp before eating~160 degrees).

It’s just a small way to fall back in love with slow cooker recipes. This recipe might seem like a lot of work…but you can cheat by buying the pre-made 5 spice powder or you can experiment as there are so many spices that can make a great meal.

What are you cooking this weekend in your slow cooker?

🙂 Pamela

Fall back in love with slow cooker spiced recipes!

rotisserie  slow cooker

Fall is back! Fall back in love with your slow cooker and the great SPICED recipes that come from slow cooking! It’s amazing what you can do with spice,  y’know?  Have you tried?  What are your most amazing recipes that you would never have done if it were not for a specific spice?

I would not have fallen back in love with chicken salad had I never tried the Rotisserie Chicken Spice Seasoning from J.O.  It really adds a great flavor to chicken and even potatoes if you love to bake up a potato! Easy experiments like adding chicken/beef broth/beer/sherry or white wine to your meat and spicing it up with Caribbean Jerk Seasoning, Cajun, Venison/Steak Seasoning, or J.O. Garlic Pepper and J.O. Chili Powder and just letting the meat slow cook for hours…it’s amazing the meals you can come up with!

On one of my many experiments, all I did was cook 5 chicken breasts inside my slow cooker, adding a 32 oz. can of chicken broth and 2 cans of beer (don’t forget, this adds gluten), sprinkled with J.O. Garlic Pepper…let that cook for 8 hours. Then I split the breasts up and made quite a few meals:

1. BBQ pulled chicken using J.O. BBQ spice and a prepared can of BBQ sauce

2. Chili using 3 cans of tomatoes with the chili’s and J.O. XHot chili powder, J.O. Cumin and white beans

3. Chicken Cacciatore  adding J.O. Chopped Onions, J.O. Italian Seasoning, J.O. Minced Garlic, with 3 cans of stewed tomatoes, mushrooms, onions and utilizing the chicken broth from the pan

4. Chicken tacos using taco seasoning, 1 can of fire roasted tomatoes and frozen corn

I took a Sunday, let the slow cooker do the work and had easy meals for the week! I freeze what we don’t eat and save it for the next week or so. EASY!

Fall back in love with slow cooking! What are you going to spice your food up with?

🙂 Pamela

Roles with spice company season life for Carroll couple

*Reprinted from baltimoresun.com September 28, 2014

J.O. Spice ownersMount Airy residents Donald and Ginger Ports head J.O. Spice Co., which supplies 800 restaurants, crab houses and carry-outs from New Jersey to the Outer Banks with seasoning for crabs. (Photo by Nicole Munchel / September 12, 2014)
By Mary K. Tilghman8:12 a.m. EDT, September 22, 2014

The crabs piled on a table for a backyard crab feast, hot and spicy, are probably sprinkled with a unique taste many in the area associate with summer in Maryland.

If the crabs came from one of the metro area’s carryout restaurants or crab houses, more than likely the seasoning isn’t the iconic Old Bay. Chances are, it’s a seasoning mix produced by a company run by a Carroll County couple.

This is no McCormick with its giant campus in Hunt Valley and hundreds of employees.

J.O. Spice Co., in Halethorpe, is family run and employs a couple dozen people to produce seafood seasonings, as well as a whole line of products to spice up meat, fish and poultry.

“You go to a restaurant and you eat your crabs, and you think you’re eating Old Bay,” said Ginger Ports, vice president of marketing and sales for J.O. Spice Co.

And, said Mount Airy resident, that’s fine. “That’s a Maryland icon. There’s a place for that product,” she said.

“Old Bay is in the grocery store,” she said. “J.O. is in the restaurants.”

Ginger Ports works in the office next to her husband’s in the spice company’s headquarters in the southwestern portion of Baltimore County, a short distance from the Anne Arundel County border.

Donald Ports, the president, is from the third generation of the original family to run the business.

His grandfather, James Ozzie Strigle, a Tangier Island, Va., waterman, and his wife Dot, started J.O Spice Co. in a Baltimore storefront in 1945.

Don Ports, a Catonsville High School graduate, served in the U.S. Marine Corps before taking over operations at the spice company, then located on Hammonds Ferry Road, only a few miles from its present site.

The company, which produces its own combinations of spices, has been growing ever since.

J.O. Spice moved to its current location 24 years ago. Last December, it doubled its size when it took the adjacent 14,000-square-foot space for spice-mixing operations, a gift shop and specialty items.

With her youngest child in middle school, Ginger Ports, a long-time stay-at-home mom, considered getting a job when Don suggested that she work for J.O. Spice.

“Let’s keep it in the family,” he said.

One of her first projects was the custom crab mallet.

“It was the mallets that brought me in,” she said.

Don Ports bought the engraver and she began selling custom mallets to restaurants and for parties and even weddings. They sold 650,000 that first year and 800,000 last year.

Settling in

The couple moved to Sykesville soon after their marriage and now live in Mount Airy. They chose Carroll County, in part, because of the school system, and they like the slower pace after long days in the spice business.

“It’s more relaxed out there, slower, not as stressful,” Don Ports said.

The couple have three children and have been active in their community, especially Ginger Ports.

She participates every year in the American Cancer Society‘s Relay for Life. She worked first with a team in Sykesville, then formed a team six years ago called Colleen’s Crusaders, in memory of a friend who had ovarian cancer.

She also volunteered at oldest daughter Brittany’s school, Piney Ridge Elementary, and at Winfield Elementary, which Tyler and Bethany attended.

A soccer mom, she spent lots of time taking her son to games with his travel team.

“We were always, soccer, soccer, soccer and more soccer,” she said.

Tyler, now 19, is at Carroll Community College, studying golf management. He works at Rattlewood Golf Course in Mt. Airy, where this summer he taught golf to children.

Brittany, 21, hopes one day to take over J.O. Spice Co. She is studying business at Carroll Community College.

Bethany, 15, attends South Carroll High School.

All three have worked for J.O. Spice, doing everything from sweeping floors to sticking labels on bottles to stocking the store and running the cash register.

“Just because they were family, they didn’t get special treatment,” said Don Ports. “They probably had to work harder.”

Running a business meant a lot of time away from the kids for Don and now for both parents — although weekends usually remain open, Don said. The family had its first summer vacation together four years ago.

Now that she spends as much time in the office as her husband does, his wife understands his level of commitment.

“Working together has improved our marriage,” she said as her husband nodded in agreement.

Now, she explained, she understands the long hours and the customer service that gets Don Ports in the car to make a delivery on a Sunday evening.

Busy season

For a small family run company, they have a big job. Ginger Ports said there are some 800 Mid-Atlantic restaurants, crab houses and carryouts among its regular customers.

Local crab houses, as well as seafood houses from New Jersey to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, are their main focus. Another 25 distributors handle orders in North Carolina, Florida, New Jersey and New York. Small as it is, J.O. is spicing things up as far away as Australia and Singapore, too.

With the company delivering its spice mixes directly to restaurants and crab houses, you might not have heard of it. “J.O. has always been on the wholesale side,” Ginger Ports said.

Locally, restaurants such as the Woodbine Inn, Salerno’s, Park’s Landing, Winfield Inn, Captain Bob’s Manchester, Steamin Mad Crabs in Hampstead, and Casa Rico’s use J.O. Spice.

The familiar yellow and blue Old Bay can, on the other hand, is stocked in major retail outlets. “It’s a consumer brand and a consumer item,” said Laurie Harrsen, McCormick’s director of public relations and consumer communications. “That’s the way it started.”

Old Bay, marking its 75th anniversary, is available wholesale for restaurants and, to a small degree, for companies with licensing agreements to use the spice blend in their products.

“Primarily, it’s a consumer business,” Harrsen said. “That’s a good, long-standing heritage.

McCormick, which bought the brand in 1991, produced 50 million ounces — 3.1 million pounds — of Old Bay last year, she said.

J.O. produces enough spice to season 7 million to 12 million bushels of crabs a year. Some 1,750 to 3,000 tons of raw materials produce 3.5 to 6 million pounds of spice blends every year, according to Ports.

Spice only begins to describe J.O.’s participation in the traditional crab feast. They print bushel boxes for crab houses, stock brown paper to spread on the tables for crab feasts, order crab mallets by the trailer truck-full. They stock big paper bags and even vinegar, too.

“We literally provide everything but the crabs,” she said.

Since the demand for crab seasoning tends to drop in the off season, J.O. started a small gift shop in an unused space a few years ago. It expanded when the facilities grew last winter.

The diversity of their products keeps the staff working year round, Ports said. The work may change according to the season but “it keeps them busy,” Ports said. That way, she explained, there are no layoffs, or temporary employees and everybody works full time, with holidays and two weeks at Christmas off.

“Everyone is like a family,” she said.

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/carroll/westminster/ph-ce-jo-spice-carroll-2-20140922,0,2691291.story#ixzz3EL7n9f00

Thanks for reading another great article!

🙂 Pamela


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