Two Seattle-based companies won spots on a new “seal of approval” list from Bon Appetit magazine of the top 50 culinary products staffers use in their own test kitchens and homes. India Tree’s Tellicherry peppercorns and three kinds of dried chiles from Marx Foods were on the “definitive” ingredient guide whose listings ranged from Heinz ketchup to Rancho Gordo heirloom beans.
The BA folks wrote that some of their product choices were clear — the same flour and sugar they’ve been using for years, for instance — but that others were put to the test to see which were decisively better than competitors, would stand the test of time, and offered bang for the buck.
India Tree founder Gretchen Goehrend said the fresh, “pungent and fruity” pepper is one of the stars of her spice, sugar, and seasoning company.
“It’s got layers of taste, instead of it just being hot and flat,” she said. Peppers sometimes get labeled as Tellicherry when they’re actually not, she noted, but she has a supplier she trusts to get “the highest quality” peppercorns, picked ripe and properly cleaned and stored.
Marx Foods (more soon on the company’s new retail shop in lower Queen Anne), given the nod for arbol, chipotle, and guajillo chiles, sources organic chiles “from a small company in Eugene, OR called Mycological. That’s also where we get all of our dried mushrooms. Our conventional chilies are sourced from a large company in Chicago called Woodland Foods,” CEO Justin Marx said in an email.
“Both companies have absolutely impeccable sourcing/quality and we always buy only the highest available grade.”
Here’s a recipe from India Tree for how to use its peppercorns, supposing you want to try something more exotic than grinding them along with salt crystals. The company distributes all ingredients except for the lime juice:
Tuk Meric Cambodian Black Pepper Sauce
2 tablespoons Black Tellicherry Peppercorns
1 teaspoon Brazilian Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon Dark Muscovado Sugar
pinch of Hot Chile Flakes
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1. Lightly toast peppercorns in a dry skillet.
2. Crush the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle or grind in a mill on medium setting.
3. Combine crushed/ground pepper with the remaining ingredients in a measuring cup and stir until sugar and salt have dissolved.
4. Pour sauce into individual small dipping bowls. Serve with strips of grilled beef, chicken, shrimp and even grilled vegetables.
Recipe and photo courtesy of India Tree