When Scott Lucas, former software seller, and his wife, Cathy Storfer, an event planner, decided to change careers a couple years ago, they let their palates guide them to their next step.
Inspired by the flavors they encountered on their world travels, the two decided to start a new line of spice rubs with their long-time friend, Daniel Capra, executive chef of Emeryville’s Paula LeDuc Fine Catering.
There are now six Just Cook spice blends: Herbed Coffee Rub, Any Day Chicken Blend, No. 19 Salmon Blend, Ancho Chicken Rub, Close to Curry Blend, and Gimme Steak Blend.
Recently, I had a chance to sample a few. The Any Day Chicken Blend gave humdrum chicken thighs a nice warmth with orange peel, sage, cardamom, oregano, sugar and lavender. The Ancho Chicken Rub was the perfect seasoning for grilled chicken that went into tacos. With smoked paprika, brown sugar, ancho chili, cumin, garlic, chipotle, lemon peel, oregano, basil, thyme and molasses, it provided a tickle of heat and a whole lot of complexity.
Unlike some other rubs, you can be quite generous in patting them on without the taste becoming overwhelming. The blends are nicely balanced. Since they do not contain salt, you can add it yourself to suit your own taste buds.
The spice blends can be used on all manner of meat and fish, as well as on vegetables or in soups, stews and dressings.
The blends also come in artful packaging: squat black metal canisters that have both an exterior and interior lid to keep the blends fresh and less prone to accidental spills.
A 3.2-ounce tin is $8.50 on the company’s Web site. The spice blends also are sold at select Bay Area stores, including Real Food Company in San Francisco, Draeger’s stores, Monterey Market in Berkeley, Mollie Stone’s markets, Andronico’s, and Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco.
Winner of Last Week’s Contest:
In the previous Food Gal contest, I asked you to tell me about something of which you can’t stop at just having one. The winner will receive four bags of classic, limited-edition Kettle Brand Potato Chips.
Esther, who wrote, “I have about 6 different kinds of soy sauces – sweet, dark, light, Korean (whatever that means), low sodium, and one specific for making soups (something about it being saltier?). Every time I run out of one, I must replace it immediately. It’s kind of ridiculous that I’m hoarding so many soy sauces in a small NYC apartment. But hey, you asked!”