Featured Spice Box: Sombrero - A Taste of Mexico

Mexican food is delicious! Authentic Mexican cuisine is brimming with flavor – garlic, cumin, cilantro, oregano, lime. The American version of the overstuffed burrito is just that. It is truly not representative of the way the culture cooks. Traditional Mexican fare presents small plates of a variety of dishes that are loaded with fresh healthy ingredients like avocadoes, beans, tomatoes, limes, radishes and grilled vegetables, fish and meats. Garlic, chili, cumin, cilantro and oregano are all used in most Mexican cuisine. The variations in regional tastes come from the proportions of the spices used in the cultural dishes. Mexican food appeals to most cultural palates, presents well and it is totally fun to eat. That’s why it is so popular here in America, Salsa, tacos, tortillas, mole, enchiladas, peppers and roasted corn por favor. Can anyone say Ole? O

Our featured recipe of the month is Steak Fajitas with Chimichurri Sauce a popular dish from the Yucatan. Here are our featured spices and tea pairing:

RECADO  ROJO:  provides a rich earthy flavor to the cooking of the Yucatan Peninsula. Traditionally, this spice blend is combined with citrus juice or vinegar to make a wet rub or marinade.  It is also delicious added straight to meats, veggies and eggs.


CUMIN: a distinctive somewhat bitter toasty taste that can’t be replaced by most other spices; this makes cumin a quintessential Mexican spice. Cumin is a flavor frequently used in taco seasonings and tamales.

Hot Chili Powder: a Mexican staple, derived from combinations of cumin, oregano and garlic  peppers, including ancho and chipotle


Tea Pairing: Coconut Almond

 Dry rubs are spice blends that are rubbed into meats to give them a fuller flavor for roasting, grilling and barbecuing. This recipe is a basic blend with a taste of the American Southwest, by way of Mexico. Vary the ingredients and amounts to suit you dish and your liking.

Yield: 1 cup


  • Dried ancho chiles -- 2
  • Sweet or smoked paprika -- 1/2 cup
  • Brown sugar -- 1/4 cup
  • Granulated garlic -- 2 tablespoons
  • Ground coriander -- 2 tablespoons
  • Ground cumin -- 1 tablespoon
  • Kosher salt -- 1 tablespoon
  • Pepper -- 2 teaspoons
  • Cayenne pepper -- 1 teaspoon


  1. Using tongs, lightly toast the ancho chilies over a stovetop flame, flipping back and forth until they are softened. Do not to char them. Remove and discard the stems and seeds from each pepper, and grind the peppers to a powder in a coffee grinder.
  2. Combine the ancho pepper powder with the remaining ingredients and store in a well-sealed container in a cool, dark place or in the freezer.
  3. To use, rub the spice blend into meat, poultry or seafood. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight for meats and poultry, or for 30 minutes to an hour for seafood, before roasting, grilling or barbecuing.