"Pepper is a much used condiment, entering
into almost all the culinary preparations; it is an 'excitant'
and a stimulant, and its abuse must therefore be
avoided." ... from Larousse
When the above-quoted French encyclopedia of
food, wine and cookery was published in 1938, its author, Prosper Montagne, was reflecting the tastes of the times. Spice was something to be used sparingly, with prudence and reserve; not thrown about with reckless abandon.
Tastes do change, however, in these days of high-flavour/low-fat cooking, bold tastes are the rule - the more exciting and stimulating, the better. (In fact, spice consumption in North America has increased by 50% in the past decade.) Of the total spice usage nationwide, about a third is devoted to pepper. In 1991, the American Spice Trade Association reported that Americans used over 85.6 million pounds of black pepper, for an average of about 5 ounces per person. That's a staggering amount, considering that one ounce of black pepper will season about 1,440 eggs!
Black pepper is, without a doubt, the world's most popular and important spice. It is used in virtually every cuisine in the world. With a taste that is neither sweet nor savory (usually described as "pungent"), it can be used in both types of food. Its versatility and popularity have earned it the title of "The King of Spices", even putting it on a level with salt, one of the basic substances of life. In fact, the words "salt and pepper" have become so firmly entrenched in the lexicon of cooking that many recipes omit them altogether as ingredients, simply assuming their presence. With regard to pepper, at least, that oversight won't happen here!
Excerpt from the Introduction of "Watkins Pepper Cookbook": We hope you enjoy these recipes taken from "The Watkins Kitchen Collection - Pepper Cookbook" that was created to celebrate 100 years of offering you the best tasting and most pure spices in the world today!
This year we are proudly celebrating 150 years of offering you the best!
... not too many companies can boast a track record like that!
Black Pepper Spice Cake
A moist spice
cake with a fluffy caramel frosting.
Sift together the first three ingredients; set aside. Combine soda and next five ingredients; mix well. Gradually blend in the sugars; beating until well-combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Alternately add half of the flour mixture, then half of the sour milk; repeat using remaining flour and milk. Turn batter into three well-greased and lightly-floured 9 inch/23 cm round cake pans. Bake at 375 F/190 C for 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pans. Turn out of pans onto wire rack and cool completely.
- 2-1/2 cups/625 ml sifted cake flour
- 1 tsp/5 ml baking powder
- 1 tsp/5 ml salt
- 3/4 tsp/4 ml baking soda
- 3/4 tsp/4 ml ground cloves
- 3/4 tsp/4 ml Watkins Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp/1.2 ml Watkins Black Pepper
- 1-1/2 tsp/7.5 ml Watkins Baking Vanilla
- 3/4 cup/180 ml vegetable shortening
- 1 cup/250 ml white sugar
- 3/4 cup/180 ml brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup/250 ml sour milk
Place sugar and next five ingredients in top of double boiler. Beat with electric mixer until well blended. Place pan over bottom pan containing 2 inches/5 cm of boiling water. Beat with electric mixer until frosting stands in soft peaks. Remove top of pan from heat. Add caramel flavour and vanilla. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Use to frost between layers and on top and sides of cake.
- 1-1/2 cups/375 ml brown sugar
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/4 cup/60 ml water
- 1/2 tsp/2.5 ml nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp/1.2 ml cream of tartar
- 1/8 tsp/0.6 ml salt
- 1-1/2 tsp/7.5 ml Watkins Caramel Flavour
- 1 tsp/5 ml Watkins Baking Vanilla
(Makes 12 servings)
Peppered Salmon Steaks
A lively blend of pepper and ginger highlights this tasty dish.
Preheat oven to 425 F/220 C. In a small bowl, combine pepper, ginger, and seasoning salt. Press lightly into both sides of salmon steaks. Arrange salmon steaks in a single layer in a greased shallow baking pan. Drizzle with butter. Bake, basting one with pan juices, until fish is opaque, about 15 minutes. Garnish with lemon slices and parsley. Drizzle with pan juices.
- 1 tbsp/15 ml Watkins Pure Ground Pepper
- 1-1/4 tsp/6 ml Watkins Ground Ginger
- 1 tsp/5 ml seasoning salt
- 4 salmon steaks, cut 3/4 inch/2 cm thick (about 2 pounds/908 g)
- 1/4 cup/60 ml butter, melted
- Lemon slices and fresh parsley for garnish
(Makes 4 servings)
Beef Pepper-Pot Soup
Also known as "Philadelphia pepper pot,"
this soup was said to have been created at Valley Forge during
the desperate winter of 1777-1778 when George Washington's
army was down to tripe, peppercorns and various scraps of
other food. As the soup became popular during the late 1700's
and early 1800's, it was common to see women selling bowls of
it from great kettles on street corners, and yelling, "Pepper
pot, smokin' hot!"
Author's Note: As those of us developing recipes for this
book aren't too keen on tripe, we substituted beef, but you
will still get the astounding flavor or pepper in this classic
soup. It is common in Philadelphia to serve this dish with
In a large kettle, saute the bacon until clear. Add the beef, onion, celery, green onion, and green peppers; saute until tender. Add the remaining ingredients except potato, butter and flour. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook, covered, until beef is tender, about 1-1/2 hours. Add the diced potato and cook, uncovered, for an additional 20 minutes.
- 5 slices of bacon, diced
- 1 pound/454 g lean beef stewing meat
- 1/2 cup/125 ml chopped onion
- 1/2 cup/125 ml chopped celery
- 1/2 cup/125 ml chopped green onion
- 2 cups/500 ml chopped green pepper
- 2 quarts/2 liters water
- 1/3 cup/80 ml Watkins Beef Soup Base
- 1-1/4 tsp/6.5 ml Watkins Black Pepper (more if
- 1/2 tsp/2.5 ml Watkins Thyme
- 1/2 tsp/2.5 ml ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp/1.2 ml red pepper flakes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 large potato, diced
- 1/4 cup/60 ml butter, melted
- 1/4 cup/60 ml all-purpose flour
Prepare a roux in a small saucepan by stirring the flour into the melted butter and cooking for 1 minute on top of stove. When soup is done, stir in the roux and simmer, stirring constantly, until soup begins to thicken. Adjust seasonings to taste.
(Makes 8 servings)
Swirled Black Pepper Bread
This tasty bread is not only an excellent accompaniment to salads, soups and stews, but is also a great sandwich bread.
Prepare hot roll mix dough according to package direction for bread, adding the basil and garlic and onion powders to dry mix. Let rest as directed for 5 minutes.
- 1 package (16 oz/454 g) hot roll mix
- 3/4 tsp/4 ml Watkins Basil
- 1/4 tsp/1.2 ml Garlic Powder
- 1/4 tsp/1.2 ml Watkins Onion Powder
- 2 tbsp/30 ml butter, softened
- 1/2 cup/125 ml finely grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1 tsp/5 ml Watkins Black Pepper
- Melted Butter
On a lightly-floured surface, roll dough into an 18 x 9 inch/46 x 23 cm rectangle. Spread dough with butter and sprinkle with cheese and pepper. Roll tightly, jelly-roll fashion, starting from a short side. Pinch edges and ends to seal. Place in a greased 9 x 5 inch/23 x 13 cm loaf pan. Cover with a clean towel and let rise 15 to 20 minutes. Bake at 350 F/180 C for 35 to 40 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when lightly tapped. Remove from pan and brush with melted butter. Let cool on wire rack.
(Makes 1 loaf, 10 servings)
Peppered Buttermilk Biscuits
with Honey Butter
Sweet honey butter enhances the spiceness of these light and flaky biscuits.
- 1-3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp/470 ml all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp/15 ml baking powder
- 1 tsp/5 ml Watkins Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp/2.5 ml seasoning salt
- 3 tbsp/45 ml chilled unsalted butter
- 2-1/2 tbsp/40 ml solid vegetable shortening
- 3/4 cup/180 ml chilled buttermilk
Preheat oven to 450 F/235 C. Combine first four ingredients in medium bowl. Add butter and shortening and rub with fingertips until coarse crumbs form. Mix in buttermilk. Turn dough out onto floured work surface; knead gently until combined, about 20 seconds. Roll out dogh to a thickness of 1/2-inch/1-cm. Cut out biscuits using a 2-inch/5-cm cookie cutter. Gather scraps, reroll and cut out more biscuits. Place on ungreased baking sheet, spacing evenly. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with Honey Butter (below).
Makes 12 biscuits.
- 1/2 cup/125 ml unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp/30 ml honey
Combine and mix thoroughly. Makes 1/2 cup/125 ml
Ingredients that in are in 'bold' print are available from Watkins only the USA.
Ingredients in 'bold' that say 'Watkins' are available in both the USA and Canada.