“I want people to want to cook every day” says Red Stick Spice Co. owner Anne Milneck. She says it doesn’t matter whether you use crock pots, toaster ovens, rice cookers, or “whatever it takes to get dinner on the table” She and her staff are all cooks and they get it. “We know what a home cooked meal can do. It can really turn around a bad day. I think it helps form bonds between parents and children,” she says.
From the store’s new location in revitalized Mid City Baton Rouge, Anne and the staff at Red Stick connect customers with dozens of spice blends, teas, oil and vinegar infusions, and authentic Louisiana products to help make cooking easier, whether for weeknight or for special occasions. The offerings range from classic Cajun and Creole spice mixes to exotic flavor profiles, like the Aloha Chicken and Fish Rub (a sweet-and-sour gingery mix) and Ras El Hanout (a robust and fragrant Moroccan spice blend). And if the selection gets overwhelming, Anne is there to help.
“When people say ‘I want something that is delicious, but outside the norm,’ we immediately guide them toward our blend Rougaroux,” Anne says. “It’s based on nutritional yeast, which has a cheesy umami flavor, Korean chile paste, [and] toasted cumin. It’s absolutely fascinating, but has a familiar flavor people around here connect with.”
In keeping with its mission to help people eat more, better home-cooked meals, Anne, a LaPlace native and graduate of the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University, offers intimate 12-person classes that cover a range of topics, from knife skills to ones that focus on preparing and freezing dishes for the holidays.
The store also features a tasting bar, where customers can try close to 40 infused olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and avocado oils. Some of the interesting varieties include a Garlic Jalapeño Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, a Blood Orange Avocado Oil, and a Cinnamon Pear Balsamic Vinegar.
“The Cinnamon Pear Balsamic is fascinating because on its own, like in a vinaigrette, it’s delicious,” says Anne. “But if you hit it with some heat and reduce it a little bit, the flavors concentrate even more, and the sweetness of the pear concentrates, so you get this really syrupy glaze when you reduce it a little. That one takes everyone by surprise. They’re not quite prepared for that flavor profile, but gosh, it’s amazing. I have another customer who pours it over vanilla ice cream.”
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 4 small Bartlett pears, peeled, halved, and cored (about 1¾ pounds)*
- 2 (12-ounce) pork tenderloins, trimmed
- 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon ground red pepper
- ⅓ cup Cinnamon Pear Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- Garnish: fresh sage and thyme sprigs
- Preheat oven to 375°. Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add pears, cut side down, and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Remove pears from skillet. Sprinkle pork with salt and peppers. Add to skillet, and cook until browned, about 4 minutes, turning occasionally.
- Place pears, cut side down, and pork to prepared dish; brush with vinegar. Sprinkle pork with sage and thyme. Cut remaining 2 tablespoons butter into small pieces and sprinkle over pork and pears.
- Bake until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of pork registers 145° and pears are tender, about 18 minutes. Lightly cover and let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve with pan juices. Garnish with sage and thyme sprigs, if desired.
Red Stick Spice Co.
660 Jefferson Hwy.