Gypsy World Spice Cafe Blogiversary!

Wow!  I absolutely cannot believe that it has been one year since my first post.  

I can still remember that feeling of publishing my first article,  Seeking Sumac.   It was exciting and scary at the same time.  Putting myself “out there” on the world-wide web…  Would people read my spice articles?  What would they think?  People wonder why I blog (or wonder how I have time to do this)… 

Time?  First and foremost, I am blessed to have supportive family and friends (that enjoy eating what I make).  

I plan the family meals around the spices that I plan to feature.  My sons often write down what I’m doing and help stage the pictures (we’ve gotten better at that…).   I also let them help in some of the decisions…  They love it!  They are very opinionated (hmm… wonder where they get that from? lol). 

I think if you are passionate about something, you make the time.  It might mean you have to get up earlier or stay up later… There is something to be said about how you feel when you achieve your goals.

Why Blog?  I started blogging to learn more.  I’ve learned a lot about designing my blog site and more about spices.  (You may have noticed the new landing page and drop down menus).

This year has been great!   Enjoy!


P.S. Be sure to follow on  Twitter and Facebook.

Gypsy World Spice Cafe – Favorites from the Archives… (Click on the pictures to get to the recipe!)

Paprika Party MixSweet & Savory Vanilla Bean Dip

Homemade MustardZesty Tomato KetchupSlow Cooked Spiked Cranberry Sauce

Herb Focaccia with OnionsBlack Pepper Tortillas

Caribbean Olive ChickenShrimp Penne Vanilla Vodka Sauce

Cardamom Coffee Cupcakes Saffron Frosted Orange Oregano Cupcakes

Chocolate Coated Pumpkin Gingerbread Bon Bons

Spicy Mocha CupcakesSumac Scented Cherry Almond Chocolate BarkMustard Poppyseed Cake with Lemon Glaze

Versatile Vanilla – Vanilla Infused Champagne Vinegar (Plus Bonus Recipe for Vanilla Champagne Vinaigrette)

Continuing on the Versatile Vanilla Voyage….

Lately, I have been into infusing vinegar with herbs and spices. 

Below are the steps on how you can make a vanilla infused vinegar.  Keep in mind that it does take a few weeks …so patience is key to success with this recipe. 

The results are worth it!

There is a bonus recipe below for a simple Vanilla Vinaigrette. 



P.S.  If you are look ing for other ideas on how to use Vanilla, check out some “Vanilla Recipe Finds” on the Gypsy World Spice Cafe Facebook Page  Please visit and remember to “like” while you are there.

Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Vanilla Infused Champagne Vinegar

Yield:  16 ounces

Ingredient List:

  • 1 Pint Size Mason Jar (16 oz)
  • 1 Vanilla Bean
  • 16 oz Champagne Vinegar


  • Time
  • Patience
  • Sunny Shelf


  1. Carefully split the Vanilla Bean with knife or kitchen scissors.
  2. Place Vanilla Bean in mason jar.
  3. Fill with Champagne Vinegar.
  4. Place cover on tightly.
  5. Place mason jar on a sunny shelf.
  6. Wait 3 weeks.  Give jar a soft shake every few days.
  7. Transfer to a nice vinegar dispenser (optional).

Blogger Comments:  I use vinegar on salads, in marinades, to deglaze pans, in vegetable saute’s and as a secret ingredient when I think a dish needs a little kick…  We tried this on berries and it was really good.

Gypsy World Spice Cafe – Bonus Recipe – Vanilla Champagne Vinaigrette

Yield:  8 oz


  • 1/4 cup Vanilla Infused Champagne  Vinegar
  • 3/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon rubbed Sage
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  1. Add all ingredients to a jar.
  2. Put the lid on the jar and give a good shake


Versatile Vanilla – Very Vanilla Shortcakes (Plus Bonus Recipe for Very Vanilla Dessert Pancakes)

Continuing on the Versatile Vanilla Voyage….

Today’s Vanilla post features a dessert recipe… There are many Vanilla dessert recipes that come to mind.

 Custards…Cake…Cookies…Ice Cream… The list is long…

I was inspired by a new kitchen gadget that my Mom recently gave me.  We went to visit her and she pulled it out…laughing…because she had meant to give it to me as one of my Christmas gifts…

What was it? None other than a Xpress Redi Set Go*… I was inspired by one of the recipes that came with this gadget for a “Cookizza”.   I adapted it and below is my take on the “Cookizza” to feature Vanilla.  (there is a bonus recipe below for those that do not have this appliance).   

Thanks for the cool gift Mom!



*Please Note: this is not a product endorsement or recommendation…

Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Very Vanilla Shortcakes

Servings: 8 (makes 2 shortcakes, each serves 4)

6 tablespoons lite butter, softened
1/3 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
1-1/3 cup Baking Mix (I used Bisquick)
1 egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Vanilla Powder

  • Spray appliance with cooking spray and pre-heat using manufacturer instructions.
  •  Mix together all the ingredients with a spatula.

  •  Spread 1/2 mixture into base.

  • Close and bake for 5 minutes.

  •  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

  • Repeat steps 3-5 for remaining batter.
  •  Cut each shortcake into 4 wedges.
  • Top with Vanilla Ice Cream, Caramel Sauce and Sprinkles.

Blogger’s Comments:

I served it up with Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce. You can top with whatever you like. Whipped Cream and Berries with Vanilla Sugar would be really good too…

Since some people may not have this nifty appliance, we used the other half of the recipe to make Dessert Pancakes… See the the bonus recipe and pictures below…  The topping options are endless…

I will be making peach cobbler soon and plan to use this as the topping and bake it.  Another fun option would be to use the batter to make mini-muffins.   This recipe is not only Very Vanilla … it is Very Versatile…


Gypsy World Spice Cafe – Bonus Recipe – Very Vanilla Dessert Pancakes

Servings: 10 Dessert Pancakes (1 pancake per person)

One Batch Very Vanilla Shortcake Batter

  • Heat griddle and spray with butter flavored cooking spray.
  • Drop batter onto griddle by tablespoon.

  • Cook like you would pancakes.

  • Top with your favorite dessert toppings.

Versatile Vanilla – Shrimp Penne with Vanilla Bean Vodka Sauce

Continuing on the Versatile Vanilla Voyage…

When buying Vanilla beans, you want to make sure that the Vanilla bean is dark brown (almost black), flexible and very aromatic.    When buying Vanilla extract, be sure to examine the ingredient list to make sure that what you are paying for is only flavored with Vanilla and not with artificial flavors.

Today’s Versatile Vanilla post features a recipe for an entrée.  Below is my take on Shrimp Penne with Vodka Sauce… I added a Vanilla Bean (minus the seeds) that I reserved from my previous Versatile Vanilla post.  The Vanilla really took it up a notch.    

My picky eater loved this dish!





Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Shrimp Penne with Vanilla Bean Vodka Sauce

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 medium Onion, sliced thin
2-3 Garlic Cloves, minced (depending on your taste)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried Oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried Thyme
2-3 tablespoons fresh Basil, chopped  (plus more to garnish)
2 cups prepared Marinara Sauce 
1/2 cup Vodka
1 Vanilla Bean, split (with or without seeds)
1/2 Cup Fat Free Half & Half
2 lbs medium Shrimp, Peeled and Deveined
1 lb Penne Pasta, cooked (drain and keep warm)
Salt & Pepper

  • Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan.
  • Cook onion for 3-4 minutes.  Add garlic, oregano, thyme and basil.  Cook for 1 minute.  

  • Stir in marinara sauce and Vanilla Bean and cook for 5 minutes. 

  • Remove pan from heat and stir in Vodka.
  • Place pan back on heat and stir in Half & Half.  Bring to a simmer and add shrimp.  

  •  Cook shrimp until opaque (about 2-3 minutes).  Season with salt & pepper.
  • Add your pasta to your Vanilla Vodka Sauce.  Stir to coat.  Plate or serve family style.

Sweet & Savory Vanilla Bean Dip

Versatile Vanilla – Spiced Sweet & Savory Vanilla Bean Dip

Who doesn’t like vanilla? Vanilla has a classic, unique flavor and an enticing aroma that is both relaxing and comforting. It is no surprise that this spice is widely used as an ingredient for baking, in perfumes as well as for aromatherapy.

Vanilla is a member of the orchid family. There are over 100 varieties of Vanilla. The pods that grow on the Vanilla flowers grow in clusters and are known as beans or pods.

Vanilla was actually discovered during the early 16th century in Mexico by the Spanish explorers. Mexico was the main producer of Vanilla until mid 19th century. Nowadays, Madagascar produces most of the world’s Vanilla.

The harvesting of Vanilla beans is very labor intensive which is why Vanilla is the second most expensive spice (saffron being the most expensive). It is purchased in several ways: Vanilla Beans; Vanilla Extract, Vanilla Paste and Vanilla Powder. Luckily, Vanilla beans can be stored in an airtight container for up to 18 months.

Vanilla beans do not have any aroma or flavor when they are freshly picked. The flavor/aroma develops during the curing process. The Vanilla bean is filled with lots of seeds. But do not limit the flavor to just the seeds…the bean/pod can be used to add flavor too.

When most cook with Vanilla, they add it to recipes for sweet dishes. For my appetizer post, I definitely wanted to think outside the box and create a savory recipe which demonstrated Vanilla’s versatility. It was not at easy as I thought it would be. I spend a lot of time thinking. I love to think… Then it hit me… I decided on a creamy vanilla bean dip using white beans as the base…. The result was a big hit…

What is your favorite way to use Vanilla? Let us know!



P.S. Look for more Versatile Vanilla recipe posts later this week.

Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Spiced Sweet & Savory Vanilla Bean Dip

1 cup dried Cannellini Beans
2 tablespoons Honey
Juice of 1 Lemon
Seeds from Vanilla Bean (reserve pod for another recipe/use)
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Powder
Pinch ground Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground Coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground Cardamom
3/4 teaspoon dried Marjoram
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
6 oz. Greek Yogurt
Salt & Pepper

  • In a medium saucepan, add dried Cannellini beans and cover with water. Cover and soak overnight. Next day, bring contents to a boil and them simmer for 1 hour. Drain (reserving bean fluid) and set aside to cool.Add cooled beans along with eight ingredients to a food processor. Process until smooth.

  • Add reserved bean fluid as needed to get the smooth consistency. (I added about 2-3 tablespoons). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  • Transfer bean mixture to a small bowl and fold in the Greek yogurt. Chill in the refrigerator to allow flavors to marry.

  • Serve with crackers, bread, apple slices or veggies.

Variations: If you prefer to use can beans, substitute 1 can of Cannellini beans. Drain ( reserving bean liquid) them rinse before using. If you want, you can also try adding a bit of mint or some cayenne pepper to take it up a notch.

More With Mustard – Dessert Recipe for Lemon Glazed Mustard Spiced Poppyseed Cake

Continuing on with the Mustard spiced menu theme, below you will find a dessert recipe that features the spice Mustard.

Yes…I found a way to incorporate the spice Mustard into a dessert recipe.

When dried Mustard is baked, it takes on a very pleasant background flavor that is not sharp.  So, I decided to make a poppyseed cake with lemon glaze (and added dried mustard to the batter to give it that “special something”).

I was very pleased with the results.  You can detect a nice flavor in the backdrop….most would never guess that dried Mustard was the secret ingredient.  For this recipe, I decided to doctor up a few store-bought ingredients for convenience….

My cake tasters gave this recipe a “two thumbs up”.

I love to do the unexpected with a spice.   We often buy spices for a recipe and then it sits in the spice cabinet unused.  Most spices only have a shelf life of 6 months.  So, make the most of them!  At the bottom of the article, I’ve included some interesting spice information about Mustard.



Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Lemon Glazed Mustard Spiced Poppyseed Cake

I box Yellow Butter Cake Mix
1-1/4 cups Water or Milk
1 stick Butter, softened
3 Eggs
2 teaspoons dried Mustard
1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract
1/2 teaspoon Coconut Extract
2 tablespoons Poppyseeds
1/2 container Vanilla Frosting.
Zest of 1/2 lemon, finely chopped
Juice from half of lemon

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2.  Grease and flour a bundt pan; set aside.
  3.  Place cake mix, butter, water and eggs in a large mixing bowls.
  4.  Beat on low for 30 seconds. Adjust speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes.
  5.  Pour into prepared bundt pan.
  6.  Bake for 45-50 minutes (or until cake tester comes out clean).
  7.  Cool completely. Remove from pan.
  8.  Place frosting in a small microwavable bowl. Microwave for 15-30 seconds (or until a glaze consistency).   Stir in lemon zest and lemon juice.
  9. Drizzle over cake

Interesting Tidbits about the spice Mustard:

Researching Mustard, I was surprised to learn that Mustard seeds are a great source for omega-3 fatty acids.  There is also interesting information out there on research that has been done on Mustard seed’s potential anti-cancer effects.  Mustard seeds were traditionally used as an anti-inflammatory.  People used Mustard seeds to alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and asthma, and migraine headaches.

Note: Home remedies should not be tried without consulting the physician.

More With Mustard – Appetizer Recipe for Spiced Raspberry Dip

More with mustard…..

As promised here is another recipe featuring the spice Mustard.

Below is a simple appetizer recipe that is very versatile.  It is great for dipping pretzels and also pairs well with warm gooey brie.  I just may have to see how it tastes with my morning waffle (perhaps with Nutella… hmmm).

Definitely one for your entertaining repertoire….





Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Spiced Raspberry Dip

1 jar Raspberry Fruit Spread (10 oz.)
1 teaspoon Dried Mustard
1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
Pinch coarsely ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Flour
1 teaspoon Water

  • Combine flour and water in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Combine first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat.


  • Stir until smooth.
  • Add flour mixture to the raspberry mixture.

  • Bring to a boil, stirring constantly for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  • Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.
  • Serve Spiced Raspberry Dip with Pretzels


Alternate Serving Suggestion

  • Remove top of Brie.
  • Warm Brie for 30-45 Seconds in the Microwave.
  • Top with Spiced Raspberry Dip.
  • Serve with Pretzels, Crostini or Crackers.

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo – Homemade Black Pepper Tortillas

Tortillas are very versatile…  They are great with appetizers, main dishes and desserts.  They bring back childhood memories because when I was little my Titi (endearment for Tia) used to make them for us as an afternoon snack.  I remember feeling especially lucky (and proud) when she made them for my third grade class who had never tasted tortillas.   By the way, there were 42 kids in my third grade class.  Wow!  That was definitely a labor of love…. 

This week was my first attempt at making tortillas.  Inspired by this childhood memory, my sons and I worked together on this article.  They really got into rolling the dough.  We were very excited when one of the tortillas ended up in the shape of a heart.  We took pictures as we went along to share. 

We decided to put a dessert twist on tortillas and peppercorns.  So, for the feature picture of this article, we took a homemade black pepper tortilla and used a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out 3 hearts.   We then made a little napoleon dessert by layering the  tortilla with Nutella and Strawberry Preserves.  The flavor combination rocked!  You definitely have to try it.  For more information on Peppercorns, check out my post in the archives,



P.S. Sending Special Birthday Wishes to my sister, Desiree.  Love Ya!




Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Homemade Black Pepper Tortillas

Yields:  12 tortillas


3 cups Flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough

1-2 teaspoons Salt (depending on your taste)

2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1 tablespoon coarsley ground Black Pepper

3/4  cup Hot Water

3/4 cup Shortening


  • Measure your flour, salt, black pepper and baking powder into a bowl and set aside.  
  • Add the shortening to the flour mixture.  Using a pastry cutter, cut the shortening until the mixture has consistency of meal (crumbly).



    • Add hot water to flour mixture.  Use a spatula to combine the ingredients into a ball (until the dough does not stick to the sides of your bowl).  Note:  You may have to add a few tablepoons of flour. 
    • Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and let rest for 1 hour.
    • Divide the ball into 12 smaller balls.  Cover with a clean dish towel.

  • Using a rolling pin, roll each ball into to be about 1/8 inch thick.  


  • Place tortilla on a hot skillet.  Cook for 1-2 minutes on first side.   It will start to bubble which is a sign to flip it. 
  • Cook for another 1-2 minutes on the other side.


*Variation:  Instead of black pepper, try your favorite blend of Herbs.  We made a variation by swapping out the coarsley ground black pepper with with 2 tablespoons of our “house blend”.  You might want to try Italian Seasoning or Herbs de Provence…


Assembling the Black Pepper Napoleon:

Using a cookie cutter, cut out 3 shapes from a black pepper tortilla.  Spread some Nutella and Strawberry Preserves onto the first tortilla.  Top with the second tortilla.  Repeat.   Garnish with whipped cream and mini-chocolate chips.


Slow Cooker Paprika Chicken with Mushrooms

Lately, like many, our family has been involved in Spring Sports.  So, I have been pulling out the slow cooker a little more…

The slow cooker is definitely a “must have” appliance for your kitchen….especially if you are a working Mom like me. 

Most slow cooker recipes are easy and it is a great feeling to come home and dinner is done .  I like to take advantage of the slow cooker doing all the work.  So, I double the recipe… then freeze half for another meal.

Below is a recipe for a simple slow cooker chicken dish which highlight the spice Paprika.   It is flavorful and I usually serve it with rice or pasta and a vegetable.  For my family of 4, it is enough for two dinners.




Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Slow Cooker Paprika Chicken with Mushrooms

4 lbs boneless, skinless Chicken Breast halves

1/4 cup Lemon Juice

1/4 teaspoon Sweet Paprika

1/2 teaspoon Hot Paprika

10-3/4 oz. can Fat-Free Cream of Mushroom Soup

10-3/4 oz. can Fat-Free Cream of Chicken Soup

1/3 cup White Wine (or chicken stock)

8 oz. sliced Baby Bella Mushrooms

grated Parmesan Cheese

salt & pepper

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the lemon juice, sweet paprika, hot paprika, salt & pepper (to taste).
  2. Add the cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup and white wine.
  3. Stir to combine.
  4. Spray the slow cooker with cooking spray.
  5. Place the chicken in the slow cooker and pour the soup mixture over the chicken.  Use a spatula to toss the chicken in the soup mixture.
  6. Top with the mushrooms and parmesan cheese.
  7. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.  Adjust the seasoning.
  8. Serve with rice or pasta and a veggie.



If you love artichokes and spinach together, add a can of artichokes, drained/rinsed/quartered along with one 10 oz. package of chopped spinach (thawed out). 

Gypsy Spiced Frittata

Recently, I have become a huge fan of making frittatas.

Not only is the technique easy, you can easily swap out the veggies for whatever flavors you like.  

It starts on the stove top and finishes off under the broiler.  

I like to top the frittata with a small amount of cheese for flavor, texture and color.  I love how it browns under the broiler!

Serve with a nice salad and you are set for a nice brunch or dinner entrée.




 Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Gypsy Spiced Frittata

Yield:  4-6 Servings

8 Eggs
1 teaspoon of your favorite herb blend ( I use my own custom blend)
1/2 cup Onion, chopped
1/4 cup Pancetta, chopped
2 small Red-skinned Potatoes, quartered and thinly sliced
1 clove Garlic, minced
4 cups Baby Spinach
4 oz. Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced
3/4-1 teaspoon Hot Paprika (depending on level of heat you like)
Salt & Pepper
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Butter
1/8 cup shredded part-skim Mozzarella

  1. Add eggs, herb blend, salt and pepper to a large bowl.
  2. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
  3. Heat oven broiler to high.
  4. In a large frying pan (that is oven-proof), melt butter with olive oil over medium-high heat.
  5. Sauté pancetta, potatoes, and onions until veggies tender (about 5 minutes).
  6. Add garlic, mushrooms, and spinach. Cook another 3-5 minutes until spinach has wilted. 
  7. Season to taste salt, pepper and hot paprika.
  8. Pour egg mixture onto veggie mixture.
  9. Reduce heat to low and cook until edges or pan are firm (3-4 minutes). 
  10. Sprinkle with mozzarella.
  11. Place under the broiler for 3 minutes or until eggs are set and cheese is melted (and lightly browned).


Creative Cooking with Cilantro: Day 4 – Coconut Cilantro Cupcakes with Lime Buttercream Frosting

This week, I have been posting the recipes from our Cilantro themed Sunday dinner.

Below is the recipe for the dessert from our family meal…

Yes…I found a way to make a dessert using Cilantro and it was amazing.

Even the picky eater in my family loved it. That alone says it all!

I hope that this Cilantro series opens your taste buds and imagination so that you too can come up with some creative ways to cook with Cilantro. It is more than “just for salsa”…




Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Coconut Cilantro Cupcakes with Lime Buttercream Frosting

1 box Pound Cake Mix (I used Betty Crocker)
3/4 cup Milk
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup Sweetened Flaked Coconut
1/4 Cilantro, finely chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line cupcake pan with paper cupcake liners.
  3. Add cake mix, milk, eggs, cinnamon and vanilla to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Mix on low for 30 seconds.
  5. Increase mixer speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes.
  6. Fold in coconut and cilantro.
  7. Fill each cupcake liner halfway.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes (or until cake tester comes out clean).
  9. Remove from baking pan and cool on a wire rack.
  10. Frost with Lime Buttercream Frosting (see recipe listed below).
  11. Top with coconut or candies.


Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Lime Buttercream Frosting

1-3/4 cups Confectioners Sugar
1/4 cup Butter, softened
Zest of 1 Lime, finely chopped
Juice from 1 Lime
1-2 tablespoons Milk (as needed)

  1. In a medium bowl, combine confectioners sugar, butter, milk, lime zest and juice with a mixer.
  2. Beat for 1-2 minutes until very creamy.
  3. Add milk a tablespoon at a time to get the consistency you like.

Creative Cooking with Cilantro: Day 2 – Spiced Cilantro Rice

This week our family Sunday dinner took on a Cilantro theme.  As promised, I will continue posting the recipes from our Sunday dinner throughout the week along with more interesting tidbits about Cilantro. 

Below is recipe for the side dish from our Cilantro themed Sunday dinner…Spiced Cilantro Rice (that I served with the Cilantro Lime Shrimp recipe which I posted yesterday

Cilantro (also known as coriander) is a herb that is not only flavorful … it is loaded with health benefits.  

  • Cilantro is known to aid in digestion.
  • Cilantro is known to stimulate appetite. 
  • Cilantro is used to prevent nausea.
  • Some use Cilantro in a paste to alleviate painful joints.

Note: Home remedies should not be tried without consulting the physician.

What will you be making with Cilantro?




Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Spiced Cilantro Rice

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

1 tablespoon Butter

1 Shallot, finely minced

2 Garlic cloves, finely minced

1 teaspoon Cumin

good pinch of Saffron (about 1/2 teaspoon)

1 1/2 cups Brown Rice

4  cups Chicken Stock

1 Cinnamon Stick (3 inch)

1/4-1/2 cup chopped Cilantro (depending on your taste)

Salt & Pepper

  1. In a heavy saucepan, melt butter with olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add shallots and cook until softened about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook 2-3 minutes longer.
  4. Add the cumin and saffron.  Stir for 1 minute.
  5. Add the brown rice.  Stir for 1 minute.
  6. Add the chicken stock and cinnamon stick.
  7. Bring to a boil (over high heat).
  8. Reduce to low.  Cover  and simmer until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender (about 40 minutes).
  9. Stir in cilantro.  Adjust seasoning (salt & pepper) to taste.
  10. Fluff with a fork and serve.