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Discussion in 'Food and Drink' started by MotoMike, Mar 18, 2015.

  1. MotoMike

    MotoMike Founding Member

    I have a cabinet with spices. I use a lot of seasonings in my cooking, but feel like I'm in rut. Am I missing some standard spices? Maybe something on the different side that will get your attention?

    Here is what I have:
    Garlic, dehydrated, minced, powdered, flaked
    Onion, dried and powered
    cilantro, dried and fresh when its available
    hotish curry
    Sannam Peppers dehydrated
    black pepper
    bay leaves
    celery seed
    fennel seed
    maybe a few that escape me.

    Generally stay away from blends.
    wanting a new taste sensation!!:BF
  2. Lucretia

    Lucretia Founding Member

    Do you get the Penzey's catalog? https://www.penzeys.com/subscription-request/ Penzey's has nice spices, and the catalog has pretty good descriptions (as well as recipes.) Worth getting just to go through and read up on the spices and see if any sound good to you.

    A few to add to your list:

    Green peppercorns
    Smoked paprika
    Ginger (really good if you get it in chunks & grind it fresh)
    Ancho chile
  3. Lucretia

    Lucretia Founding Member

    Oh, and nutmeg! Gotta have nutmeg. Old wive's tale says you need to have a whole one in your house all the time to ensure a happy marriage.
  4. Jim

    Jim Old Curmudgeon Founding Member

  5. zwiefel

    zwiefel Rest in peace brother

    I'm coming from an Indian perspective on this, but additional things I keep handy:

    black salt
    green cardamom
  6. zwiefel

    zwiefel Rest in peace brother

    Would you turn the main course into dessert?!

  7. apicius9

    apicius9 Founding Member

    I like the combination of your and Lucretia's list + the nut meg, of course... That said, I usually don't have the dried herbs at home (except bay leaf) because I prefer them fresh (still dreaming about a little herb garden...) and in most cases the dried ones get stale in my kitchen before I have even used a noticeable amount of them... Same for dried garlic and onion, not sure what I would do with them...

  8. zwiefel

    zwiefel Rest in peace brother

    Only dried I use is thyme. In which case dried is better for some uses, fresh for others.
  9. Lucretia

    Lucretia Founding Member

    I like to rehydrate my dried garlic before I use it--really seems help with the flavor and texture. Not quite as good as fresh, but rehydrated minced garlic isn't bad in a pinch. Orders of magnitude better than the nasty minced stuff in a jar.
  10. Toothpick

    Toothpick #2 since day #1 Founding Member

  11. Two things I would add to your list. They might seem esoteric, but I use them almost all the time, and they are not hard to buy.

    1. Espelette, short for Piment d'Espelette. It's the dried powder of a mild chili pepper...sourced from France. People compare it to Paprika, which I think is a shame. I use it in place of ground black pepper when seasoning proteins before cooking. It doesn't bring any heat - it just amps up the flavor.

    2. Tomato powder. Essentially air dried tomatoes from the summer season dried into a powder. Makes any run of the mill sauce, dressing etc. taste like it was made in the heat of summer. I always use it in my BBQ sauce. Ditto bolognese and other sauces made in the off season.

    Penzey's is great. All the basics are covered. For a little fresher, and for a much broader selection, check out My Spice Sage.
  12. Chile. Man cannot live by cayanne alone. Chipotle is a welcome addition. Ancho, Pasilla, New Mexican, Mulatto and Guajillo will give you some flexibility for composing chili and various sauces. Whole Dried or Ground both work, although the whole seem to have a longer shelf life. I am a big fan of Pendery's in Dallas. -doug
  13. Mrmnms

    Mrmnms Founding Member Gold Contributor

    I use a fair amount of fresh and dried citrus peel. The oils can make a dish.
  14. Wagner the Wehrwolf

    Wagner the Wehrwolf Founding Member

    Well you said no blends but.... I really like using Za'atar. I don't mix my own but buy it.
  15. MotoMike

    MotoMike Founding Member

    Wow. Thanks for all the great input.
    I do get Penzy's catalog, it is where I get my mustard seed, and their dehydrated minced garlic brings a very nice quality as Lucretia says, much better than the canned jarred minced.
    Will now devote some study to what those spices I don't recognize bring and will get an order off. Dried spices of course are a compromise, but living out her in the sticks, where it feels like I'm above the arctic circle in the winter, fresh is a tough option for a wide variety.

    I should have mentioned that I don't do much baking or breads, pastries, cakes, cookies or pies and such.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 19, 2015
  16. MotoMike

    MotoMike Founding Member

    I had to chuckle Zwiefel when I read about asofetida. known by many names but two seemed to be very much at odds. "Food of the Gods" and "Devil's Dung". In any case I'm going to have to try some but I suspect it must be dealt with carefully.

    Is black salt a finishing salt? what does it bring?
  17. MotoMike

    MotoMike Founding Member

    That sounds very intriguing Neal. do you make your own tomato powder? Seems like a spice I might use a lot of. I'll take a look at My Spice Sage.
  18. MotoMike

    MotoMike Founding Member

    Jim I'm guessing that you are talking about making your own corned beef from the briskit? Don't know if I'll be taking that on soon. If you were to start a thread on that, I'd read with bated breath.
  19. MotoMike

    MotoMike Founding Member

    Mike, how do you use them? I like to add a tangyness to some dishes and forgot to mention that I use Balsamic and lemon juice occasionally for that purpose.
  20. MotoMike

    MotoMike Founding Member

    I'm going to need a bigger spice cabinet. thanks again to everyone for your help.

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