Thursday, February 21, 2008

10 Must-Haves

I'm admittedly a keeper of many, many seasonings, herbs, and spices. I just might need them some day, although their potency will be long gone by then. :) I do turn to several seasonings time and time again. Here are my top 10 spice cupboard must-haves:

1) Pure Vanilla Extract (I do not use imitation or flavoring and probably never will)
2) Cinnamon (I buy a nice quality cinnamon in bulk - so good!)
3) Chili Powder
4) Cumin
5) Rosemary (I use fresh from my herb garden when it's in season and dried the rest of the year)
6) Sea Salt (or a natural salt - not the box from the store)
7) Peppercorns (I like to fresh grind pretty much all of the pepper in recipes)
8) Italian Seasoning
9) Basil or Lemon Basil (this is a new favorite - I use it fresh whenever possible but keep dried on hand)
10) Dill (I really love this for potatoes and cold salads like chicken salad etc.)

I could add several more like parsley, ginger, nutmeg, oregano, curry, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt... But the above are ones I consistently use. One thing you will not find me using very much (if ever) is anise - I'm just not a fan and never have been. :) Other than that, the sky is pretty much the limit on seasonings!

The right spices really enhance food - I love to throw a little extra in a recipe or add something not listed. You might be suprised by the new flavor - hopefully in a good way! I'll share my top 10 pantry must-haves another time. What do you have to have in your spice cupboard?

Have a wonderful Thursday - this is making me want to cook but alas, we have a meeting tonight at dinner time so no cooking. :( And another change to the ever-changing menu plan - oh well, it's just that, a plan.


Heather L. said...

I have a fair number of herbs and spices in my cupboard,and would like to have a lot more! Have you noticed how expensive these things can get!!! yikes!

However, I was also noticing that despite a full cupboard of spices, it really is just a handful that are used all the time! I am trying to figure out if that is bad, or good. :)

Monica said...

Thanks for sharing your list. I'm pretty boring with the spices and haven't experimented much. That's one of the reasons I enjoy your recipes so much.

You have a great taco seasoning. Do you happen to have a chili seasoning recipe as well? Can't hurt to ask:)

Loraena said...

I am SOOOO with you on this. Can't imagine cooking without my spice collection! I think my favorites are chilli powder, paprica, cumin, and fresh ground peppercorns. Oh and a little nutmeg in anything with cheese or a cream sauce. =)

Mob said...

I like all the ones on your list. I would have to add oregano somewhere in the top ten too. I also use Cayenne pepper pretty often.

Alaina said...

Hey Monica - This is the combo I use for chili:

garlic (fresh - a couple of cloves; powder - maybe 1/2 tsp.)
cayenne pepper (amt. depends on how spicy you want it)
2-3 tsp. chili powder (I use closer to 3)
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp salt
ground pepper (just a little)

Mama10EE said...

Spice cupboard?!? How about the little turny thing that I got as a wedding gift? HAHA, can you tell I am NOT a cook? My go-to spices are oregano, basil, season salt, and garlic powder. But since I don't cook much, I don't experiment with other spices or adding my go-tos to recipes. In a "perfect" world I would have a bigger kitchen with plenty of counter space and TIME to do home cooked meals. Alas, that's just not in my reality. I love reading your recipes and hope one day I'll actually get motivated and try one.

Mama10EE said...

Oh, I forgot to add that I LOVE the Harry Potter books/movies. I am just finishing up book 5 and heading into book 6. Hopefully I can have it done before the 6th movie comes out in November!

Merrilee said...

I have to agree with all of your spices. It's amazing to me what a little powder can do to change the flavor of the food!

EmilyAnne said...

I agree with your picks, too; especially the fresh rosemary and sea salt. I also really like dry mustard (try it in anything with a cheese sauce).

I'm looking for a good recipe for clams/mussels. Any hints?