I recently read that there are FIVE must have spices for any spice rack…that’s right only 5. So, I looked in my kitchen and realized, that just like my clothing closet, I seemed to have amass a huge quantity of items that look FABULOUS on the rack, but are rarely used. The funny thing is, that when I looked at the list of “must-have’s” for the creative cook, I was actually missing one of them.
Not being a “natural” cook (as in, it doesn’t come naturally), I’ve had to learn the less is USUALLY more when it comes to adding spice. They are condiments that are meant to BRING OUT the flavor of foods rather than over-power it.
Here are the top FIVE:
It’s a no brainer right? Just add a pinch of salt! Well, the truth is that there are different types of salt from all over the world. I generally buy a good course sea-salt for cooking. and either put it in a pepper grinder, or more often, I’ll buy the disposable sea-salt grinder that comes filled. If I’m just adding salt to boiling water, I put a pinch of the regular iodized salt in, because it’s less sharp and I don’t want the flavor to distinguish itself.
Mr. S uses a LOT of white pepper, I like black in my cooking. Our solution is to always have a simple black peppercorn grinder handy on the counter and a blend of black, white & red ready to go in the cupboard. Remember that when you grind your own spices as you’re about to use them the flavor is much sharper PLUS the peppercorns stay fresher.
This is the ONE spice of the five that when I searched my cabinet….it was MISSING. Not because I used it up, but because I had never bought any. Since I haven’t (obviously) used curry before I’m going to buy a mild curry to begin with. My dinners are going to explode with MORE flavor now….
I TRIED to grow basil on my deck this year. Unfortunately, Clem LOVES it and started eating the leaves. When I went out to cut some for my caprese salad last week he looked at me sheepishly. I need to find a better spot to keep them. Basil is EASILY grown on a window sill, a porch, or if you’re in the south like I am – year round out doors. Just keep the dog away from them (lesson learned). I find that dried basil loses its flavor rather quickly if you don’t use it often, so check the dates on your jar!
I prefer the course flakes, because I can use them in everything from Italian to Mexican. Mr. S prefers chili powder because he can control the heat a bit better (and I’ll admit that his chili kicks my chili’s butt).
BUT…we all have different “tastes” when it comes to cooking. So, I headed to facebook to find out what spices that YOU can’t live without.
It was interesting
That only ONE person listed any in the top five. Then again I was asking about FAVORITES, rather than MUST HAVE spices.
Here’s what you said
- Chef Jamie Fisher suggests that blackening spice is extremely versatile. My son feels the same way, because he’s made 4 dishes in the past 2 weeks with it.
- Cumin was a favorite of LOTS of you – including two of my fave bloggers Mitch from Gay NYC Dad and Lee of Coupledumb (and I KNOW she’s a great cook).Sunny Chanel can’t live without her Mexican Oregano (I had no idea there was a gdifference)
- I remember my mom would use Chinese Five Spice Powder like my favorite FAB grandma Karen, but I want to hear more about her stir fried chicken, garlic, swiss chard dish she makes!!!
- Paprika has never been my thing, but I’ve never tried smoked paprika like food blogger Robin Gagnon of Blommi does in her vegetarian dishes. Will I REALLY not miss the meat?
- She may be trying to survive on a teacher’s salary, but Crystal Berry Rapinchuk loves her cilantro in rice, burgers, sauces, roasts, etc
- My friend Jana adds rosemary to her Shephard’s Pie (I LOVE rosemary and I’m definitely trying that next time), I’m sure this Merlot Mommy enjoys a glass or two of wine with it as well.
- Lucretia Pruitt can’t cook without garlic. Why am I not surprised that she loves a BOLD flavor?
- Stephanie Bonck is on the basil bandwagon. Here’s what she said: If I could only have one spice, that would have to be basil. I put it in everything. Except oatmeal. HA! I love my basil. I have my own basil plants. Thai Basil, Purple Basil, Cinnamon Basil, and I suppose Regular Basil.
- Brandi Best-Fletcher isn’t monkeying around and she has me on the lookout for >>> Butt Rub. Okay it’s a blend, but seriously we use it in almost everything! That and this awesome fajita seasoning we found.
- There was ONE baker in the bunch – AnnaMarie Dodge who can’t live without her cinnamon. I prefer baking over cooking and I’ll agree with her 100%. Without it, my famous sour cream chocolate chip coffee cake would be dull.
- I need to remember to add just a pinch of red pepper to my chicken soup next time. Thanks for the tip Amanda.
This post is sponsored by Puritans Pride. All opinions are strictly my own.
Now…what spices can’t YOU live without?
Tip: I find both organic and regular spices at Puritan’s Pride. I love that they have BOGO on spices often!