Mmm… spices. I love to season my food. I’m the kinda gal that likes a shake of this and a shake of that. It’s sometimes hard for me to write out my recipes because I don’t usually measure my seasonings.
Anyway, I thought it would be fun to give you my top 10 list of spices (besides sea salt, because I think that’s a standard given) that I wouldn’t want to run out of in the kitchen! Most if not all of these I use on a weekly basis.
1. Garlic ~ I always have plenty of bulbs of garlic on hand. Everything tastes good with garlic – Italian food, Mexican food, a good steak, in soups, with vegetables… you name it. It’s even good roasted and eaten just by itself. Y to the U to the M!
2. Ground Cumin ~ Being the good Texan that I am, I use a lot of cumin. I use it in my Mexican rice, in taco meat, in beans, or any kind of Mexican food, really. It has a nice smoky flavor but it’s not spicy, so it’s one my kids tolerate well.
3. Peppercorns ~ Don’t ask me why, but fresh ground pepper tastes so much better than the pepper in a shaker. Get a pepper mill. You’ll never look back.
4. Onion Powder ~ I learned to love onion powder as a college student. I’m not a fan of fresh onions, and didn’t like to use them in my cooking. My tastes have matured a little since then, and do use real onions in cooking, but if I want to sneak in a little flavor without having the children balk at the obvious use of onions in a dish, I turn to this little gem.
5. Fresh Basil ~ It’s actually one herb that I seem to be able to grow around here. Amazing. But oh, how I love basil! It tastes so yummy chopped into tomato sauces and I love me some fresh basil pesto! (Recipe coming soon to a Trains and Tutus post near you!)
6. Chili Powder ~ Another spice I use a lot in Mexican dishes. It’s not just for chili!
7. Cinnamon ~ Cinnamon is more commonly used in sweet dishes rather than savory. You use it (wait for it…) in cinnamon rolls, mixed with sugar on cinnamon toast, added to oatmeal, apple dishes, pumpkin pie, cakes, cookies, etc. Even a bowl of cinnamon sticks on the table will make a whole room smell like Grandma’s house.
8. Oregano ~ Another versatile spice I use a lot in soups, Italian food and Mexican food alike.
9. Vanilla ~ Okay, so vanilla is probably not considered a spice – maybe the vanilla bean, but not the extract. It’s a seasoning I’d be hard-pressed to have absent from my kitchen, though, so I figured I could include it. After all, I am the boss of my blog post. I love vanilla. It never bothers me if a little extra spills over my measuring spoon. It’s a staple in all sorts of baked goods, and it’s yummy in homemade milkshakes too. I even use it in my hair rinse (see this post) to give it a pleasing fragrance.
10. Hmm.. what is number 10? I’m not really sure. I have a new-to-me spice – “Ground Chipotle Pepper” that I recently purchased for the first time and L.O.V.E. But could I live in a kitchen without it? Probably. Garlic Powder might be next in line after all the previously mentioned seasonings, but I usually just use real garlic. I also love the “pumpkin pie” type spices – Allspice & Cloves. And I always have Cream of Tartar on hand because I use it when I make Snickerdoodles. There’s also the recently discovered Creole Seasoning (as I wrote about in this post)… I love the way it spices up veggies.
So there it is… my top 10 list (plus a few) of favorite spices for the kitchen. I’d love to hear your feedback. What spices do you cook with the most?