Your favorite penzey's spices
I am placing my first order from Penzey's and am shooting blind. First let me say that I love most spices. What I am looking for are recommendations for spices that really make a difference in your cooking or the ones you can't live without/ put on everything.
I order mostly salt-free blends from penzey's... so I haven't tried some of the blends... but here are my favs.
any of the whole peppercorns
any of the cinnamon
black & red seasoning (black pepper & cayenne)
the tandoori spice is tasty
sunny spain (salt free lemon pepper)
fleur de sel & other sea salts.. all good.
I also like their cocoa powder for baking... haven't tried any of the hot chocolate mixes, etc. but have been curious.
their regular spices & herbs are nice too. we buy the refill bags of the stuff we use the most of. it is quite economical.
enjoy penzey's.. they are great. (though I thought their new magazine was a bit lame... don't order it)
well, I don't know if you've placed your order yet... but they do have "starter" sets. the wedding packs are great... i usually get one for young couples who are starting out.
anyway.. good luck with your penzey's order. you'll love it. and besides, the maintenance re-ordering is a bit easier on the pocket book.
hot curry powder
aleppo pepper (I LOVE the aleppo pepper)
(I love all their spices, but these things really stand out for me)
Well, I don't use spice mixes very often, so I can't give recommendations on those. I just order from Penzey's every time I find I'm running low on regular spices. You should order what you use most in your everyday cooking - their spices are fabulous, and you will definitely notice the difference.
My basic spice list is:
Black pepper (I get the whole Tellicherry, though I liked the Sarawak as well)
Paprika, hot and sweet
Cloves (whole and ground)
Bay leaves (whole)
Cumin, whole and ground
Yellow mustard powder
White pepper (whole)
Cardomom (whole and ground)
Allspice (ground and whole)
I also keep garlic and onion powders only for use in cooking Paul Prudhomme's recipes.
But that's just me. I like to bake, and I love jerk-type seasonings, so I need the sweet spices. I have Mexican oregano, Ancho chiles, and other such, but I don't cook Mexican often, so those aren't necessities for me. They might be for you. I love Eastern European food, so both paprikas are a must. I dislike anise, and so don't often use star anise or seed anise. You get the idea.
If nothing else, get a big bag of great peppercorns. Your cooking will improve immediately.