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Favorite Seasoning/Spice Blends

What are your favorite spice/seasoning blends? It can be homemade or purchased (please mention from where). How do you use it?

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  1. Anything by Penzeys Spice - http://www.penzeys.com - but specifically Northwoods Season is one of my favorite blends on chicken breast and oven fries.

    4 Replies
    1. re: chefschmitty

      Yes--I have about 12 Penzeys blends and singular seasoning in my cabinet right now. Love them all. My fave is the Trinidad blend. Spices Etc has many as well. But, I was hoping to go off-the-beaten track a bit with this post. Maybe some homemade combos etc. Or, obscure restaurant blends that are sold, etc.

      1. re: chefschmitty

        YES, Penzey's Northwoods is great, I think it smells even better than it tastes, also good are their herbes de provence, and lots of others, suddenly I'm blanking out...oops.

        1. re: chefschmitty

          I love Penzey's "Barbecue of the Americas" used as a rub on pork or beef, for the grill or the slow cooker. I also like their new Southwest Seasoning and have used it in my spicy remoulade sauce for po'boys and fish tacos.

          I always have on hand Emeril's Rustic Rub, which I make from a recipe I found online. I like it on chicken or pork.

          When I cook shrimp creole or jambalaya, I use a Creole spice mix from Nathalie Dupree's Southern cookbook.

          1. re: elegraph

            Good to know. They sent a free container of the Barbecue of the Americas with my last order which I've yet to try.

        2. I concur with the recommendation of Penzey's. There are just too many blends there to mention.

          I also like Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute. It's a good salt-free seasoning mix that I use to add flavor to homemade soups.

          1. I just got an awfully good herbes de Provence mix from Surfas in Culver City. It was the "Deluxe Blend" that includes lavender, and I got a huge bag for fifteen bucks. Needless to say I filled a small jar and am freezing the rest.

            When I was living in Tennessee I became addicted to Watkin's Cajun Pepper Blend; as this is not available in stores, I would buy it from the Watkins booth at the monthly Nashville flea market. I don't know exactly what I'd use for a substitute now, but I've pretty much moved on to other flavor ranges.

            1. I would like to recommend Jim Baldridge's Secret Seasoning. Can be used as a seasoning, rub, or any other falvoring. It is just a great rub for grilling just about anything. http://www.baldridgeseasoning.com/
              Try it.

              1. This sounds interesting--what's the flavor like?

                1. Dean & Delucca Spice and Herb products are some of the very best. The Greek Oregano and Herbs de Provence are amazing.

                  1. I agree on the Penzey's blends - I've picked up several that I really like.

                    A co-worker went to Spain recently, and brought back what was called piri-piri spice in the little market at which she purchased it. It's wonderful rubbed on chicken and shrimp, and then grilled.

                    What she gave me seems to be a bit different than recipes I've since found for the spice mix (like this one: http://www.recipezaar.com/30002 in that it has dried garlic chips in it instead of garlic powder. It's also not as blazingly spicy hot as how I understand the piri-piri pepper can be (otherwise known as a birdseye chili pepper) - so it was probably made with cayenne?

                    I definitely plan to make some of my own, including the dried garlic chips, when I'm done with what she gave me.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      Oh, a couple of others I forgot I made at home - baharat spice mix and za'atar (both created after I ate at Oleana in Cambridge, MA). I can post recipes tonight if anyone likes.

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        piri-piri is portuguese pepper sc. w/wiskey(suposedelly), garlic and vinegar

                        1. re: guabiroba

                          Isn't that the piri-piri sauce that is made with the spice mix?

                          http://www.portuguese-recipes.com/Pir...

                          1. re: guabiroba

                            yes, Piri-Piri is delicious.
                            i would recommend AGAINST using powdered garlic or dried garlic.
                            when you make the dish, use FRESH garlic.

                        2. My favorite spice blend is the Texas rub from Steven Raichlen's book on marinades, sauces and rubs. I made this mostly as a rub for BBQ brisket but liked it so much I use it on ribs, pulled pork, chicken, just about anything that we smoke or grill.

                          The reason I like it is because it's NOT sweet, has good balance between hot and aromatic spices and just tastes darned good! If anyone is interested I can look up the recipe and post later.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: cheryl_h

                            Please post the recipe. I'm looking for a new bbq rub.

                            1. re: ESNY

                              Raichlen's Lone Star Steak Rub (paraphrased)

                              Ingredients:

                              1/2 cup sea salt
                              1/2 cup coarse black pepper
                              1/4 cup paprika
                              3 Tbs ground chile powder
                              2 Tbs ground cayenne
                              2 Tbs garlic powder
                              1 Tbs ground cumin
                              1 Tbs dried oregano
                              1 Tbs dried thyme

                              That's it. Store in airtight container.

                          2. Tierra Vegetables

                            http://www.tierravegetables.com/

                            make a variety of good seasoning mixes including Harissa. I follow the directions (more or less) to mix it with minced garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil, then rub this on lamb chops and let them sit for an hour or so before grilling. Excellent.

                            1. The only mixes I use are herbes de Provence (bought at a grocery store in France - probably old now) and quatre epices (I make the latter myself) - and curry, I guess is a mix - oh - and some ME mixes that my DH brought back from Jordan for me. But for some reason, they are not something to which generally I gravitate - don't know why.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: MMRuth

                                I have finally gotten into the habit of making almost all my spice mixes in small quantities so they'll stay relatively fresh. It's not very difficult or time-consuming and the mixtures, especially garam masala, ras al hanout and curry powder are so much better. I can also add extra pinches of spices I like such as cumin.

                                There are recipes for curry powder, etc. in almost every big cookbook (Bittman, etc.) and lots of different ones in books by Jaffrey and Sawhney.

                                I like the stalks of Greek oregano I buy in a local deli/spice store. I love the ease of crumbling it directly into salads, etc.

                                I bought my first dukkah from Herbies Spices in Australia, but now make it myself. It's really easy.

                                1. re: MMRuth

                                  Curry is not necessarily a mix. there is a curry leaf, and you can purchase curry as a single spice in some markets.

                                  1. re: MaspethMaven

                                    I guess I was referring to "curry powder", which I thought was always a powder. Never tried curry leaf ... will have to check it out.

                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                      there are jillions of different "curry powders" with each one being best for a specific sort of dish.

                                      there is no one curry powder.

                                      curry leaves, otoh, need to be fresh or refrigerated. i've been told that frozen will also work, but haven't tried that myself.

                                    2. re: MaspethMaven

                                      I grow curry in my herb garden each year and air-dry it for use over the winter. I use it to make a beef marinade consisting of vegetable oil, leftover black coffee, black pepper and crumbled curry. I would not use it in a curry powder, however.

                                  2. I just bought some Mexican Chile Limon seasoning for fruits and vegetables -- it's chile, lemon flavoring and salt. Pretty amazing on some fresh or frozen mango and on popcorn, too!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Chowpatty

                                      maybe similar to this? http://www.tajin.com/en-us/

                                      lime and spice and slat -- delicious on all kinds of juicy fruits, and on chicken...

                                    2. Equal parts garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, sugar - sprinkle on hamburgers, steaks, anything really (sugar seals in the juice). Simple and fantastic.

                                      1. Pennzy's fan here as well.

                                        Chicago for steaks and lamb
                                        Shallot pepper (it has salt as well so be careful) for fish and chicken

                                        1. LindaWhit: Can you post your recipe for baharat spice mix and za'atar and let us know what you were making with the mixes?

                                          Thanks.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: bearzie

                                            Bearzie, didn't see this post until this morning. Will do so tonight from home, and figure out from my MasterCook compilation what I used it on.

                                            1. re: bearzie

                                              Bearzie, here's the link for the baharat spice mix I found and two recipes I have that use it (2nd recipe at the bottom of this post.)

                                              http://www.starchefs.com/features/gri...

                                              (Note - when I made this, I didn't have Aleppo chiles or pepper, so according to my MasterCook notes, I made up something similar using 4 parts sweet paprika, 1 part cayenne pepper, and 1 part ground sumac.

                                              )

                                              For whatever reason, I don't seem to have the za'atar mix in my MasterCook, but I'm pretty sure I found it at the link below - and I think I've read other recipes where the sesame seeds were toasted in a dry pan for a few minutes before combining with the other herbs/spices. (You can get ground sumac at www.penzeys.com.

                                              )

                                              http://www.boston.com/globe/search/st...


                                              * Exported from MasterCook *

                                              Oven-Roasted Middle Eastern Ribs with Apple BBQ Sauce

                                              Recipe By :Linda
                                              Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :4:00
                                              Categories :

                                              Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
                                              -------- ------------ --------------------------------
                                              2 slabs pork loin back ribs

                                              ***Dry Rub - Baharat Spice Mix***
                                              3 Tbsp dried oregano
                                              2 Tbsp freshly ground pepper
                                              2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
                                              2 Tbsp ground nutmeg
                                              2 Tbsp ground cumin
                                              1 Tbsp ground coriander
                                              2 tsp crushed red pepper -- or more to taste

                                              1/2 cup apple cider
                                              2 Tbsp brown sugar

                                              ***BBQ Sauce***
                                              1/2 cup apple cider
                                              1/2 cup applesauce
                                              1/4 cup ketchup
                                              2 Tbsp lemon juice
                                              1/2 tsp cinnamon
                                              1/2 tsp salt
                                              1/2 tsp pepper
                                              1/2 tsp paprika
                                              1/2 tsp garlic powder

                                              If needed to remove the membrane, slide knife under the membrane and
                                              against the end bone to separate the two. With a dry paper towel, grasp
                                              the edge of the thin membrane and pull. The entire membrane should
                                              separate from the rib.

                                              Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Combine spice mix ingredients and mix well.
                                              Apply about 3/4 of the rub mixture onto the front and back sides of ribs.
                                              Gently pat to ensure that rub will adhere. Place ribs meat-side up on a
                                              large piece of foil, bring each end up and fold down tightly, then do the
                                              same to the sides. Place on a baking sheet or broiler pan and bake for
                                              1-1/2 to 2 hours.

                                              Remove ribs from oven. Carefully unfold the foil until you get a small
                                              opening, and pour in 1/2 cup of apple cider. Refold the foil, sealing
                                              tightly, and return to oven for 1 more hour.

                                              Meanwhile, combine ingredients for the BBQ sauce in a small saucepan.
                                              Heat, and let simmer for about 1/2 hour to blend flavors. Remove from
                                              heat.

                                              Remove wrapped ribs from oven. Mix remaining spice rub with 2 Tbsp. of
                                              brown sugar. Remove ribs from foil and apply rest of the spice rub to the
                                              meat side of the ribs. Place uncovered in the oven meat-side up for 30
                                              minutes.

                                              Remove ribs from oven and increase oven temperature to 350 degrees. Brush
                                              finishing glaze on both sides of ribs. Place ribs in oven for 10 minutes,
                                              or until sauce caramelizes.

                                              - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                                              Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 192 Calories; 6g Fat (26.7% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 34g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 11mg Cholesterol; 469mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Fruit; 1 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

                                            2. Kalustyan's has a nice variety of spice mixes as well.
                                              As far as a recent spice I'm into, I really like Szechuan peppercorns. They were banned for a while due to a citrus canker, but now they're back (I think they're sterilized now with mild heat treatment).

                                                1. Silly to say, but I like Emeril's mix. I mainly use it on blackened porkchops. The other mix I use is Spice House "Spicy Curry Powder" and I'm very happy with it also, good for noodles for instance.

                                                  1. Hello -

                                                    I have had good luck with Paul Prudhomme's Magic Seasonings. The blackeend steak magic is very good.

                                                    Also, Stubb's Chile Lime rub is not bad either.
                                                    And I second on Penzey's Northwoods.

                                                    Matt

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Westy

                                                      hmmm, no one has mentioned Spike, or Jamaican Blue Mountain Curry Powder...trying to uncover the hidden gems, has to be many others out there.

                                                    2. Here's one that most of you have never heard of. Dizzy Pig BBQ rubs. Now don't let the name fool you, they are not just for making bbq. The rubs are great on Seafood and Poultry and as a seasoning for Vegatables. Some of the rubs have an Asian influence and all are hand ground with the finest spices. I know I sound like a commercial but I am in no way affiliated with the company. I'm just impressed with their products.
                                                      http://www.dizzypigbbq.com/

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: yankeebbq

                                                        Wow, now this is different! I love it! Which is your fave?

                                                        1. re: Ora

                                                          I haven't tried them all but I really like the Tsunami Spin and the Raging River. I'm looking forward to trying more of them when I run out of these.

                                                      2. Chiquilin yellow pinchos seasoning from the Spanish Table. Great on lamb and chicken.

                                                        1. I use Penzey's quite a bit. I'm a huge fan of their Greek Seasoning, smoked paprika, shallot pepper etc. Another good seasoning that you might not be aware of is Head Country BBQ seasoning from Oklahoma. It makes the best burgers!

                                                          1. Tony Chacheres (pronounces sach er ees) It is a louisiana blend. I have found no seasoning like it that can be used on or in anything. I go through it as fast as plain salt.

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: Becca Porter

                                                              Becca, I picked up some Tony Chachere's seasoning when I was in NOLA a few years ago, and STILL haven't used it. What are your favorite ways? I suspect sprinkling it on shrimp? What else?

                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                Everything. I eat it a few times a week on rice or pasta. Just butter and TC. I use it to season meat before cooking. I use it in place of Essence in all my Emeril recipes. It's great on vegetables.

                                                                Oh, it is really good if you add TC and chopped tasso to grits at the beginning of cooking. Stir in butter at the end.

                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                  We can now get Tony Chachere's seasoning in NH. I use it to gently heat up a recipe that contains tomatoes. In fact, yesterday I added it to a meatloaf recipe from the 70s that only had basic salt, dry mustard and Worcestershire sauce. I also sometimes use it on scrambled eggs/omelet. I was wondering when someone would mention it. To me, if a recipe calls for red pepper/cayenne, use Tony's instead but in a greater amount.

                                                                  1. re: dfrostnh

                                                                    Thanks for the lesson in pronunciation! I always wondered about that.

                                                                    I add it to chicken noodle soup. It is also a very good rub for ribs.

                                                              2. Here are a few more to make at home:

                                                                I love Michael Chiarello's simple fennel seed spice rub, especially for pork. I keep a jar on hand for quick pork chops, and mix it with fresh garlic, rosemary, thyme and a little olive oil for pork roasts. Grated orange rind is also great with this:

                                                                http://www.fineliving.com/fine/napast...

                                                                I also enjoy cooking Indian food at home and grind my own garam masala according to Madhur Jaffrey's recipe from an old cookbook of mine, but I found a link online. This is one of my favorite spice blends ever -- I could wear it behind each ear. Just a sprinkle on any simple meat or vegetable (squeeze fresh lime on cucumber spears, sprinkle with salt and this -- heaven):

                                                                http://www.ivu.org/recipes/indian-chu...

                                                                1. Zatar, available at Middle Eastern food markets. The blends vary (buy a couple!) but often consist of marjoram, sumac, cumin and sesame seeds. I stir it into Greek yogurt with olive oil, cucumbers, scallions and chopped tomatoes, then eat it on pita bread. Divine. Or brush bread with olive oil, sprinkle on the Zatar, and brown in the oven.

                                                                  1. I love Durkee's- Six Pepper Blend. I buy it in bulk at Sams Club. Great for grilling Steak,hamburgers,chicken etc...

                                                                    1. i have really been enjoying a paul prudhomme pork spice recipe that someone posted here. on a nice thick chop.

                                                                      i also really like a halibut sauce recipe that includes red pepper flakes.

                                                                      with both recipes, you can get a hot kick, muted by the meat.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: himbeer

                                                                        I love his Steak Blackening Spice.Salmon Magic is wonderful as well.

                                                                      2. When I have fresh herbs in the garden, a simple salt can be made by putting canning salt or Kosher salt and equal amounts of fresh herb in a blender or food processor. My favorite is simply dill weed and salt. Good on eggs and in soups.

                                                                        1. PENZY'S seasoned salt.
                                                                          i use it along with paprika to roast fava beans.
                                                                          (if you have smoked paprika, to use along with it, that's even better)

                                                                          SPIKE seasoned salt.
                                                                          i use it along with other spices when i make my "cream" sauce by whirling silken tofu in my blender