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What are your favorite spices

RiJaAr Nov 14, 2006 03:39 AM

I was wondering, what are your favorite spices and how do you use them? i have an addiction to herbs and spices, and yet there are so many that i don't really know what to do with

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  1. Emme RE: RiJaAr Nov 14, 2006 03:51 AM

    I love using tarragon with seared scallops... Sear scallops in a mixture of butter and olive oil. Add a little lemon juice, tarragon, S & P, and a little cream at the end. Simple yes tasty especially served with asparagus spears.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Emme
      RiJaAr RE: Emme Nov 14, 2006 04:00 AM

      my mouth is watering...

      1. re: Emme
        Leslie RE: Emme Dec 8, 2006 09:27 PM

        I Like almost every spice except for tarragon. I threw out my small jar of it and ripped out out of my garden so that I wouldn't be tempted to put in just a little, if recipe called for it.

      2. yayadave RE: RiJaAr Nov 14, 2006 04:15 AM

        Lately I've been finding uses for Penzeys Herbes de Provence with chicken. We used it a while ago when we made pot pies, and last week I added it to a gravy I made with left over chicken for biscuits and chicken gravy. It's also good on beer can chicken.

        Come to think of it, I also used some jerk seasoning on beer can chicken.

        I added some of Penzys Italian Season to sauce and salads.

        Check them on the web and you'll get a catalog with your first order, no doubt. One good thing is that you can buy small quantities of things your not sure about or won't use much of.

        1. Will Owen RE: RiJaAr Nov 14, 2006 05:30 AM

          I went crazy with rosemary for a few years, but I'm all better now. Garlic...garlic is treated around here almost more as a vegetable than as a seasoning. Thyme and oregano are staples; basil is too, but only in season and used fresh. I got a big jar of dried herbes de Provence from Surfas, and I use that as an addition to the oil-and-salt marinades that I whip up for meat, fowl and fish; it's good with lamb, pork, chicken and mahi-mahi, and we liked it with some ahi tuna as well. That's another one that can be overdone if you don't watch it, though. Cumin is kind of menacing, like someone with a brutal streak he keeps mostly hidden, so I use it with caution, but it's the soul of some Cuban dishes.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Will Owen
            soupkitten RE: Will Owen Nov 14, 2006 05:57 PM

            hey i love cumin-- tempered with cardamom & cinnamon in moroccan cooking, in regional mexican, west indian, east indian regional, and of course cuban. give cumin a chance!

            lately i am adoring fresh jamaican allspice, & powdered chipoltle-- in anything stewed or slow-cooked.

            let's not forget the subtle power of the good, ol fashioned bay leaf!
            tarragon in cream sauce, simple, classic, good
            lavender & lemon peel or lavender & cracked pepper
            truffles buried in good sea salt

          2. m
            MakingSense RE: RiJaAr Nov 14, 2006 06:15 AM

            Flat leaf Italian parsley is the sine qua non.
            I could make do with salt, pepper, parsley, olive oil and lemon...

            1. pitu RE: RiJaAr Nov 14, 2006 03:29 PM

              I have a little thing going with star anise, and Chinese Five Spice powder (that contains star anise)
              Five Spice into the coating of fried chicken, star anise into pork brines for a lovely undertone flavor...

              I am learning to love cumin in moderation - burned out on it early due to bad cooks!

              Meet cardamon by throwing a few pods in the cooking pot with white rice . . .

              2 Replies
              1. re: pitu
                Chris Rising RE: pitu Nov 16, 2006 09:38 PM

                I had the most delicious cardamon ice cream last night... yum

                1. re: pitu
                  sillyrabbit RE: pitu Dec 9, 2006 07:38 AM

                  You might want to order the Kettle Chips party pack so you can try their potential new flavor: Five Spice potato chips.

                  Check out www.passporttoflavor.com

                  (Besides being tasty, it was a lot of fun to experiment! I preferred Royal Indian Curry but most at my work liked Five Spice better.)

                2. s
                  swsidejim RE: RiJaAr Nov 14, 2006 03:31 PM

                  fresh rosemary... i love this stuff on a pork roast/chops, and potatoes. . .

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: swsidejim
                    yayadave RE: swsidejim Nov 14, 2006 04:02 PM

                    ...and veal stew and rice...

                    1. re: yayadave
                      swsidejim RE: yayadave Nov 14, 2006 04:03 PM

                      yes, excellent suggestions. I just love how rosemary smells when being roasted/cooked.

                      1. re: swsidejim
                        RiJaAr RE: swsidejim Nov 14, 2006 04:09 PM

                        i will have to start growing my own herbs i think, fresh ones are so hard to get here, espescially in winter

                        1. re: RiJaAr
                          pitu RE: RiJaAr Nov 14, 2006 04:31 PM

                          yes, you must!
                          even when I can get them at the grocer, the quantity is wrong and they go to waste. also having them at home, always ready and fresh, encourages you to cook with them all the time.

                          thai basil is the best thing under my growlight

                          1. re: pitu
                            RiJaAr RE: pitu Nov 14, 2006 04:35 PM

                            i keep meaning to do it, maybe put them in pots on my kitchen windowsill, can never decide which to grow tho, i don't have a lot of room

                            1. re: RiJaAr
                              coll RE: RiJaAr Dec 9, 2006 09:55 AM

                              This summer I grew lemon verbena for the first time, I think I used it more than the basil! Tastes like lemon and also has holistic qualities I hear. I brought it in for the winter, but it's deciduous and is loosing its leaves right now, but I pick them all up and put in a paper bag, can't wait til the spring for it to grow again. Also for the first time, chocolate mint, so good (especially in Mojitos!) I miss summer already. Wish I had a windowsill that got LOTS of sunlight.

                  2. ipsedixit RE: RiJaAr Nov 14, 2006 05:28 PM

                    Salt - in baking, esp. anything with chocolate.

                    Star anise - for any type of stews or braised dishes.

                    Cinnamon - on almost any dessert.

                    Nutmeg - see cinnamon (above).

                    1. chef chicklet RE: RiJaAr Nov 14, 2006 05:51 PM


                      Herbs de provence & Thyme especially on chicken and dumplings!
                      sea salts - french, and the napa style red hawaiian for seafood
                      smoked paprika - la chinata - chicken paprikash
                      Dry mogo - use it in fajitas,tacos and the mexican meat marinades
                      red pepper flakes - just about everywhere- italian dishes
                      mexican oregano- vegetables, pizza, italian, mexican red sauce
                      cumin- blackeyed peas, chili,, green chiie stew, chili colorado
                      star anise-korean ribs,chinese dishes
                      nutmeg- white sauces, alfredo,
                      For more flavorings, lemons, limes, lots of garlic, white onions, and capers

                      1. w
                        Wanda Fuca RE: RiJaAr Nov 14, 2006 05:56 PM

                        I made quatre epices a few months ago for a chicken liver mousse recipe. I find myself adding it to lots of stuff. I also use a boat load of Togarashi. OK those are the odd ones... but I am an italian blended herb fiend. Got a giant container at Costco and it won't be going to waste.

                        1. s
                          soupkitten RE: RiJaAr Nov 14, 2006 06:00 PM

                          sorry, confused by the op-- is RiJaAr asking about just spices or herbs AND spices both?

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: soupkitten
                            RiJaAr RE: soupkitten Nov 15, 2006 12:24 AM

                            herbs and spices and seasonings of any kind.. what do you flavor your dishes with?

                            1. re: RiJaAr
                              soupkitten RE: RiJaAr Nov 16, 2006 05:42 PM

                              A-HA! Thanks--

                              i posted above my love of cumin and dried powdered chipoltle, but as long as we are opening the thread to seasonings of any kind id like to mention organic citrus zest in sauces & rosewater in baking.

                          2. cayjohan RE: RiJaAr Nov 14, 2006 11:00 PM

                            Not sure (see soupkitten's post) if this is technically an herb or a spice, but saffron would have to be one of my number one picks. It's very versatile, from shellfish bisque to paella to poultry hash, and very easy to store for whenever you need a pinch. Be sure to crush it and let it bloom in a bit of hot/warm liquid before adding it to your dish.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: cayjohan
                              Wanda Fuca RE: cayjohan Nov 14, 2006 11:24 PM

                              Yeah, Saffron... Whenever something is missing, it usually is saffron.

                            2. katiepie RE: RiJaAr Nov 15, 2006 12:12 AM

                              I love Old Bay Seasoning... especially on potatoes and chicken...it's one of my "secrets!"

                              1. emily RE: RiJaAr Nov 15, 2006 12:28 AM

                                Nutmeg. Recently I've been blending together freshly squeezed orange juice, homemade yogurt, ice, a bit of sugar and nutmeg. Really tasty and refreshing.

                                1. c
                                  cooknKate RE: RiJaAr Nov 15, 2006 12:51 PM

                                  I have been experimenting with Indian cuisine lately so I have lots of aromatic spices in the cupboard, due in part to a well-stocked bulk spice section of thenatural foods store close by. I have cardamom pods, fenygreeks seeds and a superbly fragrant garam masala. Every time I open my spice cabinet it almost overpowers me.

                                  1. a
                                    andlulu RE: RiJaAr Nov 15, 2006 02:50 PM

                                    Newest favorite is Cumin. Make a wonderful pork rub of olive oil,fresh garlic, cumin & coriander.

                                    1. h
                                      Hunicsz RE: RiJaAr Nov 16, 2006 06:21 PM

                                      I'm currently having a rather passionate affair with sumac. I've always liked it, but now that I'm pregnant (just over 2 months) I can't get enough of the stuff. The whole savory-sour-tangy-slightly funky thing is really doing it for me right now. And, it's so pretty! I love a little dark purple sprinkling on eggs.

                                      How I'm using it. . .
                                      On eggs (as mentioned)
                                      Always on salads
                                      roasted meats (made a delicious sumac rubbed flank steak with a pomegranite reduction from epicurious)

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Hunicsz
                                        sillyrabbit RE: Hunicsz Nov 28, 2006 02:47 AM

                                        Ever had za'atar bread? It's round, pillowy Arabic bread brushed with olive oil, with za'atar (sumac and sesame seeds) lavished on top. It's SO GOOD with eggs, and with lebne (thick, tangy yogurt-like cheese).


                                        1. re: sillyrabbit
                                          maestra RE: sillyrabbit Dec 9, 2006 04:01 AM

                                          I often cut pita into wedges, brush with olive oil, sprinkle liberally with za'tar, and bake until crisp. Result: a healthier, tastier pita chips for hummus and dips.
                                          Doesn't za'tar have thyme too? Or is that just some mixtures?

                                          1. re: maestra
                                            sillyrabbit RE: maestra Dec 9, 2006 07:34 AM

                                            Yes, it usually has thyme but some mixtures use savory. Good stuff!

                                      2. potterstreet RE: RiJaAr Nov 16, 2006 09:44 PM

                                        bay leaf, herbes de provence, thyme.

                                        tarragon in my vinaigrette - yum.

                                        1. h
                                          HillJ RE: RiJaAr Nov 16, 2006 09:55 PM

                                          Dill, fresh cilantro, basil (fresh or dried), fresh ground nutmeg, cloves, black pepper, paprika, rosemary...heck I love 'em all :)

                                          1. a
                                            ali patts RE: RiJaAr Nov 17, 2006 04:47 PM

                                            I was busy thinking cumin, ground/whole/toasted or not, then it occurred to me reading the responses above, it's got to be pepper. Plain black pepper. (Or if someone were to take that away Szechwan - or however it is spelt!) It is something that cannot truly be replaced or omitted (in my eyes) and something that until reading this I had completely taken for granted.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: ali patts
                                              sel RE: ali patts Nov 17, 2006 05:55 PM

                                              Sichuan Pepper with Dried Chinese Red Chilis - Ma La Heaven!!!

                                            2. p
                                              Phoebe RE: RiJaAr Nov 17, 2006 05:02 PM

                                              I simply could not live without BASIL for pesto, sauces, salads, etc. Grow atleast 6 types every season. Spices....a homeade curry mix I make myself. Consists of 10 different spices. (Most of which I get from Penzey's.) I use the curry for curries, potatoes, other veggies, couscous, rices, etc. There are unlimited uses for it.

                                              1. u
                                                uman RE: RiJaAr Nov 17, 2006 05:46 PM

                                                Savory is my go to spice.

                                                1. sillyrabbit RE: RiJaAr Nov 28, 2006 02:49 AM

                                                  I vote for fresh basil in the summer, with all things tomato, and allspice in the fall and winter, with lamb dishes.

                                                  1. m
                                                    marlie202 RE: RiJaAr Dec 8, 2006 04:11 PM

                                                    fresh basil--pesto-mozzarella cheese and tomato salad;
                                                    I like the tri-color peppercorns-pink-white and green-I find them tasty and use them in most of my cooking where pepper would be included

                                                    1. a
                                                      anthonyG RE: RiJaAr Dec 8, 2006 09:57 PM

                                                      there are alot of spices i like but my staples are, not in any particular order:

                                                      Basil - on almost anything
                                                      oregano - just adds a soothing hint
                                                      white pepper - as an addition
                                                      tarragon - to add different flavor
                                                      Curry - if used properly
                                                      salt and pepper - of course
                                                      and a bunch of other types ...

                                                      do butter and garlic count... :-) cause they go in almost everything...

                                                      1. saraeanderson RE: RiJaAr Dec 9, 2006 04:19 AM

                                                        Smoked paprika is what makes our "homemade hamburger helper."

                                                        I go weak in the knees for rosemary - it works so well with heavy foods like lamb but also light tastes like lemon.

                                                        For a long time I only believed parsley was added to foods for looks. I've gotten over that and add tons of it to lighten pasta sides - enough so that you can taste the bordering-on-spicy-greenness.

                                                        I add oregano to any dish whose flavor seems too monotonous - if I've over-lemoned pasta, and it's such a great element in chili.

                                                        Also, the latest Cooking Light has convinced me that pears and cardamom are natural companions. The cardamom-pear upside-down cake was A-MA-ZING.

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