HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
What are you cooking today? Tell us about it

What's your go-to spice?

detzelpretzel Feb 8, 2007 06:40 PM

That would have to be Old Bay for me. I can put this stuff on or in almost anything and make it better.

What's your secret spice?

  1. w
    winebarb Feb 8, 2007 06:43 PM

    adobo seasoning and bay leaves

    1. bkhuna Feb 8, 2007 06:43 PM

      Bad Byron's Butt Rub. Haven't found any meat that this doesn't work with. Good on veggies too!

      1. spades Feb 8, 2007 06:44 PM

        a little fresh ground nutmeg sometimes goes a long way

        1. a
          Alice Letseat Feb 8, 2007 06:50 PM

          Two...McCormick's Salad Supreme for a lot of veg dishes and sour salt -perks up seafood and fish like mad.

          1. r
            rexmo Feb 8, 2007 07:20 PM

            dry garlic chutney
            nanami togarashi
            herb de provence
            Spanish smoked paprika

            1. d
              dotMac Feb 8, 2007 07:40 PM

              I add fresh-ground nutmeg to any recipe with eggs. (even savory ones)

              I've also been using quite a bit of herbes de provence lately. A great blend to use on oven-roasted root veggies.

              1. Gin and It Feb 9, 2007 03:41 AM

                Salt-free Spike Seasoning! It has:

                Defatted soy, onion, orange crystals, nutritional yeast, garlic, celery, dill, horseradish, lemon peel, mustard, orange peel, parsley, white pepper, tumeric, green and red bell peppers, rosehips, summer savory, mushroom, safflower, coriander, fenugreek, basil, marjoram, oregano, thyme, tarragon, cumin, ginger, cayenne pepper, cloves, spinach, rosemary, cinnamon, paprika, and tomato.

                You woundn't think such a mishmash would work, but it comes across like a citrusy , non-musky poultry seasoning.

                1. c
                  ChiliDude Feb 9, 2007 03:50 AM

                  I think that my ID says it all. Any member of the Capsicum genus that has incendiary fire to it.

                  1. j
                    jujuthomas Feb 9, 2007 04:47 AM

                    my husband's homemade cajun seasoning blend

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jujuthomas
                      goldenroxy Feb 9, 2007 08:37 PM

                      i love cajun seasoning. i even put it on my eggs.

                    2. n
                      niki rothman Feb 9, 2007 07:23 AM

                      I think everybody should develop a "house seasoning" that you make up in perhaps 2 cup batches and keep in a place of pride next to the salt and pepper mill. I realize we've had some edgy arguments here about the relative nastiness or wondefulness of garlic powder and onion powder, but they do wrk really well as support staff to other, perhaps more noble, spices to make a house seasoning that also includes s & p. The 3 chefs who seem to be crusaders for liberal use of one's own house seasoning are Emeril, Paula Deen and Paul Prudhomme - for some reason they all have strong Southern associations. Paul Prudhomme has a website and catalog business where he sells maybe a dozen different spice blends, several of which are really good. If you play around on the computer a bit you ought to be able to find recipes for the house seasoning recipes of each of the 3 people I mentioned, and then tailor your own blend to your taste. My own tastes run to: kosher salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, onion powder, garlic powder, and small amounts of basil, savory, and oregano.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: niki rothman
                        Kajikit Feb 9, 2007 07:34 AM

                        My 'house seasoning mix' would be garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, Italian dried herbs and coriander. I put these in every savoury dish I make unless it has a specific seasoning requirement of its own...

                      2. g
                        gourmanda Feb 9, 2007 07:26 AM

                        Hawaiian Lavender seasoning that includes garlic and hawaiian salt along with a few other things (besides lavender, of course)
                        Lemon pepper

                        Those 2 can cover just about anything from salad dressing to fish to the grill

                        1. Kajikit Feb 9, 2007 07:32 AM

                          For sweet things, cinnamon. For savoury, PEPPER, and cajun spice mix. (I used the cajun mix in everything for so long that DH asked me to retire it because he was tired of it...)

                          1. o
                            odkaty Feb 9, 2007 07:40 AM

                            A mix of fresh ground coriander, cumin, red pepper, fresh ground black pepper, and salt :D

                            (all of the above grinders/shakers sit on a small tray in an out-of-the-way place on the counter for easy access.)

                            1. s
                              Spot Feb 9, 2007 08:43 AM

                              Lately, urfa pepper -- with all roasted meats & poultry, or roasted vegetables, or braises.

                              1. c
                                cheryl_h Feb 9, 2007 09:41 AM

                                For all grilled and smoked meats, the Lone Star rub from Steven Raichlen's book on Rubs, Marinades and Sauces. It's very spicy with lots of layers of flavor, great on brisket (his recommendation) but also on pork and chicken.

                                1. 280 Ninth Feb 9, 2007 09:49 AM

                                  Recently, I've been using smoked sweet paprika, which does wonderful things to both meat and fish

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: 280 Ninth
                                    esmom Feb 9, 2007 10:12 AM

                                    Amen. This stuff is too good. I put it in white wine to steam mussels, in black bean soup, beef stew, cheese crackers. Just love it.

                                    1. re: esmom
                                      Neuromancer Feb 9, 2007 06:14 PM

                                      Smoked sweet paprika has been a wonderful addition to my recipes lately. And to think that, growing up, I thought paprika was just used for a little color. I think that's because my mom's paprika was so old it didn't taste like anything!

                                    2. re: 280 Ninth
                                      niki rothman Feb 9, 2007 07:04 PM

                                      Spanish or Hungarian paprika?

                                      1. re: niki rothman
                                        Neuromancer Feb 10, 2007 05:47 AM

                                        Mine's Hungarian.

                                        1. re: Neuromancer
                                          280 Ninth Feb 10, 2007 07:08 AM

                                          And mine is Spanish....

                                    3. f
                                      Fleur Feb 9, 2007 04:05 PM

                                      Although it isn't a spice, my go-to seasoning has been Meyer Lemon. Grated or shredded zest in Stews, Pasta Sauce, along with the juice in Vinaigrette. Also in Baked fruit Desserts, Applesauce, and so much more. Adds so much luscious flavor and sweetness.

                                      I also keep a jar of homemade Emeril's Essence on my counter, and use it a lot.

                                      Ditto for Herbes de Provence. I use the blend from PENZEY'S and add a pinch of extra Lavender.

                                      1. Terrie H. Feb 9, 2007 04:52 PM

                                        I have to agree with you on the Old Bay -- it is great on so many things. Seafood, of course, but I add it to mac & cheese, cottage cheese, macaroni and potato salads, bloody marys, etc.

                                        I have a few close runner-ups -- simple Szechuan peppercorn/salt mix, and the fennel and coriander spice mix recipe that Michael Chiarello uses. In the summer, I mix my own barbeque spice rub that I use on chicken, ribs, pork shoulder, etc.

                                        But Old Bay gets my vote for versatility.

                                        1. p
                                          praeburn Feb 9, 2007 06:43 PM

                                          Pretty lame, I know, but ground hot red pepper, and tabasco...I know I sound like some poor Emeril imitator, but a little heat improves almost anything.

                                          1. m
                                            mellycooks Feb 9, 2007 07:07 PM


                                            1. billjriv Feb 9, 2007 07:13 PM

                                              Tarragon in almost anything or for a finishing touch to a meal Parsley flakes.Sriracha,Soy Sauce,Worcestershire's.

                                              1. jbyoga Feb 9, 2007 08:43 PM


                                                on everything!

                                                1. chicgail Feb 10, 2007 06:53 AM

                                                  Sweet smoked Spanish paprika! No one knows what it is, but it always adds a depth of flavor. I even put it on popcorn.

                                                  1. Jennalynn Feb 10, 2007 07:17 AM

                                                    I find myself reaching for the corriander/ginger/garlic combo alot. Usually fresh ginger and garlic... but sometimes the dry. Those are the spices that get used up even in the big Surfas sized containers.

                                                    Whereas I know I've got some of those small plastic "bottles" of McCormicks that are likely dated from last century ; )

                                                    1. revsharkie Feb 10, 2007 09:53 AM

                                                      Lawry's Seasoned Salt.

                                                      Show Hidden Posts