SPICE CABINET INVENTORY

No matter where you are in the process of building your spice cabinet & pantry, there are a few basic things to keep in mind:

1) For some herbs & spices, a higher price does equal higher quality.  I’ve put a star (*) here next to items worth splurging on.

2) Buy in small quantities whenever possible, especially when trying something new–quality does go down as the shelf life lengthens.  Try to find a grocery store that sells spices in bulk; usually they’ll be cheaper this way, too.

3) If you’re going to get really serious, invest in a spice grinder and buy as many spices as you can whole.  For example, I buy whole cumin seeds, toast them in a skillet, and grind them to make my own cumin powder.  I know, I’m hardcore like that.

By no means is this list comprehensive OR intended to make you feel inadequate.  It’s just a glimpse inside my kitchen cabinets.  If you’re into kitchen voyeurism, check out the Blue Jean Gourmet Liquor Cabinet & our list of Kitchen Staples.

GROWN FRESH IN THE BLUE JEAN BACKYARD:

Basil
Chives
Mint
Oregano
Rosemary
Sage

FREQUENT USE:

Bay leaves (most chefs I know recommend California over Turkish)
Bouillon (vegetable—Knorr is a favorite brand)
Chili powder (Mexican)
Cumin powder
Curry powder*
Garlic powder
Herbs de Provence*
Italian seasoning
Oregano
Parsley flakes
Peppercorns (in a grinder)*
Red pepper flakes
Salt
Spike seasoning (a really flavorful blend, an easy “add” for veggies, soups)
Thyme*
Tony’s Creole seasoning (perfect on breakfast potatoes & grilled meats)

BAKING:

Allspice
Anise seed*
Almond extract*
Baking cups
Baking powder (make sure it’s new!)
Baking soda
Cardamom (ground, whole)
Cloves (ground)*
Cinnamon (ground, sticks)*
Fennel (ground, whole)
Food coloring
Ginger (ground)*
Honey (local wildflower)*
Molasses (mild)
Nutmeg (ground, whole)*
Sea salt (flaky, so delicious on chocolate chip cookies)*
Vanilla extract*

LESS-FREQUENT USE/INDIAN SPICES:

Asafoetida
Chili powder (Indian red mirchi)
Coriander (ground)
Cumin seeds
Curry leaves
Dill juice
Dry mustard powder (great in marinades & deviled eggs)
Fenugreek seeds
Garam Masala (spice blend)
Green peppercorns
Mustard seeds
Paprika (regular & smoked)
Saffron*
Turmeric*
Za’atar (a Mediterranean spice blend, excellent in hummus)

3 responses to “SPICE CABINET INVENTORY

  1. Why don’t you grow parsley in your backyard? I grow regular and flat leaf and mix with Basil in pestos and fresh pastas. Yummy.

    You should suggest NEVER using pre-ground spices unless absolutely necessary. Your pre-toat and grind tip works for everything. Including nuts and chiles.

    Toss the pre-made chili powder in the trash. Make it yourself from dried chiles (seeds removed), cumin seeds, dried oregano, garlic powder and coriander seeds. Toast and spin it in a blender and POW! The best chili powder in the world.

    Also having whole coriander around and using it any time you grind some cumin adds a great note. I suggest an old $5 coffee grinder for spice grinding. Works great.

    • bluejeangourmet

      Jon, thanks for your tip about home-ground chili powder–I’ll have to give that a try! Unfortunately, I’ve not had much luck growing fresh parsley–I think it’s a curse–so I just end up buying it.

  2. Try growing parsley in a planter vs. the ground. I just use a plastic one the hangs from a deck or railing (then the bunnies can’t get to it). I keep it well watered and add some miracle grow once in a while. My kids nibble at the leaves. Lets just say they have terrific breath!

    The chili powder recipe is from Alton Brown’s Good Eats Chili episode. It’s like nothing I have ever used and it’s spicy with powerful flavor. You can also make variations very easily.

    I need more spice recipes so keep posting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s