Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Spice Rack

So since a bunch of my friends are following this blog as a way to learn how to cook I figured I'd make a post about spices. This is my biggest thing when cooking. I rely a lot on spices and love to play with flavors. My foods typically have complex flavors and are big and bold. My moto is kinda Go big or Go Home when it comes to flavors. But you also have to remember that there IS such a thing as too much when it comes to spices.

One rule I learned early on with spices is to always start small. Start with a 1/2 to 1/4 teaspoon of any spice you use. Mix it in. Taste the food. If it isn't enough add a little more by the same incriments. I always do this when making dishes. A lot of the times my food won't taste the same. I can make the exact same dish 2 different times and it'll be just a tiny bit different every time. Mostly because my mood is different. Maybe one day I want a spicier dish. The next I may want a milder flavor. It really is all a personal preference.

Every cook has what they consider to be the basics when it comes to spices. These are the spices that you love the most and you have to purchase the most often. Here is my list of my basic necessities when it comes to spices. Remember that these are my personal preference and you can always omit one if you don't like or add others but I like to think that these are some of the more basic spices that are used the most. I'll first list my basics that I think every cook should have in the cupboard. Then I'll list the more specific ones that I tend to use more of.


Chili Powder
Turmeric (big in Indian and Spanish foods)
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder

That's pretty much the spices I try to never run out of. There are of course fresh herbs that I like to use and never run out of as well. Those include chives and sage. Parsley and Cilantro are ones that I prefer to use fresh but dried always works good if you don't use them quite as often. I have found that a good trick for my fresh herbs is that when I buy a bushel of them I chop them up straight away. I then put them in a small air tight tupperware container and freeze them. This locks in the flavor and keeps them fresher longer. I learned this trick early on and it has helped me a great deal to keep my herbs fresh.

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