Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday 13: Thirteen most used items in my spice cupboard

I couldn't really put these in order, since they are mostly used "as needed." There are many more bottles and such hiding away in there, and I make all kinds of resolutions about throwing spices and dried herbs away when they may be older than desired. But do I? Not often...

These are my go-tos!

1. Balsamic vinegar. What did we do before this gem came into awareness in the '80s? Love it for dipping bread, for tossing with salad, for depth in pasta sauces... a multitude of uses!

2. Olive oil. EVOO makes me happy happy happy.

3. Cumin. I love the way this spice crosses cultural boundaries. (It should have a seat at the UN!) For Middle Eastern dishes (hummus, baba ghanouj), for Mexican dishes (black bean soup, guacamole) and for many Indian and Malaysian dishes as well. Toasted seeds or ground, it is one of my favorites... used sparingly. Too much and you'll really notice. Trust me.

4. Curry. Some cooks make their own curry blends. I have tried, and ended up with Bitter with a capital B. I leave the blending to others and just enjoy what curry does for a few veggies and some coconut milk simmering away.

5. Red pepper flakes. A great way to add a little (or a lot of) heat to any number of dishes. A shake of red pepper flakes into Thai peanut sauce... a double shake onto husband's pizza... you get the idea.

6. Cinnamon. Such a standby. Love a hint of cinnamon in many things, from crisps and crumbles to rice pud and oatmeal. Num.

7. Onion flakes. Husband loves these added to soup and ramen and that sort of thing. I used to kind of turn my nose up and make noises about only using fresh, but really, there are times when the flakes do just fine and you wouldn't know the dif.

8. Vanilla. Paste, bean and essence. I love me some vanilla bean flecks!

9. Nutmeg. The whole nut. Nothing like freshly ground... zested... grated... inhale!

10. Splenda. Yep, it's in there. I reach for it every morning for my coffee. I think of it as a "man made" spice!

11. Garlic salt. Something we use whenever we make garlic bread... uh-oh, I'm getting hungry.

12. Ginger. I like fresh and use it when called for. But sometimes it's not on hand, or the recipe actually called for ground ginger. Smells heavenly.

13. Chile powder. Great for chili, soups, fajitas. Great flavor and not nearly as full of fire as cayenne... it's in the cupboard too, but now I've run out of numbers...

Add a little spice to your week. Happy Thursday 13!


  1. Oh wow!
    I loved you list. Wish I could print it out :)

  2. What an interesting list! ;)

  3. Thanks loads. Now I'm hungry for peanut sauce and garlic bread (but not together). Also, I'm on my way up RIGHT NOW so I can sit at your table and eat eat eat. :)

  4. great list of wonderful needed spices

  5. great idea for a T13! And I love that picture :-)

  6. All but three of these are in my pantry. I've never developed a taste for curry - maybe I need to try it in a wider variety of foods. Great list!

  7. Love your list. It made me hungry!

  8. Very spicey spice list. Now I'm hungry. Happy Thursday!

  9. I love balsamic vinegar too! It is an awesome thing for dipping pizza crust.

  10. You are fantastically inspiring!

    I have to get a handle on the red pepper flakes - I nearly killed us last night with a bit more than a dash in our flat steak pinwheels...

    Great list :D


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