Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - What are your favorite spices?

View Full Version : What are your favorite spices?

01-17-2008, 01:35 PM
So since we have had some spice discussions, what are your favorite spices?

Here are mine
Basil - Although I prefer fresh basil, I love love basil. I could just eat it plain.

Mexican Oregano - This is something I have been missing and I just ordered from World Spice. I'm looking forward to adding it to my veggie dishes. Its especially delicious mixed with hominy.

Cayenne - Of course, cayenne. It adds heat without modifying flavors. I love heat.

Indian hot spice - I found this in an indian grocery store and it is awesome. Has a nice flavor and a nice heat.

Pepper - I love fresh ground pepper. It is so versatile and can go in multiple dishes.

Cardamom - I love Cardamom. I really like Cardamom tea and Chai tea with cardamom. It is also excellent in indian style dishes.

Dill - Dill is awesome. Dill rice is awesome. I sprinkle dill here and there on various dishes. It goes well on cold salads.

Those are probably some of my top spices, although I really like most spices depending on the dish.

What are your favorite spices and how do you use them?

01-17-2008, 01:59 PM
Rosemary - I love it with everything. I think I secretly have italian ancestors. A little can do so much to a dish!

Thyme - so amazing with lemon, garlic, and yes, rosemary. Mmm.

Basil - Like Nelie, fresh is awesome. I use it as a base for so many spreads, put it on sandwiches, wilt it into pastas, chiffonade it into my red onion and corn salad....mmm...basil. Can't wait for it to be in season again.

Chili powder - I add a pinch into almost everything I cook, and significantly MORE than a pinch into many things.

Special mention to Chipotle chili powder, which is spicier and a LOT smokier than regular. Delicious!

Cumin - adds smokiness and complexity without heat. I don't eat really spicy food, so I love the smokiness.

Cinnamon - The only spice I use daily.

01-17-2008, 03:01 PM
My two most indispensable spices (other than salt--does that count?) are cumin and cayenne. I love, love, love them. I keep ground cumin and whole cumin in the house and sometimes lightly toast the cumin seeds before I grind them. It adds a whole new dimension to it. Cumin is my most favorite and I use it pretty often. I put a dash of cayenne in nearly everything, just to perk it up.

I love basil too, but I never use the dried stuff. The dried herbs (basil, oregano and rosemary, etc) don't do much for me. Dried thyme is ok, but, with only a couple of exceptions, I pretty much only use herbs in the summer, when I have them growing in pots on my porch.

01-17-2008, 03:43 PM
Rosemary, Thyme, Cinnamon, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, and Oregano!

01-17-2008, 03:50 PM
personally, I love crushed red peppers. I am a huge fan of spicy food and I can put that on almost everything. Anyone else love McCormick grillmates? I put different kinds on any meat I cook. yummmm.

01-17-2008, 04:12 PM
The spices in my cupboard that get the most use: white pepper, cumin, basil, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, garam masala, cayenne, chili powder, curry powder and tumeric.

01-17-2008, 05:36 PM
Well, since you asked.

I'll include herbs as well since some of you did.

We grow our own basil. When the season is just about over, we'll harvest and refrigerator dry it and freeze it. If you do it that way, you'll have better flavor. Better flavor is you aren't having fresh. It is much cheaper and better than the bottled green flaked cardboard the stores sell.

Sage. We have a big plant of it in our herb bed in the front yard. It gets quite potent in the winter so we have to cut down drastically. The bush gets really full, so we dry it and freeze it as well.

Parsley - flat leaf. We grow that as well. In fact, we just let the plants grow in the back yard. They are much like a shrub and will self seed.

Thyme. We grow several varieties of that one (lemon, pineapple, silver, mother, etc). Again, we dry and freeze when the plants are getting too full.

Tarragon. We grow it but have to be careful. It can get to be a bit too licorichy.

I love dill. I use it whenever I can. I just wish boobalah liked it.

Cilantro. Wish we could grow it. It bolts on us, so we just buy it and dry it ourselves.

Mexican oregano. We get it in the Mexican spice section. I think I'm going to order some from World Spice and compare. We use it instead of the other more expensive oregano. It has a little different flavor but we like it.

Rosemary is banned in our home. It is gross. It stinks, tastes like soap and permeates everything it touches.

We grew our own paprika peppers one year. We harvested and used the dehydrator to get them ready to put through the spice blender and bottle.

Cumin is a must have in our kitchen. We get it in the Mexican spice section in the grocery store. We get a 1 or 2 oz bag for about $1.

Chili powder. We will get 2 or 3 different ones in the Mexican spice section. We will then combine to make the flavor we like. The rest get bagged and put into the freezer until the bottle we use is empty.

Onion and garlic powder are a must.

Cayenne as well as an assortment of white, black, pink and other multicolored and flavored pepper.

Salt. We only use table salt in our brining and canning. Kosher salt is most used but we have a variety of Hawaiian red, black and pink, French sea salt, and our own smoked salt. We have some Eurasian black salt that is a bit intimidating. It smells like egg yolks (sulfurish).

We will make Emeril's essence and keep that handy, too.

Garlic is something that is invaluable. We keep garlic spray as well for times when you want the merest hint and don't want an entire clove.

I think that just about covers it.

01-17-2008, 05:42 PM
I don't think I've ever met a spice I didn't like! But I need to mention my latest fave: "Heat Wave" grinder blend:

Not that I ordered it from this place but it does provide a description. I found it at a local funky wine/spice/sauce place.

01-17-2008, 07:47 PM
I like garlic. But for spices, I love ground cloves and cumin :)

01-17-2008, 09:50 PM
Fennel: I love fennel seed, either whole or ground. I throw it into soups and tomato sauces. I also throw in a few whole seeds when I cook bacon.

Spanish paprika: I put in on eggs and make an eggplant-pepper sauce ( with it.

Garam Masala: I stir it into brown rice and have a bunch of Indian recipes that call for it. It always smells divine.

I love fresh cilantro, mint, or parsley in tossed salads. They really add depth to the salad.

I also get a Mediterranean Pizza Spice Blend ( from FoodieLoot that I use on sandwiches and pizzas. I don't know how they get so much flavor out of dried spices, but it practically tastes like the fresh stuff (and it smells devine).

And many of the spices already mentioned, including cardamom (my newest favorite--lately I've been stirring it into oatmeal), cumin (love love love this, always add extra to any recipe), cinnamon, basil, oregano, sage, rosemary, and thyme (hmmm, I'm starting to sound like a Simon and Garfunkel song.

01-19-2008, 04:04 AM
smoked paprika, ancho peppers, cumin, pink peppercorns (yummy with fruit...) cayenne pepper, dried basil (to punch up pasta dishes), cajun seasoning, dried thyme (works for potatoes) and well whole coriander is now on the list (great mixed with cumin for roasted potatoes).

01-19-2008, 04:16 AM
Herbs de Provence is definitely my old standby! I mixed some as gifts for Christmas, so I have a full pint jar that I'm working on. It's a mixture of thyme, basil, oregano, summer savory, rosemary, fennel seed, and lavender.

I also make a lot of dahls and curries, so I have a good supply of tumeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, fenugreek, and garam masala.

Oh, and nothing livens up poached or fried eggs like a sprinkling of sumac! Hmmm...

01-19-2008, 04:48 AM
Call me lazy! I buy several spice mixes (after insuring none have sugar or it's various forms).

Favorite three (that I use regularly, sometimes combining) are:

Johnny's Jamaica Me Crazy Lemon Pepper (
Sea Salt, Pepper, Granulated Garlic, Lemon Crystals, Granulated Onion, Spices, Lemon Oil (Only .5 g of carbs per serving)

Durkee Six Pepper (
A zesty mix of black and white pepper, red and green bell peppers, plus jalapeņo and chili peppers. The product is multi-colored and somewhat coarse. (No carbs)

Johnny's Jamaica Me Steak Seasoning (
Salt, Spices, Garlic, Canola Oil, and Extracts of Paprika and Dill. Very coarse. A great steak rub. (No carbs)

01-19-2008, 06:02 AM
Black pepper, preferably in a grinder.

Crushed red pepper.

Cayenne pepper- I put it on everything, sandwiches, salads. Everything.

Dill- goes well on nearly everything, esp. veggies.

sea salt


chili powder - I add it to soups mostly to add a bit of kick. Sometimes I put a bit on meats