Sunday, October 18, 2009

VeganMoFo 18: Spicy Spicy!

Spy on my Spices, and see my favorites too!

This is my "classic standards" spice rack, right on the counter by the stovetop. Here I keep all the usual things like dried basil, oregano, thyme, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric... any of the major basics that I use super frequently.

After the countertops started overflowing with more and more oddball spices, I had to create a spices drawer. Here are a lot of my spices for Indian and Mexican food - and some various spices I picked up in New Orleans too. For me, it's helpful to organize spices by the types of recipes that call for them - rather than alphabetically or whatever.

Then, for my birthday, my dear friend JJTWH got me an amazing present including a bunch of exciting Indian and Persian spices. Along with some great goodies from my PPK swap partner, it was soon time for spice zone #3! I also put all my different special kinds of salts and peppers in this drawer, to reclaim still more countertop space.

In spite of all these spicy riches, I do have a few standout favorites. Aside from the basics, of course, I have been especially delighted to learn about the exciting world of chili powders and chili flavors - especially smoked flavors like dried chipotle peppers, smoked paprika, and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. LOVE! I feel like discovering these flavors really enhanced the depth of flavor and complexity in the meals I was cooking. Humdrum dishes were suddenly so much more rich and interesting and YUMMY. I even love weird ol' liquid smoke. Yes I do. Also in the picture is cumin, because I love cumin. And lastly, a big out of context, is Chinese Five Spice. CFS is a lovely and interesting combo of flavors and I have made some really wonderful dishes (from stir fry tofu to tasty cookies) with it.

What are your favorite spices?


  1. I love your spice rack! I need to get mine organized like that, so handy and useful.

    I love to cook with herbs and spices, every meal I make has at least 2 or 3 in there. My favorites are cumin, kalonji black onion seed, basil, cilantro, curry, cayenne, the list goes on and on!

  2. I often buy my spices in bulk at the co-op, and used to have to dig through my spice drawer through the sea of tiny bags to try to find what I needed. Daunting! One cold (Minnesota) winter, I took on the project of organizing my spices. I bought little jars, label stickers, and a lazy Susan. I have my frequently used spices on that now, in a cupboard. It's a pleasure to use! A little spin of the wheel and everything's visually available. I still need a whole drawer for my less frequently used seasonings, but it is not jam-packed, so I find things more easily in there, too.

  3. yup, that's pretty much what my kitchen looks like too. i've tried to consolidate, but then i just buy more spices anyway.

    my favorite spices are probably curry powder and cardamom. i know they aren't that common (esp. in american cooking) but adding them to recipes is the greatest! adds so much interesting flavor.

  4. Great spice collection. I buy mine in bulk and store in mason jars. I have shelves in the diningroom that holds them all.
    Debra @ Vegan Family Style

  5. I love seasoning salts the most — Cavender's Greek Seasoning is my number one! And love good old Lawry's....also black salt has my heart!

  6. Anonymous2:03 PM

    Cumin is definitely at the top of my list because of its versatility. I recently discovered the joys of smoked paprika - it's quickly becoming one of my favorites.

    Have you tried the chipotle, corn, and bean stew in VwaV? Definitely worth trying if you are up for more chipotle dishes!

    --jen e.


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