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What’s In My Spice Cabinet
Spice management has become something of an issue in my house. I’ve been belly aching for weeks that I need to consolidate and re-organize my 60+ spices. Now that our TV is turned off for the month, extra time has materialized, and this weekend, I dug into my spice cabinets to take inventory and clean up. Not only was it productive, it inspired me to think about some new recipes to share with you and it gave me the answer to the question I’ve been asked a bunch of times recently… what are my favorite spices from Penzeys?
My Favorite Penzeys Spices
At the bottom of this post, you’ll find a complete list of everything in my spice cabinet – but to help you stock your own spice cabinet, here are my favorite individual spices and blends.
These are the spices that come up in my recipes most often. If you have these at your disposal, you should have what you need to make lots of tasty recipes.
Bay Leaf: adds depth and a slight sweetness to stews and braised meats
Cardamom: key ingredient in coconut curries (usually along with coriander; you want at least one of the two)
Cayenne: adds a little to heat to just about anything
Chili Powder: for chili and Tex-Mex food
Chinese Five Spice Powder: for stir fry sauce and paleo egg foo yung
Chives: for scrambled eggs, steamed veggies, and creamy salad dressings
Cocoa: for chili
Coriander, ground: for coconut curries
Cumin, ground: for Middle Eastern and Tex-Mex dishes. Also: MY. FAVORITE. SPICE.
Garlic Powder: for everything
Ginger, ground: for coconut curries
Maharajah Curry Powder: for curry fried f’rice and egg salad
Mint, dried: for salads and Middle Eastern dishes
Mustard, ground: for homemade mayo
Oregano: for everything Italian
Paprika: for Moroccan, Middle Eastern, and Eastern European dishes
Pepper, black: for everything
Red pepper, crushed: for Italian and Asian dishes
Sea Salt: for everything
Thyme, dried: for veggies (esp. green beans). Cajun food, and scrambled eggs
These are the pre-made blends from Penzeys that I find myself reaching for again and again.
mixed into beef or lamb, it tastes like gyro meat
blended with olive oil and lemon juice, it’s salad dressing and marinade
stirred into homemade mayo, it’s Greek dipping sauce
Italian Sausage Seasoning
knead into ground pork
knead into ground pork or beef
use as a rub for roasted/grilled pork or beef
sprinkle on sautéed cabbage or spaghetti/winter squashes
knead into ground beef or lamb
use as a rub for grilled/roasted chicken, lamb, or beef
These are these are the spice blends I made myself and make sure to always have around so I can turn ingredients into Food.
Killer Kebab Spice Mix: my new go-to spice for ground beef and lamb when I’m feeling my heritage
Ras el Hanout: Moroccan blend of many spices that I sprinkle on just about everything
Homemade Rogan Josh: kitchen requirement. Can’t live without it!
How I Organize My Spices
The mix-and-match jars were too difficult to manage – and because I buy many of my spices in bulk (4 or 8 oz. bags from Penzeys or the bulk aisle at the supermarket, I need “overflow” storage. Also: I HATE that a tablespoon measure won’t fit in the mouth of most spice jars. I mean, really? Are you kidding me with that spinkle top?!
So… I bought 1-pint an 1/2-pint mason jars and transferred most of my spices and blends to the jars. I labeled them, then obsessively made a list of all of them so when I look at a recipe, it will be easy for me to check if I have the spice in my kitchen. (I have two giant bags of whole coriander seeds because I didn’t know I already had a giant bag of coriander seeds. I’m pretty sure I’m set for life in the coriander seed department.)
Let’s take a look!
This is my spice overflow. This could be a better box, but it’s working for now.
My “Primary” spice shelf. The jars are on lazy-susans so I can spin ’em to find what I need.
My “Secondary” spice shelf with tiny sample jars from Penzeys and things that get used in small quantities. On the right of the top shelf are new additions that I haven’t tried yet. Who knows if they deserve a permanent mason jar + label?!
My master spice list, inside my secondary spice cabinet. The paper on the right is a list of recipe spice blends I use a lot. I’M. A. NERD.
So there you have it: more than you wanted to know about the spices in my kitchen.
Everything In My Spice Cabinet
As promised, here’s the complete list of everything I’ve got. P = Penzeys. S = Savory Spice Shop.
Herbs + Spices
Aleppo Pepper (S)
Bay Leaf, ground
Bay Leaf, whole
Bouquet Garni (P)
Chinese Five Spice Powder (P)
Maharajah Curry Powder (P)
Red pepper, crushed
Sumac Berries, ground (P)
Apple Pie Spice (P)
Breakfast Sausage Seasoning (P)
Chimayo Chorizo Sausage Spice (S)
Garlic + Herb Blend
Greek Seasoning (P)
Italian Herb Mix (P)
Italian Sausage Seasoning (P)
Krakow Nights (P)
Northwoods Fire Seasoning (P)
Ornate Onion Salt (S)
Pizza Seasoning (P)
Rogan Josh (P)
Tikka Masala (S)
Tan Tan Moroccan Seasoning (S)
Tsardust Memories (P)
Turkish Seasoning (P)
Ras el Hanout
Bouillon, chipotle, tomato
Jane’s Crazy Mixed-Up Salt
And – because I can’t stop myself now – here are two sweet quotes about spices:
“Once you get a spice in your home, you have it forever. Women never throw out spices. The Egyptians were buried with their spices. I know which one I’m taking with me when I go.” – Erma Bombeck
“Variety’s the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavor.” – William Cowper