Dee’s Pantry, Volume 3

Herbs and Spices

  • salt
  • pepper
  • cayenne
  • thyme
  • oregano
  • marjoram
  • sage
  • rosemary
  • basil
  • cumin
  • chili powder
  • garam masala (curry)
  • crushed red pepper
  • nutmeg (whole)
  • vanilla

Salt has become an interesting commodity these days. Do you want Himalayan pink or Hawaiian black? For the first half of my life I used the pourable one with the girl with the umbrella. Since then I’ve used Kosher salt, which I keep in a bowl next to the stove. No, not in a $50 rosewood box from Mr. Napa Chic.

As to pepper, only whole peppercorns and get a good grinder on which you can change the grind from fine to coarse according to your needs.

Buy the smallest amounts possible of the herbs you use the least. If they turn yellow, throw them out and start again.

Buy a microplane. Use it to grate fresh nutmeg, plus many other kitchen uses.

Vanilla beans are a wonderful thing. Buy as you need them and place the used pods in sugar so you have vanilla sugar for coffee or other uses.

Saffron, I didn’t include this one because it’s so special. NEVER buy powdered saffron. If you’re making paella please buy 1/4 oz of the best saffron possible. You want individual stamens you can see.

Please see former list for bay leaves, which I prefer to buy fresh once a year, rinse, dry and freeze for soups et al.

Stay tuned for the next issue….

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