Ruh-roh…My food budget is going to need a slight adjustment again since I discovered a new website that I’m sure will get more than a few orders from me in the coming weeks.
Several recipes from three of my favorite food bloggers – Kalyn’s Kitchen, A Veggie Venture, and FatFreeVegan – call for spices I can’t get here in my little town. Basil, oregano, garlic powder, pepper, even garam masala…sure. We’ve got lots of that here. But Smoked Spanish paprika? Vindaloo curry? Chipotle pepper flakes? Nope. Not that I’d expect them to carry black lava sea salt or za’atar, but our WalMart doesn’t even carry fat-free sour cream anymore, or even Spike Seasonings, which I don’t understand.
In the summer, I buy fresh herbs at our farmer’s market or raise them myself, and I love that our “health food” store carries a variety of organic dried spices. But the specialty spices are harder to find. Enter the Internet. I ordered smoked paprika, hot curry and a ground pepper today on My Spice Sage. They ship for a flat $4 rate…not bad…AND they send a free sample of some spice with each order. Apparently I’ll receive vanilla bean pods. What will I do with them? I’m not sure yet, but if you have suggestions, please let me know.
I’ve said before that the best part about eating vegetarian is that it challenges me to try way more new recipes and combinations than I did when I ate meat. I’m sure if I eat meat again, I’d do the same kind of foodie exploration, but it took that plunge into vegetarianism to shake up my culinary rut.
For instance, because I watch my sodium intake and in an attempt to mimic seasoned salt without the salt, I came up with this blend: 1½ t each of chili powder, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder, ½ t turmeric, ¼ t ground pepper, and 1½ t celery seed. I’ll back off on the celery seed next time because it’s a little overpowering. I use this mostly on roasted Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes.
I also make Italian seasoning that I use in soups and sauces. It’s easy and cheap since I have all the ingredients anyway. Mix in a grinder (or use a mortar…sadly, one of the kitchen gadgets I don’t own) the following ingredients: 3 T each of dried basil, dried oregano, and dried parsley, 1 T garlic powder, 1 t each of onion powder, dried thyme and dried rosemary, and ¼ t each pepper, sage, fennel seed and red pepper flakes. Store in an airtight container for up to six months.
I love Emeril’s Creole Seasoning. Mix 2½ T paprika, 2 T each of salt and garlic powder, and 1 T each of black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, dried oregano and dried thyme. Store in an airtight container. I use it in rice recipes, crab and salmon cakes, and one of Larry’s favorites: catfish nuggets.
My friend Katina makes a ROCKIN’ spread for all types of burgers (including the veggie and bean kind!) or wraps. Mix 1/3 C light or fat-free Miracle Whip, ¾ t paprika, ¼ t each of cumin, garlic powder and lemon juice, 1/8 t each of cayenne pepper and oregano, a pinch of salt and a pinch of sweetener or sugar.
My spice obsession will not drain the bank, but two shelves may not be enough space in the upcoming months, now that I’ve discovered My Spice Sage.
What are your “must have” spices?