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Spices For The Beginner

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I went thru my spice cupboard today and threw out the stuff that expired in 2007 :lol: that leaves me with garlic salt.

Can someone supply a list of beginner spices to have on hand as I learn how to cook? I do eat alot of beef, fish and chicken. All vegies. And maybe a simple dressing that could go with a basic spinach and hard boiled egg salad. I lost Ranch cuz of the dairy thing. Thank you!

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OK - I have over 85 spices in my pantry. I am a spice fanatic. Spices are an excellent way to add vibrance and excitement to otherwise meh food. I buy them whole, toast and grind them for my own blends. Do you have a spice grinder? Mortar and pestle?

If I were you I would definitely buy:

- thyme leaves

- Greek oregano

- a good sea salt

- bay leaves (Turkish if possible)

- whole peppercorns

- rosemary (whole or ground)

- sage leaves or ground - I use both (great with pork and chicken)

- crushed red pepper flakes (excellent for Korean and Thai)

- paprika - Spanish is smoked and Hungarian is sweeter, whatever you like

- cinnamon - not just for baking! I buy the quills and grind myself. I also like quills because they are excellent in making preserves, Moroccan meals, etc. You can easily just pull them out after. Same with whole cloves.

- chili powder (or dried chiles if you have a spice grinder)

Some you may want but do not absolutely need:

- allspice (preferably whole but you can use ground) - excellent with pork, especially meatballs and meatloaf

- nutmeg (whole) - very cheap - just grate on your grater

- juniper berries - I love these things. Excellent in brines, with game or pork.

- good finishing salt (i.e. Fleur de sel) in the future - I have 18 kinds

So easy to make your own lemon pepper. Just grind up some pepper and mix with coarse sea salt and dried lemon zest (it dries easily overnight). I also make a good blend with crushed whole rosemary, orange zest and salt. Also lavender with grapefruit zest - it goes on and on. You can make your own Old Bay, Creole blend, chili powder, Jerk seasoning, garam masala...

Try to use fresh herbs whenever you can. There just is no comparison. Exception? Oregano. Excellent dried.

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my staples are:

garlic

ginger

cumin

sage

thyme

rosemary

Basil

paprika

chipolte

A few idea's

wheat free soy sauce (with garlic and ginger on pork chops ) or ( with garlic and touch brown sugar on steak / burgers)

olive oil, lemon juice and italian herbs make a simple dressing for salads or marinade for chicken/turkey

(cumin , chipolte , garlic , paprika) for chili's

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To add to the great suggestions, wheat must be listed if it's an ingredient. Barley and rye are not likely to be present, unless you are buy rye seeds....not likely. :rolleyes:

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I went thru my spice cupboard today and threw out the stuff that expired in 2007 :lol: that leaves me with garlic salt.

Can someone supply a list of beginner spices to have on hand as I learn how to cook? I do eat alot of beef, fish and chicken. All vegies. And maybe a simple dressing that could go with a basic spinach and hard boiled egg salad. I lost Ranch cuz of the dairy thing. Thank you!

Welcome to the forum, and wish you well! If you are on a budget (and who isn't now, especially if you have celiac disease!) and just learning to cook, I'd recommend going to the camping section of your local Walley big box store.

Ozark Camping makes a really cool little camping device with the most popular 8 spices. That will get you going, then you can see what you need and like based on recipes you try or think look good. What kind of food do you like? If you like Italian, buy Italian Seasoning, but check the ingredient list first. The only bummer is that 2 of the 8 spots are S&P. But it's smaller than a tennis ball so you can transport it! The little cannister has come in handy many times.

(Last time I checked, all McCormick spices were gluten-free.) If you like Mexican, I haven't found an off label spice that has hurt me yet. (But I always check the label before buying.) I like all kinds of food except fresh tomatoes and dried coconut. I haven't run into a curry powder or chili powder that made me sick yet. If you live in a largish city or close to one, spices cost a fraction of what they do at any ethnic stores vs your local grocery store here. Could be different where you live.

((( ))) Cooking is fun! Happy you joined the club, it is so much better than being miserable with crappy processed food that would probably give you some horrid disease, worse than a disease you can control by what you stick in your mouth. (If you're like me though, you're going to be P.O. about it for awhile. You get over it.

P.S. to a newbie, if you let somebody salt their hamburger with it at a cookout, they likely had gluten. I know it sounds skizzy, but I'm pretty sensitive and I clean the cannister before I put it away. If it was scratched plastic, I'd junk it and go buy another one. They don't cost very much.

xxx (watch out for kisses, except cyber ones on this forum)

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I don't like dressing so can't help you there. As for the spices, I would start with some mixes such as Italian and Mexican. There is also Greek which is great if you like Greek salad, minus the cheese of course. Herbamare is also very good.I use a lot of parsley and minced onion. I use a lot of chili powder. And black pepper. And sea salt. I don't do much baking because we mostly don't eat sweets but I do keep cinnamon in the house. I would start with these things and add to them as the need arises.

I grew up in a house with very little seasonings. We had onions, parsley, chili powder and cinnamon. My mom didn't even use much salt and pepper. I had to learn what to buy. She also used some kind of seasoning salt that I didn't think added anything when she used it.

And now due to food intolerances, we have had to cut back on what we can use.

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First thing I have to say is 18 SALTS. I'm very impressed and I'm coming for dinner. :P

Thank you all for your replies, I got a good list now of what to get. Also going to get a spice grinder.

Thanks again. Be well

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First thing I have to say is 18 SALTS. I'm very impressed and I'm coming for dinner. :P

Thank you all for your replies, I got a good list now of what to get. Also going to get a spice grinder.

Thanks again. Be well

Yes, 18 and I do use them as they all have different purposes.

Forgot to mention that you can just buy a coffee grinder (inexpensive) to grind spices. That is what I did. And a hint on those things - dry roasting whole spices until fragrant in a frying pan really brings out their flavours a great deal. But do not burn them. I keep tons of kinds of dried chiles on hand to dry roast and grind (or re-constitute in water until pliable).

You can also grind dried mushrooms in a grinder and use as a rub for beef especially. Also good in risottos.

If you are getting a grinder then I would recommend a few more WHOLE spices if you are interested:

- coriander

- cumin seeds (for chili powders, etc.)

- pink peppercorns - love em!

- whole allspice berries

If you want to get into spices I highly recommend this book for info on most spices (this will really inspire you!) including recipes for spice blends (i.e. Italian, Greek, Moroccan and so on):

http://www.(Company Name Removed - They Spammed This Forum and are Banned)/Spice-Herb-Bible-Ian-Hemphill/dp/0778801462/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339863240&sr=8-1

And if you really, really want to get into spices buy some saffron! It must be warmed in a liquid before using (i.e. milk or broth).

For more suggestions let me know. I would love to be a spice merchant and have tons of books on spices. I have a large book on salts as well as one on pepper, one on olive oil, another vanilla beans, etc.

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My staples:

Garlic powder

oregano

thyme

dried parsley

savory

basil

Herbs de Provence - a blend I adore

celery seeds for soups & stews

bay leaves

cayenne

ground cumin

whole peppercorn blend for my grinder

mustard powder

cinnamon

nutmeg

cloves, both whole and ground

ground ginger

vanilla extract

I tend to keep a lot more spices and herbs around but those are the ones I replace immediately if I run out. :)

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My favorite ready made, easy to find salad dressing is Kraft Balsamic Vinaigrette Lite. Kraft now calls it "Anything dressing". It's very flavorful and has no gluten, soy, dairy or eggs. Good luck with your project. :)

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Thanks again everyone, my kitchen is getting ready for cooking, and with the help of everyone, I know I'm going to make some great meals. My hope is to make things taste so go that hubs won't know he is eating well. Maybe I can wean him off the biscuits and gravy. :lol:

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Thanks again everyone, my kitchen is getting ready for cooking, and with the help of everyone, I know I'm going to make some great meals. My hope is to make things taste so go that hubs won't know he is eating well. Maybe I can wean him off the biscuits and gravy. :lol:

You can wean him off the biscuits and gravy OR just make them gluten free! If you were to eat at our house, guaranteed you would not miss gluten. There is no need for us to eat less wonderfully than those who do eat gluten! My husband would far rather eat at home than go out. And I say that if you crave or want something that contains gluten, try to find a way to make it gluten free. You often can, except for things such as wonderful bread, yeast doughnuts, flaky croissants - that type of thing. But you can make gluten-free bagels, cream puffs, pastry, English muffins and so on. Not to mention biscuits and gravy! :D

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For the spinach salad try (for 2 salads) 2 table

spoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons raspberry vinegar,a little salt and a little pepper. whisk together.

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