Cumin – I usually keep it whole, but before using it I will toast it in a non stick pan lighty, then grind it fresh.
Sensory overload when i take the top off the spice grinder.
When using pepper i like to add all 3
Cayenne – for the initial bite
Black Pepper – for the next wave of just enough heat
White Pepper – for that lingering tingle of pepper
I add all three to my grinder and whirl it up, freshly ground, definately make you sneeze
for all of you, looking to try any or all of the different herbs and spices that others have mentioned- there is a company out of the midwest called Penzey’s. They sell all types of spices, rubs, herbs and such. They are on line and also have a great mail order catalogue that has some really tasty recipes in it- once you sign up they mail it ot about every 3 months or so. I love thir Smoked Spanish Paprika- who knew there were so many varieties of that one spice- and they all have their own individual flavor- and the spices come in small enough containers that you can try several without spend way too much. Give them a try!
My mother turned me on to Penzey’s and I’ve never looked back. One of my favorites is their Bavarian spice blend. It’s a mixture of crushed brown mustard, rosemary, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and sage that tastes great in braised cabbage, or used as a rub for pork.
Got to echo other’s posters sentiments and say za’atar is a big favourite.
I live in Japan and there is a spice called Sancho, which they say is ‘japanese pepper’ but apparently it’s something called the ashberry. They use it on broiled eel but I’ve put it in burgers. It’s kind of resiny and too much numbs the tongue for a second. Worth trying.
Exsquidao – A friend had trouble finding smoked paprika as well. I helped look for her in several stores – finally found it in-house at Williams-Sonoma. Do you have one near you, or possibly you could order from Penzey’s?
===Fresh tarragon ====
Tarragon sure seems to be a herb that is going by the wayside and forgotten. One of the first restaurants that I worked in did chicken with a tarragon cream sauce in puff pastry. That was the only dish that I have done with it. Too bad as I like anise/licorice type flavors.
Is saffron a herb or spice? I love it in certain dishes. Paella naturally..
I do not have any ‘new’ spices or herbs, but I do have new favorite ingredients. Most of the time it involves me trying to cook Asian style meals. Out of those, my favotite items are lemon grass, galangal, preserved or pickled radish or turnips. You can include ketjap manis, Mae Ploy chili sauce,coconut milk and curry pastes.
I have a few Thai cookbooks, and every time I discover I need a new ingredient. The spice cabinet keeps growing…
For those who want the BBQ shrimp recipe, it goes something like this:
Reduce worchestershire sauce and hot sauce down by at least half in a pot. Chopped garlic should be in this reduction too.
Whisk in some softened butter. Do this rapidly and make sure that the butter blends/emulsifies with the reduction. Add some lemon juice to taste. This dish benefits from the addition of fresh rosemary when served…
Cook shrimp in saute pan with more garlic. When they are done, quickly add the sauce and serve.
I love cilantro, which is the green herb version of the coriander seed, kinda looks like flat leaf parsley. I never tasted it until I came out here to CA 20+ years ago. Most people love it or hate it. I think it adds a nice zing to Mexican and Thai food. It is a taste I cannot describe.
Epazote. I grew up eating it, but didn’t know what I was eating and really wasn’t all that interested in finding out back then. Once I grew up, started a family and commenced getting into cooking, I rediscovered it.
Like the flavor of cilantro, people either love it or hate it. There’s no middle ground it seems.
RubyRose, At the Middle Eastern/Mediterranean restaurant where I was the chef, we made a very nice sausage called Corianderli. It had ground coriander, fresh coriander, lots of garlic, parsely and black pepper. It was so tasty.
Artichoke bottoms braised with orange juice, white wine vinegar, shallots, crushed red pepper, garlic, cumin and lots of fresh ground coriander make a wonderful salad. Reduce the braising liquid for the dressing. I like this one because it’s better made one day ahead.
I’ve made babas with a coriander simple syrup instead of the usual rum. We served them with poached dried fruits and salty butterscotch. That was a very successful dessert. I really like coriander.
I am a fan or marjoram too. It’s delicious on roast pork and one of my favorite ways to cook fresh green beans is to put a can of chicken broth and a big chopped onion in a pot with some additional water, black pepper and marjoram. Bring to a boil, add the beans, and simmer until as done as you like them. You can also add some peeled and quartered potatoes and leftover ham chunks to make a whole meal.
I’d like to know more ways to use ground coriander too, which I didn’t discover until I bought some to use in a sausage recipe.
Fresh tarragon – I have a small pot of it, and it goes well in a pasta-crawfish dish I make.
Not really new – but fresh rosemary – you were talking about NO style barbequed shrimp – I make something similar, but more on the herbal side, butter, garlic, lemon juice, a little thyme and basil, parsley, lots of fresh rosemary – with heads-on jumbo shrimp.
I recently discovered sumac thanks to a remarkable book, The Arab Table, by May Bsisu. (See the book here: http://www.amazon.com/Arab-Table-Recipes-Culinary-Traditions/dp/0060586141/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-6205217-9080658?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1178553558&sr=8-1)
I haven’t exactly become expert in its usage yet, but I’m learning!
It is very much that type of dish. The Heritage prided itself on regional American cooking, and was one of the few I know of outside Louisiana to do Cajun or Creole properly. The head chef even learned how to do a proper blackened redfish from Paul Prudhomme.
I loved that place and miss it terribly.
The flavors sound rather exotic, Hep. I’d love to try it sometime and will if I find a Middle Eastern deli.
Hep,my Lebanese friends that I went to school with as a teen,loved zaatar on eggs fried in butter and olive oil. They served it with thick yogurt,sliced tomatoes and toasted pita bread.
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