Thursday, February 28, 2008
I don't know about everyone else, but I'd have to say that I'm pretty spice obsessed. My cabinets are stuffed full of jars and canisters, filled to the rim with beautifully colored powders, exotic seeds and tiny leaves. Although they are beautiful to look at, it's the smells and flavors that I love. Spices enable you to travel to exotic destinations and faraway places.
One of my favorite places for spice hunting is Penzey's Spices. I first discovered them online, where I became impressed and obsessed with the fresh, vibrant flavors. These are not your mother's spices.
Yesterday I found myself stopping by Penzey's, to quickly replenish my dwindling supply of cumin and dill (yes, we now have a store in Portland). Of course once I got there, I realized that it would be a good idea to pick up a few other herbs and spices, just because. Then there was the urgent phone call from my daughter "mom, don't forget the sumac, I've had a craving for it and you always forget to get it when you're there" (no, I really didn't make up that part about my daughter. She loves sumac sprinkled on her salad, with a little lemon juice and olive oil). So needless to say, I have a lot of spices in my kitchen.
After my "quick" run yesterday, it made me think about herbs and spices, and how much flavor they add to cooking, especially vegan and vegetarian cooking. They add so much depth and color to a dish, layering and enhancing flavors to take it from ordinary to extraordinary.
It would be hard to pick one or two favorites, so I thought I would make a list of the spices and herbs that I reach for most. Here you go:
Oregano and thyme.
There are many others too, but these are the ones that I find myself reaching for, time and time again.
Here's a picture of one of my cabinets, filled to the rim with spices and tea (I'll leave the tea to another post).
So that's my little ramble on spices. I'd love to hear what your favorite spices are and what dishes you like to use them in.