The top 10 spices every kitchen needs!

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Published: 05th September 2008
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Whether you are a bachelor with no personal chef or you are like my sister who is still trying to learn how to cook for her family or somewhere in between, you need certain spices to make your kitchen work. Here is a short list of the top 10 spices I could not live without.

1. Cinnamon

Cinnamon has more uses than combining it with buttered toast and sugar. It is good to add a little kick to your cakes and pies. It also is great in some Italian and Chinese red sauces and any dish prepared with lamb.

2. Marjoram

If you like oregano in your dishes, you'll love marjoram. It has a sweeter and more mild flavor than oregano. You can use it to spice pretty much anything. Red and white meat, including fish, pastas and stuffings, sauces and soups.

3. Thyme

Used mostly in jerk spice and curry dishes this spice is great for middle eastern dishes and carribian foods. Other than that thyme can be used to season meats and side dishes alike but use it sparingly it is very distinct and can over power your other spices.

4. Rosemary

This herb is used mostly in Mediterranian dishes. It can also be used to season white meats. Either crushed or the whole sprig can be used. It is rather strong so it should be the main spice in your dish. To complement the rosemary perhaps just light salt and pepper.

5. Basil

My favorite! I use basil in everything outside of desserts. It's nice on meat (red or white), in side dishes, sauces and soups. This spice is so versatile it can either give your food a light herby taste or make it sweet when coupled with marjoram or a little sugar (especially in your spaghetti sauce).

6. Paprika

This beautiful red powder will suprise you. It only takes a little but can give an awesome kick to your bar-b-que and chili. Paprika is the red powder usually found on deviled eggs. It can be used in tomato based sauces and stewed tomatoes. Indian and Mediterrenian dishes commonly have paprika to add spice to their dishes.

7. Garlic Powder

I keep garlic cloves and a small jar of minced garlic as well. Garlic powder is a must though because it blends very well and it's lower maintainence than cloves. I stray from garlic salt because I love the taste of garlic and I tend to add too much garlic salt and make the dish too salty. So, in saying this, it's best to use garlic powder and a pinch of salt.

8. Dried Onion

This is simply useful in place of actual onions. I can't live without it considering I am particularly sensitive to onion fumes. You may also find it very useful.

And of course #9 and 10 are Salt and Pepper

This seems obvious but my husband had never used pepper to flavor anything until he met me. I am partial to a grinder with a medley of pepper corns in it. There are disposable grinders for convenience already filled with pepper corns. Where salt is concerned I prefer a grainier Kosher salt. Please use salt sparingly for your health.

With these basic spices you should be able to start your own cook book with many yummy recipes. These are the building blocks to great food. Once these are mastered you can start adding to your spice cabinet and really impress your friends at your next dinner party or bar-b-que.


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