Tuesday, February 27, 2007

EcoMama's Spice Rack

Ah, finally we reach the crown jewel of my culinary stock, the spice rack! Yes, technically rack(s), although if we really want to get techical i'm not sure they're even "racks". We had to expand after I started cooking lessons, started getting higher quality spices at Penzey's, and started to overflow the cabinet. These are a great little spice holder from Target. They come with labels but I prefer to write on them with dry-erase markers so I can switch things around. There was a time when I didn't ever replace spices unless they became so old that they were 1) rock hard or 2) flavorless. Now I buy bulk bags and refill my spice containers frequently. It's definitely worth it to buy quality. It is more flavorful so you not only get a better quality flavor, you also have to use less.

So what do I keep on hand? Curry Powder, Turmeric, Garam Masala, Cumin, Smoked Paprika, Mustard Seeds, and Corriander start my savory and Indian to Middle East collection. I use a lot of chili powder to add flavor to soups. The next rack has nutmeg, cinnamon, a savory herb blend, rosemary, homegrown thyme, crushed mint, peppercorns, and powdered ginger. The nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger are mostly used for baking though they do make their occasional appearance to set off a savory dish. Beo loves rosemary in anything, though especially paired with egg. He has been making a mean hashbrown with lovely rosemary tones. We recently ran out of our dried rosemary from the garden and plan to grow more next year. Rosemary along with thyme it makes a nicely rounded flavor mix. Crushed mint I mostly use in making yogurt dips. You'll notice two empty containers, and it's not for lack of spices, I just can't decide what is most worthy of a spot on the rack. Is it cardamom which I use rarely but as an esteemed spice deserves a showcase? Should I give a spot to cayenne, or is it used to sparingly to have it's own container? What about straight up Paprika that I've realized has it's own place in addition to my smoked variety? There are another half dozen or so contenders still regimented to the cabinet, including a mean mexican vanilla which actually enjoys the cool dark of it's current home, of course. I never imagined that I would be such a spice hound, but my love of cooking has expanded my knowledge and thus my love of a good spice. I hope you enjoyed the tour of my little stovetop universe o' flavor.


fatguyonalittlebike said...

Oh my God that is so awesome. You got that at Target? I am so over there. I've been looking for something like that forever.

Ever since I saw Alton Brown's set up on Good Eats I've been searching for a way to control my bulging population of spices. It's like spices gone wild in my spice drawer!! WOOOOHOOOOO

Mia said...

Glad to be of service! Yes, I absolutely love the look of these. You can also use a stand on the back if you really want to have it on the counter--but who has extra counter space? My only advice is to get reeeally good about making sure they're closed tight before sticking them back up so that you don't go pouring precious spice all over the back of your stove. Y'know, theoretically speaking.

fatguyonalittlebike said...

I found the containers at Bed Bath and Beyond, without the metal rack thingie. This worked best for me as my fridge is next to my stove and I just slapped the containers up on the side of the fridge.

Thanks for the inspiration though.