If you do a lot of cooking at home it is likely that your spice cabinet is jam-packed like mine. Every couple of months I rearrange some of the jars and put ones I haven’t been using towards the back and bring others to the front. Most of the time I have to move things around because I come home with a new jar (more like jars, plural) and have to find room for them.
Best spices for cooking
My favorite place to get spices and herbs is Penzeys Spices in Menlo Park, CA. And you can order from them online if you don’t have a store near you.
I first heard of Penzeys when I used to go to my friend’s house back in Pennsylvania. When we would cook together I would pull out this huge box of herbs and spices from her cabinet and go through all the bags and jars. Back then I had no idea of what they all were, or how to use them, but I was in awe of her collection. Then I moved to New York City to attend culinary school and found the Penzeys kiosk inside Grand Central Station. I felt like I had found mecca and went back frequently to build up my spice collection.
Penzeys is known for high quality and fresh products. They have whole and ground spices, herbs, blends, salts and liquid extracts. Each item has different size packages to choose from as well as a display jar that you can OPEN AND SMELL!!! This is the best part of going into the store. How do you know what it is going to taste like if you can’t smell it?!Their pre-made blends are really helpful if you want more depth in a dish, but are not sure which spices would go well together. They have so much more than just curry or taco mixes. There is a small-town feel to this store even though they started in Milwaukee and have stores all over the country. I am thankful that out of only 2 stores that exist in California, that I happen to be less than 10 miles from this one.
Penzey’s has tons of recipes on their website that have been submitted by their loyal customers. The recipes show up on each spice’s page so you can get ideas for how to use them. One of my favorite blends to always have around is the Fox Point blend. I love it on scrambled eggs. There is a recipe on their website showing it on baked salmon, which sounds good too.
My Favorite Spices to Cook With
Penzey’s spices show up in lots of my cooking. This Chicken Tikka Masala recipe starts with their Sweet Curry Powder blend. I also use their Garam Masala in that dish.
These Curried Cauliflower Fritters also uses their Sweet Curry Blend. Although, if I am making it for myself and not for a family with kids, I use the spicier curry blend.