questionsmyspicesage - what would you order?

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I've tried a couple of mixed spices. The Cajun somethingorother was very good, as was the Tuscany something. Sorry, I don't remember the exact names, and my kitchen cupboards are very near the bed I'm about to collapse into, but I really liked those two.

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Here's one way I like to browse the site:

At the top of the home page, go to

Shop Spices By > Popular > Everyone's Spice Cabinet

Browse through and see what you're missing. It's also fun to look through the other popular suggestions, Most Spice Cabinets, Some Spice Cabinets and Gourmet Spice Cabinets.

I generally stay away from the mixed rubs because I prefer to have the components and mix my own. If you're interested I could offer a few general suggestions (without giving up my secret recipes, of course). But I did recently get a free sample of their adobo seasoning and quite like it.

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I liked the fancy curry, especially the maharajah. Don't get the pink pepper. I wasn't very impressed with that one. The green is good though.

Perhaps @anotherhiggins will wander by. I know he also likes them.

[Edit] Whoa. That was spooky. Speak of the devil, and there he is. SPOOKY.

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@cassandratroy: i'll search the site for those keywords and see what we find. i don't ever want to stop someone from sleeping :)
@anotherhiggins: would love any "recipes" (but non-secrets!) you could offer. thanks for the tip on how to search. It will help Mom alot :)
@shrdlu: we're not at all experienced with curry spicing, so that is great to know. thanks for the rec's :)

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I just got their smoked Spanish paprika in yesterday. It smells absolutely divine.

Good prices on saffron. Their vanilla beans are excellently priced and come healthy and full of flavour (their vanilla powder is also exceptionally handy).

I've generally had good luck with all the spices I've received from them, and have received them promptly. Have some spice containers around. Their resealable ziploc bags are nice, but lack a bit in the way of utility. I own a collection of small, round containers onto which I've glued those 'rare earth magnets' you see pop up on daily deal sites now and again. I just pop my new spices into them and put them on the fridge so they're in easy reach.

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@eneref: thanks for the tips on the jars. I think that is the one reason I haven't ordered I wasn't sure what sort of container they came in. I do manage to keep a lot of glass jars hanging around though and I know it is best to store anything like this in glass.

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@eneref: I do like the paprika, too. I'd forgotten that one. I went to Bed Bath and Beyond, and bought more spice jars for a dollar each. They like to send 20% off coupons, and all my neighbors gave me theirs, so the jars were eighty cents each. It was fun to hand the girl behind the cash register a sheaf of coupons. We both laughed about how it would confuse the demographics for the head office bean counters.

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@eneref: Same idea here!

I bought some of these at Ikea:
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80102919

I put up strips of magnetic tape (about $2 a roll from WalMart) on the inside of my spice cabinet. I (surprisingly) can't find a picture of Alton Brown's spice cabinet from Good Eats, and I don't have a picture of mine handy, but it looks something like this:
http://tinyurl.com/26eaq2k (a random picture I found online - this is using velcro, not magnets, but it's the same idea and same look)

It's a great way to increase your storage space, keep things organized and easily find what you're looking for.

Oh, and I use a dry-erase marker on the lids instead of stickers.

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@eneref: I got both Hungarian and Smoked Spanish paprikas. Both are wonderful.... And great for rubs! I should warn you that this is off the top of my head. I'll check my recipes when I get home to make sure my proportions are reasonable:

*4 tsp. kosher salt
*2 tsp. brown sugar (work out the clumps)
*1 1/2 tsp. paprika
*1 tsp. ground cumin
*1.5 tsp freshly cracked, course black pepper (maybe only 1 tsp if you're a wimp)
*1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
*1 clove minced garlic (I use fresh, but I you could use powder - just make sure it's not garlic salt lest you over-salt your steaks)

Notes:
- Yes, kosher salt is important. I'll let the master explain why: www.goodeatsfanpage.com/References/TheInterviews/TheChat2000-07-17.htm (search page for Kosher Salt, go to 3rd hit)

- Tellicherry peppercorns are the best in the world. They cost more, but are bolder in flavor so you use less.
www.amazon.com/review/R2O9E3V0ZBV25N
www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/p-penzeyswholeblackpeppercorns.html

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Crud. I forgot to mention something.

Brush a little peanut oil (high smoke point) on the meat before applying the rub. This helps the rub adhere and also helps give you those beautiful grill marks. Work the rub in, but don't be aggressive.

Let the meat sit at room temp with the rub applied for ~30 mins before cooking. It cooks more evenly if the center isn't cold.

Wipe down the grate with a little oil on a rag just before putting on the meat.

For 1.5" thick steaks, I use a HOT fire and cook 2 mins/side & repeat (8 mins total) for medium rare.

And one of my top tips for great steaks: After they're done, place them on a platter propped up on small upside-down bowls, then tent with foil and let rest for 5 mins.

Resting the meat allows the juices to distribute evenly. The bowls retain the 'crust' you've formed on the bottom of the steaks.

Damn, now I want to cook steaks tonight.

@hobbit: Any time! Seriously - I cook out during the first snow of every season, so I'll do it any time.

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@anotherhiggins: So you grilled a lot this winter? I have to admit it is the one thing I love about living out here. You can grill all year. My dad has to actually put his grill away for the winter. I still need to fix mine though.

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@anotherhiggins: Oooh.... those Ikea cans look pretty! I might have to check them out. And thanks for the recipe. I'll give it a whirl, too. I often use powdered garlic instead of garlic cloves just because it helps me keep all the ingredients dry and therefore easier to mix/rub.

Plenty of kosher salt around the house for a variety of reasons.

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thanks everyone for the great input. hopefully we can put it to good use :)

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I ordered some of the Ghost Pepper (Bhut Jolokia) powder and it came super fast. I got the 4oz portion with the shaker, thinking 4oz wouldn't be too much... It is A LOT! I love hot spices and found the site looking for somewhere to replenish my habenero powder supply.

Over prices were good and this powder is so insanely hot, just a very light sprinkle made a bowl of soup close to unfinishable, and I LOVE hot.

So to answer the question I woiuld likely get more habenero powder for me or Ghost Pepper powder for some friends.

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For those who like handcrafted items or what not, here are some search results for magnetic spice containers: http://www.etsy.com/search_results.php?search_query=magnetic+spice&search_type=handmade

I personally just like to look at the pictures and get some inspiration for how I want to organize my cabinet :)

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@anotherhiggins: Have a good rub/marinade recipe for grilled chicken? I get to cook mother's day dinner for my boyfriend's mother on Sunday (first time cooking for her), so I need something that will impress! Thanks!

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@maisyday: First question - what cut of chicken are you thinking about?

I sometimes use something similar to what's above but a little more herb-y and less spice-y and a drastic reduction - or total removal - of brown sugar (the sugar caramelizes over high heat, helping to create a seared crust which is great on steaks, not so much on chicken).

Do you have any type of herb garden? Rosemary, maybe? Or Thyme?

A couple of fresh sprigs soaked in water for an hour or two, then thrown directly on the coals will create a very nice flavor. Are you open to a marinade, or do you definitely want to try a rub? I like both, just asking.

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@anotherhiggins: I am open to either a rub or marinade. I do a lot of cooking and grilling, and your recipe for the steak rub sounded so good, I had to see what ideas you'd have for chicken--always looking for new recipes!

We'll be using chicken breasts, mostly likely four medium sized ones. I like your idea of the rosemary on the coals. I've never tried that and it sounds delicious! I don't currently have an herb garden, but I'm not opposed to buying fresh herbs at the market. I keep saying I'm going to start one, but like so many plans, it just hasn't happened.

Thanks for your help!

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Love all these ideas about rubs and containers. Great thread. I've become addicted to checking out the various spice blends. We tried the Arabic one on chicken last night and it was amazing as well as very different.

I've primarily been using what I get as flavorings for no-knead bread I've been getting into lately. Making a loaf of honey wheat lavender right now with their honey powder and culinary lavender. Sounds strange but smells like heaven!

Also got some of the Bhut (Ghost) pepper ground but have so far chickened out on trying it. Going to make a chili powder blend today with various chili types they carry but will be leaving the Bhut out for now. One new chili I discovered with them that's not too hot and full of flavor is the Aleppo pepper. VERY tasty! I use that in the cheddar bread and it's become the office favorite.

Thanks for the link Hobbit!

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Without knowing what kinds of food your family likes, it's hard to make a good suggestion. There is a block at the top of the page that says "Cuisine". I would start there and look at the long list of options for various kinds of food from around the world. Each one of those has a list of spices, so I would pick a cuisine, and select the spices from that list.

I see that under accessories, they sell onion goggles. I have a pair, and I can now cut an entire onion of any size without any crying. I used to only use dried onion, or supermarket cut onions. These are great. My one complaint is that this site does not carry them in green - I think they look better than the pink or white.