After spending 60 years in the food business, we tend to forget that for every seasoned veteran cook out there, another new cook is just starting out. This starter spice set is for those of you making your initial foray into the wonderful culinary world. Send this spice gift set as a housewarming gift, or a care package to a spice starved college student, or anyone new to cooking.
Included in the spice starter kit are:
BASIL, SWEET CALIFORNIA
Basil is one of the most popular herb used in this country and is grown in abundance in California. Basil, garlic and tomatoes form an unbeatable trio. Basil, in fact belongs in anything that features tomato sauce,-spaghetti, pasta, pizza or marinara sauce. Believe it or not, this basil is so strong and sweet you can make a wonderful pesto from it.
GRANULATED GARLIC POWDER
This is pure dehydrated garlic: no preservatives, no anti-caking agents. One pound of dehydrated garlic is made from nine pounds of the top-grade fresh California garlic bulbs. The flavor is just like fresh, making this product easy to use and of course easier to keep for an extended period of time than the fresh. 1/8 tsp is equal to one medium-sized garlic clove: 1 to 1-1/2 tsp equals one whole bulb. The flavor in dehydrated garlic will be released when it is re-hydrated by coming into contact with a liquid. If no liquid is involved (for instance, when sprinkling some chopped garlic on a salad for full flavor in lieu of dressing), cover the amount you need with water and soak about 15 minutes, then use as planned.
GRANULATED ONION POWDER
Adds nice onion flavor to hamburgers, French fries, chili, omelets, gravies, soups, sauces, meatballs or loaf, sour cream dips. We have many Moms that get frustrated because their kids refuse to eat anything with onion in it. They use this to sneak in onion flavor in without the telltale onion pieces.
OREGANO, broken leaf
Greek Used in Mediterranean and Southwest cooking. We often take for granted the simple things in life, not realizing that politics, world events, or natural disaster affect their entry into our lives. Such is the case with oregano, which was quite obscure in this country until after World War II. Returning GI's wanted their wives to make pizza, which they had grown so fond of overseas. Oregano was a key flavor note. This one dish actually caused the sale of oregano in this country to increase 500%! Oregano is good on baked chicken or fish, in any type of tomato sauce.
BACK-OF-THE-YARDS GARLIC PEPPER (Butcher’s Rub)
This blend, a great grilling mixture, has is one of our top sellers. The term “butcher’s rub” refers to a coarser blend of spices, both attractive and flavorful, designed for use on almost any meat. We love Back-of-the-Yards on steaks, ribs, chops, chicken, duck, turkey, burgers, pork chops, vegetables, and eggs. One chef uses it to add zip to poppy seed dressing. We gave this rub the name Back-of-the-Yards in honor of the Chicago neighborhood south of 39th Street between Halsted and Western Avenues. This part of the city has a proud history as home to many hard-working immigrants who found work in the meat industry and who became the backbone of Chicago. Hand-mixed from Tellicherry black pepper, garlic, Kosher flake salt, sugar, red bell peppers, shallots, parsley.
CHILI POWDER, regular
Chile pepper is often confused with chili powder. When a recipe refers to chile pepper, this means pure chile pepper. The most commonly used is the ancho pepper in its ground form. A chile powder, on the other hand, is a mixture of ingredients. We use the ancho chile in our chile powders for its deep maroon color and rich, sweet flavor. All of our chili powders are salt-free, mixed 1500 times by hand and triple-sifted to achieve exactly the right flavor and color combination. Use 1-3 Tbsp. per quart of chili, to suit your preference. You won’t be disappointed with Spice House chili powders! Ingredients: sweet ancho chile pepper, cumin, garlic, powdered Mexican oregano, and red pepper.
PAPRIKA, Hungarian Sweet
This very high quality paprika from the Kalocsa region of Hungary bears the name Csemege, or “Exquisite Delicacy.” It earns a 120 ASTA color rating, and was voted number 1 in the country by Cooks Illustrated. Hungarian sweet paprika is the paprika of choice for such classic European dishes as goulash, chicken paprikash, stuffed bell peppers; also makes a flavorful garnish for deviled eggs, potato or pasta salads, baked chicken or fish.
FRESHLY-GROUND BLACK PEPPER, DUSTLESS GRINDS
We grind only the finest Tellicherry pepper, frequently and in small quantities to guarantee that you will not find a better, fresher pepper than ours here at The Spice House. We refer to our pepper as “dustless” which means that the finer particle size that naturally occurs in the grinding of pepper has been sifted out for an attractive, more uniform appearance and particle size.
“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray you, love, remember!” lamented Ophelia lamented in Hamlet. Rosemary is historically associated with remembrance: Greek students in ancient times would wear rosemary wreaths during exams; bridesmaids would present the bridegroom with a ribboned bunch of rosemary on the morning of his wedding so he would remember to be faithful. French, Spanish and Italian cultures use rosemary in abundance in their cooking; it has also gained a place in American cooking, primarily for lamb and chicken. Rosemary blends well in tomato sauces, soups or stews, foccacia bread.
This is a great herb for everyday cooking! Heavier dishes in general benefit particularly from thyme. Add to soups, stews, clam chowder, stuffing, gumbos, heartier sauces, roast chicken or pork, many vegetable dishes, fish. Thyme is an essential ingredient in any bouquet garni. The Sumerians in 3500 BCE made a thick paste from thyme, pears and figs which was thought to make an excellent healing poultice. The Greeks were very fond of thyme; to tell a fellow Grecian that he smelled of thyme was a high compliment. The Romans associated thyme with energy, courage and bravery. In addition to eating thyme before setting out to battle, Roman medieval knights wore scarves upon which their ladies had embroidered a sprig of thyme to symbolize their bravery.