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Old 07-20-2010, 01:41 PM   #11
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Thyme, Oregano, Dill Weed, bay Leaves, and Cumin all work well in the dried form.

These herbs don't translate nearly so well from fresh to dried but can be grown easily. I have a large flower pot on the patio with five or six herbs sharing space: Sage, Rosemary, Chives and Basil. If you're not in a hot climate you can also easily grow Italian Parsley, Cilantro, and Tarragon. Having these fresh herbs a few steps away and always available is a boon to cooking.

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Old 07-20-2010, 07:52 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by BigAL View Post
Kosher salt, blk pepper, garlic.
I'm with Al on this.......the key word here is "beginner cook" and although I'm far from a beginner cook, many of the spices many of you have listed as "essential", I've used maybe a half dozen times in my lifetime. It's true that dry spices loose their flavor over time, however they are not harmful to use in a recipe, so don't be overly concerned if you think they are too old to use. They won't hurt you.
Spices are very expensive on the name brand spice rack of the grocery store, but in the stores around here there are racks of spices in cellophane packets directed at ethnic cooking. Those packets of all sorts of spices are a mere fraction of the cost of spice jars. I simply use my own containers.

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Old 07-20-2010, 09:40 PM   #13
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Whatever you buy, a good plan would be to find a shop where you can buy small amounts from bulk... that way you don't spend a lot of money on something you may realize you don't want to use again. Then when you find one that you really like, buying in bulk will save you money that way. Only buy as much as you'd use in 6 mos. - 1 yr. I go hog wild when we're in Istanbul at the spice bazaar... what I wouldn't give to have that where I live.
Life is too short to eat processed, artificially-colored, chemically-preserved, genetically-modified food. Or maybe that IS why life's too short.
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Old 07-23-2010, 11:57 AM   #14
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I'd say start with what you used to. I'm sure you have been eating foods until now. Who cooked for you? Your parents? Did they use herbs, spices? I bet your palete is used to those herbs and those spices, That is where I would start. As you get better and more acustom to cooking you can start buying more variety of herbs and spices, try new ones. But for now I'd stick with what you used to. Makes it simple.
You are what you eat.
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:58 AM   #15
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Hello Angelwings

When I am buying spices and herbs, I generally buy ones that are suitable in a lot of dishes, and then add the more unusual ones when I already have all the rest.

Here are the ones I try to have as a basic supply

Dried oregano
Dried marjaram
Dried garlic powder
Dried onion powder
White pepper
Black pepper corns and grinder
Dried curry mix powder
Stock cubes
Hot chili powder

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Old 07-28-2010, 07:15 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by BigAL View Post
Kosher salt, blk pepper, garlic.
Have to agree with BigAl on this one. Fresh-cracked black pepper goes into almost everything I make.
"I must say as to what I have seen of Texas it is the garden spot of the world. The best land and the best prospects for health I ever saw, and I do believe it is a fortune to any man to come here."
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Old 07-28-2010, 07:38 PM   #17
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I agree with Kayelle and Big Al don't buy anything not needed... Spices lose their "umph" quickly, so keep it simple, and whenever possible use fresh...

A woman is like a tea bag, you never no how strong she is until you put her in hot water...
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