I cannot believe that my daughter, Raychel, is about to have her own home!! I could go on and on about how just yesterday she was learning how to crawl, but that would make this a very short post because the crying would start. Yes, they all grow up! She is my middle child and just graduated from college (where she lived in a dorm). Raychel is going to start her new job in August so she is setting up her own place close to her new office (thankfully only an hour drive from me!). While talking to her about all of the things she is going to need I quickly realized that I had left some holes in her education as a chef mom! She is just a little clueless about what it takes to have a functioning kitchen. Yes, she could make scrambled eggs and jarred spaghetti every night of the week, but that just isn’t the way I raised her. So, Mom to the rescue! I am going to start educating her about all things “new kitchen” and I am starting with what I think is very important…the spice cabinet! Of course, that is what I think of first since I am in the spice blend business.
The problem I have is that when you look up what spices you should have in a new kitchen on the internet, it’s like everyone assumes you know what the hell to do with them. Well, Raychel is a beginner cook. I blame myself, when she was growing up I had the restaurant and all she had to do was come into the kitchen and place her order. I never really took the time to show her how to prepare things and besides she made a great little hostess out front.
So, here we are, I want to teach a beginning cook what they should always have in their spice cabinet without causing them too much stress. The way I am going to do this is simple! You DO NOT have to have all the individual bottles of spice! Let’s take oregano for instance… if you are making something Italian or doing a nice garlic bread and want to add a little seasoning, grab some Italian seasoning instead of a shake of oregano, a shake of garlic, a shake of basil, a shake of thyme… You get the picture.
These are the TOP 6 things Raychel and I are going to get to fill her VERY FIRST spice cabinet!
By the way – Salt and Pepper don’t count – LOL.
The TOP 6:
- Cajun Seasoning – now I am going to suggest Simply Maurie Kay Cajun Seasoning because that is the first blend I started selling in the restaurant but if you want a second best I would say Slap Ya Mama is pretty darn good too. This seasoning can be used to take almost everything up a notch! Chicken, Pasta, Seafood, just anything that calls for something spicy.
- Greek Seasoning – Yep – you read that right. I used Cavendars Greek Seasoning in the restaurant all the time! It was on top of all the quiche, sprinkled in the pasta salad, and on the non-spicy fries. This seasoning is full of flavor without one specific flavor overpowering the other, which is what I always look for in a spice blend.
- Grill Seasoning – again, I have my own (Simply Maurie Kay Grill Seasoning) that I am going to give Raychel but there are several different types of grill seasoning out there. They are primarily made up of salt and pepper but they also include other spices to make any roast or burger taste better. I generously rubbed our grill seasoning on our slow-cooked pot roast which added all the flavor it needed.
- Italian Seasoning – Italian night problems solved! Why should Raychel have to worry about getting too much garlic in her spaghetti sauce? That is something to worry about once you have had years of experience and know exactly what you want your sauce to taste like. Until then, just keep some Italian Seasoning on hand for any Italian dish you want to make. You can also sprinkle some on top of garlic bread, pizza, or even your meatball sub sandwich to add some additional flavor. I have already put Simply Maurie Kay Italian Seasonings in one of her moving boxes.
- Taco Seasoning – Similar to Cajun Seasoning but developed for Mexican food, this seasonings is a must-have for Taco Tuesdays. I use my Taco Seasoning blend in taco soup, taco salad, and in my guacamole. You can find it in bottles or the ever famous McCormick taco packages but it is a definite need when starting your first spice cabinet.
- Ranch Seasoning – Now, ranch dressing is like a Texas sweet tea, it is something you have on hand in your home at all times. Use to (back when it first came out) you only used in on a salad but man – o – man that has changed. I buy the Hidden Valley Original in an 8 oz. bottle so it is easy to grab for numerous recipes as well as a quick dressing mix. This seasoning is a go-to when unexpected company comes to whip up a quick dip for veggies or chips. You may not think you will use it very often, but trust me you will.
So, as you can probably tell, when I started my Simply Maurie Kay Spice blend business I had in mind the easiest way to make as many things with as few spices as possible because when I had my restaurant it was always easier to grab one bottle of something instead of four or five and there is nothing scarier than making a recipe, getting interrupted a hundred times, and then going, “oh *&%#, did I already add that?”
I hope this little post is helpful to all those “just getting started” cooks out there. Eventually, you may grow out of the blends, but until then I wish you a life full of spice!