Sunday, November 28, 2010

12 Days of a Culinary Christmas- Day One

'Tis the season of eating, celebrating, gifting and sharing...and when it comes to holiday gifts, I favor gifts that are practical, useful and of course, edible.   Really, anything that you can use in the kitchen to make a new dish, try a new technique or incorporate a new flavor you've never tried before is a great gift in my book.  So, without further adieu, I present to you the 12 Days of a Culinary Christmas, with my top picks for the special foodie in your life (or for your own cupboards too). 

Day One: Penzey's Spices
Penzey's Spices offers more than 250 specialty spices ranging from Garam Masala to Chipolte Peppers to Vietnamese Cinnamon and more.  When you can't find fresh herbs or when your recipe calls for an exotic dried herb, Penzey's will have it. Check out the gift sets like the Grill & Broil, Indian Curry for the Pepper Lovers. And, here's a few favorite spices & herbs to look out for:
  • China Tung Hing Cinnamon-extra sweet, spicy and strong
  • Ground Ancho Chile Peppers- not hot, just richly flavorful and colorful
  • White Peppercorns-a rich, somewhat hot flavor for soup, grilled meats, light-colored dishes
  • Smoked Spanish Paprika-smoked over oak fires and a great addition to a lot of grilled dishes
Check out Penzey's website, or they've even got a store in Birmingham.  

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