Eat, Drink & Be Merry: Spice Up Your Holidays

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By: Whitney Miller

Thanksgiving is the beginning of the holiday season that brings family and friends together to celebrate what they are thankful for and to gather over food. I believe by having a stocked pantry, including your spice cabinet, will prepare you to be able to whip up an appetizer to dessert anytime the occasion arises. Before stocking your cabinet, do a little fall cleaning and check your current spices’ dates. A rule of thumb, if you can’t smell the spice then it is probably out of date and won’t add flavor. Here is my list of essential spices and dried herbs to stock your cabinet.

Spices and Herbs
Even something as simple as salt should not be overlooked in your spice cabinet. I prefer to use fine sea salt, and a little goes a long way. I love its intense flavor and use it in both savory and sweet dishes. Along with having fresh, in-date spices, quality is key. My favorite spices are from the Savory Spice Shop in downtown Franklin. I love that you are able to smell and taste the spices before purchasing. Another great aspect of the store is the volume in which you can buy the spices from a small one-ounce bag to a large bottle. This is perfect for spices that you use infrequently, in small doses to every day, in large amounts. Tip: store your spices in four-ounce mason jars or small air-tight containers to keep the spices fresher longer.

Ground nutmeg is not only great to use in desserts like pumpkin pie, but in savory dishes as well such as my Roasted Butternut Squash Soup. Just a pinch is all you need to add warmth and a slight sweetness. Serve this heartier version of butternut squash soup on a cold, fall night and your whole family will love it.

Ground cinnamon is one of my favorite spices! But I don’t use just any cinnamon, my go-to is Savory Spice Shop’s Saigon Cassia Cinnamon. It has an amazing aroma and flavor of candy red hots. Cinnamon and spice and everything nice is my delicious gluten-free pumpkin bread. You can get this amazing cinnamon in my CrateChef curated box at cratechef.com.

Garlic powder, onion powder and ground thyme are just a few spices you will find in Southern fried seasoning. These spices not only give fried chicken it’s amazing flavor but try them on my Southern “Fried” Pecans. They make a quick and easy appetizer to serve at a holiday party.


Southern “Fried” Pecans

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground mustard

1/8 teaspoon ground thyme

1 large egg white

2 1/2 cups pecan halves

1/2 tablespoon salted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a bowl stir together the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, paprika, black pepper,

cayenne, ground mustard, and ground thyme.

In a medium bowl whisk the egg white until light and fluffy.

Stir in the spice mixture until blended and then add the pecan halves. Mix well. Pour the butter over the pecans. Toss to coat. Transfer the pecans to a baking sheet, and bake for about 8 minutes, or until toasted. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve immediately. Makes 2 1/2 cups. Recipe from New Southern Table cookbook.

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