spices

Delicious ways to use Trader Joe's umami seasoning at every meal

Delicious ways to use Trader Joe’s umami seasoning at every meal

If you’re unfamiliar with the savory glory that is “umami,” you’re not alone. It’s one of the basic five tastes (like sweet, sour, bitter, and salty) but definitely the least known. Trader Joe’s rolled out a version of the flavor in a handy sprinkly seasoning. I think a lot of us went out, bought it, and then didn’t have a clue how to use it. So I did some digging and came up with some ideas on how to cook using Trader Joe’s umami seasoning.

Let's get spicy: your favorite cooking spices & flavor staples

Let’s get spicy: reader-favorite cooking spices & flavor staples

Way back in the day we called upon our Offbeat Homies to pony up their favorite garlic and onion alternatives for those of us who can’t eat them. Sad, I know, but there ARE a ton of delish cooking spices that slay when it comes to amping up flavor in recipes. I decided to cull a bunch of those helpful reader comments into a roundup of reader favorite spices that will take your cooking game up a few notches.

How to dry chillies for decor and deliciousness

When winter arrived, we harvested our chillies before the frost could get to them and found ourselves facing Mt Chillington. Since we use dried chilli in pretty much all of our Indian dishes, drying and saving them was the most obvious answer for us, and there was a certain appeal in hanging bundles of homegrown produce from the ceiling too. Here is my entirely unsanctioned, over complicated, make-it-up-as-you-go-along guide to stringing, hanging and drying chillies.

Be careful with cloves and cats this holiday season

How many people have heard that cloves can be used as a natural pest repellant? I personally have never tried it but a lot of people I know swear by it. Or are you decorating with cloves this holiday season? Here’s a little known fact about cloves: they are harmful to cats! I found out from first-hand experience…

I’m allergic to garlic and onions: talk to me about your other favorite spices!

I read a critique recently that said cooks are too dependent on garlic and onion to spice dishes. I know I’ve been quite guilty of that. so when I identified that I’m allergic to onions and garlic, I’m trying to look at it as an opportunity to break out of a rut and try out some new flavors in my kitchen. So homies, tell me about some of your favorite spices and how you use them!

Clever storage solutions for small, “two-butt” kitchens

I have a small kitchen, or as my dad refers to it — a “two-butt” kitchen. It’s just a galley kitchen with appliances on one side and a couple cabinets and drawers on the other. Therefor, I’ve had to get creative with my storage solutions. If you’re currently suffering from a bad case of two or one-butt kitchen, you might want to invest in some of these small-space storage helpers…

A useless kitchen space becomes a super-useful magnetic chalkboard spice rack

I had this odd space in my kitchen that I didn’t know how to handle. Apparently, it was some kind of pantry at one point — but now it was just a strange, shallow area covered with cork. I’d seen a few projects around Pinterest and other places where people used metal and chalkboard paint to create a magnetic spice rack and since I had a) no place for spices, and b) no better ideas for the weird space, I decided to go for it.

Matching spice jars: pretty & awesome or stupidest idea evar?

Can we talk about matching spice jars?

Half of me says “You should totally do that! It’s chic, pretty, and awesome.” The other half says “THAT IS THE STUPIDEST IDEA AND MAKES NO DIFFERENCE. WHY WOULD YOU MAKE MORE WORK FOR YOURSELF BEYOND THE JARS THEY COME IN?!” My brain literally yells that at me.

What does everyone else think? Does anyone in the real world have all their spices in matching jars?