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.

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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.

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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!

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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…