Conversation with a friend about my bread recipe reminded me of something.
When I say cinnamon, I actually do mean cinnamon. However, most stuff sold as cinnamon in the US is actually cassia, a closely related tree that’s less expensive to harvest. I tend to prefer actual cinnamon.
I buy almost all of my culinary herbs from Penzey’s (http://penzeys.com, but I’m lucky to have two stores within easy driving distance.)
They’ve got the advantage of being a remarkably inexpensive pick-me-up. Not only is just walking into their store space is a fantastic experience of scent (all of their stuff is available in smellable test containers), but their prices are such that I can walk out with 5 or 6 different small bottles of things for under $20. (And since I’m only cooking for myself, usually, this goes a long way.
While they’re not necessarily organic, they are very good about marking sources (and about indicating clearly what’s in mixes.) And their herbs and other items are consistently high quality, flavorful, and enjoyable to work with.
Currently on my herb storage shelf:
- Ceylon cinnamon (ground, since I usually use it in bread.)
- Dill weed (which I adore)
- Rosemary (my current bottle is from Spain, and powdered, which I like in bread at times.)
- Sweet Basil (French, as opposed to Californian: I like both, and tend to alternate.)
- Cardamon (Guatemalan ground)
- Orange peel (dried)
- Nutmeg (West Indies, ground – yes, I know, really, I should grind it myself, but in practice, I never manage that.)
- Tellicherry Black Pepper
- Powdered wasabi (lovely in a little dusting in the center of onigiri.)
I also like several of their cheese mixes, and go through vast amounts of their Green Goddess dressing mix (which goes *very* well with a yogurt base: it makes a very nice dip. It does have a little sugar in it, however.)
I’m currently out of – but should get more of – their freeze dried onions, shallots, and chives, all of which are great when I want a little bit of something, but don’t want to make an extra trip to the store.