Thursday, December 15, 2011

Big Easy in a Jar Spice Mix

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I'm a pretty hot guy.

No, not in that way, I mean that I appreciate a little heat.  I am not that crazy, "I can eat anything" heat guy, just enough heat to know I am eating something good.

Like this mix.  I love New Orleans (occasionally known as "The Big Easy").  This mix is mostly a Cajun mix (with just a hint of lemon added to mellow out the spice).  There is quite a bit of straight pepper, quite a bit of sweet Paprika (a form of pepper) and only a tiny percentage of cayenne pepper, the only real HEAT in the mix.  It's easy to adapt this to your own tastes, just add more Cayenne or find a hotter pepper spice, or use less if you like.

This continues my new project, Top Five.  Gonna be 3 months in the works, but eventually will be worth it!

This is probably the mix I use the most.  As simple as a pinch on a fried egg adds just the right punch.  I make a mean Blackened Red Fish with this, add to a jambalaya... And it will zing up any soup.  Standard old milk gravy, add two pinches!

Again, as with all my spice mixes, just having this around makes me want to use it.

So, here's my favorite mix that I call... Big Easy in a Jar...

  • 1 part Garlic Flakes
  • 1 Part Onion Flakes
  • 1 part Dried Thyme
  • 1 part Dried Oregano
  • 1 part Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Part Fresh Ground White Pepper
  • 1 part Lemon Pepper
  • 1/2 (NOTE... One Half) part Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 (Again, One Half) Ground Dried Bay Leaves
  • 4 parts (Note - FOUR parts) Sweet Paprika

You will be amazed how much you use this mix. Really adds a lot of flavor to almost anything.

So, in the beginning, for me, are my spice mixes. Every month or so, I go visit my "Spice Guy". My spice guy sets up at the big deal Kansas City farmer's market. For a mere $1, he sells 1/2 cup of just about any spice you can think of. From Star Anise to Turmeric and over 50 in between, he is about the most "inspirational" food guy I know.

I consider myself very lucky to have found a "Spice guy", but anyone can do this. Maybe you have (or can find) a spice guy in your town. OR... Those little 99 cent plastic red jars in fully stocked grocery stores will work, if you are feeling rich, try the bigger glass jars... And if you want to go first class, Penzey's Spices will be happy to service your spice needs mail order. 

Just a couple suggestions...
  1. Mix with your hands. It will help to break up clumps if you can feel them.
  2. Use consistent proportions. If you are experimenting to get the right mix for you, write down what you did. Once you get a mix you like, you want to be able to recreate it. I do my formulas in "parts". You can make big batches using cups as a part, or smaller ones using teaspoons as a part. But my big batches and small batches should taste the same in a recipe.
  3. Store properly. Once you have your mix, store in an airtight container (I use ziplock bags). Also, dry and dark... If you use up the mixes as fast as I do (once a month or so is my Anything Can Happen Spice Day), tossing your baggies in a drawer is fine. If yours lasts a little longer, seal the bags in a tupperware bowl, burp the lid and store in the fridge. Air, moisture and light will weaken the flavor.
I am linking this post to Lavender and Loveage's Herbs on Saturday Linky Party!


  1. THANKS so much for entering this WONDERFUL recipe into my Linky Party for Herbs on Saturday Dave! I have bookmarked this recipe as Malcolm LOVES Cajun style spices and they are so much better when they are home=made!

  2. How fun is your very own spice guy... I am totally jealous !!