Homemade Spice Blends

Friends with a foodie?

Know someone who is starting to explore cooking for themselves?

Have a pal who has good taste but no time?

Want to customize your own cooking?BBQ Spice blend gift (2)

Homemade Spice Blends:

Spice blends are fun to make and with a little creative packaging make wonderful and affordable homemade gifts for any occasion. The following recipes are extra simple, totally delicious, and make perfect gifts for just about any occasion: housewarming, hostess gifts, birthday, holiday, thank you’s, the list is endless. A little hint: Make twice as much because you’ll definitely want to keep some for yourself!

And about that creative packaging…love the idea but don’t have the time? Check this out: My Own Labels – custom labels, tags and more. As for containers, here’s a great basic spice jar. For slightly larger quantities and an old-world look try this. Or if you want the container to be the gift itself, Le Creuset makes individual, small stoneware spice containers. Learn more about Le Creuset here.

Gourmet Rubs

Caribbean Jerk Seasoning: Combine 2 tablespoons dried minced onion; 1.5 teaspoons dried thyme; 2 teaspoons ground allspice; 2 teaspoons ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon; 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Coat or brush meat or vegetables with vegetable or olive oil. Rub mix onto the meat or vegetables. Cook as instructed (adapted from allrecipes.com).

Spanish Rub: Combine 6 tablespoons smoked paprika; 3 tablespoons each regular paprika, dried cilantro, and coarse salt. 1 tablespoon ground, dried lemon peel and 1.5 teaspoons freshly ground pepper. Try it on pork chops, tenderloin or shrimp.

Tuscan Spice Rub: Grind 1 tablespoon fennel seeds in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle until coarsely ground. Combine with 6 tablespoons dried basil; 3 tablespoons each dried rosemary and dried oregano. Try it on boneless, skinless chicken thighs, salmon steaks or lamb chops.

Indian Spice Rub: Combine 6 tablespoons curry powder; 3 tablespoons coarse salt, 4 teaspoons crushed red pepper; 1 tablespoon each ground cumin, ground coriander, and dried mint; 2 teaspoons each of turmeric and ground ginger. Try it on tofu, chicken breast or with sauteed potatoes.

Source: “From Our Test Kitchen Techniques” In Eating Well. Nov./Dec. 2008.  Volume 7, Number 6, page 96.



Mexican Cocoa Mix: Ingredients: 1 cup packed light brown sugar; 1 cup cocoa powder; 1/2 cup nonfat dry powdered milk; 1/2 cup plain nondairy powdered creamer (non lowfat); 1 tab (approx. 3 1/4 oz.) *Mexican chocolate, grated or finally chopped; 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon chili powder (optional); 2 teaspoons kosher salt; 12 cinnamon sticks for garnish (cassia is fine).

What to do: Combine brown sugar, cocoa powder, powdered milk, powdered creamer, chocolate, cinnamon, chili powder and salt in a large bowl. For a single serving, scoop about 2-3 tablespoons (adjust for richness) of the mix into a mug and pour 1 cup boiling water over it. Stir until chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Garnish with a cinnamon stick serve immediately. Makes12 servings.

*Ibarra or Nestle’s Abuelita brand Mexican chocolate can be found in the Latin aisle of most grocery stores.


Source: Democrat & Chronicle, 2007. Dec. 04, Sect. C. Recipe adapted from Hot Chocolate (Harvard Common Press).