homemade herbes de provence
I have a thing for spices. To me, they offer more creativity than little paint pots of colour. I suppose my pots and pans are my canvas. They are cheerful, vibrant, aromatic and intoxicating. I feel strongly about experimenting with spices in various dishes. Some weeks, cinnamon is the favourite, and I’ll add it to stews, tofu rubs, steamed kale, and quinoa. One time, I won’t say who, but it wasn’t me, put some cinnamon in scrambled eggs. That did not taste very good. At all. Other days I’m drawn to cardamom, dill, chipotle and cumin. One time in India, my dear friend bought a carton of cumin flavoured buttermilk. I would like to say she didn’t know what she was buying, but I’m not entirely sure. We took a little sip and nearly lost consciousness. I have finally recovered from the inevitable gag reflex, which attacked me whenever I was near cumin. Unlike cinnamon, cumin does pair well with scrambled eggs. Whenever I feel a cold coming on, I boil some hot water, add some honey, a green tea bag and lots of turmeric. A golden yellow cup of steaming immunity! Whenever I have cold hands and feet, bring on the cinnamon, cassia, nutmeg, and the beautifully potent ground cloves. Try adding a few different spices that pair well together in the bottom of a warm pan. Add some olive oil and make a spice paste. Mustard seeds, fengreek seeds, cumin, cardamom, fennel seeds, masalas, curry, and paprika can be toasted for 20-30 seconds on medium heat and added to a variety of dishes. Spices really do energize my day to day life.
I was tackling my unorganized spices today, sifting through hardened garlic powder, stale poppy seeds, and stinky little boxes of garam, channa and chat masalas. I came across some dried summer bounty in the form of rosemary, thyme, sage and lavender. Last year I cleaned out my coffee grinder, which took far too long, to grind some rosemary leaves into a fine green powder. I love using ground rosemary, but have more than enough. So, I opted to toss them all together and ground them down with my mortar and pestle.
Herbes de Provence can be made with a few alterations here and there, omitting various herbs that may be less appealing. You can make (or buy) this spice blend from your own dried herbs, or store bought herbs.
Herbes de Provence
- 2 tbsp. dried whole rosemary
- 2 tbsp. dried thyme
- 2 tbsp. dried whole sage
- 1 tsp. fennel seeds
- 1 crushed bay leaf
- 3 tsp. dried lavender
- 1 tsp. dried basil
Grind all ingredients together. I prefer rosemary needles broken down a bit, but you can leave them as they are.
In addition, Herbes de Provence can be:
Added to roasted root vegetables, tossed in with some olive oil and kosher salt; whipped together with butter; added to scrambled eggs; folded into goat cheese; rubbed on a variety of meats (I’m sure); slow cooked with beans; thrown into a recipe for cheese scones or peasant bread; ground together with shallots and used as a paste on a variety of foods.
Just be sure to use it as the key flavour note in one dish, rather than dusting it on everything.