Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Not Your Grandmother's Herbes de Provence Spice Mix

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Post 2 in a three month project, "Top Five".  And today's post is one of the most important of my cooking history.  I love having this mix around.  Fry an egg, sprinkle a bit on and you have a new treat.  Making a pizza, don;t just add oregano, sprinkle a bit of this and your mouth explodes with the extras.

Pasta, meatloaf, fish, mix with butter for a fast herb butter treat, even use that herb butter to add a little zing to your holiday Turkey.

I probably make a loaf of herb bread once a week.  It is so easy, fast (well, ten minutes hands on fast, but it does take about three hours), and totally fool proof.

Potatoes, vegetables, anytime you want to add a hint of savory to a dish, this is the mix for you.

As the name implies, this is a similar mixture to the classic Herbes de Provence.  I found lavender a bit hard to find.  But I added some garlic flakes and Lemon Zest to the mix.  Especially the lemon zest makes this a winner.

So, without further embellishments, here's my formula...

  • 1 part dried Tarragon
  • 1 part dried Oregano
  • 1 part dried Dill
  • 1 part dried Thyme
  • 1 part dried Rosemary
  • 1 part dried Garlic Flakes
  • 1/2 part Sea Salt
  • 1/2 part Fresh ground Pepper
  • 1/2 part dried Lemon Zest

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.


  1. I actually have a Penzey's here in Jacksonville that I visit. That is one wonderful store. I may have to pick up some lemon zest, so I can make this.

  2. LOOKS fabulous! I have my own Herbes de Provence mix, most people do in France, and mine has lavender in it too!

  3. It's a quick and simple mix, I love it! The beauty of simplicity! Thanks for this! :)

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