Saturday, July 15, 2006

Secrets of My Kitchen - My Italian Herb Mixture



I think every woman has her little secrets, especially in the kitchen. I know women that have recipes for mixtures, sauces and other concoctions that have been handed down from generation to generation. These are probably just as well guarded as the Queen's crown jewels. Getting them to disclose anything would be like breaking into Fort Knox - yup that hard!

Well I am no different, but you know I really don't mind sharing my little recipes with friends and those I see really enjoy my creations. After I revealed my secrets with the Three Sauces I thought I'd let you in on another one of my favorite creations and truly a huge help in my kitchen.

My herb and spice mixture! I have a few different types of such creations to fit different types of cuisines. So, whatever I'm preparing in the kitchen be it Italian, French or Greek I have the right mixture close at hand.

For Kalyn's WHB this week I wanted to enter something special and I thought this would be perfect. My Italian herb mixture.

Now, we Indians have had a spice mixture that is very well known around the world - the Garam Masala. It is used in a lot if Indian dishes and I think many an Indian housewife would be lost without it. There are those amazing women that make this mixture everyday from scratch.

It was based on this idea of the "Garam Masala" that I started experimenting with my own herb mixtures.

I use a variety of dried herbs and spices. I try and save those fresh herb plants that seem like they are just going to give up their fresh life and allow them to go through a dryness procedure. My mother in-law recommended that I tie and hang the leaves/plants upside down and leave for a few days/weeks until they have dried. It worked for me and ever since then I buy fresh herby leaves at our local farmer's market and dry these for my mixtures. Do this in the spring/summer time when most of these herbs grow fresh and they can be used all through out winter!

It's true my kitchen ceiling sometimes resembles a little plantation of herbs but believe me the aroma is wonderful.

I then break the leaves (or roughly grind them) and store in little spice bottles (IKEA).

Here is what I use for my Italian herb mixture.





Ingredients:

Oregano
Thyme
Basel
Rosemary
Sage
Green, black, red and white peppercorns
Course salt crystals
Small dried chillies - as many as you think appropriate. I only use a few for my Italian mixture as I do not want to take away the lovely tastes of the other herbs.
Dried Garlic flakes






Method:

Mix all together and fill into a spice grinder. I buy mine from IKEA. It has a good size and the glass bottle can be filled or cleaned easily. I like the fact that it also allows to variate in the coarseness of the mixture. If I want larger flaky looking herbs in my dish/salad I can regulate it accordingly.

Verdict:

You'll admit it is ingenious! I use this mixture for practically everything. Salads, antipasti, marinades, barbecues, or my favorite: A slice of fresh bread, butter, cream cheese and some juicy, ripe cherry tomatoes and a good sprinkle of my Italian herb mixture!

I hope this idea motivates you to experiment with your own creations too.




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8 comments :

  1. I like the sound of this very much!!I've experimented a little making dried spice mixtues, and one year I made my own blend of herbs and gave it to people for Christmas presents. Your blends sounds like it would be great on tomatoes!!

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  2. Wonderful idea Meeta!!!

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  3. Meeta,
    Beautiful photos!!!
    I never thought of making herb mixture, you inspire me! I'll start to dry some herbs this week. Thanks!

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  4. What a great idea! I really love the photo of the mix in the spice grinder; not only does look like a really clever, useful idea, having spice grinders like that around must make your kitchen a beautiful place to be.

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  5. Beautiful photos and great sounding blend. I too would take a bite out of the open faced sandwich.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  6. just made this...it's fabulous...perfect christmas gift for those who have everything

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  7. I have just gotten a jar of Herbs de Provence! I'm so gonna put it to good use! thanks for sharing this recipe Meeta!

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  8. Does it matter what the measurement is for each spice ingredient?

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta