Everyday Dried Herb Blends

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Seasonings and Herbs-5I love making my herb blends and make and store them for everyday use. Here in New Zealand I use Mrs Rogers dried herbs and spices. They are of the best quality and have never let me down.

 

Italian Seasoning 

Use this blend to impart an Italian flavour to tomato meat sauces or with vegetables like eggplant.

2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried sage 

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container.

Bouquet Garni

The idea behind the bouquet garni is to add flavor without little flecks of herbs in the dish. Usually, these are dried herbs or a combination of dried and fresh. They are made into little bundles tied with a string long enough to be tied to the handle of the pot for easy removal. You can use cheesecloth, muslin, or even a tea ball to hold the herbs.

For a muslin bag, cut a 100mm x 100mm (4″x 4″) piece. Place the herbs in the middle and tie up the corners. You can also tucked herbs between two pieces of celery stalk, tied them together, and dropped them into the soup or stew. It is nice to have these bundles all made up and stored in an air-tight jar, or to mix a favorite blend and bundle it when needed. The traditional herbs used in a bouquet garni are a tablespoon each of parsley and thyme and one crumbled bay leaf. I always try to use fresh Italian parsley because I find the dried has little flavor. Here are some other combinations that I like to have on hand:

Stew Bouquet Garni
for stews, soups, meats, and other robust dishes.

1 part rosemary 
1 part thyme 
1 part sage 
1 bay leaf, crumbled 
10 peppercorns

Savory Bouquet Garni

for light soups, stews, stocks, and vegetable dishes.

2 parts marjoram 
1 part savory 
1 part thyme 
1 bay leaf, crumbled 
a few peppercorns

Herb Shaker Blend

This combo can be ground fine and used in a salt shaker. It’s good rubbed on roasts and in hearty stews. Forget the salt.

2 parts rosemary 
2 parts summer savory 
1 part thyme 
1 part marjoram

Curry powder 

Curry leaves are leaves of the kari plant, used to flavour southern Indian cooking. You can find fresh leaves in an Indian speciality food store. Toast in a heated skillet over medium heat until a shade darker and fragrant, about 4 minutes:

6 tbsp whole coriander seeds 
4 tbsp whole cumin seeds 
3 tbsp chana dal or yellow split peas 
1 tbsp black peppercorns 
1 tbsp black mustard seeds 
5 dried red chili peppers 
10 fresh or dried curry leaves (optional)

Combine the toasted spices with 2 tbsp fenugreek seeds. Grind the mixture to a powder in batches in a spice mill or electric coffee grinder. Mix well with 3 tbsp turmeric. 

Herbes de Provence 

2 Tablespoons dried basil

1 Tablespoon dried marjoram

½ Tablespoon dried rosemary

1 Tablespoon dried summer savory

2 Tablespoon dried thyme

2 teaspoon lavender flowers

1 bay leaf 

Country Blend
Perfect for salads, soups, on steamed vegetables, and blended into butter for bread and biscuits. 

This blend makes a terrific substitute for table salt. Spoon onto hot baked potatoes (forget the butter and salt). 

5 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 5 teaspoons dried

4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 4 teaspoons dried

4 tablespoons chopped fresh chervil or 4 teaspoons dried

4 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon or 4 teaspoons dried 

Combine the herbs and store in an airtight container at room temperature. 

Fish and Seafood Herbs

Sprinkle onto fish or seafood before baking or grilling.

Add the blend to fish soup and sauce; use for making fish stock for poaching fish and shellfish. 

5 teaspoons dried basil

5 teaspoons crushed fennel seed

4 teaspoons dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried lemon peel 

Combine all herbs and store in a tightly closed glass jar at room temperature. 

Cajun Blend

Excellent with fish or poultry. Sprinkle it into a baked sweet potato or over steamed vegetables. 

2 tablespoons paprika

1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1/2 tablespoon black pepper

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons dried thyme 

Combine the herbs and spices. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. 

Fines Herbs

Season fish or poultry before cooking. Use in omelets and scrambled eggs.

Sprinkle over hot vegetables. 

3 tablespoons dried parsley

2 teaspoons dried chervil

2 teaspoons dried chives

1 1/2 teaspoons dried tarragon 

Combine the herbs. Store in a tightly covered jar at room temperature. 

Barbecue Blend

Excellent for beef, lamb, or pork. 

Sprinkle over eggplant or zucchini before grilling. 

3 tablespoons dried basil

3 tablespoons dried oregano

2 bay leaves, finely crumbled

2 tablespoons dried rosemary

1 tablespoon dried savory 

Combine the herbs. Stir in a tightly covered container at room temperature.