Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Herb Blend Every Kitchen Needs

The Herb Blend Every Kitchen Needs
By Pepper Reece, from the Spice Shop Mysteries by Leslie Budewitz

At the Seattle Spice Shop in Pike Place Market, we love cooks. Love, love, love them. New, experienced, cautious or confident, we’ve got the spicery for you. Whether you’re looking for the newest and grooviest blends, the most exotic Indian or Middle Eastern spices, or the best cinnamon for your Sunday morning toast, the staff at Seattle Spice can help you spice up your life, and your cooking, too!

Every kitchen needs a classic Italian Herb Blend. It sounds funny to say you need fresh dried herbs, but what we mean is that the old jar of Italian Seasoning you bought when you furnished your first kitchen and lost in the back of the cabinet doesn’t cut it any more. The herbs do go bad—the oils can deteriorate, the spice notes go sharp or flat, and the whole combo starts to taste like the underside of your lawn mower. Making your own is so easy, you’ll wonder why you ever bought a blend in the first place.

This is a good basic blend that you can adjust for your own taste. Remember that blends take a few hours for the flavors to meld; because of the mildness of these herbs, you can use it generously right away, and taste how the flavors improve over time.

Pepper's Classic Italian Herb Blend

3 tablespoons dried basil
2 tablespoons dried thyme
4 teaspoons dried marjoram
4 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried sage
2 teaspoons dried garlic flakes or garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried rosemary (break the needles with a mortar and pestle or in a small bowl with the back of a sturdy spoon)

Mix herbs in a small bowl. Yield: about 10 tablespoons, just over 1/2 cup.

Store in a tightly covered jar, and toss it in your spaghetti sauce, sprinkle it on your pizza, or add it to your omelet or scrambled eggs. I promise, you’ll never lose it in the back of your kitchen cabinet again!

The Spice Shop series, available in pb, e-book, large print, and audio:
#1 - Assault & Pepper
#2 - Guilty as Cinnamon
#3 - Killing Thyme

From the cover of TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #4 (Midnight Ink):  

Erin Murphy, manager of Murphy’s Mercantile (aka the Merc), is tuning up for Jewel Bay’s annual Jazz Festival. Between keeping the Merc’s shelves stocked with Montana’s tastiest local fare and hosting the festival’s kick-off concert, Erin has her hands full.

Discord erupts when jazz guitarist Gerry Martin is found dead on the rocks above the Jewel River. The one-time international sensation had fallen out of sync with festival organizers, students, and performers. Was his death an accident?or did someone even the score?

Despite the warning signs to not get involved, Erin investigates. And when the killer attacks, she orchestrates her efforts into one last crescendo, hoping to avoid a deadly finale.



Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. A past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends. 

15 comments:

  1. I use most of my herbs fast enough that they stay pretty fresh although I did toss the last of a jar of marjoram recently because it was too old.

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  2. Love being able to mix our own spices. Thanks for the recipe for Pepper's Classic Italian Herb Blend.

    The cover for TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST is adorable. It definitely sounds like a book I'd love to read.

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    1. You're welcome, Kay. Each book in the Spice Shop series includes at least one recipe for an herb blend and recipes that use it, as well as other recipes and fun facts about spice!

      And I hope you get to take the trip to Montana with me, in TREBLE and its predecessors.

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  3. Would love more of this series. I really enjoyed it and the last page left us hanging. Ruth Nixon

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  4. Thank you for the recipe! Italian Seasoning is a favorite. We will be in a new home in a couple months and one of the first things we'll do is plant an herb garden!

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    1. My pleasure, Meg! A move can be so daunting, but Pepper would tell you it's a great opportunity to clean out and restock your spice cabinet!

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  5. Ugh! I just bought a bottle of Italian seasoning last week. I'll wait until that's gone (not that long) and give this a try. Thanks for the recipe!

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    1. How about this: When the bottle is running low, make Pepper's blend, then compare the two. Some are heavier on basil, others on oregano -- which do you prefer? Garlic or no? Season to taste! And above all, enjoy!

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  6. Sounds delicious! Have you ever tried it in bread? I made some cassava flour bread today. It’s not exactly like a yeast breat, but really close. Also, it’s just a bit sweet...had a touch of honey and maple syrup. The batter is thin, not elastic like traditional bread dough. The herbs would mix in easily...hmmm. Italian herb blend bread...hope to read an announcement that the next book in this series is imminent.

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    1. Jane, that bread sounds so interesting -- I don't know it at all. I have used this blend on focaccia and it's great, so give it a try!

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  7. This blend sounds so easy to create. I'll have to take it with me next time I shop at my co-op. Thank you so much for sharing it. I don't want to tell you how old some of my herbs are. Time to purge and replace.

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