Herbes de Provence...

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Otter

Sous Chef
Joined
Sep 1, 2004
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973
Location
USA,Minnesota
I'm putting together my next Penzeys order and need one more item to make sense ordering. How is Herbes de Provence? I like a lot of the ingredients, but have never had lavender or chervil. Can you describe the taste (know that is often difficult) and what is it best used for?
 

Alix

Everymom
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
May 10, 2002
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23,275
Location
Edmonton, Alberta
I've never had chervil, but I have stuffed chicken with lavendar. It is a very delicate taste. It is more for your nose than your tongue. Um...really soft like a sweet rosemary.
 

Otter

Sous Chef
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Sep 1, 2004
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973
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USA,Minnesota
hmm, maybe if I put lavender in Bridgets's food she might stop giving "the what for" to every dog that comes down the street.
 

merstarr

Senior Cook
Joined
Aug 31, 2004
Messages
188
Otter said:
I'm putting together my next Penzeys order and need one more item to make sense ordering. How is Herbes de Provence? I like a lot of the ingredients, but have never had lavender or chervil. Can you describe the taste (know that is often difficult) and what is it best used for?

Herbes de Provence is one of my favorite herb blends. I use it on everything from chicken to roasted potatoes, salmon steaks, shrimp, etc. It's difficult to describe the taste - it's very unique. Try it - I think you'll be very happy with it.
 

Otter

Sous Chef
Joined
Sep 1, 2004
Messages
973
Location
USA,Minnesota
I like a rosemary/thyme taste and many of the ingredients lean that way except for a few . Is this too clovey/minty - don't like that.
 

merstarr

Senior Cook
Joined
Aug 31, 2004
Messages
188
Otter said:
I like a rosemary/thyme taste and many of the ingredients lean that way except for a few . Is this too clovey/minty - don't like that.

Although every blend is a little different, it is never "clovey/minty." Just so you can see the various ingredients, here are two different recipes I have for Herbes de Provence:

I. Herbes de Provence

1 part marjoram
1 part basil
2 parts thyme
1 part summer savory
1/2 part lavender
1 part rosemary
1/2 part fennel
1 part oregano

(Mix in a food processor to obtain a finer mixture if desired). Store in spice/herb jars or clay pots. The blend can be used to season dishes of soups, meat, poultry and vegetables.

II. Herbes de Provence

2 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp French tarragon
1 tsp rosemary
2 tsp summer savory
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp lavender flowers

Place all ingredients in large bowl and crush with your fingers, (or place in spice grinder for powder).

***Note: Use dried herbs only for Herbes de Provence***
 

marmalady

Executive Chef
Joined
Sep 3, 2004
Messages
2,642
Location
USA,SouthCarolina
Otter, the lavender is more a 'perfumy' taste; not strong, it's just there in the background - order just one of the little jars at first, so you can just try it out. Another 'traditional' use for the mixture is in a French omelet.

Chervil - just IMHO - is a highly overrated herb. Imagine a very young, mild chive (even tho chervil doesn't look like chive), and dilute by about 50%. That's a chervil taste; also a tiny, tiny hint of licorice. It's a very delicate herb, both to grow and in taste. About the only time I really use it is for a pretty garnish on a delicate soup - like a vicchychoise; has a pretty little lacy leaf.

I've gotta place my Christmas order with Penzey's soon - thanks for reminding me! Have you seen their gift sets? They make great gifts for foodie friends or newlyweds, or folks who have moved recently and are 'restocking' the spice cabinet.
 

scott123

Senior Cook
Joined
Feb 22, 2004
Messages
403
Location
USA,NewJersey
Lavender is VERY floral. It's a delicate taste but still noticeably perfumey. Much like rosewater is delicate but very distinctively rosey. It has a slight blueberry note to it, along with some basily/mintyness to it (it's in the same plant family as basil/mint). I don't like the taste of it. My exposure to has been lavender gum. Way too perfumey for me. It could be okay in very small amounts in an herb mix, although I'm not running off to buy any, especially from Penzey's. Don't get me wrong, I practically worship the place for the price/quality of the spices but I find the spice blends to be a little heavy handed. To be honest, I'm not sure I could get behind any commercially prepared spice blends, as I'm very specific as to how I approach flavor combinations.

I'm a big clove/mint hater as well. Just a couple days ago I was working on my pumpkin bread recipe. It had to have some cloves so I added 1/128 of a teaspoon (1/4 of a smidgeon). That's how I approach cloves.
 

Otter

Sous Chef
Joined
Sep 1, 2004
Messages
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Location
USA,Minnesota
Thanks all. Yes, the gift sets look like a really great idea when you are stumped on what to give somebody. Well, it sounds like neither the lavender nor the chervil would be high on my hit parade of tastes, but they are the last ingredients listed (hence I assume least presence). I've heard the name so many times that my curiousity is piqued - I'm going to try the small bottle.
 

Otter

Sous Chef
Joined
Sep 1, 2004
Messages
973
Location
USA,Minnesota
marmalady said:
8) - who knows - we may have a new 'herbes de provence' fan in the making! Happy Cooking!

What else are ya getting?

Also: Chicago Steak Seasoning, Barbeque Seasoning, Garlic Salt, Minced Garlic and Arrowroot. Oh shoot, now that I'm typing this I realized that I also wanted to try their hot chocolate. :(
 

scott123

Senior Cook
Joined
Feb 22, 2004
Messages
403
Location
USA,NewJersey
Otter said:
Oh shoot, now that I'm typing this I realized that I also wanted to try their hot chocolate. :(

I know the feeling. Just about every time I order from Penzey's I forget something. It's easy to do.
 

debthecook

Senior Cook
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
485
Location
Long Island, New York, USA
Lavender grows great where I live, I have 5 plants over 15 years old that still come back strong. I don't like the taste, and I've tried homemade and store bought lavender foodstuffs. I think the secret is you have to use very little and still its not for me. The fragrance is WONDERFUL though.
 

debthecook

Senior Cook
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
485
Location
Long Island, New York, USA
Yes, the lavender comes back prolific, I also have:
OREGANO- grows like crazy, but I don't use it, its SOOO MILD, I prefer the dried greek oregano.
SAGE: This I use, gorgeous blue flowers, showy plant comes back but only lasts about 5 years.
ROSEMARY: Nice compact plant, I have to plant this every year.
THYME: A dissapointing small plant, have to plant every year.
PARSLEY: I plant this every year, italian flat or curley.
MINTS: They come back every year, I have many varieties.
LEMON VERBENA: Big plant, smells very nice, made a cake with it once.
BASIL: Plant every year
THAI BASIL: Different from regular, have to plant every year.
THAI LEMONGRASS: I buy Thai lemongrass from the oriental grocer, cut
it down to 2 inches, put the stalk in water so that long roots form, then plant it in a sunny place. I have lemongrass till Thanksgiving.
Thats it this year. If not for consuming, herbs smell wonderful after a rain, just to walk by and brush by it, it fills the air with fragrance.
 

scott123

Senior Cook
Joined
Feb 22, 2004
Messages
403
Location
USA,NewJersey
Deb, what time of the year do you plant your basil? What kind of growing conditions does it like?

Do you bring any of the plants indoors?
 

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