Being someone who enjoys cooking, I am always looking for ways to create new and interesting flavor sensations. One way that I pursue this project is to experiment with new and different herbs, spices, rubs, and blends thereof. A recent spice acquisition of mine was a blend of Herbs de Provence by Lizzie’s Kitchen. As much as I enjoy cooking, one would imagine that I would have discovered Herbs de Provence before now. Alas, I had been ignorant of this amazing seasoning blend until I tried the Herbs de Provence by Lizzie’s Kitchen.
While on the surface there is nothing too unique about a another seasoning mix, a closer examination shows that Herbs de Provence is a unique combination of some old favorite spices and some unlikely ingredients. Apart from traditional ingredients like Thyme and basil, Herbs de Provence traditionally includes the addition of French lavender to the basic mix of spices to create a unique flavor combination. Lavender imparts a subtlety to a seasoning mix that a more traditional mix such as an Italian seasoning blend will lack. Many readers may not even realize that lavender is edible, much less that it can be used to cook with. I myself did not realize this until after I tried Herbs de Provence for the first time.
So what exactly does lavender add to a recipe? Aside from a subtle, slightly sweet aroma, lavender has medicinal properties as well. Lavender oil is used to make any number of varieties of balms and salves. Lavender oil can also be used as an antiseptic and an anti-inflammatory agent. Lavender is also used to treat insect bites and studies have shown that lavender is also able to repel insects. But perhaps most importantly, lavender is used primarily for relaxation, apart from its use in cooking.
One of my favorite recipes is a chicken or beef stew that I will make in a slow cooker. I traditionally use an Italian seasoning an fresh herbs and spices when preparing this stew. When I discovered Lizzie’s Kitchen Herbs de Provence, I decided to try my hand at making the stew with the Lizzie’s Kitchen Herbs de Provence instead of my usual Italian seasoning. I was not quite prepared for the pleasantness of flavor that was imparted by the Herbs de Provence as opposed to the Italian seasoning. The flavor of the stew was more subtle, such that the flavor of the other ingredients was enhanced by, rather than masked by, the Herbs de Provence. The vegetables and meats could be adequately tasted, but with a dimension I was previously unaware of because of the unique flavor of the seasoning mix. Often I will accent such a meal with some homemade roasted garlic. I also added some of the Herbs de Provence to the garlic before roasting in the oven, and I was impressed with the degree to which the flavor of the lavender was imparted to the garlic via the roasting process. The result was quite pleasant and unique, and the meal took on a whole new character than what I was used to from having relied upon Italian seasoning for so long.
While there are many varieties of Herbs de Provence out there, I am pleased with the blend that Lizzie’s Kitchen produces. Salt, black pepper, garlic, and onion are all added to the Lizzie’s Kitchen version of Herbs de Provence, which means that one has to rely less on additional salt and pepper at the table to obtain a flavor that guests will enjoy. Herbs de Provence is truly a one-stop seasoning mix that can be used to accent or flavor nearly any savory dish, regardless of ethnicity. So if you have not had the pleasure of cooking with Herbs de Provence, go ahead an pick up a jar of Lizzie’s Kitchen Herbs de Provence. Your favorite dishes will take on new life and you will enjoy the subtle flavor and medicinal properties added to your favorite meals by the lavender. Happy cooking!