Saturday, August 4, 2007

Italian Seasoning

I don't know about most people, but I think I have a lot of spices. They fill up an entire shelf in my cupboard, and there's a second shelf that I use as overflow. (Now that I think of it, there are spices on the top shelf too!) To make finding a particular spice easier, I have an expanding, tiered organizer. Sometimes, the dorky engineer in me will alphabetically sort the spices by container type so that it looks nice with like being by like. However, as soon as I pull something out, the whole system gets messed up. Usually it ends up that the lesser used spices are at the back (vanilla bean, essence, dried lemon zest) and the commonly used ones are in the front (pepper mill, garlic powder, italian seasoning.)

Ah, I'm finally to my desired topic. I don't really remember when it started, but I have been blending my own italian seasoning for quite some time. I know that I have purchased italian seasoning at least once in my lifetime because I have been reusing the same container over and over. Whenever the container gets empty, I make more. Since I'm an American, I don't actually know what should be in Italian seasoning. So I read the ingredient label and added stuff that I thought should be in there. As I said above, I have a lot of spices on hand. My blend contains basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, rosemary, a touch of tarragon and maybe garlic powder. There is no specific recipe. I just add some of this and some of that until it looks good. The only rule I have is that I am not allowed to use all of an herb when I make a blend because I want to make sure I don't run out of anything that I might need for a recipe later. A while back, Joe caught me making a batch of italian seasoning. By his reaction, you would have thought I was making hot dogs or bologna (which, btw, he claims to not be bothered by the pieces and parts that make up those items.). He could not fathom why I would make something when I could go out and buy it for a dollar. The way I see it, herbs have a short shelf life, so I might as well use them to make a blend where they're likely to be used than left alone to go bad. For Mother's Day, Joe bought me an herb cookbook (I love to read cookbooks) and had bookmarked two recipes. Any guess as to what they were for? You got it -- italian seasoning.

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