Monday, June 22, 2009

Troy's Secret Method

Have you even noticed how biting into some delicious food and getting a big chunk of a sage leaf, or a big piece of garlic can ruin the mood and spoil the whole dish?

Have you ever cooked your favorite sauce only to taste it and realize that the sauce taste so strongly of basil that you can't even taste the delicate Romano cheese you added?

Fresh herbs, especially those you grow yourself, can be a bit tricky at first. If they grow in the sun, they are going to be stronger than if they are grown in the shade. If you picked them in the morning they will be stronger than herbs picked in the afternoon.

I used to just go pick a handful of herbs and give them a quick chop and throw them in the sauce, but more than once I discovered I had a sauce that tasted like one herb, and the others were lost.

So, I have worked and played and come up with "Troy's Secret Method."
First I chop each of the herbs I am planning on using relatively fine, and set it aside. As I am chopping the herbs, the oils are released and I can tell by the smell, which ones are going to be stronger.
Then I start with about a third of my chopped pile of each herb, put them all together and chop through them, mixing them, and more important, blending the oils from each together. Again, I pay careful attention to the smell. Is it too sagey? Add a bit more of the others. Don't smell any Savory, add a bit more to the pile.

When I am done, I have a dark green, wet, soft pile of chopped herb blend, that can then be added to my sauce, soup, or other dish without fear of chunks of leaf, or any one herb overpowering the others.

This is a trial and error method. Don't be afraid to play around a bit.

Over time, you will get the feel for your own herbs, how they blend with the other herbs in the garden, and the individual taste of your own family.


  1. That sounds like a good idea, Troy. I probably don't use enough sometimes, because I'm afraid of using too much of an herb. I always seem to be in a hurry, though, and barely take the time to go get some herbs for whatever I'm cooking. I just snip it in with my scissors, or run my fingers down the stem of the thyme and don't measure.

  2. LOL, there's a lot to be said for that method Sue but sometimes I tend to get a bit heavy handed with some of my favorites when I do it that way. I forget that I am making BEAN soup, and not SAVORY soup.