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Next up for my DIY culinary herb and spice blends, in collaboration with Mountain Rose Herbs: Forest Flavor Mix
While writing my Culinary Herb & Spice Blends series, something gnawed at me a bit. Each blend, however delicious, was just my interpretation of a beloved regional cuisine. I added my own twist to each blend and I am proud of the posts that I have put out. But this is the post that I have been looking most forward to. You see, I like the forest – the smell of the damp earth, of the herbaceous and pungent greens, of the leaves, needles, and berries. If I could, I would probably spend all of my time in the woods. I am not even very picky about what type of forest that I am in. And I want to capture this into a flavor.
A forest flavor that I can enjoy 365 days a year.
It is a simple blend really, this forest flavor mix. Mugwort has notes of sage, rosemary, and citrus, while juniper berries are piney and peppery, both providing intriguing top notes and big flavor. Nettle is rich, green, and a tiny bit bitter, and even offers a sense of salinity – making a harmonious heart to the blend. Dried shiitake powder is dark, earthy, even “meaty”- making it an extraordinary base for the forest flavor. I added some granulated garlic for pungency, as a stand-in for wild alliums. The result is a really special and wonderful.
This forest flavor blend practically begs to be the flavor base of a wild mushroom soup or bisque. I think it is equally home in a French petite lentil soup. I like the blend smeared into butter and slathered on a roast chicken. A few pinches into the eggs for a sautéed mushroom filled omelet is divine breakfast. Combined with a bit of fresh goat cheese, it elevates the humble farm cheese to a chevre fit for the forest fairy queen herself. Frankly, I love to just mix about a generous half teaspoon with a pinch of salt and a mugful of hot water for a deeply nourishing sipping broth (simmering with bone broth might make this even better). This forest flavor mix is intriguing and earthy, speaks to my Pacific NW experiences.
Forest Flavor Mix
- 1 cup dried nettle leaf
- 2 tablespoons dried mugwort
- 2 tablespoon shiitake powder
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
- 1 tablespoon whole juniper berries
Using a spice/coffee grinder, mortar and pestle, or a bullet style blender, blend the nettle, mugwort and juniper berries to a fine powder. Mix thoroughly with granulated garlic and shiitake powder. Transfer to a tightly lidded jar and store out of direct sunlight.