Tag Archives: lavender

Oranges with Lavender and Mint

24 Aug

Recipe Source: The Kitchn

oranges
I almost feel like I’m cheating to post this recipe, but I would never have thought of it, so maybe you haven’t, either! This really is the perfect dessert – quick, simple, fresh, and healthy. It makes a beautiful presentation and feels gourmet with hardly any work. It’s the kind of recipe that makes me want to get poetic about simplicity, the purity of ingredients, food in its natural form, maybe something about the earth’s bounty and, um, being earthy… but I’ll spare you.

The only catch to it is the orange flower water, which I couldn’t find. It’s a traditional Moroccan ingredient and has a lot of fascinating applications, but around here, somewhat exotic. While on the hunt I discovered Stirrings Blood Orange Bitters instead (thanks BevMo!), which has its own delightful possibilities… I’ve already had fun splashing it into gin-tonics!

The tartness of the oranges, sweetness of the orange water and honey, and freshness of the mint complement each other perfectly, with the lavender adding a layer of floral complexity. Light and refreshing, this dessert won’t weigh you down after a full meal.

Oranges with Lavender and Mint
Serves 2

2 teaspoons orange flower water
2 teaspoons honey
1/8 teaspoon dried lavender buds
3 medium Mandarin oranges
1-2 mint sprigs

Combine orange flower water, honey, and lavender in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring to dissolve the honey. Remove from heat.

Peel and cut the oranges into 1/4-inch thick slices and remove any seeds. Arrange on a plate and drizzle the syrup on top.

Garnish with mint and serve.

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Happy Mother’s Day! (and Lavender Teacookies)

8 May

My mother is a poem
I’ll never be able to write,
though everything I write
is a poem to my mother.
-Sharon Doubiago

Recipe source: Mom

Today’s blog is dedicated to my mom, who gave me this recipe, to thank her for loving weird ingredients like lavender as much as I do! (In case you missed it, also check out her fab lavender lemonade.)

Green Acres Lavender Farm
As I write this, the side door is open and a soft, cool spring breeze is rustling the leaves. Birds are chirping, and I’m thinking about how perfect these cookies are for this time of year. Like all great butter cookies, they have a light and crumbly texture, and a faint sweetness. The floral touch makes them elegant and unusual. And while I’m not especially talented when it comes to decorating, for more creative types, they are a blank canvas for icing. I personally enjoy a simple glaze on these, but the lavender-infused powdered sugar could easily be incorporated into a royal icing. In fact, I’ve adapted a royal icing recipe here for you to try, if your little heart so desires.

The dough for these cookies can be made a day ahead, which is convenient, since the powdered sugar for icing needs to mingle with lavender flowers for at least that long. Otherwise, this is a pretty simple recipe to throw together.

lavender flowers

You will start by smashing culinary lavender flowers with a mortar and pestle, or the back of a spoon. This is crucial to releasing the essential oils in the bud. Mix the flowers with powdered sugar and let it infuse in a plastic bag for at least a day. To make the cookie dough, cream together butter, sugar, more lavender flowers, vanilla extract and lemon extract.

butter mixture

Believe me when I say this is some of the most delicious butter you will ever taste.

lavender butter

Next mix in flour and salt, and refrigerate to firm up, about two hours. If you opt to refrigerate overnight, you may need to let the dough warm up a bit before rolling. Then roll out on a lightly floured surface as you would a standard sugar cookie, and cut into desired shapes. I went for “springy” shapes this time – a bunny, a chickadee, a fish and an elephant. Hey, how’d that last one get in there?

dough cutouts

The lavender flowers in this dough make it really interesting visually. You might notice some of them popping out of your shapes in unexpected ways… I caught one of my bunnies relieving himself and another sprouting whiskers! Feel free to pluck out any flowers that may be awkward to your design, and throw them back into the dough for the next roll.

chickies

Since these cookies aren’t incredibly sweet, I feel the glaze is necessary. Plus I love the smooth, hardened look it gives them. The glazing is easy to do with a basic dinner spoon. Let it dry for several hours or overnight to harden, and enjoy this delicate treat, preferably on a delicate kind of mid-morning Saturday, maybe with a little mimosa and jazz on the radio, or whatever makes you feel peaceful.

hearts

RECIPE – Lavender Tea Cookies

1 tablespoon dried culinary lavender flowers
1 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
Lavender Glaze (see recipe below)

In a mortar, grind lavender flowers with the pestle. In a medium bowl, cream together ground lavender flowers, butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon extract. Add flour and salt; mix until combined (dough should be soft but not sticky.) Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until dough is firm.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Remove dough from refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough approximately 1/4-inch thick. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters and place onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned around the edges. Remove from oven and cool on wire racks. When cool, top with lavender glaze and/or royal icing (recipes follow).

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Lavender Glaze:
1 cup powdered (confectioners) sugar
2 tablespoons dried culinary lavender flowers
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup

In a small plastic bag, combine powdered sugar and dried lavender flowers. Let stand at least 1 day before using. When ready to use, sift the mixture into a medium-size bowl; discarding lavender flowers.

Add milk and corn syrup, mixing well. NOTE: Additional powdered sugar or milk may need to be added (enough milk to make frosting easy to spread). Spread on cooled cookies.

Lavender Royal Icing:
2 egg whites
2 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar
2 tablespoons dried culinary lavender flowers
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

In a small plastic bag, combine powdered sugar and dried lavender flowers. Let stand at least 1 day before using. When ready to use, sift the mixture into a medium-size bowl; discarding lavender flowers.

Beat egg whites in a large bowl with mixer at high speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar and lemon extract. Beat at high speed until thickened. Dries hard.

blessed

Lillian’s Lavender Lemonade

19 Jul

“We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors
and furniture polish is made from real lemons.”  -Alfred E. Newman

Recipe source: my mother

lemons

As a follow-up to my last post on summery picnic foods, I bring you my mother’s lavender lemonade. Two summers ago, we took a trip to Green Acres Lavender Farm in Atascadero, CA and my mom picked up two lavender plants that are doing very well today. She came up with this recipe as a way to use some of the flowers. What brilliance! (Jump to recipe)

lavender & bee

The thing that makes this lemonade a lavender lemonade is a simple syrup infused with lavender flowers. I think making infusions is a really neat thing in cooking, because it’s so easy but brings out so much flavor, and you can create some of the same things at home on the cheap that you would pay a high price for in a gourmet market. (See my post on rosemary popcorn for another example.)

dried lavender

First, make a syrup by boiling 2 1/2 cups of filtered water, then removing from heat and stirring in 1/2 cup of sugar until it dissolves. Then add 1 tablespoon of lavender, cover, and leave to infuse 30 minutes.

lavender infusion

While the lavender is releasing all its floral goodness, squeeze enough lemons into a 2 qt pitcher for 1 cup of juice. I’d recommend Myer lemons for this, if you can get your hands on some.

juicing lemons

Strain lavender and add syrup to lemon juice, then top with water to fill pitcher.

Depending on the tartness of your lemons, you may want more or less sweetness from the syrup. If you’re concerned about too much sweetness, add the syrup gradually. If anything, you will most likely want more sweetness. In that case, you can add plain simple syrup, which I’d recommend having on-hand anyway, as it’s great for mixing into all sorts of beverages. You can make a simple syrup by dissolving 1 part sugar into 1 part water.

This lavender-infused syrup is also great for mixing into tea, sparkling water, or cocktails. In the case of tea, I prefer a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water, but you’ll figure out your preferences as you go.

Enjoy this one, and happy summer!

chairs in lavender field

Note for San Diegans: I found my culinary lavender at a great little herb shop in Ocean Beach, In Harmony Herbs & Spices. I have also seen it at World Market, and I’d imagine Whole Foods carries it as well.

RECIPE – Lillian’s Lavender Lemonade

2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
Icewater to fill pitcher (4 cups)

Dissolve sugar in boiling water. Add lavender flowers, remove from heat, and cover. Allow lavender to steep in syrup for 15 minutes to an hour, depending on desired strength. Combine lavender syrup with lemon juice in a large pitcher and fill remaining space with icewater.

VARIATIONS –

Make lavender iced tea by mixing lavender-infused simple syrup (1 pt water, 1 pt sugar) with freshly brewed black tea.

Mix lavender simple syrup into lemon sparkling water or use it to sweeten cocktails.