Many people think of lavender as scenting soaps, spa treatments and perfumes, and it’s well-known for its calming and relaxing properties. But lavender has also enjoyed a long history in the culinary world.
For the lavender lovers, the 19th Annual Sequim Lavender Festival is this weekend!
In fact, it is experiencing quite resurgence. Chefs, bakers and mixologists alike are using this member of the mint family to spruce up savory dishes, sweets, and cocktails.
Lavender is best used sparingly to let its fragrant flavour subtly shine and not to overpower. When added to an herbaceous seasoning mix like Herbs De Provence, it gives a unique note to grilled proteins like chicken or pork.
A sprinkle of lavender into your favorite sugar cookie recipe adds a delicious floral note, like in my Lemon & Lavender Shortbread Cookies.
If you are a jam maker try adding a pinch or two of lavender to your next batch of strawberry jam. I also love it infused in a little local honey and drizzled over cheese or a sprinkling in the filling of a berry pie.
For a super-refreshing drink, whip up my Lavender-Mint Lime Cooler – made with an easy to make lavender simple syrup. Drink it over ice or with a splash of gin, vodka or silver rum for summertime sipping perfection.
Here’s to lavender!–Kathy
Lemon & Lavender Shortbread Cookies
A wonderful not-too-sweet cookie with big flavor.
Makes 12 cookies
1 stick butter, softened
2 tsp fresh lavender
1 Tbsp. lemon zest, finely minced
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. local honey
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter, lavender, lemon zest and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the flour and mix until just combined. Add the honey and then mix until dough just comes together.
With lightly floured hands roll dough into a 2” round cylinder and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until well chilled.
When ready to bake preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Slice dough into 12 even slices with a sharp knife and place on a baking sheet pan.
Bake shortbread in middle of oven approx. 10 minutes or until bottom of cookies are pale golden. Remove from oven and remove cookies to a cooling rack.
Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios® – www.KathyCasey.com
Lavender-Mint Lime Cooler
Zesty lime syrup and fresh mint make for a refreshing drink, perfect for any patio party or sunny afternoon.
Makes 7 cups – serves 8 to 10
3 Tbsp. finely minced lime zest (with no white pith)*
8 – 10 large sprigs fresh lavender
8 large sprigs fresh mint
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups fresh-squeezed lime juice
3 cups water (or substitute soda water if serving right away)
Garnish: lime wheels and fresh lavender sprigs
Combine the zest, lavender, mint, sugar, and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a quick boil over high heat. Boil for 1 minute then remove from heat. Let sit for 30 minutes to allow the mint to steep and the syrup to cool.
Remove and discard mint from syrup. In a large pitcher, combine the cooled syrup, lime juice, and water. Serve over ice in a tall glass garnished with lime wheels and mint. Keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
* Zest is the outer peel of the fruit – with no white pith attached. You can remove the zest from the fruit with a fine zesting tool that makes long, very thin, pretty strands, or you can peel off the zest with an ordinary potato peeler, being careful not to get any white pith, and then finely mince it.
Recipe developed by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen® – www.LiquidKitchen.com