July 12th, 2012
Many people think of lavender as scenting soaps, spa treatments and perfumes. This flower is well-known for its calming and relaxing properties, but lavender has also enjoyed a long history in the culinary world. In fact, it is experiencing quite resurgence lately. 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.
Close-up of lavender growing in my urban garden!
A sprinkle of lavender into your favorite sugar cookie recipe adds a delicious floral note, like in my Lemon & Lavender Shortbread Cookies.
For a super-refreshing drink, whip up my Lavender-Mint Lime Cooler – drink it over ice or with a splash of gin, vodka or silver rum for summertime sipping perfection!
If you appreciate lavender as much as I do, be sure to check out the Sequim Lavender Festival. It’s a lavender-lover’s dream with tours of the local lavender fields, delicious lavender-infused foods and drinks as well as tons of sweet-scented goods and wares. It runs from July 20th to the 22nd – don’t miss this fun festival!
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®
Lavender-Mint Lime Cooler
Zesty lime syrup with fresh lavender and 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 Paramount Citrus 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™