Lavender – Beyond Air Freshener, Potpourri, and Cologne

lavender-flower-harvest

So, we all know how wonderful lavender smells, right?  It may well be up there as one of the most popular potpourri and air freshener scents.  And what about cologne?  Right up there as well.

But, have you ever thought about using it in your culinary adventures?DSC01464

Lavender Shortbread Cookies

2  cups shortening, either Earth Balance (softened) or Coconut oil

1 cup packed brown sugar or coconut sugar

3 tablespoons dried lavender flower buds, very lightly crushed so as not to lose their shape but enough to release their fragrance

3-3/4 cups white whole wheat flour, plus an extra 3/4 cup

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Cream shortening with sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Mix lavender flour buds into the 3-3/4 cups flour.
  4. Add 3-3/4 cup flour to the shortening/sugar mixture, and mix well.
  5. Turn onto lightly-floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.  As you are kneading, add as much of the ¾ cup extra flour in as you need to form a soft dough.
  6. Roll to ½” thick, squaring off the edges.  Cut into cookie strips that are approximately 1”x3”.  Gently place them onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
  7. Prick shortbread with a fork to give the cookies their classic look.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cookies are lightly browned.

You should get approximately 4 dozen cookies.

These shortbread are great enough to stand on their own, but how about pairing them with a dish of coconut ice cream, and some cherries soaked in kirsch?  What about pairing them with a cup of tea?…

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Ah, a cup of tea, you ask?

tea-cup

Well, I like using loose-leaf teas.  In addition to reducing waste by not using tea bags, it enables you to buy a plethora of teas in much smaller quantities.

One of my favorite things to do is infuse either a really good Asam Gold Black Tea or Green Tea with spices/herbs.  Lavender is perfect for either of these teas.  For every cup of tea, I’d use approximately 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of lightly mortared dried lavender flower buds along with your desired amount of loose leaf teas.  Of course, if you use tea bags, you could do so, just put the lavender in a tea ball or tea pot, then strain.

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Have you ever thought about using it for a compound butter?

Well, first of all, you might be asking, “What Is A Compound Butter?”  It’s really simple, as soon as you mix anything into ‘butter’, it becomes a compound ‘butter’.  For example, add some garlic and sherry or white wine, you have a compound butter.  Add chives, sea salt, black pepper, paprika, you have a compound butter.  Add mortared lavender and a dash of sweetener, you have a compound butter.  Now, you can use Earth Balance or coconut oil for a wonderful and delicious foundation for your compound butter.  The sky is the limit.

Try adding some lightly mortared lavender to your ‘butter’.  Become imaginative.  Add in some lightly toasted pine nuts.  Maybe add a touch of agave or coconut sugar for sweetness and to perk up the lavender.  Keep this one simple.  You don’t want the lavender competing with other strong(er) flavors.   You can use this as a spread on toast or a bagel.  Or put a small dollop on your lightly grilled vegetables, such as asparagus.  Or adorn your pan roasted tofu or tempeh.

Do you see what I mean?  Just give it a thought, and I’m sure you will come up with boundless possibilities.

Enjoy!

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