Saturday, January 05, 2008
I've been browsing around Kalyn's Kitchen a lot lately and decided to post a recipe for her Weekend Herb Blogging round-up.
I love eating lavender, thanks to my friend Sue, who introduced me to lavender "better butter" a few years ago. As I wrote in my Christmas Cookie post, if you've never eaten lavender-laced food, you must try it.
Lavender makes fragrant and tasty breads, drinks, and desserts like cookies, cakes, or custards. It goes particularly well with chocolate or green veggies. I like lavender mixed with melted butter then used as a dip for steamed artichokes and sprinkled on roasted asparagus or sauteed peas.
According to What's Cooking America: Flowers and leaves can be used fresh, and both buds and stems can be used dried. Lavender is a member of the mint family and is close to rosemary, sage, and thyme. It is best used with fennel, oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, and savory.
English lavender has the sweetest fragrance of all the lavenders and is the most commonly used in cooking. [...] Lavender has a sweet, floral flavor, with lemon and citrus notes. The potency of the lavender flowers increases with drying. In cooking, use 1/3 the quantity of dried flowers to fresh.
Note: Adding too much lavender to your recipe can be like eating perfume and will make your dish bitter. [...] A little goes a long way.
Here is a recipe from The Lavender Cookbook (by Sharon Shipley) for Garlicky Lavender Curry Hummus:
2 (15 ounce) cans garbanzo beans, rinsed & drained
2/3 cup tahini (sesame paste) or creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons dried culinary lavender buds, finely ground.
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves (optional)
In a food processor, combine the beans, tahini, water, lemon juice, oil, lavender, curry, salt & garlic. Process until smooth, adding more water as needed to reach desired consistency. Season with additional salt & lemon juice, if needed. Transfer to a shallow serving bowl and dust with the paprika & parsley (if using).
Serve with pita chips and raw veggies.