Cooking with Lavender

Lavender is one of my absolute all time favorite flowers. I love the scent! Never have I had trouble growing lavender til moving here. I’ve tried it in several different spots around the house and I cannot get it to survive. There are some nice lavender fields in central Texas so I don’t think it’s so much the climate as it is something else. We have different types of soil in different areas on our own property so I can’t imagine why I can’t get it to grow but I can’t. Next spring I’m going to plant some in the perennial area of the garden and see if it will grow out there.

I have never used lavender in cooking but 6 or 8 years ago, Chad found some lavender flavored hard candy and knowing my love of lavender and hard candy, he bought a jar of it for me. The first piece reminded me of soap, the second piece reminded me of the taste of perfume, the third taste, I was hooked and have yearned for more lavender candy and have never come across any of it again, though I’m sure it could be mail ordered if I searched.

In the Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin book, there’s a recipe for Lavender Jelly and I can’t wait to make it. That’s probably the first thing I’m going to make once I feel like cooking again.

Lavender

Lavender

I ordered this lavender – it’s supposed to be French Lavender and it says it is “sweeter”. It definitely smells sweet. This is 8 oz. of lavender and it’s quite a bit, considering the jelly recipe requires 1/4 cup and most recipes I’ve seen require 1 Tablespoon so while I’ve been recuperating, I’ve been searching for recipes that use lavender and here are some I can’t wait to try:

Seared Ahi Tuna with Lavender Pepper Crust
Honey Lavender Biscotti
Lavender Shortbread Cookies

Yes, I’m hungry and yes, I’m ready to get back in the kitchen and play so . . yes, I must be feeling better!

 

 

Jelly/Jam Recipes with Pomona’s Pectin

While looking for Pomona’s Pectin recently, I came across this book. The recipes in here are for the most part all water bath canned so you don’t have to have a huge canner. They’re mostly all small quantity (4 – 5 half pints), though the recipes using Pomona’s Pectin can be doubled or tripled. If you’re looking for outstanding, unusual recipes to make as gifts, and want to try your hand at jelly making, I recommend this book. 

Pomona's Pectin

Pomona’s Pectin

Most of the recipes call for ingredients that are easy to get but the combinations aren’t you usual jellies. A few that caught my attention:

  • Rosemary Wine Jelly
  • Holiday Spiced Plum Jam
  • Pear Ginger Jam
  • Balsamic Fig Jam
  • Peach-Champagne Jelly

There are recipes for preserves, conserves, jams . . this is a great book!

There isn’t a single recipe in this book that I wouldn’t love to try and while my guess is that all the recipes are available somewhere on the internet, it’s nice having a whole collection of them in a book and I never mind purchasing and recommending such a great resource.

If you order it, don’t forget to order the pectin too because chances are, it isn’t available for most of us locally and  you’re going to want to make something as soon as the book arrives.

 

 

Restaurant Menu

The other night when Vince and I left the restaurant where we had eaten – where his steak was dry and overcooked and where I got a pork chop after having ordered a beef filet, we left kinda shaking our head that the whole meal was below average at best. We decided . . it’s history, we won’t go back, so stop talking about it but I haven’t stopped thinking about it. I’m over the meal being bad but here’s what I keep thinking:  It’s a brand new building with a gorgeous view, with enough money behind the whole operation; the menu consists of only 7 or 8 entrees. How hard can it be to come up with 7 or 8 amazing dishes? Figure at least two of them are going to be beef . . grilled sirloin or ribeye and filet . . so then you only have to come up with 5 knock your socks off dishes.

As I’ve thought about our dinners at home the past two nights, I’ve been thinking about what I would put on the menu if I had to come up with 5 meat dishes. Without a doubt, not every customer is going to like all five of them but I would hope the average customer would narrow it down to three that sound great and then two that sound really great.

Have you ever thought about planning a menu for a restaurant? I’m sure cost has to be a big factor. The entrees at this restaurant were all in the $18 – $22 range.  It has to be something that’s easy enough to prepare . . probably when ordered.

If you were going to put three entree items on a restaurant menu, what would you put? I’m thinking most anything Pioneer Woman cooks would be a pretty good choice. It isn’t easy to name three dishes. I’ve gone through the recipes in my recipe section and am not sure any of those would go on a restaurant menu. We like them but they may not be restaurant quality or “I can’t wait to go back there and have that again”.

What recipes that you fix would you suggest for a restaurant menu? And, what have you had at restaurants that you would go back again and again just for that dish?