Chow Town

The daily dish on Kansas City's food and drink scene

Lavender: For the home and table

06/14/2013 2:24 PM

06/15/2013 8:43 AM

Lavender scented candles, bath salts and potpourri only begin to scratch the surface of the lavender scented items for the home.

We have laundry detergent, room spray, cleaners and so on and so forth. Which all have the alluring label of “stress relieving”, or “relaxing.”

Why not add this magical ingredient to your next dish?

It can be simply a finishing ingredient, similar to salt and pepper, or a bit more prominent as the floral notes break through cookies. Lavender adds just a hint of “ahhhh.”

It seems to be a well-rounded culinary herb. Lavender has wonderful aromatherapy properties and it looks great in the yard. It beautifully withstands the Kansas bi-polar weather, coming back to life in early summer with dots of amethyst.

Lavender is rosemary’s softer more complex cousin, accentuating pastries, dressings, sauces, salads and even standing up to poultry.

For a lavender beginner, pair it with an equally as beautiful fruit like strawberries or maybe grilled peaches. The oils of the lavender compliment the tart and sweet taste.

The influence of the aroma of slightly warmed lavender caressing your face is pleasing, like a warm bubble bath, just before your first bite. Lavender merely initiates your taste buds for a perfumed delightful culinary experience.

Pull a few sprigs out of the garden and sprinkle over strawberries, or roasted beets the next time you think about it. Once you are familiar with the impact of lavender try adding it to more recipes.

These are easy simple recipes to start using lavender in your kitchen.

Lavender Vanilla Sugar Makes 2 Cups 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup lavender buds and blooms

Combine 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar and the lavender into a mortar bowl. Delicately bruise the lavender into the granulated sugar. Combine the mixture with the remaining sugar. Keep in an airtight container.

Grilled Peaches Makes 6 servings 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 1/4 cup olive oil 2 teaspoon honey 1 teaspoon vanilla 1teaspoon cinnamon 1 pinch sea salt 6 ripe peaches, washed and pitted Gelato of choice, I like sea salt and caramel or mascarpone Lavender buds and additional honey for garnish

Whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, honey, vanilla, cinnamon and salt, toss the peaches into the marinade and let stand for 20-30 minutes. Place the peaches on hot grill for about 2 minutes on each side. Scoop gelato on top and garnish with lavender and drizzle with clover honey.

Lemon Cookies with Lavender icing Makes 24 cookies

For the cookies:

3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 tablespoon lemon zest 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

For the icing:

1/2 cup lemon juice 2 cup confectioners’ sugar 2 tablespoon lavender buds plus more for garnish

To prepare the cookies:

Beat the butter and sugar with the paddle attachment in your mixer until light and fluffy. Add the lemon zest and flour. On low speed mix until incorporated. Roll into a long cylinder (sausage shape). Wrap in wax paper and chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and cut into 1/4-1/2 inch thick cookies. Place 1/2 inch apart on a non-stick baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cookies begin to turn brown. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool

To prepare the icing:

Mix all ingredients together reserving the lavender for garnish. Dip the top of the cooled cookies into the icing. Place a lavender bud atop the cookie for garnish. Allow hardening about 10-15 minutes before serving.

Source: Renee Kelly

Renee Kelly is the owner of Renee Kelly's Harvest in Johnson County. Her passion lies in changing the food system, one plate at a time. Her inspiration is Mother nature and the many growers in the Kansas City area.

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