Tag Archives: Lavender

Lavender Salt & Sugar

This post is so quick and easy I can hardly call it a recipe.

But pretty? Yes.  Delicious?  Oh, yeah.

Welcome, lavender salt and lavender sugar.  I’ve seen you around the blog universe, and I think even Martha Stewart would appreciate your gift-worthiness.  Plus, lavender grown in my very own herb garden made you extra easy to make–and real cheap.

Lavender Salt or Sugar

  • 1/2 C sugar (white or brown) or coarse sea salt
  • 3 t dried lavender buds (make sure they are approved for eating!)

I gave the lavender buds a quick whirl in my coffee grinder to break them up a bit and release some of those fragrant (not to mention delicious) oils.  I kept them mostly whole, so they were recognizable as lavender buds, though.

Either layer or combine the salt or sugar with the lavender in a glass container (or hey, you could go plastic if you want) with a lid. 

Well, that’s it.  You’re done.

I did a small one with brown sugar (probably only a quarter of a cup of sugar, if that) for sprinkling on top of oatmeal or baked goods.

I also did a bigger one with coarse sea salt–which would also be amazing on top of baked goodies (lavender salted chocolate fudge, anyone?), or fish, or pork.

Lastly, I made a fairly large container of plain white sugar–I figured I could add small amounts to things that I am baking for some extra flavor.  Or imagine rolling snickerdoodles in lavender sugar?  Gosh.

So many possibilities.

And of course, this makes a cheap and easy gift, especially if you tie a sweet label with some ribbon or string.

Christmas is coming up, ya know! 

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Cheesy Peasy Couscous

Today was just one of those days.  One of those days when you feel a headache starting off as soon as you wake up, when class seems to take twice as long as normal, when the erratic driver in front of you on the drive home makes you want to cry rather than laugh, when you come home needing a simple and quick comfort food.

Just one of those days.

I needed the ultimate comfort food–one that contains the dairy trifecta: milk, cheese, and butter.  And because dairy does not equal “unhealthy”, you can use all three of those in some delicious moderation and eat comfort food that can still make you feel good.  ‘Cause on days like these, guilt is the last thing you need on your plate.

Cheesy Peasy Couscous (Printable Recipe Card)

  • 1 T butter
  • 1 1/2 C broth (I used one chicken bouillon cube and 1 1/2 C water)
  • 1 C frozen peas, defrosted and drained
  • 1 1/2 C dry couscous
  • 2 T whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 C skim milk
  • 1/2 C Gruyère cheese (or other cheese)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 t smoked paprika

Preheat the broiler.  Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the peas and the broth (or bouillon and water). 

Bring the whole mixture to a boil and take off the heat.  Pour in the dried couscous and cover with a lid or plate, and let it sit for fifteen minutes until it absorbs all the broth and gets nice and fluffy.  Place the couscous into a casserole dish and get ready for the cheesy magic.

While you are waiting, make the cheese sauce.  In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the flour, milk, and cheese until a nice, smooth, thick sauce forms–it should only take a few minutes.  Pour the sauce over the couscous mixture and mix it in.

Lookin’ good!  Add a bit of salt and shake the smoked paprika over the top.  Smooth the mixture out, and place under the broiler until a nice golden brown crust forms, about 5-10 minutes.

That’s it!  Salt and pepper your serving to taste and eat right away.  It’s kind of like a cross between mac and cheese and a casserole.  I bet this would be even better with pearled couscous, ’cause it’d be even closer in texture to standard macaroni. 

Fritz walked in as I was taking pictures of the finished product, and he was super excited to see this–he grew up with a lot more casserole-type dishes than I did, and he loves seein’ them come out of the oven.  Spoon it all into a big dish, and let that comfort just roll over ya.

It’s okay if you want to add a little extra smoked paprika.  I’m going to need to join Smoked Paprika Anonymous if things keep heading in this direction.

I also did a little work in the garden a few days ago and harvested a bunch of lavender.  Since it seemed like a waste to hang them up to dry in the closet (far away from my eyes and nose), I put a few stems each into a bunch of glass jars and let them dry as a centerpiece for the table.  They looked beautiful, smelled great, and only took a few days to dry.  Now I just have to figure out what I want to make with them–lavender eye pillows? Lavender salt?  Lavender ice cream? 

So many ideas, so little time!

Have you ever made anything with dried lavender?  Any ideas for me?

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Filed under Entrees

Herbs–Garden Edition

I planted my baby tomato plants today in a last-ditch effort to save ’em after I accidentally left them outside in direct hot burning sunlight for a full day.  They got sunburned.  Badly.  After a week of TLC, they seemed to recover somewhat, so I figured it was time for them to graduate.

Luckily it was a gray, drizzly day outside, so they weren’t subjected to more intense UV rays while they settled in their new home.

Since the rest of my herb garden is springing up tremendously well, I thought I’d give you a look-see.  We planted this herb garden all from seed last year (and basil and tomatoes from seed again this year), and the ease with which it grew has really astounded me.  Why doesn’t every cook have a garden?  I know from now on I will always have these herbs in my garden–it’s so convenient and cheap!

Maybe I did inherit some of my mom’s green thumb!

We planted some catnip in the back to fuel Henry’s hysterical addiction–it hasn’t been growing well (too sandy?) and I almost gave up hope, but today I found this:

In our herb garden, our littlest baby, basil (can’t wait for some fresh pesto!):

‘Course there’s the chives, which you’ve recently witnessed starring in a vinegar recipe (which has since turned a beautiful pink color!):

Next up, lavender!  Best use of lavender so far has been in this pork chop dry rub–different, and perfect.  I’m excited because this year the lavender is much more plentiful than last year, and up way earlier, so I’m hoping for a lot more flowers.

Can’t have an herb garden without parsley–how else is a girl to garnish everything, or make pasta puttanesca?

We have a large amount of sage, which I’ve used to great success in this garlic and sage bread or in this chicken breakfast sausage:

Of course I have one of my most-used herbs, thyme, which is perfect for any and all soups, including this corn chowder, one of my first recipes on this blog! (Please don’t laugh at the quality of that post!  I was just learning!):

I didn’t plant cilantro this year, and I was kind of sad because I’ve seen a couple of recipes lately that I wanted to try that call for it.  Imagine my joy and surprise today when I discovered some seeds from last year must have regenerated!  I was weeding and just knew I smelled cilantro. Yes!  Hello, open-faced tacos!

And mint.  Ah, mint.  I planted this solely so I could make copious amounts of mojitos all summer long.  But if plenty of fresh alcoholic drinks aren’t your thing, how about some fresh minty green iced tea (recipe coming soon to a blog near you!):

Last but not least, my precious tomatoes.  I hope you live.  I really want to eat you in chili form (pumpkin bowl or not)!

In other garden news, look who bloomed today!  First one of the year!  These irises (iris? irisi?) traveled all the way from my parent’s house two years ago:

Judging by the looks of things around the house, I think it’s rapidly approaching bedtime.  Even Henry’s tuckered out:

(Thanks Mom for the box and its pre-cat contents today!)

Another full day of studying tomorrow–and some procrastinating, I’m sure.  Speaking of which, how do you like the new blog design?  I wanted something bright and summery!

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Filed under Non-food things I like

Lavender, Thyme, and Rosemary Dry Rub

1) Happy Π day! 

2) I wanted to bake a pie to celebrate because any self-respecting science-and-maths-loving food blogger should.

3)  But it’s midterms week…so I didn’t do that.

4)  I took two out of my seven midterms today and did well on them–but I am now completely drained and can’t possibly imagine ever studying again. 

5)  So instead, Fritz and I are watching Wedding Crashers and I’m blogging and editing pictures.

6)  We also just ate a frozen pizza for dinner.

7)  It was incredibly delicious.

8)  It wasn’t frozen when we ate it.

9)  I still have a lot of tests to go, so I should probably get this post moving along so I can hit the books again.

My mom called me a few days ago and told me she bought me a book about herbs–how to grow them, harvest them, use them, etc.  It’s pretty exciting because I started an herb garden last year, and I spotted some babies starting to grow already.

Anyway, Mom was paging through the book and reading me some of the ideas over the phone, and she mentioned a recipe for lavender syrup.  That got my brain going–I completely forgot that you can eat lavender, not just bask in the glory of its luscious smell. 

I had pork chops in the fridge, and a quick google later this dry rub was born.

Lavender, Thyme, and Rosemary Dry Rub

  • 1 t dried lavender (you can buy culinary lavender in some grocery stores if you don’t happen to have some from your herb garden)
  • 2 t dried thyme
  • 1 t dried rosemary
  • 1/4t-1/2 t salt, depending on your personal taste (start low!)
  • 1/4 t ground white pepper

Roughly crush the spices (lavender, thyme, and rosemary) in a mortar and pestle–or use a spice grinder if you want finer spices.

Dry two pork chops with paper towels, and rub the dry rub into it with your fingers on both sides.

Grill ’em up!

Our gas grill ran out of gas, so Fritz broke out the charcoal even though it was a little windy out.  I had completely forgotten how the smell of a charcoal grill is beyond amazing.  It smells like camping and fire and summer nights…

Wow.

I’m off to study some more–enjoy your last few minutes of that Daylight Savings Time light.

Oh–and,

10)  This was the best dry rub we’ve ever had.  So delicious.

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Filed under Spice Mixes