Garnish in Mint, Infuse in Lavender

Have I ever mentioned how lovely and resilient lavender is? It’s the only herb my Potato, Carrot and Fennel Pancakes, Lavender-Lime Elixir and Gluten-Free Lavender Sugar Cookies will praise.

I took a chance on lavender at Whole Foods yesterday and didn’t fall short of my expectations. But whatever my saving grace was during the experiment completely failed me when I tried to do my best foodie photography. It’s my own fault, I’m still using my iPhone for photos while my DSLR collects dust in a corner somewhere.

But back to lavender: it’s a floral herb of the mint family. It smells great and will infuse a delicate aroma to dishes, but (and there’s always a but) steep or cook it too much and it will produce a bitter, metallic taste which I guarantee will bring your recipe to ruination. Case in point, I let my jar of the elixir sit in the fridge for about an hour after I started drinking it and there it was, metal floating where my lavender used to be.

Really I’m not great at the art of persuasion when it comes to lavender, but let these recipes lure you. All are organic, gluten-free and meat-free. I did use one egg each in the pancakes and the cookies but these can be easily eliminated through a flax substitution. Oh and they are absolutely delicious and guilt-free (well maybe not the cookies with all its Paula Deen-endorsed butter).

Lavender Lime Elixir

3 limes juiced, cut into quarters

2 sprigs fresh lavender

2 tsp honey

1 liter cold water (or seltzer, tonic, sparkling–all would be delicious)

Method: Mull lime, lavender and honey in a pitcher. Add water and stir until honey dissolves.

Gluten-free Potato, Carrot and Fennel Pancakes (with vegan option)

2 potatoes peeled and grated

2 carrots, grated

1 small fennel bulb grated

1/2 small onion, chopped

2 large garlic cloves, finely grated

leaves from 1 sprig lavender, finely chopped

1 tbsp flax seeds

1 egg (or replace with 1 tbsp flax seeds mixed with 1/4 cup water)

4 tablespoons coconut flour

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

coconut oil for frying

Method: Place grated fennel, potato and carrot in a dish or cheesecloth and squeeze out liquid. Mix with remaining ingredients until everything is combined. Flatten into small pancakes and fry in coconut oil until brown.

Gluten-Free Coconut and Lavender Sugar Cookies

1 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup ground flax seeds

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1 stick organic butter

3 tbsp organic honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg at room temperature, lightly beaten

10 lavender leaves, finely chopped

Method: Sift coconut flour. Add baking powder, flax seeds and sea salt and set aside. In large mixing bowl, beat butter with a hand mixer until thoroughly softened. Combine honey, egg and vanilla and beat into butter until combined. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and combine using a spatula. Press dough into a disc and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Roll cookie dough on a surface lightly dusted with coconut flour and cut out cookies. Bake for 8 minutes at 350F. Flip cookies over and bake 1 more minute. I served mine with organic raspberry preserve.

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