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 Iโ€™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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