Lavender For Dinner
When was the last time you made a meal out of your flower bed? Edible flowers have been all the rage, but they are still often relegated to garnish or just for dessert. We’re going to make an entire meal with recipes using lavender.
Dried or fresh lavender buds can be found at farmers markets, festivals, or in your own garden. Buy or grow lavender that hasn’t had chemicals applied to it or the ground it grew in. Use English lavender as it is sweeter and has a fresher taste.
We’ll start with a Citrus Salad using Lavender/Mint White Balsamic Vinegar. Then move on to Lavender Roasted Potatoes and Grilled Pork Chops with Lavender and Herbs. Our finishing touch is a delicate Lavender Crème Brulee for dessert.
Lavender is the perfect edible flower to start using in your meals. It is easy to find, pairs well with both sweet and savory dishes, and can be used throughout the year either fresh or dried.
Citrus Salad with Lavender/Mint Infused White Balsamic Vinegar
- Cara Cara oranges, peeled and segmented
- Praline pecans (or other candied pecans or walnuts)
- Lavender/Mint White Balsamic Vinegar
- Fresh or dried mint flowers or dried lavender buds
- Baby spinach leaves
Place a large handful of spinach leaves on each individual salad plate. Put orange segments on top. Scatter candied nuts and Craisens on top of the spinach and oranges. Sprinkle a small amount of mint or lavender flowers over each salad. Drizzle lavender/mint white balsamic vinegar over each salad and serve immediately.
Lavender/Mint White Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 cup good white balsamic vinegar, such as Alessi
- 1 teaspoon dried lavender buds
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh mint (or 1 teaspoon dried)
Gently heat vinegar, take off heat and add lavender and mint. Let steep until cool. Pour into a lidded jar and set on counter for one week, shaking daily. Strain out herbs and pour into a pretty vinegar cruet or bottle sealed with a rubber stopper. This will can be kept on the countertop.
Lavender Roasted Potatoes
- 2 pounds small potatoes
- 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender buds, toasted lightly over gentle heat
Use a waxy potato with pink or purple flesh such as Red Thumb Fingerling which has bright red skin and pink flesh. Quarter the potatoes, toss with olive oil, pepper, salt, and lavender. Roast on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for approximately 30 minutes, stirring twice.
Grilled Pork Chops with Lavender and Herbs
- 3-4 pork chops, 1 inch or so thick (preferably fed on living pastures and acorns for richer flavor)
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh lavender flowers (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper
- 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Mix the herbs, flowers, salt, and pepper together thoroughly with the olive oil. Rub this mixture well into the pork chops, cover them with plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Heat one side of grill to medium-high. Lay chops directly over flame and grill uncovered for 1 1/2 minutes per side. Move chops to cool side of grill, close lid, and cook for about 12 minutes more until internal temperature is approx. 145 degrees. Remove to a platter, cover loosely, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Lemon Lavender Crème Brulee
(recipe should be made at least 4-5 hours in advance)
- 1 large egg
- 4 large egg yolks, additional
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon additional sugar to top each individual serving dish
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1 Tablespoon dried lavender buds
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract/2
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a stand mixer, blend egg, egg yolks, and ½ cup sugar on low speed until just combined. Scald the cream in a saucepan, then remove from heat. Add lavender buds and steep for one hour. Then add lemon zest and steep for 10 more minutes. Strain out the buds and zest. Now reheat the cream to barely simmering.
Turn mixer on low speed, and slowly pour the hot cream into the egg mixture. Add vanilla extract.
Pour the mixture into individual crème brulee dishes until almost full. Place dishes in glass baking pans adding boiling water to the pans up to the level of the custard in the dishes.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until custard is just set. Remove from oven, cool in the hot water bath in the pans for 20 minutes, then remove from pans and finish cooling on the counter. Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.
To serve, spread 1 Tablespoon sugar over each dish, heat sugar with a kitchen torch to caramelize it. Serve immediately.
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