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© 2016 by Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger.  All Rights Reserved

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Lavender

September 15, 2011

Lavender

Lavender, a member of the mint family, is originally native to the Mediterranean and other dry sandy regions.   Its usage has been traced back to ancient Greece.  Lavender grows well in cool moist winters and hot, dry summers.  It is drought tolerant, and bug resistant.  One of the major lavender production centers in the world varies around Provence, France.         

Lavender Field near Manosque, France

Picture courtesy of Chef Richard Barth

Commonly, lavenders, only been found in soaps, perfumes, but it is also one of the main ingredients of Herbes de Provence.  It can also be found in baked goods and sweets.

       Herbes de Provence (erbs-day-pro-vanss) is a mixture of oregano or marjoram, thyme, basil, sage, savory, lavender flowers and rosemary- all dried.  Some also include chervil, or fennel seeds as well.

 

            There are approximately 28 varieties of Lavender; English, spike, Spanish, French, woolly, and lavandin, being among the most common.  English lavender is sweet scented.  Spiked lavender attracts insects.  Lavandin lavender is a hybrid between Spiked and English lavender.  Spanish lavender has a pine fragrance.

            Lavender’s scent is widely used for fragrances and natural recedes, including soaps and lotions and oils.  Its scent is used to induce calmness and reduce anxiety.  It helps with nausea, headaches, insomnia, depression, and stomach woes.  Steeping the flowers in hot tea before drinking with a little honey helps with upset stomachs.

Dried Lavender Blossoms

 

            When using lavender, a little goes a long way.  If substituting dry for fresh, use a 1 to 3 ratio.  It should be reconstituted first with a little warm water or milk if possible if it is going to be mixed in a food that is wet or moist.    Making lavender sugar, if being used for sweet items is a successful way to use and store the lavender.  Pureeing white or natural sugar with dried or fresh lavender flowers will infuse the sugar.  If using fresh flowers for lavender sugar- store the sugar in the refrigerator in an airtight container to preserve the color.  Sugar made with dried flowers can be stored at room temperature, in an airtight container as well.  (This makes a great holiday gift in a decorative jar!)  Both the leaves and flower can be eaten and used in other applications.

 

                                                         

 

French Lavender                                     Spanish Lavender        English Lavender

 

 

Lavender Pairings

 

Almonds

Apples

Berries

Blackberries

Black currants

Blueberries

Cherries

Chicken

Cream

Crème frâiche

Custards

Duck

Figs

Game birds

Ginger

Goat cheese, esp. Chevre

Honey

Lamb

Lemon

Lemonade

Lemon curd

Marjoram

Mascarpone Cheese

Milk

Mint

Onions

Orange

Oregano

Parsley

Peaches

Pistachios

Plums

Pork

Potatoes

Quail

Rabbit

Raspberries

Rhubarb

Rice

Ricotta cheese

Rosemary

Savory

Spearmint

Strawberries

Sugar/ sweet

Tea

Thyme

Vanilla

Vinegar, esp. balsamic

walnuts

 

 

Lavender Field near Manosque, France

Picture courtesy of Chef Richard Barth

 

Herbes de Provence
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon chervil
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon summer savory
1 teaspoon lavender
1 teaspoon tarragon
1 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon mint
2 powdered or chopped bay leaves

 

Lavender Lemonade         

4 cups water, divided

1/4 cup chopped fresh lavender leaves

2/3 cups sugar

1 cup fresh lemon juice

lavender stems

 

            Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Combine the boiling water and lavender in a medium bowl, cover and steep 30 minutes.  Strain the lavender mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl; discard lavender leaves.

            Combine 3 cups water and sugar in saucepan.  Bring the mixture to a boil, and cook 1 minute or until sugar is dissolved.  Combine lavender water, sugar syrup and lemon juice in a pitcher.  Cover and chill.  Serve over ice.  Garnish lemonade with lavender stems.  Serves 5.

 

 

Peach and Cherry Turnovers with Lavender Cheese Filling

Chef Jennifer Denlinger

 

Makes 4 turnovers

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry or Danish dough, defrosted, but chilled

1 egg, beaten well

3-4 RIPE peaches, depending on size, peeled, and cut into narrow slices

1 cup of fresh cherries, pitted, and halved

Pinch of cinnamon

 

½ cup sugar, or to taste

1 tbsp cornstarch

½ cup ricotta cheese

1 tbsp lavender blossoms, chopped as fine as possible

1 tbsp honey, or to taste

 

Clear sprinkles or sanding sugar, optional

 

 

 

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F, if baking turnovers now.

  2. Combine the cherries and the peaches in a bowl. 

  3. Toss with cinnamon, and sugar to taste. 

  4. Mix in the cornstarch, and let stand for a few minutes.

  5. In the meantime, combine the ricotta cheese, lavender blossoms, and honey.

  6. Lay the puff pastry out on a surface that it will not stick to.

  7. Slice the puff pastry into 4 even squares.  If needed, trim the pastry down, so you have 4 squares, not 4 rectangles.

  8. On each square, put about ¼ cup of the fruit filling in the center, and one heaping tbsp of the ricotta cheese mixture.

  9. Fold the pastry in half, from corner to corner, to form a triangle.

  10. Press the edges together in order to seal the pastry.  With a fork crimp the edges.

  11. ***If baking the turnovers now, continue on.If you are going to save the turnovers to bake later, or freeze, do not do this until you are ready to bake them. ***

  12. Brush the turnover with beaten egg.

  13. If desired sprinkle with clear sprinkles or sanding sugar.

  14. Bake in a 375° oven until golden brown and flakey.  (Recommended to use a nonstick pan, that’s not dark, or parchment paper)

  15. Cool slightly before eating!

  16. These can be made in advance and frozen, and defrosted before baking, or held in the refrigerator for several days unbaked.  Just wait to egg wash and sprinkle them until you are ready to bake them!

 

Savory Lavender Goat Cheese Tart

1-1/2 cup all purpose flour

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp ground dried lavender flowers

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 egg yolk

4-5 tbsp ice water

butter for greasing tart pan

10-12 oz goat cheese softened

1 # cream cheese, softened

1/2 tsp ground dried lavender flowers

1/4 tsp dried rosemary

1/4 tsp dried marjoram

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp fresh chopped chives or more to taste

1 tsp fresh parsley  or more to taste

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp roasted garlic puree

3 eggs

1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp pine nuts toasted, divided

 

            To prepare the crust; in a large mixing bowl combine the flour, salt, lavender and pepper.  Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some pea sized pieces of butter.  Make a well in the middle and add the egg yolk and water.  Using a fork, drew the flour and butter mixture into the liquid from the sides, working more in gradually until a dough forms.  Shape into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days.

            Lightly grease a 10 inch tart pan with butter.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out evenly to fit into the tart pan and transfer to the pan.  Chill for 15 minutes.

            Heat the oven to 350F.  Prick holes in the bottom of the tart shell and prebake about 15 minutes or until the edges start to brown.

            Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat together the goat cheese, cream cheese, lavender, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, chives, parsley, black pepper, and garlic and puree until smooth.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time; beat well after each addition.  Chop 1/3 cup of the pine nuts and fold into the batter.

            Spoon the batter into the pre-baked tart shell and sprinkle the top with the remaining whole pine nuts.  Bake at 350F for 30-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the filling has risen.

            Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.  Cut into 12 slices.

 

© 2011 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger       All rights reserved

 

Cite me:  Denlinger, J.  (2011, September 15).  Lavender.  Retrieved from:  FloridaChef.net

 

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Enjoying a sustainable, organic, lifestyle indulging in all Florida's Cuisines throughout the seasons

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