In June I had the pleasure of hosting the Dahlia's Garden Club for a visit to the lavender farm, some lavender refreshments, and a little wand making fun. I read somewhere that french gentlemen would make the lavender wands and present them to their fiance's who would then use them to scent their trousseau's. I don't know if that is true or not, but wands are not only fun, and decorative, but they can be used for years in your linen closet, lingerie drawer, anywhere you need a natural bug repellant, or want to keep something fresh. A little squeeze reactivates the oils and pollens in the lavender and they smell fresh again and again. Such fun!
Unfortunately the lavender had already had it's peak blooming time and I had harvested most of it. I did leave some stalks so they could see what it looks like growing, and harvested some fresh stalks for wand making.
I decided on a mostly lavender-oriented menu so that I could discuss how fun it is to cook with lavender. (And we all know I can talk endlessly about that!)
We had Gooey Butter Cake, aka Chess Cake. But this time I added a fresh lavender blossom on top. Just the right amount of lavender for a little twist on an old standard. And pretty to look at! And Lavender Shortbread. You can take any shortbread recipe and just add some lavender to it. So good and so easy! A wonderful complement to the sorbet.
Poundcake with lavender. Again, you can add a little lavender to your favorite poundcake recipe for a new twist. And Coconut Macaroons sandwiched together with lavender-infused raspberry jam.
And Lavender Lemonade. Yummm!
You may have heard it's been in the high 90's here in southwest Oklahoma, and tomorrow it's supposed to be 100. I've been on a sorbet making kick of late. My basic sorbet recipe came from the July 2007 issue of Traditional Home magazine. The original recipe was for Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbet, but I have changed it and adapted it over and over again, each time trying something new. So here is my adaptation to create the Lavender Mixed Berry Sorbet. You will need an ice cream freezer to make this recipe.
2 cups frozen blueberries
In a medium saucepan combine 1 1/2 cups water, sugar, and lavender. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a boil and sugar dissolves. Add the culinary lavender and remove from heat and cool completely. Taste for intensity and let steep longer if needed. When it reaches the flavor you like strain the lavender out. In a food processor or blender, combine the blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries and process until nearly smooth. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and mix in the cooled sugar syrup. Cover and chill. Freeze in a 4 quart ice cream freezer according to directions. Makes 6 1/2-7 cups.
Lastly, a huge thank you to My Mom and Dad who were here visiting from Springfield, for helping me get things ready, and to my bro and sis-in-law Jim and Michelle, who were visiting from St. Charles, Missouri, for all of their help weeding and mowing out in the lavender field, and to my darling niece Elise for taking such good care of the puppies while we were all working. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Enjoy your sorbet, and stay cool!