killing time between meals

where talking about what's for dinner while you're at lunch is totally acceptable


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Blueberry Lavender Jam

Summer produce is my favorite. Everything is juicier, sweeter, fresher, and cheaper. When pints of blueberries were on sale for less than $2, I decided to try making homemade jam. Jam is one of those things I’ve always wanted to make myself, but the task seemed daunting. I have canned strawberry jam with my mom in the past, and canning is such a process. But if you just want to make a couple of use-it-now jars, you should! Turns out, making your own jam is like making your own salad dressing—it’s so easy, why wouldn’t you do it yourself? I am a big fan of using lavender in my food, but if you’re not, that’s OK. Just leave it out. Your jam will still turn out thick and scrumptious.

jamingredients

Blueberry Lavender Jam
Makes 2 pints

6 cups (3 pints) fresh blueberries, rinsed & drained
1 lemon, zested
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1½ cups sugar
2 tablespoons culinary lavender

  • Make a lavender sachet using cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Simply place lavender inside and tie with string.

coffeefiltersachet

lavender sachet

  • Add blueberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar to a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Stir to combine.
    P.S. Did you know that you get more juice out of a lemon by cutting it length-wise? True story.

 

 

blueberriescook

  • Toss in the lavender sachet, and bring to a boil, stirring often.
  • Continue cooking for 25 to 35 minutes or until the mixture jells. Test for jell consistency by cooling a small amount on a plate and touching it with your fingers.
  • Remove and discard the sachet. Pour jam into jars and cool to room temperature. Store in the fridge & enjoy on muffins, toast, pancakes, and biscuits.

jamonmuffin

 


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First Day of Spring Cake

Spring has sprung, y’all! In honor of that, let’s have some lavender cake.

What? You’re not sure if you want lavender in your cake? Trust me. You do. Maybe the lavender cookies didn’t win you over, but this cake will. And the a tangy, creamy goat cheese icing balances it perfectly. This cake is also extremely simple to make, so you have no excuses.

Lavender Shortbread Cake
Adapted from Always With Butter
Serves 8-10

¾ cup butter, room temp
¾ cup sugar
3 eggs, room temp
1 ½ cups sifted all purpose flour
1 tablespoon culinary lavender, chopped
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons almond milk (or regular milk)
5 oz. chèvre goat cheese, room temp
4 oz. cream cheese, room temp
1 cup powdered sugar

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch cake pan.
  • Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Fold in flour, lavender, vanilla, and milk. The batter will be thick but creamy. Like this:

  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until cake is golden. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely on wire rack. Like this:

  • Beat together goat cheese, cream cheese, and powdered sugar until smooth. Lather on cooled cake and enjoy!


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Lavender—Not just for sachets

Next week, I am headed to Rhode Island to see my closest girlfriends who live the farthest away—Kristen & Anne Marie—who I met while studying abroad in college 10 years ago. I believe we actually started the killing-time-between-meals philosophy together. Because that’s just what we do.

Here we are in Chicago in January where we just left breakfast and are headed to lunch (AM sorry you are cut off):

And here we are having an EPIC brunch at my very favorite Nashville spot, Marche:

As per usual, we have already planned most of our meals for next week, and I requested we go to Al Forno primarily based on the fact that there is lavender panna cotta on the menu. I am ordering it. At the beginning.

The first time I saw lavender on a menu, I thought, Eww…Why would I want to eat something that tastes like linen spray? even thought it was in the form of a crème brulee. But fortunately my dinner companion ordered it anyway and shared it with me. I have been in love with eating lavender ever since.

My friend Christi has been with me when I freaked out (in a good way) over a lavender laced item on the menu, so she was sweet enough to pick up some culinary lavender for me at some fancy spice shop in Portland, OR.

I’ve been trying to find a recipe for a while, but aside from ice cream (famously mentioned by Meryl Streep in It’s Complicated), lavender recipes seem to be few and far between. So, I made up my own using my recipe sampling system. Here’s what I came up with:

Chocolate Dipped Lavender Shortbread(ish) Cookies
Makes exactly 1 ½ dozen

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup sugar + 2 tablespoons for sprinkling cookie tops
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 egg
½ tablespoon milk
½-1 tablespoon culinary lavendar, very finely chopped (kinda grind it up if you can; and be sure you don’t use too much—a little goes a very long way)
Dipping chocolate (I just melted some chocolate chips I already had)

  • Combine the dry ingredients and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in the egg, vanilla, and dry ingredients. Mixture will be crumbly.
  • Pour onto plastic wrap and form into a ball. Wrap tightly and chill for at least 20 minutes.
  • When ready to bake the cookies, preheat your oven 400 degrees.
  • Roll chilled dough into small balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Dip a small glass into the extra sugar and press each cookie to about ¼ inch. (You could also probably roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut out cookies with a cutter, but that was more trouble than I wanted to go to.)
  • Place the cookies on the baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden. Cool on a wire rack.

  • Once cookies are completely cool, melt the chocolate. Dip each cookie and place on parchment paper while the chocolate cools and hardens.
  • Store the ones you don’t share in an airtight container.

Next time, I think I will:

  • Use a bit less lavender. Christi, my unofficially official taste-tester, said that without the chocolate the cookie tasted a bit too flowery.
  • Make them a little flatter, or go to the effort of rolling them out with a rolling pin.
  • Try a lemon glaze on top instead of chocolate.
  • Make a lavender biscotti. Christi and I agree that would be delightful to dip in our coffee.