Culinary Lavender Recipes

The following recipes are courtesy of The Lavender Gourmet by Jennifer Vasich

Chocolate Lavender Raspberry Jam

This jam is lovely on toast, biscuits, and tastes absolutely amazing when spread over a fresh croissant. Although any variety of fruit can be used in this easy-to-make chocolate jam, our favorite is raspberry since it mingles so well with the lavender and chocolate.

8 ½ cups fresh raspberries (about 2 lbs)
3 cups sugar
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 ½ cups bittersweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp organic culinary lavender buds

In a heavy bottom saucepan, mix together the raspberries, sugar and lemon juice. Place over a medium heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, while stirring slowly. (Skim off any foam from the surface, if necessary) Remove from the heat and set aside.

Add the chocolate chips and lavender buds to the raspberry mixture and stir until the chocolate chips are completely melted. Convert the mixture to a large bowl and cover with parchment paper. Refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to mature.

The jam can be stored in airtight containers and kept frozen for up to 3 months or until ready to use. If you prefer, they may also be kept in seal-tight jars (by following the canning directions below) and stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. Once opened, store in the refrigerator and use within one month.

Directions for canning: Heat six 8-ounce glass jam jars in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove from the water and allow them to cool and dry. Transfer the raspberry mixture back to the saucepan and bring it to a simmer over a medium heat for 10 minutes. (Skim any foam from the surface, if necessary.)

Remove saucepan from the heat and fill the jars immediately. (Use oven mitts to hold the jars, as they will become very hot) Cover the jars and turn them upside down and allow to cool overnight. Store unopened jars in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months. Once opened, store in the refrigerator and use within 1 month.

Sparkling Lavender Lemonade

We’ve turned a classic Lavender Festival Favorite into a cool sparkling beverage! The lemon and lavender blend together perfectly, and we have substituted the sugar with honey for its healthful benefits and wonderful flavor. For best results, we recommend that you use a local raw honey, which can be found at most health food stores or gourmet food markets. We hope you enjoy this perfect summertime refresher.

2 Cups Water
1 Cup Raw Honey
2 Tbsp Organic Culinary Lavender Buds
1 Cup fresh lemon juice
2 Cups sparkling water
lavender sprigs and lemon wedges, for garnish

Directions: Combine the water, honey and lavender buds in a small saucepan. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from the heat as soon as the syrup comes to a boil. Set aside and allow the mixture steep for 10 minutes. Strain the lavender buds from the syrup and let it cool. Discard lavender buds. Combine the cooled syrup and lemon juice in a pitcher. Add sparkling water. In tall glasses, pour the Sparkling Lavender Lemonade over ice, and garnish lavender sprigs and lemon wedges.

Peach Nectar & Lavender Iced Tea

The combination of peach nectar and lavender tea make a lovely cold beverage. This iced tea is perfect for a special occasion, and tastes heavenly on a hot summer day.

2 (11.5 ounce) cans peach nectar
2 Tbsp organic culinary lavender buds
2 Earl Grey tea bags
6 cups cold water, divided
½ cup sugar
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
In a small saucepan, boil 3 cups of the water with the lavender buds and tea bags. Once the water begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer the lavender for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, remove the tea bags and strain the lavender buds away from the water, reserving the herbal infusion. Discard the tea bags and lavender buds. Stir the sugar in the lavender infusion until the sugar is completely dissolved.
In a large pitcher, combine the peach nectar, cold water, lavender infusion, lemon juice and stir well. Serve over ice and garnish with a fresh sprig of lavender (optional).

Rich Lavender Honey Ice Cream

My husband, who is an ice cream fanatic, says that the flavor of this frozen dessert is utterly amazing, unlike anything he has ever tried! With the addition of the eggs and cream, this recipe actually makes a frozen custard (also called French ice cream) and is much richer and creamier than ordinary ice cream. Bon Apetit!

1 Cup Whole Milk, plus 1 Tbsp.
2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
2 Large Eggs
3 Large Egg Yolks
¾ Cup Sugar
2 Tbsp Lavender
2 Tbsp Raw Honey
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Freeze the insert of an ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions.

In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, cream and lavender. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Once the cream begins to boil, immediately reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and using caution to not scald the milk. Remove from heat and strain the lavender buds away from the cream. Discard the lavender buds and set the cream mixture aside. Add the honey to the cream mixture and stir until completely smooth.

In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes with a hand mixer until the mixture is pale yellow with a thick, smooth texture.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the cream mixture to the eggs, about 1 cup at a time. When thoroughly combined, pour the egg and cream mixture back into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat. (Do not boil) Cook until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Transfer to a bowl and cover the custard with a sheet of plastic wrap placed directly on the custard. Chill, covered, until cold, at least 3 hours or overnight.
Freeze custard in ice cream maker and let it mix until thickened, about 25-35 minutes.  Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.

Banana Nut French Toast with Lavender Honey Butter

Several years ago, my sister Sharon treated me to a “girls weekend away” in Manistee, Michigan at a quaint little Bed & Breakfast near Lake Michigan. We thoroughly enjoyed a relaxing weekend, and while there, the innkeepers made an incredible breakfast that included French toast with a sumptuous banana-nut filling. The recipe here is my own version of that decadent breakfast, which tastes absolutely amazing when served with homemade lavender honey butter.

Banana Nut French Toast:
3 Ripe Bananas, mashed
3 Eggs, slightly beaten
¾ cup Milk
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
10-12 slices French Bread, sliced ½ inch thick, preferably a day old
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
butter, for frying

Beat together the banana, eggs, milk, vanilla, brown sugar and nutmeg. Beat with an electric mixer until well incorporated. Melt a nub of butter in large skillet over  medium-high heat. Dip each piece of bread in the batter, turning to coat evenly. Place in the skillet, turning once until brown on both sides. Serve with lavender honey butter and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

Lavender Honey Butter

2 sticks butter, softened
¼ cup honey
1 tsp organic culinary lavender buds

In a medium sized mixing bowl, whip together the ingredients until light and fluffy. Remove butter from the bowl and spoon onto parchment paper or plastic wrap. Form into a log and refrigerate for 2 hours before using. The honey butter may be stored in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
Tip: to make lavender honey butter without the lavender “buds” in the finished product, simply substitute ¼ cup of prepared lavender honey for the honey and lavender buds. 

Tabbouleh with Garlic & Lavender

This is my own version of Lebanese-style Tabbouleh. We enjoy it with toasted pita chips and fresh hommous, although it is delicious enough to serve on its own.

1 cup bulgur wheat
1 cup hot water
1 ¼ cups fresh parsley, chopped fine
¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
1/3 cup green onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp organic culinary lavender
¼ tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped fine

Soak the bulgur wheat in the hot water for 15-20 minutes. Drain any excess water and place the bulgur in a large mixing bowl. Add the parsley, mint, onion, garlic, oregano, lavender, salt and pepper and mix well. Add the lemon juice, olive oil and tomatoes and mix well.

Refrigerate for 4 hours before serving. Mix well before serving. 

Lavender Grilled Salmon with Herb-Seasoned Vegetables

This Grilled Salmon was created by Victoria Connolly, owner of Victoria’s Delights in downtown Oxford, Michigan. Victoria’s has catered our annual Michigan Lavender Festival for years, and her fresh and healthy bistro-to-go menu is something that everyone looks forward to with great anticipation. We like to serve her recipe for grilled salmon with fresh seasonal vegetables, which makes a great meal every time.

3 lbs Salmon fillets
4 Tbsp honey
6 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp organic culinary lavender buds, chopped
¼ cup white wine
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Combine all of the ingredients, except for the salmon, in a saucepan and heat over a medium heat. Stir constantly with a wire whisk until the sauce is reduced by 1/3. Remove from heat and set aside.

Season fillets with salt and pepper, to taste. When sauce has cooled slightly, brush on the salmon fillets.

Grill the salmon on a gas or charcoal grill, basting with the sauce every few minutes. Set aside some sauce to top with before serving. Salmon is cooked when the fish flakes easily or when the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees Fahrenheit with a meat thermometer. Serves 4.

Herb-Seasoned Vegetables

1 (10 oz) pkg frozen asparagus, thawed and drained
1 cup carrot, sliced thin
½ small yellow onion, cubed
1 cup red bell pepper, sliced thin
2 Tbsp melted butter
½ tsp thyme
sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

In a small saucepan, cook together the butter, carrots, onions and pepper over a medium heat until the carrots are slightly tender. (about 5 minutes) Add the asparagus and thyme, and continue to cook until the asparagus is heated through. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and serve with Lavender Grilled Salmon. Serves 4.


Lavender Roasted Leg Of Lamb

This recipe is from my sister, Jan, who is an excellent cook. She has a fondness for recipes that are simple to prepare yet are full of flavor. Let not the simplicity of this dish fool you, it is full of both flavor and appeal.

2-3 lbs boneless leg of lamb
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium inion, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp organic culinary lavender buds
1 Cup Water
2 cups brussel sprouts
6-8 small red-skinned potatoes, quartered
2 cups baby carrots

Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions and garlic. Heat over a medium heat until the pan is hot. Add the lamb and sprinkle with the lavender, salt and pepper (to taste). Brown the lamb on both sides, approx 5-7 minutes on each side.

Place browned lamb and onions in a covered glass baking dish with a cup of water and bake for 1 hour and 20 min. Just before the cooking time is complete, cut the potatoes and set them aside.

Turn up the heat to 350 degrees and add the carrots, brussel sprouts and potatoes. Bake for 1 more hour.

When serving this dish, remember it is all in the presentation. We suggest sprinkling the outside of the plate with a confetti of chopped fresh parsley and finely diced red bell pepper. Then add the lamb and vegetables. Voila!

for garnish:
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)
2 Tbsp finely diced red bell pepper (optional)

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