LIVING LA VIDA LOCA….SEVEN DAYS OF EATING LAVENDER, DAY FIVE (LAVENDER FUDGE)

After taking a break for a few days to live life in the Florida Springs, I have resumed my goal of eating lavender somehow, some way, for seven days (with mixed results). Today is a winner. How could chocolate with a hint of anything ever go wrong?

After deciding I don’t like the texture of the dried lavender flowers between my teeth, I decided to strain them after putting them in a double boiler along with some butter and sweetened condensed milk before adding the chocolate. The result is a simple to make fudge with a hint of lavender, which is neither overpowering nor does it taste like soap.

I made it in a 9 x 9 inch square pan, but I think it would be better a little thicker in a 8 x 8 inch pan instead.

For those of you brave enough to give this a whirl, here is the recipe:

Lavender Fudge

Ingredients:

16 ounces chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli semi-sweet but next time I might try dark chocolate)

14 ounces sweetened condensed milk

1 Tablespoon dried lavender flowers (or 3 Tablespoons fresh0

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions:

  • Melt everything together butter, lavender flowers, and sweetened condensed milk in a double boiler. When melted, stir for about five minutes, then strain. Add the strained mixture back to the double boiler and add chocolate. Stir until smooth and melted. REALLY smooth and melted (almost glassy).
  • Pour into a pan lined with wax paper (approximately 9″ x 9″). Cover with Saran Wrap. Chill overnight.
  • Cut into 1″ squares.
  • Sprinkle fresh lavender sprigs on top layer to decorate if available!

Life is good; live life fully. Carpe diem, friends……….

lavender plant:dreamstime photo

LIVING LA VIDA LOCA….SEVEN DAYS OF EATING LAVENDER, DAY FOUR (LAVENDER LEMONADE)

dreamstime

Lavender lemonade. Such wonderful alliteration. I adored the sound of it, so today on day four of eating (or drinking) lavender, I knew THAT was exactly what I needed to make.

I steeped the lavender only thirty minutes in order to get a subtle lavender flavor to avoid that “soapy” taste I’ve encountered in some recipes. The recipe calls for steeping the lavender several hours alternatively if desired for a stronger lavender flavor.

My daughter really liked this tart lemonade (you can fiddle around with the amount of water, sugar, or lemon if necessary, too. I could see this lemonade mixed with seltzer water or sparkling wine, too, for a different refreshing drink.

Here is the recipe if you want to try this:

Ingredients:

  1. A small handful of freshly picked and rinsed lavender flowers or a Tablespoon of dried culinary lavender flowers (I used dried from Amazon).
  2. 1 cup white granulated sugar
  3. 2 cups of boiling water for the infusion
  4. 1.5 cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice from lemons (it helps to roll the lemons on the counter with the palm of your hand before juicing them to get maximum juice from each lemon.
  5. 2 cups or more of cold water
  6. ice

Directions:

  1. Cut the lavender flowers from the stem and place in a medium bowl. Pour the sugar over the flowers and use your fingers to gently rub the flowers into the sugar.
  2. Pour 2 cups of boiling water over the lavender sugar and stir until the sugar is melted. Cover and let infuse (or steep) for thirty minutes or up to several hours.
  3. Strain the lavender syrup into pitcher you just made, discarding the flowers.
  4. Stir in the lemon juice and add another two cups of water. Add more water, sugar, or lemon if desired according to taste. (more lemon if too sweet; more sugar if too tart.
  5. If desired, add a drop of purple food coloring.
  6. Chill and serve with ice, sliced lemons and a few lavender sprigs if available.

Life is good. Give something new a whirl today. Carpe diem, friends………..

LIVING LA VIDA LOCA….SEVEN DAYS OF EATING LAVENDER, DAY ONE (LAVENDER WATER)

I love lavender. In fact, I wear a lavender body spray from Bath and Body Works every night before I go to bed because I love the scent so much and have for years. They say lavender has many medicinal properties such as anti-inflamatory properties, help for insomnia, pain relief, and can help one relax. I’m not sure about any of that, but I just love lavender.

In my ever-present search to “shake things up” to live my life fully, I came up with the crazy idea of EATING lavender for seven days. Why not? Sounds fun. My daughter, who is game for just about anything, celebrated my search for satisfactory lavender recipes and offered some recipes she found herself. Other people I spoke to wondered WHY on Earth would we EVER eat lavender and remarked there is probably a reason lavender is not as ubiquitous as rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage, basil, or parsley. All the more reason to give it a whirl I said.

Day One. Having just received our culinary form of lavender (culinary form is important to avoid pesticides, chemicals, etc…), I was excited to begin. I thought we would start out with something simple. My daughter and I love fruit flavored water, so we decided we would try LAVENDER flavored water. We had already ordered culinary lavender from Amazon and were ready to begin.

I was thinking that the addition of another flavor might work out well, so I tried a recipe for lavender-mint water with the mint we grow in the yard. How could I go wrong with mint? This recipe was quick and easy, as you put some lavender in a tea strainer along with water and mint sprigs in a mason jar.

The mason jar steeps at least 8 hours in the refrigerator and is ready to drink after being strained for any stray lavender buds. Ready…..set…..drink……

culinary lavender from Amazon

Soap. Soap is what it tasted like to me. Not refreshing. Not anything but soap. My best friend here said to look on the bright side, and I should be glad at how clean my insides might be from this soapy confection with a laugh. And maybe the other person who said there probably is a reason why we don’t use lavender in our recipes was right. Just maybe that person who said that is always right. Note to self: try lavender in a recipe with some other flavor that “cuts’ the strong flavor of the lavender somehow. After a little research, I found out that lavender is, in fact, better if the flavor is “cut” somehow with something like dairy, lemon, or honey.

Can’t wait for tomorrow…….day TWO of la vie de loca with lavender.

Life is good; find something to shake things up today. Do the unexpected. Eat something you normally don’t or won’t eat.

Carpe diem, friends…..

(photo 1, 2,3 :dreamstime)