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Friday, June 17, 2011

My Favorite Time Of Year

Well, it's my favorite time of year except for the heat. I still have not taken the time for a nap on the porch, but I figure if I keep the hammock looking enticing, one day I'll fall into it and have a nice, long nap. It's on my list of things to do.

It's the fresh vegetables that make it my favorite time of year. I've been really enjoying my CSA boxes....I get them from Moore Farms in Alabama.

I usually get their "farmer's pick" box, which means whatever is fresh and ready to pick that week, that's what you get in your box. I like the surprise each week. Everything has been really delicious...fresh lettuces, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, kale, fennel....love it!

The recent box also included kohlrabi and beets that I need to cook this weekend. Kohlrabi I'm not really familiar with and beets are not my favorite. But I'm definitely going to cook both this weekend. I think I'll use some of the kohlrabi raw in a slaw and cook the rest, as an experiment. The beets I plan to roast. Beets are not my favorite but honestly, I've never had fresh beets. So my challenge this weekend is to try these two new-to-me vegetables.
I'm so glad the season is upon us. And I'm trying to stick with my plan of eating what's in season, when things are at their peak. I've also been visiting local weekend farmer's markets and plan to try new ones this summer, branching out from my usual in-town markets. Can't wait!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Lavender Tea Cakes

I have a healthy lavender plant among my herbs and wanted to try cooking with lavender. Most of the recipes I found used the flower, but since I only had one lovely flower, I searched till I found a recipe that used the leaves.

So glad I was persistent because I came upon this lovely recipe for Lavender Tea Cakes!

I have this great mold that a friend gave me a while back (thanks, Lisa!) and I decided to use this instead of the loaf pan the recipe called for. I mixed up the batter ingredients, poured into the mold and baked for about 30 minutes. Then, I doubled the glaze recipe and added it to both the top and bottom of the cakes. I also added more lavender leaves into the glaze.

These cakes were delicious....moist and very flavorful. I'll definitely make these again and really glad I found a use for my lavender plant.

I changed the original recipe a little, so below is my adapted version....enjoy!

Lavender Tea Cakes

For the Cake:
1 cup granulated sugar
5 tbsp softened butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg plus 1 egg white
1 3/4 cups AP flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup plain fat-free yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
2 tbsp fresh lavender leaves, finely chopped

For the Glaze:
1/3 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp water
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh lavender leaves

Preheat oven to 350. Spray mold with cooking spray.

Beat sugar, butter and 1/2 tsp vanilla until well blended, about 5 minutes. Add egg and egg white one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with yogurt, beginning and ending with flour. Stir in lavender. Pour into molds and bake about 30 minutes.

Remove cakes from oven and spread with glaze. When cakes are cool enough to remove from mold, spread more glaze on top.