RECIPE // Lavender Syrup

The first time I had a lavender latte was on a west coast road trip I took with three of my friends. Somewhere between San Francisco, CA and Spokane, WA we stopped at a cafe (one of many). It was in a small town but their cafe was not to be mocked. That is one area where the west coast has us on the east coast beat. No matter how small a town is you are sure to find good coffee.

The place roasted their own coffee, had a great atmosphere, played Patsy Cline, and served lavender lattes. I ordered one because we were on an adventure and I was ready to try any new food I could. The latte was beautifully served with rosette latte art and a sprinkle of lavender buds on top. I tried it and was hooked. They don’t seem like they would go together but the robust flavor of coffee and the light, perfume flavor of lavender blend so well.

Since then my American taste buds have converted and I’ve been loving anything flower flavored. Unfortunately lavender lattes are hard to come by in my area.

I decided to try making my own and found out that it is so. dang. easy. I can whip up a batch in a matter of minutes and the homemade kind it by far better than the store bought variety. I keep a jar at home and at my office adding a spoonful or two to my iced or hot coffee. I love how lavender makes my everyday coffee a touch more elegant.

Because the everyday should be elegant, no?

Lavender Syrup

• 1 C. Water

• 1 C. Sugar (I used cane sugar but it you want the syrup to be clear instead or yellowish then use white sugar)

• 1/4 cup Dried Lavender (Make sure it’s food grade so it doesn’t have any icky pesticides on it)

Mix sugar and water in a small sauce pan. Heat until sugar is dissolved. Stir in lavender and brew for 15 min or until desired strength. Strain through a seive or cheesecloth. Store in the fridge.

To use: my favorite way to use it is in iced or hot coffee but I’m sure it would be good in iced tea, lemonade, seltzer water, or even champagne.

RECIPE // Peach Galette

Warm weather and therefore fruit season comes in much later in New York than in many other more southern states. This leaves us northerners envious of all of our southern friends instagram posts of strawberry picking and suntans. Peach season is still far in the future for NY but some friends of mine have fixed this problem by opening a little peach stand at a local bulk food store. The SweetPeach Company ships peaches up from South Carolina, peaches so good it almost feels like a sin to do anything other with them than eat them plain.

I decided to spare a few to bake in a galette. A galette is a rustic tart like dessert, almost like a pie but in my opinion so much better and so much more simple to make. You make a dough called pâte brisée, roll it flat pile it with fruit or even veggies, fold the edges up to hold in the filling and bake it. Easy as pie. Actually, easier than pie.

So far I’ve only made it peaches but I would love to try more variations. Perhaps blueberry or apple or even mushrooms cheese and herbs. The possibilities are endless.

Peach Galette 

1/2 Batch of Pâte Brisée
3 Peaches, pitted and cut into 1/2″ slices
Sugar
Salt
Cinnamon
Whites of One Egg

Preheat oven to 375*. On a piece of parchment roll the dough in a circle until it is about 12” across. If dough is to soft refrigerate for a few minutes. Arrange peaches on the center of the dough leaving 2” of dough uncovered around the edge. Sprinkle with sugar, salt, and cinnamon to taste. Fold edges up over the filling, pinching it every 3”. Brush egg whites on the dough and sprinkle sugar on the egg whites. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, turning pan halfway through baking. Best served warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

 

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

I got the pâte brisée recipe from The Splendid Table. If you’re a food nerd like me check out their podcast here. I’m also currently loving The Food Seen, A Taste of The Past, and anything by Heritage Radio Network.

I’m always looking for something new to listen to so tell me, what’s your favorite podcast (food or otherwise)?

Asparagus

IMG_1328

I absolutely love asparagus. It’s the first local veggie to become available in the early spring when everyone is to the point where they can barely deal with their cabin fever anymore. In my opinion the best local asparagus can be found in my neighbors produce stand. The stalks, bunched together with rubber bands and set upright in a tray and 2 inches of water, are so tender that there is no “woody end” to cut off. I’ve stopped by roadside stands often, placing a few dollars in the honor system box then taking my bounty home, dreaming of how I’ll prepare it for supper (yes, I dream about food). It is now June, strawberries are coming into season and asparagus will soon no longer be available locally so I’m enjoy it as often as possible before it disappears.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to prepare it.

Raw with roasted red pepper hummus.
For some reason it never occurred to me to eat it raw until my grandma served it on a veggie tray. Never underestimate your grandma!

Oven roasted
Drizzled with hollandaise sauce or balsamic vinegar if you want it to be a little more healthy.

Asparagus Soup
This soup is amazing, fresh, light. Spring in a bowl.

I’ve also been eating asparagus as a side with salmon, with Eggs Benedict (hollandaise sauce!), in omelets, and in stir-fry.

What’s your favorite way to prepare asparagus?

20Before21 Recap

Here it is, almost 2 weeks after my birthday and I’m finally getting around to posting the recap of my 20Before21 list. I had a fabulous birthday which involved getting up early to work a little bit, heading to my second to last art lesson (item #7!) then hurrying down to spend the weekend in PA, finishing the day with dinner and an *ahem* drink.

I’m going to recap the list with a few more completed items as well as the two items I didn’t get crossed off.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

Completed:

7. Take art lessons.

In April I signed up for a basic drawing at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester. The class was 3 hours long every Thursday for eight weeks. I had considered taking an online course since there are plenty available but I wanted to try a class in a classroom setting. I’m glad I did. It was fun to have your teacher be able to critique your work in person and to work with other students. One of my favorite part was being able to see everyone else’s drawings. We would have one object and all be trying to draw it realistically yet every drawing would be completely different. One person would use their entire paper while another would draw on a 3 inch square. Some students had very precise and detailed drawing while another had very sketchy painterly lines. It was an illustration in how people are all so very different and unique in their perspectives of things.

20. Buy or sew a dress for myself.

I bought one since I lacked the inspiration to make one. I haven’t worn it yet so no pictures.

Items not completed:

9. Trail run a gorge in Ithaca.

This is not done…yet. I want to do it with a friend timing just hasn’t worked yet. I plan to do it sometime this summer. Do you know of any good trails in Ithaca?

17. Memorize Psalms 119.  Memorize Sermon on the Mount

When I was in high school I was part of a Bible quizzing team. We memorized verbatim the books of James, 1st John, and 2nd John. Realizing that you are capable of memorizing that much text, and being able to spout off any verse within seconds of being given the reference was an amazing feeling. It was the first and last significant portion of scripture that I memorized. Memorization take such perseverance and self discipline. I put this off until the last bit of my 20th year then ran out of time. I did memorize some of the first chapter and would like to complete it sometime.

• • •

I have to give myself some grace for the last two items but all in all I would say this was successful. I’m so glad I did it and documented it. Life goes by fast if you aren’t intentional about have new experiences and stretching yourself it just won’t happen. I will be doing another list this year. I’ll blog about it some but I don’t think I’ll put the whole list on my blog and I won’t make it the focus of my blog.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t be writing on here anymore. Because one of the items on my 21Before22 is to blog 51 post! Ok, now I said it in public so I have to do it!

You can see the entire list, as well as links to all the related posts, here.

Here to another amazing, stretching, life changing year. Cheers!

– k8