I continue to feed my obsession for the Hollywood Farmers’ Market. It’s a problem. But a good one. This week’s trip my budget was a little smaller, like $15. I purchased some of my usual subjects: fresh tomatoes, chives, kale, beets… Since my budget was a bit tighter I decided that this week’s item would be something simpler than mushrooms. As I was buying chives, I saw that this particular tent had a bunch of fun fresh herbs – sorrel, bay leaves, basil, thyme, rosemary…. I love fresh herbs, LOVE them, so I thought, oh what a perfect thing to experiment with this week. My herb of choice? Lavender. I love the idea of lavender, but I realized I had never actually cooked with it before. And for only $1, it was a no brainer.
Just smelling the lavender you know it’s strong – a little goes a long way, which means I can use it for a few different recipes. The starving artist loves a multitasker, particularly one that only costs a dollar. The first idea I came up with was to put it in my ice tea. If you’re my friend you know I’m an ice tea snob – unsweetened, always fresh brewed. I nearly always have a gallon jug of it in my fridge. My favorite thing to do is to brew the tea with fresh mint leaves. It’s an amazing flavor. Why not add lavender to the mix? Lavender has a very pungent, almost medicinal quality, much like peppermint except more mellow and floral. A perfect compliment to the sharpness of the mint.
Here’s my tried and true recipe for amazing ice tea. Place 9 tea bags in the bottom of a one-gallon jug. You can use any tea you wish, but I am partial to decaf green tea – I think its mild flavor is particularly good for herbs. Add in a handful of fresh mint leaves and about 6-7 sprigs of fresh lavender (be sure to crush and tear the leaves before you throw them in). Pour 1 quart of boiling water into the jug, gently stir everything around and let it steep on the counter for 30 minutes. Once steeped, use a spider or slotted spoon to scoop out the tea bags and herbs. Be sure to squeeze the liquid out of the bags before throwing them away. When all the tea bags and herbs are removed, fill up the jug with cool water. Voila. Perfect ice tea. No more buying those over priced bottles or forking out $4 at your local coffee shop. I promise once you start you will not be able to live without it.
The next idea I have for lavender is a tart. Still researching how I can make this happen, but it will be delicious. Will hopefully be sharing by the end of the week.