Lavender (or Rosemary!) Shortbread Cookies

I bought all of that lavender.  I dried it all and picked all of the buds.  I made a delicious cocktail with it.

But this is what I was planning on the whole time.

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I have this semi-vivid memory of being at a restaurant a long time ago and being served dessert.  And whatever the dessert itself was, I remember that it was served with this amazing little rosemary shortbread cookie.

I say semi-vivid because I can still taste that cookie.  I crave that cookie.  But I can’t really figure out where that memory came from… I sort of remember it being a chocolate dessert.  I think it was at a great restaurant in New York.

I think it was with dessert…?

All that’s important is that tiny little cookie.

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After making those caramel shortbread cookies a few weeks back, I kind of got on a shortbread kick.  I was noticing it everywhere.  I loved it’s buttery flavor.  I was fascinated with seeing bloggers garnish their versions of the caramels with lavender instead of seasalt.  I had never thought to garnish something with dried flowers before.

Plus, I kept trying to place where the heck I experienced this rosemary shortbread cookie.

No use.  The details of that memory are gone.  I’m trying to just be thankful for the bits and pieces I have locked away to replay over and over…

Mother’s Day was coming up, and I decided that I wanted to send something sweet and little home to all the mothers that are so special in my life back on the east coast.  My mother and extended mothers are always so supportive of what I do here on the blog. They are constantly commenting on the drool my recipes inspire from across the country, so I wanted to give them a little taste of what I am always working on.

I decided on toying around with that cookie obsession a little and used those gorgeous little purple buds I’d so diligently picked to make a Mother’s Day treat.

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I was kind of afraid the cookies would come out tasting like soap or some other body ointment from a lotion store at the mall.  Or that the buds would be dry and crunchy and weird.  But if I wasn’t going to send actual flowers to all the moms, I thought cookies with flowers in them had to be just as good.

Right?  Moms?

I also decided that I had to try my hand at the rosemary version since I couldn’t get it off my mind.

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Once the dough was made, I split it into two parts and added lavender to one half and rosemary to the other.  Even the doughs were gorgeous.

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It’s not often I think how beautiful my dough is… I usually just want to eat it immediately.  This one also had that effect, but not until after I had taken a billion pictures.

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And after they were rolled out, cut out and baked, it was hard to decide which one was better.

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I ended up sending a mix of both flavors to all of the moms back east.  I’m not sure they made it there un-crumbled, but based on the couple that I saved for myself, they would have been just as amazing in tiny, little crumbly pieces.

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The lemon flavor was perfect with the herbs (and flowers).  And the icing was perfect and simple and sweet.

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Although it wasn’t the exact flavor I remembered from that tiny shortbread cookie all those years ago, I’m happy to keep experimenting until I figure it out.

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I am also curious about using thyme…  But I’m sure there will be a next time very, very soon.

xoxo

Lavender Shortbread Cookies

adapted from here and here

COOKIES
1 c unsalted butter – room temperature
3/4 c confectioner’s sugar (or more, depending on the consistency after you add the lemon juice)
2 tbsp lemon juice (or 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract)
1.5 tbsp freshly grated lemon zest (about 2 large lemons, preferably Meyer)
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 c cornstarch
2.5 c all purpose flour
1 tbsp dried lavender

Cream together the butter and confectioner’s sugar until smooth, and then mix in lemon juice and zest. In a separate bowl, sift together the salt, cornstarch and flour. Add this to the butter mixture and stir until the flour coats the butter but isn’t completely worked in. Add in lavender flowers.  Using your hands, lightly rub the ingredients together until the mixture is no longer dry. You will know it’s done when it forms easily into a dough ball.  Flatten the dough out into a disc and wrap with plastic warp. Refrigerate for 30 minutes (or up to three days).

Preheat the oven to 325° F.  Take the fully–chilled dough and place it on top of a piece of parchment. Roll the dough out to a thickness of 1/3 inch. Cut with cookie cutters. Remove the scraps from between each cookie and re–form into a flat disc. (If dough has become too soft or warm, re–refrigerate it for a few minutes before attempting to roll it out.)  Transfer parchment paper to a cookie sheet and bake in the top third of the oven for 15 minutes or until the edges are just golden brown. Allow to cool on cookie racks before icing.

ICING
1 c confectioner’s sugar
2-3 tbsp lemon juice

Whisk together confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice until smooth.  Set your cookies on a baking rack on top of a cookie sheet to catch excess icing.  Drizzle icing lightly over cookies and garnish with a lavender bud before while the icing is still liquid.  Allow icing to set and harden for about an hour before moving or stacking cookies.

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Blood Orange Sorbet (without an icecream maker!)

Blood Orange SorbetWhen it gets too hot for turning on the oven, you have to resort to your Pinterest board dedicated to frozen treats.

For me, this lemon sorbet looked tantalizing.  It was just what I needed to cool down.  I could even maybe pour some bubbly over it and make myself a refreshing little cocktail!

But then I realized that, in the heat, my lemons had become fuzzy with mold.

Gross.

Never to fear!  There was other citrus that would be equally as delicious when frozen and covered with champagne!  Blood oranges!

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I loved the juicy flavor that was barely tart and simply sweet.

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I have an ice-cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid, but this was way easier.

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And it looks so cute in those tiny bowls… I might have eaten the whole bowl before thinking about how I wanted to pour champagne on it…

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Don’t make the same mistake.  Put yours in a coupe glass and have it for happy hour.  The heat makes me do crazy things – like forget about champagne.

It’s unacceptable, really.

xoxo

Blood Orange Sorbet

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice
1 tbsp grated blood orange zest

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar and water and simmer until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Once cooled, stir in the juice and zest.  Pour the mixture into a metal baking pan and freeze until firm (2-3 hours), stirring with a fork every hour.  Transfer to an airtight container to store.

Bring Your Produce Back To Life!

Brad has all kinds of fun kitchen tricks.

Maybe one of my favorites is when there is a bunch of basil – or a bag of spinach, or some carrots or herbs or whatever – that looks limp and sad.  Maybe it wasn’t in the crisper in the refrigerator.  Maybe we went to lunch after the market and left them in the car a little too long.  Maybe I took something out of a bag that it would have been better off left in…

Whatever happened, the produce looks withered and faded.

(hopefully this is not how you feel after that glorious memorial day weekend.  if it is, then use this same trick on yourself.  plus maybe a pastry or two.  i guarantee the holiday weekend hangover will be over in no time.  and – cheer up!  it’s “officially” summer!)

Just looking at those sad, limp, green leaves, you think you should probably just throw them away.

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Like this kale, for example.  I have no excuse, I just didn’t get to it fast enough and it sat in the bottom of the crisper out of a bag just a little too long.

But wait!!

I tried Brad’s magic trick.

limp kale key of kels I stuck the kale in a jar with a good amount of water.  I set it in a sunny spot, but not one that got direct sunlight.

And I – once again – forgot about it.
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Seems this week I’m just really not good at kale.

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But a few hours later, I happened to walk by the arrangement, and I noticed that the leaves were no longer touching the tabletop I’d set them on.

kind of limp kale key of kels kind of limp kale key of kelsThe leaves felt a little stronger to the touch.  A little more rigid and tough. kind of limp kale key of kels kind of limp kale key of kelsSo I left them a little while longer.  Just to see what would happen.kind of limp kale key of kels

24 hours later, the kale was pretty much 100% back to it’s natural kale-like state.

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I was really amazed at how it had transformed from being limp, soft, and inedible right back to being tough, thick, crunchy kale.back to life kale with the key of kels back to life kale with the key of kels back to life kale with the key of kels

I will admit, it looked so pretty in the jar that I kept it on my desk for a day next to the gorgeous protea flowers I picked up at the farmer’s market.

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Now I’ve had both kale and artichokes as floral arrangements.  This is either multitasking or a giant waste of food.

Kale arrangement with proteaAnd I just keep thinking of what I can do with all this kale…

So, I’m off to make lunch.

xoxo

What A Week

Is it really Friday already?

I’m facing my weekly “opposite schedule of the world” sadness this afternoon.  Especially today.  Everyone is gearing up for a fun, long weekend, and my “work week” is just beginning.  My long weekend is drawing to a close.

But wait!  What a wonderful weekend it was!  There was the market, there were hundreds of cookies and other goodies made with Sydney from Curating My Cooking, there were peonies, there was chocolate strawberry banana bread

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And there was Brad’s 30th birthday!!  So there were nutella bacon pop tarts (yes, they were amazing…), car washes, prescription sunglasses and a meaty dinner at Animal with some really amazing friends…
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I hope all of your fun, long weekends at the beach are nearly as fun and delicious as mine was.  Plus, I am so lucky that my mom and sister are flying out from Maryland tomorrow, and I have a good amount of time away from work to spend with them!

Hooray for visitors!  And hooray for weekends – no matter which days they fall on!

xoxo

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A Monday Mashup Vlog

Guys, pineapples are totally cool right now.

Plus, so are vlogs… so I made another one.  There was just a lot happening and the music was right (Music To Cook To happening in real life!!) and I just thought you’d find my situation pretty silly.

So… Happy Monday!

xoxo

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Hot Off the Farmer’s Market

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I survived living in Orlando, Florida for six years.

Temperatures have been stuck right around the 90 degree mark here in Santa Monica, which is perfect if you want to hang out by a pool or on a beach or something.

But when you’ve had a serious wine night with friends until about 3am the night before and you’re hanging out at the Farmer’s Market the next morning… 90 degrees hurts a little bit.

No big deal.  I just threw on my handy hangover hat and shades….

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And a watermelon shirt that made me feel like it was straight up summer around here.

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Brad, of course, stuck to his normal uniform.  Skinny jeans, vneck tee, Chucks.

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Enough about our fashion choices.  The market was also full of produce that felt very summer-like… Continue reading