Monday, June 25, 2012

Lavender Country Lemonade

Original Watercolor 
by L. Diane Johnson  

Here in Williamson Valley, lavender bushes are prolific, despite the drought and dry soil conditions. I often use the fresh lavender flowers in my baking, but my new fav is lavender lemonade. 

Herbal and soothing, there isn't anything that refreshes quite like this beverage on a hot summer day! 

1 cup fresh lavender leaves
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar (substitute stevia for a sugar free version or try a combo of honey and stevia)
2 cups lemon juice (I used bottled lemon juice along with some real lemon and lime juice)
1 lemon, zested, or combination of lemon and lime zest
Sliced lemons or limes for garnish

Boil 2 cups of the water in the microwave or on your stovetop. Pour the hot water over the lavender leaves and allow to steep for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes, pour the lavender "tea" through a strainer and into a glass pitcher. Take the other two cups of water and bring to a boil with the sugar to make a syrup, if using sugar. This will only need to boil a couple of minutes. Set aside.

Zest the lemons or limes into the pitcher with the lavender "tea". Add the lemon juice to the syrup water. Now add the lemon juice and syrup water combination to the "tea" in the pitcher and stir.

When ready to serve, garnish with lavender blossoms and citrus slices. Serve in mason jars, or any interesting glass or vintage jar with a sprig of lavender. Enjoy!

Makes: Twelve servings.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Kale Fritters with Smoked Paprika Aioli

Not too sure about kale? Never had the stuff? Myself, I am HOOKED.

Last Spring we grew our own kale from April thru June and this year, we chose to join our Community Supported Agriculture program, by participating in our local Whipstone Farms
produce share program from May until October. The local, organic kale that they supply us with (among other produce) has been fresh and wonderful. Enrolling with Whipstone's program has been a very wise decision, also, when one factors in our rather challenged well.

In this recipe, healthy, gluten free kale fritters with sweet potato and bacon create a tasty breakfast, lunch or dinner offering... or a main dish with a salad for a vegan.

3-4 cups of kale, ribbed and chiffonaded (finely shredded)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, baked and mashed
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
½ cup low fat GF mayonnaise
¼ cup GF flour blend or cornmeal
½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
4-6 slices of bacon, fried and coarsely chopped
¼ cup green onions, sliced (green part only)
Cayenne, salt and pepper to taste
 ¼ cup olive oil (or less) for frying

Toss all the ingredients together until well mixed. Spoon large scoops into a saute pan and fry until crisp, but not burned; about 5 minutes per side.

Smoked Paprika Aioli
Aioli is a fancy word for mayonnaise; in this case seasoned with smoked paprika.

2 large cloves garlic, smashed
½ cup mayonnaise
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 t. smoked paprika
1 t. fresh lemon juice, more to taste
Salt and black pepper

Put the garlic in a small saucepan and sauté with a little olive oil. Allow to cool. Whirl in a small food processor with the remaining ingredients and serve with the fritters.
For recipes from my cookbook: "Delicious! The Very Best of Gluten Free and Wheat Free Cooking. It is available at: