Tag Archives: english lavender

Share Some Lovin’…Ma Cherie!

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 With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I think about Love & Chocolate… especially Chocolate Cake! Awww…”Ma Cherie”!! 

It’s time to pull out me favorite “Heart” shaped baking pan, that was handed down from my Grandfather Carson. He was a Pastry Chief, owner of “Carson’s Bakery” in Juneau, Alaska, from 1936-1974. And for two years he was head Baker on the Alaskan Ferry Boat.

I was born in Juneau, and one of my childhood memories was a trip to Grandpa Carson’s Bakery for fresh baked Maple Bars! OMG… The amazing aroma filled his bakery, and such a luscious, melt in my mouth sweet aromatic taste!! I can hardly resist Maple Bars to this day 🙂 That started my love for baking, I’m sure!

Grandpa’s Heart pans are well “loved”, like the velveteen rabbit, with many years of use baking Heart cakes and Pies. I’ve often thought about being a pastry chief, due to growing up with a mother who also baked bread, and pastries often,  just like her father. I especially enjoy baking, experimenting with a variety of herbs and flavors in breads, and pastries for family and friends to enjoy 🙂  I love chocolate and lavender together, so today I’m baking a Chocolate Cake with Lavender Mocha Frosting.

I told my mother that I baked a chocolate cake with Grandpa’s Heart cake pans, a Flourless Chocolate Cake. She said, “why do you want to leave things out when you bake”. I laughed until it hurt. 🙂 I said, “I love experimenting with different recipes,  and now it’s Gluten Free”.  My husband says this cake is, “Sinfully decadent”!! I think it’s lavishly rich, and Heavenly!

Chocolate Cake w/ Lavender Mocha Frosting

(Flourless – Gluten free)

Ingredients:
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
¼ cup sifted unsweetened Hershey’s Cocoa powder, plus more for pan
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
5 large eggs
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 375’. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch round cake pan (I used an 8 inch heart pan) line bottom with a parchment round. Butter parchment and dust all over with cocoa powder shaking out excess: set aside.
2. In a medium heatproof bowl set over, not in, a pan of simmering water, melt chocolate and butter; cool to room temperature.
3. Using an electric mixer on high, beat eggs, sugar, and salt until light and foamy, about 2 minutes.
4. Gently fold ¼ of egg mixture into cooled chocolate mixture to lighten the chocolate. Then gently fold chocolate mixture into remaining egg mixture until marbled. Fold in cocoa powder. Spoon into prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until center still feels soft and top has a thin crust.
5. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Run a metal spatula around the sides of pan and invert; remove parchment. Invert again so cake is right side up. When cooled add *Lavender Mocha Frosting. This recipe was altered a tad from Everyday Baking OPB.

*Lavender Mocha Frosting

6 Tbsp Cocoa 6 Tbsp butter, room temperature
8 Tbsp hot coffee 1 tsp vanilla
3 tsp English culinary lavender and 1 tsp Provence culinary lavender(for a more bold, rich flavor)
3 cups powdered sugar

In a small bowl add hot coffee and the culinary lavender, infuse for 15 minutes. Strain lavender out using fine strainer. Combine cocoa and coffee. Add vanilla and butter, beat until smooth. Add powdered sugar and blend well. Frost cooled Chocolate Cake with a generous amount of frosting (You might like a touch of  Whipped Cream on top)  🙂

Enjoy sharing some lovin’, and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! There’s nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with chocolate!  Will you Be Mine! Ma Cherie! <3                      

 

 

 

 

Harvest time around our Lavender farm

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Enjoying a pear on a lovely fall morning
Enjoying a pear on a lovely fall morning

Today I looked across the pear orchard near our Lavender farm, and watched the harvesters picking their An’jou, and Bosc pears.  We picked Bartlett pears the previous week, from a few pear trees growing on one of our wholesale lavender farms. These pears are also for sale,  to our customers that visit our Lav-farm. Or, I give them away to customers, when they become fully ripe and need to be eaten 🙂

I gave two pears to a couple out visiting our farm, who are from the mid-west. They said  they would eat it, as they stroll around our lavender field on this gorgeous morning. As they walked to the back of our garden where the English Lavender is in bloom, I sat on the patio and watched them enjoying the peaceful moment, while I ate a cluster of ripe red grapes from our arbor at the front of the wild flowers. The mountain was stunning, and the air felt crisp, bringing with it the hint of fall. I inhaled, and enjoyed a few relaxing moments for myself. Fall is harvest time around the Hood River Valley, and it’s my favorite time of the year. A time to enjoy the bounty of fruits, and flowers, from our beautiful farm valley.

Harvest time on the farm
Harvest time on the farm

Harvesting Culinary Lavender

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Today I was up early, 6 AM, cutting several varieties of Angustifolia, “English” Lavender, with one of my awesome workers. We bundled the lavender with rubber bands, then hung it to dry. It should take about a week, or so, in our 90′ temps. Then we will rub the buds off, and clean the lavender, with gloves on, and package it for Culinary use. A few of our favorite varieties are Melissa, a white lavender, Munstead, Middachton, and Provence.  This is our busiest time of the year. After all this work, I need something to help me cool down.  I think I’ll make some Lavender Ice Cream or go downtown for Lavender Gelato at Doppio 🙂 🙂

Harvesting Culinary

We have U-pick Lavender now :)

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A few varieties of our Angustifolia, “English” Lavender, have just started to bloom!  We’ve been anticipating this day for awhile!!  We get excited about the start of our U-pick season at our Lavender Farm!! 🙂 It’s beautiful watching  the changes, each day, as these lovely flowers start their extremely fast growth, preparing for bloom time. The English is the first variety to bloom, and the French blooms in July.  We hope you will plan a trip out to cut your own Upick Lavender bouquet soon.

This weekend is Father’s day, and we are serving up some iced mint tea, lavender shortbread and handmade lavender truffles in honor of “Dad”.

We are planning for our 5th Anniversary of Lavender DAZE Festival next month, July 11 & 12th.

Well…I’m off to dead-head Lupine and play in the Wildflower Garden! 🙂

Lavender beginning to bloom
Lavender beginning to bloom

Culinary FAQ

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 What makes culinary lavender different from any other lavender?  Good question!! First of all, culinary lavender is either an Angustifolia, “English” variety, or a Lavandin variety, “Provence”.  Secondly, all culinary lavender is harvested at peek season, “full bloom”, hung to dried, then cleaned and packaged with gloves on.  Our Angustifolia, (English” variety) is called, “Signature Blend”.  It is a blend of our finest English Lavender.  A white lavender, called “Melissa” is in the blend, along with several other dark purple varieties.  The “Signature Blend” of English Lavender adds a delicate floral note when added to  teas and other dishes.  I like to use “Signature Blend” in our Lavender Shortbread, because it lends a wonderful delicate floral note in combination with mint.

“Provence”, on the other hand, brings a more bold, savory floral note to dishes and teas. I like to say it’s a more “Herbie” flavor. 🙂 We use Provence in our HRL Spice Blend, and also in our “Sel Gris”, Hand-harvested French Gourmet Grey Sea Salt, because it lends a more savory note of flavor into recipes.  We also use Provence in our Lavender Truffles, to obtain a more bold lavender flavor, blended with the decedent chocolate. It makes the lavender flavor “pop” out on your palate!

I suggest that my customers brew a separate tea with each,  Angustifolia “English”, and “Provence” culinary lavender. In this way you taste the difference in the unique, soothing, floral flavors. Have fun experimenting with different recipes with culinary lavender, hope you acquire a love for the taste, as we have for this lovely flower. And next, you might even want to grow a Culinary Lavender in your herb garden 🙂

Take a Lavender Retreat

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A customer called today to place an order for some of our organic Lavender Essential Oil. She said that she is going on a retreat, and it was suggested that she bring some Lavender Ess. Oil. The E.O. she wanted to order was L. Angustifolia “English” Lavender Oil. The one that helps calm anxiety, stress, and insomnia. She ordered three different lavender oils, Sachet, Buena Vista, and Angustifolia Blend, and she also ordered 3 Butterfly Diffusers. I wished her well & told her to enjoy her Lavender Retreat with the beautiful healing aroma of these Essential Oils.