Saturday, April 29, 2017

Lavendar lemonade cocktail

Spring and summer make me think bright, fresh and crisp flavors. I love lemonade and the tart, sour notes that tingle your tongue as you drink it. Why not add a little lavender to balance out that tartness by adding a floral element to the drink? And if we are going to the trouble of getting lemon and lavender to party together then we might as well grab some gin and make this thing official.

I had thought of this cocktail because I have a lavender plant in my front flower bed that I have managed to keep alive for 3 years now. It's a record! Anytime I walk by it I catch a whiff of it and it always smells so amazing! I love using it in body scrubs or trimming some down for a vase and wanted to see how I could use it in the kitchen.  That's when the idea of this drink came to me.

I made this drink in a cocktail shaker for a single drink portion, although, you could easily make a pitcher of this for a party or get together.  Just add 1-1/2 ounces of gin for every 6-8 ounces of lemonade. Just think of it like salt to can always add more if it needs it, but you can't take it away if it's too much.

Alright, lets do this...

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add a pinch of lavender leaves, bruising them first. Have you seen Love Actually and the scene where the husband is buying that necklace for his secretary? (so shady!) Mr. Bean is wrapping it and he takes something off the stem (rosemary maybe?) and rubs it between his hands and places it in the jewelry gift wrap bag. Same idea, except I find just bending it with your fingers a couple times works just as well. Bruising herbs helps release their natural oils, which is perfect for getting the flavor of the herb, (in this case lavender) without actually having to eat it.

Next, add 4 ounces of lemonade. I made my own lemonade (see recipe here) or just use your favorite store bought lemonade. Then add the gin. Just like any other spirit there are so many brands to choose from, and I am just throwing this out there...when it comes to gin it seems the more it costs the smoother it is. So if you are paying less than $15 for a bottle, don't come crying to me when you sip the drink and all you taste is gin.

OK, now you are ready to put the lid on your cocktail shaker and find your inner Tom Cruise and shake that bad boy like he did in Cocktail. There are people that are going to tell you there is a proper way to shake a cocktail shaker (hold it horizontally with the bottom of the shaker facing your chest and shake away from your body), but what I do is shake it until my hand starts to get cold. Because after all I'm just a girl, standing in front of a cocktail shaker, asking my Monday to feel a little more like a Friday.

Remove the lid of your shaker and strain into a glass filled with ice. You'll want to strain it otherwise you'll have lavender floating in your drink. Now if you want, before you put ice in your glass you can rim the glass with lavender sugar. It is super easy to make and if this is for an event/party, it's an awfully pretty way to present it. You can garnish with a lemon wedge and/or a sprig of lavender.

I'm telling you, when I tried this I was surprised how delicious it tasted. I had a feeling it would be good, but I didn't know it would be THIS good. I love the floral hint the lavender gives the lemonade. I splurged on the gin and it became one of those drinks where "you can't even taste the alcohol". What is so fun is that this can easily be enjoyed as a mocktail too, great for a Mother's day brunch, a baby shower, or something to take to work to share with your coworkers! Hope you like it as much as I did!

So good you'll throw your hands in the air!

To get the cocktail recipe, click here . Thanks for reading!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Lemon poppy seed scones

I've been doing some real thinking (not the fake kind), and I decided I should call this blog "the blog of good intentions". You should see all my little notes in random kitchen drawers, in my planner and on our fridge. I have all these ideas I want to blog and share with you and yet...nothing. Thus, a blog of good intentions. I know you'll forgive me as I think it might just be my mom who reads this. :)

So a few years ago I wanted to make scones. I had never made them before and from my years of working at Starbucks I always thought they were just ok and kind of dry. Making them myself was a game changer. I got to play around with different flavor combinations and glazes and really became interested in it. Last Thanksgiving I made scones to take to a friend's house and fell back in love with them all over again. Plus, they are pretty darn easy to make! Next thing I knew I was trying out a new scone flavor every couple weeks...and still do to this day. I have made pumpkin, maple bacon, dark chocolate with an espresso chocolate ganache glaze, cranberry orange, blackberry sesame seed, blueberry and also lemon poppy seed. Now, me and my family haven't really met a scone we didn't like, but lemon poppy seed is a favorite. I take them to work to share or snack on them at home. I wake up pretty early for my job and take a few vitamins before leaving for work. When it's that early and you have an empty stomach, a nibble of a scone is the perfect way to start your day. I especially love them paired with coffee or tea.

So one Sunday morning I was the first one to wake up and decided I wanted to make some scones (go figure). So I threw on my Grandma's apron and started to get things set up...and then Evelyn woke up. She got dressed and came out to the kitchen and was very interested in what I was doing. So I let her be my helper. I told Chuck to go grab the camera and take some photos of us making scones together...and here we are.  My scone obsession has come to life in a post. Now enough about me, lets make some scones:

In a large bowl add your dry ingredients. Whisk well to avoid any clumps.

Next, cut your butter into your dry ingredients. This task is easiest with a pastry cutter but if you don't have one you could use a whisk or even a fork. Your goal here is just to cut the cold butter into the flour mixture to make the butter into small pebbles.




Stir the cream, lemon juice and egg and into your flour/butter mixture. Keep an eye out for the used lemon or Evelyn will eat it...rind and all! Stir gently until it just comes together to form a dough.

Now for the fun part. Put your dough on a floured work surface and knead it into a flat round, then roll it out to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut it into triangles and place on a lined baking sheet.

See what I mean? Lemon thief!

Bake for about 13-15 minutes, until the edges turn slightly golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. When cooled, drizzle with glaze.

I try not to make too much glaze so I work in stages with the powdered sugar, a little lemon juice and half and half. Add a tiny bit more powdered sugar if needed, then maybe a bit more half and half. Once I get a nice thick glaze, I use a fork or a whisk and drizzle it on the cooled scones.

Summer is just around the corner and making me think of all kinds of new flavors I want to try. Strawberry lime, tomato basil, zucchini and cheddar...YUM! I've attached a recipe for your convenience. Thanks for reading!

Get the recipe here: Lemon Poppy Seed Scones