Lavender-Mint Lemonade + {Recipes for the Week of April 30, 2012}

by Julie

“The desert smells so sweet right now,” Eric remarked on our Sunday evening walk. After a lazy day at home, we had taken our binoculars out into the desert right about the time the birds began to become active again. Amidst the calls of Gila Woodpeckers, Verdins, and Gambel Quail, the cacti blooms and palo verde flowers were creating a wonderful mix of aromas matched with the drone of bees.

I should be used the richness of the desert in springtime by now, but I’m not: I’m still impressed with the amount of life that thrives here, from the  desert floor to the sky islands ecosystems up in the mountains.

We are currently enjoying the upswing and fall of temperatures here: we wake up with the sun at 6:00 and enjoy the morning’s coolness with breakfast and tea out on the porch; during the day, we, like the desert animals, hunker down with our indoor projects and work; then, as the sun starts to set, we venture out once again, knowing that the heat will be less harsh as the light fades.

This afternoon, while we found ourselves indoors hunkering down, we made this Lavender-Mint Lemonade with local mint we bought at farmers’ market this morning and sweetened with a lavender-infused simple syrup I’d made months ago (the great thing about simple syrup: it keeps forever if refrigerated). It’s a perfect drink for in-between glasses of water. And, the nonalcoholic version below dresses up nicely with a splash of gin or tequila for a nighttime cocktail.

Lavender-Mint Lemonade

8 cups water

1/3 cup lemon juice

small handful fresh mint, chopped

1/2 – 3/4 cup lavender-infused simple syrup (recipe follows)

Mix all ingredients together in a large pitcher filled with ice. Adjust sweetness if necessary and serve cold.

Lavender-Infused Simple Syrup

To make simple syrup, take a small saucepan and mix together equal parts water to sugar. In this case, use 4 cups of water and 4 cups sugar. Stir over low heat until sugar is completely dissolved. To infuse with lavender, fill a cloth tea bag with 1-2 teaspoons of dried lavender and steep in heated simple syrup for 3-4 minutes. Cool completely and store in refrigerator. Feel free to experiment with your infusion flavors: dried lemon or orange peel works nicely, as does cinnamon sticks, vanilla beans, or even hot peppers.

Monday, April 30: Spring Spirit Polenta (from My New Roots)

Ingredients

1 cup polenta (not instant)
4 – 6 cups light vegetable broth or water
2 small onions
1/2 pound asparagus
1 leek
1 cup shelled green peas
knob of ghee or coconut oil
olive oil for garnishing
1 lemon
sea salt

Tuesday, May 1: Ginger-Poached Noodles (from Two Blue Lemons)

Ingredients

4 cups vegetable broth
2 ounces fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
8 ounces firm tofu, cut into small cubes
1-2 cups (half a bunch) of broccolini, broccoli, or baby broccoli – trimmed
4 ounces dried rice noodles
1 – 2 tablespoons tamari sauce
1/4 cup fresh basil, shredded
scant 1/4 cup fresh mint, shredded
a squeeze of lime juice
crushed red pepper flakes (opt)
toasted sesame oil (opt)

Wednesday, May 2: Shiitake Mushroom & Lentil Tacos (from Sprouted Kitchen)

Ingredients

// miso herb sauce //

3 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons white or yellow miso

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon soy sauce

pinch of red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons orange juice

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 packed cups basil leaves

1 packed cup cilantro

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil 

1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil, divided

half of a yellow onion, diced

6 ounces shitake mushrooms (halve any large ones)

3/4 cup cooked lentils

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

sea salt + pepper

small tortillas

1-2 super ripe avocados

3/4 cup fresh grated carrots

micro greens, for garnish

Thursday, May 3: Lasagne

for ingredients, see my previous post (or follow the link above) for February 6, 2012.

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