Kulfi with Pistachios and Lavender

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food for Sharing: Kulfi with Pistachios and Lavender Buds! Kulfi is a type of homemade ice cream popular in Southeast Asia and India. This “instant” version can be made in your very own kitchen without the cost or hassle of an ice cream maker. Flavored with pistachio nuts and a hint of lavender make it a delectable frozen dessert worth crowing about.

KULFI WITH PISTACHIOS AND LAVENDER BUDS

Ingredients:

10 ounces evaporated milk

1 cup heavy cream

14 ounces sweetened condensed milk

2 teaspoons cardamom

1/2 cup pistachios, chopped

1 teaspoon lavender buds, crushed

1 teaspoon lavender extract

Instructions:

Combine evaporated milk, heavy cream, and sweetened condensed milk. Blend until smooth. Add cardamom, pistachios, lavender buds, and lavender extract. Stir. Pour into bouchon molds, fluted pan, or popsicle molds. Freeze overnight. Before serving, dip the molds in warm water. Invert kulfi onto a dessert plate. Garnish with crushed pistachios.

Lavender Creamed Honey Pears

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Enjoyable Eats: Lavender Creamed Honey Pears! Whenever pears come into season, I feel as though a festive dessert is in order. But then again, I’m spoiled. Family members “gift” us with a different fruit-of-the-month selection all year long. A box gets delivered to our doorstep with a little card that tells us about the delectables inside. Often there are serving suggestions as well as ripening and storage tips. Then my mind begins to wander as I plan different ways to come up with recipes. That is, unless I simply succumb to their aroma and eat them as they are. Here’s a festive dessert that will get you raves through the holidays.

LAVENDER CREAMED HONEY PEARS

Ingredients:

1 large pear, skin on, halved, and cored with a melon scooper

2 tablespoons sweet white wine

2 tablespoons creamed honey

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For Lavender Filling:

1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon creamed cheese, softened

2 drops lavender extract

1 smidgen dried lavender buds

1 drop lemon extract

1 nip granulated citrus peel

1 teaspoon granola, for garnish

Lavender buds, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°. In a small baking dish, place pear halves upright. Pour sweet wine over them. Slightly warm creamed honey on Low setting in the microwave for 30 seconds. Drizzle honey over pears. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Dot each pear half with butter. Finish with vanilla extract. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Carefully remove dish from oven. Baste pears with the juice. Turn each pear over, skin side up. Bake 20 minutes longer until tender. Using a spoon, transfer each pear half, flipping over with skin side down, to a dessert dish. The sauce will thicken slightly as it cools. Spoon reserve sauce over pears. While pears are baking, make the Lavender Filling. Combine vanilla Greek yogurt and creamed cheese. Mix until smooth. Fold in lavender extract, dried lavender buds, lemon extract, and granulated citrus peel. Keep refrigerated until ready to use. To serve, place a heaping dollop of filling into each pear half. Sprinkle with granola. Garnish with lavender buds. Serve warm.

Luscious Lavender Puff Cookies

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? A Burst of Flavor: Luscious Lavender Puff Cookies! Before we begin, let me assure you, baking the cookies for 45 minutes per batch, IS NOT a misprint. Dried lavender buds as well as lavender extract can be found at farmers markets, organic health food stores, or your local co-op. (I went one step further and made my own lavender extract from dried buds, which took longer to ferment.) I also have the convenience of a nearby Amish community as a resource for dried herbs and spices. These cookies are definitely worth the effort. Put on a pot of coffee or tea…. and enjoy!

LUSCIOUS LAVENDER PUFF COOKIES

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened

5 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon lavender buds

1 teaspoon lemon citrus peel, granulated

1 teaspoon lavender extract

1 teaspoon lemon extract

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 cup pecans, chopped

2 cups flour

Powdered Sugar for rolling

Lavender buds for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 300°. Beat butter until soft. Crush lavender buds in sugar using a mortar and pestle; then combine sugared lavender buds with butter. Blend until creamy. Mix in citrus peel, lavender extract, and lemon extract. Add pecans, flour, and salt to butter mixture. Combine thoroughly. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls, then place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 45 minutes or until set, but not brown. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. Roll in powdered sugar to coat when cookies are still slightly warm. Sprinkle with dried lavender buds. Cool completely on wire rack.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter I

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Front-Runner Favs: Icebox Lemon-Lavender Pie! Are you ready for a decadent dessert that is light, luscious, and requires no baking? Take a trip with me down South, where the summers are balmy and the desserts are as cool and refreshing as a glass of southern iced tea. The dessert begins with a foolproof graham cracker crust, store-bought is fine. The filling is a blend of tart lemon and flowery lavender swaddled in a lush sweet creamy texture that literally melts in your mouth. Mix it all together and pop it in the freezer, although it won’t stay there for long. 
ICEBOX LEMON-LAVENDER PIE
Ingredients:

1 graham cracker crust

2 cans sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon lemon extract 

1 teaspoon lavender extract

3/4 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon citrus peel, granulated 

1 tablespoon organic lavender buds, dried

Lavender sprigs for garnish 
Instructions:

Chill prepared pie crust, stand mixer bowl, and beater beforehand. Mix sweetened condensed milk, lemon extract, and lavender extract on Low setting until blended. Add lemon juice and citrus peel, mixing until filling thickens and is smooth. Fold in lavender buds. Pour into chilled pie crust. Cover and freeze overnight. Remove from freezer, cut, and serve. Garnish with fresh lavender sprigs. Store leftovers in the freezer. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet; Letter K

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food for Sharing: Kulfi with Pistachios and Lavender Buds! Kulfi is a type of homemade ice cream popular in Southeast Asia and India. This “instant” version can be made in your very own kitchen without the cost or hassle of an ice cream maker. Flavored with pistachio nuts and a hint of lavender make it a delectable frozen dessert worth crowing about. 
KULFI WITH PISTACHIOS AND LAVENDER BUDS
Ingredients:

10 ounces evaporated milk

1 cup heavy cream

14 ounces sweetened condensed milk

2 teaspoons cardamom 

1/2 cup pistachios, chopped

1 teaspoon lavender buds, crushed

1 teaspoon lavender extract
Instructions:

Combine evaporated milk, heavy cream, and sweetened condensed milk. Blend until smooth. Add cardamom, pistachios, lavender buds, and lavender extract. Stir. Pour into bouchon molds, fluted pan, or popsicle molds. Freeze overnight. Before serving, dip the molds in warm water. Invert kulfi onto a dessert plate. Garnish with crushed pistachios. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet; Letter L

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? A Burst of Flavor: Luscious Lavender Puff Cookies! Before we begin, let me assure you, baking the cookies for 45 minutes per batch, IS NOT a misprint. Dried lavender buds as well as lavender extract can be found at farmers markets, organic health food stores, or your local co-op. (I went one step further and made my own lavender extract from dried buds, which took longer to ferment.) I also have the convenience of a nearby Amish community as a resource for dried herbs and spices. These cookies are definitely worth the effort. Put on a pot of coffee or tea…. and enjoy!
LUSCIOUS LAVENDER PUFF COOKIES
Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened

5 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon lavender buds

1 teaspoon lemon citrus peel, granulated

1 teaspoon lavender extract

1 teaspoon lemon extract

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 cup pecans, chopped

2 cups flour

Powdered Sugar for rolling. 

Lavender buds for garnish. 
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 300°. Beat butter until soft. Crush lavender buds in sugar using a mortar and pestle; then combine sugared lavender buds with butter. Blend until creamy. Mix in citrus peel, lavender extract, and lemon extract. Add pecans, flour, and salt to butter mixture. Combine thoroughly. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls, then place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 45 minutes or until set, but not brown. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. Roll in powdered sugar to coat when cookies are still slightly warm. Sprinkle with dried lavender buds. Cool completely on wire rack. 

Press On With Linen and Lavender 

I like to iron. I find comfort in it.  Maybe it’s because I’m a Baby-Boomer who grew up in an age where common sense meant making choices that gave one an advantage, a leg up, so to speak.  My family lived on a very limited income, so making the most of what we had was often all there was to make ends meet.  My closet contained a few skirts or dresses for school and special outfits for church.  Thank goodness I had older cousins who gifted me with hand-me-downs.  Yet, I didn’t mind.  My mother had a rigid schedule:  Wash clothes on Monday, Iron clothes on Tuesday, Clean the House on Wednesday, Mop the floors on Thursday, and so on.   

I began ironing my blue jeans when I was a teenager.  It came about more out of necessity simply because, at a time when most girls averaged between 5′ and 5’5″, my legs were very long.  And I was tall and skinny, which had me towering over my brothers and  most boys.  I discovered if I used a steam iron, I could stretch the denim to make the jeans longer.   Well, one thing led to another and before I knew it, I was ironing everything from tea towels to tee shirts.  
Nowadays, I revel in ironing my Turkish tea towels and French linens by spritzing them with Mary Ellen’s Best Press lavender-tinted starch alternative.  It smells like I’m ironing in the south of France.  The end result?  Everything is left with a crisp, new finish.  Yes, I still iron my blue jeans and tee shirts. Old habits die hard.  Every once in awhile I sneak one of my husband’s Oxford shirts into the laundry basket and mist it with the heavenly scent of French lavender while pressing it wrinkle free. Perhaps its lingering fragrance takes him somewhere in time.  Back to the days when we strolled down ancient cobblestone streets, sipping strong coffee in open cafés, basked in the warm sunshine holding hands, stealing kisses, eating baguettes, and drinking French wine.