Lavender Shortbread Cookies
Photo from Central Coast Lavender
Makes about 50 cookies
1 tablespoon dried lavender blossoms
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 ½ cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons heavy cream (or 1 egg whisked with a little water)
extra lavender sugar for sprinkling on top
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Set aside.
In a small spice grinder (I use my cleaned out coffee grinder) to grind up 1 tablespoon lavender and 1 tablespoon sugar. Grind it up! You could also use a mortar and pestle to grind the sugar and lavender together.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment add butter, ground lavender mixture, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Cream on medium speed until slightly more pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and add the flour, mix on low speed until dough comes together. The dough will be crumbly, then begin to form when it continues to mix. Dump dough mixture out onto a clean surface and form into a ball with your hands. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
Divide refrigerated dough into quarters. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough out to a 1/4-inch thickness. Use a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter to cut cookies, or use a pizza cutter to slice cookies into squares. Use a fork to prick cookies. Brush very lightly with cream or egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Refrigerate cookies while oven preheats.
Place racks in the center and upper third of the oven. Preheat oven to 350° .
When oven is preheated, bake cookies for 8 to 11 minutes, until just browned around the edges. Remove from oven. Allow cooling on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes then removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Cookies last, in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 4 days.
adapted slightly from Party Like a Culinista
I have a love affair with California avocados, ever since I was a little girl, I could never get enough. My grandmother used to feed us mashed avocado on toast with a little salt and pepper every day during the season and it is still my favorite for breakfast! Or even a little snack.
A couple of weeks ago I went to visit an avocado farm, but not just any farm, Holtz Family Avocado Farm in Escondido. Their forest of avocado trees is just so beautiful; it’s so inspiring just to walk the grove. Growing these avocados is a three-year process from budding the growth to blooming and then a year for the fruit to ripen. You can see the baby avocados, which will be ready for next years harvest, hanging on a tree right next to the avocados that are being picked for this years harvest. Avocados like to grow up in the light and when the trees get too tall it can be dangerous picking but the farm hands are experienced and work with the family year round.
The Holtz family grow mostly Hass avocados but some Reeds as well and they have a unique way of getting great avocados directly to you, they pick them at the perfect time and then ship them to you in their specially designed boxes. All avocados are hand picked and shipped the same day; the ripening comes on your end with easy step by step instructions that are enclosed in your ‘Hand Grown in California’ avocado box. Simple, easy and delicious California avocados can be ordered from their website, California Avocados Direct.
And for inspiration on recipes, stories and life on an avocado ranch visit Mimi’s blog at Mimi Avocado; tell her Chef Debbi sent you!
Use California avocados in Chef Debbi’s Gazpacho recipe! Gazpacho recipe here.
1 small red onion
2 small cucumbers
2 ribs celery
1 small jalapeno, optional
1 roasted red bell pepper
6 medium tomatoes
1 cup French bread, cut into cubes and soaked in a little water
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lemon, zested
1 Tablespoon lemon juice, to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ Hass avocado, chopped
Rough chop the vegetables and add to a blender, for a chunkier texture process in a food processor instead of a blender.
Squeeze the water from the French bread cubes and add to a blender along with the vegetables. Add olive oil and vinegar and blend to a puree. Season with salt, pepper (if needed), lemon juice, zest and Worcestershire sauce. Refrigerate over night for best flavor.
To serve, check for seasoning again before pouring into a bowl. Garnish the top of the soup with the chopped avocado.
Goes very well with a nicely toasted slice of cheesy garlic bread.
1 1⁄4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, cut into pieces
2 – 3 tablespoons ice water
1⁄4 cup finely diced ham
2 -3 Yukon Gold potatoes
1 1⁄2 cup shredded cheese, such as Chedderella
4 large eggs
1 1⁄2 cups heavy cream or half and half
1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
Add flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor; pulse a few times to incorporate all the ingredients.
Add the butter and process until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is pea size.
Place the mixture into a wide bowl and add water 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture comes together. Don’t overwork the dough or it will be tough, not flaky. Once the dough comes together in a ball, divide it into two pieces, flatten into disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400° while the dough is chilling.
Dough can be wrapped well at this point and frozen for up to three months. Let the dough defrost overnight in the refrigerator before using.
Roll one chilled disk out on a floured counter or rolling mat, lifting and moving the dough every few rolls to help prevent sticking. Add only enough flour to the counter to keep the dough from sticking.
Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the tart pan.
Place your pan on top of the dough to make sure it is the correct size, it should be slightly larger than the pan, then roll the dough onto your rolling pin and unroll over your pan. Gently lift and lay the dough to fit the pan, never pull the dough to stretch it.
Lightly press the dough into the pan, roll your rolling pin over the top edge of the tart or pie pan and remove excess pastry. Prick the dough well with a fork.
Cut a piece of foil a little larger than the tart pan, butter the shiny side and place butter side down onto the dough. Press so the foil lays against the dough snugly, add another piece of foil if it doesn’t cover the entire crust.
Bake the crust for 20 minutes, remove beans and foil, bake another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool before filling. (Leave oven on).
Boil potatoes until knife tender (when a knife can slip into the potato effortlessly with a little resistance). Drain and let cool until you’re able to handle them. Slice into disks or chop into a medium dice.
Heat a medium sauté pan, add oil until it covers the bottom of the pan, add potatoes and season with a pinch of salt and grind of pepper. Sauté potatoes until lightly browned, add ham and cook for about 2 minutes or until browned. Add potato mixture to the bottom of the cooled crust. Add cheese on top of the potato mixture.
Whisk together the eggs and cream, add a little seasoning of salt and pepper, pour over potato and cheese mixture, bake for 30 minutes or until puffed and lightly browned.
Let cool before serving.