Flowery and Buttery Goodness

If you don’t like lavender or don’t have access to food grade lavender, omit it. 

Pulverize 2 teaspoons dried lavender (with a mortar and pestle, blender, or food processor). Cream this together with 1 cup unsalted butter and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Mix in 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 2 cups all purpose flour. Shape this into a ball and let sit in the fridge for at least an hour. Chilling the dough keeps it from spreading when it bakes and makes this a great cookie to use a cookie cutter with.

After the dough has chilled, roll out to about 1/4″. Cut out your desired shapes. You don’t need to leave much room on a cookie sheet between them. Cook about 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool so they get crunchy.

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Pickling a Peck of Peppers

I post this with the full knowledge that half of my family categorically avoids spicy foods. These mellow pretty well because of the sugar, though.

Slice about 20 jalapenos or other red peppers into 1/4″ – 1/2″ disks. 

In a saucepan, bring 3 cups water, 3 cups distilled white vinegar, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup kosher salt, and 2 cloves minced garlic to a boil. Add the jalapenos or other red peppers into the mixture and boil for about 7 minutes. Transfer to sterile jars and either heat seal them or store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. I like to heat seal them so I can share with friends and family.

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Sparkling Cider Muffins

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For a variety of reasons, we open a bottle of Martinelli’s each holiday we host. The thing is, we never finish a bottle of it. This recipe uses up some of the leftover and some pureed pumpkin (for when I don’t use the whole can making puppy treats for Gibbs and Nugget).

Combine 1/2 cup oat flour, 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 3/4 cup pumpkin puree, 2 eggs, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1/3 cup sparkling cider and 1/4 cup olive oil.

Pour into lined mini or full sized muffin tins. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes and check for doneness. The full-sized may take an extra minute or two.

When still hot, sprinkle with a 1:1 sugar:cinnamon mix.

If you’d like to eat them my favorite way, eat them while a bit warm still and reading a good book.

 

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Pot Roast

DSC_0034I love how this pot roast turns out. I do not love scrubbing the dutch oven after, though, so this is a special treat in our house.

Lightly flour the sides of a pot roast. I like to get one that’s 3-4 lbs. because it fits well in my dutch oven. Choose a cut that fits your cookware! After you flour both sides, sprinkle a hefty amount of salt and then crack some pepper on each side. Lightly brown each side of the roast (about 5 minutes over medium-high heat) and remove to a plate. Lower the heat to medium-low.

Make thick cuts of 4 yellow onions so you have some chunky rings. Caramelize these in your dutch oven in about 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat. You’ll get some of the flavor from the beef on the onions and have fewer pieces to clean. Once the onions are translucent, add 4 cloves of minced garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Turn the stove off.

Scrape the onions to lie across the bottom, sprinkle lightly with salt, and place your roast on top. Using a small can of tomato paste and a butter knife, ice the roast as you would a cake. Add two paste-cans worth of water or beef stock to the dutch oven. This won’t cover your roast, but should cover the onions to help keep them from burning. If two cans isn’t enough to get the liquid up to the roast line, add more. Sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Place one quartered carrot into the onion mix where there’s space.

Place the dutch oven lid on and put into a 350 degree oven. Cook approximately 1.5 hours, checking every 30-45 minutes and adding water/broth as needed. Remove the roast, slice, and put back into the dutch oven. Push the roast into the liquid. If the roast is not 3/4 covered with liquid, add more. Replace the lid. Cook another 1.5 hours, checking your liquid levels regularly. If you don’t want to slice it, don’t- just keep checking your liquid levels and cook for about 3 hours.

Serve with mashed potatoes, rice, or something else starchy and delicious for sopping up that flavor.

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