Lavender for supper??

While working on my next novel, Comfort Foods, I’ve dabbled, sampled, cooked, and consumed many recipes involving lavender. Why, you might ask? I’ll tell you–it’s a critical ingredient in the new book. Yes, my last novel, Comfort Songs, was set at a lavender farm, but this new book picks up where that one ended, and lavender is drifting across these pages too.

If you’re yawning because, well, what more could be said about lavender, I’m going to surprise you. Lavender is not just for looking at, smelling, or rubbing into your skin as a fragrant cream or oil. It’s edible! The buds adds an aromatic quality to foods from cookies to beef. (I know because I’ve been playing in the kitchen with it.) The plot of Comfort Foods involves a chef starving for his next level of creativity–and its delivered to him in the unlikely context of a food festival set at Lavender Hill. Without going into too much detail about that, let me share a few recipes that have inspired me.

The book is in the final swing of editing, and I’ve been drooling over the cover suggestions the talented Holly Forbes has whipped up for Comfort Foods, but you’ll have to wait until autumn to see those results. In the mean time, try cooking with lavender and see if you like the lift you feel on your tongue. I’ll post a recipe every few weeks until it’s time to announce the new book is released for readers to enjoy.

Courtesy of the 2nd edition of Lavender, by Ellen Spector Platt

Aromatic Chicken

3 whole chicken breasts (skinned, split)

1 tabl. butter

1/2 lb baby white onions, peeled

1/2 c dry white wine

3 cloves garlic

1/2 teas. dried lavender buds (you can buy these at health food stores)

3 strips of orange zest

Melt butter in saute pan, brown both sides of the chicken. Add the rest of the ingredients, and cover pan. Simmer gently for 30 minutes. Remove garlic and strips of orange zest. Serve over boiled rice or couscous. Garnish with sprigs of lavender.