Ever so often we head west and anchor ourselves down in the State of Colorado. Last fall when settling into a weekly resident in Mancos, Colorado I scuffled through Ansley’s stash of readable material and found Edible Magazine. From there started a lengthy conversation and sharing of regional recipes. The premise of Edible Magazine is to feature a region and its local, seasonal culture. (There is not one for Western NC just yet but I am definitely keeping my eye out!) I always enjoy chatting with Ansley about food, gardening and babies! Just our thing!
There were some specific recipes that caught my eye that had been shared in the spring edition of Edible San Juan Mountains. (Mancos is located in the San Juan Mountain region of CO) Excited to share Ansley’s hubs, Barry, headed to the printer to make copies for me. For nearly six months now I have been looking for an excuse to make this drink, The Green River Martini. It is infused with Honey Lavender Simple Syrup. Seriously.
When our beach trip arose and our friends, the Wheeler’s, agreed to join us for one of the two weeks I knew I had found my excuse. We headed out to the yard and picked 4 cups of fresh lavender and set it out to dry (makes two cups). Packed the lavender and the honey and loaded it to the Outer Banks. Week one consisted of making the simple syrup and letting it marinate. It smelled exactly like it was going to taste. Floral, light, heavenly.
The martini itself is a bit complicated in flavor but over ice it mellowed out and was pleasant to sip on a warm afternoon. But the syrup has many purposes. The best I’ve experienced thus far is over vanilla bean ice cream (yes!) or dolloped in a warm cup of green rice tea. The taste of lavender is delicate and floral and purely satisfactory. A pleasant way to embrace summer.
I never really considered myself a southern girl. I mean, I am from the south, my family are farmers and I love bar-b-que. Yes, I’m southern. But, as noted, I don’t have the greenest thumb considering my background and I leave the south a lot to travel. It wasn’t till I started cooking, baking and eating local, seasonal fruits and vegetables that I recognized just how rooted I am in my southernness. Defining southern summers is when I accepted there is no denying, I am deeply southern. Two definitions for starters, Watermelon and Peaches.
So, when we went down the mountain to visit our friends located on the NC/SC border it was like a kid in a candy store when they took us to a local fruit and veggie stand. Why the giddiness? Three words. South Carolina Peaches. Juicy, ripe, ready to devour southern peaches! And boy did we slurp! Between the Nectarines and the Peaches we were quite sticky.
Of course, we bought some home as they are starting to show up at the stores but not the outdoor markets just yet. Ever since I was gifted with the “Canning and Preserving with Ashley English” book I have been counting down the days to make the Peach Lavender Butter. Yes, that is what I said!! We have three over the top, beautiful lavender bushes we planted when we moved into our current residence. Never used them for culinary purposes until just recently. I couldn’t be more thrilled with this treat of deliciousness. More thrilled with the opportunity to can such delicacy!
After gathering all the ingredients and contents to can we started at 9:00 am and finished up right around 11:30.
Blanched the beauties, which is an amazingly simple task!
Stored and ready for winter delights!
Check out this post of the same recipe from same author in detail!
Happy Summer Slurping!!
The truth is, reality bites sometimes. What matters though is how you take the bitter and deal with it. Our reality of a seriously bad diagnosis for our Vizsla, the money to get the diagnosis and to buy us a little time drained the coop and landscape fund. It’s okay, it happens. It is worth it, no doubt. What we have to do at this point is take a step back and refocus. We are completely positive and moving forward everyday!
Back to the basic plan A we have turned. No, not as grand but just as exciting. Raeglan and I plotted out a spot in our flower beds last fall and built a small rock wall to frame it. We have cleaned the weeds out several times, with a final cleaning yesterday. We’ve got some seedlings growing of Oregano, Thyme, Basil, Rosemary and a few tomato plants. We will be getting the soil to fill it this weekend and some compost from the bin to mix in. It is going to be beautiful! It is going to smell heavenly at the bottom of the deck. Our lavender is already radiating its essential scent throughout the yard. The chives are rooted and happily at home. Something to grow. A way to get our hands dirty. Motivation and inspiration toward our other landscaping projects.
So, for now, we will put the plans on the middle burner. Making sure not to push them too far back. We have accepted that this is just what happens sometimes. Life. We will continue to wait and build on our plans! Happily with our healing pup and joyful kiddo!
Here’s to a plot full of happy herbs and healthy dogs!
FYI- The Chocolate Lab, Cassidy, who was close to her own death bed has decided she IS NOT going anywhere. She has fully recovered from what we know was a Seizure (one or two a spring for the past two years. While those will not kill her, the toll they take on her is intense and hard on those old bones. After all, she did just turn 13 on the the 2nd) That dog has more lives than a cat! They are welcomed, adored, appreciated and I am grateful!