I realized that from my soapbox perch I had neglected to include the lavender dressing recipe the filing of which launched the whole World According to AARP blog the other day. Mea culpa!

In a Mediterranean climate, such as Santa Barbara, where we live part time, lavender grows everywhere–on roadsides, in gardens, in landscaped parking lot medians, in giant fields across the foothills in the Santa Ynez valley, everywhere–year round. With such lavender abundance, it’s nice to have some new simple things to do with it, on which point a yummy sounding easy lavender dressing recipe qualifies.

Thus, my motivation for clipping the AP article, by Phyllis Glazer that got picked up by our local daily bugle. Entitled “Give fruit salads flair by making them savory” Ms. Glazer’s piece contained not only the lavender dressing recipe, but a couple of other nutty, fruity, cheesy salads as well: Fresh Strawberry and Blue Cheese Salad, Lemons Stuffed with Piquant Fruit Salad and Lavender Dressing, and Fresh Fig, Feta, and Walnut Salad..

Here is the Lavender Dressing, or at least my lower carb variation on it:

6 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 1/2 tablespoons dried lavender leaves
6 packets Splenda
1 teaspoon ThickenThin not/Sugar (optional to thicken)

Mix water, lemon juice, lavender, and Splenda together in a small sauce pan and heat over low heat for 2 or 3 minutes to infuse lavender into liquid. Strain immediately to prevent dressing from becoming bitter. Stir in thickener while warm to dissolve and thicken slightly; chill dressing well. Splash over fresh fruit salad.

The recipe in Ms. Glazer’s article called for a fruit salad made of diced apricots and plums, with just a bit of minced fresh jalapeno pepper and for serving the dessert-cum-salad in the hollowed out halves of lemons. Really a pretty presentation, I thought. And I just love playing off the sweet of the fruits with the hot of the pepper and the sweet/sour of the dressing. Yummm.

For the most part, all the recipes in the article were reasonably carb friendly recipes as they were or with a few minor modifications. For instance replacing superfine sugar with Splenda (or stevia) in the Lavender Dressing and using fewer figs, more bok choy, and a little stevia or Splenda in place of the date syrup in the figgy salad maybe.

What’s ironic is that the recipe for the stuffed lemons onto which the lavender dressing goes contains fresh apricots. Yes, those very same apricots that turned up as #4 the AARP longevity list that happened to share the page above the fold with Ms. Glazer’s piece. The very same apricots that–thanks to AARPs keen insight into apparently unheard of (at least unpublished) research in lipid and cancer biochemistry–we now know are of paramount importance in keeping us healthier and letting us live longer by lowering cholesterol and reducing cancer risk…just so long as we don’t eat them with any protein or fat at dinnertime, I guess.

One Comment

  1. Here’s another lavender-fruit recipe: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,23009-2132034,00.html

    I realize it’s not de-carbed, but it is probably adaptable by someone with your talent and experience. Seems to me a matter of replacing the sugar with Splenda or Stevia.
    From The Sunday Times April 23, 2006 Sweet thing
    “I am looking forward to summer almost for this simple dish alone. As the season moves on and finding juicy, ripe peaches becomes easier, it will be a much more delicious recipe to rustle up. It reminds me of my first gastronomic experience at Oustau de Baumanière; it was late summer, the peaches were sun-ripened and the smell of lavender was everywhere.
    Be careful not to use too little sugar: it helps to retain the firmness of the peaches, and without the support of a thick syrup, the cell walls of the fruit collapse.
    You should allow 1-2 peaches per person, depending on their size.
    Serves 8
    For the syrup
    2 litres water
    750g unrefined caster sugar

    For the peaches
    1 vanilla pod
    8 lavender sprigs, dried (or fresh when you can get them)
    10 fresh bay leaves
    1 lemon, zested
    8 ripe peaches (peeled or unpeeled)

    First, make the syrup. Simply put the water and sugar in a casserole large enough to hold the peaches in one layer. Bring to the boil over a high heat, stirring constantly. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat.

    Cut the vanilla pod in half, scrape out the seeds and add the pod, along with the seeds, to the syrup. Add the aromatics to the casserole, placing the peaches in last. Cover them with a cartouche (a round of baking paper, cut to fit the pan, with a few holes punched into it), ensuring that some of the syrup sits on top of the cartouche. Bring the liquid back up to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes until soft, but not collapsing.

    Remove from the heat, leaving the fruit to cool down in the cooking liquid. Store the peaches in the cooking syrup until you want to serve them — they will keep well in the fridge for up to a week.

    Remove the aromatics and serve the peaches with the syrup. Add some cream or ice cream if you wish — whatever takes your fancy.”

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Yes, I went to the link and read the article there, too. It looks like a delicious recipe. I feel it would probably not work perfectly without the sugar with just Splenda or stevia, although it might, but by adding either a bit of polydextrose or ThickenThin not/Sugar or perhaps a bit of glycerine to the syrup, you could probably retain the firmness of the peach flesh that the author so lovingly describes. Even without the firmness, it would make a lovely, sweet, savory topping for a bit of homemade low carb ice cream. That combo of spices would work nicely in a low-carb rustic crostada, too.

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