Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Lavender Tea Party

Just when the forsythias started to bud, cold, damp weather returned. I hope it was prettier, and warmer, in your neck of the woods.
"It's the coldest winter on record," said Dr. Big, who keeps up with that sort of thing. While he went out hunting and gathering,
I stayed indoors and played with food.

I "made" a blackberry lavender cake.





"What do you think?" I asked Dr. Big.

"It's different," he said. When he saw my face fall, he quickly added, "I'm sure it's real stylish to have flowers growing out the top of a cake. Awww, it's pretty."
I asked if he wanted to be my FF tester. He thought a minute and said. "Well, what I really want is soup, babe. Then cake."
It's a deal, Big Guy.
While the Campbell's heated, I garnished deli muffins with culinary lavender and (prolly not edible) flowers from yesterday's tablescape. Martha Stewart, I ain't, but we do get fed.


A sunflower symbolizes that it will eventually be warm (maybe the Endless Summer is coming?).

Are these muffins or Easter bonnets?

Lemon poppy seed muffins or a meadow after a spring rain?

No doubt about this one--dried lavender sprinkled on praline-pecan muffins.


Lavender butter adds a subtle layer of flavor for tea breads, and it's simple to prepare.





A light touch is recommended with dried lavender, as it can be bitter. In fact, you might want to start with 1/2 teaspoon of lavender, work it into the butter, and see if you need more. 1 T is for a large tub of butter.
It goes without saying that if you are buying lavender make sure it has never been treated with pesticides and can be used for culinary purposes.
I have a small lavender garden in the backyard, and I'm looking forward to making shortbread and other goodies.
I'm joining Cindy at her beautiful blog, My Romantic Home for Show and Tell.

I'm linking to Jan's Second Tea Party at Bellacasa to celebreate all things tea related. I love her pot!


I am also joining Tootsie at Fertilizer Friday. If you want to learn about gardening, this is THE place to go. Without Tootsie's advice, all my knockout roses would be six feet under!


If you are participating in this week's Foodie Friday, Mr. Linky awaits your recipe. Be sure to check out the details for the Food Photography Contest, which ends April 2nd at midnight. I'd said in the instructions to enter one photo, but enter as many as you want. Sometimes it's too hard to decide on one, and all of us foodies will love more pictures. Just be sure to earmark the photos as submissions so I will know.
The prize is a Cuisinart Sorbet/Ice Cream machine. Finally, the Treble Clef give-away has been extended to Saturday. The winner will be announced Tuesday, March 30th.
Maybe by then, Spring will really be here!

69 comments:

  1. I love lavender. I grow it in the summer as well. Your lavender butter sounds great. It would taste wonderful with my scones:)

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  2. Michael Lee, Your cake is gorgeous! Love your photos and the lavender butter looks great too. I have lavender in my yard and have done a little cooking with it as well. I love your blog, and am looking forward to perusing the archives to get a taste of how you went from RN to author to a DOP.
    Blessings - Beth

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  3. I ADORE lavender I had lemon lavender cake once it was awesome!

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  4. Michael, your photographs just get better and better. Gorgeous!! And we LOVE blackberries! Thank you for hosting- and for the pan. Be sure to take a look at "your" recipe at Bramasole
    xoxo Pattie and Allie

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  5. I just love coming here and seeing all the beautiful flowers! I've been wanting to bake with lavendar for awhile. You have inspired me!
    Thanks for hosting!
    ~Liz@HoosierHomemade

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  6. very pretty, i am doing a tea party IN my lavender this weekend. have a great weekend, hope to see you at food for thought~

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  7. That is beautiful! I absolutely adore it!

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  8. Your lavender goodies look amazing! I love the idea of buying a pound cake and being able to transform it into something that looks so scrumptious and beautiful!

    Jane

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  9. Your cake looks and sounds delicious. Oliver is still up and he says 'hi and happy foodie friday' !!
    Have a great night and thanks for hosting this lovely weekly tradition
    Bunny

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  10. What an absolutely lovely cake. My lavendar is still sleeping. I haven't even pruned it back yet because of the cold weather. I agree with the Dr...It's still soup weather first and cake second! :)

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  11. I love the subtle flavour that Lavender brings to biscuits (cookies) and cakes. Your cake looks really great and as usual the photos are spectacular!

    Thanks so much for having me and thank you again for introducing me to flickr-I am having a ball and have joined 2 of your groups!

    Best wishes,
    Natasha.

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  12. I love blackberries. I will have to try this recipe of yours. It sounds wonderful. Last week I entered a rainbow cake (for St. Patty's Day). This week I added the rainbow cupcakes I made to go with it...but they are (in a word) groovy! Thanks for hosting us. Lori

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  13. Yummy! Both of those recipes look just awesome! I can only imagine how great that cake tastes! It is funny how different the weather has been! In Vancouver where I live we have had the warmest winter on record! Yesterday I was walking around with a sleeveless top on in March, in Canada!! Hopefully spring comes soon for you! Thanks for hosting this day and have a wonderful weekend! Sherri : )

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  14. How beautiful you make these cakes and muffins. For our Easter dinner this year, I am bound and determined to have a beautiful cake with beautiful flowers growing right out the middle!! Oh, how I wish you lived next door and could do it FOR me!! I have Mr. Sweet making the pork tenderloin and daughter and daughter in luv will make something delicious...if i just had YOU to do my cake...I could lie in bed with a movie magazine, have my hair up on pink rollers and eat bon-bons while ya'll all worked your hineys to the bone!!
    hugs and treble clefs, bj

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  15. I love it when desserts are made with herbs! I once had rosemary shortbread. I thought I wouldn't like it, but it was wonderful!

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  16. Cold and wet here too. Forsythia haven't bloomed except for the ones I forced.
    Your cake and muffins look like springtime! I don't know what Lav tastes like? Will I like it, LOL??

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  17. OOO, and I have been working for 2 days to send a food photo to your contest but am having trouble hooking up with Flicker....I'll keep at it, tho. :)

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  18. My first Foodie Friday! How fun! I can't wait to scroll through all the recipes. I think I need some of that lavender butter for Easter.

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  19. Michael, once again a drop-dead gorgeous cake. You excell at glamorous food and photography. Joni

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  20. I feel so out of it, I have never tasted lavender but you have made me curious! I will look for some culinary lavendar and see what happens! Your photos are just amazing! I am in such awe every time you post!!! Happy FF!!! XO, Pinky

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  21. It's been cold and wet here as well, but today was glorious. I even have some blue bonnets blooming in my herb garden. I hope the weather continues so I can get myself into the garden for some serious work. LOL
    Love your lavender ideas, and I think the flowers in the center of the cake are fab! And I'm here to mention "treble clef". I'm keeping my fingers crossed all day tomorrow. :-) I so want to win this one!

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  22. A lavender is such a relaxing herb! The butter is wonderful! I just love the cake and muffin with flowers! So pretty, I know the lavender butter is wonderful! I sure the cake is too, for it looks delicious! Love the Easter Bonnet Poppyseed Muffins! All so lovely for a Tea!

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  23. Beautiful, as always! Your blog is one of my favorite ones to stop at...and dream of! I love it that you refer to Dr. Big that way! It reminds me of Mr. Big on Sex in the City...actor Chris Noth! :)

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  24. Blackberry and lavender cake sounds yummy (and your cake is pretty)! I laughed out loud when I saw your statement about garnishing the muffins. I had 4 mini muffins (way past their exp. date)under a glass dome today, and thought "Do I throw them out or spiffy them up a little and photograph them for a future post". :-D
    Have a great weekend!

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  25. I've never cooked with or eaten lavender infused desserts or other dishes but your gorgeous photos are tempting me to try it. And those berries are so enticing. Your photos are all so beautiful!

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  26. I love what you're doing with your camera and lens these days! I've never felt so up close and personal with a blackberry before ;)

    What a delicious cake recipe and I love lavender. You sure do know how to spruce up a deli muffin!

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  27. I'm still waiting for Dr. Bigness to eat that cake. :0

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  28. Hi Michael,

    Wow, these cakes look so delicious and I'm not really sweet eater.
    I love the lavender butter in the little glass chook dish. I have the same dish in blue. We are so alike.

    Thanks for dropping over to me this week and leaving such lovely comments. I have had such a strange and weird week this week, I'm just not myself.

    Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the cake.


    xxxx Coty

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  29. Oh, I am so going to try that butter! Your cake is beautiful, and I love the flowers growing out of the top of it! What do men know anyway? All they want to do is eat, and he can sure do that with flowers growing out of his food. laurie

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  30. Awww, but you give Martha a run for her money. It is all lovely Even the flowers growing out of the cake, which IS stylish. LOL, you are too funny, loved reading this post. :)

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  31. This is my first time at your blog - your food is beautiful! I don't know that mine can measure up - but I linked one up! Thank you so much

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  32. I grow lavender and love cooking with it. I look forward to trying lavender butter!

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  33. I've always wanted to make something with lavender in it! It all looks so good and now I'm hungry! I really want a muffin now...it's 11:30 pm so I should just go to bed! Thanks for joining in on Show and Tell!

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  34. Oh why, oh why, don't I ever do food..I mean you make it look SO easy! (Are you sure you aren't Martha in disguise? :)
    My daughter in law and daughter use Lavendar...and it's wonderful!

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  35. Wow! these are delicious and gorgeous flowers.It's a waste to eat them. I just want to look at the muffins.

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  36. As usual your food looks almost too good to eat! What beautiful photographs!! Thanks for hosting Foodie Friday.

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  37. I just love lavender and dark berries.. it does wonderful things to them... those muffins are too great! Doctor of the Lostpast is the same... prefers the Campbells to most of my experiments!!! Thanks for foodie friday!

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  38. Drooling with envy for those gorgeous, and delicious dishes!

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  39. Gorgeous, gorgeous as always! What an eye feast every Friday my dear.

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  40. I just started using my lavender for cooking last year. I can't wait to try the lavender butter, it sounds heavenly and elegant!

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  41. I'm in awe every time I come here! That first photo of the blackberries, the lavendar butter, the sunflowers ... I'm so ready for warmth and a tea party. Seems like a contradiction. ;-) Anyway, I've linked up some great "bran" muffins I made--delicious for all and work well for those with food intolerances. :-)

    Shirley

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  42. I love cookin with lavender... But I think my favorite is lavender tea... Its just so soothing and sweet... I love your photos with the flowers and food... They are incredibly pretty...
    ~Really Rainey~

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  43. Your photos make me want to run right out & buy some lavender plants. I've never tried to grow it here in Ohio. Don't know where I'd even find the edible version. :\

    I cracked up at Dr. Big just wanting soup...same thing at this house. I could serve soup every single day & DH would be happy.

    Thanks for both recipes. I'm saving them for future reference. Do you have ANY idea how many pages of your blog I have bookmarked??? :-)

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  44. I learn so much from you! I have never used lavender for culinary purposes. Your photos, as always, are gorgeous. Just what I need on this gloomy, dreary, chilly day!

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  45. This is absolutely wonderful. I can tell you that nobody loves a tea party more than Moi. I do have some lavender in the pantry and I also grow it in the summer, so now I know just how to use it.
    Hope you have a wonderful weekend.
    *kisses* HH
    p.s. please stop by my blog and enter my giveaway for £50 or $75 worth of Amazon vouchers :D I've just unveiled my new blog and am doing a give away to celebrate :D

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  46. I love this design of your cake.
    What better way to design than with flowers. Beautiful! Your camera is working great magic on this blog today.

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  47. I never would have thought about lavender in food. Great idea! Your blog always leaves me "hungry" for more!

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  48. Your cake is an inspiration! Lavender and lemon + lovely. Thanks for sharing!

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  49. Oh, how absolutely breathtaking! A tea setting such as yours should be shared as much as possible. Please accept my invitation to join my Tea Party Friday's event at BellaCasa. I'd so much be grateful.

    Jan
    BellaCasa

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  50. Mmmmm. What a luscious combination that sounds. Blackberries are my favorite. A definite will-try. And thanks for stopping by to see us at Atticmag. - Jane F.

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  51. Once again it looks "almost" to beautiful to eat! Sounds delicious. I have never heard of using lavendar in recipes. I must try it!! Thanks for hosting a wonderful Friday Party!!

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  52. I planted lavender last year, hopefully it made it thru the winter. If it does I will have recipes to try.

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  53. What gorgeous photos! I am getting hungry!

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  54. I just love how you can transform something as ordinary as a pound cake into something absolutely celestial looking!

    Soup? I'd have gone straight for the CAKE. Eh, what do men know anyway?

    I have one lonely little lavender plant -- never gets sprayed, though, so we may try nibbling at it this summer. Great idea, thanks!
    Cass

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  55. "Hello there! We are participating for the first time. It's a non-recipe post, yet very foodie-focused. Hope you and your readers enjoy the cream teas at our blog:
    http://caffeinatedglobe.blogspot.com/2010/03/affordably-priced-cream-tea-its-real.html

    January Asia & Steven Hui"

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  56. Your cake looks absolutely divine! Photos are stunning! Very lovely post; thank you. Happy Friday!

    Blessings,
    Sandi

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  57. aloha,

    wow your desserts look delicious...can i have a small sample of each please????

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  58. Those muffins look soooo yummy! I've never tried lavender butter...it sounds and looks wonderful! Thanks for the recipe! :-) I love all your gorgeous pics!

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  59. Your blog, Michael Lee, is one of the most enjoyable places to visit in blogland... I smile throughout your commentary and oooooo and ahhhhh over all your photos!

    Thank you for making life a little sweeter ♥
    ~Maria

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  60. Michelle, as always your photos are lovely! I cant believe I'm always so late in posting in Foodie Friday!! Thanks for hosting!

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  61. Thank you for linking to Tea Time Tuesday! I woke up this morning feeling down. I got on my blog and your wonderful message, just cheered me up! Hubby was: what happen to you! lol
    I hope the sheep are all OK and Mr. Fox stayed in his den. Our fox is gone now. I didn't have a lamb last night but today my Hungarian Komondor Guard dog had ONE black puppy. Now they are suppose to be white! I just asked hubby last night when she had puppies could I keep one, he said no. Today was my Mother's Birthday, she died in 1991, Since my dog only had one little boy, he gets to live on my farm forever! Yeah! Thanks for the note! I got to go to Jackson tonight, Hubby trying to cheer me up! lol I got to eat at Cracker Barrel and go on a shopping spree! I had ten bags full! Now I need to go find another Cracker Barrel! lol Meridian? May try for it another day! Soon! Oh, Yes the flowers will be here soon! What are we having next? Lavender cookies?

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  62. My family would be so happy if I made that cake for Easter! Soup and cake sounds wonderful right now. We're trying to get to spring here in Dallas too, right now it's warmer but just miserably windy. A good day for cooking!
    Have a nice weekend,
    Andrea

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  63. My family would be so happy if I made that cake for Easter! Soup and cake sounds wonderful right now. We're trying to get to spring here in Dallas too, right now it's warmer but just miserably windy. A good day for cooking!
    Have a nice weekend,
    Andrea

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  64. I love lemon poppy seed muffins. Yummo! But you make everything look too PRETTY to eat!

    So, what was Dr. Big's verdict on the cake?

    Do you go to Deb's blog? She lives on a lavender farm in TX. Distills it all right there on the property. She doesn't post often, but I just love her!

    http://lavenderchick.blogspot.com

    Justine :o )

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  65. hey Girl! I love today's post.
    I often come over and poke around in your blog and those of the participants...I am always in awe of how pretty everything you cook comes out! Me? not so much.
    I am better off growing my plants and mowing my grass cause a cook I am not! lol
    I had lavender that I grew from seed...they are hard to get to co-operate, and too me forever to get them to germinate...so you can imagine how mad I was that my pot of lavender went missing off the front step..never to be seen again.
    thanks for linking in today..I hope you will share those knock out roses this year!

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  66. Thanks for visiting my blog! Wow...you are such a talented girl...I love everything in your blog! I will visit your website later today because I need to feed my family...

    Ciao!
    I

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  67. Check over at Critter Alley. I've nominated you for the Beautiful Blogger Award!

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