Snowy January at Hauser Creek Farm

 Snow day at Hauser Creek Farm

Snow day at Hauser Creek Farm

Happy New Year! Barely a week into 2017 and we received about 8 inches of snow overnight. Mornings like these are breath taking! A fresh blanket of powdery snow all over the farm never gets old here in North Carolina. By noon today the sun was out and tonight bitter cold temperatures are moving in. I am grateful for the beautiful snowy scenes and don't mind the slow-down one bit. I took Margaret the chocolate lab for a long walk and did a ton of indoor work including trying out a yummy new lavender dessert. Enjoy the snow if you can and enjoy the tart (recipe below). I hope things are pretty and well wherever you are. Spring is coming.

Chocolate Lavender Tart: Combine 1 1/4 cups half-and-half, 2 tablespoons dried culinary lavender buds, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan; heat just until mixture comes to a simmer making sure butter is melted. Remove from heat and let stand for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare crust. Place 8 graham crackers and 1/2 cup walnuts in food processor; top with cover and process until crumbly. Transfer crumbs to a bowl and add 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/4 cup melted butter, stirring until well mixed. Press crumb mixture evenly in bottom of a 8 x 11-inch rectangular or 9-inch round tart pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes; remove from oven and set aside. Place 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips in a large microwave-safe bowl; microwave on high for 2 minutes or until melted, rotating after one minute. Place a thin-mesh strainer over bowl; pour lavender mixture through strainer, pressing lavender buds to extract all the liquid. (Reserve lavender buds for garnish.) Vigorously whisk or beat the chocolate mixture until completely smooth; pour into prepared crust. If desired, garnish with reserved lavender buds. Chill completely before serving.     

    

 

 Chocolate Lavender Tart at Hauser Creek Farm

Chocolate Lavender Tart at Hauser Creek Farm

High Summer: Reflections on Lavender Season

Hello, July! Another successful lavender harvest has come and gone. From now through the rest of summer I expect only random stems here and there, depending largely on weather of course. At this stage we have dried bundles available. Please contact me if you're interested. I am frequently asked, " how many stems to a bundle?" The answer is typically 100 to 125. Any more than this and you run the risk of having the stems mildew. However, once dried, the bunches can be combined and easily adjusted in size - the lovely dried bridal bouquet pictured below, for example, contains 300 stems. AND it will last forever as a keepsake. 

Our farm had the privilege of being featured in Carolina Country magazine last month in a finely written article about North Carolina lavender farms. Additionally, Fox 8 News caught up with us in a segment on Roy's Folks. You can find the link here:

http://myfox8.com/2016/06/20/davidson-county-woman-grows-sells-lavender/

Since I am a huge fan of cooking with lavender, I couldn't let the season go by without cranking out a batch of Lavender-Honey Ice Cream, also pictured below. Here's the recipe: In a medium-size saucepan combine 2 cups heavy cream, 1 cup half and half, 2/3 cup honey, and 1 tablespoon dried culinary lavender; place over medium heat until very hot (do not boil). Remove from heat and let stand for 30 minutes to an hour. Strain cream mixture through a fine sieve and discard the lavender. Return the cream to saucepan and place over low heat until mixture is hot. Meanwhile, in a large bowl beat 2 large eggs with a wire whisk until frothy, adding a pinch of kosher salt. Gradually add a small amount (a generous 1 cup) of the hot cream mixture to the beaten eggs, stirring constantly to temper. Then slowly add the egg mixture to the hot cream mixture. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour the mixture through a fine sieve a second time. Cover and chill at least 8 hours or overnight before freezing according to manufacturer's instructions.    

Thank you all for your kindness and condolences from my last post. I appreciate every comment, including this special one: "We will laugh and dance again." ~ Psalm 30:11    

 

August: Naked Lavender Cake and End of the (Lavender) Season

Naked Lavender Cake

We had another great lavender season and truly appreciate all of you for your support and interest! This summer has been exceptionally dry which isn't typically a problem for drought-tolerant lavender, but some of our perennial flowers didn't fare so well. Our farmers market days are finished for the year and we'll soon be gearing up for planting fall cover crops AND more peonies. Have you noticed any signs of fall? I have! Our muscadine grapes are coming and the farm's warm season native grasses are blooming. You probably noticed a problem in the last blog in that the photo(s) were apparently missing. Sorry!! Hopefully by the time you receive the next post, the farm's website and blog will be completely updated with a whole new look!

Those of you who know me know that I like to eat and cook with flowers, especially lavender! Here's a recipe I'm excited to share! I found just enough lavender in our field to make this work. It's quick and easy and I love the naked cake concept. Hope you do, too! Enjoy!


Naked Lavender Cake Recipe

Ingredients

1/2 cup whole milk
2 to 3 stems fresh culinary lavender
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried culinary lavender
1 stick butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Process

Place milk in a glass measuring cup and heat in microwave just until very hot; add fresh lavender stems, completely submerging the stems in the milk. Let stand for 30 minutes or until completely cool. Combine sugar and lavender in a food processor bowl; top with cover, and process for about 60 seconds. Cream butter until light and fluffy; add lavender sugar and vanilla extract and beat until well combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Sift together cake flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl; add flour mixture alternately with milk (remove and discard the lavender stems) and beat until well combined. Stir in lemon zest.

Butter an 8-inch round cake pan and line pan with wax paper. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until cake tests done. Remove cake from oven; let stand on cooling rack for 5 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely. To serve, garnish with fresh lavender stems or other assorted edible flowers.

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