It’s warm outside—warm—and has been for three days. A thunderstorm blew through this morning, and the grass is responding with green, the trees with buds, the birds with song. The phoebes and flickers are back; the peepers sang for the first time last night.
I’ve finally informed the birds that gleaning season is done in the garden (as well as feasting season at the feeders); now they’ll have to dine on hatching insects and worms and seeds out on the fields. I’ve cleaned out most of the raised beds and discovered some winter survivors, transplanted the hardy types into tunnels (endive, radicchio, onions, calendula, fennel, lettuces) and planted early-season crops (lettuces, fenugreek, rapini, arugula, mustard, purslane, favas, spinach). Fruit trees will arrive this week, seed potatoes next.
My attention has clearly shifted–for the moment–from the cooking side of Open View Gardens to the growing. Sort of. As I plant, I play around with recipes in my head for the new harvest–the watercress down by the pond, the leeks, radicchio and chard that wintered over, the chives now about four inches high, the mint and sage. And I think ahead to the big harvest of summer, and to the Subscription Series for the fall, and so play around with recipes featuring whatever I am planting at the moment. It’s a wildly creative season.
This weekend it was lavender. Here’s a recipe I came up with for almonds roasted in lavender-infused honey. After checking out the winter damage to the lavender plants (minimal!) I had to run right in and make up a batch of these nuts. All the seasons wrapped into one delicious snack! I like the weaving of kitchen into garden–and not just the other way around.
Almonds Roasted in Lavender-Infused Honey
- ¼ cup raw honey (I like an early-summer variety that is light in color)
- 1 ½ tsp. dried lavender
- 4 tsp. water
- ½ cup blanched whole almonds
- 1/2 tsp olive oil
- sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 275º
2. In a very small pan, combine the honey, water and lavender. Warm over low heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for another 15 minutes to let the flavors bloom. You’ll have lots leftover–use whenever you have a call for honey.
3. In a small bowl, toss the almonds with the olive oil and sea salt.
4. Add 1 TB of the lavender honey to the almonds and combine well.
5. Place the almonds in a single layer on parchment-covered baking sheet.
6. Cook for 15 minutes, turning and checking often.
7. Cool and enjoy!