I've been doing a lot of gardening recently. Finishing the path to my front door, edging it on one side with stones, taking out a lot of old, half dead stuff, cleaning up the palette, as it were. Suddenly there's room to think about new colors, new shapes, and hopefully to group plants together that like similar amounts of water and sunlight. It's a good thing my yard is small. This kind of a thing requires a lot of planning, and I'm much more of a "shoot from the hip" kind of gal.
So I went to the nursery today, as well as the garden department of Home Depot. I had this vision of a flower called "kangaroo paws" - an odd sort of a plant, but for some reason I knew I needed it in my front yard. It comes in lots of colors, from pink to red to yellow. These days, it's red and yellow that call to me from the color wheel, so I selected three yellow ones, and then had fun selecting plants that would look good with them - purple basil, Japanese sedge grass, a small rosemary bush and some snapdragons.
One of the plants which is coming out is an old lavender bush. It suffered a blow when someone cut off a branch from the neighbor's elm, and when it fell, it landed on my lavender bush, splitting it in two. This was several years ago, and this stalwart plant managed to survive - and even thrive - for at least 3 years. But recently, half of it seems to have died. The other half is still alive, but it looks like an invalid with a grin. If this plant was in my back yard, I'd keep it and nurture it as if I were a hospice nurse. But it's right there when you walk through my gate. So I bought a young plant today to replace it.
With the old lavender coming out, I've got a lot of lavender to deal with. I certainly don't want to throw it out, and I am not going to add sewing pillows with lavender in them to my "to do" list. What to do? Again, it was a memory I had of a lovely afternoon in New Mexico, having lunch with my friend Julie and a friend of hers, Tom, which inspired me. Tom had a spectacular adobe house with a view that went on for days. One of the things he was passionate about was gardening, and my friend Julie is a master gardener. She helped him with his extensive gardens, which included a field of lavender plants. The other thing Tom loved to do was cook. He prepared an original recipe of cornish game hens with lavender butter which was the perfect thing to eat on his patio, overlooking the Sandia mountains.
While this helps with the lavender surplus, it doesn't solve it completely. If anyone has a great idea of what to do with a lot of lavender, I'd appreciate the input. Meanwhile, it was also "clean out the fridge" day, so I have added things to the lavender butter which Tom didn't. Also, I was more in the mood for pork chops than cornish game hen, so the whole thing morphed into this meal. I looked on epicurious and found a recipe for pork chops with sage butter which looked simple. I took the basic concept and ran with it. I didn't measure anything this time, however, so all measurements are more or less....
6 TBS butter
1/4 red onion, diced
1 1/2 tsp. diced garlic
1 TBS plus 2 tsp lavender leaves, cut
2 tsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1 TBS olive oil
2 thick center cut pork chops
Melt 1 1/2 TBS butter in pan, add onions and lavender. Sautee until onion is toasted. Add garlic, sautee for another minute or more, till garlic is golden. Put mixture in a bowl, add the rest of the butter, parsley, salt and pepper and mix.
Put olive oil in pan, heat and add pork chops. Cook over medium heat until browned, turn over and reduce heat and cover until done. Spoon some of the butter mixture over the chops and serve.
Note: The butter can be put on a piece of plastic wrap when it is cool, rolled into a log and stored in the freezer. It's another one of those "Wow! I've got THIS to work with" kind of things that makes the freezer such a serendipitous place!
I served this dish with grilled asparagus. All I did was to mix some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a little kosher salt, pour it over the fresh asparagus and put it on a heated grill. Oh, yum! Isn't summer the best?!!For more health news, visit Mission Valley Acupuncture
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2 years ago