Monday, September 27, 2010

Cookies and Chicken

Interrupting the irregularly scheduled flow of farmers' market cookbook recipes to talk about some other recipes.

Whenever we have a family get-together, I like to try to serve something new: a recipe I've never tried before or something unusual. Last night we had a barbecue to celebrate my sister-in-law's birthday and I really wanted to create some new fabulous salad creation, but time was really short so I opted for something simpler. Along with the burgers, we added chicken - yeah, not too taxing and certainly not unexpected. I found a simple "recipe" online for chicken thighs wrapped in bacon -- and that was about all there was to it. I got some skinless, thigh fillets, wrapped them in bacon, sprinkled them with pepper and threw them on the barbecue. They turned out to be pretty darn good. At least wrapping the chicken in bacon added something a little unexpected. Thumbs-up all around.

So, the reason time was short was because I'd devoted the rest of the day to finalizing a cookie recipe I'm including in FRUIT OF ALL EVIL, the second farmers' market mystery. The original recipe I put together was good, but not quite good enough. Lavender is a part of the recipe and I've never cooked/baked with it before. It isn't as easy as grabbing some plants from the nursery, picking off the flowers and throwing them into the mix. It's important that you use culinary lavender when you are cooking or baking -- culinary lavender has been grown without pesticides or other nasty stuff you don't want in your food. Some health food stores do carry culinary lavender, but there's still more to know before you use it.

Chris Mason at Fat Spike Lavender Company has been a wonderful resource. She explained the importance of herbicide/pesticide-free plants as well as the difference in types of lavender. Some lavender works better for savory cooking (Provence), some is better for sweet recipes (Royal Velvet). I ordered some Royal Velvet from her and it arrived last week. And, with the Royal Velvet and a little tweaking I did to the other ingredients, I think I came up with pretty darn good cookie recipe.

I'm very excited to include it in the book.

Of course, writing the stories is the best part of writing novels, but I do have fun with the recipes and I want to make them as good and appealing as possible. I couldn't do this without help -- thanks to Chris and everyone who sent me helpful lavender information!

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