Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Zen of Cooking

and a recipe to share.

Among my many, many hobbies are cooking and baking.

Over the last several years, since my husband and I became empty nesters (we adapted quite quickly as a matter of fact), I find that I cook less during the week. But I still enjoy spending hours in the kitchen on the weekends. I love cookbooks; they are books after all. And I love getting new kitchen "toys" - pots and pans, knives, mixing bowls, and gadgets of all kinds. I invested in a Gel Pro mat for in front of the counter where I spend most of my time chopping and slicing and mixing. It's worth every penny. And I have a TV in kitchen.

This weekend, for example, I made:

Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting - all from scratch.
Pan-seared Trout with Capers (Trout caught by Hubby in Colorado)
Fresh Lemon Rice
Citrus Roasted Asparagus
Chicken Salad (for lunches this week)
Lavender Lemon Mini Muffins
Bread and Butter Pickles

It's actually still very hot here to be spending so much time in the kitchen. But I needed it. I needed to clear my head of all the clutter and drivel from the last couple of weeks. Focusing on the weight and feel of the knife in my hand while slicing cucumbers, or really feeling the exhilaration that a whiff of freshly grated lemon zest provides really re-centered me. And then there were all those dirty dishes. They were all washed by hand. It was very soothing, if a little time consuming.

But the best part? Enjoying it all afterward. Hubby took cupcakes to work to share. I took muffins to work to share. And there were leftovers enough of the fish and the rice for at least one more dinner.

Lavender Lemon Mini Muffins
(found this recipe on the Internet somewhere)

1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. lavender
1 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 egg
2 tbsp. melted butter

Preheat oven to 400F and spray 24 miniature muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. Combine sugar, lavender and lemon zest in a blender or food processor; process until lavender is chopped. Remove 2 tbsp. to a small bowl and set aside. Combine remaining sugar mixture, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Stir together buttermilk, oil, lemon extract and egg in a small bowl; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until combined. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins and bake for 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. While still warm, brush tops with melted butter and dip in reserved sugar mixture.

Wishing you a sweet life,


  1. i find cooking very zen as well. and centering. and some of the moments where i'm most conscious of being happy are when i'm cooking. i wonder what it is about it...

  2. You made these and you didn't invite me for tea while they were still warm? Humph. You used to be my best friend, but now I'm going to find another one. Humph!

    Hey, I'm sorry your world is finding you being a bit fly-bitten...I'm glad to hear your time in your kitchen has returned some bliss.

  3. Lavender and lemon...love anything with these flavors! Thanks for sharing this great recipe, Janet... I love to cook and back. And after seeing this post, I'm hungry! :o) Happy Day ((HUGS))

  4. Julie - I think it has something to do with our simple needs. women used to spend so much of their day preparing food for their families. we've just managed, over the centuries, to fill up our lives with so much other "stuff."

    Holly - please forgive! ;) i know that i used to see a lavender tea, by Revolution I think, at Target. Went yesterday in search of it cuz I HAD to have it to go with the muffins. It's not there anymore. Otherwise, you'd have been the first person i'd called! PROMISE! xoxo

    Tracy - I was actually thinking about you while I was making the lavender muffins. So much of what you make always sounds SO good! Only I pictured you gathering the lavender from your garden. Mine came out of a jar. ;)

  5. Janet, this recipe sounds scrumptious. I've never cooked with lavender but would like to try. For the recipe you simply use lavender flowers? Would one from the garden be okay?


What's on your mind? Please share!