Cooking With Lavender
by Suzanne Smith of Los Alamos, NM
$12.95 retail
With Los Poblanos on the cover, this is the ultimate
New Mexico cookbook for lavender!


Lavender is a lovely flower, as well as key ingredient for perfumes and scented soaps. What most people are not aware of is that lavender is also a plant that Spanish settlers first brought to the Americas and has a great many culinary uses as well! That's what makes Suzanne Smith's "Cooking With Lavender" such a unique compendium of recipes that incorporate lavender among the ingredients for a wide range of main and side dishes, beverages, butters, sweets, rubs, and herbal mixtures. From Lavender-Fried Apples; Red Raspberry-Lavender Soup; and Lavender Lemonade; to Grilled Marinated Filets Mignons on Lavender Foil Bread; Broiled Salmon with Lavender Champagne Sauce; and Lavender Shortbread Cookies, "Cooking With Lavender" is a unique addition to personal and community library cookbook collections -- and a lot of fun to browse while seeking novel dishes to embellish any mealtime occasion! -- MidWest Book Reviews, August 2009

Close your eyes and picture this:
The mid afternoon sun warms the ground under your sandals.  Buzzing lazily, bees alight on purple lavender blossoms to sip succulent nectar. The air smells of roots and freshly watered earth.  Leaves rustle, and blossoms blur until they resemble an Impressionist painting.
Tell me as you stand in the garden--what is more wonderful than a field of lavender in August’s golden light?  Perhaps bringing lavender inside and cooking with it--tasting a moist pound cake flavored with lavender, and fresh from the oven. Perhaps enjoying the scent of chicken, rosemary, and lavender blending as they bake.
Sound exciting?  Then you might like to pick up a copy of Suzanne T. Smith’s Cooking with Lavender, published by Rio Grande Press in Albuquerque. This little specialty book offers a variety of recipes from Red Raspberry Lavender Soup, to Lavender Scrod in Foil, to Lavender and Apple Pound Cake.
Should you be new to using lavender for culinary purposes, don’t worry.  Cooking with Lavender will help you.  Besides a brief history of the plant, the introduction lists the types best for cooking, ways to use them; and a brief summary of how to grow, harvest, and store lavender, if you would like to try that. 
Ms. Smith lists her e-mail address and invites you to let her know how you like her recipes.  I assume that means she’ll also answer questions that you may have.
She suggests two places to buy culinary lavender.  Since it isn’t readily available in stores where I live, I called the establishments, but no one answered the phone at either of them.  One source offered a web site, but my cantankerous computer wouldn’t load it.
However I did locate enough lavender through friends to try the Apple Pound Cake and the New Potatoes with Lavender Chive Butter.  A novice with this plant, I followed Ms. Smith’s suggestions for using it. Each time, a delightful aroma swelled in my kitchen, and soon after that, a delicious taste filled my mouth.  No.  It filled my whole being.
I’ve always enjoyed cooking, so I had no trouble interpreting and following recipe directions in Cooking with Lavender   Comparing this title with two other New Mexico specialty cook books in my kitchen, I found it equal to them in range of recipes and tips for lavender use.
As soon as I locate a good source of culinary lavender, or someone answers the phone at the places Suzanne T. Smith suggested,  Cooking with Lavender will become as dog-eared and stained as the other culinary books in my kitchen, and lavender will take its place on my spice rack beside cumin, thyme, and coriander. --

Love that fragrant lavender in your garden? Try cooking with it!
That’s right—lavender’s lemony-tasting blossoms and tangy leaves go as well in the kitchen as in the linen closet. Lavender pairs beautifully with oranges and other fruits, fish and seafood, poultry and meats, as well as adding mouth-watering, exotic flavor to sweets. Cooking with Lavender shows you how to create mealtime adventures, make food sing with savory, tangy, zesty recipes featuring this versatile herb, and have a great time in your kitchen as you experiment with innovative dishes using luscious lavender.

Cooking with Lavender includes:

lively recipes for lavender-laced Soups, Stews, and Main Dishes;
spirited recipes for lavender-vitalized Side Dishes;
irresistible lavender-scented Beverages, Desserts, and Sweets.
dynamite recipes for making Lavender Butters, Rubs, and Herb Mixtures
to add zing to your ordinary dishes;

“This is a fabulous collection of recipes, and the introduction has lots of fascinating lore about lavender.” — Barbara Loth, homemaker and lavender grower, Greytown, OH

“Imaginative, achievable recipes for those of us who like to experiment in the kitchen. With this book, you can start your own culinary adventures today!” — Corey Bishop, amateur chef, Port Huron, MI

“Since the first Spanish settlers brought lavender,or (alhucema) to our region centuries ago, it has been used for its soothing medicinal and aromatic properties, as well as in cooking. This cookbook will help many enjoy the wonders of lavender. We at Los Poblanos Lavender fields (on historic farmland in the Rio Grande River Valley) look forward to using this book.” — Penny Rembe, Los Poblanos Lavender Fields, Los Ranchos, NM

Suzanne T. Smith is the author of five books, chapters in two other books, and more than a hundred magazine and newspaper articles. Her previous cookbooks, Recipes for Romance and Pumpkin Recipes, are being received enthusiastically and are reaping extensive praise. She teaches advanced writing classes at the University of New Mexico at Los Alamos and cooks for her husband and dogs.

Make your kitchen smell good enough to eat— get an armload of lavender blossoms, curl up in a cozy chair with your own copy of Cooking with Lavender, and discover some scrumptious ways to use this delicious herb. Start your own lavender adventures today!