Last Christmas, I had one of those “you know you’re a vegan foodie when…” moments: my mom stuffed my stocking with spices, and I was thrilled. She’d purchased six fun spices for me at a local craft fair, and after Christmas I lovingly transported them back to Madison from RI and have been using them ever since. All of them, that is, except for the lemon peel and the lavender. But this weekend I put those less-loved spices to good use.
This, friends, is a lemon-lavender muffin. I don’t have a recipe to share because I basically made the delicious Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins from Vegan Brunch, omitting the lemon zest and poppy seeds and substituting lemon peel and lavender instead. Bursting with lemony flavor from the peel and freshly-squeezed lemon juice, this is a delicate, sophisticated muffin I’d happily serve at a tea party or bring to a formal brunch. (Do formal brunches exist? If not, THEY SHOULD. Let’s have one.) Although I was concerned that the lavender might be overwhelmingly floral in flavor, instead it’s subtle and refreshing and works perfectly with the lemon. Lemon and lavender are, in my book, a winning pair.
They are not, however, remotely seasonal. This seems like a flavor combination more suited to spring than winter. But I welcomed that little hint of spring this week, because winter’s come out to play, and I start my days defrosting my car in subzero temperatures.
Despite that indulgence in thoughts of spring, my mind is definitely full of sugar plums and snowflakes. I’m helping to plan our family’s Christmas dinner, even though I’m currently 1300 miles away and won’t be home ’til next Tuesday night. My family is traditionally very open when it comes to Christmas dinner; we’ve done Mexican-themed meals and Italian-inspired dinners in the past. This year, I’ve come up with a great idea – we’ll make foods that represent all the different parts of our heritage. I am the quintessential American mutt, a mix of Irish and Portuguese and Russian Jew and French-Canadian and English and Scottish and, perhaps, Welsh. I’ve come up with lots of ideas for dishes we could make, but I’m interested in hearing your ideas! What foods from those cultures would you recommend? I’m interested in appetizers, soups, breads, desserts, entrees, sides, desserts, drinks, whatever! Do share your thoughts!