If you are traveling around the Northwest this month, plan on taking in Sequim’s Lavender Festival, July 16 to 18. Sequim, pronounced “Skwim,” is a growing community of about 5,700 in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley. The valley is bounded by Jefferson County on the east, the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the north, Port Angeles on the west, and the Olympic National Forest on the south. In the rain shadow of the 7,000-foot Olympic Mountains, Sequim is one of the driest locales in Western Washington, receiving an average of 16 inches of precipitation annually. It is also known as “Sunny Sequim” as it is blessed with an average of 300 days a year of sunshine.
And Sequim is also known as the “Lavender Capital of North America,” drawing about 30,000 people to its Lavender Festival in July. With fields and fields of lavender, the festival has become the Pacific Northwest’s summer event of the senses, with food, music and a street fair featuring more than 150 vendors. Shoppers can buy arts, crafts and all manner of goods containing the fragrant flower—from oils and lotions to lavender ice cream and syrup. You can also take tours of six lavender farms and chat with the owners to learn how they got started and how they make and market their products. And you can venture into the fields and pick your own lavender.
Lavender is an aromatic plant, so versatile that cooks are developing a passion for it in new and exciting cuisines. So be sure to pick up some culinary lavender so you can surprise your friends and family with lavender treats like these:
MARINATED LAMB CHOPS WITH LAVENDER
1/2 cup of chopped mint
1/4 cup of orange juice
1/4 cup of soy sauce
2 teaspoons of culinary lavender
Mix above ingredients and marinate four shoulder lamb chops 30 minutes. Grill 8-9 minutes.
SPINACH AND ENDIVE SALAD WITH LAVENDER LEMON-GINGER DRESSING
3/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup of white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon of apple jelly
1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon of dried culinary lavender
In a small pan, combine the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, ginger, jelly and mustard. Whisk over low heat until dressing is warmed through and completely blended. Cool to room temperature and stir in the lavender.
2 Belgian endives
4 cups of packed baby spinach
1 cup of blueberries
1 tablespoon of chopped chives
Peel, pit and slice peaches. Place in a small bowl and add half of the dressing. Toss to combine. Halve the endives and cut lengthwise into long slivers. Place in a large bowl and add spinach. Add remaining dressing and toss to coat. Transfer to a serving platter and arrange the peach slices decoratively over the greens. Sprinkle with blueberries and chives. Makes 4 servings.
LAVENDER LEMON BUTTERED CARROTS
2 pounds of medium carrots, peeled
1 cup of water
1 1/2 teaspoons of culinary lavender
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon of lemon thyme or thyme
2 tablespoons of Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1/8 teaspoon of white pepper
Cut the carrots on the diagonal into half-inch slices. Place in a pan with the water and lavender. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of the liquid.
Grate the zest off the lemon. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice from one half into a cup. Cut the remaining half into thin slices.
Heat butter and oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, until soft but not brown. Add carrots, the reserved liquid, thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the parsley. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 minute. Season with the salt and pepper. Decoratively arrange the lemon slices over the carrots and sprinkle with the remaining parsley. Serves six.
ORANGES AND RASPBERRIES WITH LAVENDER HONEY AND YOGURT
1 cup of honey
1 tablespoon of culinary lavender
4 cups of orange sections
2 cups of fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon of grated orange rind
4 cups of vanilla frozen yogurt
Combine honey and lavender in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat 20 minutes. Remove from heat; cool. Pour mixture through a sieve over a small bowl; discard solids.
Combine orange sections, raspberries, rind, and a half-cup of lavender honey in a large bowl; toss to coat. Cover and chill 1 hour.
Spoon fruit mixture over frozen yogurt. Drizzle with remaining half-cup of lavender honey. Garnish with fresh lavender. Serves 8.
LAVENDER LEMON COOKIES
1 tablespoon of culinary lavender
1 tablespoon plus 3/4 cup of sugar
1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 teaspoons of grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
1 1/4 teaspoons of salt
1 1/4 cups of flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Lavender lemon syrup
Lavender sprinkling sugar
Combine the lavender and 1 tablespoon of the sugar and mix well. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the butter and the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in egg, lemon zest and vanilla.
Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture and beat until blended. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight, until dough is well chilled.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into 2 long logs (1-inch thick). Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to firm up the dough for slicing.
Prepare the lavender lemon syrup. Combine 1 tablespoon of culinary lavender and 1 tablespoon of sugar and mix well. Transfer to a small pan. Stir in 3/4 cup of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of light corn syrup or honey, 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, and 3/4 cup of sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook for 1 minute, or until sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool.
Prepare the lavender sprinkling sugar. Combine 1/2 teaspoon of culinary lavender and 1 tablespoon of sugar and mix well. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in 1/2 cup of sugar less 1 tablespoon.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Slice the logs into half-inch coins and place on the baking sheets. Generously coat topside of the cookies with the syrup. Dust the sprinkling sugar. Bake in a preheated 325-degree oven 8-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 50 cookies.
There’s still time to put Sequim’s Lavender Festival into your July traveling plans so pack up that RV and come join us for this event we look forward to every year. There are many nice places to park the RV—near the water, near the mountains or just outside of town.
HINT OF THE MONTH
The perfumed scent and taste of lavender can easily be overdone, so use lavender in small amounts.
Marian Platt is a food writer who lives in Sequim, Washington.Research Campgrounds, Plan RV Safe Routes & Turn your phone into an RV GPS.
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