I had a special request from a dear friend this week for recipe of the French toast that I had brought to a recent holiday brunch. This toast is pretty fancy as it doesn’t use cinnamon, which is equally delicious, but lavender! I used to work at an absolutely amazing little joint in Princeton, New Jersey, called the Bent Spoon (www.thebentspoon.net), which made artisan gelato-style ice cream and sorbet as well as baked goods. Before working there, I thought I was a foodie who knew about food, but I was wrong. I learned SO much about the fanciest of foods here and became very well-acquainted with the local food movement as many of the ingredients we used came from nearby farms and businesses. It was here that I learned of campari, shiso leaf, Saigon cinnamon, Alphonso mangoes, prosecco, and so much more. As I worked the counter, I watched as nougat and peppermint candy were made by hand, cupcakes constantly came out of the oven to be topped with buttercream icing naturally colored with organic dyes made from purple carrots and beets, and the ice cream maker churned out flavors like rosemary-seckel pear sorbet and chocolate habanero ice cream. Lavender is an herb that at first only elicited memories of my grandmother and the smell of clean laundry. I didn’t even know lavender was edible prior to working at the Bent Spoon! I first met the taste of lavender in the form of the Bent Spoon’s lavender plum sorbet, where lavender’s citrusy, slightly bitter, floral flavor mingled in perfect harmony with the sweet, tangy red plums of the local Terhune’s Orchards. I was sold and inspired to use it myself. What better way to try lavender than on some lavishly cut sourdough French toast at your next Sunday brunch? I hope you enjoy taking the leap into eating lavender and seeing it in a new light as much as I have. Sachets are so passé! I also hope that you enjoyed the terrible Ohio Players reference…:)
Lavender French Toast
– ½ cup flour
– 1 cup soymilk
– 2 Tbsp flax meal
– 2 Tbsp agave nectar
– 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
– 2 Tbsp of dried lavender flowers, ground
– 1 loaf of sourdough French bread
– Earth Balance (margarine), for greasing skillet
1) Slice French bread loaf into desired thickness and toast lightly toaster oven.
2) In a medium bowl, combine flax meal and soymilk, stirring until well combined. Let mixture sit for a few minutes.
3) Add agave nectar and vanilla to bowl and stir.
4) Add flour to bowl while whisking mixture to avoid lumps. Whisk until mixture is combined and lump-free.
5) Grind lavender flowers between fingers, with mortar and pestle, or with electric grinder and add to mixture.
6) Dip pieces of toast bread into mixture until coated with batter.
7) In a greased skillet or griddle over low-medium heat, add coated bread. Cook until each side of bread is browned.