Monday, April 20, 2020

Savory Artichoke Vegan Pesto Recipe!


Artichoke Pesto, Capers, Heirloom Tomatoes, 
Olives  & French Radishes Crostini


Artichoke Pesto Crostini & Beaujolais Wine

Artichoke Pesto with  Crusty Seeded Baguette

Artichoke Pesto in a Jar as a gift

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pic. 2

pic. 1

Roughly Chopped Cilantro 

Cilantro in a Salad Spinner

Cilantro Stems Removed

Minced Marinated Artichoke Hearts

Drained Marinated Artichoke Hearts

 Marinated Artichoke Hearts in a Jar

Chopped Garlic   

Meyer Lemon Rinds

Meyer Lemons

Greetings Pesto Lovers!

You’ll love making and enjoying this delicious Savory Artichoke Pesto. This flavorful vegan pesto can be used in pasta, risotto, soups, on polenta, pizza or tart crust with veggies and shaved vegan cheese, on flatbread with mixed greens, chopped tomatoes & capers, in paninis with a slice of vegan cheese, with gourmet crackers, crusty breads and baguettes crostini and much more. So, let’s get started with this simple and delicious recipe!

Ingredients:
1 Cup almond slivers  
A bunch of fresh cilantro
4 Garlic cloves peeled & chopped
1 Jar (6.5 oz.) marinated artichoke hearts
1 Meyer lemon juice & rinds
2/3 Cup olive oil
A pinch of sea salt

Instructions:
1. Lightly toast almond slivers in a skillet and set aside to cool.
2. Cut cilantro stems by 2-3 inches, wash and drain in a salad spinner to remove excess water. Next, do a rough chop. See pics above. 
3. Pour the jar of marinated artichoke hearts into a colander and press down with a spatula to get the liquid out. Next, finely mince them, see pics above.
4. Place toasted almond slivers in a food processor, pic.1  and pulse until coarsely chopped, pic.2
4. Add cilantro and garlic to the almond slivers in the food processor, pic.3 and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse texture, pic.4
5. Pour the mixture into a flat bowl, add minced artichoke, lemon juice & rinds, sea salt and olive oil, pic.5 and mix with two spoons until well blended, pic. 6.
6. You can enjoy your delicious pesto right away or refrigerate it in an airtight jar for up to 1 week. 

Savory Artichoke Pesto in a Jar as a Gift - This flavorful pesto makes a delicious gift for family and friends. Just put it in a beautiful jar and leave in on their porch, patio, garden table, etc. This way you’ll avoid any types of contacts while spreading love and joy!

Happy Delicious Eating!

Chef Ellie Lavender 
Vegan Mediterranean Personal Chef
Culinary & Wine Pairing Instructor

Join my network on Facebook & Instagram to receive recipes and information
on upcoming chocolate, culinary & wine pairing classes and special events!

Copyright © 2020 Lavender Design + Cuisine, All rights reserved.




Thursday, April 16, 2020

A Step-by-Step Plan to Declutter & Organize Your Garage!

 Clutter-Free & Organized Garage

Cluttered & Disorganized Garage

Did you know almost 60% of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park their cars there or have room for only one car? It’s not easy to get rid of stuff we don't need or use, but it’s more convenient and much easier to put them in the garage and deal with them later, which will contribute to small or massive clutter! 

If you’re ready to take on the task of decluttering, organizing and tidying up your garage, now it's the perfect time to do it, rather than later. So, let’s get started!

Step 1 - Declutter and Let Go

Depending on the size of your garage and the amount of clutter, choose a full day or a full weekend for decluttering and organizing your garage.

1. Make decluttering your garage a family project by including family members (including kids), relatives and even a few close friends. This will help speed up the process. Plus, they are not as attached as you are to the stuff in your garage and they can motivate-help you to get rid of them.

2. Get some boxes and label them as donate and sell. Next, bring your garbage & recycling bins into your garage, go through every single items, keep what's essential and put the rest in your garbage & recycling bins, donate and sell boxes. This will accelerate your decluttering process, instead of piling what you don’t want somewhere in the garage and then sorting them out afterward.

Letting go - A good tip for judging which items to let go of is to ask yourself one and only one question: Have I used this in the past one year? If your answer is no, then it’s time to get rid of it

3. Pack up donated boxes in your car and drop them off at the nearest donation center as soon as possible.

4. Set aside items you plan to sell at an upcoming yard sale, online, or local consignment stores. If you are planning to have a yard sale, schedule it soon.

Step 2 - Organize What’s Left

Once, you are done with decluttering your garage, it’s time to organize it. First, figure out how much space your car(s) will take and then work with what’s left by placing items in spaces based on their types and uses.

Frequently Used: Keep items that you use frequently, such as shopping bags and pet leashes within easy reach – perhaps on hooks by the door.

Items Used Together: Create zones for groups of things such as auto care, gardening, and sports equipment so that like items are stored together.

Bulkier Items: Use the two back corners of the garage to store bulkier items such as a lawn mowers.

Rarely Used: Place rarely used items, such as holiday decorations or snow tires, on higher shelves of sturdy shelving units.

Tools and Bicycles: Tools such as shovels and rakes and bicycles are best stored by hanging on the wall.

Important to keep in mind: If you’re using cardboard boxes as storage containers, you might want to seriously consider investing in some plastic bins that will keep insects and rodents from taking up residence in your house.

Step 3 - Keep it Tidy

Once you’re done with all of that, you’ll have a clutter-free garage that is organized nicely. The next step is to make efforts year round to keep it that way.

Keep floor space as free as possible.
Spray for pests from time to time to keep insects at bay.
Sweep and hose down the floors regularly to get out dirt.
And the most important step of all: Repeat at least once a year to purge what’s no longer wanted or needed.

Happy Decluttering & Organizing!

Ellie Lavender
Certified Feng Shui Practitioner
Interior Designer
Lavender Design + Cuisine


Join my network on Facebook & Instagram to receive Feng Shui & Interior 
Design tips and information on upcoming workshops & special events!

Copyright © 2020 Lavender Design + Cuisine, All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

A Chef's Delicious Journey!


Ratatouille in a Bowl


 Ratatouille with Capers & Olives

Seeded Baguette 


Ratatouille with Crusty Bread


Ratatouille with a Delicious Merlot 
Welcome to my Delicious Culinary World!

We passionate chefs, home cooks and foodies, all have a story to tell and this is my inspiring story! 

My delicious journey into culinary heaven 
as a self-taught vegan Mediterranean chef started at age 7 with my decision to become a vegetarian. Having asked my mom to prepare vegetarian foods, her reply was: ‘It’s time for you to learn how to cook so that you can make any kind of foods to your liking’. 

I started cooking and found absolute joy in experimenting with the bounty of fresh vegetables and herbs (lavender always being my favorite) from our organic garden. The first dish that I made was a delicious
ratatouille (classic Proven├žal vegetable stew, originated in Nicewith capers and olives, which I still make throughout the year with varieties of seasonal, organic vegetables and fresh herbs. Though, ratatouille is often enjoyed with rice, pasta or couscous, I love eating and serving it in a bowl with seeded baguette or crusty breads and a glass of beautifully aged Merlot or Pinot Noir.

This early encounter with the joy of cooking and baking led me to create Lavender Cuisine, because cooking and baking are truly my greatest passion! I offer personal chef servicesprivate and public vegan Mediterranean cooking, baking, chocolate & wine pairing classes (individual, couples & groups) and catering (up to 25 people) throughout Santa Cruz County and the South Bay. I use varieties of fresh, organic, seasonal, local produce (farm-to-table) and ingredients from farmer’s markets and small-family-owned grocery stores in Santa Cruz.


The name Lavender Cuisine comes from my wonderful experience with the amazing healing power of lavender—a story that has its origins in my early childhood in the south of France. I was introduced to lavender at the age of six. My mom used to make me a glass of warm milk infused with lavender flowers and honey whenever I had an upset stomach or could not sleep. It always made me feel good and was simply wonderful. 

I learned the art of cooking and baking with culinary lavender (organic culinary lavender adds a delightful and  exotic flavor to any sweet or savory creation) and vegan Mediterranean cooking at a very young age by experimenting with varieties of fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, grains and pasta and loving the results. 

Lavender and vegan Mediterranean cuisine have touched my life in many magical ways and I would welcome the opportunity to introduce them into yours.

Chef Ellie Lavender 
Vegan Mediterranean Personal Chef
Culinary & Wine Pairing Instructor
Artisan Chocolatier
Lavender Design + Cuisine


Join my network on Facebook & Instagram to receive recipes and information
on upcoming chocolate, culinary & wine pairing classes and special events!

Copyright © 2020 Lavender Design + Cuisine, All rights reserved.


Saturday, April 11, 2020

Simple & Practical Steps to Declutter & Organize Your Wardrobe Closets For Good!


Life is a balance of holding on & letting go and that includes what's in your wardrobe closet/s

clutter-free and organized closet/s (no matter small, large or walk-in) promotes good energy, clarity, self-empowerment and begins your morning with a positive attitude. So, gift yourself with a clutter-free & organized closet/s and encourage your kids to do the same. Especially now that kids are homebound (just like many of us), it will keep them busy and inspire them to acquire good habits that will last a lifetime. So, let’s get started! 

Simple & Practical Steps to Declutter & Organize Your Wardrobe Closets For Good:

1. Set aside some time (maybe a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon), find 3 boxes, label them as donate, sell and trash and place them near your closet/s.

2. Diligently, go through your clothes, shoes, bags, hats, belts, scarves, jewelries, etc., and ask yourself, when was the last time I worn it, will I wear it again, do I like/love it and if the answer is you haven’t wore it in the past six months, most probably will not wear it again and you don’t like/love it, then put them in the 3 labeled boxes accordingly.

3. Now that you have successfully decluttered your closet/s and placed unwanted items in donate, sell and trash boxes, its time to organize your closet/s. Start by categorizing what you have kept. For example, spring-summer items in one section of the closet, fall-winter and formal-evening items in the same order respectively and so on. This practical organization method not only will save you a great deal of time, but also will make it much easier and quicker to pick and choose your clothes, shoes, bags, belts, etc.

4. Deal with 3 boxes you have filled right away, do not take items out and put them back into your closet/s. Remind yourself - these are items that you have no use for, you don’t even like or fit you anymore, so it’s best to let them go.  Once, you have done that, you’ll be amazed of great feelings of clarity and empowerment!

5. Remove items that don't belong in your closet/s and you know exactly what they are.

6. Thoroughly, clean the closet itself and get rid of cobwebs, dust, broken hangers, etc. They generate negative energy and you don’t want that in your closet, hence in your clothes, shoes, bags, belts, etc.

7. Maintain a clutter-free and organized closet/s, by instituting a 'one inone out' policy. This means that each time you buy and add something new into your closets, you should let go of an existing item.

Happy Decluttering & Organizing!

Ellie Lavender
Certified Feng Shui Practitioner
Interior Designer

Join my network on Facebook & Instagram to receive Feng Shui & Interior Design tips and information on upcoming workshops & special events!
Copyright © 2020 Lavender Design + Cuisine, All rights reserved.

Savory Roasted Red Pepper & Green Olive Vegan Tapenade Recipe

Vegan Tapenade Hors D’oeuvres Platter

Tapenade with Roasted Rainbow Carrots, Asparagus, 
Scallions, French Breakfast Radishes, Watermelon 
Radishes, Caper Berries & Gourmet Crackers 

Delicious Tapenade in a Bowl

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Pic. 5

Pic. 4

Pic. 3


Pic. 2

Pic. 1

Prepped & Measured Ingredients

Fresh Herbs: Oregano, Marjoram & Thyme

Ingredients

Tapenade in Jar

Culinary Gift

Greetings Tapenade Lovers!

You'll love making and enjoying this Savory Roasted Red Pepper & Green Olive Vegan Tapenade, a Proven├žal (southeastern France) delicious condiment. This flavorful condiment (traditionally,  made with anchovies, but in this recipe substituted with roasted hazelnutsis very easy to make with ingredients you most probably already have in your pantry and fridge. 

You can enjoy this delicious Savory Tapenade (vegan and for nut-free version, skip the hazelnuts) with crusty breads, baguettes, gourmet crackers, slather it into a panini with a slice of vegan cheese, on sandwich breads with mixed greens or arugula, in pasta salads, on polenta, roasted fingerling potatoes, grilled cauliflower steak, asparagus, eggplant, stuff Portobello mushrooms and much more. You can also make a beautiful Vegan Hors D’oeuvres Platter with a bowl of this delicious tapenade.

So, let’s get started with this simple and delicious recipe!

Ingredient (serving size 8):

One jar (12 oz.) roasted red bell pepper, drained and chopped. Or you can roast two large peppers, see instructions below 

1 jar (6.5 oz.) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 Cup Picholine olives (small green olives, originated in Gard, Southern France), pitted
2 garlic clove, peeled & smashed
1/4 Cup capers (drained)
1/4 Cup fresh marjoram leaves
1/4 Cup fresh oregano leaves
1/4 Cup fresh thyme leaves
1/2 Tsp. pepper corns
1/3 Cup olive oil
1 Cup roasted skin removed hazelnuts. Or you can roast a cup, see instructions below
1/4 Cup fresh lemon juice & 1 tsp. lemon rinds

Instructions: 


1. Preheat oven to 500° F. Cut peppers in half, remove stalk, seeds and white membrane. Place peppers face down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, brush with olive oil and roast for 30-40 minutes, until skins are completely wrinkled and peppers are charred. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for 30 minutes, then remove the charred skin.
2. Preheat oven to 350° F. In a baking sheet roast hazelnuts in one layer in middle of oven 10-12 minutes until skins are blistered. Remove hazelnuts from oven, cover with paper towel, let steam 2-3 minute, rub in the paper towel to remove skins, pic. 1 and set aside to cool for 30 minutes.
3. Place roasted hazelnuts in a food processor, pic 2 and pulse until coarsely chopped, pic. 
4. Add first 10 ingredients to the chopped hazelnuts in the food processor, pic. 4  and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse texture, pic. 5
5. Add lemon juice & rinds, pic. 6, and pulse 3 more times, pic.7
6. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving to blend the flavors.  

Savory Roasted Red Pepper & Green Olive Tapenade in a Jar as a Gift - This flavorful condiment  makes a delicious culinary  gift for family and friends too.  

Happy Delicious Eating!

Chef Ellie Lavender 

Vegan Mediterranean Personal Chef
Culinary & Wine Pairing Instructor
Lavender Design + Cuisine

 

Join my network on Facebook & Instagram to receive recipes and information
on upcoming chocolate, culinary & wine pairing classes and special events!


Copyright © 2020 Lavender Design + Cuisine, All rights reserved.