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Filtering by Tag: lemon

Lavender Lemonade

Patricia Reitz

Who loves lavender?  I do! Not only does it smell wonderful - it tastes great too, but it's very strong so you have to be careful not to use too much.  Here, dried lavender buds are gently steeped in hot water to make a tea which is then combined with water and freshly squeezed lemon juice to make this refreshing lavender lemonade.

how to make lavender lemonade - recipe and how-to photos

The ingredients needed are pretty simple, fresh lemons, water, sugar, and dried lavender.  If you grow your own lavender, you can dried the buds yourself, otherwise they're pretty easy to find online (this is what I purchased).


Gorgeous lemons!!!

Lavender lemonade recipe

We need a lot of freshly squeezed lemon juice (don't even think about using the stuff in a bottle!).  You can squeeze the juice by hand (this is my favorite style for manual squeezing), but for large jobs, I love using my electric juicer.  Sadly, this one is no longer made, but there are plenty of similar models available online (here).


Over high heat, combine some of the water with the sugar. 


Stir the sugar until it dissolves.


Bring the mixture to a boil.

recipe for lavender lemonade - how-to photos and recipe

Turn off the heat and add the dried lavender flowers; steep for 10 minutes.

How long to steep lavender to make lemonade - recipe and how-to photos.

After 10 minutes, strain the lavender out and discard.  Add the remaining water and freshly squeezed lemon juice and serve over ice.


Oh, and here's a tip - store the empty lemon halves in the freezer.  Whenever you need lemon zest, grab a frozen half and run it over a microplane grater.  You'll never be without lemon zest again! 

DSC_0153 (2).JPG


Items used to make this recipe:

Lavender Lemonade

makes 8 servings


  • 8 cups water, divided

  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar (or more to taste)

  • 2 tablespoons dried lavender

  • 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • optional: a drop or two of blue or purple food coloring

  • garnish: lemon slices and fresh lavender petals


  1. In a large saucepan, bring 2 cups of water and sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.

  2. Remove from heat and stir in dried lavender; steep for 10 minutes.

  3. Strain lavender from mixture and discard.

  4. Place lavender-infused water in large pitcher; add remaining water, lemon juice, optional food coloring and stir well.

  5. Serve over ice.

Simple Chicken Piccata

Patricia Reitz

Chicken Piccata is one of those really fast, one-pot dishes every home cook should have in their arsenal.  The thin chicken breasts cook in minutes, and the butter, lemon, caper sauce is packed full of flavor.  I love that I can walk in the door and have a complete meal of chicken piccata, rice, and steamed vegetables in less than 30 minutes.   Let me show you how easy it is to make.

Cut a couple of boneless, skinless chicken breasts in half horizontally and use a meat pounder to pound the thick side of the breast so the entire piece of chicken is the same thickness (about 1/4-inch).  I like to cover the chicken with plastic wrap when doing this so little bits of chicken don't fly all over the kitchen.

Coat the chicken on both sides with a light dusting of flour.  

I used Wondra Flour because it coats the chicken so lightly and evenly, but you can use plain flour instead.

Then I used a citrus squeezer to get all the juice out of one lemon.  By the way, room temperature or warm lemons give up more juice than cold lemons.  Zap your lemon in the microwave for about 10 seconds if needed.

For garnish, I used a channel knife to cut this design into another lemon.  This step is completely unnecessary, but it makes the lemon slices look so pretty.

Then I sliced it thin with a mandoline slicer.  If you don't have a mandoline, slice the lemon thin by hand.

They'll make a nice garnish.  You can easily remove all the seeds when the slices are thin like this.    

Okay, time to cook the chicken.  Saute the chicken in a little butter and olive oil until slightly brown on both sides.  Don't crowd the pan.

Side one is done and it's time to flip.  This will only take 2 or 3 minutes per side, depending on how thin your chicken is.

Remove your beautifully browned chicken to a plate.  We'll put it back in the pan after we make the pan sauce.

Now we make the pan sauce.  Keep the butter and oil in there... they'll add a lot of flavor to the sauce.  And see all those brown bits in the pan?  They're going to add even more flavor.  We're going to dissolve them in a mixture of chicken stock and white wine.  If you don't like to cook with wine, you can totally use just chicken stock.   

I always have homemade chicken stock in the freezer.  

Today I used my homemade chicken stock to make the piccata.  I used my stock to cook the rice I served as well.  It comes in handy all the time.  I use it for soups, cooking beans and grains, steaming vegetables.... wonderful, wonderful stuff.  Check out my tutorial to see how easy it is to make your own awesome chicken stock for just pennies here

Okay, back to tonight's dinner.  Once the chicken stock and white wine have dissolved all those tasty brown bits in the pan, remove any lumpy blobs of solidified protein that might remain.  A fine mesh skimmer is the perfect tool for the job.  You really don't have to do this, but it'll make for a more attractive pan sauce later. 

Now we're going to add capers.  They're very pungent and a little go a long way.  I only used about a teaspoon, DRAINED, for the amount of chicken I cooked here.  

Time to add the freshly squeezed lemon juice too.

Whisk everything together well and let the sauce reduce by at least half, stirring occasionally. DO NOT add any salt and pepper.  I know, I usually tell you to season with S & P as you go, but not this time.  Trust me.  Just wait until the sauce reduces to the consistency you like.  You can add a teeny tiny amount of the Wondra Flour if you want to thicken the sauce a little, but I don't usually find it necessary.  If you do add flour, add just a small amount, whisk it in well and allow the mixture to boil for at least a minute to cook out the raw flour flavor.

Once the sauce is finished reducing, taste and add salt and pepper if needed.  Then whisk in a tablespoon of butter.  Sorry I didn't get a photo of that, but trust me, it adds a velvety mouth-feel and lovely shine to the sauce. 

Return the chicken to the pan and allow it to gently reheat for a minute or two by basting with that gorgeous pan sauce. 

Last we'll pretty things up by adding the sliced lemons and some chopped fresh parsley.  Serve immediately.  The extra pan sauce is great served over rice or pasta. 

Items used to make this recipe:

Simple Chicken Piccata

Printable Recipe


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally and pounded to about 1/4-inch thickness

  • 1/4 cup flour for dredging the chicken

  • 1 cup chicken stock

  • 1 cup white wine (or substitute more chicken stock)

  • juice of 1 lemon

  • 1 teaspoon capers, drained

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 sliced lemon

  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped flat leaf parsley


  1. Dredge the chicken in flour; set aside.

  2. Heat the butter and olive oil in a very large skillet.

  3. Saute the chicken in the butter and oil until browned on both sides; remove from pan.

  4. Add chicken stock and white wine to the butter and oil that remains in the pan; stirring to dissolve all the browned bits. Skim away any solids that don't dissolve if desired.

  5. Add the lemon juice and capers; reduce by half, stirring occasionally.

  6. Season reduced pan sauce if needed and whisk in remaining tablespoon of butter.

  7. Return chicken to skillet and baste with pan sauce to gently reheat chicken.

  8. Garnish with sliced lemons and chopped fresh parsley.

Note:  The recipe makes a lot of pan sauce which is wonderful served over rice or sopped up with crusty bread.