Margaux says…

I bought a lavender plant last summer just to make this recipe (well, and I really like lavender in general, but that’s what really motivated my purchase), and am just now finally getting around to it! Luckily I was able to take all my herbs in for the winter, and they stayed alive. My mother-in-law brought me a bag of Meyer lemons last time she visited, which lit a fire under me to make these. The recipe is from the “Three Aunts and a Mom” cookbook that Aunt Suzy gave me, and this recipe is from my Aunt Judy.

The original recipe has a glaze on it, but I was concerned that they would turn out more muffin-like than cupcake, so I made a basic lemon butter frosting.  If you’d rather do the glaze, just mix 1 cup of powdered sugar with 5-6 tablespoons of lemon juice, and add a few teaspoons of zest.  But I thought they were really good with the frosting.

The Meyer lemons made the cupcakes sweeter than they probably would be with regular lemons.  They were very delicious, but unless you’re a major sweet-tooth, you’ll probably only be able to eat one.  They would be perfect for an early spring birthday party, while lemons are still in season.  If you don’t have fresh lavender available, rosemary would work as well.

Fresh Lavender and Lemon Cupcakes

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup extra fine granulated sugar
3 tbsp lemon juice
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tsp finely chopped lavender or rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, lavender, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the buttermilk, vanilla and lemon juice.

In a large mixing bowl beat butter on medium high for 30 seconds; add sugar and beat on medium high for 2 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping bowl often. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to butter mixture in three parts, ending with flour. Beat on low after each addition until just combined.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups to 3/4 full. Bake 22-25 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from muffin pan and let cool.

Lemon Frosting

4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until combined (will look crumbly). Add lemon juice and zest, and beat until smooth. Add more powdered sugar or more lemon juice to desired consistency.

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Margaux says

I love pasta dishes.  I would eat pasta every night for dinner if the rest of my household felt the same as me.  However, as much as my husband loves pasta, too, he doesn’t feel the same way as I do.  And Desi doesn’t really like it at all.  Seriously, where did this kid come from??  No mac n’ cheese, no spaghetti…sometimes its really hard to come up with dinner ideas!  This dish was a winner because Desi loves asparagus, peas and bacon, and we even got him to eat a few noodles, too!

I used proscuitto because my grocery store didn’t have pancetta, and I didn’t feel like making an extra trip to Whole Foods.  I think I could have just used bacon, and it would have been just as delicious.   It also would have been really good vegetarian.

Fettucine with Asparagus, Peas and Pancetta
by The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen

* 12 ounces fettuccine or penne
* 3 ounces pancetta or bacon, chopped
* 1 1/4 pounds asparagus, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
* 2 cups shelled fresh green peas, blanched 1 minute in boiling water, drained, or frozen peas (do not thaw)
* 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced, white and pale green parts separated from dark green parts
* 2 garlic cloves, pressed
* 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
* 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
* 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil, divided

Cook pasta in pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot.

Meanwhile, cook pancetta in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon drippings from skillet. Add asparagus to drippings in skillet; sauté 3 minutes. Add peas, white and pale green parts of green onions, and garlic; sauté until vegetables are just tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add vegetable mixture, 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid, dark green parts of green onions, 1/2 cup Parmesan, cream, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon peel, half of parsley, and half of basil to pasta. Toss, adding more cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if needed. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Transfer to large bowl. Sprinkle pancetta, remaining parsley, and basil over. Serve, passing additional Parmesan cheese.