YIELD: Makes 8 servings


TOTAL TIME: 3 1/2 hr


For crème caramel

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons dried nontoxic and organic lavender flowers
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks

For pastry crust

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons ice water
  • Special equipment: a 10-inch glass pie plate (1 to 1 1/2 inches deep), 9 1/2-inch plate or cardboard round, and 10- to 14-inch flat serving plate with a slight lip
  • Garnish: fresh nontoxic and organic violets


Make crème caramel:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cook 1 cup sugar in a dry large nonstick skillet over moderate heat, swirling and shaking pan (to help sugar melt evenly), until sugar is melted and caramel is deep golden. Immediately pour caramel into pie plate, tilting to coat bottom and sides evenly.

Bring cream, milk, lavender, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar to a simmer and remove from heat. Let stand 15 minutes, then reheat. Pour through a fine sieve into a bowl, discarding lavender. Whisk whole eggs and yolks together in a bowl and slowly whisk in hot cream mixture. Pour custard over caramel.

Bake custard in a water bath in middle of oven until set but still trembling slightly (custard will continue to set as it cools), 40 to 45 minutes. Remove pie plate from water and cool cr
me caramel on a rack. Chill, loosely covered with plastic wrap, at least 2 hours.

Make pastry crust:
Blend together flour, sugar, salt, and butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Drizzle 1 1/2 tablespoons ice water over mixture and toss with a fork until incorporated. Test mixture by gently squeezing a small handful: When it has proper texture, it should hold together without crumbling apart. If necessary, add remaining ‚ tablespoon water.

(If you overwork mixture or add too much water, pastry will be tough.) Turn mixture out onto a work surface and divide into 4 portions. Smear each portion once in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather dough together and form it into a disk.

Chill dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into a 10 1/2-inch round and slide onto a baking sheet. Trim dough to a 9‚-inch round (use 9 1/2-inch plate turned upside down as a guide). Prick round all over with a fork and chill 30 minutes. Bake round in middle of oven until golden, 20 to 25 minutes, and cool completely on baking sheet on a rack.

Assemble tart just before serving:
Run a thin knife around edge of crème caramel and rotate pie plate back and forth to make sure crème caramel is loosened. Slide crust on top of crème caramel, centering it carefully, and invert serving plate on top of crust. Invert tart onto serving plate (caramel will run to edge of plate).

cooks’ notes:• If you substitute fresh lavender for the dried, use the same amount (fresh lavender is actually stronger than dried).

• You can make crème caramel and crust 1 day ahead, but don’t assemble until just before serving. Chill crème caramel and keep crust, covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature.


Courtesy of Epicurious


hot dogs

This Mexican favorite may seem over the top, but the ingredients combine to make a surprisingly addictive dog. The bacon adds smoky flavor, the mayo and pinto beans bring richness, and the salsa and pickled jalapeños provide a tangy, refreshing bite.

YIELD: 4 servings

ACTIVE TIME: 30 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes


For the pico de gallo:

  • 1 medium tomato, seeded, diced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 1/2 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the hot dogs:

  • 4 hot dogs
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 4 large hot dog buns or torpedo rolls (preferably not split)
  • 1/4 cup canned pinto beans
  • 1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapeño slices
  • Mayonnaise (for serving)
  • 1/2 cup potato chips, loosely crushed
  • Sprigs of cilantro (for serving)


Make the pico de gallo:
Combine tomato, red onion, garlic, lime juice, cilantro, cayenne, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Cook and assemble the hot dogs:
Prepare grill for high heat. Wrap each hot dog in 1 bacon slice and grill, turning often, until bacon is cooked through and crisp on all sides, 12–14 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice open buns, leaving ends intact. Gently toast in a 350°F oven or on grill until buns are warmed through and lightly crispy.

Nestle hot dogs into buns. Spoon 1 Tbsp. beans on one side of each dog, then arrange avocado slices and 1 Tbsp. jalapeños on the other side. Drizzle mayonnaise over hot dogs and top evenly with chips and cilantro.

Courtesy of

Ginger, Hibiscus and Minty Watermelon Popsicles



total time: 30 MINUTES + 4 HOURS TO FREEZE yields: 8 POPSICLES


3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons dried hibiscus flowers
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled + finely chopped or grated for more flavor
1/4 cup honey, add 1-2 tablespoons more for a sweeter pop
1/4 cup fresh mint (you can also use basil)
4-5 cups fresh watermelon
the juice of 1 lemon


Bring the water to a boil in a medium size pot. Remove from the heat and add the hibiscus flowers, ginger, honey and mint leaves. Cover and let steep for 20 minutes. Strain into a blender and discard the used hibiscus flowers, ginger andmint.To the blender, add the the watermelon and lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer/sieve or into a bowl lined with cheesecloth. Squeeze out all the juice and discard the watermelon pulp.Pour the mixture among 8 popsicle molds. Place the molds in the freezer and freeze for 1 hour. Remove and insert popsicle sticks. Return to the freezer and freeze until firm, about 4 hours. To remove the popsicles run the mold under hot water for 10 seconds and then pull the popsicles out of the molds. Store in the freezer.

Courtesy of



YIELD: Makes 8 servings



  • 3 pounds baby red potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 medium green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel



Bring potatoes to boil in large pot of water. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 17 minutes. Drain; let stand until cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes.

Cut potatoes into 3/4-inch pieces. Place 1 layer of potatoes in large bowl; sprinkle with some of vinegar and salt and pepper. Continue layering potatoes with vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add all remaining ingredients; toss. Season with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

Courtesy of Epicurious



Yellow Watermelon & Mint Pops

Yellow Watermelon & Mint Pops

YIELD: Makes 8


  • 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
  • 5 to 6 large sprigs fresh mint plus 2 teaspoons very thinly sliced fresh mint
  • 1 quart (960 ml) peeled, seeded, and chopped yellow watermelon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Special equipment: 8 (1/2-cup/120-ml) ice pop molds (and wooden sticks, if required for your molds)


1. Combine the sugar and 3/4 cup (180 ml) water in a medium saucepan. Bring them to a boil, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer until the syrup is lightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in the mint sprigs, and let the pan stand, uncovered, until the syrup is completely cooled. Drain the syrup in a wire sieve over a bowl, squeezing the mint between your fingertips to extract the very last drops; discard the mint.

2. Purée the watermelon in a food processor or blender. (If you wish, leave some of the watermelon in tiny chunks that are small enough to fit into the mold.) Pour the purée into a bowl. Stir in enough of the mint syrup to make a very sweet mixture (see Tips). Stir in the sliced mint. Divide the purée evenly among the eight ice pop molds, leaving a little clearance at the top of each mold to allow for expansion. Cover the molds with the lids (adding wooden sticks, if needed).

3. Freeze the pops until they are solid, at least 4 hours. (The pops can be frozen for up to 1 week.) To serve, run the bottom of the molds briefly under lukewarm water and unmold.

Tips from the Pros Perfect Pops

People’s Pops

Here are some tips to making the most of your frozen pops:

  • There are many different options for ice pop molds, in various shapes and with our without handles. If your molds require wooden sticks for handles, be sure to buy a sufficient quantity so you don’t run short. You’ll find them at craft shops.
  • The amount of syrup added to the fruit purée will change according to the fruit’s natural sweetness, so adjust it as necessary. The fruit mixture pop will seem less sweet when eaten.
  • The pops will expand slightly when frozen, so leave some headroom at the top of each mold.

Courtesy of

Mango and Cilantro Salsa

mango salsa

YIELD: Makes about 1 3/4 cups 


  • 2 small mangoes, peeled, pitted, diced
  • 3/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime peel
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Combine all ingredients in medium bowl; toss to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand 20 minutes. (Can be prepared 3 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) 

Courtesy of

Guess What’s Growing Wednesdays!

yellow coreopsis 06.17.2015

Happy Wednesday AeroGardeners, let’s play “Guess What’s Growing Wednesdays!” Today we have a flower that can reach 16 to 47 inches in height and 15 to 18 inches in width. This particular type of flower is a herbaceous plant that belongs in the Aster family. Do you think you know your flowers? Well, let us know by leaving a comment with the name of this flower on our Facebook page. #Aerogarden


Kale Pesto with Toasted Walnuts


Kale Pesto with Toasted Walnuts 06.15.2015

YIELD: Serves 8


  • 2 cups packed torn kale leaves, stems removed
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


There is so much folate in this pesto, you’ll make a pound of serotonin before bedtime, which means a night of great sleep and a smile in the morning. Both kale and walnuts feed your lover’s brain with the omega-3 ALA , which is converted into molecules that protect your brain cells and are linked to a lower risk of depression. The pesto is equally delicious on pasta or brushed on grilled chicken.

In a food processor, combine the kale leaves, basil leaves, and salt. Pulse 10 to 12 times, until the kale leaves are finely chopped. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil. Scrape down the sides of the processor. Add the walnuts and garlic and process again, then add the cheese and pulse to combine. Toss with your favorite pasta and serve immediately. Courtesy of

Per serving (about 1/4 cup): 139 calories, 4 g protein, 3 g carbohydrates, 13 g fat (2 g saturated), 4 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 279 mg sodium