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Category: Condiments & Extras

Barbara’s Kumquat Salsa

Barbara’s Kumquat Salsa

Barbara’s Kumquat Salsa

Enjoy with your favorite chips or crackers, or serve with seafood, fish, or chicken. It’s also delicious tucked into a taco.

 

Makes about 2½ C.

 

½ pound (about 2 C.) kumquats

1 shallot, diced

1 jalapeño or serrano, diced

Zest and juice from ½ lime

2 T. olive oil

¼ cup chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Wash kumquats, thinly slice or dice coarsely, and remove the seeds (as desired). Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and serve.

Brown Turkey Fig Jam with Sherry & Fennel

Brown Turkey Fig Jam with Sherry & Fennel

Brown Turkey Fig Jam with Sherry & Fennel

 

8–9 eight-ounce canning jars and lids

4 . pounds stemmed brown turkey figs

2 pounds 2 ounces white cane sugar

3 scant tsp. fennel seeds

2 ounces cream sherry or Marsala

2 ounces strained freshly squeezed lemon juice

 

Slice 1. pounds of the figs into sixths or, if the figs are very large, into eighths. Combine the slivered figs with the sugar in a large heatproof mixing bowl and let macerate while you proceed with the recipe. Place the remaining 2. pounds of figs in a stainless-steel kettle wide enough to hold them in a single layer. Add enough cold water to make a .-inch layer in the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan and bring the fruit to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Stir, decrease the heat to medium-low, cover again, and cook for 5 minutes. Then, using a potato masher, crush the figs well to release their juices. Stir, cover once more, and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the figs are mushy and translucent, stirring every 5 minutes or so to prevent sticking. While the figs are cooking, crush the fennel seeds in a mortar or grind them coarsely in a spice grinder. Place the sherry and fennel seeds in a small saucepan and heat them slowly until the sherry just starts to steam. Remove the mixture from the heat, cover, and set aside to steep. When the whole figs are finished cooking, put them through the finest disk of a food mill and add them to the slivered figs and sugar. Scrape any fruit that does not go through the mill back into the rest of the fruit, breaking up the chunks as you go. Stir well to dissolve the sugar, then add the lemon juice. Transfer the mixture to an 11- or 12-quart copper preserving pan or a wide nonreactive kettle. Bring the jam to a boil over high heat, stirring a few times with a heatproof rubber spatula. When the jam boils, decrease the heat to a lively simmer, stirring frequently. After 7 minutes of simmering, mash the fruit a little with a potato masher. Continue cooking, stirring very frequently, and lowering the heat slightly if the jam begins to stick.  After 20 minutes of simmering, or when the jam has thickened, strain the seeds from the sherry and add the sherry to the jam.  Cook a minute or 2 more and when ready, pour into sterilized jars and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Serving suggestion: Try it on turkey sandwiches or with soft cheese and a sprinkling of toasted hazelnuts for dessert.

Seedy Mustard

Seedy Mustard

Seedy Mustard

 

1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds

3 T. brown mustard seeds

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup pale ale, Belgian-style beer, or water

2 T. light brown sugar

1 T. honey

Pinch of sea salt

1 T. ground mustard powder

 

Pour the mustard seeds, vinegar, and beer into a bowl. Whisk together and allow to soak 8 hours or overnight. Stir in the sugar, honey, salt, and mustard powder. Place about ⅔ of the mixture in a food processor and grind until it becomes a paste, then pour back into the bowl with the unprocessed amount and mix well. Pack the mustard into a pint-sized mason jar and allow to rest for a day in the fridge before using. Keep refrigerated.

Three Stone Fruit Honey Butter

Three Stone Fruit Honey Butter

Three Stone Fruit Honey Butter

 

2 1/2 pounds mixed stone fruit, preferably three different kinds, such as peaches, plums, and apricots, from your favorite local farms

2–3 sticks pastured, organic butter

1/2 – 3/4 cup raw local honey

Lemon juice to taste

Pinch of sea salt

 

Pit and slice the fruit and place in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-low heat, cooking until it becomes a concentrated paste. (Add splashes of water as you go if the fruit isn’t super-juicy.) Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender. Add the butter and stir until melted and incorporated into the fruit. Then transfer the mixture to a bowl and allow to cool to body temperature (about 100ºF). Stir in the honey until fully incorporated. Adjust the sweet and sour flavors with lemon juice or honey. Salt will balance and bring out the sweetness. Pack the butter into small Mason jars and refrigerate. This is a lovely treat to share with friends. If you want to keep it for a long time, it is best to freeze it.

Confiture d’Olives et Citron (Sweet Olive Jam with Lemon)

Confiture d’Olives et Citron (Sweet Olive Jam with Lemon)

Confiture d’Olives et Citron (Sweet Olive Jam with Lemon)

 

Note that while you don’t have to break the bank on olives, they should be of reasonably good quality to make a full-flavored jam (i.e. no canned California olives!). Your best bet is probably going to be a Mediterranean or Middle Eastern shop that sells olives in bulk.

 

2 cups (ca. 300g) drained and pitted Kalamata olives (packed)

1 cup (ca. 150g) drained and pitted high-quality green olives (packed)

1 1/3 cup (270g) sugar

1 1/3 cup (325ml) water

1 medium organic lemon

1 large green apple, peeled, cored and diced

1/3 cup (80ml) mild honey

 

Put all the olives in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for one minute. Drain completely. Repeat this process two more times – this should take enough salt out of the olives so that they’re only mildly salty. Set the olives aside and rinse out the saucepan. Add the sugar and 1 1/3 cups water to the saucepan and swirl to combine. Cut a couple of strips of zest from the lemon and drop them in the sugar water. Slice the lemon up very thinly (don’t worry about the seeds), and add the slices to the pan as well. Bring this to a simmer over medium heat and let it cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until it’s reduced to about a cup of liquid. Pour this through a strainer into a bowl, pressing on the lemon solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Return the liquid to the pan, adding the diced apple, honey and olives. Bring to a simmer once again and cook, stirring occasionally, just until the apples are soft and everything is very thick – about another 10 to 15 minutes (you can add a bit of water if it seems to be getting too thick). Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. With an immersion blender or a normal blender, process the entire mixture until it is velvety-smooth. It should be quite a jammy consistency already; if it’s runny you can continue to cook it a little bit more, but keep in mind it will thicken as it cools. Transfer to jars and refrigerate. I haven’t tested how long this keeps, but mine is a week and a half old and still going strong. Of course you can also sterilize a couple of small canning jars and can them for shelf storage.

 

And how to use this miraculous substance? I love this jam with cheese, particularly with hard pungent cheeses like Manchego or Pecorino or an aged farmhouse cheddar. In Scotland nice restaurants will often serve a cheese selection with oat biscuits and a homemade chutney – it would be perfect for that. I’ve also fallen in love with it on sandwiches with Italian dry salami and Emmenthal or Gruyere cheese and a bit of peppery arugula.

Peach and Lemongrass Butter

Peach and Lemongrass Butter

Peach and Lemongrass Butter

 

about 2 lbs (1 kg) ripe, fragrant white or yellow peaches

1 cup (200g) sugar, or to taste

4 fat stalks lemongrass, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste

 

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Blanch the peaches by submerging them (in batches, if necessary) for 1 minute and then transferring them to a bowl of ice water. When cool, peel, pit and slice them. Combine them with the sugar in a large bowl and let macerate at room temperature for a couple of hours, during which time the peaches should give up a lot of juice. Strain the peaches, reserving the juice. Place the juice, the sliced lemongrass and 1 cup water in a heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat slightly and let simmer until you have a thick, fragrant syrup, about 30 minutes. Strain the syrup, discarding the lemongrass. Return the syrup to the pot and stir in the peaches. Simmer over medium-low heat until the peaches are completely soft, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the heat and puree, either in a blender or with an immersion (stick) blender. Return to the pot and stir in the lemon juice. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, until the puree thickens to the consistency of applesauce, about half an hour. Taste the mixture and add more sugar or lemon juice as desired. Remove from the heat and transfer to a closed container (or, if you’re comfortable with canning, fill into jars and process in your normal way). If not canning, refrigerate immediately and consume within a couple of weeks.

Garlic Mustard & Olive Oil Bread Dip

Garlic Mustard & Olive Oil Bread Dip

Garlic Mustard & Olive Oil Bread Dip

 

2 cup of leaves Garlic Mustard (and blossoms if available)

1 cup of olive oil (and 3 extra tablespoons)

2 tablespoon of lemon juice

1 tsp. of sea salt

3-4 tablespoons of parmesan cheese (or more if you’d like!)

1 clove garlic (optional if you want it extra garlicky)

Directions

 

Place all your ingredients and half a cup of olive in a food processor. Whirr (blend) to a fine texture, then add another half cup of oil. Pulse till well mixed. Pour into a large, clean jar. Pour over your three tablespoons of additional olive oil to seal off any air from getting into your mixture – keeping it fresher longer. Store in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. Just remember you’ll need to let warm to room temperature first – otherwise it will be a bit waxy.

Pickling Spice Blend

Pickling Spice Blend

Pickling Spice Blend

 

1 tablespoons Mustard Seed

1 tablespoon Coriander Seed

1 tablespoon Caraway Seeds

1 Tablespoon Celery Seed

2 Whole Cloves

1 teaspoon Ground Ginger (or a fresh slice if using immediately)

1 teaspoon crushed Red Pepper Flakes

1 or 2 Bay Leaves, broken into pieces

1 teaspoon Whole Allspice Berries

1 teaspoon Black Peppercorns

1 teaspoon Whole Dill Seeds

Persimmon Salsa

Persimmon Salsa

Persimmon Salsa

 

Spoon this refreshing condiment over grilled fish or scoop up yummy bites with tortilla chips.

 

4 small or 3 medium-size firm but ripe Fuyu persimmons, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 2/3 cups)

2 tablespoons minced white onion, rinsed, drained

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

2 teaspoons minced seeded Serrano chile

2 teaspoons minced fresh mint

1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger

 

Mix persimmons, onion, lime juice, basil, Serrano chile, mint, and ginger in small bowl. Season salsa to taste with salt and pepper. (Salsa can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

Rosemary Fig Preserves

Rosemary Fig Preserves

Rosemary Fig Preserves

 

1 pound ripe figs, stemmed and quartered or chopped

1-2 sprigs of rosemary about 5 inches long

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons honey

1 lime

1-1/2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice

pinch of salt

 

Zest the lime and set the zest aside. Juice the lime and set the juice aside. Take one sprig of rosemary, remove the leaves and chop them finely. Discard the stem. Place all of the ingredients into a small pot. (Figs, rosemary sprig, chopped rosemary, sugar, honey, lime juice, lime zest, and salt) Heat on medium high heat and stir. Lower to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes. Remove rosemary sprig, and strips of zest Mash figs with a fork or blend if you want a smoother consistency. Place into jars and cool. Store in the refrigerator. Or place in mason jars and process for 5-10 minutes store in a cool dry place.

Pickled Kohlrabi

Pickled Kohlrabi

Pickled Kohlrabi

 

Pickling Mixture

3/4 c white vinegar

1 1/4 c water

3 Tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dill seed

1 teaspoon mustard seed

1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes

 

Peel and slice 3 kohlrabi, 1/4 inch thick. Peel one carrot and slice into thin sticks. Parboil the carrot briefly (should yield to a fork but not be soft). Place raw kohlrabi, carrot, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1 bay leaf, and a sprig of fresh dill into a quart canning jar. Heat pickling mixture to boiling and pour over the vegetable mixture in the jar, filling the jar completely. Let cool, then refrigerate for 3-4 days before use. Will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.

Chunky Rose Petal Pesto

Chunky Rose Petal Pesto

Chunky Rose Petal Pesto

 

​Two cups fresh basil

One cup rose Petals

4 peeled garlic cloves

1 cup toasted walnuts

1 cup of olive oil

1 Teaspoon rosewater

1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

1/4 cup of freshly grated Romano Cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Combine everything in the food processor – but hold back 1/4 cup of the rose petals. Give it a few short whirs (pulses) so it has a chunky texture. Remove into a bowl. Mince your remaining rose petals finely.

Blend minced petals into your pesto. Leave a few for garnishing.

Peach-Saffron Preserves

Peach-Saffron Preserves

Peach-Saffron Preserves

 

3 lb. peaches pitted and quartered

3/4 cup sugar or more to taste

4 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp. saffron threads be sure to use good quality saffron

Pinch salt

1/8 tsp. cinnamon

 

Combine peaches, sugar, lemon juice, saffron threads and salt in a large sauce pot. Sliced peaches in a large stockpot. Cook over medium heat until boiling. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 30 minutes. Taste the mixture; add additional sugar to taste, if desired. Some peaches will be less sweet than others and require more sweetening, however don’t add too much sugar or you’ll overpower the subtle saffron flavor. Sliced peaches cooked down. Remove from heat and process the mixture through a food mill. Be sure to turn the handle in both directions so that you get the most of out your fruit. Processing cooked peaches through a food mill. Return the mixture to the sauce pot and add cinnamon. Bring to a boil and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Milled peaches cooking down into preserves. Allow preserves to cool and transfer to jars or a container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. Adding jars of preserves to hot water bath. If you’d like to process your preserves in jars for a longer shelf life, follow the boiling water method instructions and process for 10 minutes

Pickled Onions, Yucatan Style

Pickled Onions, Yucatan Style

Pickled Onions, Yucatan Style

 

1 Cup Red Wine Vinegar

1 Cup Sugar

1 Bay Leaf

1 T. Yellow Mustard Seeds

3 Garlic Cloves, Peeled and Thinly Sliced

1 tsp. Coarse Sea Salt

2 Medium Red Onions, Thinly Sliced into Rings

 

In a medium sized saucepan put all of the ingredients except the onions and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes until the consistency is a little syrupy. Pour the hot mixture over the sliced onions. Cool completely to room temperature and place in a glass jar with a lid and refrigerate. Onions will keep, refrigerated, for at least a month.

Lavender Jelly

Lavender Jelly

Lavender Jelly

Use this between layers of cake. Spread on toast, use it in frosting mix for cupcakes. Try a tsp. or two in your afternoon tea.

 

4 T. dried lavender flowers

4 T. powdered pectin

3 C. apple juice

2 T. fresh lemon juice

3 C. brown sugar

 

Tie up lavender flowers in double thickness of cheesecloth, securing with string. Combine pectin and apple juice in a saucepan and stir to dissolve the pectin. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Add lemon juice and sugar, stir, then add the lavender cheesecloth bag. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove bag of lavender and discard. Strain hot jelly through cheesecloth into sterilized jars and seal (I use 2-piece jelly lids, kept hot in boiling water but some people prefer the old method of sealing with paraffin).

Lemon Verbena Jelly

Lemon Verbena Jelly

Lemon Verbena Jelly

 

3 C. apple juice

1 cup fresh lemon verbena leaves

2 T. fresh lemon juice or white wine vinegar

1 package powdered pectin

4 C. sugar

1/2 tsp. butter

1 fresh herb leaf for each jar

2 – 3 drops green food coloring (optional)

 

In saucepan, make herb infusion with juice and herb by bringing juice to a boil and adding the verbena leaves. Boil for about 10 seconds, then let cool completely. Strain and discard leaves. You’ll need 1 1/2 C. of herb infusion liquid.  Combine the herb infusion with lemon juice (or vinegar), food coloring and pectin. Bring to a rolling boil. Mix in sugar and bring to a full rolling boil again. Boil hard for one minute. Add butter, stir. If any foam remains, skim off and discard. Pour into hot sterilized jars with optional leaf in each jar. Wipe jar edges with damp cloth, then screw on hot jar lids, tightening moderately but don’t over-tighten. Turn jars upside down to seal, for about 30 seconds. Turn upright and let cool on dishtowel. Store in a dark, cool place.

Fermented Pineapple Salsa

Fermented Pineapple Salsa

Fermented Pineapple Salsa

2 C. chopped pineapple roughly 1/2 a pineapple

1* jalapeno pepper finely chopped

2 green onions thinly sliced

Sea Salt to taste

Black Pepper to taste

2 T. whey or liquid from another fermented veggie

 

Combine all ingredients in a small jar. Cover with cheesecloth or cotton fabric. Allow to ferment at room temperature for 8-12 hours. Chill in the refrigerator prior to serving at least 2 hours or up to a week.

Notes: 1 jalapeño pepper will make this salsa a little spicy, I would classify it as medium heat. If you want a mild salsa, I’d suggest starting out with 1/4 or 1/2 a jalapeño pepper to start out with and make sure you remove all the white membrane/seeds. If you love super-spicy foods then I’d recommend adding 2 jalapeños. For a salsa with no heat at all, substitute sweet red or green pepper.

Pickled Green Tomatoes

Pickled Green Tomatoes

Pickled Green Tomatoes

 

A couple lb. of hard green tomatoes

½ cup pickling and canning salt

4 or 5 garlic cloves, crushed

Extra virgin olive oil

1 T. fennel seeds and/or chiles to taste

 

Core the tough stem-end of the tomatoes and cut them into easy-to-eat sized slices, about ½-inch thick. Mix tomato slices, garlic, any spices, and the salt in a bowl. Layer salted slices in a non-reactive container (a large ceramic crock, glass jar, or deep bowl). Place a round of parchment on top and press it down onto slices. Put a flat plate about the diameter of the container on top of the parchment. Weight the plate with something heavy (a gallon paint can, a pail of rocks, etc). Put the crock(s) in a cool place for two weeks (we use our unheated garage), covered with plastic trash bags. After the two-week ferment, the pickles will have flattened some. Rinse in a colander and remove the garlic. Pack the rinsed tomatoes in sterilized jars and cover with olive oil, use a clean chopstick to remove any air bubbles, and make sure everything is submerged in oil. They are ready to eat right away. Refrigerate for up to 3 months (we’ve had them last closer to a year).

Candied Sunflower Seeds

Candied Sunflower Seeds

Candied Sunflower Seeds

 

Sunflower seeds contain healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. At Sunflower Diner, chef Hayette Bouras dresses them up with sugar and spice to add as a crunchy accent to salads.

 

5 C. organic sunflower seeds

½ cup organic cane sugar

¼ cup organic agave nectar

1 T. organic cinnamon

½ tsp. sea salt

½ tsp. organic cayenne pepper

 

Preheat the oven to 350°. Combine sunflower seeds, sugar, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Add agave and mix to coat seeds well. Spread onto a greased sheet pan and bake for 12–15 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir in the pan every couple of minutes while cooling to prevent clumping.

Herbed Lemon Cheese

Herbed Lemon Cheese

Herbed Lemon Cheese

 

1 quart whole or 2% milk

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

¾ tsp. minced fresh chives

½ tsp. minced Italian parsley

¼ tsp. minced fresh thyme

1 clove garlic, grated

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

 

Gently heat the milk to 180ºF. Add the lemon juice and stir slowly until the milk separates into curds and whey. Ladle into a cheesecloth-lined fine mesh sieve set over a large bowl. Gather the corners of the cheesecloth together over the curds and tie with butcher’s twine. Let the curds drain in the refrigerator for 4 to 24 hours, or until the desired consistency. Transfer the cheese to a medium bowl, stir in the chives, parsley, thyme, and garlic and season to taste with salt and pepper. Form the cheese into a wheel and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight before serving.

Black Currant Sun Jelly

Black Currant Sun Jelly

Black Currant Sun Jelly

 

9 ounces black currants

9 ounces superfine sugar

 

Puree the currants in a food mill using the finest disc. If the puree has seeds, strain it through a fine mesh sieve to remove them. Stir in the sugar. Divide among 3 4-ounce jars, cover with parchment, and secure the parchment with butcher’s twine. Place the jars outside in the sun all day, or until jelled.  Makes about 1 ½ C.. Keeps for months tightly sealed in the refrigerator.

Rose and Basil Pesto

Rose and Basil Pesto

Rose and Basil Pesto

 

2 C. fresh basil

1 cup fragrant rose petals

3 cloves garlic

1/2 cup pine nuts (or pistachios or walnuts)

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp. food grade rose water

1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (don’t substitute bottled juice)

1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

1/4 cup Romano cheese, freshly grated

Salt, optional

 

Peel and coarsely chop garlic, then add rose petals, basil, nuts and olive oil in food processor. Pulse blend until everything is well pulverized. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. This can be stored for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Roasted Garlic–Herb Sauce

Roasted Garlic–Herb Sauce

Roasted Garlic–Herb Sauce

 

1 head garlic, separated into cloves, unpeeled

2 cups (packed) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves with tender stems

1 cup (packed) fresh mint leaves

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (from about ½ large lemon)

4 tsp. fresh lemon juice (from about ½ large lemon)

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

¾ tsp. kosher salt

 

Heat a medium, heavy (preferably cast-iron) skillet over medium heat. Roast the garlic cloves, stirring occasionally, until the skins have darkened on all sides and the insides are soft, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool. Peel away the garlic skins and discard; transfer the cloves to a blender. Add the parsley, mint, oil, lemon zest and juice, red pepper flakes, and kosher salt. Blend until a pesto-like sauce forms. Store the sauce in a jar or other airtight container and keep in the refrigerator, where it will last for at least a week, often longer.

Radish Butter

Radish Butter

Radish Butter

 

2 bunches large red radishes (around 20) grated on the large holes of a box grater

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 T. finely diced red onion

1 large clove garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

 

After grating the radish, pat with paper toweling to dry it a bit. In a large sauté pan, cook the onion and garlic in the oil for a few minutes to soften. Add the radish and sauté over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the mixture softens and becomes a bit gooey. This will probably take 20 to 30 minutes.

Generously season with salt and add a little pepper. (I used 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper) Use your judgement Cool and refrigerate for about an hour before serving on crackers, little toasts or cucumbers.

Charred Asparagus End Pesto

Charred Asparagus End Pesto

Charred Asparagus End Pesto

 

1/4 C. plus 1 T. extra virgin olive oil

1-to 2-inch ends cut from the bottom of 1 bunch of asparagus

1 C. loosely packed fresh shiso or basil leaves

1/1 C. pine nuts, toasted

1 garlic clove, minced

1/j C. finely grated pecorino Romano cheese

1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice

 

This recipe is for the ends of middle-of-the-road asparagus: If the ends are extremely woody, they’re best saved for stock. And if the ends don’t seem very woody at all, you might just want to peel the ends of your stalks instead and save those peelings for tempura)! This is a thick pesto, meant for tossing with hot pasta or smearing on sandwiches. I also think it would make an excellent dip (maybe mixed with softened cream cheese). Thin it out with additional olive oil to use it as dressing. Shiso is a Japanese herb in the mint family; I think of it as basil’s Asian cousin (basil is also the best substitute should you not be able to find shiso). Look for shiso in the produce section of Asian grocery stores or at your local farmers market. Since it can sometimes be hard to find, I opt to grow my own supply. If you can find shiso leaves,. they’ll quickly grow roots when their stems are placed in a glass of water on a windowsill. After they do, plant them. I’ve also grown shiso from seeds procured online and from small plants found at my local farmers market – both options work well.  In a medium-size heavy skillet, heat 1 T. of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus ends to the hot pan, and let them cook, undisturbed, until the side touching the pan chars, 3 to 5 minutes. Move them around a bit to expose another side to the heat, and let them cook, undisturbed, until they are charred on all sides and can be easily pierced with a knife, another 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool slightly. Using a knife, finely chop the asparagus ends. This is important: If you try to skip this step, the food processor will shred the cooked ends and you’ll have stringy pesto. Add the chopped asparagus ends, shiso, pine nuts, and garlic to a mini food processor and pulse to process all ingredients, scraping down the bowl a couple of times as needed. Then add the cheese and lemon juice and pulse a few more times. Finally, add the rest of the olive oil and process again until smooth. The pesto is at its best when used immediately, so the basil doesn’t discolor, but can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Raspberry Mango Salsa

Raspberry Mango Salsa

Raspberry Mango Salsa

 

1 pint red raspberries

Meat of 2 mangoes, cut into chunks

½ C jícama, julienned

½ C red onion, minced

2 red fresno chiles, minced

Juice of 2 limes

2 T. fresh-squeezed orange juice

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 tsp. brown sugar

½ tsp. mild New Mexico red chile powder

½ tsp. table salt

 

Mix all ingredients together, let blend for 2 hours. • This tropical salsa is an unexpected addition to grilled fish, poultry and pork.

Pickled Spruce Tips

Pickled Spruce Tips

Pickled Spruce Tips

for each half-pint (250ml) jar:

 

6 whole black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

1 slice of fresh lemon

1 tsp. sea salt

1 heaping cup (250ml) of spruce tips

 

for the brine (enough for 1 jar):

 

¼ cup (60ml) white wine vinegar

¼ cup (60ml) filtered or distilled water

 

Into each very clean and well-rinsed half-pint (1 cup/250ml) jar, place 6 peppercorns, 1 bay leaf, 1 slice of lemon cut in half. and 1 tsp. salt. Hold the lemon slice and bay leaf against the side of the jar if you’d like them to show on the outside.  Clean the spruce tips of their brown husks (a bit of a sticky job) and pack them into the jars up to ½ inch (1 cm) from the tops of the jars. Pack them in quite firmly. Put the the vinegar and filtered water into a small saucepan and heat just until boiling. Pour the hot brine over the spruce tips and salt until it is also ½ inch (1cm) from the top of the jar. The spruce tips will turn from bright green to olive green as the brine hits them.  Put the new snap lids for the jars into a pot of simmering water for 5 minutes to soften them. Wipe the top rims of the jars with a clean cloth. Seal the jars with the snap lids and metal screw rings until finger tight.  Lay a clean dishcloth in the bottom of a saucepan that is taller than the jars (the dishcloth keeps the jars from bouncing around in the pot once the water is boiling.) Set the jars onto the dishcloth and fill the saucepan with hot tap water up to the bottom of the metal screw rings. Cover the saucepan with a lid and bring the water to a full boil. Once it boils, turn the heat down a bit to keep the water boiling without boiling over. Start timing for 10 minutes. Process the jars for 10 minutes, then remove them carefully, using a pot holder or jar clamp, to a clean dishtowel laid out on the counter. Leave the jars undisturbed until they are cool. The metal lids should have sealed and suctioned down. If the lids are still bowed slightly upward, then the jars haven’t sealed and should be stored in the fridge and consumed within six months (leave them to age for one month before using). The spruce tips will all have floated to the top of the jars once cool. Give each jar a shake and they will disperse evenly again.  If sealed, the pickled spruce tips will last for several years in a cool, dark place. Leave the jars for a week before using them, so the brine has had time to fully flavor the spruce tips.

Classic Spruce Tip Syrup

Classic Spruce Tip Syrup

Classic Spruce Tip Syrup

Rich, aromatic syrup made from spruce tips and sugar aged in the sun. Yields about 2 C. of finished syrup. For large batches, note that all you’re doing is combining the spruce tips with twice their weight in sugar.

 

2.5 C. (8oz) Spruce tips

2 C. (16 oz) Brown or organic sugar

 

Combine the spruce tips and sugar and pack into a quart ja, pressing down occasionally to compact the mixture. Leave the jar out at room temperature. Some people leave them in the sun, which speeds the process. You’ll notice the volume of ingredients decrease as the spruce tips release their liquid. Keep the jar like this for 1-2 months, or for an oldschool version, bury it in the ground and dig it up the next spring. Stir the jars occasionally, pressing the tips down to keep them under the syrup with a clean spoon.

To make the syrup  After the initial maceration (aging with sugar) pour and scrape the spruce-sugar slush into a pot. Bring the mixture to a boil to dissolve the sugar, strain, then bottle and store. Discard the spent tips, and thank them for their service. If for some reason, your syrup is a bit thick after cooling (over-reducing can stiffen or crystalize in the fridge) warm it back up and carefully adjust the consistency by adding a touch of water. Storing the finished syrup: Store the finished syrup in the fridge. To preserve it long term (it’s totally safe as it’s basically all sugar) pour it boiling hot into a jar nearly to the brim, turn upside down and allow to seal, or process in a water bath in mason jars. If held at room temp after opening mold may form on the top, but it can always be re-boiled and refrigerated. This is super sturdy stuff.

 

No rocket science here. This is a sweet syrup, perfect in place of maple syrup on pancakes or anywhere you’d use maple, but also good with other things with it’s sharp piney aroma. Here’s a few examples of how I’d it.

 

  • With cheese. Soft cheese, especially goat cheese, loves the piney kick of spruce syrup, maple on the other hand, might be a little bland.
  • Drizzled on crepes filled with berries and cream cheese (an old brunch dish I used to run worth revisiting).
  • With thick yogurt. I often eat a bowl of granola and thick greek yogurt for breakfast, and drizzling on some spruce syrup, along with a handful of berries makes for a great meal.
  • As a glaze for meats. Think ham, etc. A T. per 1.5 lbs or so meat like fatty ground pork can make a nice breakfast sausage too.
  • Lining flan molds. Sometimes I’ll add a drizzle of honey to the molds of a panna cotta or flan instead of caramel, and spruce syrup works just as good, it will turn into a natural sauce when the custard is unmolded.
  • Beverage sweetener. Think lemonade, drinks, etc.
  • Tossed with unsweetened, fresh fruit instead of sugar. Sometimes for dessert I might want just some fresh raspberries tossed with sugar and a dollop of whipped cream. Fresh berries tossed with spruce syrup will eventually give up some of their own juice and make a sort of natural sauce.
Mint Jelly

Mint Jelly

Mint Jelly

 

Sage or Rosemary could be done the same way

 

2 pounds granny smith Apples, coarsely chopped

6 cup (1.5l) water

5 1/2 cup (1.2kg) white sugar, approximately

1 cup firmly packed fresh mint leaves

Food coloring, optional

 

Combine apple and water in large saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, about 1 hour or until apple is pulpy. Strain mixture through a fine cloth into large bowl. Stand 3 hours or overnight until liquid stops dripping. Do not squeeze cloth; discard pulp. Measure apple liquid; allow 1 cup sugar for each cup of liquid. Return apple liquid and sugar to same pan. Stir over high heat, without boiling, until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly, uncovered, without stirring, about 30 minutes or until jelly jells when tested. Pour jelly into a large heatproof jug. Stir in a little of the food coloring. Stand until jelly is lukewarm, but not set. Meanwhile, drop mint into small saucepan of boiling water for 2 seconds; drain. Rinse under cold water; drain, pat dry with absorbent paper. Chop mint finely; stir into lukewarm jelly. Pour jelly into hot sterilized jars; seal immediately. Label and date jars when cold.

Quick Caramelized Spruce Tip Syrup

Quick Caramelized Spruce Tip Syrup

Quick Caramelized Spruce Tip Syrup

This is not true mugolio, but it only takes a few minutes to make, instead of a month. Use it to flavor ice cream, panna cotta, cheesecake, a mousse, Italian meringue, there’s plenty of possibilities. One of my favorites is the way the French serve their fresh cheese-with a little drizzle on top.

 

4 packed C. spruce tips

2 C. sugar

2 C. water

Instructions

 

Grind the spruce tips and sugar in a food processor, then mix with the water, bring to a rolling boil, turn off the heat and allow to sit overnight. The next day, strain the syrup, then return it to the pan, cooking until it takes on a light amber color and the consistency resembles warm honey. Transfer the syrup to labeled, dated container and refrigerate until needed. If the syrup becomes very thick when it’s cold, thin it with a bit of cold water until it reaches your desired consistency.

Wild Foraged Black Trumpet Mushroom Spread

Wild Foraged Black Trumpet Mushroom Spread

Wild Foraged Black Trumpet Mushroom Spread

1 T. Ghee or butter

2 T. Garlic Scapes or shallots

1/2 cup coarsely chopped Black Trumpet Mushrooms (cleaned)

8 ounce Cream Cheese (organic, cultured)

1 pinch Sea Salt to taste

1 pinch White Pepper to taste

 

In a skillet over medium/low heat, sauté garlic scapes in ghee until soft. Add in black trumpet mushrooms continue sautéing until mushrooms are cooked through and any liquid is evaporated. Reduce heat to low, add cream cheese (cut or scooped into roughly 1 T. sized chunks). Stirring constantly until the cream cheese is melted and mixed thoroughly. Transfer to a an air tight jar or container and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours prior to allow the flavors to come together. Remove dip from at the refrigerator roughly 30 minutes prior to serving to allow it to warm to room temperature. Serve with crackers, toasted bread or raw vegetables. Notes: Use 1 ounce dried Black Trumpets that have been reconstituted in warm water in place of the fresh.

Wild Ramp Pesto

Wild Ramp Pesto

Wild Ramp Pesto

1 bunch (about 6 ounces) ramps

½ cup walnuts (toasted in a skillet for 5 minutes until golden)

½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

½ tsp. kosher salt to taste

⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil (or ½ cup—you kind of have to eyeball it)

Squirt of lemon juice

½ cup flat-leaf parsley (optional)

 

Wash ramps throughly and cut off the leaves of the ramps.  Chop the ramp leaves and walnuts just a bit and put them in your food processor. (Optional: add parsley.) Add most of the cheese (save a sprinkle for serving) plus salt. Pouring the olive oil in slowly, process contents until they combine and look, well … pesto-y. Taste for seasoning and add a good squirt of lemon juice. Served as a side with warm pita and bulgur with butternut squash and chard

Pink Grapefruit & Elderflower Marmalade

Pink Grapefruit & Elderflower Marmalade

Pink Grapefruit & Elderflower Marmalade

 

2 pounds, 4 ounces pink grapefruits

1 pound, 2 ounces lemons

6½ cups granulated sugar

6 T. elderflower syrup

 

Cut the grapefruits and lemons and squeeze in half out the juice and seeds. Tie the seeds, and any extra membrane that has come away during squeezing, in a double thickness of cheesecloth. Either by hand or using the shredding attachment of a food processor, thinly slice the grapefruit and lemon peel, with its pith, into shreds. Put the grapefruit and lemon juice and peel, cheesecloth bag and 7½ cups water in a preserving pan and slowly bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently 1½ to 2 hours until the peel is soft and the liquid reduced by about half. Remove the cheesecloth bag from the pan and let cool 5 minutes before squeezing it well and allowing the juices to run back into the pan. Discard the bag. Add the sugar to the pan and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Bring to a boil and boil rapidly about 15 minutes, or until setting point is reached. Test for a set either with a candy thermometer (it should read 221°F) or put a tsp. of the marmalade onto a cold saucer and let cool a few minutes. If it wrinkles when you push it with your finger, then it is ready to use. Meanwhile, sterilize enough jars so that they are ready to use. Remove the pan from the heat and skim with a slotted spoon to remove any scum. Stir in the elderflower cordial. Let cool 15 minutes (this will help to prevent the peel from rising in the jars). Ladle the marmalade into the warmed, sterilized jars and cover immediately with sterilized lids. Label and store in a cool, dry, dark place. Refrigerate after opening.

Meyer Lemon Marmalade

Meyer Lemon Marmalade

Meyer Lemon Marmalade

 

6 Meyer lemons {1 1/2 pounds}

4 cups water

4 cups sugar

 

Cut the lemons crosswise and remove seeds. Place the seeds in a cheesecloth bag, or tea infuser and set aside. Quarter each lemon half and thinly slice the lemons into strips. Place the lemons, 4 cups of water and the bag/infuser of seeds in a nonreactive heavy pot and let mixture stand, covered, at room temperature 24 hours. Once the mixture has sat for 24 hours, bring a boiling-water canner, 3/4 full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling. When you are ready to make the marmalade, {after the lemon mixture has sat for 24 hours}, discard the lemon seeds and bring the lemon mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, until your mixture is reduced to about 4 cups {about 45 minutes to an hour}. Stir in sugar and boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally and skimming off any foam, until a tsp. of mixture dropped on a cold plate gels, about 15 minutes. Carefully ladle hot marmalade immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids and screw bands on. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. {Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.} Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 5 min. Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middles of lids with finger. If lids spring back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary}. Yields {5} 1/2 pints.

Smoked Red Pepper Sauce

Smoked Red Pepper Sauce

Smoked Red Pepper Sauce

 

4 grilled red bell peppers, peeled, seeded and chopped

1/2 small red onion, coarsely chopped

4 cloves roasted garlic, peeled

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 T. honey

1 T. Dijon mustard

1 T. chipotle puree

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup canola oil or olive oil

 

Combine peppers, onion, garlic, vinegar, honey, mustard, chipotle and salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil and blend until emulsified. Strain sauce into a bowl. Cook’s Note: This classic sauce is great on grilled veggies, chicken, fish and steak.

Won Ton Dipping Sauce

Won Ton Dipping Sauce

Won Ton Dipping Sauce

 

1 large onion, cut in chunks

4-6 medium-to-hot, fresh red peppers, such as serrano or jalapeno, seeds removed

4 cloves garlic, peeled

4 T. oil

1/2 cup soy sauce

1 cup rice vinegar or white wine vinegar

3 T. brown sugar

 

Combine onion, peppers and garlic in food processor and chop to a medium-fine consistency. Heat oil in skillet on low heat and add the vegetables from the food processor. Stir, continuing to cook on low heat until the oil takes on the color of the peppers. You’ll notice as you stir that the peppers will change colors, darkening a bit and the fragrance will be less onion, and more of a tasty-smelling blend. In a bowl, pour the vinegar, soy sauce and brown sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar. Taste the mixture, it should be salty, slightly sweet and a bit sour. If too sour, add some more sugar. Mix, then add the mixture from the skillet. Serve warm or at room temperature with freshly steamed or fried won tons. Makes about 2 1/4 C..

Clementine Cointreau Curd

Clementine Cointreau Curd

Clementine Cointreau Curd

 

Try this curd atop currant scones, tucked into pastry shells, or sandwiched between layers of poppy-seed cake. Yield: 3 half-pints

 

5 clementines

4 eggs

1¼ C. superfine sugar

10 T. unsalted butter, chilled

2 T. Cointreau

 

Wash and dry the clementines, then zest them, taking care to avoid removing any pith along with the zest. Juice the fruits and strain the juice through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any membranes or seeds. Set the zest and juice aside. Place the eggs in a medium-sized metal bowl and beat lightly to incorporate the whites into the yolks. Fill a medium saucepan with about 2 inches of water and place it over medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer. Place the egg bowl on top of the pan to form a double boiler, and add the sugar, butter, Cointreau, juice, and zest. Whisk gently until the sugar dissolves and the butter melts. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until it thickens and coats the back of the spoon, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the curd from the heat. Transfer the curd to heat-proof jars. Allow to come to room temperature, then cover with lids and store in the refrigerator. Consume within two weeks. *Variation: To make this curd without alcohol, replace the Cointreau with orange juice. You can also substitute mandarin oranges for clementines.

Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette

Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette

Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette

 

¼ Cup Roasted Lemon Juice (instructions in recipe below)

2 T. White Balsamic Vinegar

3 Roasted Garlic Cloves

2 Shallots, Peeled

1 T. Dijon Mustard

1 Cup EVOO

1tsp. coarse Sea Salt

½tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper

 

To make Roasted Lemon Juice:  Preheat broiler. Place lemons, cut side up, in a small, non-aluminum baking dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast, about 6 inches below the heat, until very soft, about 20 minutes. The tops will darken and caramelize. Let cool in the baking dish. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade add the lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, shallots, mustard, salt and pepper. Process until the ingredients are pureed. Add the oil in a slow, steady stream through the feed tube and continue to process until completely emulsified. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Quick Pickled Fennel

Quick Pickled Fennel

Quick Pickled Fennel

Fennel for pickling should be free of blemishes and soft spots; choose bulbs that are firm, small, and bright white in color. This pickled fennel cannot be processed for long-term storage.

 

3/4 C. seasoned rice vinegar

1/4 C. water

1 (1‑inch) strip orange zest

1 garlic clove, peeled and halved

1/4 tsp. fennel seeds

1/8 tsp. black peppercorns

1/8 tsp. yellow mustard seeds

1 fennel bulb, stalks discarded, bulb halved, cored, and cut crosswise into 1/4‑inch-thick slices

 

Bring vinegar, water, garlic, turmeric, peppercorns, and mustard seeds to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring vinegar, water, zest, garlic, fennel seeds, peppercorns, and mustard seeds to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, place one 1‑pint jar under hot running water until heated through, about 1 minute; dry thoroughly. Pack fennel into hot jar. Using funnel and ladle, pour hot brine over fennel to cover. Let jar cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Cover jar with lid and refrigerate for at least 2 1/2 hours before serving. (Pickled fennel can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks; fennel will soften significantly after 3 weeks.) This cannot be processed for long term storage.