Torn Figs and Burrata

Torn Figs and Burrata

Torn Figs and Burrata

 

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling

3 rosemary sprigs

About 18 perfectly ripe figs* preferably Mission

12 ounces (3 balls) burrata

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup unsalted pistachios chopped, for garnish

 

Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and rosemary just until the leaves begin to crisp. Place the rosemary sprigs on a paper towel for at least 10 minutes. Strip the leaves from the stem, discarding the stems. Tear or slice each fig into 4 pieces and divide them among 6 plates. Tear each ball of cheese in half and add a portion to each plate. Sprinkle the crisped rosemary and pistachios on top of the burrata cheese and figs, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.

Purple Lemonade

Purple Lemonade

Purple Lemonade

 

12 ounces black currants

1 ¾ C. sugar

Grated zest of 2 lemons

2 quarts plus 1 cup water

1 ¼ C. freshly squeezed lemon juice

 

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. Combine the sugar, lemon zest, and 1 cup of the water in a small saucepan. Heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let cool. Stir in the lemon juice and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Stir together the currant puree, lemon mixture, and remaining 2 quarts of water in a large pitcher. Serve over ice. Makes about 3 quarts. For sparkling Purple Lemonade, substitute soda water for half of the second quantity of water.

Ricotta (or cottage cheese) with Tomatoes, Lemon, and Mint

Ricotta (or cottage cheese) with Tomatoes, Lemon, and Mint

Ricotta (or cottage cheese) with Tomatoes, Lemon, and Mint

 

1 large garlic clove, finely chopped

1 T. fresh lemon juice

½ pint grape tomatoes

½ tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. dried mint

1 T. extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup ricotta or cottage cheese

 

Combine the chopped garlic and lemon juice in a medium bowl; let them hang out while you prep the tomatoes. (The lemon juice will tame the garlic’s bite.) Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise and add them to the bowl. Stir in the salt, mint, and olive oil and let it sit for a minute or two. Divide the cheese between two bowls and spoon the tomato mixture on top.

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.

Fennel And Jicama Salad

Fennel And Jicama Salad

Fennel And Jicama Salad

 

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)

3 T. extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

3/4 tsp. flaky sea salt, or to taste

1 tsp. pink peppercorns, lightly crushed with your fingers, plus more for garnish

1 large fennel bulb, halved, cored and thinly sliced, fronds reserved

1 small jicama (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled, halved and cut into thin matchsticks

1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped

1/3 cup black olives, pitted and sliced

1 ounce Feta cheese, crumbled

coarsely cracked black pepper

 

Place the sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl and add hot water to cover. Set aside for about 20 minutes, then drain and thinly slice them. Meanwhile, in a small, lidded jar, combine the oil, lemon juice, salt, and pink peppercorns. Cover and shake until emulsified. Finely chop the fennel fronds to make ¼ cup and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the fennel, jicama, cucumber, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Stir in the fennel fronds and cheese, finish with a little salt, a couple of grinds of pepper, and a sprinkling of pink peppercorns lightly crushed between your fingers. Spoon into bowls and serve.

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.

Open-Faced Watercress, Nasturtium, and Cucumber-Cream Cheese Sandwiches

Open-Faced Watercress, Nasturtium, and Cucumber-Cream Cheese Sandwiches

Open-Faced Watercress, Nasturtium, and Cucumber-Cream Cheese Sandwiches

 

40 unsprayed nasturtium flowers, washed and dried

1 large bunch of fresh watercress, washed, dried, and large stems removed

8 ounces cream cheese, softe3ned

1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced

1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

6 slices of hearty whole-grain bread, such as rye, whole wheat, or multi-grain

 

Setting aside 12 nasturtium flowers for garnish, finely julienne the rest with a sharp knife. Setting aside 6 watercress sprigs for garnish, finely chop the remaining watercress. In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese with the chopped flowers, chopped watercress, cucumber, salt, and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend together. Remove the cream cheese mixture from the refrigerator half an hour before serving to allow it to soften slightly. With a sharp knife, finely julienne 6 of the reserved nasturtium flowers. Spread the cream cheese mixture on the bread slices. Top each slice with some red onion slices and a sprinkling of the julienned flowers. To serve, place 1 slice of the prepared bread on each plate, and top with a whole nasturtium flower and a watercress sprig.

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.

BBQ Duck Filled Blue Corn Pancakes with Habañero Sauce

BBQ Duck Filled Blue Corn Pancakes with Habañero Sauce

BBQ Duck Filled Blue Corn Pancakes with Habañero Sauce

2 pounds duck legs (about 6), skin removed

1 cup Mesa Grill BBQ Sauce or your favorite store brand

3 cups Enriched Chicken Stock or lowsodium chicken broth

Habanero Sauce (recipe follows)

3 T. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

½ cup blue cornmeal

½ cup all-purpose flour

tsp. baking powder Pinch of

1 kosher salt

1 large egg, beaten

¾ cup whole milk

2 T. honey

1 T. unsalted butter, melted

 

Nonstick cooking spray

Smoked Red Pepper Sauce

Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)

 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Generously brush the duck legs with the barbecue sauce and place them in a baking pan. Pour the stock and ½ cup of the habanero sauce around them. Cover the pan, place in the oven, and cook for about 2 hours, or until the meat begins to fall off the bone.  To make the pancakes, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, honey, and butter; add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Place a 6-inch nonstick pan over high heat. Spray with cooking spray and reduce the heat to medium. Ladle ¼ cup of the pancake mixture into the pan, swirling to evenly coat the pan with the mixture. Cook the pancake until just set on the first side, about 1 minute. Flip over and cook for an additional 20 to 30 seconds. Remove to a plate and repeat with the remaining mixture, stacking the pancakes and covering them with aluminum foil to keep warm. You should have 8 pancakes.  Remove the duck from the braising liquid and set aside to cool slightly.  Strain the braising liquid and reserve. When the duck is cool enough to handle, shred the duck meat into bite-sized pieces and discard the bones.  Combine the shredded meat with ½ cup of the reserved braising liquid in a sauté pan over medium heat until heated through. Add the chopped cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mound some of the duck mixture in the center of each pancake. Fold the pancake over the filling to make a semicircle and drizzle with the remaining habanero sauce and the smoked red pepper sauce. Garnish with cilantro leaves.

 

Habanero Sauce

 

10 cups Enriched Chicken Stock or low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup apple juice concentrate, thawed

3 T. dark brown sugar

2 star anise

1 cinnamon stick

½ habanero chile, coarsely chopped

1 T. fennel seeds, toasted

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Combine the stock, apple juice, brown sugar, star anise, cinnamon, habanero, and fennel seeds in a large

saucepan; place over high heat and boil, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1 cup, about 1 hour. Strain into a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. This can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated. Warm over low heat before serving.

Stuffed Tomatoes with Marigold Blossoms

Stuffed Tomatoes with Marigold Blossoms

Stuffed Tomatoes with Marigold Blossoms

Marigolds and Tomatoes are great buddies in the garden.  They like similar growing conditions, and marigolds deter tomato worms in the soil.

12 Roma or cherry tomatoes, cut in half, seeds scooped out

1 small (4 oz.) package cream cheese, room temp.

1 sprig (about 4 inches long) Sweet Basil, stem removed

1/2 cup pecan halves

Petals from 2 French marigolds

In small food processor, put the pecans, marigold petals and basil and pulse-process until the material is chopped fine. Put in small bowl and combine with the cream cheese, then stuff each tomato half, rounding up like with deviled eggs. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 24 hours before serving.

Mushroom Ciorba with Caraway and Thyme

Mushroom Ciorba with Caraway and Thyme

Mushroom Ciorba with Caraway and Thyme

 

1 ounce dried wild mushrooms

1 cup boiling water

1/4 cup butter

1 lb. white button or cremini mushrooms, wiped, trimmed, and sliced

1 T. caraway seeds

4 C. vegetable stock

1 cup sauerkraut juice

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 tsp. dried red chili flakes

3 T. sour cream or Balkan-style yogurt

1 egg yolk

1 T. unbleached all-purpose flour

sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

sour cream or yogurt, caraway seeds, and fresh thyme for garnish

 

Place dried mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let steep for 10 minutes. Drain mushrooms, reserving liquid. Chop reconstituted mushrooms and set aside. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Add caraway seeds and cook for about 1 minute, until they are fragrant. Add sliced mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have released all their moisture and begin to caramelize around the edges. Remove from heat and reserve. In a large saucepan, mix stock, sauerkraut juice, and reserved mushroom soaking liquid. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and add the reconstituted dried mushrooms, cooked mushrooms, thyme sprigs (just throw them in whole; the leaves will come away from the branches while cooking), and chili flakes. Simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes. Fish out and remove now-leafless thyme branches. Mix together sour cream or yogurt, egg yolk, and flour in a small bowl. Add a few spoonfuls of the soup broth to the yogurt mixture and stir until well blended. Scrape yogurt mixture into soup, stir, and simmer for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon into bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt and a sprinkling of caraway seeds and fresh thyme leaves.

Tropical-Fruit Salad with Coconut Crunch

Tropical-Fruit Salad with Coconut Crunch

Tropical-Fruit Salad with Coconut Crunch

 

1 large egg white

2 T. clover or orange-blossom honey

1/2 tsp. pure vanilla paste or extract

1 tsp. grated Meyer-lemon zest, plus 2 T. fresh juice

1 T. poppy seeds

Pinch of kosher salt

2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 quart strawberries, halved lengthwise if large

2 mangoes, peeled, pitted, and cut lengthwise into 1-inch-thick fingers

1 small papaya, peeled, halved, seeded, and cut lengthwise into 1-inch-thick fingers

1 small pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch-thick fingers

 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk egg white with honey, vanilla, lemon zest and juice, poppy seeds, and salt until foamy and thoroughly combined. Stir in coconut to evenly coat; spread on a rimmed baking sheet in a thin layer. Bake, stirring a few times, until golden in places, 22 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely (mixture will crisp as it cools). Rub between your fingers, breaking up any clumps, until crumbled. Arrange fruits on a platter; sprinkle with coconut crunch to serve. Fruits can be loosely covered with plastic, without coconut crunch, and refrigerated up to 8 hours. Coconut crunch can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

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.

Gnudi with Ramps and Brown-Butter Sauce

Gnudi with Ramps and Brown-Butter Sauce

Gnudi with Ramps and Brown-Butter Sauce

 

1 bunch ramps (about 12)

1 T. olive oil

1 lb. ricotta cheese

1 large egg

3/4 C. all-purpose flour, plus more for a dredge

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1 stick of butter

 

Clean the ramps and remove the roots. Finely dice the bulbs and julienne the leaves. On medium heat, sauté the diced bulbs in one T. of olive oil until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the julienned leaves and sauté another minute or so until soft but still green. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, egg, 3/4 cup of flour, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg and half the sautéed ramps (about 1/4 cup). Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Meanwhile, form gnudis by taking a T. of the cheese mixture in floured hands, roll it into a ball, flatten it, and then dredge in flour to coat. Gently place gnudis 4 at a time in simmering water, and when they float to the top (about 3 minutes), gently remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate. They will be very delicate, so handle with care and keep cooked gnudis separate. Repeat until all are cooked. Melt a stick of butter in saucepan on medium until nutty brown. Place gnudis on a plate, drizzle with brown butter and garnish with remaining sautéed ramps. Serve warm.

Grilled Blue Cheese and Sorrel Sandwiches

Grilled Blue Cheese and Sorrel Sandwiches

Grilled Blue Cheese and Sorrel Sandwiches

 

For these sandwiches, I like to use Diamante bread from Essential Baking Co. – the salt crust and the rosemary leaves add a whole new dimension – or Macrina bakery’s potato bread, which has a particularly nice chewy, crisp texture when it’s grilled. I like to use Oregon Blue Cheese just because it’s somewhat local, but Gorgonzola or the quintessential Roquefort will make the sandwich at least as good, if not better.

 

4 slices rustic white bread

2 T. butter

4 ounces blue cheese

4 large leaves of sorrel

Freshly ground black pepper

 

Butter one side of each slice of bread and put the bread buttered-side-down on a griddle or in a skillet large enough to accommodate all four slices. Turn on the heat to medium or medium high and crumble the blue cheese over the surface of the bread. Stack the sorrel leaves with all the stems pointed in the same direction, and roll them, lengthwise, into a little bundle. Trim off the stem end and cut the bundle crosswise into -inch slices to make thin little ribbons of the leaves. (Incidentally, this is called a chiffonade.) Distribute the cut sorrel evenly over the surface of the cheese and grill the sandwiches open-faced until the cheese is melted and the buttered side of the bread is browned and crisp. Close the sandwiches and cut each one in half. Serve hot.

Sausage Tortellini Soup with Ramp Greens

Sausage Tortellini Soup with Ramp Greens

Sausage Tortellini Soup with Ramp Greens

 

8 C. Chicken Bone Broth

1 pack cheese tortellini cooked

2 links Italian Chicken Sausage sliced

1 medium carrot peeled & chopped

4+ C. Ramp Greens cleaned and chopped

 

In a medium/large pot, lightly sauté chicken sausage in a little fat until brown. Add broth, carrots, ramp greens and tortellini. Simmer to heat through. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Enjoy!

Offbeat Eats Hearts of Palm Salad

Offbeat Eats Hearts of Palm Salad

Offbeat Eats Hearts of Palm Salad

 

2 C. hearts of palm, drained

2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced

2 slightly firm avocados

½ C. thinly sliced Scallions, optional

3 T. extra virgin olive oil

2 T. distilled white vinegar or fresh lime juice

1 tsp. kosher salt

1½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 T. finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

 

Slice the hearts of palm into ½-inch pieces if not precut. Place them in a small mixing bowl and add the tomatoes.  Carefully spoon out the insides of the avocados, discarding the pits. Dice the avocado flesh and add it to the bowl. Add the scallions, if using.  Combine the olive oil, vinegar or lime juice, salt, and pepper in a small mixing bowl and whisk together to form a vinaigrette. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and fold in gently until the vegetables are thoroughly coated. Serve immediately, garnished with the cilantro.

Ramp Filled Crescents

Ramp Filled Crescents

Ramp Filled Crescents

 

1 package refrigerated crescent roll dough

1 cup ramps finely chopped

2 T. Butter

2 ounces cream cheese

1/4 cup gruyere cheese shredded

 

Preheat oven to 375F. In a small skillet over medium heat, cook finely chopped ramps in butter for 2-3 minutes or until soft. Add cream cheese to the skillet, stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Roll out crescent roll dough. Spread ramp cream cheese filling onto each triangle and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Then roll up. Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy while warm, room temperature or chilled in the fridge. Notes: For this recipe you can use the whole ramp (bulb, stem and leaves) or all leaves. While the leaves have less flavor than the bulbs they are still totally delicious!

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.

Shoepeg Corn Salad

Shoepeg Corn Salad

Shoepeg Corn Salad

 

½ cup mayonnaise

3 small green onions, thinly sliced

2 T. white wine vinegar

2 T. minced pickled jalapeno peppers

2 T. minced fresh parsley

1 T. light olive oil

salt and ground black pepper to taste

2 (11 ounce) cans shoepeg corn, rinsed and drained

1 cup halved grape tomatoes

 

Whisk mayonnaise, green onions, vinegar, jalapeno peppers, parsley, and olive oil together in a bowl until smooth; season with salt and pepper.  Gently stir corn and tomatoes into the dressing to coat. Transfer salad to a serving dish, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Spring Radish Salad

Spring Radish Salad

Spring Radish Salad

 

1 bunch of red radishes, about 1 1/2 cups finely chopped (choose a variety that suits your taste)

1/2 bunch of parsley, about 1/2 cup finely chopped

1 T. fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 T. extra virgin olive oil

1 pinch of pepper

2 pinches of salt

 

Wash the radishes and remove the stems and any long roots. Finely cube the radishes into tiny pieces.

Wash the parsley and gently shake it or pat it dry. Finely mince the parsley. Place the cubed radishes and minced parsley in a small salad bowl. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Toss gently. Add the olive oil and toss again. Taste the salad and make adjustments to your liking. (I sometimes add a little bit more lemon juice and salt).

Mango Miso Salmon with Asparagus and Quick-Pickled Mango

Mango Miso Salmon with Asparagus and Quick-Pickled Mango

Mango Miso Salmon with Asparagus and Quick-Pickled Mango

3 mangoes, peeled and pitted (divided use)

1/2 cup white miso paste

1 cup plus 2 T. mirin (divided use)

3/4 cup cooking sake (divided use)

2 T. soy sauce

Four 6- to 7-ounce salmon fillets (or pieces of salmon belly), skin on

2 T. unseasoned rice wine vinegar

2 bunches asparagus, about 60 stalks total, tough ends trimmed

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

3 T. canola oil

1 T. unsalted butter

 

Roughly dice 2 mangoes and add them to the bowl of a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth; you should have nearly 1 cup of puree. In a medium bowl, combine miso paste, 1/2 cup mirin, 2/3 cup mango puree, 1/2 cup sake and soy sauce. Whisk until thoroughly combined and smooth. Transfer half the marinade to a separate bowl and add 2 T. mirin and remaining mango puree (you should have about 1/4 cup), stirring until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator. Place the salmon in a medium-size glass dish and cover with the remaining marinade. Cover with plastic wrap, transfer to the refrigerator and let chill for 24 hours, turning once. Transfer the reserved marinade to a medium saucepot and heat over medium, uncovered. Cook until reduced enough to coat the back of a spoon, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover pan and set aside. Dice remaining mango. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup sake, rice wine vinegar and 1/2 cup mirin, stirring to combine. Stir in the diced mango. Let sit for 15 minutes, then drain, discarding liquid. Remove salmon from refrigerator and blot excess marinade. Place fish in a clean dish until ready to cook. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Toss the asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper to lightly coat the stalks and place on a foil-lined sheet pan large enough to fit them all in a single layer. Transfer to the oven and roast for 10 to 15 minutes or until slightly crispy. Remove and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Place a cold nonstick pan on medium heat, then immediately add the canola oil and butter. As soon as the butter has melted, add the fish. Cook, skin-side down, until skin is lightly browned and easily releases from the pan, about 5 minutes. Carefully flip fillets and cook on flesh side, 3 minutes more, until lightly browned and cooked through. If all four fillets do not fit comfortably in the pan, cook two at a time, then transfer to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm while you cook the other two. While the salmon is cooking, reheat the saucepot of reserved sauce over low. Evenly distribute the asparagus among four dinner plates. Place a salmon fillet on each plate, top with 2 to 3 T. of the sauce and garnish with the diced, quick-pickled mango. Serves 4.

Just Barely Basil Buttermilk Dressing

Just Barely Basil Buttermilk Dressing

Just Barely Basil Buttermilk Dressing

 

1/2 C. roughly chopped (1/2 to 1 inch) basil stems (a few errant leaves are fine, too)

1/2 C. buttermilk

1 medium-size garlic clove, grated on a Microplane or very finely minced

2 T. mayonnaise

2 T. plain Greek yogurt

Fine-grain sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

 

Combine the basil stems and buttermilk in a small bowl and let steep, covered, in the refrigerator for 8 to 12 hours. Strain and discard the basil stems. Combine 1/4 C. of the infused buttermilk, the garlic, mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, a pinch of sea salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a small bowl or glass jar. Shake to combine. Season to taste and thin with extra buttermilk if desired. This dressing will keep up to 3 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Air Fryer Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings

Air Fryer Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings

Air Fryer Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings

 

12 wings

1/2 stick butter

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 tsp salt

juice from 1/2 lemon

1 tsp garlic salt

parsley

 

Melt together butter,  Parmesan, salt, lemon juice and garlic salt in microwavable bowl for 1 minute (cover with Glad Press ‘n Seal to keep it from splattering). Toss wings in butter sauce. Place wings into air fryer

Sprinkle with additional garlic salt. Heat in Air Fryer at 350  for 11 min. Open Air Fryer and turn all wings and rotate them in the fryer. Heat in Air Fryer at 400 for 10 min more. Sprinkle with parsley.

Garlic Fried Eggs with Kale Pesto, Toast Points, and Lemon Bacon Vinaigrette

Garlic Fried Eggs with Kale Pesto, Toast Points, and Lemon Bacon Vinaigrette

Garlic Fried Eggs with Kale Pesto, Toast Points, and Lemon Bacon Vinaigrette

 

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups kale, roughly chopped and packed

¼ cup pine nuts

¼ cup olive oil

¼ tsp. kosher salt

4 strips bacon, fried and cut in half

 

1 lemon, juiced (about 1 ½ to 2 oz.)

3 T. bacon fat, reserved from frying bacon

⅛ tsp. kosher salt

⅛ tsp. ground black pepper

 

2 T. unsalted butter

2 slices of thick cut white bread, sliced into 6 “sticks” (see photos)

1 T. olive oil

 

3 T. butter

1 tsp. garlic, minced

4 eggs

 

Combine garlic, kale and pine nuts, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until roughly combined. With food processor running, stream in olive oil. Whisk together lemon juice, bacon fat, kosher salt, and black pepper until combined. In the pan used to fry bacon, melt butter over medium heat. Add bread and toast on all sides until golden brown and crispy.  In a small frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Fry garlic until it starts to turn golden brown, for about 4-5 minutes. Crack two of the eggs into the pan and use a small spoon to baste the eggs with the melted butter and garlic mixture. Cook until whites are firm, about 2-3 minutes. Remove eggs from pan and cook the remaining two eggs in the same method. Serve eggs with bacon and kale pesto and a drizzle of vinaigrette on top. Enjoy!

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.

Shredded Kale Salad with Pine Nuts, Currants, and Parmesan

Shredded Kale Salad with Pine Nuts, Currants, and Parmesan

Shredded Kale Salad with Pine Nuts, Currants, and Parmesan

2 tablespoons currants

2 tablespoons golden or white balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 bunch kale, thick stems discarded, leaves cut into 1/2-inch ribbons (about 2 quarts loosely packed ribbons)

3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

2 ounces Parmesan cheese shaved with a vegetable peeler

 

Place currants and balsamic vinegar in medium microwave-safe bowl and cook in the microwave for 30 seconds to plump up the currants. Whisk in the honey. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss the kale and pine nuts. Add the dressing with the currants to the shredded kale, little by little, until adequately dressed. Spoon out the currants if you have dressing left over. Return salad to refrigerator for at least 20 minutes and up to overnight to soften kale leaves. Serve, topped with grated parmesan.

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.

Peach Upside Down Mini Cakes

Peach Upside Down Mini Cakes

Peach Upside Down Mini Cakes

 

Non-stick cooking spray

1 T. unsalted butter cold

6 tsp. light brown sugar

For cake batter:

3 fresh peaches (Note 1)

1 ½ C. (190g) all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

2/3 C. (130g) granulated sugar

1/3 C. (90g) unsalted butter at room temperature

1 large egg at room temperature

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

½ C. (120ml) buttermilk at room temperature (Note 2)

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F (177° C). Spray muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. To prepare the topping: Cut 1 T. of butter into 12 equal parts. (TIP: cold butter is easier to cut.) Place each butter piece in 12 muffin C.. Sprinkle ½ tsp. of brown sugar into each muffin C.. Slice 1-2 peaches into thin slices. Arrange about 3 slices into the bottom of each muffin pan. To make the cake batter: Cut the remaining peaches into small cubes. You should get about 1 C. of cubed peaches. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a mixing bowl with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat it for another 2-3 minutes, or until well combined. The mixture should be fluffy and white. (Note: It’s totally normal for the mixture to curdle right after adding egg, but keep mixing and it’ll turn nice and fluffy!) Add half of the flour mixture into the batter, beat for 1 minute on low speed. Stir in the buttermilk and beat for another minute. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat just until combined. Don’t overmix the batter, or it’ll make tough cake. Fold in the cubed peaches. Divide the batter into 12 muffin pan C..  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pan for 5 minutes. Then carefully run a butter knife around the edges to release the cake from the sides. Now, place a wire rack over the muffin pan and carefully turn the pan upside down to remove the cakes. Place an empty baking sheet to catch any juice, if needed. Cool the cakes completely before serving.

Grilled Beef & Blue Cheese Sandwiches

Grilled Beef & Blue Cheese Sandwiches

Grilled Beef & Blue Cheese Sandwiches

 

2 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 ounces crumbled blue cheese

8 slices sourdough bread

3/4 pound thinly sliced deli roast beef

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup olive oil

 

In a small bowl, mix cream cheese and blue cheese until blended. Spread over bread slices. Layer 4 of the slices with roast beef and onion; top with remaining bread slices. Brush outsides of sandwiches with oil. In a large skillet, toast sandwiches over medium heat 4-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Radish Salad

Radish Salad

Radish Salad

 

About 12 radishes, thinly sliced

1 T. salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 T. fresh lime juice

1 T. orange juice

Ground Urfa or other mild chilies to taste (optional)

2 T. chopped mint or cilantro

 

Combine radishes with salt, and cover with water in a bowl. Let sit 15 minutes. Drain, and rinse. Meanwhile, stir together the pepper and fruit juices. Toss radishes with dressing and chilies. Taste. Add more salt, pepper or lime juice as needed. Garnish with herb and serve.

Dandelion Lemonade

Dandelion Lemonade

Dandelion Lemonade

 

1 C. Dandelion Blossoms

3 C. Water

2 Lemons, zest and Juice

¾ C. Sugar

 

Pull Petals off dandelion and put in a bowl with 1 C. of water overnight.  The next day, strain into a pan and add remaining ingredients.  Stir while heating until sugar dissolves.  Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and pour into a clean bottle or jar.  Refrigerate until cold, then enjoy.  (For a larger batch, use 2 quarts blossoms, 4-6 lemons, sweeten to taste, in a gallon jar.  Dandelion blossoms steeped as tea can help relieve headaches, menstrual cramps, backaches, stomach aches and even depression.

Churro Brownies

Churro Brownies

Churro Brownies

 

8 T. (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 ½ C. brown sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 ½ C. all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

Pinch kosher salt

2 T. fresh orange zest

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 ½ T. ground cinnamon

Flaked sea salt, for garnishing

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line with parchment paper or grease a 9-inch square-baking pan or 9-inch cast-iron skillet. On low heat, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, about 10 minutes. Once cool, add to the melted butter the brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and orange zest until well combined. Add to the liquid ingredients and stir until a thick batter is formed. Spread the batter into the baking pan. Stir together the sugar and cinnamon then spoon evenly over the batter. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are set. (Be sure to not overcook as the churro brownies will harden as they cool.) Lightly sprinkle with the flaked sea salt, then allow to cool for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Foil Barbecued Shrimp

Foil Barbecued Shrimp

Foil Barbecued Shrimp

 

2 pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined

1/2 cup snipped parsley

3/4 tsp. curry powder

6 T. butter

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. salt

Dash of pepper

 

In a saucepan melt butter, stir in parsley, curry powder, garlic, salt and pepper. Add shrimp; stir to coat. Divide shrimp mixture equally among 6 (18 x 12−inch) pieces of heavy-duty foil. Fold foil around shrimp, sealing the edges well. Grill shrimp over hot coals about 8 minutes. Turn and grill until done, 7 to 8 minutes more. Serve in foil packages, if desired.

Cactus Pear Margarita

Cactus Pear Margarita

Cactus Pear Margarita

 

9 ounces white tequila

4 ounces orange-flavored liqueur (recommended: Cointreau)

4 ounces cactus pear juice, plus more for the rim

2 ounces fresh lime juice

1 1/2 cups crushed ice

Coarse salt, optional

Lime wedges, for garnish

 

Place tequila, orange liqueur, cactus pear juice, lime juice, and ice in a blender and blend until smooth. Carefully pour a few ounces of cactus pear juice onto a plate and a few ounces of salt onto another plate. Dip the rim of each margarita glass into the juice and then into the salt. Pour margaritas into each glass and garnish with a lime wedge.

Holiday Eggnog Cake with Apricot Filling

Holiday Eggnog Cake with Apricot Filling

holiHoliday Eggnog Cake with Apricot Filling

 

1 package (18.25) yellow or vanilla cake mix, plain or with pudding

1 1/4 cups eggnog

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

4 large eggs

3 T. bourbon (optional), for brushing the tops of the cake layers

 

1 jar (10 ounces) apricot all-fruit spread

1 T. bourbon or water

Spiced cream cheese frosting:

4 T. (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature

4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature

3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Heaping 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

 

Place rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly mist three 9-inch round cake pans with vegetable oil spray, then dust them with flour. Shake out the excess flour; set pans aside. Place the cake mix, eggnog, oil, vanilla, nutmeg and the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are incorporated, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat for two minutes longer, scraping down the side of the bowl again, if needed. The batter should look well blended. Divide the cake batter evenly among the three prepared cake pans, about 11/2 cups of batter per pan, smoothing the tops with the rubber spatula. Place the pans in the oven. If your oven is not large enough to hold three pans on the center rack, place two pans on that rack and one in the center of the rack above. Bake the cake layers until they are golden brown and the tops spring back when lightly pressed with a finger, 18 to 20 minutes. The cake layer on the higher rack may bake faster, so it for doneness first. Transfer to wire racks and let cool for 5 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of each cake layer and give the pans a good shake to loosen the cakes. Invert each layer onto a wire rack, then invert it again onto another rack so that the cakes are right side up. If desired, brush the cakes with the 3 T. of bourbon, using 1 T. for each; set aside to cool, 15 minutes longer. Meanwhile, make the filling: Place the fruit spread and 1 T. of bourbon or water in a small bowl and stir until well combined.  Make the spiced cream frosting: Place the butter and cream cheese in a medium-size bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until well combined, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the confectioners’ sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon and beat with the mixer on low speed until the ingredients are well incorporated and the frosting has a spreading consistency, 1 to 2 minutes. To assemble cake, transfer one layer, right side up, to a cake plate. Spread half of the filling to the edge of the first layer, about 1/2 heaping cup. Place a second cake layer, right side up, on top of the first and spread the remaining filling over it. Place the third layer on top, right side up, and frost the top and side of cake, working with smooth, clean strokes. To make slicing easier, place the uncovered cake in the refrigerator until the frosting sets, 20 minutes. Store in a cake saver or loosely covered with waxed paper in the refrigerator for up to one week. Freeze the cake, wrapped in aluminum foil, for up to six months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

Savory Gruyere Custard

Savory Gruyere Custard

Savory Gruyere Custard

2 oz/55 g Gruyere cheese

2 oz/55 g Parmesan or Pecorino cheese

2 C./500 mL 35% cream

1 sprig fresh thyme

1 garlic clove

3 eggs

3 egg yolks

½ tsp. Dry Mustard

Salt and pepper

 

Assemble, prepare, and measure ingredients. Grate both cheeses. Preheat oven to 300°F/150°C. Lightly butter four l-cup/250 mL ramekins or a 1-quart/l L baking dish. In a small saucepan, warm cream over medium-low heat with thyme and garlic until steam rises. Remove from heat and allow to infuse and cool while you make the eggs. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and yolks with mustard (or cayenne) and salt and pepper. Stir in grated cheeses. Strain cream through a fine-mesh sieve and whisk into egg mixture. Pour custard mixture into ramekins (or baking dish) and place in a large roasting pan. Pour boiling water around dishes to come halfway up their sides. Be careful not to splash any water into the custards, as you want them to be creamy and silken, not watery. Bake for 30 -45 minutes, or until center is just set. Custards in ramekins will cook more quickly than those in a single baking dish. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.  To serve, place ramekins on individual plates or scoop out servings from larger baking dish.

Cheeseburger Macaroni in the Instant Pot

Cheeseburger Macaroni in the Instant Pot

Cheeseburger Macaroni in the Instant Pot

 

1 lb lean ground beef drain after cooking if using a fatty beef

16 oz elbow macaroni uncooked

10.5 oz can of cheddar cheese soup

3 cups broth chicken or vegetable (Recently updated from 2.5 cups to 3)

3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. onion powder

salt and pepper as desired

garlic pepper seasoning optional

 

If ground beef is frozen, pour 1 cup water into the Instant Pot, put on the lid, make sure the valve is on “seal”, and select 25 minutes on “high” manual mode. Ground beef should be fully cooked before moving forward. If starting with thawed ground beef, turn the “sauté” setting on and cook the ground beef, garlic powder, and onion powder until beef is no longer pink. Next add in broth, elbow macaroni, can of cheddar cheese soup and salt/pepper if desired. Lock lid and close the valve to “seal” and cook for 4 minutes on manual “high” setting. The pressure cooker will take about 5 minutes to seal, 4 minutes to cook and then quick release the valve to let the pressure out. Add in 2 cups of shredded cheddar and stir until melted. Divide and sprinkle on remaining shredded cheddar on to each serving, for extra cheesy goodness!  Tip: Get creative by sprinkling on seasonings like garlic pepper seasoning, hot sauce, and anything else that you love, to add more flavor! NOTES: This recipe is a basic cheeseburger macaroni recipe. You may want to add seasonings and other flavors to kick it up a notch with flavor. I wanted to keep it very basic for kids! If in doubt, add more cheese! You can never go wrong with more cheese!

Butter Lettuce Salad with Citrus Honey Vinaigrette

Butter Lettuce Salad with Citrus Honey Vinaigrette

Butter Lettuce Salad with Citrus Honey Vinaigrette

 

For the Dressing

2 1/2 T. lemon juice plus the zest of one lemon (zest before juicing)

2 T. lime juice plus the zest of 1 lime (zest before juicing)

1 T. honey

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

Sea salt (I recommend Maldon) or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 T. canola oil

For the Salad

3 heads butter lettuce (also called Bibb, Boston or living lettuce)

1/2 cup fresh tarragon leaves, roughly chopped

 

Make the Dressing: Whisk lemon juice and zest, lime juice and zest, honey, and Dijon in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking constantly, to emulsify the dressing. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Set aside. Make the Salad: Cut the root end off the lettuces and gently wash and dry the leaves. I like to rinse leaves separately, under the tap, and spin them dry in my salad spinner. Tear the larger leaves into smaller pieces. Pile leaves into a large bowl. Sprinkle in the tarragon and toss it gently with the lettuce. Just before serving, toss the salad with just enough dressing to coat. Serve immediately.