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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.

Summer Solstice Herby Honey Cookies

Summer Solstice Herby Honey Cookies

Summer Solstice Herby Honey Cookies

 

1 & 3/4 cups of flour

¾ cup softened butter

¼ cup honey

¼ cup brown or cane sugar

1 teaspoon minced thyme

1 teaspoon lavender buds

1 teaspoon minced rosemary

1 teaspoon minced sage

a few crushed cardamom seeds

pinch of salt

 

NOTE: I used more like a tablespoon of each herb in my cookies, but this might be too herbaceous for some, so adjust accordingly. And I also added 3/4 cup oatmeal to another batch of cookies and cut back on the flour. Feel free to experiment or use whatever cookie recipe you like…after all it’s not the cookie that matters as much as the spirit!

 

Icing:

 

3 teaspoons milk

1 cup icing sugar

a wee bit of grated lemon rind. (I also added lavender buds to the second batch of icing)

Coloring. I used a combination of golden beet juice, St. John’s Tincture and a pinch of turmeric powder, but of course, you could use a store-bought natural food dye.

 

Combine your milk and icing sugar. Slowing add in your coloring and mix until you find the desired color/consistency

 

Preheat Oven to 300 F. Beat flour, sugar and soft butter together until creamy. Slowly drizzle in honey while beating until mixture pulls together. Add minced herbs and petals, mix well through the dough. Divide into four balls and chill for an hour or so. Roll out and cut into round shapes. Add flour as needed.

Bake at 300 for 10-15 minutes. Let cool. Decorate using the flowers and herbs of the sun: petals of calendula, lawn daisies or ox-eye daisies (not store bought daisy chrysanthemums), St. John’s Wort, rose, or sprigs of rosemary, thyme and sage.

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.

Spaghetti with Green Tomato Pesto

Spaghetti with Green Tomato Pesto

Spaghetti with Green Tomato Pesto

 

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup Italian parsley leaves

1/4 cup arugula, washed and spun dry

5 green tomatoes, chopped

2 clove garlic, chopped

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 2 T.

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound spaghetti

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for garnish

 

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add 2 T. salt. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the mint, basil, parsley, arugula, 1 clove of garlic, Parmigiano and olive oil and pulse to form a chunky purée. Season aggressively with salt and pepper and set aside. In a sauté pan add 2 T. of olive oil. Add chopped tomatoes and garlic, cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add full ladle of pesto into pan. Cook the pasta in the boiling water until just al dente. Drain the pasta and add to pan with tomatoes and pesto. Add some of the pasta water and toss to coat. Top with sprinkle with the Parmigiano and serve immediately.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Fried Squash Blossoms with Mint and Goat Cheese

Fried Squash Blossoms with Mint and Goat Cheese

Fried Squash Blossoms with Mint and Goat Cheese

 

For the blossoms:

 

14 to 16 large zucchini squash blossoms

3/4 cup/6 ounces fresh soft goat cheese or whole-milk ricotta

1/2 cup/4 ounces mascarpone or crème fraîche

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1 to 2 T. fresh chopped mint and basil, plus more for garnish

Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

 

For the Batter and Frying:

 

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cornstarch

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

About 1/2 cup chilled seltzer or other unflavored sparkling water

About 3/4 cup vegetable oil, for frying

Optional: fresh tomato sauce, for serving

 

Carefully open each blossom and remove stamen; set aside. Combine goat cheese (or ricotta) with mascarpone (or crème fraîche) and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan. Stir in mint and basil and season with salt and pepper. Gently stuff blossoms with cheese-herb mixture, twisting end of blossom to close. NOTE: You might have some cheese mixture leftover; if so, stir into a pasta sauce or spread on toast and eat with tomatoes. Make batter by combining flour, cornstarch, and baking powder with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Whisk in beaten egg and sparkling water, adding a bit at a time, until batter is well-combined and is the consistency of heavy cream or a loose pancake batter. Pour oil to about a half inch into a large (10-inch) heavy skillet and heat to about 365° (or until oil begins to shimmer but not smoke; add a bit of batter to test oil. The batter should bubble and float). Fry blossoms, in two batches, if necessary, turning over once until golden, about 2 minutes total time. Place on a paper-towel-lined cooling rack or plate. Sprinkle while hot with a bit of Parmesan or salt, such as Maldon or other finishing salt. If serving with sauce, spoon some fresh tomato sauce on bottom of plate and top with squash blossoms. Eat at once.  Notes: To prepare blossoms, gently open the blossom (they might tear, but that’s OK) and pull out stamen. Rinse gently and place in a paper towel-lined colander. Pat dry.

Herb-Filled Peppers on Warm Crusty Bread

Herb-Filled Peppers on Warm Crusty Bread

Herb-Filled Peppers on Warm Crusty Bread

 

2 large Bell Peppers, cut in half, seeds and membrane removed

5oz. Broad Beans in pods, shelled

40g Butter

2 cloves of garlic, minced

60g onion, minced

2 handfuls of Sorrel, finely chopped

½ bunch Cilantro

30g chervil

30g basil

30g chives

2 T. Olive Oil

Baguette

Parmesan

Fluer de Sel

 

To skin the broad beans, plunge them into lightly salted boiling water for 3 minutes, then refresh in cold water, and drain. Remove and discard the skins. Chop the beans finely and set aside. To assemble the filling, melt the butter in a sauté pan over low heat. When the butter starts to foam, add the garlic and onion and. after a few minutes the broad beans. When these ingredients have softened slightly, add the sorrel, the coriander, chervil, basil and chives, and stir to distribute the ingredients evenly. Season to taste with salt, then set aside to cool on a plate. To make the peppers easy to peel, blister their skins evenly beneath a hot grill, turning them with a skewer. Wrap them briefly in a cold damp kitchen towel, then peel them. Spoon the filling into the peppers and transfer them to a shallow roasting pan smeared with the olive oil. Bake in a preheated 200’C (400°F, Gas Mark 6) oven. When – after about 20 minutes the filling is cooked, remove the peppers from the oven and turn it off.  Cut the bread in half lengthways, then across, to make 4 rectangles about 13cm (5inches) long. Put the peppers on top and return them, in the roasting pan. to the warm oven for 30 minutes, leaving the door of the oven wide open. Just before serving, adjust the seasoning and scalier with shavings of Parmesan. Offer the peppers with a mesclun salad

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.

Spellbinding Sweet Woodruff Prosperity Cake for May Day Eve

Spellbinding Sweet Woodruff Prosperity Cake for May Day Eve

Spellbinding Sweet Woodruff Prosperity Cake for May Day Eve

Sweet Woodruff is a common ground cover garden plant, and while it is native to Europe it has naturalized in many of our forests. Leaves and flowers should be harvested just before and during blooming, but they must dried or at least wilted before using to capture their flavor/aroma. The stems are bitter, so make sure you just use leaves and blossoms.

 

By baking this magical Sweet Woodruff cake we can combine our magical powers together and cast a powerful blessing to enrich us, one and all and make our hearts merry. And here’s a little prosperity spell to say over your cake, while you’re making it, while it’s baking or just before you serve it. Abracadabra!

 

Money, money come to me

In abundance three times three

May I be enriched in the best of ways

Harming none on its way

This I accept, so mote it be

Bring me money three times three!

 

1 cup & 2 tsp. of DRIED Sweet Woodruff leaves and flowers (no stems!)

4 large egg yolks

4 large egg whites, at room temperature

3/4 cup organic cane sugar (or whatever sugar you like)

2 tablespoons cold water

8 tablespoons melted butter

3/4 cup of wholewheat, or spelt, or all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tsp. lemon zest

2 cups light cream

Powdered icing sugar for dusting

 

Three days before making your cake: Take your dried sweet woodruff and place in your cream. Stir well. Cover and allow to sit in a warm place for 24hrs. Then transfer to fridge. After two days, strain the plant material from the cream. Line a 8 X 8 inch square pan with sheets of parchment paper. Leave a generous amount sticking out from the sides. These will be your “handles” when you take the cake out of the pan. Heat Oven to 325°F. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks, sugar and water together until creamy and the sugar is dissolved. 5 to 6 minutes. Drizzle in the melted butter into the egg yolk mixture and mix well. Add in the flour, lemon zest, salt and two tsp. of dried woodruff (crumbled into a powder) then blend until fully combined. Add the milk or cream and mix them in gently. Whisk the egg whites on high speed until the egg whites hold stiff peaks. Add the egg whites to the yolk mixture and flour mixture. Stir VERY gently with a large spoon just a dozen or so times, leaving large clumps of egg whites in the batter. Do not overmix! Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until the edges are set, the top is a warm brown, and the center is still a wee bit wobbly. 50 to 55 minutes. Leave the cake in the pan at room temperature until completely cooled. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Best left overnight. Dust with icing sugar and serve!

Minty Brain Tonic Tea

Minty Brain Tonic Tea

Minty Brain Tonic Tea

 

Enjoy a cup of this brain tonic tea the next time you need to study. With its nervous system and cardiovascular system benefits, it’s sure to support healthy brain function and help you make the most of your next study session!

 

 

2 T. spearmint (Mentha spicata) leaf

1 T. holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) leaf

2 tsp. sage (Salvia officinalis) leaf

 

Bring water to a boil in a kettle or pot. While the water is heating, place your herbs in a pint-sized glass canning jar. As soon as your water comes to a boil, remove it from heat. When it stops boiling, pour hot water over the herbs. Cover the jar with a lid to prevent volatile oils from escaping with the steam. Steep for 5-20 minutes. The longer you let it steep, the stronger it will taste! Filter the herbs using a tea strainer into another clean pint-sized glass canning jar. Press down on the herb(s) with a spoon to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Sweeten as desired, and drink 1-2 C. of tea 20-30 minutes before studying to stimulate the senses and increase blood flow to the brain!

Cilantro Rice

Cilantro Rice

Cilantro Rice

 

White long grain rice

1/2 cup olive oil

1 T. salt

2 tsp. sugar

¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro

¼ cup fresh chopped parsley

2 T. fresh squeezed lime juice

 

Cook rice and mix in oil. Add remaining ingredients just before serving so cilantro does not wilt.

Zucchini Garlic Bites

Zucchini Garlic Bites

Zucchini Garlic Bites

1 C. zucchini grated and drained well

1 egg

1/3 C. breadcrumbs

1/4 C. Parmesan cheese grated fine

1 clove garlic grated fine

2 T. fresh chives chopped

1 T. fresh parsley chopped

1 tsp. fresh basil chopped

1 tsp. fresh oregano chopped

pinch of salt and pepper

tomato sauce for dipping

 

Preheat oven to 400ËšF. Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil or non-stick spray. Set aside. Use a box grater to grate the zucchini into a clean towel. Roll up the towel and twist to wring out the moisture. Grate the garlic using the small holes on the box grater. In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Shape a T. of the mixture into your hands, pat into small balls, and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes in the preheated oven until golden. Serve warm with marinara sauce.

Kofta-Style Chicken Stuffed Peppers with Yogurt Mint Sauce

Kofta-Style Chicken Stuffed Peppers with Yogurt Mint Sauce

Kofta-Style Chicken Stuffed Peppers with Yogurt Mint Sauce

 

1/2 cup whole-grain bulgur

1 T. extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium chopped yellow onion

4 large cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander

3/4 tsp. red chili flakes

1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 lb. ground chicken

2 medium diced tomatoes (or one 15-oz can diced tomatoes, drained well)

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

6 medium red, yellow, or green bell peppers

For the yogurt sauce:

1 1/2 C. non- or low-fat plain Greek yogurt

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 T. fresh lemon juice, from 1 lemon

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint

3/4 tsp. kosher salt

 

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a medium saucepan bring 1 1/4 C. water to a boil. Add the bulgur and stir. Reduce the heat to medium low so it simmers. Cover the pan and cook until tender, about 12 minutes. Set aside. In a large skillet set over medium-high heat add the olive oil. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, chili flakes, salt, chicken, and tomatoes. Cook just until the chicken is done, breaking it up like taco meat, about 7 minutes. Stir in the cilantro, mint, and cooked bulgur. Remove from heat. Cut the tops off the bell peppers and pull out the seeds and membranes. Set the peppers upright in a baking pan large enough to accommodate them. Divide the filling among the peppers. Set the tops on the peppers. Bake until the peppers are tender and slightly shriveled, but still firm, 30 to 35 minutes.  In a small bowl, stir together yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, mint, and kosher salt. Serve peppers warm with yogurt sauce on the side.

Cheese in a Jar

Cheese in a Jar

Cheese in a Jar

Throughout the Mediterranean, cheesemakers have traditionally preserved their fresh cheeses in jars of olive oil, often with the addition of wild herb branches. It is a glorious snack to make at home. After only a few days in a flavorful marinade, it’s ready to eat with a good crusty loaf or with Real Garlic Toast. Make sure to get a little herby oil in each bite. Cheese in a jar is handy to take on a picnic too—and just as nice for an indoor picnic at the kitchen table.

 

1/2 pound fresh goat cheese log or mild feta

A few thyme branches

A few rosemary sprigs

A bay leaf

2 garlic cloves, halved

A few black peppercorns

About 1 C. olive oil

 

Slice the cheese into 2-inch chunks. Carefully layer the cheese in a clean jar or glass bowl, adding the thyme branches, rosemary sprigs, bay leaf, garlic, and peppercorns as you go. Pour over enough olive oil to cover. Seal tightly and refrigerate for at least several days before serving. This keeps, refrigerated, for up to 1 month.

Lemon Lavender Sweet Rolls with Lemon Mascarpone Frosting

Lemon Lavender Sweet Rolls with Lemon Mascarpone Frosting

Lemon Lavender Sweet Rolls with Lemon Mascarpone Frosting

 

¼ cups warm water (about 110°F)

2¼ tsp. active dry yeast

1 cup granulated sugar, divided

3 large eggs

½ cups buttermilk, at room temperature

1½ tsp. sea salt, divided

4½ cups all-purpose flour, divided

8 T. melted unsalted butter, divided

2 T. lemon zest

½ tsp. ground cardamom

1 T. dried culinary lavender

Lemon Mascarpone Frosting (recipe below)

 

Lemon Mascarpone Frosting

 

¾ cups mascarpone cheese

1½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1½ tsp. lemon zest

3 T. fresh lemon juice

3 T. milk

 

In a small bowl, whisk together warm water and yeast. When yeast is dissolved, whisk in ½ tsp. granulated sugar. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, until mixture foams up. Meanwhile, in the bowl of standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk eggs to combine; add buttermilk and whisk to combine. Add in yeast mixture, ¼ cup sugar, and 1¼ tsp. sea salt. Remove bowl from mixer and add about 2 cups flour and 6 T. melted butter. Stir with a rubber spatula until evenly moistened and combined. Add 2 more cups of flour, return bowl to the mixer, switch to the dough hook attachment, and knead with dough hook at low speed for 5 minutes. Touch the dough; if it is sticky, continue to run the mixer on low speed for up to five minutes more and add more flour, a T. at a time, until the dough is soft and moist, but no longer sticks to your fingers. The dough will pull away from the sides of the bowl, but stick to the bottom. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 1 minute to ensure that dough is uniform. If it sticks to your work surface, knead in more flour, a T. at a time, until it no longer sticks and all the flour is kneaded in. Spray a plastic mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray and place the ball of dough into the bowl. Spray the top of the dough with cooking spray then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Set the bowl in a warm, draft-free area until it has doubled in volume, about 2 hours. Brush the bottom and sides of a 13×9-inch baking pan with 1 T. of melted butter. Turn the dough ball out onto a work surface and pat it into a rectangular shape. Roll the dough into a 16×12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the remaining 1 T. of melted butter, leaving about ½-inch of dough unbuttered at the top edge. Combine remaining ¾ cup sugar, lemon zest, cardamom, and ¼ tsp. sea salt in a small mixing bowl and mix together with your fingers, rubbing between your fingers to get the oils out of the lemon zest and release the flavor. Sprinkle evenly over the buttered surface, leaving about ¾-inch uncovered on the top edge. Sprinkle evenly with lavender. Gently press everything into the dough, then roll into a tight cylinder. Pinch the seam of the dough to seal it, then stretch the roll to about 18 inches length and adjust the roll to make sure the thickness is uniform all the way down. Slice into 12 even rounds. Place buns, cut side down, into your buttered 13×9-inch baking pan. There should be some space between the rolls. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and set it in a warm, draft-free area until the rolls get puffy and press against each other, about 1½ hours. Meanwhile, adjust your oven rack to its lowest position, place a baking or pizza stone on the rack (optional), and heat the oven to 350°F. Place your baking pan on the pizza stone (or directly onto the rack). Bake until rolls are golden brown on top, about 25-30 minutes. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes. When the rolls are still warm, spread Lemon Mascarpone Frosting on the top of the rolls. Serve warm. Lemon Mascarpone Frosting While the rolls are cooling, make the glaze. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the mascarpone cheese with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 1 minute. When the mascarpone is lump-free, gradually add in confectioners’ sugar with the mixer on low speed. Add the lemon zest, turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat until creamy. Turn the mixer back to low, and slowly add the lemon juice and milk, beating until the frosting is uniform. It should be somewhat thin, but not runny.

Herb Whipped Cream Cheese

Herb Whipped Cream Cheese

Herb Whipped Cream Cheese

 

8 oz [230 g] cream cheese, at room temperature

2 T. milk

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 T. chopped fresh basil leaves

2 T. chopped fresh chives

1 T. chopped fresh dill

1 tsp. grated lemon zest

 

Place the cream cheese, milk, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Process until the mixture is whipped and creamy, about 30 seconds. Add the basil, chives, dill, and lemon zest and pulse to combine.

 

ROASTED GARLIC AND HERB: Replace the lemon zest with several cloves of smashed roasted garlic.

 

MAPLE CINNAMON: Replace 1 Tbsp of the milk with maple syrup and add 1/4 tsp of cinnamon in place of the lemon zest and herbs.

Kuku Sabzi (Persian Herb Frittata)

Kuku Sabzi (Persian Herb Frittata)

Kuku Sabzi (Persian Herb Frittata)

 

Kuku sabzi can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature – making it the perfect make ahead dish and picnic favorite!

 

4 T. extra-virgin olive oil

5 oz chopped baby spinach (about 4 cups)

3 cups thinly sliced green onions

3 cups finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems

2 cups finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

1 cup finely chopped fresh dill leaves and tender stems

12 large eggs

2 T. all-purpose flour

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

 

Fresh mint leaves, for garnish (optional) Preheat the oven to 375°F [190°C] and set an oven rack in the middle position. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 Tbsp of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the spinach and green onions and cook until softened and wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool for 10 minutes. Add the cilantro, parsley, and dill and stir to combine. In another bowl, whisk the eggs until lightly beaten. Add the flour, salt, turmeric, and pepper and whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture into the bowl with the herbs and stir until combined. Add the remaining 3 Tbsp of oil to a 9 in [23 cm] square pan and tilt the pan to coat the bottom and sides. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and transfer to the oven. Bake until the eggs are just set, about 30 minutes. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into 16 squares. Serve warm or at room temperature. Garnish with mint leaves before serving, if desired. Store, refrigerated, in a Stasher bag or an airtight container for up to 3 days.

 

To fry the kuku instead of baking::  Preheat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat in a 12 inch skillet. When the oil begins to ripple, pour half of the kuku mixture into the pan, lower heat to medium and cook until the kuku is set on the bottom and beginning to set on the top. Use the flat end of a spatula to divide the kuku into wedges. Flip one wedge at at time and continue to cook until the kuku is fully set and there is no raw egg in the middle. Move the cooked kuku onto a plate and repeat with the other half of the batter, adding more olive oil before you add the batter.

Salmon Baked in Cream with Sweet Bay, Thyme, and Dill

Salmon Baked in Cream with Sweet Bay, Thyme, and Dill

Salmon Baked in Cream with Sweet Bay, Thyme, and Dill

 

4 (6-ounce) wild-caught salmon fillets

4 bay leaves

1 C. heavy cream

2 T. chopped fresh thyme leaves

2 T. chopped fresh dill

 

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Place the salmon fillets in a single layer in a small baking dish or gratin dish. Top each fillet with a bay leaf. Pour the heavy cream over the salmon and sprinkle with the thyme and dill. Bake until the fish flakes easily when pierced with a fork and the cream thickens, about 15 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and serve, spooning warm cream and herbs over the fish.

So This is Christmas Cocktail

So This is Christmas Cocktail

So This is Christmas Cocktail

 

1/2 ounce Rosemary Simple Syrup (see below)

1/2 ounce pomegranate juice

1 tsp. pomegranate seeds

Champagne, for topping glass

Rosemary sprig, for garnish

 

Rosemary Simple Syrup:

1/2 C. water

1/2 C. sugar

1 cinnamon stick

1 star anise

2 cardamom pods

2 small fresh rosemary sprigs

 

 

In a champagne flute or highball glass, combine the rosemary syrup, pomegranate juice, and pomegranate seeds. Top off the glass with champagne and add a rosemary sprig for garnish.

 

Rosemary Simple Syrup: Combine ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Strain, transfer to a lidded jar and refrigerate; the syrup will keep for up to 2 weeks.

 

Calories: 297kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 3g | Sodium: 11mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 48g

 

Slowcooker Branzino with Olives, Goji Berries and Mint Salad

Slowcooker Branzino with Olives, Goji Berries and Mint Salad

Slowcooker Branzino with Olives, Goji Berries and Mint Salad

 

8 skin-on branzino fillets, 4 oz each

6 T. extra-virgin olive oil

4 T. pitted black olives

1 tsp. dried oregano

2 T. red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

10 oz watercress or baby kale

1 C. packed, fresh mint leaves

¼ C. dried goji berries or ¼ C. dried cherries

 

Place 4 branzino fillets in the bottom of the slow cooker. Drizzle with 1 T. oil and sprinkle with 2 T. olives and oregano. Top with remaining fillets and drizzle with 1 T. oil and the remaining 2 T. olives. Cover slow cooker and cook on low until fish flakes when pressed with a fork, 1–1½ hours.  While the branzino cooks, prepare the salad. In a bowl, whisk together remaining 4 T. olive oil, vinegar, salt, and black pepper. Add watercress, mint, and goji berries, and toss until greens are evenly coated. Divide salad between four plates and top each with 2 branzino fillets. Serve immediately.

 

4 servings

Calories: 249

Fat: 14g

Fiber: 1g

Ricotta Gnocchi with Parsley Pesto

Ricotta Gnocchi with Parsley Pesto

Ricotta Gnocchi with Parsley Pesto

1 pound fresh ricotta, about 2 C., drained well

Salt and pepper

3 or 4 T. grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

2 eggs, beaten

¼ to ½ cup all-purpose flour, as needed

Fine semolina flour or rice flour, for dusting

3 C. flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems

1 small garlic clove, minced

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 T. unsalted butter

¼ cup toasted pistachios, roughly chopped for garnish

 

Put ricotta in a large mixing bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Whisk in Parmesan and taste. The mixture should be well seasoned. Add eggs and mix well, then sprinkle in 1/4 cup flour and stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate. You should have a soft, rather sticky dough. Dump dough onto a clean work surface. Add a little more flour if necessary and pat very lightly to form a soft mass. Test the dough: Bring a saucepan of well-salted water to a boil. Take 1 T. of dough and drop into water. Dough should sink to the bottom, then rise to the surface. Let simmer 1 minute, then remove and taste. If the dumpling keeps its shape, continue to Step 3. If it falls apart, add a little more flour to the dough, but carefully: If you add too much, the gnocchi will be stodgy. Dust dough lightly with semolina, then cut it into 4 equal parts. Dust work surface with semolina. With your hands flat, gently roll each piece into a rope about 3/4-inch in diameter and 12 inches long. Keep sprinkling semolina on dough to keep it from sticking to the counter or your hands. Using scissors or a sharp, thin-bladed knife, cut each log into 12 pieces. Dust bottom of a baking sheet with semolina. Transfer gnocchi with a spatula to baking sheet, leaving space between them so they are not touching. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 1 hour (or leave in a cool room). To make the parsley pesto, put parsley, garlic, olive oil and butter in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse briefly, then blend to a rough purée. Taste and season with salt and pepper. You should have about 1 cup pesto, more than you need for this recipe. Leftover pesto can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to a month. Place a large pot of well-salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Add gnocchi, working in batches, if necessary. When they bob to the surface, let them cook for about 2 minutes and lift them from the pot with a slotted spoon or spider, transferring gnocchi to a large, wide skillet. Add 4 to 6 T. pesto and 1/2 cup pasta cooking water to skillet and swirl pan to coat gnocchi. Serve gnocchi in warmed individual shallow soup bowls or a deep, wide platter. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios and dust with Parmesan. Pass more grated Parmesan separately.

Green Shakshuka

Green Shakshuka

Green Shakshuka

 

2 T. olive oil

1/2 medium onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

9 ounces brussels sprouts, shaved or finely sliced

1 zucchini, grated

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

2 C. packed baby spinach

5 large eggs

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 large avocado, for garnish

 

Heat olive oil in a sauté pan on medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion becomes translucent. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute. Add the shaved brussels sprouts and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. When the brussels sprouts have softened, add the zucchini and spices and stir for another minute. Add the baby spinach and stir until it just starts to wilt, then turn the heat to low. Flatten the mixture with a spatula and create 5 small wells, then crack the eggs into each well. Cook until the eggs are done to your liking. You can also add a lid to steam and cook the eggs faster. Sprinkle the fresh cilantro on top and garnish with sliced avocado.

Italian Sweet-and-Sour Pork Chops

Italian Sweet-and-Sour Pork Chops

Italian Sweet-and-Sour Pork Chops

 

Don’t forget to tent the chops with foil after removing them from the pan to ensure they stay warm while you make the sauce. And don’t add the butter all at once when finishing the sauce. Incorporating one piece at a time creates a glossy, lightly thickened consistency.

 

Four 8-ounce bone-in center-cut pork chops, each about 1 inch thick, patted dry

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

2 T. grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided

3 medium shallots, chopped

2 T. honey

â…” cup red wine vinegar

3 T. salted butter, cut into 6 pieces

1 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

 

Using a paring knife, make a couple vertical cuts in the silver skin that encircles the meat on each chop; try to cut through the silver skin without cutting into the meat. Season the chops on both sides with 1 tsp. salt and ½ tsp. pepper. In a 12-inch skillet over medium, heat 1 T. of oil until barely smoking. Add the chops and cook until well browned on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook until the centers reach 135°F, another 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a large plate and tent with foil. Return the empty pan to medium, add the shallots and cook, stirring, until browned and slightly softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the honey and cook, stirring, until slightly darkened, about 30 seconds. Add the vinegar and simmer over medium-high until reduced to ½ cup, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the butter 1 piece at a time, making sure it’s almost fully incorporated before adding another. If the sauce breaks, add a few drops of water while swirling the pan until the sauce is once again shiny and emulsified. Off heat, stir in half the parsley. Return the chops and any accumulated juices to the skillet and turn to coat. Season to taste, then sprinkle with the remaining parsley.

Ricotta with Pesto Swirl Dip

Ricotta with Pesto Swirl Dip

Ricotta with Pesto Swirl Dip

Creamy ricotta with a pinwheel pattern of fresh basil pesto invites you to dive in with vegetables or Seedy Crackers. Pesto freezes well. It’s a good idea to make a big batch when basil is plentiful in summer and early fall.

 

2 big bunches fresh basil

4 garlic cloves

¼ C. Pine Nuts

1 oz. Parmigiano- Reggiano or Pecorino

½ C. olive oil, plus more for serving

1 lb/450 g ricotta

 

Assemble, prepare, and measure ingredients. Pick basil leaves from stalks and discard stalks. Poach garlic by immersing whole unpeeled cloves in a small pot of cold water; bringing to a boil over medium-high heat, draining, and repeating once. Slip off skins. Heat pine nuts in a small Salt and pepper skillet over medium heat just until golden and aromatic. Grate cheese.  In a blender or food processor, combine three-quarters of the basil leaves with poached garlic cloves, pine nuts, and olive oil. Transfer to a bowl and stir in cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Smooth ricotta in an even layer over a serving plate. Swirl in pesto to make a pinwheel pattern. Scatter remaining basil leaves over top and drizzle with some olive oil. Season with more salt and pepper.

Pan-Roasted Little Tomatoes with Basil Ribbons

Pan-Roasted Little Tomatoes with Basil Ribbons

Pan-Roasted Little Tomatoes with Basil Ribbons

 

1 lb. grape or cherry tomatoes

1 garlic clove

Small handful basil leaves

1 T. butter

1 T. olive oil

Salt and pepper

 

Assemble, prepare, and measure ingredients. Halve tomatoes. Mince garlic. Stack basil leaves and slice into thin ribbons.  In a heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter with olive oil for about 2 minutes, or until a foam forms. Add tomatoes and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Stir for about 30 seconds, then turn down heat to low and cook, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes, or until tomatoes have given off most of their liquid and caramelized slightly. Transfer warm tomatoes to a serving bowl, scatter basil ribbons over top, and serve immediately with a generous spoonful of pan juices.

Casserole Queens Dill Bread

Casserole Queens Dill Bread

Casserole Queens Dill Bread

The recipe calls for a casserole dish, but we love using our cast-iron skillet. It gives the bread a more rustic feel—so homey and comforting. The incorporation of dill seed gives each wedge a delightfully herbal pop, making it a nice complement to most any meal.

 

Cooking spray

¼ C. (½ stick) unsalted butter

2 C. small-curd cottage cheese

½ C. whole milk

2 (¼-ounce) packages dry yeast

4 to 4½ C. all-purpose flour

¼ C. sugar

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 large eggs

4 tsp. dill seed

2 tsp. salt

½ tsp. baking soda

 

Spray a 9 × 13-inch casserole dish with cooking spray. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cottage cheese and milk. Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture and gently stir to dissolve. Let sit for 10 minutes. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, onion, eggs, dill seed, salt, and baking soda. Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated. Don’t overwork. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let the dough rise for 1 hour. Punch down the dough and transfer it to the prepared casserole dish. Cover and let rise for 40 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Uncover the dish and bake the bread for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Salad of Herbs and Flowers

Salad of Herbs and Flowers

Salad of Herbs and Flowers

Northwest chefs are guilty of excess in many areas. The sheer abundance of good things we have to work with drives us to experiment with combinations that would be merely ridiculous in regions with a smaller variety’ of fresh local produce. Raspberries garnish grilled salmon, and in the summer when basil becomes almost ubiquitous, it is slipped into everything from salads to desserts. Somehow, in this Oz-like setting where rainbows are as regular as rain, and hundreds of acres of brilliant red and purple, tulips grow against a backdrop of majestic mountain ranges, we feel comfortable serving and eating outrageously colorful things.  So, salads are regularly filled with tiny violas, yellow and orange nasturtiums, and the occasional petals of a day lily. In spring, don’t put it past a Northwest chef to serve the petals of unsprayed tulips in a salad. They’ taste like snow peas and have the texture of the best butter lettuce. Experiment with other edible flowers in season but be sure to use only unsprayed garden flowers and avoid experimenting with blossoms that are of dubious edibility’.

6 to 8 cups mixed baby salad greens, washed and dried

2 to 3 tablespoons Fresh Raspberry and Basil Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

24 to 36 basil leaves

6 tulips (in spring) or day lilies (in summer)

18 nasturtium blossoms

18 violas. Johnny-jump-ups, or pansies

3 chive blossoms

1 cup fresh raspberries

 

Pick through the salad greens, removing any undesirable leaves. Pile in a large salad bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Add the basil leaves and toss lightly to avoid bruising the basil. Arrange the petals of the tulips or day lilies on each of 6 chilled salad plates, then divide the dressed greens evenly among them. Tuck 3 whole nasturtium blossoms into each salad, scatter the petals of the violas over the greens, then pluck the petals from the chive blossoms and scatter those over as well. Finally, sprinkle each salad with a few raspberries and serve at once.

 

Fresh Raspberry and Basil Vinaigrette

 

Ordinarily a raspberry vinaigrette is made with raspberry-flavored vinegar. This dressing incorporates whole raspberries, and the pulp of the berries allows the oil and vinegar to emulsify to a creamy consistency.

 

1/2 cup raspberries

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

2/3 cup light olive oil or vegetable oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

12 fresh basil leaves

 

In a blender, combine the raspberries, vinegar, sugar, oil, salt, and pepper; puree the mixture at high speed. Force the puree through a fine strainer to remove seeds. Cut the basil into fine ribbons and stir in. Use 2 to 3 tablespoons for each salad. Dressing keeps, refrigerated, for at least 1 week.

Honey-Glazed Radishes and Turnips

Honey-Glazed Radishes and Turnips

Honey-Glazed Radishes and Turnips

2 T. margarine or butter

1 large shallot

1 1/2 lb. radishes

1 1/2 lb. small turnips

1 c. water

1/4 c. lower-sodium chicken broth

1 T. Honey

salt

pepper

2 tbsp. thinly sliced mint leaves

1 tbsp. finely chopped chives

 

In 12-inch skillet, melt margarine or butter on medium-high. Add shallot and cook 2 minutes or until golden and tender, stirring occasionally. Add radishes and turnips; stir until well coated. Stir in water, broth, honey, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook 15 minutes. Uncover and cook 7 to 10 minutes longer or until vegetables are glazed and most of liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in mint and chives. Transfer to serving platter and garnish with mint leaves.

Rose Pesto

Rose Pesto

Rose Pesto

 

1 whole pot basil leaves (fresh plants sold in gourmet shops in pots)

1 fistful of fresh, crisp, pink organic rose petals

2 deciliters (1 healthy cup) parmesan, grated

1 deciliter (half a cup) pine nuts

1 garlic clove

2 T. (1 oz.) olive oil

1 T. (0.5 oz.) fresh pressed lemon juice

salt

freshly ground white pepper

Swedish Wasa Rye Bread

 

Pick the leaves off the basil plant, and mix basil and rose petals in a food mixer. Grate the parmesan cheese and add with pine nuts and garlic into the mixer. Mix. Pour the olive oil into the mixer as you mix.

Mix. Add lemon juice and pepper to taste. Mount the rose pesto on the hard bread.

Throwdown Cocktail

Throwdown Cocktail

Throwdown Cocktail

 

2 lime wedges

¼ cup finely diced fresh pineapple

6 fresh mint leaves, plus whole sprigs for garnish

4 fresh Thai basil leaves, plus whole sprigs for garnish

1 T. sugar

2 T. Ginger Simple Syrup

3 ounces golden rum

Ice cubes

2 T. cream of coconut, such as Coco Lopez

 

Combine the lime, pineapple, mint leaves, Thai basil leaves, sugar, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and muddle well. Add the rum and shake for 10 seconds. Fill 2 rocks glasses with ice, pour the drink over the ice, and float 1 T. of the cream of coconut over each drink. Garnish with mint and Thai basil sprigs.

 

Charred Pole Beans with Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil

Charred Pole Beans with Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil

Charred Pole Beans with Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil

1 pound heirloom tomatoes (sliced)

¼ C. extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound pole beans (trimmed)

3 clove garlic (peeled and minced)

2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice

¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (or more to taste)

kosher salt (as needed for seasoning)

2 C. whole fresh basil leaves (lightly packed)

 

Spread the sliced heirloom tomatoes across a serving platter and set aside. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch or larger cast iron or heavy bottomed skillet. Add the pole beans and cook them in as close to a single layer as possible, tossing occasionally, until the beans are nicely charred; about 4–5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the lemon juice and red pepper flakes. Season with salt. Cook until the beans are just tender, while still retaining a bite, about 2 minutes more. Stir in the basil leaves until just wilted. Transfer to the platter of sliced heirlooms and serve.

Golden Beet Salad with Avocado and Haricot Verts

Golden Beet Salad with Avocado and Haricot Verts

Golden Beet Salad with Avocado and Haricot Verts

1 pound golden beets (about 2 to 3 inches in diameter)

1 small red onion (thinly sliced)

¼ C. sherry vinegar (or more as needed)

¼ C. extra-virgin olive oil (plus a little extra to finish)

1 tsp. granulated sugar

1 tsp. vinegar-based hot sauce (such as Tabasco or Cholula)

½ tsp. fine sea salt

freshly cracked black pepper (as needed)

8 ounce blanched haricot verts (or regular green beans)

2 ripe but firm avocados (peeled and sliced)

1 bunch fresh watercress (stems and leaves)

1 bunch fresh cilantro (stems and leaves)

1 bunch fresh mint (leaves only)

 

Peel the beets and slice them very thinly into rounds that are about 2 to 3 mm thick. Use a mandolin for best presentation.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the beet slices to the pot and simmer them for about 3 minutes; they should be slightly cooked but still crunchy. Drain the beet slices and put them in a large bowl.  Add the red onion slices, vinegar, olive oil, sugar, hot sauce, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper to the bowl with the beets; toss to combine. Set aside for at least 10–15 minutes and up to 1 hour, then taste. Adjust seasoning as needed with more vinegar, hot sauce and/or more sugar. It should taste both sharp and sweet, but not too spicy.  When you’re ready to serve, spread about half the beet mixture on a large platter. Top with blanched haricot verts, avocado, watercress, cilantro, and mint. Arrange the rest of the beets artistically around the platter, sprinkling any liquid left in the bowl over the salad. Drizzle with extra olive oil and serve.

Dutch Baby with Lavender Sugar

Dutch Baby with Lavender Sugar

Dutch Baby with Lavender Sugar

I really love flavored sugars so whenever I have a vanilla bean, I’ve used up I never throw it away; instead I put in a Tupperware with a few C. of sugar. I did the same with some lavender a few weeks back, and boy, was it amazing.

1/3 C. sugar

1 T. of dried lavender

3 large eggs at room temperature 30 minutes

2/3 C. whole milk at room temperature

2/3 C. all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/8 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg

1/8 tsp. salt

1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces

 

Put 10″ cast iron skillet on middle rack of oven and preheat oven to 450ºF. Stir together sugar and zest in a small bowl. Beat eggs with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and frothy, then beat in milk, flour, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and continue to beat until smooth, about 1 minute more (batter will be thin). Add butter to hot skillet and melt, swirling to coat. Add batter and immediately return skillet to oven. Bake until puffed and golden-brown, 18 to 25 minutes. Serve immediately, topped with lavender sugar.

Zucchini “Linguine” with Pistachios and Mint

Zucchini “Linguine” with Pistachios and Mint

Zucchini “Linguine” with Pistachios and Mint

1 pound zucchini or yellow summer squash

2 tablespoon shallots, minced

2 tablespoon olive oil

juice of one lemon

2 teaspoon lemon zest

salt and pepper, to taste

parmesan cheese, to taste

½ C. pistachios, chopped

2 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped

 

Getting the long thin “linguini” like strands of zucchini is vital to the success of this recipe. The thin threads are served raw and the acid in the dressing cooks the “pasta”. You may use a peeler with a julienne blade, or also a mandoline. If you have good knife skills you may even use a chef’s knife. Whatever process you use just make sure the strands are as long and thin as you can reasonably achieve. To make the dressing mix the shallots, olive oil, lemon juice and zest together with some salt and pepper. Shake or whisk well to emulsify. Pour this mixture over the zucchini threads and toss well. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Shave long thin strips of Parmesan cheese over the zucchini, followed by the pistachios and mint. Serve immediately.