I have been reading the Yellow Table blog for the last year or more and really enjoy all of the recipes. Recently, the author Anna Watson Carl finished a very successful Kickstarter campaign to raise money to self publish her first cookbook. I was very excited to contribute! Anna and her editor Lauren asked for volunteers to test the recipes and I felt fortunate to be chosen. I was given an Elegant Fall Dinner Party menu and it did not disappoint. I had never cooked branzino before and it was easy and delicious. I also loved that I could make a few things ahead of the dinner party. Look for The Yellow Table cookbook to come out this fall-you will not be disappointed!

Crostini with Brie and Sundried Tomato Walnut Tapenade
Lemon and Herb Roasted Branzino with Brussels Sprouts
Citrus Roasted Carrots
Butterscotch Pudding with Kahlua, Whipped Cream and Caramelized Pecans

Crostini with Brie and Sundried Tomato Tapenade
Branzini
Elegant Fall Dinner
Butterscotch Pudding

I tried this recipe from Food 52 on a whim as I haven’t baked much using coconut oil instead of butter. This is a really easy recipe and delicious! I had not heard of a snack cake before but think it means you can eat it all the time! After my first bite, I thought ‘oh oh’! I think for non chocolate lovers that you could replace the chocolate chips with chopped pecans. I used bittersweet chips as that is what I had.

2 ripe bananas
2 large eggs (lightly beaten)

killer dessert

killer dessert


2 cups dark brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
10 T. coconut oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons fine sea salt (plus more for sprinkling)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 handfuls shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
Heat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Mash bananas in a bowl and push them to one side to make room for the “liquid” ingredients. Add the eggs, dark brown sugar, vanilla, and coconut oil. In a separate bowl, mix the flour and salt. Add the flour mixture to the wet banana mixture. Stir with a whisk just until combined. Add the chocolate chips and coconut. Stir one last time to evenly distribute the add-ins. Pour batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle (from a height) with fine or flaky sea salt to lightly dust the surface of the cake. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes (mine was done after 45 minutes), or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack before slicing.

This is an easy tasty recipe from Taste. I made the mixture in the early afternoon and then cooked the meatballs for dinner. I used a 1″ scoop and they were the perfect size. David enjoyed them with pasta and I had them on bibb lettuce with fresh tomatoes.
Chicken meatballs
1⁄4 cup
 (2 fl. oz./60 ml) grapeseed oil, plus more for oiling the baking sheet
1 lb. (500 g) ground chicken
2 Tbs. panko bread crumbs
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. Asian fish sauce
1 Tbs. minced lemongrass, white part only
1 Tbs. cornstarch
1 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
1 1⁄2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
14 small lettuce leaves
4 green onions, thinly sliced
2 limes, cut into wedges

Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly oil a baking sheet.

In a bowl, combine the chicken, panko, soy sauce, fish sauce, lemongrass, cornstarch, cilantro, ginger, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Roll into 1-inch (2.5-cm) balls.

Warm a large sauté pan or frying pan over medium heat. Add the 1⁄4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) oil and heat until it appears to shimmer. Add the meatballs and sauté, turning the meatballs to brown evenly on all sides, about 5 minutes total. Drain on paper towels. Transfer the meatballs to the prepared baking sheet and bake until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes.

Arrange the lettuce, green onions, and limes on a platter. Serve the meatballs in a bowl on the side. Instruct guests to place a meatball in a lettuce leaf, top with green onions, squeeze with lime juice, fold and eat. Serves 3 to 4.

I hadn’t made lavender shortbread in years and this was a great year for two lavenders that edge my front porch. After harvesting some for the lavender shrub post, I decided to try a simple recipe from renown pastry chef, Gale Gand. I think this could be a perfect base recipe for shortbread and plan to try it with pistachios soon.
Lavender peak
Ingredients
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cool unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dried or fresh lavender flowers

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream the butter until soft in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add 1/4 cup sugar and mix until incorporated. Stir together the flour, cornstarch, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix at low speed just until the ingredients are almost incorporated, then add the lavender, and mix until the dough starts to come together. Flour a work surface, turn the dough onto it, and knead it 5 to 10 times, to bring the dough together and smooth it out.

Reflour the work surface. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a little less than 1/4-inch thick to fit an 8 by 8-inch square baking pan lined with parchment. To transfer to the pan, roll the dough up onto the rolling pin, lift it up, and unroll into the pan. (Or, press the dough thoroughly into the pan with your fingers.) Prick the shortbread all over with a fork, or use a pique-vite (dough docker) if you’ve got one, to prevent any buckling or shrinking. Sprinkle the surface evenly with 1 tablespoon of the remaining sugar.

Bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, deflate the dough by knocking the pan once against the oven rack then rotate the pan to ensure even cooking and a flat surface. Bake 10 to 15 minutes more, until golden all over and very lightly browned. As soon as it comes out of the oven, sprinkle the surface evenly with the remaining tablespoon of sugar. Let cool about 5 minutes. Using a very sharp knife, cut into 3 rows by 5 rows making about 1 1/2-inch by 3-inch bars. Let cool completely in the pan. Remove from the pan and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

This is a delicious sauce on almost anything-fish, pork, beef or lamb! There are a zillion variations but I used a recipe from Taste. There are many recipes that vary the herbs and also add a little bread for thickening. It is the perfect sauce for anything hot off the grill! This is a sauce you should make at least one hour but not more than few hours before serving so the flavor is fresh and the color vibrant.
Salsa verde
1 clove garlic
1 1/4 c. packed parsley leaves
1/4 c. mint leaves
1 anchovy, soaked in warm water for 5 minutes, drained and patted dry
1 T. capers
1 t. dijon
1 1/2 t. white or red wine vinegar
1/3 c. olive oil
Pulse garlic in a processor, add parsley, mint, anchovy,capers, dijon and vinegar. Pulse until smooth. Add olive oil until thick and blended. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Have you ever had a shrub? They are a fruit based mixture that you cure for a few days and then add vinegar and steep longer and end up with a lively shrub that you can add to club soda or a cocktail. I am crazy about these and we briefly had a great Thai restaurant that had four shrubs on their menu. I have been making these as I see the perfect fruit come to market. So far I have strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, cherry and I just made this wild lavender kumquat shrub! I first started making these from my favorite blog, use real butter and haven’t stopped. They seem to last forever in the refrigerator and it so refreshing on a warm day.
Summer shrubs 2014
The basic recipe is equal portions fruit and sugar to soak and then strain the fruit out and combine with the same amount of vinegar of your choice. The lavender shrub I made today is the wildest combination of ingredients and I can’t wait to try it! The inspiration was finding gorgeous California kumquats in the market and then I made an early harvest of lavender from my garden. I ordered the blood orange balsamic vinegar online as I was so excited to try the recipe!
Lavender shrub
1 c. brown sugar
2 T. pink peppercorns (very interesting-not real peppercorns-tons of flavor
2 T. ch. lemongrass
4 T. dried lavender
1 1/2 c. chopped kumquats
Mix together, kneading with your hands gently in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours. Strain the liquid and add:
2/3 c. blood orange balsamic vinegar (I am sure you could sub. regular)
1/3 c. cider vinegar
Pour into a jar and use as you wish.

This is a winner and simple to make. From the wonderful blog Taste from Williams Sonoma!
Blueberry Lemon Bread
Lemon-Blueberry Drizzle Bread

1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz./235 g.) plus 1 tsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g.) granulated sugar
1 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest
3 large eggs
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) whole milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup (4 oz./125 g.) fresh blueberries

For the syrup:
3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
3 Tbs. granulated sugar

For the glaze:
1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g.) confectioners’ sugar
3 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350° F (180° C). Butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch (23-by-13-cm.) loaf pan.

In a bowl, sift together the 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar and lemon zest on medium-high speed until lightened. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add the milk and vanilla and stir until blended. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended. In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with the 1 teaspoon flour. Gently stir into the batter.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Transfer the bread to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet and let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then turn out onto the rack.

While the bread is baking, make the syrup: In a small saucepan, boil the lemon juice and granulated sugar over medium heat until syrupy, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Using a wooden skewer, pierce the sides and bottom of the bread all over. Brush the bread generously with the syrup.

To make the glaze, in a small bowl, stir together the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice. When the bread is completely cool, drizzle the glaze over the top. Makes 1 large loaf.

This is a recipe from my cousin Susan who is a wellness coach. My sister Jody and I recently participated in her three day cleanse (which I highly recommend!) and this was one of many great recipes. I always have a jar of almonds soaking in my refrigerator so I can make a smoothie for breakfast.
Almond Milk
1/2 c. raw almonds
3 c. water
2 large dates, pitted and chopped
pinch of salt
Place almonds in a bowl or quart jar and soak overnight or at least four hours. Drain and rinse almonds. Place almonds, dates, 3 cups of fresh water and salt in blender. Blend on high for one minute. Strain into a cheesecloth lined sieve and wring out. Store in an airtight container up to 5 days.

My mother in law discovered dukkah ages ago and has given me some but I have never made it. Traditionally it is served alongside olive oil as a dip. This is an exquisite recipe from Nom Nom Paleo cookbook. I use it on meats and vegetables before and after grilling and on salads. It is a great condiment to add to your kitchen!
Dukkah
1/3 c. hazelnuts (it is a labor of love to skin but worth it)
1/4 c. coriander seeds
2 T. cumin seeds
1/3 c. raw sesame seeds
1/4 c. shelled, roasted pistachios (I used non salted and shelled them)
Preheat to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle position. Spread hazelnuts on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 10-15 minutes, until golden and fragrant and the skins have split. Cool 5 minutes. Use a towel to rub off the papery hazelnut skins. Toast each of the seeds separately on low heat in a skillet, about one minute or until fragrant. Toast the sesame seeds until lightly brown and reserve 1 T. Add cooled hazelnuts and pistachios to the bowl of toasted seeds. Cool slightly and grind in small batches in a clean spice grinder. Mix in reserved whole sesame seeds. Will keep covered in the refrigerator for a few months!

A friend mentioned she was making this and my mouth started watering! I love caponata plain or on grilled meat or fish or stirred into pasta. This recipe is from Canal House but I added some fennel and pine nuts. Also at the olive bar at Whole Foods there was an olive mix with currants in it so I used that and added some capers to it.
Caponata
1-2 large eggplant, cut into 1″ cubes
2 T. kosher salt
1/2 c. white wine vinegar
1 T. sugar
1/4 c. currants or raisins
3/4 c. olive oil
3 ribs of celery, large dice
1 head of fennel, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 anchovy filets, chopped
4 fresh tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 c. large green olives, pitted and halved
2 T. capers
1/4 c. toasted pine nuts
1 bay leaf
Pepper
Toss the eggplant with salt and drain in a colander for one hour. Pat dry with a paper towel. Combine vinegar, sugar and currants in a small bowl until currants are plump. Pat the eggplant dry and heat 1/2 cup of olive oil in a wide pot over medium high heat. Working in batches, fry the eggplant until browned on all sides. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Add remaining 1/4 c. olive oil and sauté onion, celery and fennel until soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the anchovies. Add the tomatoes with any juices, olives, capers, bay leaf and pine nuts. Add the egg plant. Stir in the currants and vinegar. Simmer, stirring often until juices thicken a bit, 10-15 minutes. Season with pepper. Refrigerate for at least a day and up to a week. Remove bay leaf.

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