Gardening in Colorado

In Colorado, we plant on St. Patrick’s Day! Any cold season vegetable or green can go in and believe it or not this is the result of several plantings in March! It is so wonderful to get fresh greens right outside your door, despite snow and other inclement weather! We can also plant cold season greens in the fall and as soon as the weather warms up, they will take off!

Greens
Greens

Chives in the garden

Perennial herbs are the most satisfying plants in the garden. Chives are one of my favorite as they are the earliest and so appreciated after a long winter! They do not mind the snow (this picture is after our May snow of 4″!) and grace you with the most beautiful flower that is delicious! Chives are in the allium family and can be aggressive so you must mind them but they are not hard to remove and share with a friend. I also grow other alliums known for their purple bloom and these I use as cut flowers so they don’t spread too much in my small garden.

Drumstick allium

after a spring snow
after a spring snow

Chives are the perfect garnish or addition to any dish! You can swirl them into yogurt and garnish a soup or snip them over a salad.

 

New cookbook Lunch at the Shop

I have been having so much fun cooking from this new cookbook, Lunch at the Shop. Not only are the recipes inventive but the photographs are sensational by the famous duo, Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton.

Lunch at the Shop

I made Lentils folded into Yogurt, Spinach and Basil that is a wonderful dip or sandwich spread. Also the sandwich of almond butter, sliced apple, fromager d’affinois (young brie) and Arugula. Both are delicious! Here is the lentil recipe.

1/2 c. pine nuts or walnuts, toasted and chopped

2 c. baby spinach

1 c. fresh basil

1 c. cooked lentils

2 T. flat leaf parsley, chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 lemon

1 c. Greek yogurt

1/4 c. olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Lentils with spinach and yogut

Toast pine nuts in a saute pan until golden, about 5-7 minutes. Cool and chop. Tear  the basil leaves into bite size pieces. Gently chop the baby spinach. Place lentils in a bowl and mix in spinach, basil, parsley and garlic. Zest lemon and squeeze in the strained juice. Fold in yogurt and slowly add the olive oil, stirring as you do to combine. Fold in the toasted nuts and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve on top of lettuce as a salad or on toasted or grilled bread with some sliced Parmesan

 

 

Mocha Chocolate Ice Box Cake

Another great recipe from Ina Garten! This is very easy to make, especially if you make the cookies one day. You could also buy the cookies she recommends, Tate’s Bake Shop, but I preferred to make them myself. The mousse is full of flavor. This would be a great dessert for a party!

Mocha mousse

Cookie recipe

2 c. all purpose flour

1 t. baking soda

1 t. salt

1 c. butter

3/4 c. sugar

3/4 c. dark brown sugar, firmly packed

1 t. water

1 t. vanilla

2 large eggs

2 c. semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment or grease them. Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Cream the butter and sugars. Add water and vanilla. Mix just until combined. Add eggs and mix lightly. Fold in flour mixture and stir in chocolate chips. Do not over mix. Drop cookies onto sheet pans using a small scoop or 2 T. Bake for 12 minutes or until the edges and center are brown. Cool on a rack. This makes a thin cookie. You will have leftovers.

Mousse

2 c. cold heavy cream

12 oz. mascarpone cheese

1/2 c. sugar

1/4 c. coffee liqueur, such as Kahlua

2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 t. instant espresso powder

1 t. pure vanilla extract

Assembly

approx. 35 cookies

shaved semi sweet chocolate for garnish

In an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, Kahlua, cocoa, espresso powder and vanilla. Mix on low to combine and then slowly raise the speed until it forms firm peaks.

Mousse cake

To assemble, arrange chocolate chip cookies flat in an 8″ springform pan, covering the bottom as much as possible. You can cut a cookie into quarters or whatever shape to fill in the spaces. Spread a fifth of the mocha mousse evenly over the cookies. Repeat until you have 5 layers of cookies and mousse, ending with a layer of cream. Smooth the top, cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan and remove the sides of the pan. Sprinkle the top with shaved chocolate and cut into wedges. Serve cold.