Salsa Verde

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.

Advertisements

Shrubs-the perfect summer beverage

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.

Lemon Blueberry Bread

This is a winner and simple to make. From the wonderful blog Taste from Williams Sonoma!
Blueberry Lemon Bread Sometimes I do not use the glaze as it is a little too sweet for me but most people love it. I recently tried adding raspberries too! Often I cook this for a full hour, depending on how it looks.
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.

Homemade Almond Milk

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.

Dukkah

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!

Caponata

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.

Mocha Shortbread

I make cookies or bars every Sunday to take to my Monday volunteer group. I found this recipe in Martha Stewart Living. It is an easy recipe and makes 48 bars-enough to share with my neighbors!
Mocha shortbread
2 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 t. coarse salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
1 c. sugar
2 t. pure vanilla extract
1 T. instant espresso powder
1/2 c. cacao nibs, or english toffee bits
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″by13″ pan and line with parchment.
Whisk flour, cocoa and salt together. Beat butter in mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about five minutes.Gradually add sugar and beat two minutes. Combine espresso powder and vanilla together and add to butter mixture. Beat 1 minute. Add flour mixture and beat until dough comes together. Fold in cacao nibs or toffee bits. Press dough evenly into pan and chill one hour. Using a paring knife score the pan into 48 bars-8 across the short side and 6 on the long side. Prick with a fork or skewer. Bake 30-35 minutes. Cool in pan and recut bars. Continue cooling in pan completely.