Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Leftovers Spicy and Flakey Samosa Pie

I saw these samosas being made on a morning show the Friday after Thanksgiving. Little triangles of leftover vegies were wrapped in phyllo dough and baked until crispy. Samosas are an Indian appetizer or street food.A spicy potato and vegetable mixture is wrapped in dough, fried, and served with a fresh chutney. I have made them a number of times before, and I had 1/2 package of phyllo, leftover potatoes and vegetables, so I figured I could come up with something similar.

The phyllo was leftover from making a vegetarian entree of Spanakopita for Thanksgiving, and I knew that it probably wasn't supple enough the second day to do all that folding. Also I was feeling a little flakey from the feasting and wining the night before to do that much work, so a pie was the better way to go. Great, it worked out. The pie looked gorgeous and tasted authentically Indian. It was a little spicy for some, but the heat can be adjusted to suit tastes.


1/2 1b. Phyllo Dough
2 Tbsp. Oil
1 1/2 to 2 cups Mashed Potatoes
2 small Carrots, diced
1/2 Onion, chopped
1 cup cooked Spinach, chopped
8 Cremini Mushrooms, quartered
1 Tbsp. Ginger, minced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp. Turmeric
1 tsp. Coriander, ground
1/2 tsp. Cumin, ground
salt 1/2 tsp
1/4 tsp Cayenne or to taste (I used leftover Padron Peppers, pan-broiled)
1/2 cup melted Butter and Olive Oil combined, for assembling pie

Saute onions and carrots in 2 Tbsp. oil until softened. Add mushrooms and saute 3 minutes, add garlic and ginger, saute 1 minute, add spinach, garam masala, turmeric, coriander, salt, and cayenne pepper or padrons and saute 2 minutes. Stir in mashed potatoes.

Brush a 10" pie pan with oil or butter. Place a phyllo leaf on it and brush again. The edges will drape over the side; that's OK for later. Repeat 3 times until you have 4 layers with oil in between.

Smooth the filling in the phyllo crust. Top with 4 layers of phyllo dough, brushed with oil or butter in between each sheet, and bring up the draped sides to form a rim. Keep the phyllo flexible by covering with a damp towel between uses. Bruth the top and sides with oil.

Phyllo dough is very forgiving. Since we are using leftover dough, it can be a little dry and the leaves tend to stick together. Just do the best you can; it will come out fine.

Bake in a 375 F degree oven for 40 minutes or until top is golden brown and crispy.‌

Serve with mint chutney, if possible.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Diane's Phyllo Rolls with Chicken, Spinach, and Herbed Goat Cheese

Reconnecting with old friends on the Internet is pretty easy these days. One of the benefits is that they remember things you shared together that one has long forgotten. My friend, Diane, who worked with me at the old Ledford House in Little River many, many long years ago, requested a recipe for a dish I served there. I had not thought of this particular recipe for years, but I still think it is a good one, and the ingredients can be updated now.

Back then, I used a good French Goat Cheese, Boucheron, but there are now many California farmhouse goat cheeses which would work as well, if not better. They were not available locally, "whey" back then.
This time, I used a Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery Chevre, a creamy goat cheese from Sonoma County, CA.

Although this is a fairly elaborate dish and worthy of a special occasion, once the ingredients are cooked and prepped, it is fairly easy to assemble. The cheese, spinach, and creme fraiche can all be made ahead of time, and even the Phyllo rolls can be put together and refrigerated to be popped into the oven at the last moment.

Phyllo pastry has gone through some changes also. It is available in the freezer sections of larger grocery stores and some smaller ones now. Whole wheat Phyllo dough is a recent option; it is healthier and sturdier, but is a little chewier. I used a regular Athens Phyllo, but Organic is available, too.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Bake: 40 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

4 skinned and boned chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil

Herbed Goat Cheese:
4-ounce Boucheron or other creamy goat cheese, softened
2 tsp. fresh basil, chopped (0r 1 tsp. dried)
2 tsp. fresh dill, minced (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
1 small clove garlic, minced

16 frozen phyllo pastry sheets, thawed (approx. 8" x 12")
Melted butter or olive oil

Place chicken between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and flatten to 1/8-inch thickness, using a
meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper, and set aside.
Sauté spinach and onion in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 3 to 4 minutes or until
onion is tender. Remove from heat. When cooled down, chop roughly.
Blend Boucheron with basil, dill, and garlic with fork, cuisinart, or stand mixer.
Spoon 1/8 spinach mixture and 1/8 cheese mixture on center of each chicken breast half, and roll up,
jellyroll fashion.
Unfold phyllo sheets on a lightly floured surface. Stack 2 phyllo sheets, brush with melted butter,
stack 2 more sheets on top and brush again with melted butter. (Keep remaining phyllo sheets covered
with plastic wrap to prevent drying out.) Place 1 chicken roll on short side of phyllo stack; gently
roll up, folding in long side. Repeat procedure with remaining pastry, melted butter, and chicken.
Place rolls in a shallow pan, and brush with melted butter. Phyllo rolls may be refrigerated at the
point; Allow for an extra 5 minutes cooking time.
Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes or until done. Serve topped with about 3 Tbsp. creme fraiche.

CREME FRAICHE: In a medium saucepan over low heat, warm the cream to 105 degrees F (40 degrees C). Remove from heat and stir in the buttermilk. Transfer the cream to a large bowl and allow this mixture to stand in a warm place, loosely covered with plastic wrap, until thickened but still of pouring consistency. This process takes anywhere from 24 to 36 hours, depending on your room temperature. The creme fraiche is ready when it is thick with a slightly nutty sour taste. Chill cream, in the refrigerator, for several hours before using. Creme fraiche may be made and stored in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Rolls with Rum Drizzle Icing

Pumpkin Spice Rolls with Rum Drizzle
(Adapted from a recipe by Gabi Moskowitz BrokeAss Gourmet)

There is nothing like a cold rainy day to get me thinking about turning the oven on and baking some goodies. These rolls are quick and easy, only 30 minutes rising time. The rum drizzle is optional, and milk can be substitued for the rum. I do encourage the use of dark Meyer's rum exclusively, though. Like real vanilla, there is really no substitute.

I used my own pumpkin and kabocha squash from the garden, baked and pureed. I found I had to add almost an extra cup of flour* to get the dough to a consistency I could handle, so watch the dough carefully as you mix.

I don't keep pumpkin pie spice mix on hand, but I did have all the ingredients. It's incredibly easy to make your own, and I have included directions at the end of the recipe, as well as for the Rum Drizzle Icing.

Drizzling is really fun; you just take a fork and scoop up some runny icing and, from a distance of about 8", run it back and forth across the tops of the rolls. You can make designs or free-form it, as you wish. You have to wait a little bit for the rolls to cool if you want the icing to hold it's shape. The rolls in the picture were too warm for the icing to hold up, but I didn't think they would last until they cooled way down, so I drizzled anyway.

1 packet yeast (1 Tbsp.)
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
2-3 cups all-purpose flour*, plus more for rolling
pinch salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 stick butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly flour a baking sheet and set aside. Combine yeast, 1/2 cup warm water and sugar together in a mixing bowl. Stir gently and let sit to activate for 5 minutes.
Stir in canned pumpkin*, flour and salt until a sticky dough forms. Knead dough on a floured surface for 4-5 minutes or until very elastic (this can also be done in a food processor or stand-up mixer).Pour the vegetable oil into a mixing bowl and transfer dough to the bowl. Turn dough over to make sure the oil coats it thoroughly.
Cover bowl with a clean, moist dish towel and place in a warm spot for 30 minutes.
While dough rises, combine the butter, brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Mix well until a creamy paste forms.
Once dough has risen, punch dough down and transfer to a lightly floured surface. and roll out into a large rectangle (about 12“x16”).Use a rubber spatula or butter knife to spread the butter-sugar mixture all over the top of the dough. Roll up tightly, pinching to seal, so you have a 10” long cylinder.
Use a sharp knife to carefully cut the cylinder into 8-10 disks. Arrange disks on the floured baking sheet.
Bake for 13-16 minutes, or until edges have turned golden-brown. Remove to a platter and scrape any filling that has leaked out over the tops. Let cool slightly and serve warm.
Makes 8-10 cinnamon rolls.

Rum Drizzle Frosting:

2 Tbsp. Meyer's Dark Rum
1/2 Cup confectioner's sugar drop of vanilla

Mix together to form a smooth paste, and drizzle over the tops of the rolls

Make your own Pumpkin Pie Spice:
1 teaspoon of cinnamon into a small bowl or cup.
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger.
1/4 teaspoon of ground allspice or ground cloves.
1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg.

Stir to blend.
Makes 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pumpkin Galore

 Our pumpkins and winter squash are harvested and stored.  We did well with Kabocha, Delicata, and Sugar Pumpkins. We also grew a couple of large Cinderella pumpkins (Rouges Ver d'Etamps variety) this year.  They are wonderful to cook with, but I always have loads of extra puree to freeze and then use.  I made a pumpkin cookbook last year, and this year I have been researching the food blogs for interesting recipes, and I found some goodies.  Broke Ass Gourmet has recipes for Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls, Pumpkin Pizza, and Pumpkin Naan.  Ruth Reichl posts a Pumpkin Pancake recipe which looks as delicious as it is easy to put together in the AM.

Pumpkin Naan Broke Ass Gourmet


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fruit Cobblers Plain and Fancy; Plum Good!

This post is in response to a recipe request from a friend.  A fruit cobbler is a dessert that can be made in a flash with almost any fruit or combonation of fruits.  These 2 recipes are especially easy as the topping is dropped on and doesn't have to be rolled out.  It comes out light and fluffy, buttery and mildly sweet.  The marzipan crust has a crisp top and an elegant flavor. 

Fruit Cobbler

4 1/2 Cups Flour (1 1/2)
1 1/2 Cups Sugar (1/2)
6 Tsp. Baking Powder (2)
3/4 Tsp. Salt (1/4)
1/2 Almond Extract (1/4)
1 1/2 Cups Unsalted Butter, cold, cut into cubes (1/2)
3 Eggs (1)
1 1/2 Cup Milk (1/2)

Use numbers in parentheses for 8" x 8" pan or 9" pie plate. Full recipe fills 9" x 13" or 12"x 16" pan.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add almond extract. In bowl of Cuisinart or with 2 knives, cut in butter until it is the size of peas.

Beat eggs and milk together. Mix with dry ingredients until wet. Do not overmix.

Fill 12" x 16" pan or 9" pie plate with sliced fruit. Add 3/4-cup sugar (1/4 cup), 3/4-cup flour (1/4 cup), mix all together and dot with 1/4 (2 Tbsp.) butter.
Pour topping over fruit mix. Sprinkle with almond slices.

Bake at 350 degrees until crust is done. It will take at least an hour, maybe 1 1/2 hours or 2 for the large pan. The smaller cobbler should take 50-55 minutes.
Serve with whipped cream or Vanilla ice cream.

Plum Cobbler with Marzipan-Biscuit Topping
The marzipan topping adds a dimension of richness and flavor.Yield: 8 servings

For the Filling:

6 cups pitted sliced plums, cut in pieces (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

For the Topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup marzipan or almond paste, broken into pieces
1/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup chilled whipping cream
Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Butter 8-inch square baking dish. Combine first 4 ingredients in medium bowl. Let stand 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to baking dish. Dot fruit with butter pieces. Bake until fruit mixture bubbles in center, about 1 hour. Cool while preparing topping.


Decrease oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Combine flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt in processor. Pulse to blend. Add marzipan and process until marzipan is incorporated into flour. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cream and process just until combined. Drop cobbler dough by teaspoonfuls over surface of fruit. Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon sugar over dough.

Bake until topping is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Cool slightly and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Olive Oil Cake experiments

I haven't made this, but it got 5 star reviews.  I would use a compote of whatever fruit is in season and not the citrus at this time of year.  I like the inclusion of almonds; almonds always make desserts extra yummy.

Almond Citrus Olive Oil Cake
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

 Cook Time:35 min or 50-55 if using bundt pan

Yield: 8 servings
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted, coarsely crumbled
Powdered sugar, for sifting

Citrus Compote:
2 tablespoons grated orange peel
3/4 teaspoon orange blossom water, optional
3 oranges, segmented
2 pink grapefruits, segmented


To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil an 8-inch-diameter cake pan or a Bundt pan (alot of recommendations for this). Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, eggs, and zests in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in the milk. Gradually beat in the oil. Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Stir in the almonds. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Place cake pan on baking pan to collect any possible spills. Bake until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes (50-55 for Bundt). Transfer to a rack and cool for 15 minutes. Remove cake and place on serving platter, top side up. Sift powdered sugar over the cake.

To make the citrus compote: Stir the orange peel, blossom water, and 2 tablespoons of accumulated juices from the segmented fruit in a small bowl to blend. Arrange the orange and grapefruit segments decoratively in a wide shallow bowl. Pour the blossom water mixture over. Cover and let stand 15 minutes for the flavors to blend.

Cut the cake into wedges and spoon the citrus compote alongside.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Crumble of Zucchini and Mushrooms (Crumble de Courgette aux Champignons)

Now is the time zucchini is in abundance, in home gardens and at the farmer's market. I used a large one
that almost got away in this recipe.

This came out great, and it was even better reheated lightly for breakfast the next AM. Despite all the
chopping and sauteeing, it was quite easy to prepare and can be made ahead of time. It is an adaptation
of a recipe from the food blog, Chocolate and Zucchini. There are recipes that use them both. I have made chocolate zucchini cupcakes, and they were fabulous.

Sorry there is no picture. We ate it all before the camera came out; it was that good.

Crumble of Zucchini and Mushrooms

 6 medium zucchinis
1 lb. mixed mushrooms
1/2 of an onion
1 tsp flour
olive oil
1/4 cup oatmeal
1/4 c. breadcrumbs
1/4 c. butter, diced
1/4 cup grated cheese, I think I put in a bit more (parmesan, comté...)
thyme and dried basil, or other herbs of your choice
salt, pepper
chopped fresh parsley

Wash the mushrooms under clear water, dry on a towel, and cut the large ones in smaller pieces. Dice up
the onion quarter finely. In a large skillet, heat up some olive oil, and put the onion in to cook for a
few minutes over medium heat, until it starts to get translucent. Add the mushrooms, season with dried herbs, and cook for about ten minutes, until the mushrooms have shrunk and they have released their water.

Add the flour and stir to thicken the mixture a little.

Cut the zucchinis in small pieces or batons, about the size of your pinky finger. In a large skillet, heat
up a little olive oil over high heat, put the zucchinis in, toss to coat, season with thyme, salt and
pepper, and lower the heat. Cover and cook for about twenty minutes, until the zucchinis are tender, but
not limp.

Prepare the crumble : put the oatmeal, breadcrumbs, butter and cheese in a medium bowl. Blend this all
together using the tips of your fingers, until it resembles coarse sand. Season with salt, pepper and

The vegetables and the crumble can be prepared the day before.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a 9" 13" pan, spread out a layer of zucchinis, then a layer of mushrooms.
Distribute the crumble mixture evenly on top. Put in the oven to bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the
crumble is golden. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Plum Cheese, Membrillo, and other fruit pastes


Fruit cheese is the dried paste of various fruits, mixed with sugar, and perhaps some spice or flavoring,
and cooked down until it stands on its own. Fruit cheese is very good with cheese and crackers; I have
made it with Quince, known as Membrillo in Spanish or Pate de Coings in French and, just recently with plums.

I have made membrillo before, as I had a nice harvest of quinces one year. During cooking, the quince
took on a beautiful deep ruby color and had the flavor of vanilla combined with the unique taste of the
quince. It took forever to cook down, though, and I had the same experience with the Plum Cheese I made
the other day. These fruit cheese are jams that are reduced to a stiff paste that will set up when cooled. They may also require a little drying treatment in a very low oven.

I developed an interest in making plum cheese while watching the TV show, " Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie."
The episode was about food bloggers. Pim (Chez Pim) visited a lady who was making Plum Cheese
commercially. The footage showed the cheeses being turned out of decorative molds, all dark and
glistening. Looked good, so I decided to try it at home. After googling "Plum cheese," I decide to try a
variation on a recipe by Natalia Schamroth from an old issue of Bon Appetit.

She suggests using plums that are not quite ripe, as they contain more pectin which helps the cheese
solidify. She suggests that this will shorten the cooking time and ensure that the plums have a fresh,
not overcooked, flavor. I used a combination of underripe and ripe plums which is what I had; perhaps
this is why the cooking time was so long.

Fruit cheese differs from fruit butters in that the structure of the preparation is almost solid when
done. Fruit butters need to be cooked down only until no free liquid is visible and the surface is creamy.  Other fruit cheeses and butters can be made by following these directions and substituting in seasoning and flavors that you find compatable.

Plum Cheese or Paste


2 lbs. plums, halved
3/4 cup water
white sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Place the plums, stones and water in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Simmer, covered with a lid, until just
softened. Pass the plums through a strainer or sieve (discard stones) and return to the saucepan. Weigh
the pulp and add to it an equal quantity of sugar.

Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved then add the lemon juice. Turn up to a brisk simmer,
stirring occasionally, until thickened. This process will take between 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on
the pectin content of the fruit. Test the plum paste as you would jam; a small amount on a saucer should
form a skin and thicken quite quickly after 1-2 minutes in the refrigerator.

Pour the paste into a rectangular loaf tin lined with baking paper and leave to set. Store airtight in the
refrigerator or in a cool dark place until ready to use.  The mixture can also be poured into hot, hot, dry sterilized jars as when making jam. Wipe the jars or moulds clean and cover immediately whilst still hot.
Leave to cool and label with contents and date made.

Fruit cheeses can be turned out in one piece and cut with a knife and served with cheese and crackers or,
cut into small pieces, as a sweetmeat. They are also useful as a condiment to cold meat or poultry.
Cheeses can be stored for up to 4 months and are often better if left to mature for 2 months before using

My biggest problem was figuring out when it was done. I cooked and cooked it down, albeit on a low flame
so that I didn't have to stir often; it took ages but it did set up in the refrigerator. Many of the
recipes I read said that the cheese was done when a spoon drawn across the pan leaves a clean path. There
is a fine line between when this preparation is done and when it is scorched. I pulled mine when it set
up in the refrigerator, but before I could draw a spoon through it and have it leave a clean line. Mine
came out a little on the soft side, but I thought I could smell a scorch, so I pulled it. I didn't finish
it until late in the evening, and I was too tired to puzzle out the mold things, so I poured/spread it
into little loaf pans lined with parchment paper and refrigerated them. If I had a pilot light in my
over, I would have put them in there to "dry" overnight.

It's the two days later now, and I have kept the plum cheese out to dry during the day in a pan on oiled
plastic wrap, covered loosely with more plastic; I refrigerate overnight. They are now firm enough to
slice. Hooray!
Recommendations for Fruit cheese and cheese combinations include Brie or Pont L'Eveque for the Plum Cheese and a nice Spanish Manchego with the Quince Membrillo. I think most favorites will work; if you happen have the blues--Stilton, Roquefort, or Cambazola, I would try them,too. We had a Jarlsberg with the Plum cheese on Cousteaux Bakery Multigrain Bread. Fantastic!

Here's a recipe for the beautiful ruby Quince Paste or Membrillo for the lucky ones who have them.

Quince Paste or Membrillo Recipe


4 pounds quince, washed, peeled, cored, roughly chopped
1 vanilla pod, split
2 strips (1/2 inch by 2 inches each) of lemon peel (only the yellow peel, no white pith)
3 Tbsp lemon juice
About 4 cups of granulated sugar, exact amount will be determined during cooking

Place quince pieces in a large saucepan (6-8 quarts) and cover with water. Add the vanilla pod and lemon
peel and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook until the quince pieces are fork tender
(30-40 minutes).

Strain the water from the quince pieces. Discard the vanilla pod but keep the lemon peel with the quince.
Purée the quince pieces in a food processor, blender, or by using a food mill. Measure the quince purée.
and add an equal amount, cup for cup, of sugar. Return the quince purée to the large pan. Heat to medium-
low. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar has completely dissolved. Add the lemon juice.

Continue to cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 1-1 1/2 hours, until the quince paste is very
thick and has a deep orange pink color.
Preheat oven to a low 125°F (52°C). Line a 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper (do not use wax paper, it
will melt!). Grease the parchment paper with a thin coating of butter or oil. Pour the cooked quince paste
into the parchment paper-lined baking pan. Smooth out the top of the paste so it is even. Place in the
oven for about an hour to help it dry. Remove from oven and let cool. Store by wrapping in foil or plastic wrap, an keeping in the refrigerator.



Monday, August 30, 2010

Peach Chutney

For me, the essence of chutney is the sweet/sour flavor enhanced with lots and lots of ginger.  The easiest ways to get the ginger into the mix and have it be very chunky with a good texture is to use crystallized ginger cut in thick strips.  I buy mine at the health food store, not in those little packages that are sold at the large markets.  It's much more economical that way.
The best mango chutney is made with some green mangoes, so I would use some underripe fruit in this.  Peaches soften up rather quickly, and this would help preserve some "tooth".

Using brown sugar gives a deep rich flavor and color.  If you substitue white sugar and white vinegar,  the chutney will be golden.
I still love Sun Brand Major Grey's that we used to serve when I was a kid.

Peach Chutney


4 pounds sliced peeled peaches
1 cup raisins
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped onion
12 ounces chopped preserved ginger
1 tablespoon mustard seed
2 tsp. turmeric, ground
3 cups brown sugar, packed
4 cups apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. Salt
2-6 sliced jalapeno peppers, according to heat desired


In a large heavy pot, stir together the peaches, raisins, garlic, onion, preserved ginger,  mustard seed, turmeric,  brown sugar and cider vinegar.

Bring to a boil, and cook over medium heat uncovered until the mixture reaches your desired consistency. If the fruit is getting too soft before the syrup thickens, remove some of it until the end to preserve some texturel. It will take about 1 1/2 hours to get a good thick sauce. Stir frequently to prevent scorching on the bottom.

Ladle into hot sterilized jars. Wipe the rims with a clean moist cloth. Seal with lids and rings, and process in a barely simmering water bath for 10 minutes. The water should cover the jars completely.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Liquados (licuado) and Agua Frescas

Liquados (licuados) are a Latin American handmade blended beverage similar to smoothies, made with milk, fruit, and usually ice. Liquados and other fresh fruit juice drinks are ubiquitous throughout Mexico. They are very easy to make, very healthy, and very refreshing. This simple preparation lends itself to any amount of variations, according to taste and to what is on hand.

Aguas frescas (Spanish for "fresh (cold) waters") are a combination of either fruits, cereals, or seeds,
and sugar and water, blended together to make a refreshing beverage. Although they originated and are most
common in Mexico, aguas frescas have also become popular in Central America, the Caribbean, and the United States. Some of the most popular flavors include agua de tamarindo (made with tamarind pods), agua de Jamaica (made with roselle), and agua de horchata (usually made with rice and cinnamon). They are usually not blended, but traditionally made without blenders and done by simply mashing the fruit with a fork or masher before adding the water and sweetener. The trick with making agua fresca (Spanish for "fresh water") is to infuse the water with fruit essence without turning it into a smoothie or slushy drink.

They are very simple preparations that should be lightly sweetened, healthy, and icy, icy cold.  I added a little Triple Sec to our Watermelon Liquado; it was a little less healthy, but extra delicious.

Peach Liquado

1 peach
1 cup milk
1/2 cup ice
1 tbsp. honey


Berry Liquado

1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cup fresh berries
1 banana

Mango Liquado (without milk)
This recipe serves: 8

4 cups cubed, ripe mango
3 cups water
1/4 cup sugar, or to taste
juice of 1 lemon
lime wedges for garnish

 In a blender, combine the mango and water and puree at high speed until smooth. Thin with more water if
desired, and add sugar and lemon juice to taste. Blend again and serve in tall glasses over ice with a
wedge of lime.

Serving Size: 1 tall glass


Agua Fresca Recipe

Watermelon Agua Fresca
Serves 6

This light, refreshing drink popularized in Mexico is a terrific thirst quencher on a hot summer day. The
trick with making agua fresca (Spanish for "fresh water") is to infuse the water with fruit essence
without turning it into a smoothie or slushy drink. Feel free to experiment with other flavors such as
strawberry, mango, cantaloupe and honeydew.


6 to 8 pounds seedless watermelon, cut into 2-inch pieces (no rind)
2 cups cold water, divided
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey (more or less to taste)
Ice cubes
Lime slices and mint leaves for garnish


Cut the watermelon flesh from the rind. In a blender, process half the watermelon pieces with 1 cup of
water until smooth. Pour through a strainer into a pitcher. Repeat the process with the remaining melon
and water. You should end up with about 8 cups of juice. Stir in the lime juice and agave. Pour into ice-
filled glasses and garnish with lime slices and mint.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Zucchini Creole

Zucchini Creole in the Pot
Adapted from Farm Journal's Best Ever Recipes

This is a great dish to make with a large zucchini.  I keep it in the fridge for a low-fat snack; it's good cold, too, and better when it sits a day.  I don't really use a recipe for this, but I am publishing one for a guideline.  The zucchini can be cooked al dente or soft, according to taste.  The amount of Old Bay Seasoning can be upped if you like it spicy, spicy, spicy.

Get organic whenever you can, but it is very important with the celery, as that is now the #1 most poisoned produce.

Yield: 8 Servings

1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped
3/4 cup green pepper, chopped
1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 lbs. zucchini, cut in quarters, then 3/4" chunks
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. dried basil
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning, more or less to palate
1 tsp. salt, or to taste
14 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, nice if served hot

Heat olive oil in skillet and saute, onion, garlic, peppers, and celery until softened.  Add zucchini, tomatoes, Old Bay, herbs, salt, and pepper, cover and cook over medium heat until zucchini is tender 20 minutes.  Serve with chopped parsley and (optional) parmesan cheese.
Can be refigerated and enjoyed cold.

A Zucchini corer!!! Who knew??

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Durian Ice Cream Recipe

Pile of Durian fruit in Bangkok Market

The Durian is a tropical Asian fruit with cute/ugle spiny skin.  The flesh is pale yellow and emits an odor like cleaning products.  Most people find the odor pretty off-putting and rank.  However, on the tongue, the taste is transformed to a strong and addictive flavor, like a ripe St. Andre cheese.  Durians are available freesh in Asian markets; the flesh can be frozen.  The flesh is also available freeze-dried and frozen.  I used reconstituted freeze-dried, as fresh is unavailable in my area.  You will need 1/2 cup or more pureed Durian for this recipe.

I started with an easy, but rich French Vanilla recipe.  Since I didn't add much fruit, the texture wasn't changed by the addition of the Durian.

I've just been informed that the Durian fruit is the only fruit tigers will eat.  Durian and tiger are both muy forte (strong).

                                        Durian Ice Cream Recipe

3 Eggs, 1 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp. flour, 2 cups cream, 2 cups milk, 1/2 (or more, according to taste) Durian puree. 1 tsp. Vanilla extract (optional)

Beat eggs, milk. and flour together in a large saucepan. Add sugar and cook over low heat - stirring constantly until thickened - about 10 minutes. Mixture should coat the spoon. Cool, then add cream and vanilla. Refrigerate 5 hours or overnight.

Freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.

This recipe makes more than some ice cream makers hold, so cut it in half for a pint batch.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Got chard? Swiss Chard Dumplings

Swiss Chard Dumplings
I made these with Kale, no shallots, a grated zucchini, and Edamame substituting for the peas.

For the dumplings:
1 lb. Young Swiss chard leaves
1 leek, white part only, minced
2 shallots, minced
4 tbsp. Unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
½ lb. Fresh ricotta
1 egg, beaten
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
¼ cup fresh breadcrumbs

For the sauce:
6 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. Unsalted butter
1 cup peas, blanched
6 tomatoes, diced
Salt and pepper

Make the dumplings: Wash the greens in several changes of water; boil in salted water for 10 minutes. Drain, chop, and squeeze dry.

Sauté the leek and shallots in 2 tablespoons of the butter until soft, about 5 minutes. Turn into a bowl; add the chard, ricotta, egg, 1/3 cup of the Parmigiano, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Using 2 spoons, shape the mixture into pretty football-shaped dumplings. Place the dumplings in a buttered baking dish and then top with the remaining butter, Parmigiano, and breadcrumbs. Bake for 20 minutes

.Make the sauce; Sauté the scallions in the butter for 10 minutes. Fold in the peas, tomatoes, salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes. Serve the dumplings hot over the sauce. Serves 4.

Pumpkin style—add 3/4 cup pumpkin puree and  ¼ cup extra breadcrumbs, grating of nutmeg


Allow about 5 1/2 hours for the pizza dough to rise. The small quantity of yeast and a long, slow rise give the crust its great flavor and texture.

3/4 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast (from 1 envelope)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups (about) unbleached all purpose flour
Seasoned oil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

1 bunch Swiss chard (about 10 ounces), white ribs cut away
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced

Yellow cornmeal
8 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated
4 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)

For crust:

Pour 3/4 cup water into large bowl. Sprinkle yeast over; stir to blend. Let stand 10 minutes to dissolve yeast. Add oil and salt, then 1 1/2 cups flour. Stir until well blended (dough will be sticky). Turn dough out onto generously floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, adding just enough flour to prevent dough from sticking, about 5 minutes (dough will be soft). Shape dough into ball; place in large oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover bowl with kitchen towel. Let dough rise at cool room temperature until almost doubled, about 2 hours. Punch dough down; form into ball. Return to bowl; cover with towel and let rise until doubled, about 3 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare seasoned oil:
Mix oil, garlic, and red pepper in small bowl. Let stand 1 hour.

For topping:

Cook chard in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain. Rinse under cold water; drain. Squeeze dry, then coarsely chop. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and stir 30 seconds. Add chard and stir 1 minute. Season to taste with salt.

Preheat oven to 500°F. Punch down dough. Form into ball; place on floured work surface. Cover with kitchen towel; let rest 30 minutes.

Sprinkle rimless baking sheet with cornmeal. Roll out dough on floured surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to baking sheet. Sprinkle mozzarella over dough, leaving 1-inch border. Scatter chard over mozzarella. Top with goat cheese. Brush crust edge with some of seasoned oil. Set aside 2 teaspoons seasoned oil; drizzle remaining oil over pizza.

Bake pizza until crust is brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven; brush edge with seasoned oil and serve.

Makes 4 servings.
Bon Appétit
January 2002

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Grilled Chicken Paillard Tandoori (for your chutneys)

Now that you have some Watermelon Rind or other kind of Chutney, here's a really simple chicken recipe to go with it.

Paillard of Chicken Breasts Tandoori
Serves 4

This recipe is adapted from the Time-Life Foods of the World series, The Cooking of India. I find this series to turn out dishes with authentic flavors. I first had Tandoori Chicken at Moti Mahals in Old Delhi, and this marinade is remarkably similar. Our chickens are a lot different; I think they eat a lot more than the Indian ones.

A Paillard is a method of preparing meat that involves flattening it. This not only shortens the cooking times considerably, but also tenderizes the meat.

4 chicken breast, skinless and boneless
1/2 Tsp. Saffron threads
2 Tsp. Hot Water
8 oz. Plain Yogurt
1/4 Cup fresh Lime Juice
1 Large Garlic clove, crushed
1 1/2 Tsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Ground Ginger
1/2 Tsp. Turmeric
1/4 Tsp. Ground Cumin
1/4 Tsp. Ground Coriander
1/4 Tsp. Cayenne
1/4 Tsp. Red food coloring (optional)
1/4 Cup Butter or Ghee, melted*

To make the paillards, place the chicken breasts into a freezer bag, or lay them between two sheets of plastic wrap. Either use a meat mallet, or a rolling pin to flatten the chicken breasts to an even thickness, about 1/4".

Soak saffron in hot water in a large bowl 5 minutes. Add yogurt, lime juice, garlic, salt, and spices. In India, red food coloring is often included; I leave this to your discretion.

Make a few shallow incisions in the paillards. This is to allow the marinade to penetrate. Put the chicken into the marinade, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or more, turning occasionally.

Heat the grill; the paillards take just a 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Serve with your chutney, rice pilaf, dal, and a salad.

I recommend a dry Gewerztraminer to go with this dish, lightly chilled, please. An Anderson Valley Handley vineyard would be perfect.

*To make Ghee (Indian clarified butter), heat 1/2 cup unsalted butter until it is boiling; reduce the heat to medium. A foam will appear and then disappear. The Ghee will be done when a 2nd foam forms on top of the butter, and the liquid turns golden. There will be brown solids in the bottom. Pour through cheesecloth into heatproof container. Store airfree; Ghee does not need refrigeration and will keep for a month.

I recommend getting a copy of the out-of-print book: The Cooking of India: Foods of the World Time Life Series

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Quick 'n Easy Slow Rise Crusty Bread in a Pot

 Slow and Easy Bread in a Pot adapted from Jacques
   Pepin Cooking Show, Fast Food My Way

This is the easiest bread with a good crust and chewy crumb that I have ever made.  I had to invest in a new non-stick pot, but I have been pleased with the results of this recipe, so it's worth it.  This bread can also be made in a heavy non-stick bundt pan; you will get lots of crust.

I plan to try this method of with other Artisan bread recipes and also try substituting whole wheat flour for part of the white.

                                                                 1 3/4 cups tepid water
                                                                 2 tsp. yeast
                                                                 1 tsp. salt
                                                                 4 cups unbleached white flour

     Stir the water, yeast and salt together.  In a non-stick pot, oven-safe pot, combine  Water mixture and the flour and stir, stir, stir until the dough is stretchy and very moist.  Let the dough rise for 40-50 minutes and stir it down.  Now cover it, and let it rise in the refrigerator for 12 hours or overnight in the same pot.
In the morning, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F., and put the pot in the hot oven, uncovered, for 40 minutes.  Let it sit and cool for a few minutes before turning it     out. Cool completely before slicing, if you can. 

You must have a non-stick pot with a good finish.  I first tried this with an older non-stick pot that has been abused over the years.  The bottom crust stuck fast; the second time I used a new non-stick pot, and it came out perfectly.  It was crusty and the crumb had nearly as good a texture as Artisan bread.  I think the moisture        content of the dough is the key to the Artisan texture--keep it moist.  Flour moisture content varies, so you can always add a little more.

Have fun and enjoy fresh bread the simple way.

Watermelon Rind Chutney

Watermelon Rind Chutney
Adapted from Gourmet July 2004

This recipe uses water which is unusual for chutney recipes, but the watermelon rind is denser than the soft fruit than I usually use. It simmers for a long time, so the water keeps it from the sugar from burning.

I made a few changes from the original recipe. I use distilled white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar (that's what I have this AM.) I added 1 Tbsp. brown mustard seeds for visual interest, 1 tsp. ground turmeric for color and health, and I use crystallized ginger instead of fresh in all my recipes. The crystallized ginger adds a toothsome bite when slice into 1/2 x 1/4-inch pieces. I also added 1 cup of dark raisins; I like raisins.

Active time: 45 min Start to finish: 25 1/2 hr (includes chilling)

1 (8-lb) piece watermelon (flesh and rind)
1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 cup sliced crystallized ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons sliced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tbsp. brown mustard seeds
1 tsp. ground Turmeric
1 cup dark raisins

(other optional ingredients include: 1 onion, coarsly chopper, 2 sticks cinnamon, or 1 jalapeno chile, minced)

Remove watermelon flesh from rind and reserve flesh for another use. Scrape off and discard any remaining pink flesh from rind, then cut rind crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips and remove green peel with a Y-shaped vegetable peeler or a sharp knife. Discard green peel. Cut white rind into 1/2-inch cubes (you will have 5 to 6 cups). I find laying the watermelon rind on a chopping block with the green side facing away from me and slicing the peel off with a sharp paring knife the easiest. I don't mind a little of the pink flesh remaining on the rind either.

Bring rind and remaining ingredients to a boil in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until rind is tender and translucent and liquid is syrupy, 45 to 55 minutes. Cool chutney, uncovered, then chill in an airtight container 1 to 3 days to allow flavors to mellow.

Cooks' note: Chutney keeps, covered and chilled, 1 month.

We'll see how this turns out. When I want to preserve chutneys, I process the hot sauce in pint or half-pint jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

It turned out really awesome.  The watermelon rind keeps its shape and gives the chutney some "tooth"; most soft fruits turn to mush by the end of the cooking process.  I usually hold back a couple of cups for the end.  In India, they use a special variety of green mango.  Sometimes it can be found in Indian grocery stores; it makes a difference in Mango Chutney.

If you want to know more about the benefits of consuming your watermelon rind, check out this site:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dandelion Wine Recipe

Dandelion Wine
Swill, don't kill.

1 qt. dandelion blossoms
1 gal. hot water
1 package dried yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 1/2 lb. sugar
2 lemons, cut up
2 oranges, cut up

Pour hot water over dandelion blossoms.
Let stand for 24 hours.
Strain in a jelly bag.
Heat juice again and add sugar, lemons and oranges.
Reheat, then put in a stone jar.
Mix yeast and water; add to cooled potion
Let ferment.
Skim everyday for 6 or 7 weeks. Then bottle.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Favorite Sweet and Sour Chicken

This is a fairly simple recipe that makes a delicious Sweet and Sour chicken. The frying can take a little while, but the results are worth it. I used to make this for my kids, and they loved it. It was a big treat back in the days. If you are concerned about the calories in the fried version, of course you can just stir-fry or grill the chicken, but it won't be the same crispy succulent dish.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

3 Lb. Chicken, boned
1 Egg, slightly beaten
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Soy Sauce
1/4 Cup Flour
Hot oil for deep-frying

Beat egg, salt and soy sauce together. Dip chicken in flour, then egg, and then flour again. Fry until browned and crispy. Drain and keep warm.

1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Vinegar
1/4 Cup Catsup
1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp. Cornstarch
1/4 Cup Water
1 Cup Pineapple Chunks
1/2 Cup Green Pepper
3 Green Onions, sliced thin

In a saucepan, combine sugar, vinegar, catsup and soy sauce. Bring to a boil and stir in cornstarch, which has been mixed with the 1/4 cup water.
Stir until thickened. Add veggies and chicken and mix until coated with the sauce.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lavender Recipes

A selection of Lavender recipes, collected over the years, plus a Choc. Guinness cake at the bottom for Button and Kate. The lavender chutney recipe is my own development. Most of the rest I haven't tried yet. I've edited some to suit my own personal ingredient choices. Enjoy!

Apple Lavender Chutney
Makes 12 half-pint jars with some extra for sampling
Mix together in a heavy-bottomed pot:18 cups tart organic apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1" chunks
6 cups granulated sugar
1 tbsp. salt
3 cups sliced crystallized ginger
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. Garam Masala
4 3-inch pieces cinnamon stick
2 lemons, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. dried Lavender flowers or 4 Tbsp. fresh
Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cook down on medium-low heat until mixture is thick. Stir frequently, especially towards the end, to prevent sticking and burning. Add lavender during last 5 minutes of cooking
Ladle into hot, sterilized canning jars. Seal. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Remove from canner and cool in a place free from drafts for 24 hours. Label and store for at least one month to develop flavors.
I like lots of ginger, but various quantities can be altered to suit your own taste.

chocolate-honey tart
Bon Appétit April 2008 Rozanne Gold
Servings: Makes 10 to 12 servings
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
9 whole chocolate graham crackers (about 5 ounces)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons dried lavender blossoms*
12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 9-inch diametertart pan with removable bottom with nonstick spray. Grind graham crackers with 3 tablespoons butter and honey in processor until fine crumbs form. Press crumbs evenly onto bottom (not up sides) of prepared tart pan. Bake until set, about 10 minutes. Cool.
Bring cream and lavender just to boil in small saucepan. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes. Place chocolate in medium saucepan. Strain hot cream mixture into saucepan with chocolate. Stir over medium-low heat just until melted and smooth. Add cocoa powder and remaining 1 tablespoon butter; stir until melted and smooth. Pour chocolate mixture over crust in tart pan. Chill at least 45 minutes (chocolate will be slightly soft after 45 minutes and firm after 2 hours). Cut into wedges and serve. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.
* Also called culinary lavender buds; available at many natural foods stores and some farmers' markets and from Dean and Deluca

Fruit Plate Idea
sliced seasonal fruits with seasonal berries
sprinkled with lavender thyme and mint
soft fresh goat cheese
olive oil croustades
thin sliced proscuitto

Lavender-Honey roast Chicken(Annie O’Driscoll Café Cuvee)
½ cup mild organic honey
½ cup fresh lavender blossoms, finely chopped or 1/3-1/2 cup dried, stems reserved
1 cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
1 fresh roasting chicken,
about 4 ½ lbs1-cup chicken stock

Warm honey in a small saucepan and add the lavender blossoms. Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the honey, then combine the rest with ¾ cup softened butter, the garlic and salt.Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Wash and dry the chicken and remove the giblets and neck. Gently loosen but do not break the skin as you slide your hand between the breast skin and meat. Proceed to the neck area, and then loosen down as far as you can reach into the leg and thigh. Spread the lavender butter throughout chicken, under the skin. Pull the skin back tightly to seal in the butter.Place the lavender stems in the cavity of the chicken. Season the cavity with salt. Tie the legs together and place the bird on a rack in a roasting pan. Spread the chicken with the reserved honey and sprinkle with salt. Pour 1 cup of water in the pan.Roast for 145 minutes, or until the skin is nicely browned. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees F. and roast the chicken 60 to 75 minutes longer, until the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced with a sharp knife. Check about halfway through; if the pan is getting dry, add a little more water. If the skin is getting too dark, tent it with foil. When done, remove the chicken from the pan, tent with foil and let rest 25 minutes before carving. Meanwhile, defat the pan drippings, and then deglaze the pan with stock and heat gently. Whisk in the remaining ¼ cup butter. Correct for salt and serve over the carved chicken.

Lavender is part of the Labiatae family, which also counts rosemary, thyme and sage as members. Herbes de Provence mixture: can include basil, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, and fennel seed. Has been seen in jellies and tisane (a soothing herbal tea)

Lavender Salt for Meat

Lavender Biscotti
Equipment needed: Cookie sheets, 1 small and 1 large mixing bowl,whisk or hand beater
2 cup All-purpose flour
2 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
2 large Eggs
1/2 cup Granulated sugar
3 Tbsp Dried lavender flowers
1/4 cup Melted butter
2 Tbsp Honey
1 Tbsp Lemon rind
Juice of 1 lemon3 Tbsp Milk
1/2 tsp Vanilla or lemon extract
Optional: melted chocolate for dipping

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In large bowl combine all dryingredients, lavender and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, butter, honey, lemon, lemon rind, milk, and vanilla (mayuse beater on slow instead of the whisk). Add to flour mixture. Stirwell. Dough will be soft and sticky. Spoon onto cookie sheet into 2"log" shapes: approximately 2 " wide. Bake 35 minutes until golden.Remove from oven. Cool 10 minutes. Place on board, cut into 1" wideslices. Place on sides on cookie sheets. Return to oven cook 20minutes longer, turning once. Cool on rack. Optional to dip ordecorate with melted chocolate. Yield: 2 dozen

Lavender Rum Cake
Equipment needed: 8 " tube or Bundt pan, Large mixing bowl, Small mixing bowl, Medium saucepan, Cooling rack
Ingredients: I would try to find organic mixes or use my fave yellow bundt cake recipe
1 Package Yellow Cake Mix
1 Package Vanilla pudding
1/2 cup Vegetable oil
1/2 cup Rum
1/2 cup Water
4 Medium Eggs
1/2 cup Pecans Chopped
1 tsp Dried Lavender florets

Glaze: (enough for 2 cakes)
1/4 cup Butter or margarine
1/4 cup Water
1 cup Granulated sugar
1/2 cup Rum

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour cake pan. In a small mixing bowl, toss chopped nuts with 1 teaspoon lavender. Sprinkle nut mixture over the bottom of the pan. In large bowl, beat together cake mix, pudding, vegetable oil, rum, and water. Add eggs and theremaining lavender until smooth. Do not over-beat. Pour batter overnuts. Bake for 60 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick comes outclean. Cool down for a minute or two and then turn out onto wire rackto cool completely.
To make the Glaze: Bring the butter, water and sugar to a boil,stirring constantly. (Sugar should be completely dissolved.) Removefrom heat and let stand for 1 minute. Add rum and stir. Poke holesinto the cake with a skewer or long-tined fork. Brush and/or spoon 1/2the glaze over the cake.
The glaze keeps well in the refrigerator. The cake also freezes well if wrapped tightly in plastic.

Martin's Lavender-Lemon Salmon Risotto
You may also try this recipe with Chicken Sausages instead of the salmon.
Equipment needed: Large saute pan or risotto pan.
1 lb Salmon fillet
4 Tbsp Olive oil
1/2 Yellow Onion, diced
2 Cloves garlic, minced
2 cup Arborio rice
24 oz Vegetable stock, low sodium
3 cup White table wine
1/4 cup Meyer Lemon juice
1 tsp Fresh Lavender florets
1 3/4 cup Grated Jarlsburg cheese
2 Tbsp Fine olive oil to finish

Brush the fish with olive oil prior to grilling to seal in the juices. Grill the salmon. Use a fork and flake salmon; pieces should not belarger than bite size. Cover and set aside. (You may prepare the fishup to a day ahead and refrigerate.)
Over Medium heat, saute the garlic and onion in olive oil until theonion is glassy (about 5 minutes). Add the rice and saute until therice becomes slightly translucent with small white dots in the middle.(This takes about one minute.) Add one cup of the vegetable stock.Stir continuously. As the liquid cooks down, continue to add liquidone cup at a time, alternating between the vegetable stock and thewhite wine. (I like the wine flavor, and I think it makes for a dishthat is much lower in sodium.) After 10 minutes, add the lemon juiceand continue stirring. After about 18 minutes, begin testing the riceevery 2 minutes. (NOTE: This entire process of adding liquid takes about 20 minutes, and you must stir continuously.) When the rice isalmost done, add the fresh lavender. Remove the rice from the heatafter 2 minutes. Add the flaked salmon and mix well. Add the cheeseand olive oil and mix again. Spoon into a serving bowl and enjoy.Yield: 4-6 Servings

Lavender-Apricot Breakfast Rolls

Equipment needed: 8 inch cake pan, mixing bowl, rolling pin
2 1/4 cup All-purpose flour
1/2 cup Sugar
2 1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp French Sea Salt
3 Tbsp Chilled butter cut into small pieces
2 Tbsp Chopped fresh lavender Flowers (or 1 Tbsp dried)
1/2 cup Milk
1 large Egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp Apricot preserves
1 Tbsp Chopped dried apricots
Olive oil
1 1/2 tsp Sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, andsalt in a bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or fingers untilmixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in lavender. Add milk and egg,stirring just until moist. Turn dough out onto a lightly flouredsurface. Knead 5 times. Roll into a 9 by 7 inch rectangle. Mix driedapricots into preserves. Spread apricot preserve mixture over dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Beginning with long side, roll up jelly-rollfashion; pinch seam to seal (do not seal ends of roll). Cut roll into nine 1 inch slices. Place slices, cut sides up, in an 8 inch no stickround cake pan lightly coated with olive oil. Sprinkle the slices withthe 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or untilgolden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes outclean.
Yield 9 servings.

Lavender Lemon Chicken
Serves: 4
1/3-1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons dried culinary lavender
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 large onion
1 (4-7) pound chicken
1/4 cup dry vermouth
1/2 cup chicken stock
1-2 tablespoons flour or Wondra

In a small bowl or mortar and pestle coarsely crush lavender and thyme. Then stir together with butter, zest, and salt and pepper until well combined. Spoon mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form into a 4-inch log. Chill compound butter, until firm, at least 30 minutes, and up to 3 days. Preheat oven to 400 F.
Rinse chicken; pat dry. Reserve 2 tablespoons herb butter for gravy. Slide hand under skin of chicken breast to loosen skin from meat and placein slices of the herb butter. Spread remaining herb butter over outside ofchicken. Truss chicken. Place the chicken in a flameproof roasting pan. Slice the onion into large pieces and scatter around the chicken. Arrange birds in a flameproof roasting pan. Roast bird in middle of oven until aninstant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of a thigh (be carefulnot to touch bone) registers 1700 to 1750 F. It will take roughly 55-65minutes for a four pound chicken and 8 minutes more per every pound overthat. Lift chicken and tilt, emptying any juices from cavity into roastingpan. Remove the chicken to the platter, cover loosely, and make the following sauce.
Add vermouth to pan. Place pan over high heat; bring vermouth to boil, scraping up any browned bits and onions. Strain the mixture into cup with pan juices. Spoon fat off. Pour back into the pan. Bring to a simmer; melt reserved 2tablespoons herb butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat.Add flour or Wondra; whisk until smooth. Serve with gravy.

Lavender Apple Biscuits
Developed by Robyn of Herbsearch
Apple part:
3 -5 (if small) baking apples ( Stayman, York, Granny Smith etc. )peeled, sliced and diced small.
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
zest from 1 lemon, chopped
2 Tbsp Organic lavender buds, grind together with 1/4 cup of the white sugar in blender or 2nd coffee grinder. Don't use your daily grinder
lemon juice

Combine all ingredients, let sit overnight, strain before adding to biscuits.
Biscuits use fave biscuit recipe and homemade vanilla cream, if desired
2 cups Bisquick
3/4 cup French Vanilla liquid creamer -available in dairy section of grocery stores
Lavender apples from above.

Follow the directions on the box for basic rolled biscuits adding strained apples.
Serve with honey or apple butter.

Lavender and Honey Salad Dressing
6 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Lemon juice1 Crushed Garlic Clove
1 teaspoon Coarse Grain Mustard
2 tablespoons Honey
1 teaspoon Dried lavender Flowers
Whisk all ingredients togetherStand for 30 mins to allow flavours to infuse Whisk again and serve.NB This dressing will store in a screw lid jar in the fridge for up to 1week.

Grilled Lamb Chops with Lavender Marinade

1 cup of red wine
4 cloves Garlic crushed lavender sprigs with flowers
( crushed)rosemary sprigs
(crushed)fresh cracked black pepper to taste
1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
Lamb chops
Marinate lamb Chops for at least an hour or longerthen grill to desired doneness , marinade may be reduced , and strained ,and used as a sauce if desired

Lavender Sorbet
250 grams Castor Sugar
500ml Water
2 Level Tablespoons Juice from one lemon

Dissolve the castor sugar using half of the water and heating in asaucepan. Stir until liquid.Bring to the boil add the lavender and half of the lemon juice.Remove from heat and stand to cool.Filter the mixture through a strainer to remove lavender flowers andadd the remainder of the water.Taste the mix and add further lemon juice to taste.If you have an ice cream maker then follow the manufacturers instructions to complete the blending and freezing process. If notmove to step 6.The process of freezing the sorbet will involve a freeze and blend process. Pour the mixture into a suitable lidded container with alarge base and place in the fast freeze section of the freezer.Once the mixture starts to freeze (1-2 hours depending on your unit) remove from the freezer and immediately place in the liquidizerfor 30 seconds Place again in the fast freezer.Repeat stages 6, 7 & 8 twice more.Serve in individual dishes decorated with fresh mint and lavendersprigs.

Blueberries with Orange Liqueur and Lavender
5 half-pint jars
1 cup Orange-flavored liqueur
1 cup Water1 cup Sugar
1 1/2 lb Fresh blueberries
20 ea Fresh lavender flower heads
Prepare the jars, lids and boiling-water bath.Combine liqueur, water and sugar in a pan and cook over medium-highheat, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved and the mixturehas come to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat.Meanwhile, pick over, wash and dry the blueberries. Then pack themin hot, dry jars, placing four lavender flower heads in each jar.Leave 1/2" headspace. Pour the hot liquid into the jars, justcovering the berries. Wipe rims with a clean towel and attach lidssecurely. Place the jars in the boiling-water bath and, when waterr eturns to a full boil, process for 15 minutes. Remove the jars,cool, label and store.

Pink Lavender Lemonade
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 Cups sugar
6 Large strawberries -- hulled or1/4 Cup pink hibiscus flowers -- dried pesticide free
1/4 Cup lavender leaves -- chopped -or Dried Lavender
2 1/4 Cups lemon juice
1/2 Cup sugar -- optional
1 fresh lavender flowers for -- garnish
The original recipe calls for hibiscus flowers and suggested strawberriesas a substitute. I have reversed the order. As well, I don't think it isnecessary to use distilled water in most locations. In medium saucepan,combine 2 1/2 cups water, sugar and hibiscus flowers (or hulledstrawberries). Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat.Simmer 5 minutes to extract pink from flowers. Remove from heat. Stir inlavender leaves. Cover and cool. Strain cooled herb liquid into largepitcher or jar (if using strawberries, gently press juice from berries.)Add remaining 2 1/2 cups water and lemon juice. Stir well. Add 1/2 cupmore sugar, if desired. Just before serving, add ice cubes. Pour intochilled glasses.Garnish with lavender flowers.
YIELD: 6-8 Servings

Lavender Soap Balls
Save up those odds and ends of old soap (my grandmother always did that!), add a little lavender, and you can make the sweetest, most relaxingly-scented soap balls to give as gifts or keep to use with great pleasure yourself!

You won’t believe how easy and how much fun these are to make. Children love to help, too, and there is no cleverer way to get them to wash their hands. (Moms will like the fact that lavender not only smells heavenly, it is also antibacterial.) You will end up with a charming finished product, very soothing to the senses. All in practically no time!

2 bars mild, unscented castile or vegetable-based soap (or the equivalent in odds-and-ends)1/2 cup dried lavender blossoms (available online from many herb companies)5 drops essential oil of lavender1/4 cup warm water
To Make:1. Using a cheese grater, grate the soap into a large bowl.
2. Add the lavender blossoms to the grated soap.
3. Add the essential oil to the soap mixture, combining thoroughly.
4. Add the warm water and stir.
5. Roll heaping tablespoons of the mix into balls.
6. Place on a cookie sheet and allow to air-dry completely, which will take approximately 2 days.

Rhubarb Strawberry Shortcake with Rosemary and Chantilly
Cream Lavneder or Thyme will work as well

Yields: 6 shortcakes
Method: biscuit method
Fancy Equipment: parchment paper
Ingredients for the Shortcakes:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, diced
2 eggs
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 egg beaten plus 1 tablespoons milk, for egg wash
6 small top sprigs of rosemary

Ingredients for Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote:
3 cups rhubarb, leaves removed, washed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar, or to taste
1/4 cup orange juice
Pinch of salt1 pint strawberries, washed and quartered

Ingredients for Chantilly Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Make the Biscuits:Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles a course meal with pea-sized pieces of fat. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the eggs, rosemary and heavy cream. Add to the flour and mix until just blended. The dough should be sticky, but not wet.
Place the dough out onto a well-floured surface and form the dough into a rough circle, one inch high. Cut 6 biscuits with a fluted or straight cookie or biscuit cutter and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Brush the top of each biscuit with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the outside is slightly golden around the edges. Do not open the oven door during the first 15 minutes, to allow the biscuits to rise properly. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
Make the Compote:Add the rhubarb, sugar, orange juice and pinch of salt to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes and add half of the strawberries. Simmer for another 15 minutes, or until the rhubarb is just tender but still toothy. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Add the rest of the strawberries to the cooled mixture and stir to incorporate.
Make the Chantilly Cream:Beat the cold cream with a wire whisk or hand mixer until soft peaks begin to form. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until stiff peaks just barely begin to form.
Assemble the Shortcake:Split shortcake in the middle, like a hamburger bun. Place the bottom of the biscuit into a shallow bowl and spoon some of the compote over the biscuit. Add a generous spoonful of Chantilly cream. Place the top part of the biscuit on the cream and top with a small amount of compote and another dollop of cream. Place a small sprig of rosemary on the cream. Repeat for each shortcake.
Chef's Notes:Combine the dough scraps to create additional biscuits if desired. The second batch of biscuits will be slightly tougher and will not rise as high as the first, but will have the same flavor.
Biscuits can be split into three layers if sliced carefully. This will allow you to stack more ingredients for a more dramatic presentation.
Thyme or lavender in place of the rosemary also work well in this recipe. Lemon zest can also be added.

Wild Turkey with Lavender Masala

1/2 cup garam masala (recipe follows)
2 tsp. dried lavender leaves
1 wild turkey, neck and giblets removed (12-14 lbs.)
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup bacon fat or 1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for basting

Combine garam masala and lavender in a small bowl; stir to combine. Set aside.Rinse back and front cavities of turkey under cold running water; pat dry.Season turkey inside and out with salt and pepper. Rub with bacon fat, and sprinkle with spice mixture; rub to coat evenly. Place in a large metal bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 24 hours or at least overnight.Preheat oven to 425 degrees, wings under turkey; tie legs together; with kitchen twine. Place in a large heavy roasting pan fitted with a rack. Roast 30 minutes, then reduce temperature to 375 degrees.Continue roasting, basting turkey with pan juices every 30 minutes (add 1/2 cup water if pan becomes dry). Tent with foil after 1 hour. Roast until juices run clear when thigh is pieced, 2 1/2 to 3 hours total. Insert an instant-read thermometer in thickest part of thigh, avoidingthe bone. Temperature should reach 180 degrees. Let rest 30 minutes before carving.

Garam Masala
Garam Masala is a toasted blend of spices used frequently in Indian cooking instead of the ubiquitous Curry Powder. It can now be purchased in the spice section of many Natural Foods stores, but it is easy and fun to make your own, and the results are astronomically better. I often halve this and store it in a glass jar. It keeps for quite awhile.
5 3" Cinnamon sticks
10 Cardamom Pods, whole
½-Cup Cloves, whole
½-Cup Cumin Seeds, whole¼-Cup Coriander Seeds, whole
½-Cup Peppercorns, whole
Roast together in one layer, at 200 degrees, for 30 minutes. Cool and grind in a spice or coffee grinder

Chocolate Guinness Cake for Button and Kate:
From Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson

1 cup Guinness
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups superfine sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Ingredients for the topping:
8 oz Philadelphia cream cheese
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat the over to 350 F, and butter and line a 9 inch springform pan.
Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter — in spoons or slices — and heat until the butter's melted, at which time you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and baking soda.
Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake.
When the cake's cold, sit it on a flat platter or cake stand and get on with the frosting. Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sift over the confectioner's sugar and then beat them both together. Or do this in a processor, putting the unsifted confectioners' sugar in first and blitz to remove lumps before adding the cheese.
Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. Ice the top of the black cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.
Makes about 12 slices