Use up your CSA Veggies in this Incredible Salad!

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I am a serious fan of my Talley Farms CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Program. Like the rest of you though, some weeks I end up going out too much and I’m left with veggies that I haven’t used and don’t want to waste. That is when I look for something to make that will utilize a bunch of items in one recipe. This salad is perfect for that!

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The best part about this salad is that it is served raw. You don’t even have to cook a thing! It is fresh, crunchy, healthy and easy to assemble. I usually make enough to have leftovers, but store the veggies and dressing separately so it is perfectly fresh for each meal. It is best made about 30 minutes or so ahead so that the flavors can meld, which means you could store it dressed. However, I personally like it dressed and served the same day.

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Another great thing about this salad is that you can be creative and add a host of different ingredients based on what you have in your fridge. Here is what I put in  mine: broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, snap peas, purple and orange carrots, purple and white radishes, red & orange bell peppers and green onions. Then for fun, I added some reconstituted currants, toasted almonds and chunks of sharp cheddar cheese. Along with the sweet & sour dressing, my salad was brought to life! 

There are so many variations you could use in making this salad, it’s almost too ridiculous to mention. Almost any fresh veggie, any dried fruit, any type of nut, and any type of cheese making any combination you like! The options are endless.

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FRESH VEGGIE SALAD WITH CHEDDAR CHUNKS AND SWEET & SOUR DRESSING

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1/2 small head broccoli, broken into bite sized florets
  • 1/2 head small cauliflower, broken into bite sized florets
  • 2 carrots sliced into coins
  • 2/3 cup snap peas, strings removed and cut diagonally into 3 pieces
  • 2-3 radishes, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, any color or combination, sliced thinly
  • 1 large green onion, sliced-white and light green parts
  • 1/4 cup currants, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes, reserve liquid
  • 1/2 cup cubed sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons reserved liquid from currants
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients except the almonds.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients and a generous quantity of fresh ground pepper. Pour the dressing over the vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Taste for additional salt and pepper. Allow to sit for 30 minutes (or an hour in the fridge) so the flavors can mingle.
  3. When ready to serve, sprinkle in the toasted almonds and toss.

Note

  • I store leftovers separately: refrigerate vegetable salad and dressing separately. Store toasted nuts in an airtight container on the counter.

(Printable recipe can be found in my recipe index under Salads)

 

Getting in Shape for Summer can Taste Good Too!

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The season for Zucchini is upon us and there is nothing that makes better vegetable pasta. Finding a great sauce to pair with it that will enhance it’s flavor and complete the dish, can be easily found in this wonderful Fresh Spinach Pesto recipe. That is how I came up with Zucchini Pasta with Fresh Spinach Pesto and Sundried Tomatoes.

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The pesto is quick and simple to make by blending all of the ingredients together in a food processor. If you don’t own a food processor, just use your Bullet, Ninja or blender. Nothing could be simpler!

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I added some oil marinated sundried tomatoes and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese to enhance the flavor and it turned out sensational! 

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The key is not to overcook your zucchini. It is best served tender crisp and just heated through. If you cook it too long, it will become wet and soggy and will loose it’s wonderful fresh light flavor.  A minute or two is all you need in a preheated “hot” pan. It’s so quick and easy!

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ZUCCHINI PASTA WITH FRESH SPINACH PESTO AND SUNDRIED TOMATOES

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchini, spiralized with the shredder blade to make spaghetti like spiral strands
  • 2/3 cup fresh spinach pesto (see recipe below)
  • 4 whole sundried tomatoes packed in oil
  • 1/8 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Remove excess water from zucchini with paper towel or clean dish towel. Use kitchen shears to cut pasta, shortening any long strips. Slice the sundried tomatoes in strips.
  2. Heat medium size non stick fry pan over medium heat and add sundried tomato strips with their residual oil. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Turn up heat to medium high. Add zucchini pasta and quickly stir fry until just heated through, about 2 minutes. Make sure not to overcook or zucchini will release water. Immediately remove from pan.
  3. In same fry pan, add spinach pesto and heat for 30 seconds. Remove pan from heat. Return pasta mixture to pan and stir until combined.
  4. Serve immediately garnished with fresh Parmesan cheese.

FRESH SPINACH PESTO

Yield –  2 cups

Ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, cleaned and stems removed
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in food processor and process to a fine paste.
  2. Taste and adjust seasonings and transfer to a glass container. Top with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent the pesto from discoloring.
Notes
  • Will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.
  • If you only use a portion at a time, add olive oil over any exposed surface each time you save it.

(Printable recipes can be found in my recipe index under Side Dishes and Sauces)

 

Five Star* Dessert that will make you a Star at any Party!

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I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful peach tree in my yard that produces early fruit every year. The peaches are juicy and delicious. Then to my surprise, my last Talley Farms CSA box also contained some gorgeous white peaches in it. To find a recipe worthy of these jewels was my challenge.

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A classic Peach Melba dessert

Checking through my refrigerator, I noticed some raspberries from my Talley Farms box and that’s when it hit me. Peach Melba! I used to work in this restaurant where we served a Peach Melba dessert. It was vanilla ice cream with peaches and raspberry sauce. An unusual combination that was both colorful and delicious. I wanted this to be more of a constructed dessert though, and that is when I found the Peach Melba Bars on Carrian’s “oh, sweet basil” blog.

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Larger batch version of the recipe.

I made several containers of peach puree from my collection of wonderful peaches and that’s where it all began. If you are lucky enough to find yourself with an abundance of peaches, you can simply make batches of peach puree and freeze them so they are easily available to create a wonderful dessert at any time.

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In an effort to enjoy this dessert’s incredible flavor without feeling too guilty, I altered the ingredients a bit. I cut back on some of the butter and sugar without it affecting the result negatively at all. In addition, you can easily create your own version of sweetened condensed milk from scratch if you want to avoid the canned product and minimize the sweetness. It is easy to do by letting it cook down slowly while busying yourself around the house. Either way, don’t feel too guilty because a portion or two of this scrumptious dessert won’t kill you after all, and the compliments you get will be so overwhelming that you’ll forget all about the calories!  Believe me, I can attest that as a non sweet lover, it’s worth every bite. And besides, it is dessert!

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PEACH MELBA BARS

Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup peach puree (remove skins and pit of 2 peaches and puree)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) sweetened condensed milk (or make your own version-see note)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups raspberries
  • Graham Cracker Crust
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. In a bowl, add the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt and butter. stir until moistened like wet sand and press into an 8×8″ baking pan, coming up a little around the edges. It helps to use the flat bottom of a small measuring cup to spread the crust.
  3. Bake at 350° for 8 minutes.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, peach puree and egg yolks. Fold in the raspberries and set aside.
  5. Remove the crust from the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Pour the filling in and spread evenly over the crust. Bake for an additional 25-30 minutes  OR until the filling is set and then cool for 15 minutes before placing in the fridge to finish chilling. Serve with fresh whipped cream. (Note:  Cooking time may vary based on your oven. When the edges are a bit puffed and golden it is set. It does not need to be real firm as it will finish setting up once it is chilled)

Note

  • This crust is intended to be a little thicker than your usual graham crust.
  • Serve it right from the refrigerator so it remains firm.
If you prefer not to used canned sweetened condensed milk and want to monitor the sugar content of the dessert, you can create your own version of sweetened condensed milk by following this recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1½ c. whole milk
  • ½ or ⅔ c. unrefined sugar (organic cane sugar or sucanat depending on your final goal for the condensed milk)
  • 3 Tbs. butter
  • 1 tsp. homemade vanilla or vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Mix sugar and milk together in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stirring often, bring to a low simmer over medium-low heat. As soon as steam starts lifting off the milk, lower the heat even further, and when the sugar is entirely dissolved, put the heat as low as it can go. A simmer burner is great for this.
  2. The goal is to reduce the quantity in the pot (which is now about 1¾ cups) by approximately half. It takes about 2 hours at very low heat to reduce to one cup of liquid. You could speed it up a bit if you watch carefully and stir often.
  3. Once reduced to your satisfaction, whisk in the butter and vanilla.

(Printable recipe can be found in my recipe index under Desserts)

 

 

 

Why buy Ricotta Cheese when it is so Easy to Make!

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There are several variations for making your own Ricotta Cheese, but they are all quite similar. Basically you have to cook a mixture of milk and cream to a certain temperature, take it off the heat and add an acid ingredient to create curdles. Then you carefully ladle it into a cheesecloth covered strainer to let it drain and settle into a bowl of fresh ricotta cheese!

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One of the factors that can make your ricotta more or less successful is the acidity level in the lemons you are using. If you don’t find that you are getting a good amount of curdling, you can try to add more lemon juice. Some recipes call for vinegar instead, but I have had the best success with lemon juice and it adds a nice flavor, although does not make it lemony at all. Sometimes I actually add a little lemon zest to the mixture which does add an extremely fresh light lemony taste to the cheese.

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It is helpful to use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of your milk mixture, but it is not critical. Bring the mixture just to boiling and then take it off the heat.

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I line my colander with 4 layers of cheesecloth to create more cheese.

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The longer you let the cheese drain, the firmer the cheese will be. It gives you the opportunity to make it as dense or loose as you prefer and whatever will best suit your recipe.

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HOMEMADE RICOTTA CHEESE

Yield – about 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbs. flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
  • 1/2 cup fresh, strained lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)

Directions

  1. Line a colander with 3 to 4 layers of lightly dampened cheesecloth, and set it in a clean sink or large bowl.
  2. Clip an instant-read or candy thermometer to the side of a heavy-duty 7- to 8-quart pot. Put the milk and cream in the pot and slowly warm it over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a silicone spatula, until it’s 185°F, about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat, stir in the salt, and then slowly pour the lemon juice over the surface of the milk. Once all of the lemon juice has been added, stir gently for 1 to 2 minutes to encourage curds to form.
  4. Gently ladle the curds into the prepared colander. Fold the ends of the cheesecloth over the curds to loosely cover. Drain until it reaches your desired consistency, 30 minutes for a soft ricotta and up to 24 hours for a very firm, dry, dense ricotta. Refrigerate if draining for more than a couple of hours. Transfer the drained ricotta to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

Note

  • The better your milk and cream, the better your cheese will be. A high-quality sea salt will also make a difference.
  • Don’t be surprised by the amount of whey (or liquid) that drains out of your mixture. This is to be expected. You can even use the leftover whey as you would stocks in soups or liquids for baking.
  • If you’d like to make a little less, the recipe is easily halved.

(Printable recipe can be found in my recipe index under Sauces)

 

 

Showcase Your Array of Carrots in this Delish Carrot-Ricotta Tart

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What a wonderful collection of delectable carrots I receive from my Talley Farms CSA program. I try to find recipes that will showcase their beauty as well as taste. This tart is the perfect way to accomplish it. Homemade Ricotta Cheese (recipe included), puff pastry and an array of colorful carrots make this a masterpiece!

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When using organic carrots, it isn’t necessary to peel them and honestly it would be sacrilegious to remove the beautiful exterior of the purple variety. So a good scrub and thinly slicing them is the way to prepare them for this recipe. I used Talley Farms leeks in place of onions for a nice added touch. Fresh chopped dill, chives, lemon zest and a dash of red pepper mixed in with the ricotta add a boost to the subtle flavor profile.

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Cook the carrots until almost tender and still a little crisp as they will continue to cook they bake in the oven.

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Using puff pastry as a base for this tart makes it a simple process. Just thaw, lightly roll out the creases and score the edges for a nice puffy frame. A little egg wash brushed on the edges creates a gorgeous caramel colored glaze.

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This tart makes a beautiful side dish for your chicken or meat course and serves well as a starter or brunch dish too.

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CARROT-RICOTTA TART

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 leeks, thinly sliced white and light green parts only
  • 6-8 multi-colored carrots, scrubbed, thinly sliced into coins
  • 1/2 package frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped small dill sprigs, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • dash cayenne pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Whisk ricotta and cream in a small bowl; mix in 1/4 cup chives, 2 tablespoons dill, lemon zest and cayenne pepper. Season generously with salt and pepper. 
  2. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook leeks, stirring occasionally, until soft and starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Add carrots and cook, tossing occasionally, 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Lightly roll out pastry on parchment paper just to smooth out creases. Transfer on paper to a baking sheet. Lightly score a 1″ border around pastry. Brush edges with egg; bake until golden and slightly puffed, 8-10 minutes. 
  4. Remove from oven and spread ricotta mixture over pastry, staying within border. Scatter reserved leeks and carrots over top. Make a foil border to cover frame of tart to ensure it doesn’t get too brown. Can be removed to darken as needed. Bake until carrots are tender, leeks are starting to caramelize, and pastry is golden brown and baked through, 25–30 minutes or until nicely browned. Let cool. 
  5. Just before serving, scatter reserved herbs over tart.

Note

  • Do Ahead: Tart can be baked 6 hours ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.
  • Use my Homemade Ricotta Cheese recipe to make this even more fantastic! (You can find it in my recipe index under Sauces)

(Printable recipe can be found in recipe index under Side Dishes)

Another Great Recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi: Cauliflower Cake!

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His creativity with vegetables never ceases to amaze me! Yotam Ottolenghi has a way of coming up with unusual combinations to create fascinating recipes. They taste as wonderful as they look and always have a different twist to make them distinctive. This one is no exception.

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One of the unusual parts of this recipe is the seed mixture adhered to the side of the cake. Although he calls it a cake, it is more like cross between a crustless quiche and a savory cake. I did not have the nigella seeds that he uses on hand, so I used a mixture of white and black sesame seeds. They worked perfectly.

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When cooking the onions and rosemary be sure to keep the heat low enough so that you can cook them until nicely tender but not brown.

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Then you mix in all of the ingredients except the cauliflower, adding it at the end and stirring carefully so you don’t break up the florets. This is easily done with a rubber spatula.

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When nicely blended together, you pour the mixture into your prepared springform cake pan and top with the red onion rings. They will bake into the cake, resulting in a very appealing presentation.

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This is a great dish to serve for brunch and makes a great side dish. It is a terrific company recipe as it can be made slightly ahead of time to serve warm. It does not need to be served straight from the oven as it is best served warm (not hot or room temperature)

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YOTAM OTTOLENGHI’S CAULIFLOWER CAKE

Serves 6-8 (he says 4-6 but it served more)

Ingredients

  • 1 small cauliflower, outer leaves removed, broken into 1 1/4-inch florets (about 4 cups)
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled (6 ounces)
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 7 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely grated Parmesan or another aged cheese
  • Melted unsalted butter, for brushing
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds (also known as black caraway)
  • Salt and black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Place the cauliflower florets in a saucepan and add 1 teaspoon salt. Cover with water and simmer for 15 minutes, until the florets are quite soft. They should break when pressed with a spoon. Drain and set aside in a colander to dry.
  3. Cut 4 round slices, each 1/4-inch/5-mm thick, off one end of the onion and set aside. Coarsely chop the rest of the onion and place in a small pan with the oil and rosemary. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time, until soft. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Transfer the onion to a large bowl, add the eggs and basil, whisk well, and then add the flour, baking powder, turmeric, Parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt, and plenty of pepper. Whisk until smooth before adding the cauliflower and stirring gently, trying not to break up the florets.
  4. Line the base and sides of a 9 1/2-inch/24-cm springform cake pan with parchment paper. Brush the sides with melted butter, then mix together the sesame and nigella seeds and toss them around the inside of the pan so that they stick to the sides. Pour the cauliflower mixture into the pan, spreading it evenly, and arrange the reserved onion rings on top. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown and set; a knife inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. Remove from the oven and leave for at least 20 minutes before serving. It needs to be served just warm, rather than hot, or at room temperature.

Note

  • I used black sesame seeds instead of nigella seeds and it worked out fine
  • If you don’t have a springform pan, use a 9″ cake pan
  • Can be made ahead and refrigerated. Rewarm before serving and serve warm, not hot
  • Find more wonderful recipes from Yotam Ottolenghi in his “Plenty More” cookbook. You can find it in my Amazon aStore on the right column of my site in the cookbook section

Adapted – thekitchn.com

(Printable recipe can be found in my recipe index under Side Dishes)

 

 

Getting Creative with Zucchini!

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Every year for Hanukkah, I make latkes. (pancakes) They are loved by all who try them and no matter how many I make, there are seldom any leftovers. I used to make regular potato latkes until I came across the idea to trade my white potatoes in for sweet potatoes. My family flipped over them and told me to make them that way all the time. This last year I changed it up and made celery root & potato latkes which were also fantastic. Well I’m shaking things up again and now I’m trading my potatoes in for zucchini!

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These little pancakes are quite versatile. You can eat them alone with a dollop of applesauce or sour cream, they can be topped with smoked fish/caviar, creme fraiche & chives or you can put a slice of ham and a poached egg on top and make them into a benedict. They make a great side dish for any protein or can be served with a side salad for a light lunch or brunch dish. 

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I chose to make some homemade Cinnamon Scented Applesauce to go with my Zucchini Latkes and it was a match made in heaven! So simple to cook down some apples with a cinnamon stick and a little lemon juice, sugar & water to turn it into a yummy fresh, homemade sauce. It is way better than store bought and takes barely any work at all. I even used some of the leftover applesauce to make a delicious & healthy  Blueberry Banana Bread later that week!

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Quick tip:  The key to great latkes is to ensure you get all of the liquid out of the vegetable that you are using. In this case, for zucchini, the way to do that is to first toss your shredded zucchini with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and let it stand in a bowl for 10 minutes. I then transfer it to a colander and drain out all of the moisture, pressing and squeezing to get as much out as possible. 

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ZUCCHINI LATKES WITH CINNAMON SCENTED APPLESAUCE

Yield – 16 latkes

Ingredients

  • 2 large or 3 medium zucchini, shredded (4 1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 4 green onions sliced thinly, white & light green parts only (slice the dark green parts for a chive garnish)
  • 1/4 cup matzo meal or plain dry bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Coconut oil for frying
  • Applesauce (recipe attached) or store bought
  • Sour Cream (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, toss your shredded zucchini with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and let it stand in the bowl for 10 minutes. Transfer it to a colander and drain out all of the moisture, pressing and squeezing to get as much out as possible. Stir in the eggs, green onion, matzo meal or bread crumbs, thyme, pepper and remaining salt.
  2. In a large skillet, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Drop batter by tablespoonfuls into oil; press lightly to flatten. Fry for 2 minutes per side or until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel lined sheet pan. Serve with applesauce and sour cream if desired.

(Printable recipe can be found in my recipe index under Side Dishes)

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CINNAMON SCENTED APPLESAUCE

Yield – 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 3 large or 4 small apples, peeled, cored and cut in large chunks (crisp & tart varieties are best)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar (or to taste depending on sweetness of apples)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • dash cinnamon, optional

Directions

  1. Place apples in a non-reactive sauce pan with the water, cinnamon stick and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to simmer for about 30 minutes. Cook apples until they break down and thicken. 
  2. Remove from the heat, remove the cinnamon stick and stir in the sugar and optional cinnamon if using. Depending on the texture you prefer, you can mash the apples with a potato masher or blend in a blender or food processor. 
  3. Let cool and store in an airtight jar or container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or you can freeze it for up to one year.

(Printable recipe can be found in my recipe index under Sauces)

 

Ginger is Showcased Two Ways in this Scrumptious Carrot Soup!

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I love the combination of carrots and ginger. Inspired by a delicious soup that I enjoyed at a luncheon recently, I decided to puree them together in a soup. With a bit of citrus, some broth and seasonings, it all came together to create a bowl of creamy goodness!

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If you’ve read my posts before, you probably know that I am enamored by soup garnishes. This time I decided to use a dollop of creme fraiche topped with finely chopped crystalized ginger. It took this delicious creamy soup to a new level! Every morsel of ginger combined with the delicate subtle blend of cream in the soup was a delight to my senses. So luscious!

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Amazing what a little addition can do to the composition of a dish. It was incredibly good. You have to try it!

I purchased my crystallized ginger at Jardine Ranch, a local fruit & nut house in Paso Robles. It can also be found at many vendors online such as Amazon which you can purchase by linking to my Amazon aStore on the right column of my home page. Or you can make it yourself as I have in the past, which is quite simple. Here are some instructions from David Lebovitz.

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GINGER CARROT SOUP WITH CREME FRAICHE & CRYSTALLIZED GINGER

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/8 cup minced peeled fresh ginger (I used a microplane)
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped carrots (no need to peel if organic)
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • creme fraiche
  • 1/8 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and ginger and sauté until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add chicken broth, cinnamon stick and carrots. Cover and simmer until carrots are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick.
  2. Working in batches, puree mixture in a blender or food processor. Return soup to a clean saucepan. Mix in orange juice, then half and half. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Mix in ground cinnamon and season to taste with salt and pepper. Thin with additional chicken broth if needed. 
  3. Ladle into individual soup bowls and top with a dollop of creme fraiche and a sprinkle of crystallized ginger.

Note

  • Soup can be prepared one day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to a simmer when ready to serve, thinning as needed with additional chicken broth.

(Printable recipe can be found in my recipe index under Soups)

Post Vacation Blues…

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Sorry that I have been remiss at posting lately. I’ve been suffering from “post vacation blues“! Well actually, I’ve been quite busy – HOWEVER – stay tuned as I had an amazing culinary weekend filled with some of the most incredible new dishes such as Peach Melba Bars and Ginger Carrot Soup garnished with Creme Fraiche & Crystallized Ginger!

I have a bunch of new recipes to share and will be posting them every day over the next few days. Make sure to keep tuned in as you are not going to want to miss any of these fantastic culinary delights!!

A Delightful Culinary Experience in Basel, Switzerland!

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Upon checking in to our hotel in Basel, we asked the young receptionist for a restaurant recommendation for good local food. I took it with a grain of salt figuring she may not have the best knowledge of the type of culinary experience I was looking for. So we meandered around in the rain walking street after street, perusing the selection of restaurants in the area. We passed her recommendation early on our stroll and decided to keep looking to see if anything else would strike our fancy. After getting a bit turned around and somewhat lost, we accidentally ended up back in front of the restaurant she chose for us and decided to give it a try. It was Restaurant Schlusselzunft. (Try to say that three times quickly…!)

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We were quite surprised at the warm reception and the beautiful interior of the restaurant. Ok, maybe she did know what she was talking about? 

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I will walk you through our meal which turned out to be one of the best dinners on our trip. We happened upon an unexpected treasure on our last night. What a treat!

IMG_7926Our meal began with an amuse bouche that was tasty, but was just a teaser for the ecstasy to come…

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A dish of tomato served three ways. Each delicate and intense with flavor offering a diminutive taste of a sublime creation, leaving us wanting more. How ingenious that the creamy tomato soup shot was served with a straw. I’m definitely stealing that idea!

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This soup was the culinary highlight of my trip! Rucola-Wasabi-Schaumsuppe kit Spargelglace. Cream of rocket soup flavored with wasabi and asparagus ice cream. A sautéed baby bella mushroom was the base for a scoop of wasabi/asparagus ice cream in this delectable pureed vegetable soup. (Rocket, I have since found out is actually arugula.) The soup was poured over the ice cream at the table and as the heat slightly melted it, it blended the flavors in the most wondrous taste my mouth has ever experienced! It was Fantastic!!

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One of our two entrees was Sautiertes Zanderfilet Viennoise auf Peperonata, Madrassauce und Gnocchi or Sauteed pike perch filet “Viennoise” with bell pepper, madras-curry sauce and gnocchi. An artful presentation; moist filets with a crispy skin served with a side of creamy gnocchi, sauced and appointed magnificently. Ausgezeichnet!

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I thought I would order something simple like their Papardelle mit Cherry-Tomaten, Carciofini und Buffel Mozzarella which was Papardelle with cherry tomatoes, young artichokes and buffalo mozzarella. As it turned out, it wasn’t simple – it was simply spectacular! 

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In an effort to over indulge, we went on to select a dessert to finish our meal. Cream Catalana von Ziegenkase mit Aprikosen-Thymian-Sorbet or Goat cheese catalana (baked custard) with apricot-thyme sorbet. Like the rest of the meal, dessert was exquisite! And if that wasn’t enough, they served us this adorable tiered silver stand filled with accoutrements for our coffee with sweet delicacies on the top tier.

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A perfectly fantastic meal fit for a king & queen! And a wonderful conclusion to our trip abroad. If you do find yourself in Basel, Switzerland, I highly suggest you treat yourself to a meal at this indescribably wonderful restaurant.