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Here are the tastingspoons players. I’m in the middle (Carolyn). Daughter Sara on the right, and daughter-in-law Karen on the left. I started the blog in 2007, as a way to share recipes with my family. Now in 2022, I’m still doing 99% of the blogging and holding out hope that these two lovely and excellent cooks will participate. They both lead very busy lives, so we’ll see.

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BOOK READING (from Carolyn):

Have only begun Geraldine Brooks’ brand new book, Horse. Oh my, is it a page turner. Loving it so far. It’s a fictional creation but based on a real racehorse owned by a black man, back in the 1850s. Technically, the story is about a painting of the horse but there are many twists and turns. If you’ve ever enjoyed Brooks’ books in the past, this one won’t disappoint.

The Book of Lost Names, by Kristin Harmel (no, not Hannah). Certainly a little-known chunk of history about a woman who becomes a master forger during WWII to help get Jewish children out of France. Not easy to read, meaning the difficulty of anyone finding the means and place to DO the forgery and right under the noses of the Nazis. Really good read.

Liane Moriarty’s first novel, Three Wishes, follows the travails of adult triplets, so different, yet similar in many ways. Two are identical, the third is not. So alike, and so not. It takes you through a series of heart-wrenching events, seemingly unrelated, but ones that could bring a family to its breaking point and test the bonds of love and strength.

Recently I’ve read both of Erin French’s books, her cookbook, The Lost Kitchen, and since then her memoir, Finding Freedom. About her life growing up (difficult) about her coming of age mostly working in the family diner, flipper burgers and fries (and learning how much she liked to cook). Now she’s a very successful restaurant entrepreneur (The Lost Kitchen is also the name of her restaurant) in the miniscule town of Freedom, Maine. She’s not a classically trained chef, but she’s terrifically creative. See her TV series on Discover+ if you subscribe.

Migrations, by Charlotte McConaghy. To say that this book stretched my comfort zone is the least of it . . .think about a time in the not very distant future, when global warming has done it’s worst and nearly all animals are extinct. No bird song in the air or fish in the sea. There’s this woman, Franny, who is on a quest to follow the very small, but last migration of arctic terns, who fly from pole to pole each year. She somehow sees this migration as a paean to her own life (of many travails). Is this book a foretelling of what our world will be like?  There’s a lot of angst going on here in this book, with her marriage, with her career, with her perpetual need for travel . . . always needing to go somewhere else other than staying at home and finding peace and happiness there. Then this final, gritty, illegal at-sea voyage trying to find the terns. Very much worth reading if you can stomach the sadness in it. Soul-searching is a common denominator here, but then aren’t a lot of books?

Jo Jo Moyes has a bunch of books to her credit. And she writes well, with riveting stories. Everything I’ve read of hers has been good. This book, The Girl You Left Behind, is so different, so intriguing, so controversial and a fascinating historical story. There are two timelines here, one during WWI, in France, when a relatively unknown painter (in the style of Matisse) paints a picture of his wife. The war intervenes for both the husband and the wife. A German Kommandant enters the picture in this tiny berg in France. Knowing her husband is in a camp, most likely a death camp, she compromises her morals to save the picture and possibly save her husband’s life. Jump to somewhat current day and the painting, which has survived all these years, and is in the hands of a young widow who has an extraordinary connection with the painting. A lawsuit ensues having to do with art stolen by the Nazis and a convoluted trail of how the painting traveled in the intervening years. Even though this was WWI, not WWII, but the law encompasses the past. It’s a heart-wrenching story. There’s a love interest too. Well worth reading. Would make a good book club read.

Memoirs are such fun, especially if you really enjoy/love the author. This was the case as I read Rachael Ray 50, an ode to  her age. So I read online, Rachael discloses more about her personal life in this book than she has done in her many other cookbooks. I really enjoyed reading the book, as she told stories about her growing up, including some of her mother’s recipes and from other family members. She and her family eat tons of pasta, so lots of the recipes I probably won’t prepare, but okay, I still enjoyed reading all the stories.

Eli Shafak’s Island of Missing Trees. This book was just a page turner. If you’ve never read anything about the conflict in Cyprus (the island) between the Turks and the Greeks, you’re in for a big history lesson here. But, the entire story centers around a fig tree. You get into the head/brain/feelings of this big fig tree which plays a very central part of the story. You’ll learn a lot about animals, insects (ants, mosquitos, butterflies) and other flora and fauna of Cyprus. I’m not a gardener at all, but I found the story just fascinating. It chronicles the love story between a young couple, human ones, not trees, one a Greek, one a Turk and their relationship (verboten back in the 70s). It goes back and forth between the 70s (when the real conflict was going on) and current day (2010ish). Loved this book from page one to the last.

If you’re a fan of Kazuo Ishiguro, you’ll find his newest book a league apart. Klara and the Sun. It takes place in the near future when we humans can go to a store and buy an AF (artificial friend). These robotic humanoid “things” have knowledge and personalities. The book follows along as a family buys Klara, an AF with perhaps a better personality than some. She has feelings, but not very many needs. The reader never really “sees” Klara except for a few descriptions of her human-type shape. You get into Klara’s brain (her PC chip) and know how she feels about her family. Her main job is to be a friend to the daughter, Josie, who has some kind of unnamed illness. The AF must spend a part of every day in the sunshine (some kind of hidden solar unit must be within Klara). There are any number of other characters in the story (mostly human, not AFs) which add dimension. I was quite mesmerized by the story and am in awe at the creativity of this author. Loved the book. May not be for everyone. I’m not a science fiction fan at all, but this was believable. And you’ll fall in love with Klara who wants so much to be wanted and loved.

Also read Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty. Ohhh my, such a good book. I couldn’t put it down. Whatever you do, do not read the ending before you start the book. I’ve never understood people who do this. The book chronicles the day a mom just ups and disappears. The grown children come back home, in panic. The dad isn’t much help, and he becomes the prime suspect of foul play. There is no body, however. The husband and wife own a tennis school (this takes place in Australia) and the children grow up surrounded by tennis everything. The children don’t necessarily get along. The parents haven’t always gotten along, either, although through many years the parents were quite besotted with each other, to the detriment of the parenting. Much travail from all the family members. But oh what a story. It had me riveted and wondering, until the last 5 pages of so when the resolution occurs. Big surprise.

Amor Towles’ new book, The Lincoln Highway: A Novel. Literally it’s a page turner. I think it’s still on the best seller list. A young man, Emmett, is released from a youth work camp (back in the day) and is returned home (by the camp warden) following the death of his father, to find that the home they’d lived in was in foreclosure. His mother abandoned them years before. His intent is to pick up his 8-year old brother and they will head off for Texas, but then he discovers two of his work-camp-mates had hidden themselves in the trunk of the warden’s car. Oh my goodness, such a tangled web. Fascinating, and Amor Towles has such a way with words. His sentences are like blooming flower vines, with metaphors in nearly every sentence. Such a gifted writer.

If you’d like a mystery read, try Dete Meserve’s The Space Between. It’s just the kind of page-turner I enjoy – a wife returns to her home after being away on business for a few days, to find her husband missing and what he’s left for her is an unexplained bank deposit of a million dollars, a loaded Glock in the nightstand, and a video security system that’s been wiped clean. Oh there are plenty of twists and turns. Couldn’t put it down.

Read Alyson Richman’s historical novel called The Velvet Hours. Most of the book takes place in Paris, with a young woman and her grandmother, a very wealthy (but aging) woman who led a life of a semi-courtesan. Or at least a kept woman. But this grandmother was very astute and found ways to invest her money, to grow her money, and to buy very expensive goods. Then WWII intervenes, and the granddaughter has to close up her grandmother’s apartment, leaving it much the way it had been throughout her grandmother’s life, to escape the Nazis. Years go by, and finally answers are sought and found. An intriguing book, based on the author’s experience with an apartment that had been locked up similarly for decades, also in Paris.

Susan Meissner is one of my favorite authors. This book, The Nature of Fragile Things tells a very unusual story. About a young Irish immigrant, desperate to find a way out of poverty, answers an ad for a mail order bride. She moves to San Francisco and becomes the bride, and mother to the man’s young child. But all is not right with the world. Sophie senses an undercurrent about her husband’s life. He’s elusive, leaves her alone for days on end, doesn’t share her bed, and she begins to feel the only reason he wanted a wife was to care for the child. Then the world turns upside down with the 1906 earthquake. And then there’s more. . . and more. . . very gripping read.

Also read Rachel Hauck’s The Writing Desk. You could call this a romance. A young professional, a writer of one successful book, has writer’s block. Then she’s asked to go to Florida to help her mother (from whom she’s mostly estranged) through chemo. She goes, hoping she can find new inspiration. Oh the various twists this book can give you. There’s a guy she meets, but she’s keeping her boyfriend at home on the string, sort of. Then there’s the desk itself, that has history. Oh my, does it have history. Really interesting story, light reading.

One of my book clubs has us reading Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library: A Novel. What a premise for a book. About a library you can whiz to in the middle of the night and discover other lives you could have lived. And experience them. To find out the answers to those questions we ask ourselves sometimes, “I wonder what would have happened if I’d . . . .” taken that other job, gone out with that guy, taken that trip. That kind of thing. You’ll find out what happened to one particular woman who thought she had nothing left to live for. Good read. Very different. A bit space-agey. Sort of time travel, but not really. But yes, maybe.

James Shipman has written an intriguing book, It Is Well: A Novel, about a man who has lost his wife. And about a woman who has lost her husband. But their relationship stalls, big time, because the guy made a promise to his wife, and he feels duty-bound to honor it. There is much angst about it all. Much wringing of hands, some tears on her part. Nice book; good read.

I wrote up a post about this book: Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World: The Twin Towers, Windows on the World, and the Rebirth of New York by Tom Roston. Go read the full write-up if you’re interested. The book is a complete history of the famous restaurant on the 107th floor of one of the Twin Towers.

Also recently finished The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish. The book goes backwards and forwards in time, from the 1600s in London with the day-to-day lives of a group of Jews (who had to be very careful about how they worshiped) to current day as an old house is discovered to hold a treasure-trove of historical papers. The story is mostly about a young woman, educated, a Jew, who is the scribe (in secret) to an aging religious leader (in a time when women would have been verboten to hold such a position). And about her own curiosity about her religion and how she eventually begins writing letters (using a male pseudonym) to various Jewish leaders abroad, questioning their religious beliefs. The book is extraordinarily long – not that that kept me from turning a single page! – and complex with the cast of characters from the 1600s and the cast in today’s world of highly competitive experts analyzing the ancient papers. Altogether riveting book. Loved it from beginning to end.

I’m forever reading historical novels. The Lost Jewels: A Novel by Kirsty Manning is a mystery of sorts, going back in time in London in the time of aristocrats and their jewels (pearls, diamonds, gems of all kinds) sometimes made it into the hands of the digger or a maid. Then to current time as a young woman tries to ferret her family history and particularly about some old-old jewelry that they can’t quite figure out – how the grandmother came to have them. Fascinating tale.

Not for the faint of heart, Boat of Stone: A Novel by Maureen Earl tells the true tale of some misplaced Jews at the tale-end of WWII who ended up on Mauritius.

Colleen Hoover has written quite a book, It Ends with Us: A Novel, with a love story being the central theme, but again, this book is not for everyone – it can be an awakening for any reader not acquainted with domestic violence and how such injury can emerge as innocent (sort of) but then becomes something else. There is graphic detail here.

Erin Bartels wrote quite a complex story in The Words between Us: A Novel. We go alongside a young girl as she goes to high school, trying (somewhat unsuccessfully) to be anonymous (because her mother and father are both in prison), taking on a fake name. She meets a guy and they share a bond of reading and some romance. Years go by and she’s now owner of a failing independent bookstore (and married, or separated) and suddenly begins receiving a used book (that she recognizes) every day from a different place in the country. A message for sure, but where will it lead? Yes, it’s a romance. Lots of introspection going on. Enjoyed it.

Nicolas Barreau’s novel Love Letters from Montmartre: A Novel  is very poignant, very sweet book. Seems like I’ve read several books lately about grieving; this one has a charming ending, but as anyone who has gone through a grave loss of someone dear knows, you can’t predict day to day, week to week. “Snap out of it,” people say, thinking they’re helping.

Another very quirky book, that happens to contain a lot of historical truth is The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World: A Novel by Harry N. Abrams. Set in Japan just after the tsunami 10 years ago when 18,000 people died. At a private park miles away, some very special people installed a phone booth, with a phone (that didn’t work) at the edge of the park, and the survivors of the tsunami began wending their way there to “talk” to their deceased loved ones. Very poignant story.

No question, the most quirky book I’ve read of late, a recommendation from my friend Karen, West with Giraffes: A Novel by Lynda Rutledge. Back in the 1930s a small group of giraffes were brought across the Atlantic from Africa to New York, destined for the then-growing San Diego Zoo. The story is of their journey across the United States in the care of two oh-so-different people, both with a mission.

Riveting story of post-WWII- Japan in Ana Johns novel, The Woman in the White Kimono: A Novel. About a young Japanese girl who falls in love with an American serviceman.

Also read Rishi Reddi’s novel, Passage West: A Novel with a very different take on the migration of Indians (East India) to the California agricultural lands east of San Diego during the 1920s and 30s.

Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but the Mary Morris book, A Very Private Diary: A Nurse in Wartime tells the true day to day life of a young Irish girl who becomes a nurse, in England, France and Belgium in the midst of WWII and immediately after the war.

Could hardly put down Krueger’s book, This Tender Land: A Novel. Tells the harrowing story of a young boy, Odie, (and his brother Albert) who became orphans back in the 30s. At first there is a boarding school, part of an Indian (Native American) agreement, though they are not Indian. They escape, and they are “on the run.”

Just finished Kristin Hannah’s latest book, The Four Winds: A Novel. What a story. One I’ve never read about, although I certainly have heard about the “dust bowl” years when there was a steady migration of down-and-out farmers from the Midwest, to California, for what they hoped to be the American Dream. It tells the story of one particular family, the Martinellis, the grandparents, their son, his wife, and their two children.

Brit Bennett has written quite a book, The Vanishing Half: A Novel. It’s a novel, yet I’m sure there are such real-life situations. Twin girls are born to a young black woman in the South. Into a town (that probably doesn’t exist) that prides itself on being light-skinned blacks.

What a book. The Only Woman in the Room: A Novel by Marie Benedict. A novelized biography of Hedy Lamarr, the famous actress.  Very much worth reading.

Also read The Secret of the Chateau: Gripping and heartbreaking historical fiction with a mystery at its heart by Kathleen McGurl. There are two stories here. The historical part is just prior to and up to the French Revolution, and the second in current day as a group of friends purchase a crumbling chateau. Very interesting. I love historical novels like this, and this one in particular does have quite a mystery involved, too.

Also finished reading Sue Monk Kidd’s recent book, The Book of Longings: A Novel. It is a book that might challenge some Christian readers, as it tells the tale of Jesus marrying a woman named Mary. I loved the book from the first word to the last one. The book is believable to me, even though the Bible never says one way or the other that Jesus ever married. It’s been presumed he never did. But maybe he did?

Jeanine Cummins has written an eye-opener, American Dirt. A must read. Oh my goodness. I will never, ever, ever look at Mexican (and further southern) migrants, particularly those who are victims of the vicious cartels, without sympathy. It tells the story of a woman and her young son, who were lucky enough to hide when the cartel murdered every member of her family – her husband, her mother, and many others. It’s about her journey and escape to America.

Also read JoJo Moyes’ book, The Giver of Stars. Oh gosh, what a GREAT book. Alice joins the Horseback Librarians in the rural south.

Frances Liardet has written a blockbuster tale, We Must Be Brave. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Although the scene is WWII England, this book is not really about the war. It’s about the people at home, waiting it out, struggling with enough food, clothing and enough heat.

William Kent Krueger wrote Ordinary Grace. From amazon: a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God. It’s a coming of age story.

Follow the River: A Novel by James Alexander Thom. This one is also based on the history of a woman (married, pregnant) who was captured by the Shawnee, during the early settlement days east of the Ohio River, about 1755. And her eventual escape.

A Column of Fire: A Novel by Ken Follett. It takes place in the 1500s, in England, and has everything to do with the war between the Catholics and the Protestants, that raged throughout Europe during that time, culminating in the Spanish Inquisition.

My Name Is Resolute by Nancy Turner. She’s the author of another book of some renown, These is my Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 (P.S.). Resolute is what I’m discussing here. It’s fiction, but based some on a true story. Resolute, as a young girl from a privileged life on a plantation in Jamaica, was taken captive by slavers, eventually ended up in Colonial America.

The Shepherd’s Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape by James Rebanks. This is a memoir, so a true story, of a young man growing up in the Lake District of Northern England, who becomes a shepherd. Not just any-old shepherd – actually a well educated one. He knows how to weave a story.

 

Tasting Spoons

My blog's namesake - small, old and some very dented engraved silver plated tea spoons that belonged to my mother-in-law, and I use them to taste my food as I'm cooking.

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Posted in Appetizers, Breads, on August 10th, 2022.

So very easy, you will hardly believe it. No, there isn’t any lavender in it – Taylor was using photo props to make the picture more beautiful.

A post from Carolyn. My dear granddaughter Taylor will only be living with me for another week or so by the time this recipe posts. Oh sigh. I’ll miss her so much! She made this bread. Four ingredients. During her last clinical hospital work (12-hour shifts at a local hospital, in their post-partum department) she befriended all of the nurses in the department and wanted to do something nice for them on her last day. She’d made this bread before (a recipe from her friend Quinn – thanks, Quinn!), and it’s so very easy.

The dough is mixed up in a stand mixer (with dough hook if possible). I couldn’t FIND my dough hook. (Where in the heck has it disappeared to?) So she used the metal paddle for awhile until it got to be labored in mixing, then she kneaded it a bit by hand. It sat out on the kitchen counter (covered with plastic wrap) for about 15 hours until it had more than doubled in bulk. She punched it down, then formed it into a nice big loaf shape (on the counter is fine, just cover it with a big bowl or a damp tea towel). When she was ready to bake it, she preheated the oven to 450°F AND put the big ceramic Dutch oven into that cold oven so it heated up while the oven did. You could use a cast iron Dutch oven too, or a regular lidded pan – just grease the container so it pops out easily.

Then she very carefully picked up the loaf and put it in the hot-hot Dutch oven, with the lid. It baked for 15 minutes. Then the oven temp is turned down to 350°F for 20-30 minutes. Then you remove the lid from the bread and allow it to bake further for 10 minutes until the crust has turned a golden brown. Once out of the oven you can carefully tip over the Dutch oven to let the bread pop out, then right it and let it sit on a rack until cool. Wait at least an hour before trying to slice it.

She was serving it with artichoke dip, so I cut up the bread for her into thicker slices, then into elongated cubes, about 3/4″ side and 2 inches long. I ate a few edges with a little butter. Yum. I think back to decades ago when I used to bake bread every week (sourdough, with a starter) and the hours it took. This is just so easy to do, letting the overnight rise do all the heavy lifting, so to speak!

What’s GOOD: how easy this is to make, and when fresh and warm, altogether delicious. You could use this as a bread bowl too. Am sure this could be made into 3 smaller boules also as long as you have the containers to do them in. Adjust the baking time, obviously. The bread texture is on the firmer side – this isn’t a tender bread (no fat or milk in it, notice!). So a French style, rustic texture.

What’s NOT: only that you need to be at home when the 12-18 hour window is up, and continue to be there for the 2nd rising and then the baking time.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook file (click link to open recipe)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Easy Overnight Yeast Bread

Servings: 12 (or more)

6 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon yeast — not rapid rise
2 teaspoons salt
2 2/3 cups cold water

1. Mix all ingredients well (use dough hook of stand mixer if available). It should come together in a big ball. Place in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside (on kitchen counter) overnight and let it rise to double in bulk, about 12-18 hours.
2. Remove dough to a floured surface, sprinkle with some additional flour and knead for a minute, to mold it into a ball shape.
3. Leave dough on the counter, cover with a dampened tea towel or a huge bowl, and let it rise until the dough has risen for 1 1/2 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 450°F. Place a Dutch oven (with lid) in the oven and allow it to heat as the oven heats up. Once oven reaches temperature, remove Dutch oven, remove lid and carefully transfer dough inside. Replace cover and bake for 15 minutes.
5. Turn heat down to 350°F and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes, then uncover the bread and continue baking for another 10 minutes until top is golden brown.
6. Remove from oven and carefully turn Dutch oven over to remove bread. Set bread upright on a wire rack to cool. Allow to cool at least an hour before trying to cut. Use a serrated knife.
Per Serving: 228 Calories; 1g Fat (2.5% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 48g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 389mg Sodium; trace Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 11mg Calcium; 3mg Iron; 69mg Potassium; 69mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Desserts, on August 6th, 2022.

I’ve done so much cooking of late I’m having a hard time keeping track of what I’ve posted or what I haven’t.

A post from Carolyn. It’s been a couple of months since I made this – – rhubarb was plentiful at the grocery store, and I was having a moment with almonds – either in almond paste form, or almond extract in things. I do love almond flavoring in whichever form. This galette (which means rough pastry with fruit) was so very simple to do. I had a Pillsbury sheet of pie dough. And just an FYI: I don’t buy store brands of pie dough – – I just think they’re inferior. If I were really doing this right, I’d have made my own pie crust, but I was lazy and bought the ready-made.

First I combined the fresh cut rhubarb with some sugar and lemon zest and set it aside. The pie crust was put out onto a Silpat (or you could use parchment paper) on a big sheetpan. Then I made the frangipane (almond flour, sugar, salt, egg, orange liqueur and almond extract). That was pureed in the food processor and I poured/scraped it out onto the center of the pie dough and spread it evenly leaving an ample border as the pastry gets rolled inward. Then the rhubarb went on top – note that I cut some of the rhubarb in long chunks and mostly short ones. No reason, just thought it would look more interesting. Then you gently bring up the sides of the dough. Do this gently – do NOT under any circumstances try to stretch the dough. You might note that my crust cracked on one side and some of the rhubarb and filling oozed out a bit. Not so attractive, but it made no difference in the end result. Crimp the edges so the dough will stay in place (hopefully) and HOLD the frangipane and the fruit inside.

Melted butter is brushed over the edges of the dough and any remaining you can drizzle on top of the tart. Sugar is sprinkled all over the top, then the galette is baked for about 35 minutes, or until it’s golden brown on the pie dough edges. It needs to cool some before serving (warm is perfect). Then make some whipped cream with a few drops of almond extract and sugar in it. You could add vanilla too, but I prefer the almond. The recipe was adapted from one I found at Alexandra Cooks.

What’s GOOD: everything about this was delicious. Loved the frangipane (almond filling) with the rhubarb. Loved the almond flavoring in the whipped cream too. And then, there’s rhubarb, which I am crazy about anyway.

What’s NOT: only that you need rhubarb on hand to make this.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook file (click link to open recipe)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Rhubarb Frangipane Galette

Recipe By: Adapted from Alexandra Cooks blog
Servings: 6

1 sheet pie pastry — store-bought (not a formed pie shell)
RHUBARB:
3/4 pound rhubarb — cut into 1-inch lengths, cutting a few longer lengths for top
1/3 cup sugar zest from one lemon
FRANGIPANE:
1/2 cup almond meal
2 tablespoons sugar
1 pinch salt
1 small egg
2 teaspoons orange liqueur
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
ASSEMBLY:
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon sugar — for sprinkling, regular or turbinado
2/3 cup heavy cream — whipped, sweetened, for serving, may also add a few drops of almond extract to the cream

1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF and place a rack in the center of the oven.
2. RHUBARB: Stir the rhubarb with the sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl and set aside.
3. Pastry: Unroll the pastry dough onto a Silpat or parchment lined sheetpan.
4. FRANGIPANE: Combine almond flour, sugar, salt, egg, orange liqueur and almond extract in a food processor. Purée until smooth, about 10 seconds.
5. Spoon the frangipane into the center of the rolled out dough leaving a 1- to 2-inch border. Pile the rhubarb and all of the juices into the center of the frangipane and spread out to cover. Choose some of the more red pieces of rhubarb and arrange them on top. Carefully bring up the sides, gently crimping pleats as you move around the galette. Do NOT stretch the dough.
6. Brush the edge of the dough with melted butter. If there is any remaining, drizzle the remainder over the exposed rhubarb. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the top.
7. BAKE for 35 minutes or until golden. Remove pan from the oven and let rest on cooling rack for 5 to 10 minutes or until Silpat or paper is cool enough to handle. Grab the edges of the paper or Silpat and slide to a cooling rack to cool further or to a cutting board to serve. Cut into wedges. Serve on its own or with vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream with almond extract added.
Per Serving: 431 Calories; 28g Fat (57.2% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 42g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 71mg Cholesterol; 232mg Sodium; 19g Total Sugars; 1mcg Vitamin D; 97mg Calcium; 1mg Iron; 288mg Potassium; 96mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Cookies, Desserts, on August 2nd, 2022.

Bars that are kinda cookie, kinda dessert, a happy match of the two.

A post from Carolyn. It’s been years ago that I downloaded this recipe from a now-defunct food blog called Alpineberry. It’s been long ago enough that I don’t remember the writer’s name, just that I remember her blog’s name, and I’d made a note of it in my recipe, and I have a few other recipes from that blog too. This recipe is a keeper, for sure.

It does require the making of three layers (a crust, an apple layer and a cream cheese filling). None is hard to do – the most tedious is probably the peeling, coring and slicing (thinly) the apples. The crust contains the usual things plus some cream cheese AND both almond and vanilla extracts. Some of it is set aside to make the topping. The filling is a cream cheese, egg, sugar and lemon juice combination. You can barely see it on top of the apples in the picture above. It’s not a thick filling – just enough to provide some nice creamy texture to the finished bars.

The crust is baked, cooled some, then the apples are added (you use Granny Smith so the apple filling doesn’t turn into applesauce) and gently smoothed out. Then the cream cheese filling is poured on top and gently spread out. Then the topping (the remainder of the crust plus some almonds, flour and more sugar. Sliced almonds are added on the top. That’s it. Baked for about 50 minutes.

What’s GOOD: loved the apple flavor, the texture, the little creamy layer and the crunch of the almonds. Altogether delicious bar or dessert. My granddaughter Taylor loved these. They’re especially nice served with some vanilla ice cream, or whipped cream. But they don’t need embellishment – served as is would be fine too, even out of hand.

What’s NOT: nothing at all.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook file (click link to open recipe)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Almond Apple Bars

Recipe By: From Alpineberry blog (no longer exists)
Servings: 12

CRUST:
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt — (or 1/4 tsp table salt)
3 ounces cream cheese — softened
4 tablespoons unsalted butter — softened
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup granulated sugar — may use half artificial sweetener
1/4 cup light brown sugar — may use half artificial sweetener
1/3 cup almonds — finely chopped
TOPPING:
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar — may use half artificial sweetener
2 tablespoons light brown sugar — may use half artificial sweetener
1/4 cup almonds — coarsely chopped
FILLING:
5 ounces cream cheese — softened at room temp.
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 pinch salt
1 pound Granny Smith apples — peeled, cored & cut into thin slices (about 3 apples)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9 inch square baking pan with parchment. Butter the parchment.
2. CRUST: Sift flour and salt. Set aside dry ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add the almond and vanilla extracts and beat on medium until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium speed until blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. On low speed, mix in the flour-salt mixture and the 1/3 cup of finely chopped almonds just until the dough comes together. It should be crumbly.
3. Reserve about 2/3 cup of the crust mixture for the topping. Press the remaining dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. You may use an offset spatula, your fingertips, or the bottom of a glass to smooth out the dough. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Bake until light golden, about 16-18 minutes. Remove crust from the oven.
4. TOPPING: While the crust bakes, make the topping by adding the flour, granulated and brown sugars to the reserved crust dough. Mix until well combined. It should be crumbly. Set aside topping and 1/4 cup coarsely chopped almonds while you make the filling.
5. FILLING: In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg, lemon juice and salt until well mixed.
6. ASSEMBLY: Arrange the apple slices over the baked crust. Pour cream cheese filling over the apples and gently spread (using an offset spatula) the filling to cover. Crumble the topping over the filling. Sprinkle with the almonds. Bake until light golden brown, about 45-50 minutes. Let the bars cool in the pan for about 30 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on a cooling rack before cutting.
Per Serving: 279 Calories; 14g Fat (45.7% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 34g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 45mg Cholesterol; 176mg Sodium; 20g Total Sugars; trace Vitamin D; 49mg Calcium; 1mg Iron; 151mg Potassium; 83mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Miscellaneous, Vegetarian, on July 29th, 2022.

Wanting something to serve alongside some Italian sausages, this was in my to-try file. 

A post from Carolyn. My granddaughter Taylor, the one who’s about to graduate from nursing school (and move home – so I’ll be an empty nester again) asked me to fix her favorite dinner, the sheetpan sausage one I wrote up a couple of months ago. I said sure enough, I’d do that. I didn’t have asparagus this time, but did have summer squash, a sweet potato, plus a big red onion. I wanted something to go with the sausage, a sauce, or something. This one was in my file to try, so I did. Although I changed the ingredients a little bit and added Castelvetrano olives (if you don’t already know about these, you should – they’re a green ripe olive, Italian, so good). I love capers and liked that they were in this mixture too. So easy with some EVOO, balsamic, lemon juice plus a few Italian herbs.

If time permits, make this a few hours ahead – I didn’t, as it was last-minute, so I made it while the dinner roasted in the oven. The flavors will meld some if you let it rest on the counter for a bit. It’s a very easy concoction to make – and gave the sausages some good oomph. If you like spicy, add some red pepper flakes to the mixture.

All the ingredients I had on hand – I keep those Castelvetrano olives in my frig all the time, and capers, and I try to have red onion on hand. Also, Italian parsley. I still have Meyer lemons on my tree, so that was easy, and EVOO and balsamic. So easy, all of it.

What’s GOOD: went so well with the Italian sausages, but would be good with chicken, pork chops, even hamburgers. Not sure about fish, unless it was a fairly flavorful fish like swordfish. Halibut would work too. Altogether delicious sauce, and am glad I still have some leftover.

What’s NOT: only that you need to have Italian parsley – I have it on hand always, along with cilantro. Our weather is too hot here to grow it or I would!

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Italian Parsley, Caper and Olive Sauce

Recipe By: Adapted from a relish recipe found online
Serving Size: 6

1/4 cup EVOO
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup red onion — finely diced
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic — minced
3 tablespoons parsley — chopped
1 tablespoon capers
2 tablespoons Castelvetrano olives — or other green, ripe olive
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Italian herbs — dried salt and pepper to taste

1. Place all ingredients in a ceramic bowl; mix well. Allow it to sit for a few hours to meld flavors.
2. Serve with grilled beef or pork, Italian sausage, or even pasta. Will keep in the frig for several days.
Per Serving: 93 Calories; 9g Fat (86.9% calories from fat); trace Protein; 3g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 40mg Sodium; 2g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 9mg Calcium; trace Iron; 43mg Potassium; 7mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Appetizers, on July 25th, 2022.

Make most of this ahead, then just spread them up at the last minute.

A post from Carolyn.  You’ll recall I had a wine tasting at my house awhile back – this was another of the appetizers made that evening. I’d found the recipe online and my good friend Linda made them, then she and I quickly put them together just before serving.

Caramelized onions aren’t hard to make – but as anyone who has made them knows, it takes a whole lot of onions to make a batch that yields about 3/4 cup of so, as onions are comprised of a lot of water. As they simmer and sizzle away, they wilt and then become golden brown, then deep mahogany brown. Be careful you don’t cook them too long (they will burn eventually), but make sure they are dark golden.

In this case, we spread the toasted baguette slices with goat cheese (a soft, spreadable type), then carefully added some of the caramelized onion on top, then sprinkled chopped up rosemary on top of that. Went beautifully with the rose wine sangria we served.

If you happen to have Boursin on hand, you could easily substitute that for the plain goat cheese, although I’d go really easy on the rosemary in that case, since the garlic/herb Boursin is already seasoned well. Maybe substitute a bit of parsley on top instead.

What’s GOOD: if you have all the ingredients on hand, this is a very easy appetizer to make. Double the batch of onions – they’re good on so many other things.

What’s NOT: only that it requires a bit of spreading and prep just before serving.

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Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onion Tapas

Recipe By: adapted from Spanish Sabores blog
Servings: 24

2 tablespoons EVOO
3 large onions — thinly sliced
2 pinches salt
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar — or balsamic vinegar
36 slices baguette — thinly sliced
10 ounces goat cheese — Chevre, warmed to room temp
1/4 cup fresh rosemary — finely minced
Balsamic glaze for garnish

NOTE: If you have Boursin goat cheese (herb/garlic) you could use it instead of the plain goat cheese. If using, garnish toasts with chopped parsley instead of rosemary.
1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add EVOO. When heated through, stir in the onions and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.
2. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the salt, sugar, and vinegar. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring every 4-5 minutes, or until the onions are a deep, dark brown and taste sweet and soft. If you are going to leave the onions to caramelize while you do other things, leave a splash of water in the pan so they don’t burn. Set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 325°F. Spread the baguette slices on a baking tray and bake for 6-8 minutes or until lightly toasted.
4. To prepare the tapas, generously spread each slice of toasted baguette with the softened goat cheese, then add a heaping teaspoon of the caramelized onion. Garnish with a few rosemary leaves. Drizzle a little bit of balsamic glaze on top. Taste one to make sure you’re using the right proportion of cheese–onion-rosemary-glaze. Adjust quantities as your taste dictates.
Per Serving (not including baguette): 61 Calories; 5g Fat (69.4% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 9mg Cholesterol; 62mg Sodium; 1g Total Sugars; trace Vitamin D; 40mg Calcium; trace Iron; 42mg Potassium; 49mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Chicken, on July 21st, 2022.

It’s all about the SAUCE. I’ll say it again – – it’s all about the sauce on it.

A post from Carolyn. Can you ever have enough recipes for roasting a chicken? I have a bunch, and this one will get put right at or near the top, because of the ever-so delicious vinaigrette that you pour over the chicken and drizzle on your servings.

My friend Sue (Colorado Sue, that I visited on my recent trip) made this chicken for dinner one night when I stayed with them. It’s a very, very simple recipe, and the chicken was perfectly cooked and tender, juicy.  The original recipe came from a Martha Stewart Living magazine in 2012.

First the chicken is patted dry, then rubbed all over with EVOO plus salt and pepper. Into a rimmed baking pan it goes. The original recipe called for fingerling potatoes to be roasted alongside the chicken, and that’s how Sue prepared it. Since I try not to eat potatoes, I used Brussels sprouts and zucchini instead. But you can add the potatoes if preferred. Notes for that are in the recipe below.

First, the chicken is roasted at 425°F for 15 minutes. Hot! Then, I added the vegetables  and continued to bake at 375°F for 25 minutes. The pan was turned around, the veggies stirred, and back into the oven it went for about another 35 minutes (that’s how long it took for me) until the thigh meat registered 165°F using an instant read thermometer.

There, above is the finished chicken, pulled off onto a cutting board with some of the luscious lemon, garlic, parsley and Parm sauce spread around.  I didn’t waste too much of that good sauce on the skin, however, as I don’t eat skin . . . but I did pour a bit of the sauce onto my serving (at left). You won’t believe how wonderful it tastes with the tangy lemon, salt from the cheese, and parsley, with EVOO and lemon juice. So good.

What’s GOOD: the lemony flavor, oh and garlic, and Parm. Oh so good.

What’s NOT: nothing whatsoever.

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Roasted Chicken with Lemon, Garlic, Parsley and Parmesan Sauce

Recipe By: Adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe
Servings: 6

CHICKEN:
3 1/2 pounds whole chicken
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup Italian parsley
1 lemon — halved
1 pound Brussels sprouts — halved (if small, leave whole)
3 whole zucchini — cut in large chunks
SAUCE:
2 cloves garlic — minced
1/2 cup Italian parsley
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon — zested (2 teaspoons) and juiced (1 1/2 tablespoons or more to taste)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt — coarse
1 Pinch red chili flakes

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Place chicken, breast side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Rub with 2 tablespoons oil; season generously with salt and pepper. Place parsley and 1 lemon half in cavity. Tie legs together with kitchen twine.
2. Toss Brussels sprouts and zucchini with 2 tablespoons oil. Drizzle with juice from remaining lemon half. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
3. Roast for 15 minutes. Remove chicken from oven and add vegetables alongside the chicken. Put chicken back into oven. Reduce temperature to 375°F; roast for 25 minutes. Rotate pan, toss vegetables, and cook until chicken is golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165°F, about 25-35 minutes more. Let chicken and veggies stand for 10 minutes. Remove chicken to cutting board and carve. Place on a heated platter and serve with vegetables alongside.
4. SAUCE: Combine all sauce ingredients. After the chicken has rested for 10 minutes, brush sauce on chicken and drizzle on vegetables, and serve more sauce in a pitcher at the table. Trust me: it’s all about the sauce.
NOTES: This recipe originally started with just chicken and potatoes. If you wish to add about a pound of fingerling potatoes (halved, oiled), use a large enough roasting pan to accommodate all of the vegetables. Add potatoes from the beginning, then add vegetables after the first 15 minutes of baking.
Per Serving (assuming you eat all of the sauce and chicken skin): 891 Calories; 69g Fat (69.3% calories from fat); 55g Protein; 14g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 244mg Cholesterol; 532mg Sodium; 5g Total Sugars; trace Vitamin D; 155mg Calcium; 6mg Iron; 1150mg Potassium; 536mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Fish, on July 17th, 2022.

Gosh, so very easy – grab some chives, garlic and lemon and you’re ready to go. And be prepared for some raves when it’s served.

A post from Carolyn. There are several recipes here on my blog for slow-roasted fish. Particularly salmon. I love how it turns out – just barely cooked and still very moist. Certainly it’s cooked through although you won’t get a sear or a brown crust or anything. I always have some portions of salmon in my freezer (vacuum-sealed) so I defrosted one of them (above) and grabbed this recipe to try. It’s from Cook’s Country. My granddaughter Taylor asked if I’d put some garlic in it (she loves garlic – so do I) so I said sure, will do. The original recipe did not have garlic, and go easy on the garlic – because it’s a raw kind of pour-over sauce and raw garlic can be very sharp.

While the salmon was in a slow oven (250°) I mixed up the scrumptious lemony sauce which took just a couple of minutes to do. I have chives in my garden and I always have lemons from my trees. And EVOO, of course. Then I added the very finely minced garlic to it and let it sit for about 30 minutes while the salmon finished cooking. You want the fish in the thickest part to get to 125°F. The recipe calls for 1 1/2″ thick salmon. Mine was barely an inch thick at the thickest part, plus I was using a ceramic dish (conducts heat better than glass), so I began testing the temp at 30 minutes. It wasn’t quite done, so it needed another 6 minutes and it was perfect.

The sauce is poured over the hot fish and allowed to rest for 5 minutes. Done. Cut into servings and drizzle any remaining sauce on top or over side dishes like rice or potatoes, or pasta. Next time I make this I’m going to double the sauce and have it ready to add to whatever side I decide to make – like carrots or Brussels sprouts even. Broccoli. Any/all of those would be lovely with it.

What’s GOOD: oh my, the lemony flavor is marvelous. The garlic didn’t overwhelm, although it could if you used too much. Be careful about that. Absolutely a keeper recipe. I’ll be making that one again and again. So easy. A great dish, even, for company.

What’s NOT: nothing at all. So very simple to make. Don’t overdo the garlic.

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Slow Roasted Salmon with Garlic, Chives and Lemon

Recipe By: Adapted slightly from Cook’s Country
Servings: 6

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt — divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 1/2 pounds salmon fillets — about 1½ inches thick, farm-raised (see instructions if using thinner salmon)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh chives — minced
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 small garlic clove — very finely minced, or grated (optional)

NOTES: You can substitute granulated sugar for the brown sugar, if desired. If a 2½-pound salmon fillet is unavailable, you can use six 6- to 8-ounce skinless salmon fillets instead. In step 1, sprinkle both sides of the fillets evenly with the sugar mixture and arrange them side by side in the baking dish so they are touching. The cooking time remains the same. We prefer farm-raised salmon here; if using wild salmon, reduce the cooking time to 45 to 50 minutes, or until the salmon registers 120 degrees. If you’re using table salt, use ¾ teaspoon (½ teaspoon in step 1 and ¼ teaspoon in step 3). Use a glass baking dish, but if using a ceramic baking dish or metal pan, check the temperature of the salmon 10 minutes early. The thickness of the salmon will affect baking time, so try to purchase salmon that’s 1½ inches thick. If you want more of the lemony sauce, double the recipe and drizzle it on top of rice or mashed potatoes, or even oven-roasted vegetables.
1 Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 250°F. Combine sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper in small bowl. Sprinkle salmon all over with sugar mixture.
2 Place salmon, flesh side up, in 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Roast until center is still translucent when checked with tip of paring knife and thickest part registers 125 degrees (for medium-rare), 55 to 60 minutes. If fish is thinner, begin checking at 30 minutes, and add increments of 5 minutes until the fish reaches temperature.
3 Meanwhile, combine oil, chives, garlic, lemon zest and juice, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt in bowl.
4 Remove dish from oven and immediately pour oil mixture evenly over salmon. Let rest for 5 minutes. Using spatula and spoon, portion salmon and sauce onto serving platter. Stir together any juices left in dish and spoon over salmon. Serve.
Per Serving: 318 Calories; 16g Fat (46.9% calories from fat); 38g Protein; 3g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 140mg Cholesterol; 674mg Sodium; 2g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 27mg Calcium; 1mg Iron; 827mg Potassium; 537mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Desserts, on July 13th, 2022.

My friend Dianne made this scrumptious pie – so good while strawberries are at the top of their form! And this one is super-easy.

A post from Carolyn. Think refreshing. Think summer. And strawberries. Last summer I remember thinking the strawberries I’d purchased were just the best I’d ever had. And this year isn’t much different. Just such good strawberries on the market. My friend Dianne made this the night she had my granddaughter Taylor and me to dinner. Taylor has just fallen in love with my friends. How life-affirming is that when your young millennial grandchild thinks your friends – who are nearly all about my age – are the bee’s knees? She even ASKS me when she’s going to get to see so-and-so. Love having this grandchild of mine living with me, but it won’t be long now and she graduates from nursing school and will be moving back home to Northern California to begin the next chapter of her life – hopefully as a labor & delivery nurse. She’ll have to take the nursing exam, then she can begin applying to hospitals in the east Sacramento area where she hopes to find a job. She’ll live at home with her mom (my daughter) until she’s saved up enough money to buy a house, she hopes. Her plan is that’ll happen within a year. And maybe so as nurses are so very well paid these days.

Back to this pie – – it requires a graham cracker crust, then you chop up the strawberries, make the cream mixture (sweetened condensed milk and whipped cream, sugar, a little bit of lemon juice and vanilla), add the berries and pour it into the shell. Freeze for 6 hours or so and it’s done. Save a few berries for the garnish. And let the pie sit out at room temp for 5-10 minutes before trying to slice it. Make this before all the strawberries are gone. The recipe came from Joanna Gaines/Magnolia Network.

What’s GOOD: how good strawberries are this year – and making them into this pie is super easy.

What’s NOT: only if you can’t get good strawberries – save the recipe for another day if the strawberries are not at their peak.

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Strawberry Pie – Frozen

Recipe By: Joanna Gaines, Magnolia
Servings: 8

3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk — PLUS 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups strawberries — hulled, cut into 1/4″ dice, to yield about 1 1/2 cups
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 whole graham cracker pie crust
More berries for garnish

1. In a large bowl whisk together the sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice, then stir in diced strawberries.
2. In a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, mix heavy cream, vanilla and powdered sugar, on low for 30 seconds, then increase speed to medium high and beat until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes.
3. Add whipped cream to bowl with milk mixture and gently fold it in. The consistency will resemble a thick pudding. Pour the pie filling into a graham cracker crust.
4. Freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight. Garnish with strawberries (fanned).
5. Remove from freezer and allow to thaw for 5 minutes or so before slicing into wedges. Will keep in freezer for up to 5 days.
Per Serving: 344 Calories; 19g Fat (49.2% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 40g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 43mg Cholesterol; 153mg Sodium; 27g Total Sugars; 1mcg Vitamin D; 117mg Calcium; 1mg Iron; 256mg Potassium; 131mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Fish, Grilling, Miscellaneous, on July 9th, 2022.


A post from Karen. Between late spring and early summer our farmer’s market briefly provides a delectable treat if you know how to use it. Green flower shoots of garlic, referred to as garlic ramps or garlic scapes. Farmers remove these flowers so the hard neck garlic plant can put more energy into producing larger bulbs of garlic. And instead of tossing them into the compost pile, they are much better served in our kitchens in any number of delectable ways.

I like to create a Pesto that I can then use in a number of ways. Do taste test a bit of raw Garlic Scape before you begin. They can really vary in how sharp or mellow their flavor is. You can adjust how much oil, salt and spices (Za’atar) you use accordingly. Pouring olive oil (a thin layer) over the top of the finished pesto helps to “seal” the pesto to prevent spoiling.

An example of how I used the pesto – try some Copper River king salmon filets. We slathered on some of the pesto to coat the top of the fish which was set on a cedar plank. I sprinkled some red pepper flakes, and a little additional salt and fresh ground pepper on top. My DH (Powell) did his magic with it on the BBQ and pulled it off when it was 120°. The finished salmon temp will continue to rise a few more degrees as it rests, before serving. I topped it with a few red onions I had pickled for about 20 minutes in rice wine vinegar and enjoyed this combo too.

Other uses – change up your Caprese salad with a scoop of garlic ramp pesto as a base for your dressing. Add a generous amount to your next batch of Colcannon (Irish mashed potatoes). I had three dear friends who don’t normally eat mashed potatoes go back for seconds and thirds of these! Melt a spoonful in your skillet before making scrambled eggs or sautéed veggies. Use as a base for gremolata or green Chimichurri sauce. I’d love to hear what you come up with!

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Garlic Scape Pesto

Recipe By: Created by Karen T
Servings: 8

10 ounces garlic scapes — cleaned and cut into 1″ pieces
1 cup EVOO — approximate
1/2 tablespoon Himalayan red salt, or substitute other salt
1 tablespoon za’atar — or substitute red pepper flakes, cumin, ground coriander, thyme and paprika
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
zest from one large lemon

1. Add garlic scapes and salt to a food processor or blender and pulse until finely chopped.
2. Drizzle in the olive oil and lemon juice to create a paste. Mine was pretty thick.
3. At this point, store half of the mixture in a glass jar and top it with olive oil. You could also freeze this mixture. With the remaining mixture, add spices and lemon zest and pulse to combine. Store in another glass jar and top with olive oil. Seal and store in the refrigerator.
Per Serving: 240 Calories; 27g Fat (99.2% calories from fat); trace Protein; trace Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 389mg Sodium; trace Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 1mg Calcium; trace Iron; 6mg Potassium; trace Phosphorus.

Posted in Salad Dressings, on July 5th, 2022.

This may not look like much. Is a vinaigrette just a vinaigrette? For sure, no. This one is a stand-out.

A post from Carolyn. It’s been awhile now that I’ve been a fan of Erin French, the not-classically-trained chef from Freedom, Maine. Have I been to her restaurant, The Lost Kitchen? Uh, no. It’s a bit of a fur piece for me to get there, so I haven’t tried. Would I like to – oh yes. I wish my DH Dave were still alive – he’d be “all in” to fly across the country to go to dinner there, then we’d visit some other Maine sites we’ve not been to. The website says there are still reservations available for this summer season. But you don’t just call to get a reservation – you have to send a postcard to the restaurant in order to eat there – and the staff picks postcards. They receive thousands of postcards – in fact they get so many it’s kept the Freedom, Maine post office open when it was about to be closed for lack of business. All of her employees are ordinary folk, none of them experienced in the restaurant trade. She trained them and they’re a really good team. She’s married again – to a wonderful guy, I think.

I believe a couple of her TV segments appeared on Magnolia, but I could be mistaken. I subscribe to Discovery+, and that’s where her seasons of shows appear. I believe I’ve watched them all. She’s so very creative, using lots of local ingredients. She has quite a story to tell. A few months ago I was gifted her cookbook, The Lost Kitchen, and I’ve read the book, cover to cover. Then I ordered her memoir, Finding Freedom – that one’s the story of her life, working in the family diner, learning how to flip burgers and fries at a very young age; about some of her disastrous decisions, having a son out of wedlock, marrying the wrong man, conquering her addiction to pills. There’s a section about outfitting a derelict Airstream trailer which became her re-start to this new restaurant – and her phenomenal success. My guess is it’s very expensive to eat there. And by the way, they now have a few tiny cottages for people to stay in for one night, if you’re fortunate enough to get a phone call from them saying it’s your lucky day. The cottages were private dining rooms during a part of Covid, then they were converted to cottages. The Lost Kitchen is open in the late spring to mid-autumn only. The tv show chronicles the restaurant’s bare survival during Covid. But above all, Erin French is a genius in the kitchen. I have about a dozen recipes flagged in the cookbook, to try. Beyond this one, of course.

Her shallot vinaigrette comes up often in her food presentations – as a drizzle on roasted vegetables, or featured in some kind of salad. And this dressing is so terrifically simple. I prefer it once it’s allowed to sit for awhile – so the shallot mellows a little bit – they (shallots) aren’t quite so stringent if you let them bathe in the vinegar for half an hour. The seasoned rice wine vinegar adds just a touch of sweetness (it does have sugar in it, but not much). And that’s where I veered off just a tiny bit – I added a little bit more sugar. Like a half a teaspoon, or even less. Use your own judgment about this. Or if you’d prefer, make it her way before you add more sugar. Picture above showing one of my frequent green salads (dinner) with carrots, celery, sugar snaps, radicchio, Romaine, tomatoes, radishes. My salads are about equal part vegetables to Romaine.

What’s GOOD: so easy and very tasty dressing. So easy, in fact, that once you make it you’ll not have to use a recipe – just drizzle and pour in the rice vinegar over the shallots, and then oil.

What’s NOT: nothing I suppose, except that you need to have a shallot on hand – I always do. They keep on my kitchen counter for weeks.

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Erin French’s Shallot Vinaigrette

Recipe By: Adapted very slightly from Erin French’s cookbook, The Lost Kitchen
Servings: 4

1 medium shallot — finely diced, then chopped further
2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar — approximate
1/4 cup olive oil — approximate (I use EVOO)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar — or less (optional)

1. Mince the shallot into the tiniest of little pieces. Once you do the original mincing, continue to mince using a large chef’s knife until it’s almost mushy.
2. Place shallot in a glass jar. Add seasoned rice wine vinegar just until the shallots are covered. If you’ve used a large shallot you’ll need more vinegar (and therefore, more oil also). You will use twice as much oil as you use vinegar, a different proportion to most salad dressings. Allow to rest for 30 minutes if time permits. Add sugar and salt and pepper to taste and shake. Add olive oil or EVOO and shake well, then taste for balance.
3. Pour onto greens (or over roasted vegetables) and make sure you serve some of the shallots also – they sink to the bottom of the jar, so you’ll need to spoon them out.
Per Serving: 126 Calories; 14g Fat (95.3% calories from fat); trace Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 30mg Sodium; 1g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 1mg Calcium; trace Iron; 8mg Potassium; 2mg Phosphorus.

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