RECIPES - Open House 2007

Feta with Pine Nuts and Honey
Only 10 minutes of work for a delicious Mediterranean treat!

½ lb block feta cheese, room temperature
½  cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
½  cup honey
½ cup fresh herb leaves – a mixture of oregano, winter savory, marjoram and thyme (washed and patted dry)

Place the feta cheese at the center of a large serving plate or platter.  Drizzle honey over the feta, allowing it to run down the sides of the cheese.  Sprinkle the ground nuts over the top of the cheese, then scatter the herb leaves over and around it.  Serve with crackers, baguette slices or flatbread.

Green Olive Tapenade
Top  a mixed tomato salad  with this tapenade to create a very dressed up side dish.

½ cup chopped, pitted green olives
1 clove garlic
¼ cup flat leaf parsley
½  extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
juice of one lemon
1 tbsp each fresh oregano, lime thyme and spicy bush basil

Place all ingredients together in a food processor and pulse until blended.

Lemon Balm Fruit Dip
Adding lemon balm to your recipes will give them a little added kick so it’s a great herb to keep growing in the kitchen herb garden..

2 oz unsalted margarine or butter
8 oz cream cheese, or low fat cream cheese
1 tsp orange zest
1 tbsp orange juice or orange liqueur
3 tbsp fresh lemon balm, chopped
Fresh fruit

Allow margarine and cream cheese to soften, then blend together in a medium bowl.  Mix in the other ingredients.  Let the dip chill overnight to allow the flavors to blend.  Serve at room temperature with fresh strawberries, orange slices, mangoes, grapes and pineapple chunks.  Great as an appetizer to begin a buffet or to end a brunch.  Makes about 12 oz.

Thai Oil
Use this to marinate or sauté chicken and beef or in cold beef or chicken salads.

3 lemon grass blades
2 small stems basil
4 sprigs cilantro
2 sprigs spearmint
1 garlic clove
1 slice fresh ginger root, 1/8 inch thick
1 quart peanut oil

Place all ingredients together in a glass container, completely covering the herbs with oil..  Remove garlic after 2 weeks.  Strain out herbs after 2 more weeks.

Coconut  and Rose Scented Geranium Cupcakes
Use plenty of fresh leaves to get a heavy scent and delicate rose flavor.

2 ¾ cups butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp each of vanilla and almond extracts
3 cups all purpose flour
½ tsp each baking powder, baking soda, and salt
1 cup coconut milk
1 ½ cup flaked coconut, plain or toasted
8 oz cream cheese, room temp
2 ¾  cups powdered sugar
½ cup  fresh chopped  rose scented geranium leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, cream together 2 cups butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Mix in 1 ½ tsp each vanilla and almond extracts.  In another large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add to butter and sugar mixture in 3 batches, alternating with coconut milk.  Stir 1 cup flaked coconut and chopped rose scented geraniums into the batter.  Fill 30 paper lined muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing muffins from pans.  Cool completely.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, ¾ cup butter, and ½ tsp each vanilla and almond extract until smooth.  Gradually  beat in powdered sugar.  Frost cupcakes and sprinkle with remaining coconut.

Three Seed Cookies with Citrus Flavored Herbs
These good for you cookies can be called ‘ bird seed cookies’.  They freeze well.

1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
½ tsp orange or lemon oil, optional
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp orange or lemon zest
½ cup packed lemon balm, mint or lemon verbena, minced fine
2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup white or whole wheat pastry flour
¾ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ cup rolled oats
¼ cup poppy seeds
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup flax seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly butter two baking sheets.  In a large bowl, beat butter with white and brown sugars until blended and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Add citrus oil, vanilla, zest and herbs and blend well.  In a mixing bowl, combine the flours, salt, baking soda, oats and seeds.  Add dry ingredients all at once to the wet and blend well.  Drop dough by rounded tsp onto baking sheets at least 2 inches apart.  Bake until golden brown on the edges, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove from baking sheets and cool on baking racks.  Store in a tightly covered container.

Green Skordalia
A pungent Mediterranean garlic paste.  Spread on little toasts as an appetizers, whisk into soups for an added zing, dollop on steamed veggies, serve as a dip, or use as a sandwich spread.

2 cups Russet potatoes, peeled and quartered, about 1 lb
3-4 cups stemmed and chopped kale
6-8 garlic cloves, minced or pressed  (or fewer)
¾ cup plain nonfat yogurt
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
¾ cup whole sweet basil leaves
½ cup finely chopped almonds or pine nuts (optional)

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with plenty of water, cover the pan, and bring to a boil on high heat.  When the water boils, reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until soft.  Blanch the kale in boiling water for 5 to 7 minutes, until very tender.  Drain and set aside.  When the potatoes are soft, drain them, reserving the cooking liquid.  Mash the potatoes and add them to the food processor with the steamed kale, garlic, yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Process to a smooth, thick, spreadable paste, adding a little of the reserved cooking liquid only if needed.  Transfer to a serving bowl, and stir in or top with the nuts, if desired. 

Cheddar, Sage and Walnut Torta
This smooth, rich torta makes an elegant appetizer.

½ lb cream cheese, softened
3 tbsp fresh sage leaves, chopped (plus a few whole leaves for garnish)
½ lb sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup walnuts, chopped (reserve a few halves for garnish

Place the cream cheese in a food processor with the chopped sage leaves.  Blend.  Line a 2 cup mold with a double thickness of cheesecloth.  Arrange the whole sage leaves in a decorative pattern on the bottom of the mold.  Add half the cream cheese mixture, then add shredded cheddar, smoothing out the layer and pressing it slightly.  Add the walnuts, again pressing gently.  Smooth the remaining cream cheese mixture over the walnuts.  Fold the ends of the cheesecloth over the top of the torta mixture and press lightly.  Refrigerate the mold overnight.  To unmold, fold back the top of the cheesecloth.  Invert a serving plate on top of the mold and flip them over together.  Lift off the mold and carefully remove the cheesecloth.  Garnish the torta with walnut halves.

Sara’s Dilly Burnet Butter
Burnet gives this butter a hint of cucumber.  Serve with grilled fish.

½ lb unsalted butter
1 tsp Dijon style mustard
2 or 3 generous sprigs fresh dill
2 or more sprigs burnet (to taste)

Blend ingredients thoroughly until mix is pale green.

Lemon and Mint Curd
An old fashioned idea with a new spin.

6 fresh mint leaves
4 cups sugar
1 ½ cups unsalted butter, cut in chunks
thinly pared rind of 6 lemons and their juice
8 eggs, beaten

Process sugar and mint leaves in a blender until leaves are finely chipped.  Let sit overnight.  Mix all ingredients with min, sugar and set over simmering water.  Cook, whisking gently until butter is melted and sugar dissolved.  Continue cooking for 30 to 45 minutes or until mix thickens.  Pour to the rim into sterilized jars.  Seal with wax paper and cellophane lids secured with a rubber band.  Use within 3 months.

Lavender Punch
Spicy and delicious!

1 cup water
1 – 3 inch stick of cinnamon
½ tsp whole cloves
3 tbsp lavender
1 – 6 oz can frozen limeade concentrate
2 cups grape juice
1 lime, sliced
ice cubes
1 quart seltzer water, chilled                                                                                                             

Bring water, cinnamon, cloves to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add lavender and let steep covered for 20 more minutes.  Strain.  Stir in frozen limeade and add grape juice.  Cover and refrigerate.  Just before serving, add lime slice, ice and seltzer.

Rosemary Orange Pound Cake
This is a delicious and fast breakfast bread, unusual with a sweet rosemary flavor.

1 cup butter
5 eggs
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
¼ cup honey
1 tbsp snipped fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
1 ½  tsp orange flower water or ¼ tsp orange extract
1 ¼ tsp finely shredded orange peel
1 ½ tsp orange juice
2/3 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 tsp orange juice
Fresh rosemary sprigs

Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Grease and lightly flour two 8 x 4 x 2 inch loaf pans.  Combine flour and baking powder.  Set aside.  In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds or until softened.  Gradually add sugar, 2 tbsp at a time, beating on medium speed about 6 minutes or until very light and fluffy.  Beat in honey.  Add eggs, one at a time,  beating on low to medium speed for 1 minute after each addition and scraping bowl frequently (batter may look slightly curdled).  Gradually add flour mixture, beating on low speed just until combined.  Gently stir in snipped or crushed rosemary, orange flower water or extract, orange peel, and 1 ½ tsp orange juice.  Pour batter into prepared pans.  Bake in a 325 degree oven for 45 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes.  Remove from pans, and cool on wire tracks.  For glaze, stir together powdered sugar and 2 tsp orange juice.  Drizzle over cakes.  If desired, top with rosemary sprigs.  Makes 2 loaves.

Lemon Balm and Basil Pesto
A light lemony flavor, great for summer pastas.

1 cup basil
1 cup lemon balm leaves
½ cup walnuts
½ cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic

Mix all ingredients together in blender or food processor until well blended.  Makes about 2 cups.

Rosemary’s Spiced Lavender Walnuts
This is a great gift for holidays.

2 cups walnut halves
1 ½ cup sugar
½ cup water
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp sea salt
1 tbsp dried lavender buds,crushed with a mortar and pestle
1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a rimmed baking sheet and spread the walnuts in it.  Bake for 5 minutes, stirring once, until lightly browned and fragrant.  Set aside.  In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water, cinnamon, and salt.  Over medium heat, boil without stirring until the mixture reads 238 degrees (soft ball stage) on a candy thermometer.  Caution:  The sugar syrup is very hot!  Remove from the heat and stir in the lavender, rosemary, and walnuts.  Work quickly and stir gently until all the nuts are coated.  Transfer the nuts to the buttered baking sheet and spread them in an even layer, separating them with two buttered forks.  Cool.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in a heavy plastic bag in the freezer.  Makes 3 cups.

Creamy Herb Dressing
Really simple, and simply delicious on steamed veggies.  Try it on grilled veggies in the summer!

1 cup sour cream or yogurt (nonfat is fine)
1 tsp lemon thyme
¼ cup lemon balm, shredded
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp chives, chopped

Blend sour cream, chives, lemon balm, thyme and salt.  Stir until well blended, then allow to refrigerate for several hours.

Hibiscus Heaven Tea
Beautiful rosy pink  tea, with a natural sweetness,and high in Vitamin C.

1 part chopped hibiscus flower
1 part rose hips, chopped
½ part orange peel
½ part lemongrass, dried
½ part lemon peel

Mix dry ingredients together well (1 part can equal 1 tsp for easy calculation).  For an extra zip of lemon,  add a drop or two of lemon essential oil.