RECIPES - Open House 2014

Chamomile Pound Cake
A piece of parchment paper on the bottom, with a little cooking spray, makes getting this out much easier
Baking spray
3 tbsps ground chamomile
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup + 1/8th cup tepid water
1 tbsp baking powder
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsps finely grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
2 tsps pure vanilla extract

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray 9- by 5-inch loaf pan with baking spray. Mix chamomile with water and set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl; set aside. Beat butter, sugar, and lemon zest with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with chamomile and water mix. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add vanilla and beat just to combine. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until a tester comes out clean when inserted, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer cake to cooling rack and let cool in pan 15 minutes. Invert cake directly onto cooling rack and cool completely, at least 1 hour.

Herbed Sour Cream Blue Cheese Dip
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup blue cheese (or blue cheese crumbles)
2 tbsps fresh parsley, minced
2 tsps fresh garlic, finely minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
8 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
2 tbsps fresh chives or scallions, minced
1 tbsp fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, basil, oregano)
1 tsp Mrs. Dash (optional)
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

Allow cream cheese to sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before using.
In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese using a hand mixer until soft. Add sour cream, blue cheese, and remaining ingredients, mixing well.
Cover and refrigerate one hour before serving.

Serving Suggestion:
Serve accompanied by tortilla chips, celery sticks and cucumber strips, lemon and tomato wedges and a small bowl of hot sauce. Sprinkle vegetables with celery or sea salt and pepper.

Green Goddess Chive Dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1 chopped green onion
1 tbsp tarragon vinegar
1 tsp white sugar

In a blender or food processor, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, chives, green onion, garlic, vinegar, tarragon, sugar and Worcestershire sauce and blend until smooth.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cover and refrigerate until serving. It will keep up to three days in the refrigerator.

Cheese Torta with Basil, Olives, and Sundried Tomatoes
large basil leaves
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped Kalamata olives
10 oz goat cheese, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped basil leaves
1/2 cup finely chopped sundried tomatoes packed in oil, drained

Use a 1 quart domed bowl (not flat like a soup bowl) and a piece of dampened cheesecloth to line the bowl.  Arrange some basil leaves face side down on the cheesecloth.  In another bowl, mix the goat cheese and cream cheese together and add enough milk so that the mixture is smooth and fairly easy to spread.  Add one clove of the minced garlic, season with salt and pepper, and mix well.  In a third bowl combine the rest of the basil with the remaining garlic and add olive oil to make a thick paste.

Spread one-fourth of the cheese carefully over the basil leaves in the bottom of the domed bowl.  Evenly add the sundried tomatoes, spreading them to the edge of the cheese, and press down gently.  Spread one-fourth of the cheese over the tomatoes.  Spread the basil and garlic over this layer, pressing lightly.  Add a third layer of cheese, and cover it with the olives, spreading them evenly to the edge and pressing gently.  Finish with the remaining layer of cheese, cover this with whole, large basil leaves and press down gently.  Fold the cheesecloth in to cover the cheese torta and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.  To serve, fold back the cheesecloth and turn it out onto a serving plate.  Carefully remove the cheesecloth from what is now the top of the torta.  Let the torta stand at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Apricot Sage Cornmeal Cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup fine cornmeal
2 tbsps finely chopped fresh sage leaves
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup dried apricots, finely diced

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer running, add the egg, mix to incorporate, and scrape once more. In a bowl, sift the flour with the baking soda and salt and add to the mixer along with the cornmeal. Mix on low speed until just combined. Add the apricots and sage and mix to combine. (Don’t worry if the dough is slightly sticky.) Shape it into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill several hours. Remove dough from the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper greased with nonstick vegetable spray. Pinch off pieces of dough the size of large marbles and roll them into balls.  Place the dough balls about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet to allow the cookies to spread. Bake until light golden brown around the edges, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Lemon Lavender Curd
1/2 cup of butter
2 lemons, rind & juice up to 1/2 cup
pinch of salt
1 tbsp dried lavender flowers or 3 tbsps fresh
11/4 cup white sugar
4 well beaten eggs

Use a double boiler; bring water underneath to a boil then lower to simmer. Place butter & sugar first in the top pot to melt together, and then add the rest of the ingredients. Whisk gently until smooth and thickened. Pour through a sieve over a heat proof bowl then spoon into two clean jam jars and cool. Keep refrigerated…about a week if you are lucky!

Rose Geranium & Strawberry Jam
2.2 lbs strawberries, hulled, large ones halved
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice pinch of salt
3-3 1/2 cups sugar with added pectin (the more sugar you add, the firmer it sets)
4-6 sweet scented geranium leaves
1 tbsp butter (optional)

Place the strawberries, geranium leaves and lemon juice in a roomy, heavy bottomed pan or preserving pan. The strawberries should be no more than a third of the way up the pan to allow for a rapid rise when a rolling boil is reached. Very lightly crush the strawberries with a potato masher to break them up a little. Place the pan on a gentle heat and add the sugar. Stir until the sugar has fully dissolved. Increase the heat and bring the pan to a full rolling boil (when the surface is covered with a mass of foamy bubbles). Boil for 8-9 minutes, or until setting point is reached. To check for setting point, drop a little jam on a cold saucer. Allow to cool for a minute and then push gently with your fingertip. If the jam crinkles, setting point has been reached. Remove the pan from the heat and if the surface is scummy, add a knob of butter and stir gently until the scum has dispersed. Put in warm, sterilized jars and seal immediately. Unopened and stored in a cool, dry place, the jam will keep for up to a year. Once opened, keep in the fridge or a cool pantry and use within a few weeks.

Carrot, Tarragon & Walnut bread
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting
1 tsp salt
5 1/4 oz carrots, grated
1 tbsp French tarragon leaves, removed from the stems and roughly chopped
1/2 cup reduced-fat 2% milk
1 cup + 2 tbsps whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp toasted walnuts, chopped
1 1/4 cup low-fat yogurt

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Combine the flours, salt and baking soda in a large bowl, then stir in the carrots, walnuts, tarragon, yogurt and enough milk to make a soft and fairly sticky dough. Remove the dough from the bowl and place onto a floured surface. Form it into a flat ball – there is no need to knead it. Put the dough on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment, slash the top with a cross and bake for 30 minutes, until risen and cooked. To check if it is cooked enough, tap the bottom of the loaf – it should sound hollow. It will make 1 large loaf or 2 small ones.

Feta & Tarragon Pita Toasts
3/4 lb crumbled feta cheese
Freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 to 2 tbsps chopped fresh tarragon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped garlic chives
Six 6 inch pita breads

Place crumbled feta cheese in a bowl and add the tarragon, garlic chives and pepper. Toss the mixture with the oil and let stand for 1-3 hours at room temperature. When ready to serve, preheat the broiler. Toast the pitas lightly in a toaster or toaster oven. Cut them in quarters or sixths and top each piece with a tbsp or more of the cheese mixture. Place the pieces on a baking sheet and broil about 5 inches from the heat for 1 minute, or until the cheese just begins to bubble. Serve warm.

Lemon Verbena Pesto
1 cup fresh lemon verbena leaves
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 – 1 c extra virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh parsley
1/2 tsp lemon zest
lemon juice to taste
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1-2 cloves garlic

Put first 6 ingredients in blender or Cuisinart, start blending and slowly drizzle in olive oil. Add oil to desired thickness.

French Boursin
A delicious cheese spread with plenty of herbal kick
1/2 lb ricotta cheese
1/4 tsp cayenne
3 tbsp garlic chives, fresh
1/2 lb cottage cheese
1 tbsp French tarragon, fresh
1/2 cup parsley
1 stick butter
1 tbsp thyme, fresh
2 shallot, finely chopped

Blend first 4 ingredients in food processor until smooth. Add everything else until mixed thoroughly. Refrigerate 2 hours before serving.

Ajaka Basil Pesto
1/2 cup fresh Ajaka basil leaves
1/2 – 1 cup fresh Italian parsley
1/2 cup walnuts
3/4 – 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 – 2 cloves fresh garlic

Blend everything except olive oil in food processor.  Slowly add olive oil to desired consistency.

Spa Water
Don’t have time to brew tea?  No problem, you can make a spa water with hardly any effort!  If you have an abundance of lemon verbena or mint, it only takes a minute.  To prepare, take 2 handfuls of fresh herbs, rinse & pat off, squeeze gently to release the essential oils, and place in a 3 gallon container.  Add water and let sit for about an hour.  Add ice, a squeeze of lemon juice if desired and a bit of honey for sweetness.

For this year’s Open House, our selections of spa waters are:

  • Lemon verbena and rose petal
  • Apple mint with mulling spices
  • Kentucky Colonel mint and lemon balm