RECIPES - Open House 2015

Creamy Rosemary Pesto (from Pestos!) 

1/3 cup fresh rosemary leaves
1 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves

2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup Parmesan

1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup olive oil

2 tbsp heavy cream

Combine rosemary, parsley, garlic, cheese, cream, and walnuts in a food processor. Process to mix. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and process to the desired consistency. Yield: About 1 cup.

Burnet Dip
This cucumber flavor is refreshing for summer appetizers.  Experiment with different mints to discover your favorite.  Sour cream will yield a thicker, richer-tasting dip,  whereas the yogurt has a thinner consistency and tarter flavor. 

1 cup fresh burnet leaves
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup low-fat or nonfat sour cream or plain nonfat yogurt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Pulverize the burnet, mint, lemon juice and salt in a food processor or blender.  When smooth and of uniform consistency, pour into a bow and stir in the sour cream or yogurt and the black pepper.  Let sit for 1 hour to allow flavor to blend.  Makes 1 1/3 cups.

Nasturtium Dip
This was our late friend Linda Alquist’s favorite dip recipe! 

8 oz softened cream cheese
2 tbsp mayonnaise

2 tbsp chopped chives
Juice of 1 lime

1/2 tsp Beau Monde
1 dozen nasturtium flowers

8-10 nasturtium leaves, cut small
Fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together.  Serve on wheat crackers or sliced cucumber.

French Boursin
A delicious cheese spread with plenty of herbal kick. 

1/2 lb ricotta cheese
1/2 lb cottage cheese

1 stick butter
1/4 tsp cayenne

1 tbsp French tarragon, fresh
1 tbsp thyme, fresh

3 tbsp garlic chives,fresh
1/2 cup parsley

2 shallots, finely cut
1 tsp black pepper
4 cloves garlic

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

Roasted Red Pepper Spread
Delicious when you first make it, but chill it for 24 hours or more for the most flavor. 

1 jar (7 oz) roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1 pkg (4 oz) crumbled Feta cheese, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice

1 tbsp Greek oregano
1 1/2 tbsp Lemon thyme

In mixing bowl, combine peppers, cheese, onions, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and herbs.

Grapefruit Salad with Jicama 

4 cups red cabbage, thinly shredded, washed, rinsed twice and patted dry
2 cups jicama, very thinly shredded
1 cup carrot, very thinly shredded

1 large grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
2 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup rau ram (Vietnamese coriander), or substitute 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup candied pecans (recipe follows)
1/2 cup dressing (see recipe below)

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.  Toss well and serve.  Serves  8.  Yields 9 cups. 

Candied Pecans

1/2 cup egg whites (4 large eggs)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt

2 cups pecan halves

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  With whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form.  With mixer still on, slowly add sugar and salt.  Beat 2 more minutes.  Fold egg whites into pecans.  Then spread mixture onto an ungreased sheet pan.  Bake until egg whites are puffed and golden brown, about 15 minutes.  Toss to deflate whites, spread out again and bake until nuts are lightly toasted, about 15 minutes.  Yields 3 cups.


5 cloves garlic, peeled
2 Thai chilies, seeded (or 1 jalapeno)

3/4 cup sugar
1 cup light soy sauce
1/2 cup rice vinegar

1 cup water

In a mortar, food processor or blender, pound the garlic, chilies and sugar into a paste.  Add soy sauce, vinegar and water.  Yields 3 cups.  Store in refrigerator.

Herb Garden Punch
This punch is easy to make, and people always rave about it.  Our recently passed longtime friend, Mary Lau, helped us with drinks for open house every year.  This was her favorite! 

2 generous bunches lemon balm sprigs
2 generous bunches mild flavored mint
2 large cans (46 oz) unsweetened pineapple juice
juice of 2-3 lemons

3 lemons, cut into round slices
additional sprigs lemon balm and/or mint
Sparkling water or champagne, and fresh lemon juice to taste
2-3 limes, cut into round slices

Gently wring the bunches of lemon balm and mint to release flavor.  Place them in a large container, and cover with the juices and lemon slices.  Chill overnight, occasionally stirring and pressing down on herbs with back of a wooden spoon.  Prior to serving, remove the herbs and replace with fresh herb sprigs.  Pour punch into iced glasses with sparkling water or champagne, lemon juice, lime slices and a sprig of fresh lemon balm or mint. 

Lemongrass Snowballs
Very unusual and truly delicious! 

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners sugar

1 tsp lemon extract or lemon baking oil
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut, fine or medium shred
2 1/2 tbsp lemongrass puree or 1 tbsp lemongrass powder
2 cups (12 oz) white chocolate chips, chopped and divided
Additional coconut and lemongrass powder for decoration

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until creamy.  Add lemon oil or extract.  Gradually beat in flour, coconut and lemongrass.  Stir in 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips.  Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place 1/2 inch apart on parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake on middle rack until cookies are set and light golden brown on bottom, 10-12 minutes.    Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes; remove to cooling racks to cool completely.  Microwave remaining white chocolate chips in heavy duty plastic bag, kneading at 10-15 second intervals, until+ totally melted and smooth.  Cut a tiny corner from bag; squeeze to drizzle over cookies.  Sprinkle with additional coconut and lemongrass powder, if desired.    Refrigerate cookies for about 5 minutes or until chocolate is set.  Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.  Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

Ajo means garlic in Spanish, and you can’t miss the flavor of it in this spread. This is a recipe Rose’s grandmother brought from Spain, and the original doesn’t include any herbs except garlic. Dress it up with some oregano and thyme and a little lime juice, or mix in spicy bush basil, or enjoy it as is. Rose’s mom made this for almost every open house! 

1/2 cup almonds, blanched
9 garlic cloves

1 cup olive oil
5-6 slices dry stale bread, without crust (French bread is best)
2 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 tomato, peeled
1 egg

Put blanched almonds and garlic into the food processor and grind well. In a bowl mix a little water with vinegar. Place slices of bread one at a time into liquid, squeeze out liquids well. Discard liquids. Alternate adding bread and oil to the almond mixture in the processor and mix well. Add egg and mix well. Chop tomato and sprinkle on top. Keep refrigerated.

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

1/2 lb cream cheese, softened
3 tbsp fresh sage leaves, chopped (plus a few whole leaves for garnish)
1/2 lb horseradish 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. 

Basil Pesto
The classic for summer pasta!  Rose’s dad loved this recipe! 

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 – 1 cup fresh Italian parsley
3/4 – 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 – 2 cloves fresh garlic

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

Chamomile Tea Cookies
Chamomile for cookies sounds unusual, but why not use a common tea plant for delicious dessert treats?  We think Peter Rabbit would have added these cookies to his tea party in a heartbeat! 

1/4 cup dried chamomile flowers
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup flour

Carefully chop the chamomile blossoms and set aside.  Cream the butter and sugar, then beat in the eggs and vanilla.  Stir in the flour and chamomile.  Drop by scant teaspoonfuls onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. 

Za’atar-Spiced Beet Dip with Goat Cheese and Walnuts
Za’atar is either a single herb or a mixture of oregano, thyme, sumac and sesame seeds.  This one is made with a Turkish native called Thymbra spicata, but you could also use Greek oregano, Mexican oregano, Syrian oregano, or the traditional mixture.

6 medium beets (1 1/2 lbs), trimmed
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 small red chili, seeded and minced
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon Za’atar
1/4 cup roasted walnuts
2 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Warm bread, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Put the beets in a small roasting pan and add 1/4 cup of water.  Cover with foil and bake for about 1 hour, until tender.  Let cool slightly.  Peel the beets, cut into wedges and transfer to a food processor.  Add the garlic, chile and yogurt and pulse until blended.  Add the olive oil, maple syrup and za’atar and puree.  Season with salt.  Scrape into a wide, shallow bowl.  Scatter the nuts, goat cheese and scallions on top and serve with bread.  Adapted from the cookbook ‘Jerusalem:  A Cookbook’. 

Rosemary Orange Marmalade (The Herbal Pantry) 

5 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 cups boiling water

4 – 5 oranges
3 cups sugar

3 oz liquid pectin

Steep 1 sprig of rosemary in the boiling water for 30 minutes; discard the herb sprig. Peel the zest from the oranges, removing as little pith as possible; julienne thinly and place in a saucepan with water to cover. Simmer, covered, about 1/2 hour or until tender. Drain and reserve. With a sharp knife free the orange sections from their membranes. Seed the oranges and dice coarsely, then transfer to a non-aluminum saucepan with the rosemary infusion and the sugar and bring to a boil. Boil, stirring frequently, for 35 minutes. Add the pectin and boil for exactly 1 minute. Place a sprig of rosemary in each of 4 half-pint jars and pour the marmalade over them.  Seal.

Marinated Herbed Olives
A quick way liven up plain olives. 

2 6 oz cans black olives, drained
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 onion, julienne
1 tsp coriander seed, crushed
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 sprigs lemon thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp fennel seed
dried red pepper flakes

Put olives in a glass quart jar.  Combine all other ingredients except thyme and rosemary in a saucepan, and heat gently over low heat.  Pour over olives and top with a little warm water if necessary to cover olives.  Marinate for several hours before serving, or refrigerate for up to 2 months.  Bring to room temperature before serving.

Raspberry-Lemon Verbena Butter 

1/2 pound unsalted butter
1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
4 ounces fresh or frozen raspberries (not in syrup)
1 small handful young, tender lemon verbena leaves

Thaw the raspberries if frozen, and pour off any excess liquid. With all ingredients at room temperature, blend butter, sugar, and raspberries until smooth (about 3 minutes). Strip out any large veins in the lemon verbena leaves, then add the leaves (chopped if you’re mixing by hand) and blend until the texture is pleasing. 

Catnap Honey
Some people find this honey to be gently relaxing, so try it swirled into chamomile tea before bed.  The idea of infusing herbs in honey comes from ancient Egyptian herbalists, who used their potions as general body tonics and digestive aids. 

1/4 cup fresh lemon balm leaves (about 24 leaves)
1/4 cup fresh lemon verbena leaves (about 14 large leaves)
1 cup fresh catnip leaves and flowers
1 lb dark wildflower honey

Combine the lemon balm, lemon verbena, and catnip in a food processor, spice grinder, or blender and whiz until very finely ground but not quite a paste.  Don’t skimp on this step, or the texture won’t be smooth and silky.  Heat the honey in a small saucepan over medium heat until liquid, then stir in the herbs.  Let the mixture cool slightly, then pour into a jar and cover.  Drizzle it onto scones or muffins to enjoy with afternoon tea, swirl it into iced coffee, thin it with lemon juice to make a dressing for fruit salads, or use it as a condiment for roast lamb.  Makes 1 3/4 cups. 

Basil Curry Dip
There are never any leftovers from this dip; we find we will scoop it up with pita bread, veggies, crackers or even our fingers! 

1 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp lime juice
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp ground Thai basil
1 tbsp minced parsley
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp minced onion
1/4 tsp curry powder

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. 

Lavender Lemonade 

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh or 1 tbsp dried lavender blossoms
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, strained
Ice cubes

Combine sugar with 2 1/2 cups water in a medium pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add lavender to sugar water, cover and remove from heat. Let stand at least 20 minutes. Strain mixture and discard lavender. Pour infusion into a glass pitcher. Add lemon juice and another 2 1/2 cups water. Stir well and serve.

Nancy’s Mint Cookies
From our first open house, this is an easy fast cookie to bake for any time of year.  Add nuts or chocolate chips for a fun change. 

1 cup butter (or 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup shortening)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp peppermint extract

2 tbsp crushed dried peppermint leaves
2 cups flour sugar

Cream butter and sugar. Add salt, extract, mint leaves, and flour. Mix well. Chill dough for 1 hr, or until firm enough to handle. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Form dough into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar. Press each ball with your thumb. Place on ungreased baking sheets and bake 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on racks. Add chocolate chips or nuts for variety.

Scented Geranium Pound Cake
Pound cake always tastes better the next day, so wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature overnight.A true pound cake has a lb each of butter, sugar, flour and eggs.  Be sure to weigh the eggs accurately, as eggs vary in size. 

12-16 unsprayed scented geranium leaves (rose, lime, lemon, apple)
1 lb (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 lb sugar
1 lb all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 lb large eggs, separated
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees with rack in center.  Spray two 9 x 4 x 2 3/4 inch loaf pans with cooking spray; line with parchment.  Arrange geranium leaves, with tops facing down, along bottom and around sides of pan.  Set aside.  Beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Sift together flour and baking powder.  With the mixer set on low, add yolks one at a time to butter and sugar mixture, alternating with the flour mixture.  With the mixer on medium, beat in vanilla, then cream.  Batter will be thick.  Transfer batter to a large mixing bowl and set aside.  Place egg whites in a medium non reactive bowl and whip egg whites to stiff peaks.  Using a rubber spatula, sitr about one quarter of the egg whites into batter to lighten.  Fold in remaining whites.  Carefully spoon batter into prepared pans.  Run a knife blade through batter a few times to remove air bubbles.  Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 80-90 minutes.  Let cool on wire rack, 1 to 1 1/2 hours, then remove from pans.

Popcorn Chickpeas
Toss canned chickpeas in a hot skillet with lots of olive oil, then finish them with rosemary and garlic, and they transform into this warm, chewy and irresistible cocktail munchy. 

One 15 oz can chickpeas
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp coarsely chopped rosemary
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
3/4 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Drain and rinse the chickpeas in a strainer.  Turn them out onto paper towels or a clean dish towel and pat them dry.  Pour the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and toss in the chickpeas.  Cook them for 5 to 7 minutes, shaking the pan often.  They won’t really brown, but they will turn several shades darker, shrink a bit, and form a light crust.  Pour the chickpeas back into the strainer to drain the excess oil and then return them to the pan.  Lower the heat to medium and add the rosemary and garlic.  Stir for another minute or two until the garlic begins to brown.  Sprinkle with the salt and a few grindings of pepper.  Toss again and pour them into a serving bowl.  Serve warm.