RECIPES - Open House 2016

Orange Mint Fudge Brownies

5 ozs semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ozs unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into quarters
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 large eggs
1/4 Cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoons orange extract or sweet orange essential oil

1/4 Cup orange mint, chopped finely
1/2 teaspoons table salt

1 Cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven 350 degrees.  Line an 8 inch square baking pan with foil and spray with vegetable oil spray.  Melt the chocolates (not the cocoa powder) and butter in a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth.  Whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth.  Set aside to cool slightly.

Whisk the eggs, sugar, vanilla, orange extract/essential oil and salt together in a medium bowl until combined, about 15 seconds.  Whisk the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour & the orange mint until just combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan; using a spatula, spread the batter into the corners & smooth the surface.  Bake until slightly puffed and a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 35-40 minutes.  Cool the brownies on a wire fact to room temperature, about 2 hours; loosen the edges with a paring knife and lift the brownies from the pan using the foil.  Cut the brownies into 1 inch squares and serve.  (do not cut the brownies until ready to serve; the brownies can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 5 days).  Will make 64 1 inch squares as very rich.

NOTE:  To melt the chocolates in a microwave, heat them with the butter at 50 percent power for 2 minutes; stir the chocolate and continue heating until melted, stirring once every additional minute.

Mediterranean Tomato & Rosemary Soup

2 1/2 Cup vegetable or chicken stock
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion finely sliced

1 large red bell pepper, seeds  removed & finely chopped
1 1/2 lb tomatoes, peeled & chopped
2 rosemary springs each 1 inch long

Salt & pepper to taste
Pinch of brown sugar

1 tablespoon orange juice

Gently heat the stock in a saucepan over medium heat.  In another large saucepan, melt the butter with the olive oil & gently sweat the onions & red pepper until soft (try not to color them).  Add the garlic, stir & cook for a minute.  Add the chopped tomatoes, stir for a few minutes, then pour in the heated stock and add the rosemary sprigs.  Simmer for 20 minutes, add your salt & pepper to taste and the pinch of soft brown sugar.  Remove the rosemary sprigs, it does not matter if some of the leaves fall off.  Using either a hand blender or a food processor, mix for a few seconds.  If you are a purist you can sieve the soup over a large bowl so that it is perfectly smooth.  Return to pan, add the orange juice and check the seasoning.  Gently reheat but do not allow to boil.  Pour into serving bowls. Serves 4.

Black Olive Pesto

1 Med garlic clove, unpeeled
1 1/2 Cup pitted kalamata olives (soak at least 10 minutes squeeze out excess water and rinse)
1/2 Cup Parmesan cheese
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 Cup parsley leaves
1 Medium shallot, chopped coarse (about 3 tablespoons)
8 large basil leaves (1/2 Cup approx.)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 anchovy fillet, rinsed
Pepper to taste

Toast the garlic in a small skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until the garlic is softened & spotty brown, aoubt 8 minutes; when cool, remove and discard the skin.  Process the garlic, olives, Parmesan cheese, parsley, shallot, basil, lemon juice and anchovy in a food processor, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Transfer mixture to a bowl and add some olive oil, mix in, add more oil, mix in until you get the consistency you want.

Calendula, Chive and Curly Leaf Parsley Butter

1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter
5 tablespoons combo of Calendula flowers, Chives & Parsley chopped fresh herbs
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Chop the herbs very fine first in a food processor or blender, add softened butter and lemon juice and blend.  Can freeze up to 6 months.

Habanero Pepper Jelly

1 1/2 C cider vinegar
6 1/2 C white sugar
1 C shredded carrot
1/2 C minced red bell pepper
15 habanero peppers (seeded – optional and minced)
One 3oz liquid pectin

Stir the vinegar and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat until the sugar has dissolved, then stir in the carrot and red bell pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5 minutes. Add the habanero peppers and simmer 5 minutes longer. Pour in the pectin, and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Skim and discard any foam from the jelly.  Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Pour the jelly into the hot sterilized jars,   filling the jars to within 1/4 inch of the top. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue. Top with lids, and screw on rings.  Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 5 minutes.  Remove the jars from the stockpot and place onto a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool. Once cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all).

Hot Mess Habanero Pepper Jelly Candy

Same recipe as above except it is two 3oz liquid pectin.  Melt your favorite chocolate, dip and freeze or use a chocolate fountain. 

Sweet Pepper Jelly      

2 1/4 pounds red bell peppers (about 5)
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon butter (optional)
1 box (1 3/4 to 2 oz.) dry MCP or Sure-Jell pectin, or 2 boxes (1 3/4 oz. each) dry Ball Fruit Jell pectin
7 1/2 cups sugar

Use five pint-size jars.  Meanwhile, stem, seed, and finely chop bell peppers; you should have 4 1/2 cups.  In an 8 to 10-quart pan, combine bell peppers, vinegar, lemon juice, chili powder, butter, and pectin. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, stirring often. Stir in sugar; when mixture returns to a boil, stir for exactly 4 minutes if using MCP pectin (1 minute if using Sure-Jell or Ball Fruit Jell). Remove from heat immediately.  Skim and discard any foam from jam, and stir occasionally for 5 minutes to distribute peppers evenly.  Pour mixture into your already prepared sterilized jars. Process jars for 5 minutes.  For best flavor, let jars stand at least 2 weeks before opening. 

Shane’s Salsa

8 tomatoes
2-4 jalapeño peppers
1 medium onion

1 clove garlic
1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice

In oven, roast 4 of the tomatoes, jalapeño peppers and garlic (roast in paper), about 20-25 minutes.  After roasting you can remove the seeds and veins from the peppers if you do not want the extra heat.  Remove the paper from the garlic dice the remaining tomatoes and set aside.  After veggies are roasted, combine everything but the 4 diced tomatoes in Cuisinart until well blended.  Pour into bowl and add diced tomatoes.  Chill in refrigerator. Makes about 3 cups.

Tip: The longer you roast the tomatoes, the sweeter they will get.  I recommend only using one or two varieties of tomatoes.  If you use too many, it will affect the overall flavor.  All amounts are adjustable.  If you wish it to be hotter, you can use habanero or serrano peppers.  You can use more or less of any of the spices and herbs.  Experiment! 

Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 cup fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon

1/4 teaspoon honey

Mix all ingredients together in a blender or food processor.  Blend until smooth.  Drizzle on your salad and store the rest in a sealed container in the fridge.


1 cup bulgur wheat 1/4 cup za’atar  (recipe below)
1 3/4 cups boiling water Juice and zest of 1 to 2 lemons
2 tablespoons walnut or olive oil 1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
4 to 6 inner stalks of celery with leaves, finely chopped (about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of chopped celery with leaves)
1 spring onion or 2 scallions, minced Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Plain Greek yogurt 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
More za’atar as needed Crumbled feta cheese (optional)

In a large bowl, stir za’atar into bulgur wheat and pour boiling water over the mixture. Let sit until the water is completely absorbed, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, zest and juice your lemon, chop your parsley, onions and celery, toast your walnuts.  When the wheat has absorbed all the water and cooled to room temperature, stir in zest and juice of one lemon (you might add more later) and 2 tablespoons of walnut or olive oil. Add in chopped parsley, onions, and celery and stir well. Taste. Add salt and pepper to taste, and adjust the rest of the seasoning to your taste. You may need more oil and/or lemon juice, and you may want to stir in more za’atar.  To serve, scoop the tabouli onto a plate and add a tablespoon or so of plain yogurt. Sprinkle the yogurt with a tablespoon of the chopped walnuts and a pinch or two of za’atar.  (I’ve also eaten it with a sprinkling of feta cheese, and it’s really good!) 

Za’atar (If you can’t find it ready-made)

3 tablespoons dried Thymbara spicata, or spicy oregano
3 tablespoons dried thyme (or lemon thyme, if you can find it)
3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted 2 tablespoons sumac
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (not traditional, but adds a nice bite of heat) 

Lemon-Lavender Pound Cake

makes 2 loaves
1/3 cup milk
6 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups AP flour
1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest

1 2/3 cups butter, softened
1/3 cup dried lavender flowers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour the sides and bottoms of two loaf pans.  Set aside.  In a bowl, combine milk, eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla.  Whisk until combined.  In the bowl of a mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and freshly grated lemon zest. Mix to combine.  Add the softened butter to the flour mixture.  Cream for 2-3 minutes until fluffy.  Gradually add the milk mixture in 2-3 parts, mixing thoroughly for about 30 seconds to 1 minute before each addition.  Mix in lavender flowers until evenly distributed through the batter.  Be careful not to overmix.  Divide the batter into the two prepared loaf pans.  Bake in oven for ~30-35 minutes.  When the tops are about to crack, score the tops in one line with a sharp, oiled knife to create an even crack.  Then, place an oiled piece of foil on top of the cakes, oil side down.  Continue to bake for 25-30 minutes (for a total baking time of ~55-60 minutes).  When a toothpick removed from the center of the cake comes out clean, the cakes are done.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes on a rack before turning the cakes out.  Let cool completely.

For glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar                     Juice of 1 lemon                    Zest of  1 lemon
Sliced almonds, optional

Mix together the powdered sugar and the lemon juice.  Add in the lemon zest.  Mix until combined.  Pour the glaze over the pound cakes.  Immediately top with a sprinkling of sliced almonds, if using.  Let dry. 

Herb and Cheese Quick Bread

2 cups flour                                           1 tablespoon sugar                              2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda                      1 teaspoon basil                                   1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon sage                                                1/4 cup margarine or butter
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese or 1 cup old cheddar cheese or 1 cup monterey jack cheese
egg, beaten                        1/2 cup yogurt                      1/2 cup milk                           1/8 cup poppy seed

Combine dry ingredients.  Cut in margarine or butter.  Combine cheese, egg, yogurt and milk, and add to other ingredients.  Dump into a round or square 9-inch pan, sprinkle with poppy seeds.  Bake at 350°F for 30-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Servings 8-10 Units US

Lemongrass-Ginger Cookies

This recipe came on a card alongside Gourmet Garden‘s squeeze bottles of ginger spice paste and lemongrass herb paste that I found in the fresh herb section of the supermarket.  I prefer real lemongrass and ginger in cooking, but the pastes work surprisingly well in these subtly flavoured, moist, chewy cookies.  A dusting of icing sugar always makes homely cookies look prettier.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature                  3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg                                                                             2 teaspoons each: lemongrass paste, ginger paste
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour                                               1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt                                                                  Icing sugar for dusting

In large bowl, beat butter and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and two pastes.   In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.  In two additions over low speed, beat flour mixture into butter mixture until just mixed.  Drop batter by tablespoons 2 inches apart on to parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake in batches in preheated 350F oven 7 to 8 minutes or until just set.  Let cool on baking sheets 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.  Using fine mesh strainer, dust cookies with icing sugar.  Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.  Makes about 24. 

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

Infuse a roasted flavor into your pesto to top pasta, bruschetta, etc. (Recipe Credit: Aube Giroux of Kitchen Vignettes)

About 5 large sweet red peppers (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3 garlic cloves                                                                       1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, toasted                          1/2 cup freshly-grated parmesan
1/2 small bunch flat-leaf parsley (about 1/2 cup chopped)
1 teaspoon paprika                                                              1/4 cayenne pepper or pepper flakes (optional)
2 teaspoons lemon juice                                                     1/2 teaspoon sea salt (more if you wish)
1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil (exact amount is a matter of personal preference)

Roast the peppers over any kind of flame (wood fire is best but a gas burner will do). Your flame shouldn’t be too harsh so that the pepper has time to cook and soften inside while its skin chars. Place the pepper directly on the flame and turn it often, using tongs. Once it’s all blackened, immediately place it a tightly lidded pot or in a paper bag. Let it cool for about 15 to 30 minutes. As it “sweats”, the skin will separate from the flesh and become very easy to peel off. Peel the skins, scrape off the seeds, and your peppers are ready. (If the skins were hard to remove and it gets very messy, you can rinse off the peppers flesh, but it’s better if you can avoid this because the juices have a lot of flavor.

An alternate way to roast the pepper is in the oven, on a baking sheet for about 15 minutes under the broiler (keeping an eye on them and turning over as needed) or for about 50 to 60 minutes at 450F.  Once your roasted peppers are skinned, and seeds removed, you can roughly chop them into pieces. Roughly chop the garlic and parsley as well. Now simply place all the ingredients in the food processor and pulse until you are satisfied with the texture. I like a coarse pesto but some people prefer a smooth and silky pesto, it’s up to you how much to blend it.  This pesto makes the perfect amount for 1 pound of pasta. Add it to the pasta once cooked and serve it with parsley and capers. You can also serve this pesto on bruschetta, on polenta, or even with an omelet. The possibilities are endless!