RECIPES - Open House 2022


Ajo with Za’atar
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 1/2 tsp finely chopped Za’atar (we used Thymbra spicata, but you could also use Origanum syriacum, Satureja thymbra, or the traditional blend that includes sumac, marjoram, thyme and sesame seeds)
1 cup olive oil
5-6 slices dry stale bread, without crust (Sourdough bread is best)
4 Tbsp vinegar
4 Tbsp water
1/2 tomato, peeled
1 egg

Put blanched almonds, garlic, and Za’atar into the food processor and grind well. In a bowl mix the 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. Add salt to taste. Chop tomato and sprinkle on top. Keep refrigerated.

Red Lentil Soup

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch cayenne
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tablespoon salt
1 large onion chopped fine
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups red lentils

2 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 tsp dried mint
1 tsp paprika

In a pot melt butter, add chopped onions and salt and stir.  let sweat 5 minutes till soften.  Add the black pepper, ground ginger and a pinch of cayenne.  Stir.  Add the cinnamon, coriander & cumin, stir and cook 2 minutes on medium heat.  Add the tomato paste & garlic and stir continually for 1 minute.  Add the chicken broth, water and red lentils. Let come to a boil then drop to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes.  Whisk 30 seconds and soup will thicken.  Stir in the lemon juice.  To make the garnish melt the butter add the mint and paprika, stir.  Add garnish after the soup in individual bowls. Drizzle garnish on top of the soup.  Enjoy!

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
1/2 part orange peel
1/2 part lemongrass, dried
1/2 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.

Lavender Lemonade

1/2 cup sugar
6 cups water
1/4 cup fresh or 1 tbsp dried lavender flowers
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Bring the sugar and 2 cups of the water to a boil in a small saucepan.  Add the lavender flowers, cover and remove from the heat.  Let the syrup steep for at least 30 minutes.  Strain the syrup into a pitcher.  Stir in 1/2 cup lemon juice and the remaining 4 cups water.  Taste and add more lemon juice if necessary.  Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.  Makes 1 1/2 quarts.

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 Napolitano 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.

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.

Lavender Variation:  Increase lemon extract to 1 1/2 tsp, and 3 tbsp ground dried lavender.  Add the lavender after you cream the butter and sugar.

Violet Jam

1 1/2 cups violet blossoms (pesticide free)
1 1/2 cups distilled water divided (3/4 cup - 3/4 cup)
1 medium lime
2 1/3 cups sugar
1 package dry pectin (1 3/4 ounce)

Rinse violet blossoms well and place in a blender or food processor.  Add the 1st 3/4 cup water and the juice of the lime; blend well.  Gradually add sugar, blending well.  In a saucepan, mix the pectin and 2nd 3/4 cup water; bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute.  Add to blender or food processor and blend for 1 minute.  Quickly pour into prepared jars and seal. 

NOTES/TIPS:  Always use distilled water.  This jam sets up fast.  If it starts to set as you're pouring, it's not a problem.  Keep pouring.  It has a "butter like" consistency.

Oregano Pesto (Italian and Syrian)

1/2 Cup fresh oregano leaves (we used Italian for one pesto sample & Syrian aka Za'atar for the other pesto sample)
1 1/2 Cups fresh parsley leaves
2 large garlic cloves
1/2 Cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 Cup walnuts or pine nuts
1/2 Cup olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice

Combine the oregano, parsley, garlic, cheese and nuts in a food processor or blender.  Process to mix.  With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil.  Add the lemon juice and process to the desired consistency.  Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Marinated Herbed Olives
A quick way to 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
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 tsp coriander seed, crushed
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 generous handful of gently crushed lemon verbena leaves
2 sprigs rosemary
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp fennel seed
dried red pepper flakes

Put olives, rosemary and lemon verbena leaves in a glass quart jar.  Combine all other ingredients 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.

Tip: Since the oil can solidify in the refrigerator, you need to gently break up the oil and stir in a bowl.  Pour olives back into the jar, making sure the olives are covered with the liquid.

Savory Violet Butter

1 stick unsalted softened butter
1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/4 tsp minced fresh garlic
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp grated lime zest
1/4 tsp grated orange peel
1/2 tsp lime juice
5 fresh violet flowers

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  Great on grilled corn, steak and fish.

Savory Walnut and Herb Biscotti
Use instead of breadsticks or crackers for an elegant change.

1 cup and 3 tbsp flour
1/2 cup finely ground parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
10 fresh sage leaves finely chopped
3 sprigs fresh lemon thyme leaves, chopped
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3 tbsp 1% milk
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Whisk together flour, cheese, walnuts, herbs, baking powder, salt, and cayenne in a medium bowl.  Whisk together egg, egg yolk, milk, and oil in a small bowl.  Add wet ingredients into dry and stir to combine and turn mixture out onto a lightly floured surface; with floured hand knead dough until completely combined.  Divide dough in half and form two 10-inch-long logs on the prepared baking sheet.   Bake 25 minutes until lightly brown on bottom, until pan from front to back halfway through cooking time.  Let cool on baking sheet on wire rack for 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperatures to 300 degrees.  With a serrated knife, cut each log into 12-15 pieces about 1/2 inch thick.  Place slices, cut side down on baking sheet, bake until lightly browned, about 12 minutes.  Turn slices over and bake another 12 minutes.  Cool completely.

Lemon Verbena ‘Spa’ Water
It’s very easy to add delicious herbs directly to water, without having to heat up the water or make tea.  Lemon verbena is especially easy, having a fresh lemony flavor that can quickly add flavor to water, even at room temperature.  We add a handful of lightly ‘bruised’ or crushed fresh leaves (including the stems) to a gallon of water and let it sit for several hours.  Add ice and you are ready to enjoy!

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
1/2 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.