Ramp Butter Duck Breast Tartine

Ramp Butter Duck Breast Tartines

A Ramp Butter Duck Breast Tartine just might be the best possible way to wish a Happy Mother’s Day! to the ones you love best. It’s fun to make and even more fun to eat. The crunchy, sweet and savory toast slathered in decadent ramp butter and topped with thin slices of grilled duck breast are rich and flavorful. A drizzle of aged balsamic seals the deal. This lovely Ramp Butter Duck Breast Tartine works equally well when served as a rich dinner or as a slightly lighter appetizer (okay, it’s really not any lighter, you just eat less of it). I like pre-slicing the tartine for my guests because when left intact, the duck breast pieces are hard to bite and it makes eating the Ramp Butter Duck Breast Tartine just a little too messy a prospect, especially considering the elegance of the dish. But four little pieces of the Ramp Butter Duck Breast Tartine are the perfect solution. I feel like I should warn you so that you can best plan ahead, this tartine is so good, it’s on my list of dishes worthy of the wine cellar collection. So if you don’t have one handy, or in … Continue reading

Grilled Ramp Butter

Grilled Ramp Butter on buckwheat cherry bread

While Grilled Ramp Butter, isn’t actually a meal in and of itself, and it’s really simple, just two ingredients: grilled ramps processed with salted cultured butter, I think it’s the ultimate in decadent Spring condiments. This delicious butter is amazing on grainy toast with a poached egg, a slice of fancy cheese, a little ham, or, it’s the base for my amazing duck tartines. Keep this Grilled Ramp Butter in the fridge for a week or so and you’ll find it dangerously disappears. A tablespoon will slip into the spring peas you make as a side for dinner, a teaspoon will be on a late afternoon piece of toast with a sliver of good parm. A dallop will land in a cup of store-bought soup. This Grilled Ramp Butter is a special spring treat that helps make ramps season (one of my all-time favorite seasons) last just a little longer. Because, of course, if you haven’t eaten it all too quickly, Grilled Ramp Butter could also be squirreled away in the freezer. … Continue reading

Swedish Gjetost Fondue

Swedish Gjetost Fondue with sliced fruit and crisps

This Gjetost Fondue is another great easy to make ahead hors d’oeuvres that’s perfect for any Thanksgiving, but I served it as a started for my Scandinavian Thanksgiving Menu for good reason. It’s chock full of lovely Swedish cheeses, which are actually rather easy to find, particularly if you live near an IKEA, where they stock all of the cheeses required for this Swedish Gjetost Fondue. But even if you can’t find many of them, the only two that are absolutely essential are the French Gruyère and the Scandinavian Gjetost. The Gjetost in particular cannot be substituted because it is a very unique caramelized goat’s milk cheese. Yes, you heard me, caramelized goat’s milk cheese. But, caramelized milk sounds crazy to describe cheese. It is, you’re right. And while Gjetost on it’s own tends to be a love or hate it food because it’s a little sweet and extremely dense and creamy. It is also absolutely the element that makes this Swedish Gjetost Fondue so special and one of the crowd favorites at Thanksgiving last year, even amongst people who said they didn’t normally like Gjetost. It’s also a cheese that I grew up with at breakfast, served on toast, … Continue reading

Sweet Pickled Carrots and Cauliflower

Sweet Pickled Carrots and Cauliflower appetizers

I absolutely love, love, love, this Sweet Pickled Carrots and Cauliflower recipe and I wish that I could credit myself with it, but instead, credit where credit is due, it comes from Food and Wine. It could easily have been overlooked in the magazine. The photos aren’t stunning, but the flavors, oh, the flavors. I have to say, these Sweet Pickled Carrots and Cauliflower are probably my favorite pickles to date. They’re sweet, they’re spiced, they’re a touch spicy, they’re so flavorful and they make cauliflower, what is in my opinion one of the most boring vegetables, absolutely come alive with flavor and texture. I can’t rave enough about these Sweet Pickled Carrots and Cauliflower. So while you may have to make a run to the store for some of the spices, I guarantee you’ll be glad you did. And since they’re a quick pickle, this recipe is actually really straight-forward and fast. And the Sweet Pickled Carrots and Cauliflower are so delicious that you won’t need to worry about long term-storage for them- they’ll be long gone before you could even begin to think about them going bad. Even if nothing else from my Scandinavian Thanksgiving Menu inspires you, … Continue reading

Salmon Mousse with Rye Crisps

Salmon Mousse with Rye Crisps

While for those of us in the United States (perhaps Alaska and the Pacific Northwest excluded), salmon is special and certainly not the cheapest thing at the fish counter, in Sweden, it’s a “poor man’s” fish and eaten in many different forms on the regular, like this Salmon Mousse with Rye Crisps hors d’oeuvres. Salmon is frequently eaten fresh and simply roasted or grilled, but in this instance I’m using it preserved as the famous salt cured gravlax that we eat with our bagels. And this Salmon Mousse with Rye Crisps hors d’oeuvres is definitely reminiscent of bagels, lox, and cream cheese. In fact, it’s all the ingredients combined into a smooth and rich mousse and then served on rye crisps for perfect blend of flavors and textures. And while Salmon Mousse with Rye Crisps is quite untraditional for a United States Thanksgiving, something like it would certainly be present in the Swedish equivalent that I was paying homage to with my Thanksgiving 2014 Menu. And the Salmon Mousse with Rye Crisps was perfect next to the pickled herring, which was also served. Added bonus, the Salmon Mousse with Rye Crisps is very easy to make. Just be sure to … Continue reading

Olive Honeydew Winter Summer Salad

Olive Honeydew Winter Summer Salad

This Olive Honeydew Winter Summer Salad is one of those amazing recipes that is fitting in both of the odd extremes of winter and summer. While a summer melon makes it burst with the gorgeous flavor only possible in summer fruit, the fennel, olives, and orange which are all readily available winter ingredients make this a salad I still think to prepare deep in the Winter. And as it finally warms up around here enough to make me more than dream of crisp mineral-y white wine and balmy summer night air heavy with the smell of barbeque and citronella (doesn’t that sounds wonderful as you sweep off your patios and plant your annuals?) I find myself making this salad early this year. After all, it truly was a long winter and I’m ready even if the weather isn’t quite. So, I will have to eat it inside with a glass of pinot instead… what a tragedy. The salt and sweet and bitter flavors are so perfectly balanced in the way of many Mediterranean dishes. Prosciutto Melone comes to mind. And even the Caprese. There’s something about simple but complex salads that Mediterraneans just “get” better than anyone else and this … Continue reading

Olive Oil Sculpture

Olive Oil Sculpture with cheese

When there are really talented artists in your family, and you’re really lucky, you get amazing homemade gifts. This year, for my birthday, my dad made what I’m calling an olive oil sculpture. It’s a beautiful piece of wood that he found, and then hollowed out a reservoir and sealed it with some food-safe material that keeps the oil from seeping too deeply into the wood. I’ve been filling this reservoir with special olive oils for specialty cheese boards. I serve fancy cheese and bread (like this sesame bread from High Street, in Philadelphia) on a platter underneath and then add french butter topped with a drizzle of honey, or pine cone syrup, and a sprinkle of maldon salt. It’s a great conversation piece for cocktail hour, as well as a beautiful piece of art and I had to share it with you because it’s so beautiful. I can’t wait for tomatoes on a fence season now, since I can put the lemon vinaigrette in the olive oil sculpture and have guests drizzle it on the tomatoes.   … Continue reading

Mint Butter Lamb Chops

Mint Butter Lamb Chops Jerusalem dinner

When you’re making a very special dinner to serve to friends, such as my Jerusalem Cookbook Dinner Party, sometimes you really just need at least one dish that’s simple, easy, and crowd pleasing, and my Mint Butter Lamb Chops are all those things and more. Since lamb chops are on the expensive side of things, serving them on a night when there are lots of other dishes is a good way to get away with serving them in appetizer portions and still have guests feel like they got their fill. When I was creating the dish I wanted flavors that were interesting enough to stand up to the brilliant flavors and colors of the rest of the dishes; that is such an amazing quality of the Jerusalem recipes, but I also wanted to nod to things just a little more traditional like the pairing of lamb and mint. Because of the fresh mint in the Baba Ganoush via Jerusalem, I already had it on hand and it’s traditional ties to lamb made it an obvious choice. It was important to me that the mint felt savory, not sweet. Also, around this time I had mint and pea ravioli with spicy … Continue reading

Chestnut Soup for Anna

Chestnut Soup for Anna

Not only is December chestnut season, and not only do I love them and all excuses to make chestnut recipes, but my dear friend Anna has just given birth to a beautiful son, and the only thing she has ever asked from me (from a culinary perspective) is for Chestnut Soup. Okay, that’s not quite the whole story, she actually said that the soup was so good that it inspired her to want to bathe in it, and gee, could I make that happen? So when her son was born, I knew just what to do, and I bet you have already guessed that it involved this Chestnut Soup for Anna. You know how you’re supposed to bring presents and casseroles etc. when your friends give birth? And then everyone brings lasagnas all at once, right at the beginning while the mother and the mother-in-law are still hovering close by? Well, that’s not when I stop in with food. I wait. I wait until the mothers have left and maybe dad is back to work and then I bring soup. In perfect single serving containers and I fill the freezer with it. So for Anna, it had to be Chestnut … Continue reading

Roasted Cauliflower Hazelnut Celery Salad via Jerusalem

Roasted Cauliflower Hazelnut Celery Salad via Jerusalem

This Roasted Cauliflower Hazelnut Celery Salad via Jerusalem is one of my very favorite recipes, from one of my very favorite cookbooks from recent years. I have made, or tasted many of the recipes from this book, as the book has been very popular amongst my cooking and entertaining friends, but there’s something about this salad. I have made this Roasted Cauliflower Hazelnut Celery Salad via Jerusalem multiple times, which for a person who has to cook constantly and come up with new recipes of her own almost as frequently, repeating a recipes says something big. Basically, I really love this Roasted Cauliflower Hazelnut Celery Salad via Jerusalem and of course was quick to include in on the menu for my Jerusalem Cookbook Dinner Party. It’s absolutely everything that’s right about winter cooking, and more importantly, a winter salad. And you get to show off your new Pomegranate opening techniques when you make this Roasted Cauliflower Hazelnut Celery Salad via Jerusalem. Fun, right? … Continue reading

Baba Ganoush via Jerusalem

Baba Ganoush via Jerusalem with pita chips

Ok, you got me, this Baba Ganoush via Jerusalem isn’t strictly Baba Ganoush. The flavor profile is really different with the lack of tomatoes and onions in the eggplant base. That said, the title that Jerusalem chooses (Charred Eggplant Salad with…), just distracts me from the fact that this is, at least to me, a gussied up and very modern take on the classic dish. I love this Baba Ganoush via Jerusalem for so many reasons, perhaps best of all is the brilliant choice to add pomegranate kernals to the mix. In winter, the bright ruby jewels are a welcome sight contrasted with the bright lemon zest and intensely green herbs. As the kernals explode in your mouth with little bursts of tart juice, they contrast the smokey, salty, garlicky goodness of the eggplant. This is a dish where skimping on the olive oil both in quantity and quality isn’t the way to go. It adds so much body and flavor to the Baba Ganoush via Jerusalem that you should consider it carefully as an ingredient. I think I try a different olive oil every time I make this dish, and I still haven’t settled upon my favorite. It’s a … Continue reading

Baked Goat Cheese and Homemade Pepper Jelly

Baked Goat Cheese and Homemade Pepper Jelly with pita chips

Baked Goat Cheese and Homemade Pepper Jelly is one of those dishes that was absolutely inspired by the hosting skills of others. Some friends of mine have a lovely Christmukkah party annually that often includes the crowd-pleasing cream cheese with pepper jelly appetizer. In fact, they always have lots of fun old school apps and cocktails. Mike is one of those people who is good at guessing which spirit comes next in the trend book. He was mixing 60’s cocktails before Mad Men was all the rage. In fact, I’m still waiting on the rum explosion he swears is coming, because I believe him. Next to their Mad Men style revival cocktails you’ll find lots of appropriately 60’s snacks, including, the aforementioned cream cheese with pepper jelly, which is one of those appetizers that I forget all about in between Christmukkahs. It’s a funny little dish, and not particularly my style; perhaps I am even a little surprised to realize I absolutely love it. Then again, how could you not? Cream cheese and spicy sweet jelly as an excuse to have fresh baguette… Fair point, well made. So last Thanksgiving, when I was perusing magazines for recipes that might fit … Continue reading