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

Baked German Cherry Almond Pancakes

Baked German Cherry Almond Pancakes

As many Summer stories do, at least for me, this one, the story of the Baked German Cherry Almond Pancakes begins with a large bowl of cherries. I pitted the cherries and then what to do? It turns out, wait for your birthday, which isn’t in the summer at all. I first made these Baked German Cherry Almond Pancakes last summer and then never quite got them up and posted. But this year on December 10th, for my birthday, I was inspired to make a special breakfast for one. I love baked German pancakes of all flavors. I like the apple ones in the fall, blueberry is a particular favorite, but this cherry almond one is fit for nizoral. And since it can be made with fresh cherries when they’re abundant in the summer, or with the special flown in from Chile cherries in the winter, or even from frozen cherries if you’re far from the fancy flown in from Chile sort of markets, it’s something you can make special to celebrate all year long. No matter when you make it, or what cherries you’re using, you’ll love these Baked German Cherry Almond Pancakes. … Continue reading

Thick and Smooth Fall Apple Butter

Thick and Smooth Fall Apple Butter with croissant

Thick and Smooth Fall Apple Butter is a delight to eat and a cinch to make. And the best part? Thick and Smooth Fall Apple Butter makes fall last all year long if you decide to preserve it. The apples, plus apple cider give it a very concentrated flavor. The cinnamon and cardamom make the thick spread full of spice and flavor. And the dark brown sugar, which is my personal preference, makes this spread rich and deep in flavor. I love spreading it on warm breads of all sorts but warm croissants are one of my personal favorite uses. I also love it in place of mustard or mayo on a sandwich like my Ladies Lunching Chicken Salad Croissant Sandwich. My sister put it on a slice of my Double Almond Pumpkin Bread over Thanksgiving and remarked, this tasted like fall! No matter how you choose to use this Thick and Smooth Fall Apple Butter, you’re going to love it. … Continue reading

Lingonberry Elderflower Cranberry Relish

Lingonberry Elderflower Cranberry Relish for Thanksgiving

One item that I absolutely cannot have Thanksgiving without is a version of my Lingonberry Elderflower Cranberry Relish. If you check out a couple of my menus you’ll see that I make Cranberry Relish a little differently every year, based on the direction I’m taking the menu. For the Mexican Thanksgiving, I added a little tequila. For Caribbean Thanksgiving, I added lime and dark rum. This year, for my Scandinavian Thanksgiving menu, I’ve added elderflower and lingonberries. So why is Lingonberry Elderflower Cranberry Relish so critical to Thanksgiving? Well, the tart flavor cuts through all the salt and fat to balance each dish and is an essential part of a perfect bite for me. I also love it for leftovers. It’s a great condiment on a turkey sandwich and with the Juniper Brined Turkey I made for my Scandinavian Thanksgiving Menu those sandwiches are more tender and flavorful than ever. If you’d rather go with the classic relish, just skip the elderflower and lingonberry preserves, but I must say this Lingonberry Elderflower Cranberry Relish brings a little something extra to the Holiday table this year that I think you and your guests will notice and enjoy. … Continue reading

Leek Soup with Fried Sage

Leek Soup with Fried Sage

This Leek Soup with Fried Sage is velvety, savory, smooth, and delicious. It’s easy to make in the large quantity I have it scaled for in this recipe. This way you can eat what you like and the freeze the leftovers. This Leek Soup with Fried Sage freezes really well, like many soups, for that matter. In fact, I made this soup a couple of weeks before I needed it for my Scandinavian Thanksgiving Menu and simply pulled it out of the freezer and reheated it the day of the feast. I love cooking ahead for big deal meals; it’s so helpful for stress management a.k.a. hanging out with your guests drinking Rhubarb Lillet Rose Aquavit Spritzers, which is really what you should be doing anyway when you have a big party, right? The good news is that you can make the garnish ahead of time as well. The pretty green sage provides some visual interest and awesome texture, but this simple soup is still delicious without it if you want to keep it really simple or sage isn’t your thing. I think it would be great to try this Leek Soup with Fried Sage with other fried herbs. In … Continue reading

Rhubarb Lillet Rose Spritzer

rhubarb aquavit lillet rose spritz

While I absolutely love savory cocktails, not everyone does; some people prefer something a little sweet, like this Rhubarb Lillet Rose Spritzer. So when you’re serving a drink like my Celery Aquavit Spritzer for your big, fancy schmancy Scandinavian Thanksgiving menu, it’s best to make two cocktails for a large group. After all, two cocktails is better than one anyway, right? When I was making aquavit, I wanted to make some Northern, Scandinavian flavors and rhubarb was at the top of my list for pairing with holiday flavors. I also finally procured a bottle of lillet rose, which can be surprisingly tricky to track down and wanted to feature it and it’s lovely pink color. The rhubarb aquavit fit this Rhubarb Lillet Rose Spritzer in that dimension as well since it is also a beautiful pink shade. I have to admit, this isn’t a particularly complex cocktail; it’s light, smooth, and easy to drink. But that’s perfect when you have a huge menu with many courses and lots and lots of awesome wine pairings. In fact, this simple and easy Rhubarb Lillet Rose Spritzer it perfect when it needs to pair with three very different appetizers, like a gjetost fondue, … 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

Celery Aquavit Spritzer

Celery Aquavit spritzer

I find that a good cocktail, while not essential, is a great social lubricant to get a party started off right, and this Celery Aquavit Spritzer certainly set the right tone when paired with a Rhubarb Lillet Rose Spritzer at the beginning of my Scandinavian Thanksgiving Menu. It’s light, bright, and very dry, which goes well with the Gjetost fondue, pickled carrots and cauliflower, and salmon mousse, as well as the fact that Thanksgiving is a long night with lots of courses! It’s also another fun excuse to use the Celery and Caraway Aquavit I made. I love serving savory cocktails, like this Celery Aquavit Spritzer because they’re a little unexpected by guests, which makes them all the more fun. And this Celery Aquavit Spritzer is great for improvising and trying new things. It makes a great martini shaken and served up with a lemon twist (and no club soda). I think a tiny bit of dill, or even a dill simple syrup in place of the celery would be a great variation as well but I haven’t yet tried it out. And whether this Celery Aquavit Spritzer is shaken or stirred, it’s a delicious drink that will get any party … Continue reading

Celery Caraway and Rhubarb Aquavit

Celery Aquavit

Aquavit, or “water of life” in Swedish is basically a high proof Vodka, but you can tell from it’s name, that it’s also culturally important. Afterall, it’s a long cold Winter so far North, and there is a lot of time for staying indoors, sitting around fires and telling stories with friends. Aquavit is often flavored and it’s hard to find in the United States’ but good news: Aquavit is easy to make your own. I made three flavors: Celery Caraway and Rhubarb Aquavit and used them to make some fabulous cocktails to start the night off right for my Scandinavian Thanksgiving using, you guessed it fresh caraway seeds, frozen rhubarb stalks, and fresh celery. When crafting the cocktails, I used the celery and caraway seed aquavit together with a celery simple syrup to make a very cool Celery spritzer and then I used the rhubarb with some Rhuby, a local Philly spirit from Art in the Age to make a rhubarb spritzer. I also used the leftover celery aquavit to make some of the best Bloody Mary’s and Sunny Mary: a Bloody Good Alternative cocktails I’ve had. It was a great excuse to set up a Bloody Mary Bar … Continue reading

Rainier Cherry Scotch Thyme New Fashioned

Rainier Cherry Scotch Thyme New Fashioned on ice

I love Ranier cherries but I’ve had to wait a long “thyme” to finally enjoy this Rainier Cherry Scotch Thyme “New Fashioned” cocktail. The idea for my Rainier Cherry Scotch Thyme “New Fashioned” came to me sometime last fall. Oh the torture of having to wait for Rainier cherry season to get to finally make one. I have to say, this Rainier Cherry Scotch Thyme “New Fashioned” was absolutely worth the wait. Considering it’s made with Scotch, it’s still a very light and refreshing cocktail. It’s woodsy and herbaceous without being overwhelming. It’s quite perfect for the early summer late spring season during which it’s easiest to find Rainier cherries. Hint, this is no coincidence. The scotch you select will have a big impact on the flavor of the drink. I recommend that first and foremost, pick one you like. It seems obvious, but sometimes when reading a recipe it’s easy to forget the most important part of cooking and eating: your taste buds rule! I chose a medium/light peatiness so as not to overwhelm the cherries. Thyme is strong though, and it holds its own with the peat in my Rainier Cherry Scotch Thyme “New Fashioned” cocktail. … Continue reading

Lemongrass Ginger Iced Tea

Lemongrass Ginger Iced Tea with lemons

  My friend Luke makes this really delicious Lemongrass Ginger Iced Tea that I have been meaning to share with you for some time. My English Polo Picnic Menu finally seemed like just the occasion for the Lemongrass Ginger Iced Tea since it goes perfectly with the rest of the menu. The lemongrass and ginger make for a spicy, citrus-y edge to an iced tea that ends up very refreshing and full of flavor. While any black tea will work, I selected Lady Grey, which has a subtle citrus note to it, which I thought enhanced the lemongrass flavors perfectly. This Lemongrass Ginger Iced Tea is so special, that it’s worthy of pulling out the sterling silver iced tea spoons and setting a fancy tea tray. But it tastes just as delicious straight out of a mason jar that you can pack up and take with you on picnics and down the shore all Summer long. I love special recipes from friends and family, because at least for me, they trigger all the lovely memories of great meals and good times whenever you create them. I think of Luke and our many fun cooking projects every time I make this … Continue reading

Cucumber Mint Lime Agua Fresca

Cucumber Mint Lime Agua Fresca with mint leaves

We’ve got leaves, we’ve got flowers, we’ve even got some legitimately hot days head our way and since it seems I’m determined to skip right into Summer this year, we’ve got refreshing Cucumber Mint Lime Agua Fresca just in time for Cinco de Mayo. In Spanish, “agua fresca” means cool waters, and I first really learned about the wonder that is agua fresca living in the San Francisco Bay Area, where every good burrito stand has some form of house agua fresca that they serve to counter the heat of the hot weather and the spicy food. I’ve had a lot of different flavors over the years, but recently a friend of mine made a Cucumber Mint Lime Agua Fresca (like this one) that she had at the restaurant Lemonade in L.A. While I don’t promise that this is their exact recipe, I can promise that I like it a lot, it is delicious and refreshing, and it’s easy to make. And once you make it the first time, you’ll be persuaded to make it often. It’s a great beverage to keep on hand for guests who aren’t imbibing, too. Just serve it in a big pitcher with lots of … Continue reading