Seasonal Abundance

From the Recipe Box: Roasted Apricots with Lemon Verbena Cream

June 25, 2015 |  by  |  Blog  |  No Comments

A sweet treat for a warm summer evening. 

I’m a dessert girl. I can’t deny it. I get it from my Dad, who grew up with the lovingly prepared pies and cakes that his mother made for he and his siblings in their mountain home. So down the generations has traveled this craving for the lemon meringue and pumpkin pies, chocolate chip and dainty almond crescent cookies. It’s an unstoppable force. When my husband reaches for the salty cheeses, I inevitably go for the sweets.

This sweet tooth of mine is a lover of summertime, when berries and stone fruit appear, as if out of nowhere, and delight us all with their array of bright colors, scents and flavors. One of the favorite fruits at our house is the often-overlooked apricots. Most people primarily know them in the form of dried fruits. Let me tell you now that if you haven’t enjoyed a ripe, fresh apricot, you are missing out on one of the most complex food experiences of your life! Tart and peach-like, these little orbs of sunshine are unique and wonderful.

When in season, one of my favorite preparations is roasted apricots drizzled in honey and served with lemon verbena infused cream. It’s heaven here on earth.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes

6 ripe apricots, sliced and pitted
3 T honey
1 T hot water
1 T butter
1/2 cup fresh lemon verbena
1 cup milk or heavy cream
1 tsp sugar
Preheat oven to 400. Combine honey with hot water and stir to form a syrup. In a buttered baking dish, lay sliced apricots cut sides up and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the honey syrup. Dot apricots with butter.  Roast for 15-20 minutes until fruits begin to look brown and bubbly. Remove from oven, drizzle with remaining honey syrup. Serve in small bowls with the infused cream poured over.

Lemon Verbena Cream

Slowly heat cream or milk  over low heat. Add 1 tsp sugar and incorporate. Once simmering, remove from heat and add verbena leaves. Cover and allow to steep for 20-30 minutes. Strain cream and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

From the Recipe Box: Summer Salad

June 18, 2015 |  by  |  Blog  |  No Comments

A quick summer salad with greens, radishes, eggs and bacon.

During the crisp fall, winter and early spring months, I am most often to be found braising, baking, roasting and soup-making.  I love my kitchen. It is my favorite room in our home, and it’s where I perform my own brand of delicious magic. Apron-clad in front of the stockpot is where I want to be. But all of that has to come to a full stop once we enter into summer. Like many Portland homes, my 1940’s bungalow is not equipped with AC, which means that any heat generating activity (showers, baths, and kitchen-witchery in general) must either happen early in the morning, or late into the cooler evenings. This lends itself to later suppers, al fresco dining, and, naturally, the return of the “Big Salad”.

There is nothing quite as malleable as the salad. From the greens, to the dressing, to the extras, a salad can shape-shift into a myriad of refreshing (and substantial) meals. This week I pulled together a simple salad with fresh, tender greens, a chopped hard boiled egg, bacon (both pre-cooked earlier that morning along with breakfast) radishes, and an aromatic vinaigrette with thyme and rosemary.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total time: 10 minutes

5 c. lettuce greens
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/4 c. cooked crumbled bacon
2-3 radishes, sliced in half
2 T olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
2 t fresh thyme, chopped
1 t fresh rosemary, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Wash, drain, and chop or rip greens. Add sliced radishes and crumbled bacon. Set aside. Mix together olive oil and red wine vinegar until emulsified. Add herbs. Pour over greens and toss. Add salt and pepper as desired. Plate and top with chopped hard boiled eggs. Enjoy with some good cheese and a glass of Oregon pinot gris!