Killer Gaspacho

 

 

Three years ago we posted this. It’s such a summer favorite that we made it again at US Botanic Garden this week. It takes advantage of the abundance of summer produce, hits the spot on warm evenings. Summer in a bowl. This soup is at its best when all prep is done by hand, rather than processed.  Veggies can be chopped in a processor, but you have to do them in small batches to get the rights consistency and be very careful not to over-process. Demoed by Adrienne July 23 2015.

2 small or one large avocado
2# tomatoes
1 small red onion
1 peeled and seeded cucumber
½ red pepper
½ orange or yellow pepper
2 stalks celery
1½ quarts vegetable juice, chilled
¼ C red wine vinegar
½ C olive oil
1 t Tabasco
2 t Worcestershire
Juice of one lemon or lime (more to taste)
salt & pepper to taste (you don’t need much at all)

Prepare avocado by slicing in half and removing seed; dice the flesh and gently scoop it out of its shell into a large bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Finely dice all remaining veggies and add to bowl. Add veggie juice and seasonings. Chill and serve. Gets better as it sits in the refrigerator. Will keep up to one week.

Serves many.


Roast Chicken Pure and Simple

chicken 2Maybe because lately I’ve been up to my elbows in peaches and tomatoes, thanks to our current class themes. Or perhaps the sudden glut of zucchini —  from generous neighbor gardeners in the wake of an attack on my own garden by a band of groundhogs (as of yesterday’s death count, two down, one to go). I had in my head to make soups — several of them. That lead to a need for chicken broth home made is so worth the effort. So I brought home a Bart & Sarah’s chicken from the Saturday Warrenton Farmers Market and if you ever are out this way on a Saturday morning or in God-help-you Ballston on a Thursday afternoon, Sarah will happily furnish you with one of her delectable birds. They are worth the trip and this is no lie.

A really good chicken broth must start with a whole chicken. I patted the bird dry inside and out with paper towel, dropped her/him into a plastic bag and added a mixture of equal parts fennel seed, herbes de Provence and coarse salt, which I had ground a bit in the grinder (formerly a coffee grinder). I bounced the chicken about to get the spices evenly distributed over and inside. Let it sit at room temperature, which today, btw, hasn’t been too bad, maybe 78? After an hour or more passed, I trundled the bird out of the bag and onto an oven pan lined with non-stick aluminum, one of mankind’s greatest inventions, right after fire. Into a 425 oven. Another hour or so, during which I went about doing garden chores mostly trying to repair the damage of five weeks while we strolled beaches in Rhode Island in June (hence the platoon of groundhogs moving in).  When I came back in to the aromaI knew I had something special.  Credit goes squarely to Bart and Sarah — this chicken was so reminiscent of my childhood in France, the transporting poulet roti that was served up regularly in our home, made as often by our mother as by what cook might have been working alongside her at any given time. The flavor rich and complex, with the tang of salt, the intensity of the dried herbs and spices. So simple, so pure. Now I have the bones simmering in the Le Crueset on top of the stove. I’ll get to that soup yet.

— Adriennechicken 1

Poulet Roti

By way of  Jody Williams, chef of Buvette in NYC.

1 T coarse salt
1 T fennel seed
1 T herbes do Provence
1 chicken, dried well inside and out with paper towels

Combine herbs in a grinder or mortar and pestle; process just to break up the salt and fennel a bit, one or two seconds. Place chicken in a large plastic bag. Add spices and toss chicken to coat well. Let the bird sit at room temperature for an hour or in the refrigerator up to three days. When ready to cook, heat oven to 425. Place bird in an oven pan. Cook in the oven one hour. Turn off the oven and let it sit until inside temperature reaches 165, or for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit, covered, 15 minutes before cutting into chicken.

 


Peach Buttermilk Pudding

buttermilk-peach-pudding-sl-xTake the time to double sift the flour ingredients as directed in the recipe. The process of doing this will help the texture of the pudding. Folding the sifted dry ingredients into the creamed butter will allow the fat particles to get around the flour, which actually reduces the amount of gluten molecules that release when dry meets wet ingredients. The end result is you’ll create more of a pudding texture rather than a cake texture.

1½ C flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t ground cinnamon
½ t salt
½ t nutmeg
½ t ground ginger
3½ peaches, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1½ lb.)
1 C buttermilk
½ C butter, softened
1½ C sugar
3 large eggs
4 ripe peaches (about 2#), cut up into chunks
1 small peach, sliced, for garnish
powdered sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 350º. Sift together first 7 ingredients; sift again. Process chopped peaches in a food processor or blender until smooth. (Yield should be 2 cups puree.) Stir in buttermilk. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add peach mixture, and beat until well blended. Layer chunked peaches in a greased 13- x 9-inch pan. Fold flour mixture into butter mixture. Pour batter over sliced peaches in pan. Place pan in a large roasting pan, and add boiling water to roasting pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake at 350º for 50 minutes or until set. Cool to room temperature. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Arrange sliced peaches in a circle in the middle. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream or by itself.


Peach & Heirloom Tomato Salad

marinated-peach-tomato-salad-recipe_xlg3 C Sherry Vinegar and Rosemary Marinated Peaches, drained, marinade reserved

1 t Dijon mustard
4 large heirloom tomatoes (about 2 lb.), cored and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, and freshly ground black pepper

8 medium fresh mint leaves, torn

 

In a small bowl, whisk together the reserved marinade and the Dijon; it’s OK if it doesn’t emulsify. Arrange the tomato slices on 4 plates or a platter, top with the peaches, and drizzle some of the vinaigrette over the top. Season lightly with salt and pepper and garnish with the mint. Pass any remaining vinaigrette at the table. Serves 4.

 

 

Sherry Vinegar and Rosemary Marinated Peaches

This savory marinade balances peaches’ natural sweetness with the complex tartness of sherry vinegar. Fresh rosemary adds earthy pine notes, olive oil lends richness, and rum contributes a bit of spice. The marinade also softens the skins, which means you can skip the tedious task of blanching and peeling the peaches. These peaches are delicious in salsas, salads, topping flatbreads and pizzas, and in braises.

 

3 medium ripe peaches, pitted and sliced, diced, or cut into wedges

1/3 C extra-virgin olive oil
2 ½ T spiced dark rum (optional)
2 T sherry vinegar

2 t finely chopped fresh rosemary Pinch kosher salt
Pinch of sugar

Gently combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and let marinate at room temperature for at least 20 minutes and up to 24 hours. After marinating, you can refrigerate the peaches for up to 1 day.

 


Make Your Own Pickles and More

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We were talking to a few avid gardeners and school educators yesterday and the subject led to what to do with all the wonderful summer veggies coming along now. Here’s a great way your summer bounty is transformed into a tangy, crunchy, flavorful snack or side dish, complete with all kinds of health benefits.

Instead of the more common vinegar preservation, lacto-fermenting produces lactic acid which not only gives dilly veggies their ubiquitous tang, but also preserves them without canning so that they will keep in cold storage for months with all their enzymes and vitamins intact. Here’s a natural way to get the fantastic benefits of a probiotic into your diet – with great taste and crunch.

2 quarts water

4-6 tablespoons good sea salt

1-2lbs veggies of your choice- young green beans (trimmed), carrots, okra, radishes, turnips, kohlrabi, fennel (use firmer veggies if doing a mix)

OR all cucumbers (whole, wedges or thickly sliced)

1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, or to taste

4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

2 handfuls of dill (flowering heads preferred, but leaves work well too)


Instructions:

  1. Dissolve sea salt in water to make a brine. Set aside.
  2. Divide the red pepper flakes, garlic cloves, peppercorns, and dill between 2 wide mouth quart-size glass jars.
  3. Place the veggies/cucumbers on top of the seasonings, straight up if they are long and thin or sideways if thicker and cut into chunks.
  4. Cover with brine solution, leaving 1 inch headspace at the top of jar. If necessary, weigh the veggies down with a small jar filled with water, just enough to allow the veggies to be submerged in the brine.
  5. Cover the jar with a tight lid, airlock lid, or coffee filter secured with a rubber band.
  6. Culture at room temperature (60-70°F is preferred) until desired flavor and texture are achieved. If using a tight lid, burp daily to release excess pressure. Taste after 3 days to decide if you like the flavor more fermented, but I find 3-6 days is plenty.
  7. Once the veggies are finished, put a tight lid on the jar and move to the refrigerator.

Makes 2 quarts.


Mexican Green Bean Salad

mexican-green-bean-salad-vertical-600-600x8161 lb fresh green beans, strings removed, ends snapped off, cut in half into about 1 ½ inch length pieces

1/4 C onion, finely chopped

2 T lime juice

2 T olive oil

½ t sea salt

½ t dried oregano (Mexican oregano if you can get it)

3/4 C packed, chopped cilantro

1/3 C pickled jalapeño chili peppers, sliced

1/3 C chopped red onion

3/4 C cooked corn kernels, from one large ear

½ C crumbled feta cheese

½ avocado, sliced or cut into inch long pieces

1 medium tomato, cut into 8 wedges, or a cup of halved cherry tomatoes

 

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and simmer until just crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the beans and run cold water over them to cool them quickly. Drain completely; dry on paper towels and place in a large plastic bag. Combine lime juice, olive oil, 1/4 cup onion, sliced pickled jalapeños, sea salt, oregano and cilantro. Pour over beans and toss. Let sit for half an hour. When ready to serve, gently mix in the chopped red onion, corn and cheese. Serve the avocado slices and tomato wedges on the side or mixed into the salad. Serves 6.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Green Bean Salad with Walnuts, Fennel and Goat Cheese

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Got green beans coming out of your ears? This month at the US Botanic Gardens here in Washington, DC, we brought two new salads using this popular legume. Green beans aren’t just to be tossed in a little butter – these summery salads are sure to zing things up.

1 ½ T Dijon mustard

2 T white wine vinegar

¾ t sea salt

½ t freshly ground black pepper

1/3 C extra-virgin olive oil

1 ½ pounds green beans, trimmed (a combination of green and yellow is great)

1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced into half-moons (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups)

¾ C walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

1 (4-ounce) log fresh goat cheese, crumbled

¼ C fresh dill, chopped

¼ C flat leaf parsley, chopped

 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Gradually add the oil and whisk until well combined; set aside. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain, run under cold water to cool, and set aside until you’re ready to assemble the salad.

 

In a large bowl, combine the green beans, fennel, and walnuts. Add the goat cheese, herbs and vinaigrette just before serving (the acidity of the vinegar with turn the green beans to a dull green if marinated). Toss well and serve at room temperature or chilled. Serves 8-10.