Caramelized Apples with Rosemary Glaze

apples 3

 

 

1½ cups apple cider
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 12 wedges each
olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt, preferably Greek (optional)

Bring cider and rosemary to a boil. Remove from heat, and let stand for 5 minutes. Discard rosemary. Combine sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Add apples, and toss. Heat a large non-stick pan on medium-high and add 1T oil. When oil is hot add about half the apples – do not crowd them. Cook vigorously for about 5 minutes until you see apples begin to brown and caramelize; remove and reserve. Add 1 T oil. Add second half of apples and cook vigorously until caramelized, like the first batch. Remove apples and combine the two batches. Pour rosemary cider into the hot pan; continue cooking until the cider is reduced and thickened. Remove from heat; add apples back to the pan and toss to incorporate. Let the apples marinade for up to an hour. Serve at room temperature with yogurt, if desired.


Rhubarb Strawberry Compote

compote

 

Cardamom gives this compote an alluring flavor. Spoon it over pound cake, cheesecake, ice cream or go savory and serve it with pork. It will keep refrigerated and tightly covered for 4-5 days. Danielle adapted this recipe from Fine Cooking and demoed during April 2015 as part of our Colors of Spring month.

1 ½ lbs. rhubarb, rinsed and sliced into ½-inch pieces
1 lb strawberries, hulled and thickly sliced
½ C honey; more to taste
¼ C orange juice
½ t cardamom
1 small vanilla bean, slit and seeds scraped from pod
¼ t sea salt

Combine the rhubarb, honey, orange juice, cardamom and salt in a large saucepan. With a pairing knife, slit the vanilla bean open lengthwise and with the back of the knife carefully scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and the pod to the rhubarb.


Asparagus with Citrus and Oregano

asparagusCombining three colors of asparagus makes an interesting and appetizing display and the citrus adds a lovely bit of color. The purple asparagus will turn green with cooking, but it will be darker, richer green than the green asparagus, which take a on a bright, vivid hue with cooking. Microwaving the asparagus helps retain their bright colors and ensures crisp texture. However, if you like them cooked a bit more, you could steam them, covered, in the olive oil-water-citrus peel mixture. Use a bit more water than the microwaving calls for. For the citrus topping, you can substitute clementines or sweet Meyer lemons for the navel oranges or use a combination. Combine all the juices when making the sauce.

2 oranges, preferably navel
6 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 t fresh lemon juice
1/8 t hot pepper flakes
½ t dried oregano or 1 t minced fresh oregano
2 scallions, finely chopped or 2 t minced chives
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
16 stalks asparagus, green, purple or white or a mixture (about 1 lb.)

Zest oranges; set zest aside. Slice off the ends of each orange. Working with one orange at a time, set an orange on end; with a small knife, slice off and discard the peel and the white pith. Holding the orange in your hand, use a knife to cut the orange segments away from their membranes. Place segments (supremes) in a bowl and set aside. Over a separate bowl, squeeze the remaining orange pulp to extract any remaining juice. Repeat with second orange. Whisk 4 t oil, lemon juice, oregano, and scallions into orange juice and season with salt and pepper; set dressing aside.

Prepare asparagus: Bend each stalk to snap at its tender part; reserve lower half for another use. Line up all spears and trim so they are reasonably similar in length. Transfer asparagus to a 9″ x 13″ microwavable baking dish. Sprinkle asparagus with half the reserved orange zest and drizzle with remaining oil and 1/4 cup water. Cover pan loosely with plastic wrap and microwave on high heat for 2 minutes. Rotate dish and microwave until asparagus is just tender, about 2 minutes more. Toss asparagus with reserved citrus dressing and season with salt. Top with orange segments and remaining zest. Serve immediately or at room temperature.


Spring Greens Sautéed with Capers and Basil

swiss chardThe Crayola colors of rainbow chard brighten farm market stands at this time of the year, their brilliant purples, reds, yellows, pinks, oranges flooding stems and veining the large, crinkled leaves. In the garden rainbow chard Bright Lights is a show stopper, seeming to delight in attracting attention with its candy colors. Stalks and leaves easily top out out at three-plus feet. Chard loves cool temperatures and in June, when the heat of the summer smiles on tomatoes and peppers, it takes a well-deserved break from production in the lead-up to a big come back in the fall, when it shows off again. A real workhorse of a garden vegetable, chard also is rich in iron and calcium and boasts a mild, buttery flavor and more pliant texture than other hardy greens like kale and collards. No wonder chard has become such a popular item at CSAs and farmers’ markets. Showcasing our theme of the month “Colors of Spring,” here’s another terrific way to fix this tasty green vegetable. Danielle demoed this for our April 2015 selection of recipes. 

chard

3 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
¼ t hot pepper flakes
1 chopped large tomato
2 T drained capers
2 bunches spring greens or 1 lb. baby greens, washed and coarsely chopped (red, green or rainbow Swiss chard, kale, or any combination of greens)
1/4 C fresh basil, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Grated Parmesan – optional

Heat the olive oil in a large deep pot, large enough to hold all of the greens. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and sauté a minute until the garlic is fragrant. Add the chopped tomato and capers, cook for 2 minutes. Add the greens, handfuls at a time and cover the pot with a lid to steam the greens. Cook until the greens are all wilted but have not completely changed color, about 2 minutes. (The acidity of the tomato will cause the greens to lose their vibrant color if overcooked.) Just before serving, add the chopped fresh basil and season with salt and pepper. Serve with grated Parmesan on the side, if desired. Serves 4-6.


Ombre Carrots and Chard

Serves 5-6 as a side

8 medium rainbow carrots in various colors
1 bunch swiss or rainbow chard, stems only
10 mint leaves, roughly torn
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon sumac (optional)
1 t flax or chia seeds (optional)
pinch of salt and cayenne pepper

Peel carrots and slice larger ones lengthwise so they are fairly uniform. Split chard stems as needed to achieve similar uniformity. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the carrots. Cook for about 5 minutes, remove and cool in an ice water bath. Cook the chard in the same boiling water for 3 minutes, remove and cool in an ice water bath. Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a bowl. On a plate, arrange the carrots and chard by color. Drizzle dressing on top and sprinkle mint leaves. Serve cold or room temperature.


Lemon-Almond Torte

The first taste of spring is all about lemons. Sure the bright, fresh zing of lemons is great almost any time, but there’s something about this time of the year when it has particular resonance. It’s a tonic, a cleanser – of palate and gut (and house for that matter) – a lovely foil for fresh herbs, it goes with so many flavors. So before the garden is serving up its first harvest of stalwart baby greens, tightly packed peas, pointy asparagus and early onions; before ramps appear at farmers’ markets, morels raise their dusky, honeycombed fool’s caps; before the heart of summer sneaks up on you, we look to lemons to bring us sprightly flavor and a break from winter’s stews. We offer up a spate of spring recipes, many of which deploy this seasonal citrus – lemons are ripe for the picking where they grow in Southern California, Arizona and other parts of the Southwest.

lemon almond torte

 

This light, lemony cake is based on a traditional Spanish torte. We are accompanying it with ruby-red raspberry sauce for a great spring dessert. It has the ingredients of a souffle and that dish’s characteristic lightness, but cooks up like a cake – you could even glisten it with a lemon glaze instead of serving it with the raspberry sauce. Add a dollop of whipped cream for a touch of decadence, and don’t forget that garnish of fresh raspberries and sprigs of spring mint.  Adrienne demoed this at US Botanic Garden in DC in March 2015.

4 eggs, separated into 4 egg yolks and 4 egg whites, room temperature
2 T lemon zest, packed, from about three large lemons
2 T lemon juice, from about one lemon
1/4 t ground cardamom
½ C white sugar, divided
1½ C almond flour or almond meal (see below)*
1 t baking powder
1 t lemon or lime juice
Pinch of salt
Powdered sugar for sprinkling
Garnish: Fresh raspberries, sprigs of mint

Preheat the oven to 350°. Place a round of parchment paper on the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan, and grease it and the sides of the pan with butter or cooking spray. In a large bowl, beat together with a wooden spoon the egg yolks, lemon zest, and 1/4 C sugar until smooth. Add lemon juice and beat again. In a separate bowl, whisk together almond, cardamom and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture and mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl and using an electric beater, beat egg whites,. As they begin to thicken, add a pinch of salt and the teaspoon of lemon or lime (the salt and the acid from the juice will help the meringue maintain better structure and increase creaminess). As the egg whites begin to increase in volume, sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 C of sugar, a little at a time. Beat until soft peaks form. Fold the meringue into the almond mixture gently to create a light batter. Scoop the batter into a the prepared springform pan and place in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake helping it to separate from the side of the pan. Release the springform pan sides, and gently move the cake to a cake serving plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving. Serve with Raspberry Sauce on the side.

Raspberry Sauce

One pint raspberries
2/3 C white sugar

Combine raspberries and sugar in a nio-reactive pan. Cover and cook on low heat about 10 minutes until sugar is fully disolved and the raspberries are comopletely broken down and lost their shape. Remove from heat and cool. Pass mixture through a small-mesh seive. Refrigerate until ready for use. It will keep in the refrigerator up to two weeks.

Lemon Glaze

1C confectioners sugar
1-2 T lemon juice

Combine the confectioners sugar and 1 T lemon juice in a bowl, mix thoroughly, adding more lemon juice as needed to achieve a consisency similar to pancake batter. Spread on cooled almond-lemon torte. Let the glaze harden about 30 minutes before serving.


Almond Meal

almondAlmond “flour” or almond meal is available at health food stores and in the health food aisle of your supermarket. Bob’s Red Mill makes it, as does King Arthur (toasted, ground almonds). Trader Joe’s carries almond meal where they display their nuts. You can make your own. Grind up blanched, slivered almonds or whole, raw almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Measure out two cups of almonds to get 1½ C almond meal. Do not over-process or the almonds will become pasty. A little crunch and texture in the almond meal gives this cake character.