Melon Carpaccio with Lime

Use a culinary mandolin to get beautiful, uniform thin slices. Or sharpen your largest chef’s knife.

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½ C sugar

4 sprigs mint plus small leaves for garnish

½ t thinly sliced fresh red chili (such as jalapeño or Fresno)

½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise

½ C fresh lime juice

½ 5-lb. melon, peeled, halved, seeded, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices

½ t lime zest

 

Bring sugar and 1/4 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add mint sprigs and chili. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Remove syrup from heat; cover and let steep for 15 minutes for flavors to infuse. Strain syrup through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl; stir in lime juice. Syrup can be made 1 week ahead. Keep chilled. Arrange melon slices in a glass baking dish. Pour syrup over melon in baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours to allow flavors to meld. To serve, divide melon slices among plates, over-lapping them decoratively. Garnish with mint leaves and lime zest. Pour remaining syrup in dish into a small pitcher.

 


Chilled Blueberry Soup

This sweet and creamy blueberry soup is a delightfully refreshing treat during the spring and summer months. Makes 4 servings

 

4 C fresh blueberries

1 C orange juice

½ C sugar

1/4 t ground cinnamon

1/8 t salt

1 T fresh lemon juice

1 pint half-and-half

Mint sprigs for garnish

 

Bring first 5 ingredients to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring often. Remove from heat, and slightly cool. Process blueberry mixture and lemon juice in a blender or food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

 

Stir in half-and-half just before serving. Serve in stemmed glasses. Garnish, if desired.

 

 

 

 

 


Caramelized Onion Tart “Tatin”

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For best results, bake this in a well-seasoned cast-iron pan. Let it cool slightly before flipping the pan over and easing out the tatin. Serve as a first course or as a main course with salad and cheese for a vegetarian meal. Adrienne made this in a class at Brookside Gardens in May 2016.

2 T butter
1 T olive oil
1.5# boiler onions, peeled and slice in half around the middle
2 T brown sugar
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 C crumbled goat cheese
1 (8 oz.) sheet puff pastry

Preheat oven to 400°. In a 10-inch cast-iron or other oven-proof pan, melt butter with olive oil. Place onion cut-side down in hot fat and cook until onions are soft and turning brown, about 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine sugar and balsamic, stir to incorporate. Add to onions and let sizzle until they caramelize, about one to two minutes. Remove from heat and let the pan and onions cool about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle 3/4 of the cheese over the onions. Roll out the pastry dough gently and press over the cheese. Prick lightly with a fork. Bake 25 minutes, or until pastry is golden and filling bubbles up around the edge. Set aside for a few minutes, then invert on a plate and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Serve warm or at room temperature.


Twice Times Sweet Potatoes in Coconut

For “Top-to-Toe” demoes for the month of April 2016, Danielle and Adrienne brought new ways to prepare beet tops and bulbs and sweet potato green and tubers to audiences in the Washington metro area. This one was a big hit. Don’t have access to sweet potato greens? Don’t worry, just use spinach.

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced to yield 3 C
1 large bunch sweet potato greens, washed and sripped of their stems
2 T oil – coconut, olive or vegetable
2 shallots, minced
2 clove garlic, minced
1 t minced fresh ginger root (from a ½-inch piece)
2 t grated fresh turmeric root, or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 hot chile pepper, red thai chili or serrano, finely sliced
2-inch lemon grass stalk, trimmed and finely sliced
1 to 2 t soy sauce, or to taste
1 C coconut milk
1 t brown sugar, or to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Prehat oven to 425 degrees. Toss the diced sweet potatoes in a bowl or bag with 1 T oil (if you use coconut oil, warm it up first). Spread oiled potatoes onto a cookie sheet. Roast 15 minutes, then turn potaotes and continue roasting until they are done and slightly caramelized. While the sweet potaotes are cooking, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Trim off any thick stems from greens. Add to boiling water and blanch for 60 seconds, then immediately transfer greens to a bowl filled with ice water to stop the cooking. Drain well.

Heat 1 T oil in a large pan or wok over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic, ginger, turmeric, chile and lemongrass and stir until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in soy sauce. Add coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Add blanched greens and return to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes. Add sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into bowls and serve with roasted sweet potatoes and rice.


Swiss Chard and Onions

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A lovely combination, making great use of both the gorgeous Swiss chard currently in farmer’s markets and fully mature sweet onions. The celery and caraway seeds are an unusual addition and really liven up the dish. Serve with a smoky sausage such as grilled kielbasa or andouille.  From Simply Recipes and demoed for our May 2016 allium month.

3 T grapeseed or vegetable oil
2 large onions, sliced ¼-inch to ½-inch wide slices, root to stem
Salt
1 t honey
1 t caraway seeds
½ t celery seed
½ t black pepper
½ t red pepper flakes
1 pound chard, center ribs removed, leaves roughly chopped
2 t sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat until the oil is almost smoking. Add the onions and toss to coat with oil. Reduce heat to medium-high and sauté for 10-12 minutes stirring often, until the onions are soft and browned on the edges. Sprinkle with salt while the onions are cooking. Add the honey, caraway seeds, celery seeds, and black pepper. Toss well to combine. Add the chard to the onions and mix well with tongs. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until any moisture has evaporated and the chard is wilted. Add the vinegar right before serving.