Spring Edamame Soup


This soup goes together very quickly and begs to be served immediately so the lovely spring vegetables retain their bright green color don’t get overcooked.  If you have leftovers, however, they will still be delicious reheated, if not quite as pretty. Adrienne demoed this at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton MD February 19, 2014.  This soup came from Cuisine magazine’s Splendid Soups special.

2 T olive oil
3 oz diced proscuitto or pancetta
2 C diced leeks
1 T minced garlic
2 t oregano
½ t red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 C white wine
4 C chicken or vegetable broth
3 C frozen shelled edamame
1 C chopped zucchini
1 C chopped asparagus
1/3 C sliced fresh basil
1/4 C chopped fresh mint
1 T lemon juice
salt and pepper
shaved Parmesan or Pecorino
lemon zest

Heat olive oil in a large pot; add diced meat and saute until crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.  Add next three ingredients and turn heat down to low-medium; cover pot and cook about 5 minutes until leeks and garlic are soft. Add white wine and cook until nearly evaporated.  Stir in broth, and bring to a boil.  Add edamame, zucchini and asparagus.  Reduce heat and simmer soup until vegetables are just tender. Remove from heat, add reserved proscuitto, basil, mind and lemon juice.  Stir in and taste for seasoning.  Serve immediately, garnished with shaved cheese and lemon zest.

Spiced Couscous with Almonds and Currants


This is a great side that is delicious with grilled chicken or lamb. If you add shredded chicken or a spicy sausage and sprinkle it with feta cheese, it’ll work as a main course.  For a vegan option, saute chunks of firm tofu in a spice mixture that picks up the Middle Eastern theme of this dish — cumin, coriander, turmeric.  We demoed this wonderful and rich-tasting dish, adapted here from our buddies at Fine Cooking, for our appearance on Fox5 News in Washington DC February 17, 2014.  Check out the link on the right. Read More

Festive Kebabs

These sweet little kebabs get their flavor from the rub and a kick from the herb-laced sauce, a tradition in Argentina where it’s served on steak.  Make the sauce in the morning so flavors have a chance to blend before your guests arrive. The meat will hold its flavor even if served at room temperature. Danielle demoed this at our holiday program at Brookside Gardens December 6, 2013. Read More

Herb and Cheese Crackers




Delightful on their own or served with soup or a cheese platters, these are go-to, easy gift for the holidays.  To make a spicy version, add tabasco to the mix.  You can also flavor them with cumin seed, celery seed or fennel seed instead of, or in addition to, the herbs. We demoed these at our December 6, 2013 event at Brookside Gardens. Makes four dozen small crackers.  Recipe from Cuisine at Home.

1½ C shredded parmesan
1½ C flour
1 stick butter
1/4 C finely chopped parsley, dill, fresh chives, fresh chervil, or a combination of these herbs
1/4 t salt
3 T heavy cream
coarse salt for garnish (optional)

In food processor, pulse first five ingredients until clumps form; add heavy cream and process until dough forms a ball around the blade.  Remove from food processor and roll on a lightly floured surface into an oval shape. Cut the oval into quarters lengthwise and roll each quarter until it is about 1½ inches in diameter.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake them. They will keep in the refrigerator up to a week.  They can be frozen for several weeks.

To bake: Preheat oven to 350.  Line a baking sheet with parchment or non-stick aluminum foil.  Remove the sticks of cracker dough and slice them into 1/4 inch thick rounds.  Place on cookie sheet. Pierce lightly with a fork and sprinkle with optional salt garnish. Bake 10 minutes on one side. For crisper crackers, flip and bake another five minutes.  Remove and cool.  They will keep baked for a week, though they probably won’t last that long.

Spicy Tuna Tartare

spicy tuna


Lighter than sushi, this hors d’oeuvre features the delicious contrast between silky raw tuna and crunchy rice crackers.  For color contrast, the brown rice crackers make a dramatic statement. You can find wasabi paste at the sushi counter of your local supermarket. Partially freezing your tuna will make it easier to get that very small dice.  This recipe makes about 24 rounds.  Adapted from those wonderful folks over at Fine Cooking, this recipe was one we demoed  at Brookside Gardens December 6, 2013.

8 oz. bright red tuna – you can use fresh or frozen
2 T thinly sliced scallions
1 T reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 T Asian sesame oil
2 t black or white sesame seeds, one teaspoon of each
24 rice crackers
Wasabi paste
whipped cream cheese
Flaky sea salt (optional)

Use a very sharp knife to cut the tuna into ¼-inch dice. Toss the tuna with the scallions, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. Smear rice crackers with cream cheese and top with a tiny dab of wasabi paste. Mound 1 packed tablespoon of the tuna tartare on each cracker. Press it down and sprinkle each lightly with sea salt (optional) and serve.