Melon and Blueberry Salad with Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette

A healthy summer salad that can be amped up with a pinch of cayenne. You can also try it with a bit of Tajin chili-lime powder, available at many supermarkets, including Walmart. http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tajin-Fruit-With-Lime-Seasoning-5.3-oz/10849977

 

696d1dc6424857cf24eea97708766ab7

2 C Galia or cantaloupe melon, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 C watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 apple, thinly sliced (a combination of red and green is nice, but choose whatever you like)

1 C blueberries

4 C arugula

¼ lb feta cheese, crumbled

 

Dressing:

4 medium shallots

Zest and juice of 1 lime

¼ C apple cider vinegar

1/3 C olive oil

1 T honey

Pinch of cayenne (optional)

½ t Tajin chili-lime powder OR Sumac (optional)

Sea salt, to taste

 

Roast the shallots: Preheat the oven to 375F. Place the shallots in an oven tray with the skin on, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and roast for 45 minutes. Allow them to cool enough to handle and remove the skins. Transfer the shallots to a food processor, mini-prep or Magic Bullet and add the remaining dressing ingredients. Blend well, taste and adjust for salt and spice.

 

Put the arugula in a large, wide serving bowl and scatter it decoratively with the melons, apple slices and blueberries. Add the crumbled feta and lastly drizzle with the vinaigrette. Extra dressing can be served on the side. Serves 4.


Vanilla-Infused Sautéed Apples with Cream

apples

 

This is Danielle’s recipe for Saturday’s festival at USBG. We’ll be there from 11 am-3 pm making dishes that feature vanilla, which grows on one of the Botanic Garden’s orchids. You can go visit the orchid too. The recipe below will also be featured. This Saturday Sept. 26, 100 Maryland Ave SW DC.  Should be a fun event. Be there or be square (or both, for some of us). 

2 seasonal apples of your choice, peeled, cored and sliced
2 T unsalted butter
¼ C natural cane sugar
1/8 t cinnamon
½ vanilla bean
¼ C apple cider or brandy or rum
½ C heavy cream

In a large sauté pan, melt the butter and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Slit the vanilla bean down the middle vertically and gently scrape out the tiny seeds inside the bean. Add the seeds and the bean to the butter and sugar. Allow the sugar to melt slightly, then add the apple slices. Arrange the slices cut side down and don’t overcrowd. Once lightly browned on one side, flip them to brown the other side. Move the browned slices to the side of the pan to make room for additional slices, if necessary. Continue sautéing the slices until all the apples are caramelized. Increase the heat and add the apple cider or brandy. Shake the pan to allow the liquid to absorb into the apples and reduce by about half. Add the heavy cream, stir gently and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Makes a great topping for icecream! Serves 2-4.


Caramelized Apples with Rosemary Glaze

apples 3

 

 

1½ cups apple cider
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ 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.


Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole

sweet potato casserole

 

 

 

Sautéed apples, a crunchy pecan crust, and spicy mashed sweet potatoes make for a sophisticated update.

3 to 3¼ lb. sweet potatoes (about 3 large)
4 T unsalted butter; more for the pan
1 C toasted and very finely chopped pecans
1 1/3 C breadcrumbs
2 T finely chopped fresh parsley
Kosher salt
1 C heavy cream
Eight ¼-inch-thick slices fresh ginger, unpeeled and crushed
2 whole star anise
One 2- to 3-inch cinnamon stick
2 T plus 2 t bourbon
1½  t pure vanilla extract
3 large tart-sweet apples, peeled, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced

Bake the sweet potatoes

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400̊F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and bake them on the sheet until completely tender when pierced with a fork, 55 to 60 minutes. Let rest until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, if not working ahead, reduce the oven temperature to 375̊F.

Discard the skins and put the flesh in a medium mixing bowl. With a potato masher, work the sweet potatoes until they’re well mashed (they don’t have to be perfectly smooth).

Make the crumb topping

Melt 2 T of the butter and combine with the pecans, breadcrumbs, parsley, and two big pinches of salt in a small bowl.

Infuse the cream

Combine the heavy cream, ginger, star anise, and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan. Bring to a full boil (watch carefully so that it doesn’t boil over) and remove from the heat immediately. Let steep for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a liquid measuring cup, pressing down on the solids with a spatula to extract all of the liquid. Stir in 2 T of the bourbon, the vanilla extract, and ¼ t salt.

Cook the apples

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, melt the remaining 2 T butter over medium-high heat. Add the apples, season with ¼ t salt, and toss well. Raise the heat to high and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and lightly browned, 8 to 9 minutes. Lower the heat if the apples are getting too dark, but not so much that they soften without browning.

Turn off the heat, carefully add the remaining 2 tsp. bourbon and stir until it evaporates, a few seconds. Pour in 1/3 cup of the infused cream and stir until the apples have absorbed most of it, a few more seconds. Set the pan aside and let the apples cool for about 15 minutes, turning them occasionally to release steam.
Assemble the casserole

Butter a shallow 3-quart baking dish (9×13-inch works well). Add the remaining cream to the mashed sweet potatoes and mix thoroughly. Season to taste with salt. Arrange the apples across the bottom of the baking dish. Spread the sweet potato mixture over the apples in an even layer. Top with the pecan-crumb mixture.

Bake the casserole at 375̊F until the crumb topping is dark brown (it will be browner around the edges) and the casserole is heated through, about 25 minutes.

Make Ahead Tips

You can bake and mash the sweet potatoes and make the crumb topping a day ahead (cover both and refrigerate). Bring the potatoes and crumb topping to room temperature before assembling the dish. You can also assemble and refrigerate for up to 8 hours before baking. Return to room temperature before baking.


Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Apple and Sage-Maple Butter

roastedRoasted sweet potatoes have a lush, tender texture and concentrated flavor. When paired with maple syrup and apples, they make a deliciously sweet side that works with anything from pan-seared steak to roasted turkey or pork loin. Use a firm, tart Granny Smith apple or try a crisp, slightly sweeter Honey Crisp or Pink Lady. Adapted by Danielle from a recipe from Fine Cooking and demoed September 23, 2014 at US Botanic Garden. Read More