Cool as a Cucumber Chilled Soup

Quick to prepare and ever so cooling in the hot weather, this chilled soup belongs in every refrigerator. If you prefer a soup with more texture, don’t blend it as long. Using unpeeled cucumbers will give the soup a beautiful light green color.

2 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced (leave unpeeled if using English/burpless/seedless)

¼ C plain yogurt- whole milk, low-fat or Greek

½ C buttermilk – whole milk or low-fat

1 T shallot, minced

1 t garlic, minced

1 T fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 t maple syrup

½  t ground cumin, cardamom or coriander

¼ t cayenne pepper (optional)

1 T fresh dill

Chopped fresh dill or chives – for garnish

Lay the cucumber slices on a tray or sheet pan lined with paper towel. Salt the cucumbers and let them “sweat” for 20 minutes to let them release moisture.

In a blender or food processor, process all the ingredients until smooth. Taste for salt and pepper. Chill at least one hour or overnight. Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh herbs. Serves 3-4.


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.


Pistachio Cardamom Cookies

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We cooked these up for Fox5 News Feb 26, 2014.

The heady combination of cardamom and pistachio evokes the Middle East.  Serve these cookies with sliced oranges drizzled with honey and crushed pistachios, or vanilla icecream topped with toasted chopped pistachios. It’s worth hinting down the unusual ingredients for these cookies. Pistachio flour and nut paste are available at specialty grocery stores and on line. These cookies were a hit at US Botanic garden January 16 2014 and Adrienne demoed them again January 22 2014 at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton MD. Recipe adapted from simplysavory.net. Read More


Pumpkin, Shiitake and Chestnut Soup

These are three ingredients that just seem to belong together, like the Three Little Pigs.  Each brings something deep and comforting and their flavors play off each other beautifully.  Add to that marsala and a touch of maple syrup and you have a great fall soup. We used a dry marsala, so the soup definitely benefitted from the maple syrup at the end.  If you use a sweet marsala, you may find you don’t need it at all.  If you don’t have marsala, try a medium-dry sherry instead.  You want something that has a nutmeg-y flavor. Read More