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.

 


Asian Japonica Rice Salad

 

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If you haven’t experimented with red or black rice, this is the perfect recipe to do so. For your convenience we’ve included links to some of the harder-to-find ingredients, but if you are a regular at Whole Foods, you should be able to find everything in this recipe at that store. Harris Teeter carries black Japonica. Frozen shelled edamame are widely available but we linked it to Trader Joe’s because that’s the best deal. If you are going gluten-free, make sure the soy sauce you use is gluten-free. This recipe was demoed by Danielle at US Botanic Garden in October 2015. Adapted from “One Bite at a Time” by Rebecca Katz.

2 t salt
2 C black Japonica rice or Bhutanese red rice
1 cup shelled edamame (soybeans) beans, frozen is fine
1 C sliced celery
1 C peeled shredded carrot
½ C chopped scallion
1 C toasted cashew pieces
2 T cilantro, roughly chopped
½ C basil, julienned
2 t fresh squeezed lime juice
1 T toasted sesame seeds

Dressing

2 T brown rice or regular rice vinegar
3 T tamari or soy sauce
1 T minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 t cayenne
1/4 C sesame oil
3 T lime juice
1/8 t salt
½ t maple syrup

In a medium pot, bring 4 cups lightly salted water to a boil and add the rice. Turn the heat down to simmer and cook 40-45 minutes until tender. Drain rice and spread it out on a sheet pan to dry and fluff. In another pot, bring 2 cups water to a boil and add a pinch of salt and the edamame. Bring back to a boil and cook one minute. Drain and rinse under cold water; reserve. In a bowl, combine the rice, celery, carrot and scallions. Combine dressing ingredients, whisking well in a small bowl or mini food processor. Toss into rice mixture. Fold in reserved edamame, cashews and herbs. Serves 6-8.


Cranberry-Lime Shrub

shrubPopular in colonial times, a shrub is a sweetened fruit and vinegar syrup. It’s mainly used as a drink mixer, as in this recipe, but you can also use it to brighten a pan sauce for chicken or pork, to boost the flavor of a vinaigrette, or to add some zing to whipped cream for a unique dessert topping. Yields about 1 quart shrub, enough for 16 drinks.  This recipe is from the archives. We demoed it at a class at Brookside Garden in November, 2011. We trot it out every year for teetotalers and anyone looking for something fresh and thirst-quenching. Adapted from Fine Cooking.

12 oz. (3 C) cranberries, rinsed and picked over
1 C granulated sugar
3/4 C white wine or apple cider vinegar
lime zest from one lime
Seltzer or water
Vodka (optional)

In a 4-quart saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, vinegar, and lime zest with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the cranberries are completely broken down, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

Purée with an immersion blender or in a food processor. Strain through a fine sieve set over a large bowl, pressing hard on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.

Per drink, combine 3 to 4 Tbs. of the chilled shrub with one cup cold seltzer or water, or to taste. Add vodka as desired.

The shrub will keep, refrigerated in a jar, for up to two months.


Chilled Roasted Yellow Pepper Soup

yellowI would be the first to admit that I cannot leave well enough alone. Take this soup for example. It’s pretty darn great just as it is — a refreshing, even comforting, meld of sweet yellow peppers, a hint of smoke from the roasting, the warm note of rosemary, the sharply pleasant heat from the jalapeno, finished with a bright touch of lime. But when I make it I think about the other yellow pepper soup I’ve made — the one that’s accompanied by an orange pepper soup, which are then slipped side-by-side into a single bowl for an elegant yin and yang effect. I put the question to you — too much? Ridiculously over the top for a weeknight dinner? Or are we having FUN yet? You decide. And while you are mulling, make this lovely soup, which was adapted from Fine Cooking. It made the folks at USBG happy in August 2014. And get to taste the soup. Read More


Corn Saute with Ginger, Lime and Cilantro

corn sauteThis is a great example of the whole being so much more than the sum of its parts. It’s difficult to put into words just how good this little saute is – the combination of sweet corn with the ginger and garlic – don’t skimp on these – and the heat of the serrano – you can go heavier on that if you wish – and the little bit of lime come together in an almost transcendent way. You can serve this with tortilla chips, combine it with a couple of spoonfuls of Mexican crema, or use it as a kind of salsa, on top of grilled rockfish or sword, which is how Adrienne served it last week. As delicious as the fish was, the saute was far and away the star of the show. Adapted from Fine Cooking. Adrienne will demo this at US Botanic Garden Friday August 15, 2014. Read More


Asian Salad with Salmon Cakes

salmon cakes

 

This favorite summer salad is so flavorful you’ll be going back to it again and again. I use the least expensive salmon I can find – as long as it is fresh and sweet. I’ve never tried this with canned salmon – I fear that would be too salty.  But good farm-raised salmon can be had for about $6/pound on sale and a pound makes a dozen cakes, enough for six servings. The salad itself combines mesclun or baby greens with fresh herbs for a summery, intensely flavored final result. Adrienne demoed this recipe for a class at Brookside June 17, 2014. Adapted from Cuisine at Home. Read More


Asparagus & Gingered Grapefruit Salad

1 large bunch medium spears asparagus
4-5 pink grapefruits, segmented
1 cup Ginger-Lime Glaze
1-1/4 cups Asian Vinaigrette
3 scallions (whites only), thinly sliced at an angle
1 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds (substitute half with black sesame seeds, if you like)

Snap off the tough bottom part of each asparagus. Bring a pot of water large enough to hold all the asparagus to a boil, add the asparagus and blanch 3 minutes. Drain and rinse immediately under cold running water. Set aside. Segment the grapefruits. Put the grapefruit sections into a bowl and cover with the ginger-lime glaze. Keep refrigerated.

Assemble the salad: arrange the asparagus in an attractive shallow serving platter or bowl and cover it with a cup or so of the Asian vinaigrette. Let the asparagus soak in the dressing for a couple of minutes. Arrange the grapefruit sections on each side of the asparagus, fanning them out. Drizzle with a bit more vinaigrette, sprinkle the sliced scallions over the asparagus and sprinkle some of the sesame seeds over the whole salad. Serves 6-8.

Ginger-Lime Glaze
3/4 cup roughly chopped or sliced and smashed fresh ginger (from about 6 oz. ginger)
Grated zest of 4 small or 3 large limes
3/4 cup tarragon vinegar
3/4 cup natural cane sugar

Combine all the ingredients in a nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes to infuse the flavors. Bring back to a boil and repeat the process. Bring back to a boil for a third time, let cool to room temperature, strain through a coarse sieve, cover, and refrigerate. Yields scant 1 cup.

Note: This glaze gives the grapefruit a gingery kick in the salad, but it lasts indefinitely and makes a great base for iced or hot tea. It’s also terrific with seltzer water (use about 1/4-cup glaze to 1 cup seltzer and serve cold), so feel free to double the recipe.

Asian Vinaigrette
This dressing will last for several weeks, covered, in the refrigerator, so you may want to double the amounts, and use the extra on grilled shrimp, seared steak, or warm salads.
3 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
1-1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 Tbs. dry sherry
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup fish sauce (also called nuoc mam)
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1 Tbs. honey
A few dashes hot sauce or chile sauce (optional)
1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup safflower or canola oil

Combine all the ingredients, except for the sesame oil and peanut oil, in a bowl. Whisk in each oil one at a time. Yields 1-1/4 cups.