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.