Butternut-Tangerine Soup

butternut

Demoed on Fox5 News Feb. 26, 2014

This soup is sweet and tangy and, with the topping, crunchy and sour.  All these flavors and textures roll around in your mouth and make you want to just keep eating it. Its color is gorgeous too. Danielle demoed this before a large audience at Brookside Gardens February 19, 2014. Read More


Saffron Raspberry “Compote”

photo 1Danielle spent Saturday at the US Botanic Gardens, participating in the Junior Botanist Festival and whipping up this quick dish to showcase saffron. Saffron is extracted from the crocus flower, a very labor-intensive process, making it the most expensive spice in the world. However, its wonderful aromatic flavor and intense color translate into a little goes a long way.

Great as a dessert with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, great for breakfast with Greek yogurt or equally great as an accompaniment to a varied cheese platter. Serve this instead of grapes and apple slices.

2 baskets/containers raspberries  (½ lb.)

½ t natural cane sugar

1/16 t saffron threads (about 20 threads)

¼ t vanilla extract

3 T olive oil

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

½ C golden raisins or chopped dates

½ C sliced almonds, toasted

Additional cane sugar—to taste (optional)

Pick over the berries, discarding any that are damaged or moldy. Place in a serving bowl.

Use a mortar and pestle to grind the sugar and saffron threads into a powder. Transfer to a small mixing bowl and add the vanilla extract, olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest. Stir well and add to the berries, tossing gently but coating well. Add the raisins and almonds, stirring gently again. You want a few berries to break up, but not much more than that. Add more sugar if desired. Let sit 30 minutes before serving. Serves 4.


Spinach Matzo Balls in Saffron Broth

saffron fieldsLet me tell you my saffron story.  The lovely Evangeline, Adrienne’s globe-trotting daughter, was traveling in Morocco and the ONLY thing her mom requested was to bring back some Moroccan saffron.  Regaling her parents with her adventures in the saffron fields outside of Marrakesh only made the request more justified and the desire for the spice more urgent.  Some weeks later, just in time for Thanksgiving, Evangeline arrived at Dulles with Adrienne eagerly awaiting the prodigal child.  The first thing I asked of her — the very first thing, even before, “How was your flight?” — was “So, did you get the saffron?” Evangeline’s stricken look did not need underscoring with the sad retelling of why no saffron was forthcoming.

In the ensuing weeks, nearly daily references, usually accompanied by a long sigh, to the absent saffron seemed the only way to assuage my grief.  Then, on Christmas morning, Evangeline handed me a small, carefully wrapped package.  In it, I found a small bottle of precious saffron from those self-same fields of blue outside of Marrakesh.saffron sorting

Way to keep a secret!

A sophisticated, company-dinner variation on the old (one could say ancient) stand-by, these lovely matzoh balls floating in flavor-rich saffron broth can served as a starter for Passover dinner.  Expect to pay $20/gram (3 teaspoons) for the high-quality, flavor-packed saffron this recipe begs for.  We adapted this recipe from Epicurious. Read More