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.

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My Favorite Bean Soup

mixed-greens-with-apples-and-walnut-vinaigrette-04

As soon as it gets cold, I roll this out. And last night we started the wood stove for the first time this season — a record, since usually we are cranking it by mid-October. There are lots of ways to make a good bean soup. This one is a fave because it’s easy and quicker than most — the trick here is to use beans that are already cooked. It’s a bit “Tuscan,” a bit “Navy,” and a lot delish. I use what I have in the refrigerator, which makes it come out a bit different each time I make, although of course you can go out and buy all the ingredients and make it the same each time.  The one constant is fresh rosemary — it really makes this soup. Read More


Sweet & Sour Delicata Squash

sweet & sour

Found this recipe on the Yellow House blog, written by food and garden blogger Sarah Searle, who also lives in rural VA. She credits Domenica Marchetti’s “The Glorious Vegetables of Italy” for the original recipe. Haven’t gone back to look at the original, but I adapted a tad after I demoed it  at Brookside Gardens October 22, 2014. I like red pepper flakes, what can I say. Delicatas, incidentally, are a lovely mesh of summer and winter squash — they have the dulcet sweetness of a butternut, but you don’t peel them and the skin, while not absent like a zucchini, is soft and pleasantly chewy. You could also substitute butternut — or use both. Read More


Mediterranean Sweet Pepper Salad

tanis

Adapted from David Tanis’ cookbook, “A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes”, this dish bursts with color and flavor of summer. A great way to use up a bumper crop of sweet peppers. The peppers store very well in the fridge for up to a week and the flavors improve after a day. Great as a side or as a topping for grilled chicken, pork or fish. Chop the peppers into dice and toss with pasta. Great to use tossed with leftover grilled veggies. Read More


Tomato Chutney

tomato chutney2 C grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ C red onion, minced
3 T golden raisins
1-2 T natural cane sugar
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 T fresh ginger, minced
½ t red pepper flakes
¼ t ground coriander
1/8 t ground allspice

Simmer all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat until the tomatoes have broken down, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Off eat, puree have the chutney in a food processor, then fold back into remaining chutney. Serve with crackers or on top of warm Brie, or as an accompaniment to an antipasto or cheese platter. Makes 1 cup.


Fresh Herb Vinaigrette

vinaigrette

Making this vinaigrette in a food processor or blender will yield a thick, almost mayonnaise-like result.  Dip your artichoke leaves into it, or serve it with roasted root vegetables, or dress a simple lettuce salad with a splash of it.

 

2 T Dijon mustard
¼  C red wine vinegar
1 C olive oil
½ t sea salt
1 T fresh chopped herbs of your choice-tarragon, parsley, dill, basil, or a combination

In a mini-prep or a food processor, pulse together the mustard and red wine. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil. The dressing should become very thick and have the consistency of mayonnaise. Stop the machine, scrape down the sides, add the fresh chopped herbs and pulse 2-3 times, enough to mix. Adjust for salt. Serve as a dipping sauce with warm, whole artichokes.