Monday, May 18, 2020

RECIPE: Tatum's Ginger Lemon Honey Tea Concentrate

This recipe was given to me by another farm member, and has become a staple in our house.  It makes a strong concentrate that can be mixed with cold or hot water to make tea, or with soda water to make ginger ale.  It's written with a range of ingredients because everyone's tolerance for ginger's spiciness is different.  I have a high tolerance for heat so I use 3 large antlers of ginger. 

Tatum's Ginger Lemon Honey Concentrate
Makes 1-2 quarts

  • 2-3 large antlers fresh organic ginger, scrubbed well
  • 1-3 quarts water
  • 2-4 T. organic honey
  • 1-2 T. fresh lemon juice
3 LARGE antlers of ginger (can opener is for size reference)!

Sharpen your knife and slice the ginger into very thin rounds.

Combine the sliced ginger with the water in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat.

(Note: The saucepan I use holds 3 quarts to the brim, and I fill it as full as possible without risking a boil over; so, I typically use about 1.5 quarts of water.  With evaporation, I end up with 1 quart of concentrate.  If you use a bigger saucepan, you could use more water, but then you'll have a weaker brew.)

When it reaches a boil, immediately reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer.  If you don't, it will boil over!  Cover and cook for several hours.  In the photo below, you can see the pot is packed full of ginger!

Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature.

I will often let it cool overnight, then simmer for another couple hours the next day, before letting it cool to room temperature again, to create a really STRONG concentrate.

Strain the liquid using a nut milk bag or fine mesh strainer.  You can store it as is, and sweeten it as you use it, or you can add honey and lemon now before you store it.  The honey will dissolve more easily in room temperature concentrate than in cold-from-the-fridge concentrate.

Add honey and lemon juice to taste, keeping in mind that this is a concentrate, and will be diluted.

Discard the spent ginger and store the concentrate in the fridge.

This makes a very STRONG brew, so I mix it with soda water to create a sort-of homemade ginger ale.  Tatum mixes it with water and makes tea.  You will need to adjust the ratio of concentrate to water based on the strength of your brew and your taste preference.

To Make Soda:
1 t. honey
1/3 c. concentrate
2/3 c. seltzer
1/2 a small lemon
Opt: sprig of sage or another herb of your choice

Dissolve 1 t. honey in 1/3 cup of ginger concentrate in a highball glass.

Cut a 1/4" slice off the wide end of the lemon half.  Thread that slice on a tall skewer and squeeze a few drops of juice from the remainder of the lemon half into the glass.

Top it off with seltzer water and garnish with a sprig of sage.  Tarragon or basil would also be nice.  As you sip the drink, you will smell the herb!

The ratio of 1 t. honey to 1/3 c concentrate is perfect for me, and translates into 4 T honey per quart of concentrate.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

RECIPE: Asparagus, Green Pea, White Bean and Radish Salad with Lemon Dijon Dressing

I adjusted the amounts slightly, and my husband loved it!

Original Recipe: Asparagus and White Bean Salad

Asparagus, Green Pea, White Bean and Radish Salad with Lemon Dijon Dressing
Serves 4

  • 2 large bunches asparagus
  • 1 c. raw green peas
  • 1 15oz can Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 recipe Lemon Dijon Dressing
  • 1 T. minced chives
  • OPTIONAL: 1 small radish halved and sliced paper thin

Bring a large pot of water to boil.

Prepare a large bowl of ice water.

Remove the tips and the ends of the asparagus stalks.  Discard the ends, reserve the tips, and slice the stalks into 1" pieces.  Separate the slices into 4 piles - the ends, the tips, and two piles of middles based on their size.

When the water is boiling, add the ends of the asparagus and set a timer for 1 minute.

Add the larger of the middle pieces and set timer for another minute.
Add the smaller of the middle pieces and set timer for another minute.
Add the asparagus tips and set timer for 2 minutes.
Turn the heat off and remove all the asparagus to the bowl of ice water.

Bring the water back to a boil and add the peas.  Set a timer for 2 minutes.

While the peas are cooking, remove the asparagus from the ice water.

After 2 minutes, turn the heat off and remove the peas to the bowl of ice water.

While the vegetables cool, prepare the dressing and rinse the beans.

Transfer asparagus and peas to paper towels and dry them (or, us a salad spinner).  Arrange them in a large serving bowl (I used an oval casserole dish).

Sprinkle LIGHTLY with salt.

Add the beans to the center, then sprinkle the chives overall.

If you're using the radish, scatter it over the dressing. 

Spoon the dressing over everything and serve.

I served it with scrambled eggs for an easy simple dinner.

RECIPE: Lemon Dijon Salad Dressing

This dressing is so easy, and so delicious!

Lemon Dijon Salad Dressing
Makes one half cup

  • Zest from one medium lemon, about 1 T.
  • Juice from one medium lemon,about 3 T.
  • 1 t. Dijon mustard (I used Grey Poupon)
  • 1 t. himalayan pink salt
  • 1/8 t. cayenne
  • 1/3 c. EVOO

Mix together everything EXCEPT the EVOO.  Whisk to combine well.

Slowly drizzle in the EVOO, while continuing to whisk.


You can zest the lemon using a microplane, but I prefer a zester which makes long thin strips that are more visible in the dressing:

Thin strips of lemon zest

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Recipe: Kale Kielbasa and White Bean Soup

My husband RAVED about this soup!  I followed the original recipe almost exactly, but added a little rosemary and cayenne.

Original recipe:  Big Ray's White Bean, Kale and Kielbasa Soup

Kale, Kielbasa, and White Bean Soup
Photo courtesy of: big-rays-white-bean-kale-and-kielbasa-soup
Serves 4

  • 2 T. ghee or tallow1 bunch kale, stems removed and discarded (I used 1 pint home-canned kale)
  • 8 oz kielbasa sausage, sliced thin.
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. ground dried rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 t. cayenne or to taste

Roll kale leaves into tight tubes and cut crosswise into 1/4" strips.

Heat ghee in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Cook kielbasa in hot ghee until browned, about 5 minutes.  Stir in green onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.  Add kale and cook until kale wilts, about 3 minutes.

Pour chicken broth over, add beans and stir.  Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until kale is completely tender, about 15 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper.

RECIPE: Split Pea Soup with Ham

Even though it's technically 'spring', it's been cold out and I've been making  warming foods.

Original recipe: Ham and Split Pea Soup in Cooks Illustrated The Best Soups and Stews

I've made this recipe twice, and both times it was a success.  Both times I omitted the potatoes and replaced the 2.5 pounds of smoked bone-in picnic ham with a 1# ham hock. 

Split Pea Soup with Ham
Serves 6-8

  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 pound (2.5 cups) split peas, rinsed and picked through 
  • 1 t. dried thyme
  • 2 T. EVOO
  • 2 medium onions, chopped medium
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped medium
  • 2 medium stalks celery, chopped medium
  • 1 T. unsalted butter
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch sugar
  • Ground black pepper
  • Minced red onion (optional)
  • Balsamic vinegar

Place the ham, bay leaves, and 3 quarts of water in a large stockpot or dutch oven.  Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the meat is tender and pulls away from the bone, 2-2.5 hours.  Remove the ham meat and bone from the bop.  when the ham is cool enough to handle, shred the meat into bite-sized pieces and set aside.  Discard the rind, fat, and bone.

Add the split peas and thyme to the ham stock.  Bring back to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, until the peas are tender but not dissolved, about 45 minutes.

While the ham is simmering, heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat until shimmering.  Add the onions, carrots, and celery and saute, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid evaporates and the vegetables begin to brown, 5-6 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the butter, garlic, and sugar.  Cook, stirring frequently, until deeply browned, 30-35 minutes,

Add the sauteed vegetables and shredded ham to the pot with the split peas.  Simmer until the peas dissolve and thicken the soup to the consistency of light cream, about 20 minutes.  Season with ground black pepper to taste.

The soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 2 days. Warm the soup over low heat.

Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with red onions, if using, and serve, passing balsamic vinegar separately.

This soup gets thicker as it sits.  Add a bit of water if you prefer a thinner soup.

RECIPE: Chicken Roulades with Asparagus, Pimiento, and Gouda

Every now and then, I crave something 'fancy' for dinner, and came up with this recipe as a way to use up some asparagus that was languishing in the fridge.  Compared to the recipes I researched, this one is on the easy side.

Chicken Roulades with Asparagus, Pimiento, and Gouda
Serves 2-4

  • 4 chicken breast halves
  • 1 t. Dijon mustard
  • 20 asparagus spears, about 4" long
  • 4 slices Gouda cheese (High Mowing is similar to Gouda)
  • 4 roasted red peppers*
  • 4 toothpicks or wooden skewers
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 T. ghee

Before I prepare any recipe with raw chicken, I put down a piece of plastic wrap on which I do all my prep work.  I then fold it up and toss it, to prevent bacteria from contaminating my cutting board.

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Pound the chicken breasts to and even 1/4" thickness.  Snip the tendon every 1/4" to prevent it from contracting when it cooks.

Spread each breast with 1/4 t. Dijon mustard.

Cut the cheese into 1/2" strips.  Cut one pimiento into 1/2" strips. Lay these on the chicken breasts.

Place 5 asparagus spears in the center of each breast and then fold the ends in, overlapping them.  Secure the ends with a toothpick or skewer.

In an oven safe casserole large enough to hold all 4 roulades (I used a 3-quart oval Le Creuset), melt the ghee on medium heat.  Add the roulades, toothpick-side UP, and brown the bottoms, about 5 minutes.

Before browning.
After browning

DO NOT TURN THEM!  You'll just make a mess, the cheese will stick to the pan, and browning the other side won't add much to the end result.

While the roulades are browning, add the cream and the remaining pimientos to a 1-pint ball jar and use an immersion blender to puree the pepper.  STOP when the mixture starts to thicken or you'll end up with butter!  (In the photos below, I used 1 cup cream and it was way too much!  1/2 c is plenty.)

Pour the cream over the roulades, cover the pot, and bake them for 15 minutes.

Before baking

After baking

The sauce will separate but it will still be delicious!   Remove the skewers and serve!   I served them with arugula salad with avocado dressing (avocado, EVOO, balsamic, and red onion).

RECIPE: Moroccan Salad with Orange Cilantro Dressing and Pistachios

Original Recipe: moroccan-salad-cilantro-orange-dressing

I made merguez meatballs for dinner last night, and wanted a salad to accompany them.  When I stumbled on the above recipe that would use up the oranges DH bought last week, AND the last few roasted pistachios, I had to try it.  I was serving rice with the meatballs so I omitted the bulgur.

The salad tasted delicious, but I wasn't happy with the directions.  Processing the orange in my food processor made a HUGE mess and it never got creamy.   I also needed to double the amount of EVOO and ACV for the size of my orange.

The next day, an immersion blender did a better job on the leftover dressing than the food processor had done, and with no mess, so I will use it in the future.  I heated up a few meatballs and served them with the salad for lunch.  The meatballs are spicy and the salad was a nice light counterpoint.

Moroccan Salad with Orange Cilantro Dressing, Pistachios and Dates
Serves 4 with extra dressing

  • For the dressing:
  • 1 large orange, peeled and halved
  • 2 T. EVOO
  • 2 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

  • For the salad:
  • 1 c. dressing
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup pistachios
  • orange supremes from 1/2 large orange*
  • 4 c. salad greens
  • OPT: ground sumac for garnish

Check the halved orange for pits and remove them.  Combine the first 4 dressing ingredients in a blender and puree.  Or, use an immersion blender and a 1-pint jar.  Add the chopped cilantro and pulse to blend.

If your dates are old, cover them with hot water for a few minutes to soften them.  Chop into 3/8" pieces.

*To make orange supremes: cut away the orange peel with a serrated knife, and then separate the orange segments by cutting between the white membranes.  Cut each supreme in half.  If this is too much work, peel the orange and separate the segments, then cut each one into thirds.

Salad fixings

Toss all the salad ingredients in a bowl and drizzle with dressing.  Sprinkle with sumac and serve immediately.

Extra dressing can be refrigerated for several days.

Basmati, Merguez Meatballs, Moroccan Salad, Chardonnay