Sharing the Bounty

I love when people share the bounty.

At work, one of my colleagues is an avid gardener. He often brings in what he has an abundance, this week it was lettuce!

BIG bowl of fresh lettuce and chive flowers

Romaine, green leaf and lambs ear and as I walked past the herb garden at school, I clipped a handful of chive flowers. The huge bowl of greens motivated us to set a salad station and have a big fresh salad with dinner last night.

Instead of using bread for lunch, we wrapped tuna salad in lettuce leaves and felt like Peter Rabbit as we crunched away.

We went to the farmers market and bought some amazing sweet strawberries, radishes, new Vidalia onions, fresh ripe tomatoes and okra and Brussels sprouts and broccoli.

For dinner we grilled chicken and corn on the cob, steamed broccoli and crunched through an amazing fresh salad. We dressed the salad with Chive Blossom Vinaigrette made with Chive Blossom Vinegar.

Prepping Dinner

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Rosemary and Lavender Savory Scones

There is nothing quite like a great scone and these Rosemary and Lavender scones fit into the great scone category easily.

Scones are typically thought of as being sweet and fat. This recipe replaces the fat with goat cheese and the dough is delicately scented with rosemary and lavender honey.

If you can’t find lavender honey, you can infuse honey with lavender buds to get the flavor. Put the honey in a double boiler, fold in the lavender buds and warm gently for a couple of hours.

Use only the lavender buds because that is where the essential oil, scent and flavor is, not the stems or leaves.

If you “hyper-heat” the mixture to a boil or heat in the microwave, you will get a very bitter flavor from the lavender. Use too much, you can end up with that “old-lady soap” flavor and no-one wants that!

The amount to use is 1/2 tablespoon to 1 cup of honey. Once the honey has cooled back to room temperature, strain out the lavender. The lavender imparts a very delicate color so if you use a light-colored honey you will see the lavender hue. You won’t see it in darker honey.


Rosemary and Lavender Honey Scented Savory Scones

  • 1 – 1/3 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 –  1/3 cup semolina flour, fine
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 5 oz chevre (a semi-soft goat cheese)
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lavender honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup cream or milk

 

  • Mix dry ingredients.
  • Cut goat cheese into dry ingredients until it resembles coarse corn meal.
  • In a separate bowl combine wet ingredients.
  • Add to flour mixture and mix until incorporated.
  • Spread the dough out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Try not to handle the dough too much. Pat it lightly to shape and thickness desired
  • Cut into triangles or other desired shapes.
  • Bake at 350° F until golden brown; about 10-20 minutes, depending upon how thick the dough was rolled out.

 

Mix wet and dry ingredients until incorporated

Pat the dough to desired thickness and shape; cut into triangles or desired shape before baking.

Bake until golden brown

Serve warm.

 

If desired, spread with goat cheese and drizzle with lavender honey.

These scones make a great breakfast!

I also like to serve them with roasted leg of lamb.

If you didn’t like goat cheese, you can substitute cream cheese.

Chocolate Cherry Bread

Believe it or not, this is not sweet chocolate cherry bread. It would be fantastic with grilled or smoked chicken or ham and honey mustard sandwiches with bread and butter pickles.

Chocolate cherry bread also makes great breakfast.

I have been perfecting a no-knead formula. Trying out different things, discovering what the dough can and can’t do has led to some interesting discoveries, such as this variation.

1. Replace 1/2 cup flour with 1/2 cup special dark cocoa

2. Hydrate 1 cup tart cherries,drain, fold the cherries into the bread after the first rise.

I mixed 1 tablespoon of cocoa into the flour used on the board when folding in the cherries. I did not line the rising baskets with cocoa, just flour.

If I keep making this, I’ll invest in some heavy linen cloth to line the baskets so the cloths will get stained from chocolate, not the baskets.

Recipe for Chocolate Cherry Bread

Makes 2 large loaves

  • 6 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons yeast
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, soaked in warm water at least 30 minutes
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon sugar, if desired

For handling dough: Mix 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder into 1 cup of bread flour. Use this to dust the rolling surface and any sticky parts of the dough as you shape the loaves.

Combine salt, flour and cocoa powder in a large bowl

Mix the dry ingredients together before adding the wet ingredients

Combine the flour, cocoa, salt in a large bowl, stir to combine.

Warm water to 110°F sprinkle yeast on top and let bubble for 5 minutes. (This ensures the yeast is active)

Whisk the yeast and water together and pour over the flour mixture, fold until all liquid is absorbed and all flour is incorporated.

Pour in the wet ingredients and mix until everything is incorporated; form into a ball on the bottom of the bowl. Let rise for 2 hours or double in size.

Doubled in size

Form into a ball in the bottom of the bowl, cover with an oiled piece of cellophane wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size. This usually takes 2 hours.

Remove and sprinkle the top of the dough with cocoa/flour mixture, scrape to deflate and separate into equal balls of dough.

on a well floured surface, flatten one ball into a rectangle, sprinkle with hydrated cherries and cinnamon sugar if using, fold in thirds, sprinkle more cherries and cinnamon sugar, fold in half. Flatten the dough into another rectangle and roll into a log.

Pre-heat your oven to 450°F for 15 minutes before the bread is ready to bake.

Slash the loaves and place them into the hot oven for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread reached a minimum of 190°F. Steaming is optional, if you want a crispy crust, steam is recommended. See how to add steam by reading the No Knead Bread post for a full description of baking off the loaves at home.

Shape into a log or ball; let rise for 1 hour or nearly double

As I mentioned before, this bread isn’t sweet. Even if you add the cinnamon sugar, the cinnamon adds to the complex flavor of the cocoa and the cherries. Simply divine for a smoked ham or turkey sandwich with whole grain mustard, lettuce and tomato.

Light lunch

How to Boil an Egg and what to make with them

How to boil an egg is a basic procedure that needs to have a couple of “rules” to follow in order to turn out right.

There are a few suggestions on what to do with your hard-boiled eggs after you master the technique at the end of this post.

So often the yolks have a dark green sulfur ring around them and the whites are rubbery rather than tender. This happens from the eggs being overcooked or being old after they are cooked. The reason they start to stink when they age is due to the sulfur content which is also what makes the green ring around the yolk form, a simple chemical reaction.

You can avoid this and have beautiful boiled eggs by following this method and eating them soon after.

The rules are simple:

  • Start with cold water.
  • Bring to a boil
  • Add salt (only after the water boils)
  • Boil for 10 minutes

    Set timer for 10 minutes

  • Cool quickly in cold water

Cool by running cold water over the cooked eggs until they cool

Cool under cold water

down. You will need to change the water as it warms up from the hot eggs. Keep the water cool and in about 15 minutes you will have perfectly cooked hard-boiled eggs.

A perfectly cooked hard-boiled egg is yellow throughout the yolk

Perfectly cooked hard-boiled eggs

and the whites are tender.

Using this method, they

Gently tap to crack the shell all over

should be easy to peel. Gently tap the shell on the counter until it cracks. Gently roll the egg so the shell gets cracked all over; then peel the shell off.

Starting with cold water and adding salt after the boil all contribute to successful peeling.

A lot of Europeans will leave their eggs out on the counter, in the US we keep them in the refrigerator. Either way, it is best to start with cold water. Place the eggs in the pot, fill with cold water to cover the eggs by at least an inch or more. This helps keep the eggs from cracking due to temperature change.

Use a pot that can comfortably hold all the eggs you are boiling neatly on the bottom of the pot. There should be enough room for them to roll a little, but not too much. (See the photo of the eggs in the pot earlier in this post) Some people put a small towel in the bottom to cushion the eggs. This is totally unnecessary, but you can do it if you like.

Add salt after the water comes to a boil. This saves the bottom of your cookware from getting pitted from years of salting cold water. Save your cookware, salt only after water boils.

Some people will save the egg cooking water for plants, I don’t due to the salt.

Carefully peel, rinse and dry

The eggs will absorb some of the salt while boiling.

Here is a traditional Southern dish named “Deviled Eggs“. I have always been around Deviled Eggs so I am not sure how well-known they are in other parts of the world.

Here in the South, we have dishes known as “egg plates” made specifically for holding Deviled Eggs. I used to have several in different styles but alas, I no longer own an egg plate. Not even an egg plate shaped like a holiday wreath, not a glass one nor a china one. Where did they go? It’s not like I swore off ever making deviled eggs again. Puzzling how things come and go. Maybe one day I decided I would rather have the space than the egg plates. I don’t recall making that decision.

Be careful when adding the pickle relish. Don’t add too much liquid or else  your egg filling will be runny. If that happens add some cheese or bread crumbs or go commercial and add xanthan gum to thicken it back up. You could always boil some more eggs too.

Here is the recipe:

Deviled Eggs

  • 6 eggs, hard-boiled, split in half.
  • 2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon Sweet Pickle Relish
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Garlic powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Capers
  • Chives or scallion for garnish

Remove the yolks from the whites, place the yolks in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mash

Tray of Deviled Eggs garnished with scallion green, caper and chive flower

together with a fork until smooth.

Adjust the quantities of the ingredients to match the yolks and your personal taste.

Perfectly cooked hard-boiled eggs
Remove yolks to make filling for Deviled Eggs

Spoon the yolk mixture back in to the whites. Top each with a bias cut chive or scallion green.

Deviled Eggs

Sprinkle lightly with sweet paprika and finely ground black pepper.

What else can you do with hard-boiled eggs?

Add them to tuna salad, make egg salad for sandwiches, slice and serve with spinach salad, make Pad Thai and sprinkle chopped hard boiled eggs, peanuts and cilantro over the noodles.

Personally, I can eat them sprinkled with a touch of Fleur de sel.

Spinach Salad

Main thing to remember, start with cold water and boil only for 10 minutes.

Cooking Note: A “BOIL” is 212°F or when the bubbles roll rapidly and break the surface of the water.

Use hard-boiled eggs in Salad Nicoise