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Lavender & Lime Cookies

Lavender & Lime Cookies

My, oh my, oh lavender. I love the fragrance of this dried flower, but could never dream of how intoxicating its undertones could be nestled in a butter cookie with a lime glaze. When I recently sampled a friend’s mother-in-law’s cookies with this combination, I knew I would have to beg for the family recipe, which was so kindly shared. If you do decide to bake with lavender, be sure you purchase culinary lavender (vs ornamental).

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A quick bake, with the cookies perfuming the kitchen, a full cool down, and a zesty, sweet lime glaze, we arrive at cookie bliss.

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Dreamy.

Wild Sockeye Salmon with Herbs

Wild Sockeye Salmon with Herbs

How about salmon! There are of course a few questions to consider: is it wild salmon season (generally late summer)? Which salmon season is it (coho, sockeye, chum, pink)? If it isn’t salmon season, how about wild frozen? Or if not frozen, what about fresh farmed (atlantic vs pacific)? Which state or country farmed it? I do taste testing experiments on a topic like this for my own knowledge and taste, and on my clients’ behalf. Defrosting deep frozen wild salmon and buying fresh farmed salmon, and cooking them with the same treatments yields interesting differences: colors (dark coral for wild vs. light pink for farmed), taste (firm bite for wild vs. softer and slightly fattier for the farmed), and the cost (roughly $12/lb for frozen vs. $15/lb for the farmed, give or take). Even if your friendly neighborhood fishmonger offers fresh wild salmon out of season, he/she also received it frozen and defrosted it that morning for you (the majority of salmon species have their peak season during June, July, August; it gets fished and a good portion frozen immediately).  Either way, salmon takes very little preparation: Preheat oven to 425F, add one tablespoon of butter or olive oil in roasting dish and place dishes in oven; in a food processor puree a mix of herbs (I like parsley, cilantro, dill, oregano) with some olive oil, add salt & pepper; spoon herb mixture onto salmon fillets; carefully remove dish from oven, slide fish into bubbling butter, return to oven and roast for 8-12min, per your oven and preferred doneness.

If you eat fish often, it’s good too to investigate if there is a local seafood CSA in your area, to keep your household menu in season and to support local industries. If not, just check the labels on your frozen purchases for the source. The photo above happened to be Frozen Wild Alaskan Sockeye from Trader Joe’s which was a delicious off-season fix. Happy fishing!

Ginger root & Ginger cake

Ginger root & Ginger cake

Ginger root is a wily superhero. Knobby ends with smooth tan skin, it appears quite unassuming until you slice away a corner and are overcome with its impressive fragrance, sweet and strong and medicinal. Nearly every cuisine uses it in some form: fresh, powdered, pickled, candied, juiced or steeped. I often buy the root to freshly grate into stir-fry or noodles dishes, or to use in cookies and cakes, as done here.

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This is a David Lebovitz recipe for Fresh Ginger Cake, made with molasses, cinnamon, cloves, and lots of freshly grated ginger and baked in a springform pan. It is a lovely, light dessert alternative to chocolate or lemon, and works year round. Accompaniments could be sweet whipped cream, or rhubarb compote, or in this case, pineapple coconut ice cream. Enjoy!

Endive & Avocado with French Vinaigrette

Endive & Avocado with French Vinaigrette

This is one of my favorite, quick salads: crunchy endive and creamy avocado, stirred with tangy & peppery french vinaigrette. Endive is so super versatile, it’s terrific either fresh or braised, and avocado is such a super food, I love them together. My favorite french vinaigrette unites them beautifully, but I also use it on shredded carrots, steamed green beans, or adding a touch to egg salad.

French Vinaigrette:
2T dijon mustard
2T champagne vinegar (white wine vinegar is also fine)
6T extra virgin olive oil
Squeeze fresh lemon
Salt & freshly cracked Pepper to taste
Whisk away.

Enjoy!

Creamy Corn Soup with Roasted Poblano

Creamy Corn Soup with Roasted Poblano

So the official sign of Spring happens today in Boston: the Red Sox home opener! The sound of a baseball game on the TV prompts a pavlovian response where I see open doors to the deck and feel a soft, warm breeze blowing in. The reality though is that it’s still quite cool here and I’m not quite ready to risk a vest instead of jacket, and a fuzzy hat stuffed in the pocket remains wise insurance. But I must be yearning for a teensy taste of summer because before I knew it, I had flagged a Rick Bayless recipe for creamy corn soup with roasted poblano, sauteed onion & garlic, pressed through a sieve to make a silky smooth texture. I bought a few ears of corn at the store, and yes, I know they are coming all the way from Florida, a long road trip to Boston, but please forgive me. I try to make it a point to never wish time by, to cherish each day, but maybe just for a moment, we can let our thoughts drift to summertime and taste it…call it a soup of hope…a soup of warm nights and sun burned shoulders.

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Yes, delicious. Thanks for the quick departure. Now, back to the present, to each brisk, bright morning, checking on the daffodil greens sprouting up through the soil and welcoming the littlest sparks of green on the branches. Spring is here. Let’s play ball!