Tasty Idea: Edible Landscaping

05/04/2017
by Jim Marshall
By Chef Bev Shaffer


Yes, your gardens can be BOTH pretty and productive, and often times the sunniest spots in our yards are the front yards. So why not mix and mingle some plants into your landscape that are functional/edible? Here are some ideas…

Herbs plants are not only easy to grow and fragrant, but they blend beautifully into your gardens. Grow several types of BASIL, and don’t skip the purple leafed varieties that are particularly decorative. FENNEL will add a touch of whimsy, height and a wispiness that will add movement to the garden.

SAGE is so easy to grow, and its mounding shape make it the perfect front-row ornamental. Add some tricolor sage as well for the pink tinges. An assortment of THYME softens the garden, and many of the low growing varieties like a lemon thyme work well in front of taller basil plants.

A Great Time to Use Those Windowsill Herbs

05/04/2017
by Jim Marshall
By Chef Bev Shaffer


While you’re waiting for that all out blitz of outdoor planting, let’s celebrate those windowsill herbs that provided some much needed greenery during the drab winter months.

(I know, I know—one or two 50°F days and you’re ready to go—but Mother Nature will surely remind us with some “you shouldn’t have planted those yet” frost before end-of-May that she is in charge!)

Asparagus Puffs

05/04/2017
by Jim Marshall

*1 Puff pastry sheet
*Robert Rothschild Farm Raspberry Honey Mustard Pretzel Dip
*2 oz. Prosciutto, thinly sliced
*12 Asparagus spears
*Salt and pepper to taste

Thaw puff pastry and roll out sheet onto cutting board. Brush Raspberry Mustard Pretzel Dip onto puff pastry sheet.

Cover with one layer of the thinly sliced prosciutto. Using a very sharp knife, slice into thin strips about 1/2 in wide. Wrap each strip in a spiral around each asparagus spear. (Make sure very end of asparagus is cut off to remove hard stalk).

Place onto parchment lined baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Bake in 400 degrees F oven for 12-15 minutes. Yields 12 asparagus puffs.

Recipe courtesy of Robert Rothschild Farm

Colorful (and Flavorful) Gazpacho Salad

05/04/2017
by Jim Marshall
This bright and flavorful combination of veggies makes for the perfect salad for picnics, potlucks, cookouts and salad buffets!
 
5 medium tomatoes, cored and chopped
1 cup chopped peeled cucumber
3/4 cup chopped red onion
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 to 3/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
8 cups torn romaine lettuce
1 cup diced, peeled jicama, if available [if not substitute celery]
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
 
In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, red pepper and corn. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, vinegar, garlic, oil, salt, pepper and pepper flakes. Drizzle over tomato mixture; toss gently to coat.
 
At this point, mixture may either be refrigerated until ready to serve.
 
Just before serving, combine the romaine, jicama and cilantro. Place 1 cup on each of eight salad plates; top each with 1/3 cup of the tomato mixture.
Makes 8 servings.
 
Recipe courtesy of Chef Bev Shaffer
 
Bev Shaffer is a chef, food and travel writer (she authored the popular “Ask Bev” column that appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer), author of five cookbooks (her latest, CAKES to die for!), and culinary instructor. Chef Bev is a frequent and popular television and radio guest, cooking on all Cleveland network stations and public television. Links to her blogs, “Gadget Freak” and “Eat Plants” can be reached through her website, www.bevshaffer.com

Fresh Dill Bread

05/04/2017
by Jim Marshall
Dill bread is traditionally a Swedish bread, often served with soups or other hearty dishes. It is not used as a breakfast bread, due to the robust flavor of the dill. A true artisan bread, this is recipe is reminiscent of something you might buy at a farmer's market and is a delicious variation on the traditional style.

1/4 cup warm water

1 teaspoon salt

1 pkg. active dry yeast

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup cottage cheese

1 egg

2 Tablespoons sugar

2 1/4 cups flour

1 Tablespoon minced onion

2 Tablespoons melted butter

2 1/2 teaspoon dill weed

1 Tablespoon salt or sugar

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter

Sprinkle yeast over warm water and set aside. Heat cottage cheese until just warm then add to a mixing bowl. Stir in sugar, onion, 2 Tablespoons butter, dill weed, salt, soda, egg and yeast mixture. Add flour to form a stiff dough. Knead several times on a lightly floured flat surface. Cover and let dough rise until doubled. Punch down, divide into 2 halves. Place each in a greased loaf pan and let rise until doubled again. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with the salt or sugar depending on your sweet tooth! Bake at 350° F for 30-35 min.

Fresh from the Garden Angel Food Cake

05/04/2017
by Jim Marshall

I adore angel food cakes...they're light and airy and make the perfect canvas for seasonal fruit, fresh herbs and a large (or small) dollop of freshly whipped cream.

When it comes to actually making angel food cakes at my home, my husband, John, is the far better baker of these delicacies than I.  His are always billowy and crusty on top, with a soft texture and fabulous crumb...what can I say, the man knows how to whip those egg whites to perfection!

Not to be outdone, I do occasionally "gussy it up" and make an angel food cake so flavorful and exquisite ~ one that sounds "girly" but isn't ~ that even stops the guys in their tracks.

Intrigued? Gather up that remaining fresh basil on the porch (purple or sweet) and some organically grown rose petals (being sure they're organically grown) to infuse a sweet aroma and flavor and heat that oven.

If you feel like splurging, serve this cake with warm vanilla custard. Oh my!

Fresh from the Garden Angel Food Cake


1 cup sifted cake flour
1/2 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups egg whites (about 12 large eggs), room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons chopped purple basil or sweet (regular) basil
1 cup chopped organically grown rose petals

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, confectioners' sugar and salt.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy. Add the vanilla extract and beat until soft peaks form.  Gradually beat in the granualted sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, until glossy, stiff peaks form and the sugar dissolves. [To be sure that the sugar has dissolved, rub the beaten whites between your fingers. They should not feel granular.]

Gently fold the flour mixture into the egg white mixture in 4 batches. When the last bit of flour mixture is to be folded in, add the basil and rose petals.

Gently spoon the batter into an ungreased 10" tube pan. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and invert, allowing to cool completely in the pan. When the cake is cool, run a thin knife between the cake and the pan. Turn out onto a plate and serve. Makes 8 servings.

In the mood for a glaze? Combine 1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 to 2 Tablespoons milk. Add the milk gradually until it's of a spreading consistency. Glaze the cake and garnish with additional organic rose petals.

Recipe Courtesy of Chef Bev Shaffer

Herb, Garlic & Lemon Rub

05/04/2017
by Jim Marshall
 
 
Got herbs? They make THE perfect rub for your next outdoor soiree, tantalizing with pork tenderloin, skinless poultry (chicken or turkey) and even fish.
 

Herb, Garlic and Lemon Rub
 
This rub makes about 1/2 cup...
 
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 Tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon Kosher salt or coarse sea salt
 
Blend all the ingredients together in a bowl. Use about 2 Tablespoons of this wet rub per portion, applying the extra during grilling if desired.
 
Recipe courtesy of Chef Bev Shaffer
 
 
 
Bev Shaffer is a chef, food and travel writer (she authored the popular “Ask Bev” column that appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer), author of five cookbooks (her latest, CAKES to die for!), and culinary instructor. Chef Bev is a frequent and popular television and radio guest, cooking on all Cleveland network stations and public television. Links to her blogs, “Gadget Freak” and “Eat Plants” can be reached through her website, www.bevshaffer.com

Insalata Mista with Mint

05/04/2017
by Jim Marshall

Makes 4 side dish servings

5 cups torn mixed greens

½ cup halved yellow or red cherry tomatoes

3 Tablespoons snipped fresh mint

2 ounces thinly sliced fresh mozzarella

¼ cup Greek olives, pitted (optional)

2 Tablespoons dry white wine

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Gently toss together the mixed greens, tomato halves, mint and mozzarella in a large mixing bowl. If desired, add olives.
Stir together wine, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour dressing over salad mixture; toss gently. Serve immediately with fresh baguette slices.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Bev Shaffer

Lemon Herb Mayonnaise

05/04/2017
by Jim Marshall
 
Sometimes, simple is just want you want...something a little out of the ordinary to elevate an everyday dish.
Fresh herbs, simply chopped and added as a "stir in", are your perfect kitchen partner in my take on a
mayonnaise with the addition of fresh herbs and a burst of lemon flavor.

Use as a sandwich spread, as a base for a red skin potato salad, dolloped atop seafood or as a flavor enhancer with roasted veggies!

Lemon Herb Mayonnaise
 
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Place mayonnaise in a food processor. Add the herbs, processing just until smooth, about 30 seconds.
Transfer mixture to a bowl, then stir in lemon juice and lemon zest.

Season with salt and pepper if desired. Cover and chill until ready to use.

May be made 1 day ahead. 
 
Recipe courtesy of Chef Bev Shaffer

Lemony Fresh Herb Coolers

05/04/2017
by Jim Marshall

Using these fresh herbs in a variety of ways is a pleasure, and I like to serve this cooler instead of lemonade when people drop by. Try it with your fresh basil and mint and more!

Lemony Fresh Herb Coolers

Makes about 8 drinks
The combination of fresh basil, cilantro, mint and tarragon makes an unusually refreshing drink.

2 cups water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups [packed] basil leaves and small sprigs
1 cup [packed] cilantro leaves and small sprigs
1 cup [packed] mint leaves and small sprigs
2 Tablespoons tarragon sprigs
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Cold club soda
lemon twists and mint sprigs for garnish

In a medium saucepan, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes; let the sugar syrup cool.


In a blender or food processor, combine the sugar syrup with the basil, cilantro, mint, tarragon, lemon zest and lemon juice. Puree this mixture.  Let stand for 1 hour, then strain through a coarse sieve, pressing on the solids with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible.

For each drink, pour 1/4 cup of the fresh herb syrup over cracked ice and fill with club soda. Garnish the drinks with a lemon twist and mint sprigs and serve.  Refreshing!
 
Recipe courtesy of Chef Bev Shaffer


Bev Shaffer is a chef, food and travel writer (she authored the popular “Ask Bev” column that appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer), author of five cookbooks (her latest, CAKES to die for!), and culinary instructor. Chef Bev is a frequent and popular television and radio guest, cooking on all Cleveland network stations and public television. Links to her blogs, “Gadget Freak” and “Eat Plants” can be reached through her website, www.bevshaffer.com