Lemon Rosemary Cake with Fresh Lemon Glaze
Reprinted with permission from CAKES To Die For! by Bev Shaffer

This cake has such bright flavors, and rosemary helps it cross over from a simply sweet cake to a treat that would go perfectly as a ladies’ luncheon “bread” or with barbecued ribs.


  • 2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/3 cup light olive oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
Lemon Glaze:
  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Heat oven to 325° F. Grease a 9-by-5 inch loaf pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, zest, and rosemary. Set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the oil and sugar until well blended. With mixer on medium, add the eggs, one at a time, until mixture is a pale yellow. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl.

Alternately, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the sugar mixture, stirring just to blend. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake for 52 to 60 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

For the Glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice until mixture is smooth. Spread glaze atop warm cake.

Cool completely on a wire rack. When ready to serve, run a knife around the inside edge of the pan and carefully remove the cake. Serves 8 to 10.


White Beans with Roasted Peppers
By Chef Bev Shaffer

You can eat this bean dish cold, as a salad, or hot with pasta, polenta or rice. Don’t forget to use your fresh basil in this recipe as well.

  • 2 red bell peppers, halved and seeded
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups cooked or canned white beans, drained
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Heat oven to 400°F. Arrange the peppers on a baking sheet and roast them for about 30 minutes or until they are very soft and their skins are charred. Remove from the oven and put the peppers in a paper bag for about 10 minutes to make their skins easier to remove. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, peel off their skins using your fingers and slice the peppers into thin strips. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan; add the garlic and cook on medium low heat for about 1 minute. Add the beans, roasted peppers, basil and salt. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes until the beans are heated through. Remove from the heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar. Serves 4.


Peppered Peppers
By Chef Bev Shaffer
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1” squares
  • 2 medium green bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1” squares
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • Sea salt to taste

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat; add onion, ground pepper, cumin and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until onion is soft. Stir in bell peppers, and then pour in wine. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until peppers are tender crisp. Season to taste with salt. Serves 4 to 6.


Tomato Basil Soup
By Chef Bev Shaffer

  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 4 to 5 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped (about 4 cups)
  • ½ cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • ¾ tsp. sugar
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth

Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot; cook, stirring often, until onion is slightly soft. Stir in tomatoes, basil leaves, sugar and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring to prevent sticking; then reduce heat, cover and simmer until onion is very soft and flavors blend (about 15 minutes). In a blender or food processor, whirl tomato mixture (a portion at a time if needed), until smooth. Return tomato mixture to pan and add chicken broth, seasoning to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat until steaming. Makes about 5 cups.


Basil Pesto
By Chef Bev Shaffer

  • 4 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • ¼ cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Put the basil, pine nuts, parsley, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a food processor. With the machine on, slowly pour the olive oil into the feed tube and process, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed, until the mixture is very finely chopped and pasty. Season to taste with additional salt, if desired. Yields about 2/3 cup.


Fresh Tomato and Basil Sauce
By Chef Bev Shaffer

  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, sliced as thinly as possible
  • 2 lb. cherry tomatoes, rinsed and halved
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, very thinly sliced

In a large sauté pan, heat the oil and garlic over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is softened but not browned. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently to coat and then raise the heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasional and adjusting the heat to maintain a lively but not-too-vigorous simmer, until the tomatoes have been reduced to a thick, pulpy sauce, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and sprinkle on the basil. Stir to combine thoroughly. Serves 4.

Suggested serving:

  • 1 lb. cooked farfalle pasta
  • Spooned atop grilled shrimp, scallops or whitefish
  • Spread on thick slices of garlic bread
  • Want to add cheese? 5 oz. ricotta salata, cut into ¼ inch dice


Spinach Stuff Tomatoes
By Chef Bev Shaffer

  • ¾ lb. spinach
  • 8 medium size tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 ¼ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided use
  • 2 Tbsp. dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Pick through spinach leaves, discarding stems and any yellow or wilted leaves. Plunge spinach into a large quantity of cold water to clean; lift out, drain, pat dry, and coarsely chop. Set aside. Cut off top fourth of each tomato; reserve for other uses (you could add this to the Tomato Basil Soup!). With a small spoon or melon baller, scoop out pulp to make hollow shells. Chop pulp and allow to drain in a colander. Melt butter in oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add onion; cook, stirring, until soft. Stir in drained tomato pulp and spinach; cook, stirring, until spinach is wilted. Stir in 1 cup of the cheese, breadcrumbs and nutmeg. Heat broiler. Fill each tomato with spinach mixture and arrange in an ungreased baking pan; sprinkle evenly with remaining cheese. Broil 4” below heat until cheese is lightly browned. Makes 8 servings.


Cilantro Lime Dressing
By Chef Bev Shaffer

  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • zest of 1 lime
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • zest of 1 orange
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider or white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon local honey
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

In a food processor combine the cilantro, zest and juice of the limes and oranges, vinegar, honey and sea salt. Pulse to combine; stop and scrape sides. With machine running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until well combined. (Dressing may separate, so feel free to whisk well to combine just before serving.) Makes about 1 cup.


Cilantro Pesto
By Chef Bev Shaffer

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • ¾ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ¾ cup toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • ¾ cup avocado or extra virgin olive oil

In a food processor combine the garlic and cilantro. Pulse to mince and combine; stop and scrape sides. Add lime juice, seeds and salt; pulse until seeds are finely chopped. Slow add oil and blend until combined. Makes about 1 ¼ cups.


Banana Mint Smoothie

  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup of yogurt
  • Dash or two of milk.

In a blender, combine all ingredients (banana, mint leaves, yogurt, and milk). Turn blender on high speed and blend until mixture is smooth. Smoothie makes 1 serving. Multiply ingredients for additional servings.


Strawberry Basil Smoothie

  • 2 cups hulled strawberries
  • 1 cup milk
  • Several basil leaves

In a blender, combine all ingredients (strawberries, basil leaves, and milk). Turn blender on high speed and blend until mixture is smooth. Smoothie makes 1 serving. Multiply ingredients for additional servings.


Raspberry and Rosemary Smoothie

  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary (finely chopped)
  • 1 cup of yogurt
  • Dash or two of milk

In a blender, combine all ingredients (raspberries, rosemary, yogurt, and milk). Turn blender on high speed and blend until mixture is smooth. Smoothie makes 1 serving. Multiply ingredients for additional servings.


Lavender Butter Cookieslavender butter cookies.jpg

  • 4 sticks of butter
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons milk, sour cream or orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 5 cups flour sifted
  • 1 1/2 Lavender Buds, crushed

Beat together butter and sugar until smooth. Stir in egg, milk and vanilla. Gradually stir in flour until well combined. Stir in crushed lavender buds. Roll dough into two 10" long logs. Wrap in plastic or wax paper and refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350. Slice dough into 1/4 inch thick slices and place on baking sheet approx. 1-2 inches apart. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly brown. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool. Makes 10 dozen cookies.


Old Fashioned Lemon Verbena Lemonade Syruplemon verbena lemonade.jpg

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 lemons (zest)
  • 15-20 lemon verbena leaves slightly crushed

lemon verbena leaves for garnish

Make the syrup by heating together water, lemon zest and sugar. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and allow to infuse until cold. Bring back to a boil and immediately add the lemon verbena leaves. Take off the heat and allow to infuse until cold. Strain the syrup into a bottle or jar in the fridge until needed. Discard the lemon verbena leaves.

To make LEMONADE: Pour some syrup into a glass and add water to taste. Serve with ice and garnish with a lemon verbena leaf and a lemon slice.

To make LEMON ICED TEA: Add 1 part syrup to 7 parts brewed tea or to taste.


 Lemon Thyme Bread

  • 1 stick (8 Tbsp.) unsalted butterlemon thyme bread.jpg
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
  • 4 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon thyme, chopped
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, then butter and flour a 9x5 bread pan.

Combine butter & sugar in a bowl, with an electric mixer, beating until light and fluffy. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside. When the butter/sugar mixture is light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time, beating well until fully mixed before adding the next egg. Add the lemon zest and 2 Tbsp. of the lemon juice, mixing well until distributed throughout the batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and alternate adding the milk and flour mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. (1/3 flour, 1/2 milk, 1/2 the remaining flour, the rest of milk, the remaining flour). Fold in the lemon thyme. Spread the resulting batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean. Remove the bread from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack set over a piece of waxed paper. In a small pitcher, combine confectioners' sugar and the remaining 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice, stirring until a thin glaze is formed. Pour the glaze over the top of the warm loaf once it has been removed from the pan. Allow to dry for 10 minutes before serving.


Dilly Cheese Bread

  • 3 cups Bisquick
  • 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x5 inch loaf pan. Combine Bisquick, cheese and sugar. Combine remaining ingredients and add to cheese mixture, beating until blended and smooth. Pour into prepared pan and bake 45 to 50 minutes. Note: Great for tomato sandwiches!


Fresh Herb Mayonnaise
By Chef Bev Shaffer

To 1 cup of your favorite mayonnaise, add 2 teaspoons lemon juice and about 1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped fresh herbs. Mix well, then cover and refrigerate at least until next day or for up to 1 month. That turkey sandwich or your favorite mayo based potato salad will never be the same!

Need a dab of herbed butter for your broiled fish, baked potato or grilled steak? Easy.


Whipped Herb Butter
By Chef Bev Shaffer

In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup room temperature butter, salted or unsalted, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and about 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh herbs with a hand held mixer, stopping and scraping the bowl and beaters often, until well blended. Add a twist of freshly ground pepper, too.