Thursday, April 10, 2008

Japanese Dogwood Berry Sauce

The Japanese Dogwood produces a very flavorful fruit about the size of a strawberry. While not a flower, it is an unusual fruit that does not get much attention; although the young leaves of this tree are edible.

Gather or obtain 4 cups of Kousa Berries (Japanese Dogwood Berries)
2 Tablespoons of orange juice

The outer skin of the berry is tough and not so pleasant. So as you would a cranberry, boil the Kousa for about 5 minutes until the skin 'pops'. Squeeze through cheese cloth to remove seeds and pulp.

Combine with Orange juice and serve over tarts, meats, etc...

Add sugar, maple syrup, or agave nectar for added sweetness if desired.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Herb Roasted Lamb w/ Tassel Hyacinth

Tassel Hyacinth is used in regional Italian cooking and in Greece. In Italy, they are most commonly used in the Puglia region (Apulia) and locally they are called "lampascioni" or "lampasciuni" or "lamponi". Do not confuse them with cipolline onions.

1 6 lb boneless leg of lamb
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves of garlic
18 black olives
1 Tablespoon fresh, chopped rosemary
3.5 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Kosher Salt
6 lampagioni/tassel hyacinth bulbs

Prior to cooking the tassel hyacinth, the outer leaves must be removed and the bulbs should soak in cool water, that is changed occasionally, so that some of their bitterness is lost.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven so the lamb will sit in the middle of the oven.

In food process combine 6 peeled bulbs of garlic, oil olive, rosemary, 1 tablespoon salt, 3 lampagioni bulbs, black olives, and balsamic vinegar. Process until garlic, rosemary, and lampagioni are finely minced.

Evenly coat top and sides of the lamb with mixture. Marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.

If desired add potatoes to bottom of roasting pan and place lamb on top. Roast in oven up to 1.5 hours.

Let lamb cool for 20-30 minutes before serving.

Hibiscus Chocolate Ganache

6 ounces heavy cream (Coconut cream is a nice substitute for Vegan Alternatives, or a cashew or almond cream)
3 1/2 ounces chocolate with 61% cocoa, chopped
1 ounce chocolate with 34% cocoa, chopped
1/2 ounce raspberry puree
5 ounces hibiscus syrup***
1 1/2 ounces butter (Earth balance works well for vegan alternative)

Place chocolate in large bowl. Bring cream, raspberry puree and hibiscus syrup to a boil. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate. Let sit five minutes, then stir in butter. Continue to stir until mixture is smooth. Let cool to room temperature.

Use as filling for tarts, cakes, centers for truffles etc... Personally I think this is excellent for dipping strawberries in.

Serves 6

Make your own from the recipe below or purchase from an importer/Whole Foods/Trader Joes or Purchase from Amazon.

Hibiscus Syrup

The species typically used for this recipe is Hibiscus sabdariffa.

This syrup will keep for at least a year. Once opened, it will keep for months if refrigerated. The syrup is delicious over crepes, fresh fruit, custard, ice cream. To make cordial, a very small quantity of syrup can be added to a glass and filled with water. The syrup can also be added to milk to make a delicious drink or in chocolate truffles.

5 cups sugar
4 cups water
4 cups Hibiscus Flowers/Petals, chopped w/ stamens and pistils removed

Heat the sugar and water in a large saucepan until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the Flowers and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently until the volume of liquid is reduced by a third. Remove from the heat and strain. Bottle the syrup while still hot into clean bottles and seal. The strained flowers can be eaten as a dessert with icecream or custards.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Geranium Sweet Rice

1/2 c. round grain rice
2 c. milk or almond milk or soy milk (I do not recommend using rice milk)
Small handful of scented rose geranium leaves***
2 tbsp. dry coconut
1/4 c. flaked almonds
1/4 c. raisins
1/4 c. brown sugar

Mix rice and milk in saucepan. Add 4 to 6 leaves. cover and simmer 30 minutes. Remove from the heat. Take out leaves. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add coconut, almonds, raisins and sugar to pan; stir well. Transfer to large oven dish. Arrange remaining leaves on top or dice up and mix into the rice. Bake 45 minutes.

Serves 2 to 3

***The flower flavor generally corresponds to the variety. For example, a lemon-scented geranium has a lemony taste. The rose is my personal favorite for this dish, but can be substituted for other varieties. They come in fragrances from citrus and spice to fruits and flowers, and usually in colors of pinks and pastels. Sprinkle them over desserts and in refreshing drinks or freeze in ice cubes. NOTE: Citronelle variety is not edible.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Chinese DayLily

2 cups daylily buds
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1/3 cup almond slivers
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
1 Tbs. Rice wine vinegar
1 Tbs. Tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbs. Water
2 cups cooked brown rice

Steam daylily buds for 10-15 minutes, until tender. In a wok or heavy skillet, heat the oil over a high heat until very hot. Add the almond slivers, saute until browned. Quickly remove the almonds from the pan, set aside. Turn heat down to medium. Add grated ginger and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add vinegar, tamari, and water. Stir to mix. Toss in daylily buds. Serve over hot rice, topped with sauteed almonds.

Serves 4.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Lilac Sorbet

2 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup strong scented, coarsely chopped lilac florets

Pour water into an enamel or stainless steel saucepan. Add sugar and florets, stir well to dissolve sugar. Bring liquid to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for 5 minutes then allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions.

Top with candied lilac blossoms.

Serves: 4 to 6