Favorite Recipes from our Local Chefs
Strawberry Basil Lemonade by Mary Beth, Appliance Chef
One of the latest trends in drinks is creating an infusion of fruit and herbs. I picked up some strawberries and basil from Shady Brook Farm in Yardley to make a Strawberry Basil Lemonade to accompany an assortment of grilled hot dogs that we served over the Memorial Day weekend. This is a non-alcoholic version, but you can easily convert it to a cocktail with some gin or vodka.
• 2 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice
• 4 ½ cups water, divided
• 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
• 1 lb fresh strawberries
• 1 cup fresh basil leaves, plus an additional 4-5 leaves divided
• 2 cups of water
• 2 cups vodka, rum, or prosecco, optional (if leaving unspiked, add 2 more cups of water)
1. Add sugar, 1 ½ cups water, strawberries and basil to a saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves, about 10 minutes. Take off the heat and allow the mixture to set for 30 minutes.
2. Add the mixture to a blender and pulse until smooth.
3. Add the lemon juice, water, sugar mixture, and vodka (if using) to a large pitcher. Stir to combine. Pour over ice. Add 4-5 additional fresh basil leaves for flavor and garnish.
Jim Weaver, Tre Piani
As Father's Day approaches, we would like to share a simple yet amazing grilling recipe. It will be sure to make dads and those who are celebrating them very happy.
We use chicken, but the dry rub and BBQ sauce can also be used on beef, pork, veal, seafood, corn, potatoes, antelope, yak and just about anything else that can be cooked on a grill.
Before you start, here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
- A dry rub is preferred for longer cooking times because it will not burn quickly. The sugar in the mix will actually caramelize onto the meat.
- The spice rub recipe is very basic and can be adapted to your taste by using your favorite spices and dried herbs. Feel free to make it spicier, sweeter, saltier, etc.
- Remember that your grill also acts like an oven when the lid is closed, and that your chicken will cook more thoroughly that way. Meats like steak cook better on high heat with an open lid, which ensures the desirable charring outside and a more rare center (which is why thick steaks are better.)
- There are no exact cooking times because the size of meats varies, as does the heat of each grill. You just need to watch and learn about the idiosyncrasies of their grill.
Dry rub mix:
4 tbsp. brown sugar
3 tbsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. dry thyme
1 tsp. dry rosemary
Mix the dry spices and herbs together thoroughly.
¼ cup cooking oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, diced
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Up to a week ahead of time, make the simple barbecue sauce. In a saucepan, add the oil, garlic, onion and peppers. Let the mixture cook slowly until the vegetables are soft. Add the brown sugar and let it melt. Add the vinegar, bring to a boil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. This sauce may be pureed if desired.
Simple Barbecued Chicken
1 chicken cut into quarters, bones in
Rub the chicken pieces all over with the spice rub; let rest for at least 15 minutes (or as long as overnight). The flavors will permeate deeper the longer the chicken marinates. Preheat your grill on high heat, making sure that the grates are clean. Add the chicken pieces and lower the heat to medium. (Cook for longer at a lower heat to prevent burning.)
Cook the chicken with the lid closed and check it often to make sure it does not burn. You can adjust the heat accordingly, allowing common sense to dictate whether or not the bird is cooking too quickly or too slowly.
When the chicken is less than two minutes away from being fully cooked, baste it with your sauce. Turn once and baste the other side. Serve.
For more grilling recipes and tips, join Jim's grilling class on June 27th. Click here for details.
Heirloom Tomato Salad with Rosemary from Shady Brook Farm
Original recipe makes 4 servings
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
kosher salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
3 large heirloom tomatoes, quartered
3 small heirloom tomatoes, quartered
Whisk together the olive oil, rice wine vinegar, rosemary, and oregano in a large bowl. Add small and large tomatoes, and toss until evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Toss again before serving.
Lamb Lettuce Two Ways by Jim Weaver, Tre Piani
Local spring greens are here. Crisp, vibrant, and utterly delicious.
We've just come across a nifty gardening trick to keep the bugs from the lettuce. It included a tip on cleaning the lettuce, but no recipes. So I decided to step in and offer some recipes.
The greens recipes below suit many greens but I want to highlight a less popular yet delicious - lamb lettuce (aka Mâche or corn salad).
In my humble opinion, lamb lettuce bears no resemblance to lamb but some say the name comes from the lettuce's resemblance to lamb's tongue. So be it.
The dark leaves are long and spoon-shaped and have a distinctive, tangy flavor. It is used raw in salads as well as steamed and served as a vegetable.
The season is starting now and you can find lamb lettuce at farmer’s markets and good produce sections. Choose dark, narrow leaves that are springy and unwilted. Store in an airtight plastic bag in the fridge and use quickly because it doesn't hold well. Use as a main ingredient in salads or cooked and served as a side vegetable.
Wilted Lamb Lettuce with Shallot Vinaigrette
You can substitute with spinach or baby kale.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 pounds triple washed lamb lettuce
1 small shallot, chopped
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon zest
4 ounces Cherry Grove Farm Buttercup Brie, thinly sliced
Combine the shallots, salt, and vinegar and mix well and macerate for about 30 minutes. Stir in the honey and gradually add the oil, stirring to emulsify the vinaigrette. Taste and correct seasoning.
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add oil and garlic. Saute garlic in oil for 2 or 3 minutes. Add lamb lettuce to the pan in stages. Fill the pan with leaves and turn leaves in warm oil until they wilt. Add more leaves to the skillet and repeat the process until all of the lamb lettuce is incorporated. Season the wilted greens with salt and pepper. Serve warm with vinaigrette as a side dish, or top with local brie and serve with some crusty bread as a light satisfying meal.
Assemble the salad:
In a bowl, toss the greens with some vinaigrette to coat, arrange on four serving plates. . Sprinkle some lemon zest. Arrange the cheese over the greens. Drizzle some more vinaigrette. Serve immediately with some crusty bread.
Lamb Lettuce Salad with Mango and Hazelnuts
Catch the end of mango season.
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 ripe mangoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 cups lamb lettuce or arugula
1 cup toasted hazelnuts broken into pieces
1/2 cup crispy bacon bits, heated just before serving.
Combine olive oil and balsamic vinegar with salt and whisk until emulsified. In a bowl, mix the lamb lettuce and walnuts. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss to coat.
Place the mango on a platter. Toss the leaves with vinaigrette and place over the peaches. Garnish with the crispy bacon and serve immediately.
Whole Wheat Pappardelle with Spring Lamb, Artichokes and Fava Beans- Jim Weaver, Tre Piani
Few vegetables play as hard-to-get as fresh fava beans. They appear for a short time in the spring and require tedious preparation. You need to remove the beans from their pod, and then peel the skin from of each one of them. Yes, you can buy them shelled, but they are not quite the same.
Whole Wheat Pappardelle with Spring Lamb, Artichokes and Fava Beans
1 lamb shoulder, boned and cut into cubes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, sliced
3 tbsp. tomato paste
2 cups dry white wine
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
¼ cup fresh shelled fava beans, frozen peas or frozen uncooked lima beans
4 large artichokes cooked and quartered, chokes and “hairy” centers removed, or frozen artichokes hearts.
Freshly ground pepper and sea salt
¼ cup fresh chopped Italian parsley
1 pound whole wheat pappardelle or other pasta, cooked just before serving according to package directions.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a large heavy pan on the stove on high heat. Season the lamb well with salt and pepper. Add the oil to the pan and then the lamb, being careful not to splatter. Make sure you don’t crowd the pan. Brown the meat well on all sides. You may need to work in two or three batches.
Remove the meat to an ovenproof casserole. Add the garlic and onion to the pan in which you cooked the meat and cook, stirring frequently until opaque. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly for about two minutes. Add the wine and the rosemary, bring to a moderate boil and reduce by half. Pour the liquid over the lamb and add 2 cups water or stock. Cover the casserole and roast for 2 hours. Remove from the oven, carefully take off the lid (beware of the steam) and add the favas and artichokes. Check for seasoning and add the parsley. Serve tossed with the pasta and pass the pecorino!
A Good Friday Ramps Recipe from Jim Weaver at Tre Piani
Ramps, those lovely delicate shoots of wild leeks, the signals of the beginning of the season of plenty, are finally here. They grow in the wild (well, New Jersey wild) and thus hard to come by. Occasionally they make an appearance at random produce sections and farm stores but you can forage them by yourself (see how).
|Local Ramps, Photo courtesy of Zone 7
Ramps have a garlicky, oniony flavor that complements many fish. Especially when juxtaposition-ed with that crispy skin of a pan-fried fillet. Here is one gloriously simple example, just in time for Good Friday.
Salmon Fillets with Sauteed Ramps
2 pounds ramps, trimmed and cleaned (substitute with a combination of leeks and scallions with a touch of slivered garlic)
3 tablespoon olive oil to saute ramps
Salt and black pepper
4 portions salmon or halibut fillets, skin on
Butter to cook the fish
Flour to coat the fish
Sea salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil and add ramps. Prepare an ice water bowl. Cook until tender. Transfer to ice bath for about 15 seconds. Drain.
When you are ready to cook the fish:
In a skillet heat the olive oil over a medium flame. Add the ramps and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Saute until lightly caramelized, about 4 minutes. Transfer to 4 individual warm serving plates.
Simultaneously, melt the butter in a large sauté pan until just starting to change color. While the butter is melting season the fish fillets on both sides with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Dredge in the flour on both sides and pat off excess. Place the filet into the sauté pan. Cook until well browned and crisp on both sides and the fillets are just barely cooked through. Remove each fillet and place over the ramps. Serve immediately.
A "Winter Meets Spring" Asparagus Recipe
Come April, we crave asparagus. Tender and delicate, yet those flavor notes have a distinct snap. Since the weather is still pretty wintry we’ve got the perfect recipe for you-one that combines springy asparagus with a richer, luxurious preparation, fit for the rainy chilly weather outside.
Fettuccine with Asparagus Sauce (Serves 4)
1 pound fresh fettuccine
1 bunch asparagus
2 cloves garlic
½ cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. butter
¼ cup olive oil
Fresh chopped Italian (flat) parsley
¼ cup freshly grated parmesan
Shaved parmesan to garnish
Salt and white pepper to taste
Cut off the tips and the tough ends of the asparagus. Discard the tough ends and reserve the tips. Chop the asparagus stems. Combine olive oil and garlic in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and cook until garlic is lightly browned. Add the chopped asparagus and a sprinkle of salt.
Cook over medium heat until tender. Add 1-½ cups of water and bring to a simmer. Let the mixture reduce by half and add the cream. Reduce by another half. Let the asparagus mixture cool and puree in a blender, or use an immersion blender.
Strain, puree, and add back into a saucepan. Add the asparagus tips and parsley. Bring to a simmer and cook until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
When ready to serve, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook until al dente, about 3 minutes. Strain the pasta and drain completely. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir in the cheese. Arrange on a heated serving platter (or individual bowls) and garnish with the shaved Parmesan.
When the first local asparagus and the sun both come in, hopefully soon, there are many other preparations you can try:
Boil or steam the asparagus spears until they just sag when lifted. Then dress them very simply with good olive oil, lemon juice and coarse salt. And maybe a few shavings of Parmesan…
The wiry thin spears are great stirred into risotto or pasta, or used to make a frittata. You don't need to peel the asparagus, just cut off the bases.
Cut off the bases of the asparagus where they turn green, then peel with a vegetable peeler from the tip down. They work very well on the grill but you can also glaze them. Lay them in one layer in a skillet and add just enough water to barely cover the bottom of the pan. Then add some butter or a splash of olive oil. Cook, covered, over medium heat until the spears are almost tender (poke them with a small, sharp knife to make sure). Remove the lid, raise the heat to high and cook until the liquid has reduced to a silky asparagus-flavored sauce. Serve as is, or top it with a sunny-side-up egg with some good bread for a fancy brunch.
You can use a vegetable peeler to turn the peels of the asparagus stem into long thin “noodles,” then make a little salad with olive oil-garlic-lemon vinaigrette, some capers and chopped hardboiled egg.
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