This is tattooed on my bicep too
We always like to see what Shaun the Bartender is shaking up over at Your Home with Karie Engels. This drink was inspired by his Caribbean Sunset. We made ours less sweet, replacing the sodas with sparkling water. But it still made for a nice drink to sip (or guzzle) while playing croquet. Now if only we could remember where we put those wickets… (Also Shaun, our apologies for bastardizing the name, but that is where folks in our neck of the woods like to vacation and the Caribbean is pretty hoity-toity.)
Redneck Riviera Sunset
- 1 1/2 ounces spiced rum
- juice from 1/2 lime
- 1 1/2 ounces orange juice (fresh squeezed is best)
- 1/2 ounce grenadine
- 2 ounces sparkling water
Pour all ingredients in a tall glass with ice. Slosh around to mix. Top with soda water. Repeat.
Look it’s JB Prewitt the greatest hand model in the world
The first of the garlic scapes have begun to sprout out and I cannot wait to cook them up. Scapes are the shoots that come out of the center of a garlic plant signaling the garlic will soon be ready for harvest. By cutting them off the plant is forced to put more effort into the garlic bulbs creating a bigger end result. They also are very tasty, like a green bean that tastes like mild garlic butter. For one way to cook them try this. Other ideas to come later.
Speaking of forcing plants to put more energy into the food it is also time to start plucking the flowers from the arugula. Like basil and cilantro, arugula likes to send up flowers and stop making leaves. By nipping them in the bud, the harvest increases for each plant. If you knew that was were the phrase came from then give yourself a big gold star.
Funny how it looks like a thistle
Spring flavors for everyone
Nothing says spring like fresh fava beans. I love these things so much that this winter they are going to be an addition to the garden. Before I get to the delicious risotto in the photo though there is a controversy to settle: To shell fresh fava beans or not.
Believe it or not there are people foaming at the mouth over this issue. Now dried fava beans need to be shelled because the tough outer skin is unacceptable. Fresh fava beans are much smaller( no larger than 1″). If they get bigger then they should be dried. There are many people who like to remove the outer skin of the fresh bean and they do this for two reasons. One they look brighter green when cooked. In the photo above I did not remove the outer skin and as you can see the beans are a dull green. The second reason is flavor. The outside shell has most of the bitter taste that make fava beans so complex. Some people do not like the taste as much and, with the skin removed, the beans are much sweeter, like green peas. Of course the price you pay for fava beans means you should like the added bitterness, otherwise just buy green peas. After all they are much cheaper.
In the end the decision to shell the beans twice is up to how they are going to be used. If you are going to eat them raw, which is a really good way especially paired with a sharp pecorino cheese, then leave the outside shell on. The look is still bright green and the loss of flavor is unacceptable. When it comes to cooked fresh beans then it’s up to you. They will look far greener shelled and if mashing the beans to a puree the skins will get in the way a bit. For most other dishes though I prefer to lose some color and gain more flavor. If you do want to shell the beans the easiest way to do it is a quick parboil for a minute and then straight to ice water. It is very labor intensive to remove the skins as well. Now to the dish.
For this risotto, I made a vegetable broth using the discarded fava bean pods, bits from the red onion and then added some carrots, celery and parsley. This created a red colored broth due to the onion which in turn made the risotto a pinkish color. If you prefer the risotto to have a whiter color then use a sweet yellow onion in the broth. I also did not shell the beans, but if you want a greener color or prefer the fava beans to be sweeter then by all means go for it. I felt the extra bitterness helped to offset the lemon and mint very well and really made this risotto scream spring. When buying fava beans expect four cups of pods to equal one cup shelled beans. For those folks new to risotto go here.
Lemon Risotto with Fava Beans and Mint
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 cup finely minced red onion
- 4 cups vegetable stock simmering
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup grated Romano
- 2 cups fresh fava beans
- 15 large mint leaves cut into thin ribbons
- 2 tbsp butter
Heat butter in a large saute pan. Fry onions over low heat until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add rice and cook over medium until the edges begin to turn clear. Add lemon juice, wine and zest. Cook until absorbed then add broth 1 cup at a time, stirring often until risotto is soft and creamy. Add beans and another cup stock and cook until beans are done, about two minutes. Add cheese and mint, remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Serve with a good dry white wine.
Three different kinds of sugar is always a good way to start off the day
Strawberry week is officially over, but we had one more recipe to get out of our system. This is such a simple way to put a spring spin on pancakes.
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 beaten egg
- 1 cup buttermilk (see note below)
- 1 tbsp cinnamon sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 cups sliced strawberries
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp cinnamon sugar
For topping: Mix berries with sugar and syrup, set aside while making pancakes.
For pancakes: Mix dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and add wet ingredients. Stir to incorporate. Cook on a griddle or a hot frying pan. Cook in batches, pouring about a quarter cup of batter on at a time. When you start to see bubbles flip. Cook until golden, about two minutes on each side.
Notes: If you don’t have buttermilk, you can put a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar in your measuring cup and fill it the rest of the way to the one cup mark with regular milk. Let stand for five minutes before using.
I thought about arranging the berries into a smiley face
We’ll be back with Sunday Suppers next week. We wanted to finish out the week with one more strawberry recipe.
Fresh Strawberry Tart
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 8 tbsp chilled butter
- ice water
Preheat oven to 350 and grease a tart pan. In a large bowl, mix sugar, flour and salt. Cut in butter, until mix resembles coarse crumbs. Use just enough water, about a 1/8 cup, to bind dough. Press into tart pan . Pierce dough with a fork. Bake until golden, about 25 minutes.
- 6 cups strawberries, halved
- 3/4 cup sugar
- pinch salt
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 3 tbsp cold water
- 3/4 tsp ground cardamom
Whisk sugar, water, cornstarch and salt in a two- or three-quart saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until smooth. Stir in four cups of the berries and cardamom and stir. Allow mix to bubble. Use a potato masher to mash fruit. Allow mix to simmer, stirring often. Cook until thick and the mix is reduced by about a third. This will take about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer all but two tablespoons to prepared crust. Allow to cool slightly. Arrange remaining berries on top and brush with reserved filling. Refrigerate for an hour or until ready to serve.
It’s about that many berries for one container of jam
This year I decided to change up the strawberry jam recipe again by adding rosemary instead of cinnamon. To offset the flavor of the herb and increase the sweetness I added balsamic vinegar. The result turned out very good, with the fresh spice of the rosemary complemented by the sweet strawberries. As always, use the freshest and ripest fruit for any jam. For canning instruction go here.
Strawberry Jam with Rosemary
- 9 cups strawberries chopped into small dice
- 4 cups sugar
- 2 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
Mix all ingredients together in a large stock pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook jam down until reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Makes enough jam for 4-5 12 oz containers.
For a more basic strawberry preserves click here. Or for one with brown sugar and citrus go here.
If there’s a part one, a part two should follow… Don’t confuse these with a strawberry mojito, although the leftover juice is good enough to drink. This recipe makes use of our ample supply of fresh mint. Eat these by themselves or drizzled over pound cake or baked goat cheese and honey.
- 1 pint strawberries (washed, hulled and sliced thin)
- 1 cup fresh mint
- 2 tbsp rum
- 1 tbsp honey
- juice from half a lemon
- 1 tbsp sugar (optional)
Puree mint, lemon juice, honey and rum in a blender. In a large bowl, toss puree with strawberries. Refrigerate for 1-4 hours to let flavors meld. Taste after about 30 minutes and add sugar if desired to increase sweetness.
Other great ways to eat strawberries and soak up some booze:
Jello pudding has nothing on this
Strawberries in Grand Marnier
Of course the strawberry season is probably a little shorter for most people.
Strawberries with a Sour Cream Amaretto Dip
I love strawberry season