Herbalicious 2010 w/ Chef Susan Vrabec

SUMMER FRUIT TEA
 
2 cups tea ( Liptons Cold Brew) brewed with lemon balm sprigs, mint sprigs and organic rose petals
One 12 ounce can frozen lemonade
1 & ½ cups mango juice
½ cup strawberries, cut in half
½ cup blueberries
½ cup cubed mango
½ cup cubed papaya
½ cup grapes, halved
Additional mint sprigs, lemon balm sprigs and organic rose petals for garnish
 
Brew the tea.  Add the lemon balm sprigs, mint sprigs and rose petals. Allow to steep for 1 to 2 hours in the refrigerator.  Strain the herbs and petals from the tea. Combine the tea, lemonade and mango juice. Chill until ready to serve. 
To serve, divide the fruit between 8 tall glasses (large wine glasses are fine). Pour the tea over the fruit, garnish with herb sprigs and rose petals, and serve with a spoon.  
 
COLD CREAM OF ZUCCHINI AND BASIL SOUP
 
2 Tbs. olive oil
½ c. chopped yellow onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 ¼ lbs. zucchini, trimmed and chopped
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
3 c. chicken or vegetable stock
1 sprig thyme
½ c. packed basil leaves, chopped
½ c. packed peppery greens (mustard greens, water cress, nasturtium leaves), chopped
1 Tbs. minced parsley leaves
1 c. heavy cream
¼ c. crème fraiche or sour cream
Chopped chives and small basil leaves for garnish
 
In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 15 seconds. Add the zucchini, salt and pepper, and cook until tender. Add the stock and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. 
Add the basil and greens and let wilt, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and discard thyme sprig.
 
With a hand-held immersion blender or in batches in a food processor, puree the soup.  Stir in the cream. Let cool and refrigerate until well chilled. Before serving adjust the seasonings to taste.  Garnish servings with crème fraiche, chives and basil leaves.
 
HERB BUTTER
½ cup room temperature butter (sweet, not salted)
½ Tbs. fresh lemon juice or a few gratings of lemon zest (optional)
3 Tbs. fresh herbs and/or herb flowers or 3 tsp. dried herbs or 3 tsp. herb seeds
Salt and white pepper to taste or dry mustard, paprika, cumin (optional)
               Chop the herbs very finely or pulverize the seeds.  Cream the butter and blend in the herbs and seasonings. Shape as desired and chill or freeze up to six months.
 
Suggested combinations:
–         Sage, parsley and chives for chicken, rice, pasta
–         Tarragon or fennel, lemon zest, and parsley for fish, chicken, or eggs
–         Caraway seeds and parsley for cabbage, carrots, potatoes, and bread
–         Rosemary, chives, parsley, and garlic for potatoes, rice, pasta, beef,  chicken
–         Calendula petals, chives, and parsley for chicken, rice, or eggs
–         Scented geraniums, rose, or pinks (dianthus) for toast, scones, waffles
 
HERB OILS
Olive oil, peanut oil or canola oil
1 cup herbs, spices or citrus to 1 quart oil
Combine ingredients in a clean glass jar. Make sure all ingredients are covered with oil or mold will develop. Cover tightly and store in a dark, cool, dry place. Strain out herbs and garlic after 2 weeks. Pour into clean, dry jars.
 
 
BASIL PESTO
4cups fresh basil leaves (may use 1 cup basil leaves and 1 cup fresh spinach leaves)
½ cup parsley leaves
½ cup olive oil
3 Tbs. pine nuts
2 garlic gloves, peeled
¾ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbs. butter
 Salt and pepper to  taste
Puree the basil, parsley, olivee oil, nuts, and garlic in a food processor, blender, or mortar & pestle. Mix the cheese and butter in by hand. Season to taste. 
Note: if you are not going to use the pesto immediately, pour a thin layer of olive oil on top of the pesto and store in the refrigerator. If you prefer to freeze it, add the cheese and butter after thawing.
 
Variations:
ROSEMARY PESTO: Substitute 1 cup rosemary for the basil. Increase the parsley to 2 cups. Use with beef, chicken, lamb, or potatoes.
DILL PESTO: Substitute ¾ cup scallions, including green tops, chopped and ¼ cup chopped dill weed for the basil. 
 
 
 
SUN-DRIED TOMATO PESTO
3to 4 cloves garlic
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes
2 Tbs. hot water
4 Tbs. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup olive oil
½ cup pine nuts or walnuts
Freshly ground  pepper
In a food processor or blender, while motor is running, add garlic. Next add tomatoes and water and combine well. Slowly add parmesan and oil, then nuts. Season to taste with pepper. 
 
TWO PESTO GOAT CHEESE TORTA
10 oz. goat cheese
2 oz. cream cheese
3 oz. feta cheese
Basil Pesto
Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
2 to 3 sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
Fresh Basil
 
In a bowl combine the goat cheese and cream cheese. Add the feta, and combine lightly, creating a coarse texture. Line a 1 ½ cup ramekin (or straight sided bowl) with plastic wrap.  Divide the cheese mixture in half. Add ¼ cup basil pesto to 1 half and ¼ sun-dried tomato pesto to the other half. Place the basil pesto/cheese mixture in the ramekin and press down smoothly.  Cover the basil pesto/cheese mixture with the sun-dried tomato/cheese mixture and press down smoothly. Refrigerate overnight or for 4 hours.
               When ready to serve, invert torta on serving plate. Remove plastic wrap. Place some of each pesto around the bottom of torta. Decorate top with strips of sun-dried tomatoes and basil.  Serve with crackers or crostini.
 
HERBED GOAT CHEESE
10 ounces goat cheese, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup finely chopped herbs and edible flowers
               Combine all in a bowl. 
Use to top crostini or crackers or stuff small tomatoes
Option 1:  To ½ cup of Herbed Goat Cheese add 3 to 4 finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil). Mix well. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
Option 2: Make small balls of Herbed Goat Cheese and roll in toasted sesame seeds, finely minced herbs or toasted crushed nuts and spear with toothpicks for quick appetizer
 
 
HERBED TOMATO, BASIL AND MOZZARELLA SALAD

Ripe Tomatoes, sliced                                       Fresh Basil Leaves
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese                                  Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Herb Oil
Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper
Balsamic vinegar                                               Organic flower petals

HOMEMADE HERB OIL
1/2 cup rosemary leaves, stems removed
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup tarragon leaves
1/8 cup thyme leaves
           
Place the rosemary and the olive oil in a blender and cover. Blend on high speed until the rosemary has been ground into small pieces.
Add the tarragon and thyme and continue blending until all the herbs have been broken down into small pieces. Pour into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.   
Yield: 1 ½ cups oil
 
DOLCE CAPRESE
 
MOZZARELLA ICECREAM
About 5oz. good buffalo mozzarella
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar (you can add more sugar later, to taste)
4 egg yolks
 
Cut the mozzarella into small pieces. Put them in a blender with the cream and milk. Put the blended mixture in a saucepan on medium heat.
While the cream mixture is heating, whisk together the eggs, and sugar.
Once the cheese/cream mixture is hot but not boiling, pour about 1/2 cup of the hot cream over the eggs and sugar to temper the eggs.
When the cream mixture almost reaches boiling, stir in the eggs and sugar. Cook over medium heat for another 3 minutes or so. After 3 minutes, taste the mixture to see if you need to add any more sugar. Just keep in mind that the final product (ice cream) will not be quite as sweet as the hot cream mixture.
Take the cream mixture off the heat and let it sit for about 15 minutes to cool
Strain the cream mixture and pour into a bowl and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
When the ice cream base has fully cooled, follow the instructions with your ice cream maker to freeze.
 
 
TOMATO GRANITA
2 lbs ripe sweet tomatoes, peeled
1 – 2 Tbs sugar
 
Quarter the tomatoes and puree in a food processor with the sugar.
Strain through a sieve and discard the seeds.
Let the mixture chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
Pour granita mixture into a shallow, wide container. Cover with a lid, foil, or plastic wrap. Freeze 1-2 hours or until the edges are frozen. Take out of freezer and scrape with a fork, mixing it from the edge into the center. Repeat the scraping and mixing process every 1/2 hour or so (at least 3 times) until the entire mixture has turned into small, sequined ice flakes.
 
BASIL GRANITA
3 cups water
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
HOW TO:
Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then simmer 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool completely in an ice bath, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
Purée syrup with basil until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a 3-qt shallow container, pressing on and then discarding solids.
Cover with a lid, foil, or plastic wrap. Freeze 1-2 hours or until the edges are frozen. Take out of freezer and scrape with a fork, mixing it from the edge into the center. Repeat the scraping and mixing process every 1/2 hour or so (at least 3 times) until the entire mixture has turned into small, sequined ice flakes.
 
 Shopping list:
Strawberries, blueberries, mango, papaya, grapes
Frozen lemonade
Mozzarella
16 oz cream
whole milk
eggs
goat cheese
cream cheese
parmesan
feta
sundried tomatoes
pine nuts
vegetable stock
 Mango juice

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