Tag Archive for cordial

Locust Blossoms: Bottle Spring!

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The black locusts enchanting blossoms are melting away in the rain as I write.  As everything else this year, they were 10 days to 2 weeks earlier than usual – I generally count on the 2nd week of May to be peak time for the pearly bunches of fragrant flowers. My nose noticed the first ones on April 28, this year, as I was walking out of the Flint Hill Volunteer Fire & Rescue Hall where I was cooking for a wedding. But unlike many other years, this year was a good season, with showy, abundant and long lasting blossoms – well over 10 days. Despite almost 6 inches of rain last week, they kept blooming. But all things end, and now they are just drooping, brown and limp, rain water pulling them down closer to the ground… Read more

The First Two Days of Christmas

Christmas Day –  dinner for 9.

Locally smoked salmon with creme fraiche tartines (homemade baguette)

Cream of butternut squash & parsnips with truffle oil (butternut squash from guest Wendy ‘s garden. This is Wendy’ second year of gardening only and she – unlike me – had a very nice winter squash harvest. Thanks for sharing, Wendy!)

Green garden salad (mache, lettuces, chicories, chickweed & arugula) with fresh persimmon slices, dry cranberries & toasted pecans. Blackberry vinaigrette.

Roasted leg of Piedmont lamb with garlic, rosemary & ginger. Fennel carrots, mashed potatoes & sautéed oyster mushrooms

Cheese platter (Virginia and other American cheeses), homemade quince paste

A fabulous chocolate torte AND profiteroles made by guest and professional baker Brooke Parkhurst of Triple Oak Bakery (amazingly delicious and gluten-free!)

Dainties, locally roasted coffee and homemade cordials.

Served with Virginia Wines:  Barboursville Brut, RdV Friends & Family 2008, and dessert Chateau O’Brien Virginia Apple Wine.

 

The First Day of Christmas – walk it off

The Second Day of Christmas  – make limoncello

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The Year of Rhubarb

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Or maybe it’ll be “A Year In Rhubarb”, given the voracity with which I am acquiring stalks for the kitchen. I can’t help it: there are so many plump juicy stems for sale… I have to make up for years of deprivation, you know: there was no rhubarb growing on the tropical island where I spent my childhood.

I am hearing from growers that this year’s wet cool spring has done wonder for rhubarb. Unfortunately, the cool spring is ending this week as we not-so-gently steam and wilt with the thermometer reaching 90 degrees  ( 32 C). The wet part is still on though with copious rain showers every day – rather tropical, really. What that will do for rhubarb is anybody’s guess, but I am furiously buying rhubarb. Close to 30 pounds to date, and few weeks to go still…

It’s been fun. I’ve made ice-cream (several batches and settled on proportions I like), sorbet, syrup, cordial, compote, tartelettes, fresh strawberry & ginger rhubarb tart, jam (some with elder blossom cordial, some with vanilla bean and some with fresh ginger root), rhubarb strudel (or was that baklava?) as well as fresh rhubarb chutney (delicious with a rack of lamb). And frozen a bunch, should I suddenly have a craving for rhubarb. It could happen.

It’s about time I share some recipes… so… on today’s episode we’ll learn to cook rhubarb once and make no less than 4 dishes! We’ll delve into the secret lives of rhubarb (oh… wait… we did that already!). Oh, well, then we’ll … learn how to coax the juice  from those stalks without turning them into mush and we’ll make first a  happy rosy syrup, and then a sweet and even happier little cordial. Read more