Cherry Tomatoes

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Cherry tomato salad… Photographed with my iPhone on the counter. It was a quicky as everyone was waiting for dinner. Just a simple shot, but pretty. Juicy ripe heirloom cherry tomatoes tossed with a simple vinaigrette of red wine vinegar, minced shallots, evoo and S&P. I marinated the shallots in the vinegar for a few minutes to tame their sharpness. Also added blanched green beans. Would have been great with cucumbers and feta as well. So many things to choose from right now!

Memorial Day Weekend – Home Made Burger Buns

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This is my first attempt shooting something as complicated as a burger! Talk about a variety of elements. Plus this was dinner, so it was a rush to get through the shoot. But it gave me some things to consider next time, such as the cheese being overly melted and covering up the burger too much, the bun could have been more browned, the beer needs more foam… I could go on. But all in all — under the circumstances, I’m pretty pleased with my shot. And they were still pretty warm by the time we could eat them.

These buns are scrumptiously flavorful and soft. The rosemary and sea salt giving them a rustic yet classy appeal. Very easy to make with plenty for a crowd or to freeze for later.

For a printable recipe click here

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Rhubarb Tarts with Brown Sugar Streusel

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Rhubarb is one of my favorite vegetables! It’s so beautiful and if you have a plant, or if you’re like us and your neighbor has a plant, it can be very photogenic when picked fresh. It was a cool, misty morning that I found myself skulking around in my neighbor’s side garden (again), shushing my dog (who was quietly minding his own business, by the way, sniffing around for some kale) as I was carefully harvesting a few pretty stalks for my photo shoot this week.

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Rhubarb Tarts with Brown Sugar Streusel

Tart dough:

In a medium bowl, whisk together:

2 C All Purpose Flour
1/4 C Corn Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
3 TB Sugar

Cut in, until course meal with small lumps remaining here and there:

12 TB Unsalted butter, chilled

Add:

1/4 C Ice water

Mix and form dough until barely coming together. You may need to add a bit more water to achieve this. Divide in two, and wrap in plastic, shaping into 1″ x 6″ disks as your are wrapping. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 3 days. You can also freeze the dough at this point—I would use within 3 months depending on your freezer and how air-tight you wrap it.

Rhubarb filling:

Prep rhubarb by washing stalks and removing all parts of the leaves and base of stalk.
In a large bowl, combine:

1 pound 3 oz. prepped rhubarb, cut into 1/2″ dice
1 TB Corn starch
1/2 C Sugar
1/2 T Vanilla extract

Brown Sugar Streusel:

Combine in a medium bowl:

1 1/4 C All purpose flour
1/2 C Oats
3/4 C Brown sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp ginger (Optional)
1 tsp cinnamon

Add and mix until combined and crumbly:

1/2 C melted butter

Preheat oven to 425°f. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. You can make this recipe with 1 large tart pan if you wish. I prefer to make individual tarts because they are a little unique and people like having their own dessert all to themselves. I used English muffin rings as follows: lightly oil 8 English muffin rings and set on the parchment lined sheet pan, spaced as much as allows. Roll tart dough out, one disk at a time. Place a muffin ring on the rolled out dough and with a paring knife, trace around the ring – cutting the dough about an inch larger than the ring. You will get 4 dough circles from each disk with a little left over. Replace the ring on the sheet pan and lightly line with dough you just cut out. Pressing it in and up the sides evenly, pinching off any access over the top of the ring. After you line all 8 rings, fill each with the rhubarb filling and then top with the streusel. Bake for 20 minutes on the lowest oven rack. Turn heat down to 350°f and bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden brown and the filling is bubbling up through the streusel. Let cool for a few minutes before topping with vanilla or ginger ice cream.

I did bring some rhubarb tarts to my neighbor.

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Spring Lilacs

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Ahhhh… I love Lilacs. Perhaps because they were my grandmother’s and mother’s favorite flowers and their lovely fragrance and simple beauty remind me of them. I (im)patiently wait for their arrival each spring. Their lush green leaves frame delicate blooms of various shades of pink and purple as well as white. Did you know they are also edible? They have a floral, perfumed taste, just as they smell – so they are probably best as decoration … but they are edible none-the-less. You can also “sugar” them – which makes them more palatable and really beautiful on a cake or special dessert.

Candied Flowers

1 Egg White
A few drops of water
Granulated sugar

Whisk the egg white and water together well until it just begins to get foamy. Paint each petal with egg white mixture using a small paintbrush dedicated to the kitchen.  Sprinkle with sugar until lightly and evenly coated. Set on parchment to dry in a warm place. After a couple of hours, either use or store in a dry place. Will last for a few days. You can use any edible flower for this method.