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Month: August 2016

Bourbon Arnold Palmer

Bourbon Arnold Palmer

For this happy hour Friday post, I’ve stirred up a Bourbon Arnold Palmer.  So technically, apparently, this should actually be called a John Daly – who knew that adding alcohol to an Arnold Palmer changes its name?  Let’s not get technical though – it’s Friday after all, and in these last hot days of summer (I’m being optimistic), we all need something cool to sip on as we watch the sun go down.

I garnished this with a wedge of lemon and a stick of lemon verbena – there’s definitely an advantage of having fresh herbs available in the garden.

bourbon and book bourbon lemonade and tea2


Bourbon Arnold Palmer
Serves 1
1 ounce bourbon
Equal measures lemonade and black tea
1 teaspoon honey

Combine all ingredients in a glass or jar, stir and add ice.  Garnish with a lemon wedge.  Enjoy!

Squash Blossom Quiche

Squash Blossom Quiche

I planted one summer squash plant this year for one purpose alone: to have access to squash blossoms for this squash blossom quiche.  Squash blossoms seem like they have become a thing, like kale and bacon.  I suspect I was first introduced to the fact you could eat squash blossoms through reading Martha Stewart’s magazine, but I think the first time I actually tried one was at a coastal restaurant that served them stuffed with shrimp and cheese and deep fried them.  At the same time, we had a farmer at our local market that would come to market each weekend with trays and trays of both baby zucchini and squash blossoms, so I decided to experiment and see what I could make of them. 

The simplest preparation for these that I cook is to throw several into a quesadilla.  The blossoms add a mildly peppery taste.  The most complex preparation that I cook with these is this quiche.  I really like the combination of egg and blossom, and this is a recipe that freezes up nicely, so is great for lunch with a simple salad to accompany it.  It also makes a great weekend brunch recipe.

squash blossoms 2

quiche pre-bake

squash blossom quiche baked

plated squash blossom quiche

Squash Blossom Quiche
Serves 4

4 small potatoes (or 1 large)
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 eggs
1 cup milk
½ cup Swiss cheese (or other mild cheese)
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
4 or 5 squash blossoms, stamens removed

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Slice the potatoes to ¼ inch thickness.  Layer them on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper and drizzle with the olive oil.  Bake for 25 minutes or until both sides are slightly crispy.

Drop the temperature on the oven to 375 degrees.  In a medium sized bowl, combine the eggs and milk and beat until combined.  Add the Swiss cheese, salt and black pepper and stir until combined. 

In a non-stick cake pan or pie pan, layer the potato rounds so that they overlap a bit and cover the bottom of the pan.  Gently pour the egg, milk, and cheese mixture over the potatoes.  The potatoes may float – they’ll settle into the bottom as the quiche cooks.  Lay the squash blossoms on top.  Bake for 40 – 50 minutes or until the egg is fully set (check for doneness by inserting a knife or toothpick into the middle of the quiche – if it comes out clean, the quiche is done). 

Veggie Spring Rolls

Veggie Spring Rolls

These veggie spring rolls are a great antidote to the lethargic days of late summer (even though summer can be very late in arriving in the PNW.)  Now that the days are creeping into the high eighties and nineties and the dog and I both decide it’s time to lay in the grass and become solar charged, I have little interest in spending too much time in the kitchen.  I’m also faced with the abundance of the season: the basil is on hyper-drive to produce, I have two bags of cucumbers in the fridge (read why here), and carrots and radishes are readily available in the farmer’s market.  Spring rolls are a quick and easy solution.

Some tips: you’ll often read that spring rolls really need to be eaten the day they are made.  I have had good experience, however, making up a few spring rolls the night before and taking them for my lunch.  One trick I learned in most recent spring roll making venture is that you can separate each roll with a little bit of parchment paper so they don’t stick together.  The rice wrapper does not adhere to the parchment paper, making it very easy to pull off each without tearing the wrapper.

The other tip is that while many spring roll recipes call for Thai Basil, if you don’t happen to have Thai Basil on hand, regular basil will do fine as a substitute.  I made one batch with purple basil, which tasted great, but made for a slightly peculiar looking spring roll.

Feel free to experiment with what you put into your rolls.  You could also add lettuce, jicama, asparagus, snap peas, and rice noodles.  These can definitely be a catch all for whatever produce you have laying around.

spring rollsspring roll purple basil

Veggie Spring Rolls
Serves 2 – 3

1 or 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into matchstick sized pieces
1 cucumber, peeled, and sliced into matchstick sized pieces
3 radishes, sliced into matchstick sized pieces
1 package of baked tofu, sliced into pieces the size of the vegetables
1 bunch cilantro or basil
8 – 10 rice skin wrappers
Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil and Siracha for dipping sauce

Fill a pie pan or similar shallow dish with hot water (hot tap water is fine).  Dip a rice skin wrapper in the water and let sit for thirty seconds or until the rice wrapper becomes pliable.

Place the wrapper on a plate and place several leaves of cilantro or basil in the middle.  Place three or four of each of the vegetable sticks on top of the cilantro and basil.  Place three or four of the baked tofu on top of the veggies.  Take the bottom of the rice wrapper and fold up.  Do the same with the top.  Roll the remainder of the wrapper from one side to the other, making sure all the filling is tucked in.

Complete the above steps for the remaining rice wrappers, veggies, and tofu.

Serve with a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, siracha to dip.