Squash blossoms. Whether they stand alone a single bloom or are attached to a tiny delicate squash they are absolutely wonderful. In the past I would stuff them with chevre that’s been embellished with chives, thyme and basil dip them in a batter and fry.
I was cleaning out my photos and ran across this video from 2009 of a lovely stranger at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market. She was kind enough to share her recipe with me…and now you. Seeing this short clip brought a smile to my face. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
By Judy Lyness on 08.07.2014
Chilled Pea Soup
It’s hot here in Los Angeles. This is a repost of a chilled pea soup that is a standard in my house. It’s an easy and satisfying summer soup, try it, you’ll like it. It took me three different experiments to get this just right. So give it a go. You’ll be happy that you did.
A few words of caution before you proceed. The pea and cucumber mixture has a tendency to erupt in the blender, so please make sure the top is on and a protective towel on top of the lid. Enjoy!
CHILLED PEA SOUP
- 1 TBS olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 medium red onion
- 1 bag of frozen peas thawed
- 3 Persian cucumbers chopped
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 2 TBS dill
- 2TBS mint
- 1 cup heavy cream (amount will depend on the consistency that you desire)
- 1-2 cups vegetable or chicken stock (amount will depend on the consistency that you desire)
- Add olive oil to hot saute pan
- Add onions and garlic. Cook on medium high heat for 3 minutes or until transparent.
- Add peas and cucumbers. Cook 3-4 minutes.
- Add sour cream, mint, dill and cook for another minute.
- Add half of the pea mixture to a blender. Use the stock to help with the blending process.
- Once the first half is done add the remaining pea mixture and continue to puree adding a little cream and stock. Keep tasting so you can decide to go with more cream or stock.
- If you think it’s pureed enough, let it go for another minute.
- Strain puree through a medium strainer.
- Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
- Chill for at least four hours. It’s best when done over night.
By Judy Lyness on 07.30.2014
Fresh figs are my absolute favorite fruit. So I was thrilled to be part of the recent Figology Fest that highlighted three different types of fresh figs–black mission (my personal favorite), brown Turkey and Calimyrna. Talk about a little bit of fig heaven…I was knee deep in figs.
I created a black mission and mascarpone fig tart that utilizes both fresh and dried figs when I was baking professionally. You can check out that recipe here.
Fresh fig and mascarpone tart–Two Broads Abroad
Since this was the FRESH FIG Fest I came up with a fresh fig tart that utilizes all my favorites–Black mission figs, lemon ricotta filling, all cradled in a crisp almond crust. This tart is a visual delight and a flavor sensation.
Fig Tart with Lemon Ricotta Filling
1-2 lbs Black mission figs stemmed and halved
- 1 stick unsalted butter cubes
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 6 tablespoons milk
- 1 cup almond flour for dusting
- Place dry ingredients in food processor, pulse. Add butter and pulse until it looks like coarse corn meal.
- Add milk and mix just until the batter holds together.
- Roll out dough using almond flour to dust your surface and dough. Place dough in tart pan, trim edges. Score the bottom of tart dough with fork.
- Bake in 375 oven for 15 minutes until is just browns on the edges. Check dough at about 5 minutes and pop any bubbles.
- 1 lbs. whole milk ricotta
- 2 eggs
- 1 yolk
- zest of one lemon
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 t vanilla
- 1/4 cup milk
- Mix all ingredients together until smooth.
- When tart shell is baked, pour batter into shell and bake at 325 until gently set, about 20 minutes.
- Let tart cool. When cooled place on serving dish
- Place fig halves with the beautiful seeded side facing up on top of the ricotta filling starting from the outside and working your way in to the middle. Once all the figs are placed, slice remaining figs in thirds and place between the halves.
When temperatures start to hit the 80s the last thing I want to do is cook. So I always turn to gazpacho, the chilled Spanish soup the sings of summer. Here’s a video to show you just how easy gazpacho is to make.
The following recipe is a combination of quite a few recipes that I’ve tried. I like Persian cucumbers because they have more bulk to them. You can use red tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, so long as they are ripe.
- 2 lbs tomatoes (about 5 large tomatoes)
- 3 Persian cucumbers peeled
- 1 jalapeno or Serrano pepper without seeds for mild, with for a bit more zing
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 red onion peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2-4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar depending on the sweetness of the tomatoes
- 1/4-1/3 cup of olive oil
- 1/4 cup of cilantro
- Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
- Fill bowl large enough to hold the tomatoes with ice water
- Place tomatoes in boiling water for 30 –45 seconds
- Plunge tomatoes into ice bath and cool.
- Coarsely chop the cucumbers, garlic, your choice of pepper, onions
- When tomatoes are cool. Slide off tomato skins, core and coarsely chop. Keep the cool water in case you need to thin out the soup.
- Add half of all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth. If the mixture is too thick add some of the ice bath water.
- Pour into clean bowl.
- Add vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper according to your taste. Chill.
- Before you serve check the seasonings and texture. Add more water if needed.
By Judy Lyness on 07.09.2014
Mango and Cherry Clafoutis
I was in a dilemma, What birthday cake to make when that person hates cakes? I had just picked up a mango at the store that was perfectly ripened and some really dark, sweet cherries just looking for a purpose. What to do? Whipped cream was off the check list as well. Hmmmm?
Thankfully, I have an abundance of incredible food bloggers to guide me. Cynthia Woodman of What a Girl Eats had just posted a recipe for clafoutis that made me drool. I ogled Valentina of Cooking on the Weekends’ flaugarde pictures and recipe. Inspiration at last! My game plan was beginning to take shape. A group message to Valentina, Cathy of She Paused for Thought and Christina of Christina’s Cucina asking if a mango and cherry clafoutis sounded weird. The overwhelming response was “go for it!”!
Got to say it was a rousing success!!! I used Cynthia’s recipe as a road map and this is what I came up with.
- 1¼ cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup sugar, divided
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup toasted coconut
- ½ cup all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1/2 of a regular mango, pitted, pealed and sliced length wise
- 16 or so dark sweet cherries, halved and pitted (your fingers are going to get stained but the reward is worth it)
- 1 Ataulfo mango, pitted, pealed and sliced length wise
- Place first five ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth less than a minute.
- Heat oven to 350
- Grease a nine inch pie pan or baking dish with butter or oil.
- Pour about a 1/2 inch layer into dish and bake for about 10 minutes.
- Slice and pit fruits.
- Remove dish from oven
- Arrange fruit on top of layer in pan
- Sprinkle with toasted coconut.
- Pour remaining batter into dish and return to oven.
- Bake 40-50 minutes. It’s done when an toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Grilled Red Pepper Sauce
Just in time for your July 4th BBQ, a sauce that goes with just about anything you can throw on a grill–steak, burgers, shrimp, veggies and my personal favorite–salmon. Check out the salmon recipe here.
Claim your independence and make this easy sauce! The recipe is in the video. Have a happy Fourth of July.
A few weeks ago I took off on a sunny day from New Jersey to see the Kara Walker exhibit at the Domino Sugar factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. By all rights the trip should have been a disaster—the skies opened up and poured while in line, I had no umbrella and the rain didn’t look like it would stop anytime soon. But as luck would have it, a family in front of me shared the shelter of their umbrella.
Once inside, the soon to be demolished sugar factory, the exhibit was incredible. As this video will attest.
When I departed the factory I sought shelter from the security guard’s umbrella. He willingly obliged while pointing out that the nude bikers were in the adjacent park. Ah the beauty of toned buttocks. (Sorry for the bad quality picture)Still, I had to make it to Manhattan so I dashed to a sporting goods shop. Alas, no umbrellas but they did give me a garbage bag that helped keep me somewhat dry. As I continued onto the subway this woman offered to give me another bag for my head. I politely declined but thanked her.Jumping over puddles and running from awning to awning I made my way towards the subway. I rounded the corner and there was a cab! As the driver and I chatted, I came to find out he thought I was ten years younger than I am. Now that’s what I call a great adventure.
The New York Times ran this article about a man who worked at the Domino factory. It’s a wonderful story of a man who worked at the factory and volunteered for the exhibit. Read it here.
By Judy Lyness on 06.12.2014
To say that I’ve been obsessed with artichokes would be an under statement. Green, sangria, and these delightful baby fiesoles have been cooked and consumed this month.
I found sometimes the simplest is the best, like the combination of artichokes, pasta and a tart and tangy ginger lime buerre blanc it becomes a ménage et tois made in heaven.
The preparation is easy.
Fiesole Aartichokes with Pasta and Lime Ginger Buerre Blanc
- 12 or so fiesole artichokes
- 4 cloves of garlic chopped
- 1/2 pound of your favorite pasta I used linguine
- 1 slick butter
- 5 limes juiced and zested
- 1 inch piece of ginger
- Place a pot with salted water on stove to cook your favorite pasta. I used linguine.
- Trim down baby artichokes and quarter. Toss in a pan with water, salt and garlic. Simmer until tender.
- While the artichokes and pasta cook make your buerre blanc.
- In a non-reactive pan squeeze 5 limes, grate a one inch piece of ginger, a small shallot and a splash of white wine. Place on stove and simmer on low until the liquid is reduced by 75%. Remove from heat and whisk in 1 stick of butter that has been cubed one piece at a time. Add salt, you’ll be surprised at the amount you’ll need, or at least I am, but alas I’m a classic under salter. When you’re finished you should have a “creamy” buerre blanc.
- Strain pasta and place in large bowl. Strain artichokes and add to pasta. Pour buerre blanc over and toss.