Bubbly Champagne Sherbet

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Take the time to celebrate any occasion, these champagne floats are sweet, bubbly and creamy. Pick your favorite sherbet flavor scoop into the glass and pour some champagne over the top and watch all the sparkly bubbly action that comes to life with your first scoop. Or you can wait for the sherbet to melt and sip.  Ice Cream and bubbly could be for breakfast or dessert.

cheers

 

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Spicy Maple Candied Bacon

I am lucky enough to have this served to me when I visit Wild Country Maple Syrup farm.  This recipe transforms bacon into a sweet and salty candy treat with a nice thick chewy bite. Great to snack on its own or use in other recipes. I recommend a bloody Mary garnish.

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Ingredients
  • 1 pound sliced bacon
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a jelly roll baking pan with foil. Spray with nonstick spray.
  2. Combine maple syrup, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Drizzle the maple syrup over the slices of bacon and grind Black Pepper on top and for some more spice sprinkle some red pepper flakes.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until the bacon is browned and crisp.
  5. Let cool on a rack for a few minutes to let them dry and stiffen up.

Enjoy

RealZa

This is a new pizza I photographed that is in now in the grocer stores.  I thought I would share this today because I thought it was a great new product.  It has all natural ingredients with a nice flaky cornmeal crust. One of my favorites is the mushroom, I recommend adding fresh arugula to the top right out of the oven.  Give it a try.

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Fun with Cucumbers

Hot Off the Press: a new magazine start-up called Our Green Plate—focused on farm to table and food culture in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. #ourgreenplate

I had the opportunity to do some recipe photography for the magazine. It was so much fun to work with the art director Brian Donahue at BeDesign Inc. and Karla Spies the amazing food stylist and set design collaborator.  cucumberMartini_heroThe recipes are delicious and perfect for the bounty of cucumbers harvested from the garden.

 

Cucumber Martini

1 serving

7 1⁄2 tablespoons or a scant 1⁄2 cup vodka, preferably organic

1 1⁄2 teaspoons cucumber simple syrup*

1 cucumber 1 lime

lemon bitters (optional)

Peel and thinly slice the cucumber. Cut the lime into eighths. Place 4 cucumber slices in the bottom of a cocktail shaker and add the simple syrup. Squeeze in one of the lime pieces and muddle them together.

Fill the shaker with ice, add vodka, cover and shake for about 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Add 2 or 3 drops of lemon bitters and garnish with thin slices of cucumber.

*For cucumber simple syrup, mix 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water together in a small saucepan. Heat on low, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, about 5–8 minutes. Remove from heat, add 6 or so cucumber slices. Pour in glass jar and store in the refrigerator up to a week.

 

Tzatziki Dip

This is a very flexible recipe; you can make it with or without the herbs, and omit any herb you don’t like or don’t have. If you just have parsley, that’s delicious too. If you like it extra garlicky, add another clove. Bottom line: it’s basically impossible to mess this recipe up!

4 servings

1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt

  • 1⁄2  cucumber, English preferred
  • 1⁄2  tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 clove garlic, mashed to a paste or put through a garlic press olive oil

Peel and grate the cucumber on the large holes of a grater. Place in a small sieve and sprinkle with 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt. Let it sit for 10 minutes and then squeeze out all the excess water. Mix the cucumber in a small mixing bowl with the Greek yogurt, garlic, chopped herbs, and lemon juice. Allow to rest in refrigerator for an hour or more before serving to develop flavors. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Serve on a plate or in a bowl with a little olive oil drizzled on top (optional).

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Lemon Lime Shrub

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This Lemon lime shrub is a refreshing beverage to sip on as the temps and humidity keeps rising.  The discovery of shrubs continues for me,.  I found this recipe and many more in this book by Michael Dietsch, this is a great resource for process and recipes.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brian-orourke/cookbook-review-shrubs-by-michael-dietsch_b_7336720.html

I mix this lemon lime shrub with sparkly water and either vodka or gin for a simple cocktail. With shrubs I suggest using a milder vinegar like a champagne or white wine and start by adding the vinegar in small quantities and continue to taste till you like the flavor.

Ingredients

  • 5-6 lemons (yields one cup of juice)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 3/4 cup champagne vinegar

Process

  1. remove the yellow part of the lemon peel. Juice the lemons.
  2. add the lemon and lime juice to vinegar and the oleo-saccharum. Blend to combine. put in jar and shake to blend. allow 3 to 4 days for flavors to meld.

In addition you do a process called oleo-saccharum with the peels of the lemons to add some more in-depth flavor to the sugar with blending the oils of the lemon peels and the sugar.

  1. With a vegetable  peeler remove the rind of the the lemon, careful to remove the white pith. And use the remaining zest.
  2. place zest in bowl with sugar. Muddle the zest with sugar with a wooden spoon.
  3. cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for an hour or longer. After remove the peels and discard save the oily sugar to use in the shrub.

the sugar will add some zesty flavor to your shrub.

cheers

 

Rhubarb Ginger Maple Pie

 

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The rhubarb patch in the garden is ready for harvest and one of my favorite things to make is pie.  This recipe is sweet and tart, what I like is there is only natural sugar in the pie. It’s made with maple syrup, lemon and ginger.  Very simple ingredients and easy to make. Unknown-1Unknownrhubarcrust_MG_3490

Ingredients:

  • rhubarb
  • ginger
  • lemon
  • cinnamon
  • maple syrup
  • butter
  • cornstarch
  • pie dough

 

recipe

Strawberry Rhubarb Shrub

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I discovery a shrub at a farmers market in Madison Wisconsin, a lady was selling kombucha and this syrup called a shrub.

The fascination still continues as I read about the history and google recipes online. As most things usually go once you discover something then you start to notice it..  My friend Karla and I did some research and made a few shrubs at home. There are a lot of techniques for making shrubs we use the cold process.

The shrub is a fruit, sugar and vinegar syrup that can be mixed with soda, booze or both. A shrub is both tart and sweet; the acidic trace enhances the fruit and smooths out the sweetness of the sugar.  In colonial America shrub syrup was a method to preserve fruit before we had refrigeration. And a thirst quencher on hot days.

As I mentioned there are several methods to making a shrub, I use the simple cold process.

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       Recipe

Ingredients are all equal parts

1cup fruit diced up into pieces

1 cup sugar

1 cup vinegar {cider, champagne or balsamic}

Place fruit in bowl. Cover with sugar and stir.

Cover and store in refrigerator until juice exudes from fruit and starts to combine with sugar to form syrup. This may need a couple of days. Don’t worry how long the fruit sits in the frig it will not harm the syrup.

Strain syrup from fruit. I use a cheese cloth and squish lightly on the fruit to express any remaining juice. Add any remaining sugar into syrup.

Add vinegar and stir to combine.

Pour into clean bottle. Store in refrigerator.

Check to see if all the sugar has dissolved.

I’ve read that you can keep the shrub in the frig for up to a year.

         Cocktail Mixture

2 parts spirit {gin,vodka,rum ect}

½ part shrub

2 dashes of bitters {lemon,orange ect.}

other options are to add:

1 part flavored liqueur

combine ingredients with ice in cocktail shaker poor over ice in glass and add a splash of sparkly water.

images styled with Karla Spies

Melting Ice Cream

Ice Cream season is right around the corner. You might say it never goes out of season. But the hot sun is coming and soon melting ice cream will be running down fingers and arms. Some people like their ice cream hard you break your plastic spoon. Some people like it soft and scoopable. Others need a straw for their ice cream soup. I like to watch it melt.

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Chocolate Chip Caramel Cookie Bar

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I had to share this salted Caramel chocolate chip bar with you.  It is so sick, we were making them in the studio and I could not stop snacking on them till I felt sick. But it is worth it. This bar is a chocolate cookie salty sweet gooey goodness.  And easy to make with the quick Caramel microwave instructions.

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this recipe comes from Brown Eyed Baker

photo stylist Barb Standal

mmmmmm enjoy

 

Maple Pecan Pie

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recipe from Wild Country Maple Syrup     http://www.wildcountrymaple.com

Recently I had the opportunity to do some photography with Wild Country Maple Syrup  working on their new web site which required all kinds of photography. Shooting on site at their maple tree farm and maple syrup facilities in Lutsen MN was a lot of fun.  The beautiful rustic log cabin buildings set in the north woods off of lake superior is inspirational.  The maple syrup is the finest quality.

http://www.wildcountrymaple.com