Archive for ‘Spring’

March 4, 2013

Taking Tea | Afternoon at the Harrison House

I see why they do it in the south and of course, it goes without saying, in the UK.

Taking time for afternoon tea is an immeasurably nice way to spend an hour or so in the afternoon.  And if you’ve got a girlfriend to catch up on some gossip, all the better.  The Harrison House, right now, kind of has a little secret.

But the scones and tea are so nice, it won’t be secret for much longer.

If you’re looking for an exceedingly quiet place to take tea, a few scones (good ones, with the exception of how they are cut, according to a very knowledgeable British source), some savories, some fruit, and a gorgeous dessert, let me recommend them.  No hustle and bustle here, just attentive service and the charm of a Victorian Village house.

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The afternoon tea service run by Savvy Spoon Tea is a pop up of sorts, taking advantage of off time in the Harrison House kitchen and its cozy parlor in which to serve it in.  All the better for us, who get to enjoy the scones that pop out of the oven as you’re arriving and being seated.  The tea menu is varied with all good selections, I chose the rose black.  The scones were marvelous with a little lemon curd and I was completely enamored with the mushroom pasty.  The pear cake was moist and a real treat.

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April 4, 2012

(Fairly) Wordless Wednesday | Dying Easter Eggs Naturally

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pomegranate = olive green; blackberry = purple; blueberry = …blue; beet = pink; turmeric = yellow; dandelion = almost nothing

Playlist included Stay Young, Go Dancing, by Death Cab for Cutie.

March 28, 2012

Risotto of the Week | Spring Broad Bean and Foraged Dandelion

I returned home after a lengthy trip to Texas to find spring had sprung: the daffodils were spent and the ferns unfurling.  Nestled amongst said ferns on the shady side of the porch were dandelions, just emerged, with slender leaves and nary a flower in sight.

Which of course meant they are at their peak for eating.

Tonight’s dinner involved a return to cooking with a risotto.  Included were the fruits of my garden weeding – young dandelion leaves – and broad beans, another early spring arrival.

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June 15, 2011

Persephone’s Drinks Cabinet | Sugarplum Soother

Mama said there’d be days like this.  And when there are,  you might consider adding a bit of lemon balm to your evening cocktail.  It’s been used since the middle ages to reduce stress and anxiety, and promote sleep.  Plus with a lovely lemony scent, and pretty toothed leaves, it makes a gorgeous garnish.  Sometimes, I’m all about the pretty.

This evening’s local cocktail was a sweet combination of the juneberries (a.k.a, sugarplums) from our generous next door neighbor muddled with the lemon balm that so generously reseeded itself along the patio edges.   After a tough day (read: extra loud, bossy Cherub), this is exactly the cocktail I want in my hand.

Sugar Plum Soother, makes one

Small handful of juneberries

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June 13, 2011

Backyard Foraging | Juneberry Muffins

It is a great pleasure to identify edible plants, trees and flowers to include in my culinary endeavors.  Most recently I rang my neighbor’s doorbell to ask if he wouldn’t mind if I picked a few bowls of berries from his Juneberry tree (a.k.a., saskatoon, shadbush, sugar plum, service berry, et al) in return for some baked goods and perhaps a cocktail, some jam and maybe some ice cream, or a cobbler.  The possibilities are endless.  He didn’t say no.

This recipe is not for a sugary sweet cupcake that masquerades as a muffin.  No, these are delicate-crumbed cakes – almost savory –  plump with jammy berries and a whisper of almond, echoing the notes of the berries’ seeds.

Old Fashioned Juneberry Muffins, makes 10, adapted from James Beard

2 c. sifted flour (I used unbleached all purpose)

1/2 c sugar

1 T baking powder

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June 3, 2011

Friday Night Grill | Copper River Salmon

I think this stuff is fantastic.

Only available from mid-May to mid-June, this fish tastes nothing like a farm-raised salmon.  This is a fish that’s done some work swimming.  Tonight, Hades seasoned it with salt and pepper and a few drops of olive oil.  He grilled it outside on an oak plank covered with fennel fronds, parsley and tarragon.  A drizzle of tahini dressing (2 T tahini, 2 T olive oil, 1 T balsalmic, 1 T crème fraîche, 1 t lemon juice, pinch of brown sugar and S&P) finished off the fish before serving.   I added a cous cous with orange water, cumin, tomatoes and backyard mint as the side.

We didn’t even break a sweat.

Playlist included Many of Horror, by Biffy Clyro.

June 2, 2011

Spargel Pasta | Asparagus in Cream Sauce

While I was in Germany and France last month, just about everywhere I went, sandwich boards proclaimed in German or French “Lust auf Spargel?” “Fin de l’Asperge!” And it seemed every bistro and restaurant had specials celebrating the edible spring perennial.  And truly, it is best savored when it is fresh and local.  I enjoyed a wonderful pasta dish at the Ratskeller in Munich my very first night and remember it wistfully.  With roasted tomatoes, tender asparagus and a drizzle of cream, this easy dish is a satisfying vegetarian meal, even for omnivores like myself.  There is a brief moment here in Ohio in the latest June or the earliest July, when the asparagus and the tomato harvests almost touch, those few precious days would the most wonderful time to enjoy this dish.

Spargel Pasta, serves 4

1 bunch asparagus

1 cup of small tomatoes or

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