Green Dipping Sauce

This sauce is from International Smoke Restaurant in San Francisco which is owned by Ayesha Curry and Michael Mina. The restaurant serves seasoned potato chips with this sauce. They call it “Green Seasoning”. You will need to use the metric side of your measuring cup and a scale that has both ounces and grams to make this recipe.

100 grams chives, rough chop
100 grams cilantro (whole leaves)
100 grams parsley leaves
10 grams fresh picked thyme
400 ml. canola oil
100 ml water, cold
30 grams Kosher salt
100 grams Vinegar, white distilled
20 grams Garlic whole cloves
100 grams lime juice
1/4 of a Habernero pepper, destemmed

Make a puree of half the herbs, garlic, and water using medium speed on your blender. Add all the remaining ingredients, blending on high speed until smooth and sauce consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning to sweet spicy balance.

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Mushroom Pinwheels

The pinwheels will be popular at your next party. These appetizers are delicious with wine or cocktails.

1 package Puff Pastry sheets, thawed in refrigerator
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup grated Monterey Jack cheese (or equivalent such as Muenster or Dofino)
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 green onion, finely sliced
1 recipe of mushroom duxelles
1 egg
1 Tablespoon water

Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir together the mayonnaise, cheese, black pepper, green onion, and cooled mushroom duxelles.

Unfold 1 pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Spread half of the mushroom mixture on the pastry to within 1 inch of the edge. Roll up like a jelly roll starting at the short side closest to you. Mix and egg and water together and brush the edge with the puff pastry. Seal the edge. Cut into 20 (1/2 inch) slices. Lay slices flat on ungreased baking sheet. Repeat with the second pastry sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes until pastries are golden brown. Remove the pinwheels from the baking sheet and let cool for about 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves ~ 6-8

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Mushrooms Duxelles

This recipe takes some patience but is easy. The mushrooms and shallots cook slowly in butter until the water mostly evaporates. It is an excellent filling for the pinwheels made with puff pastry.

8 oz. white button mushrooms, cleaned and thinly slices
8 oz. shitake or cremini mushrooms, stems removed, caps cleaned and thinly sliced
2 large shallots, peeled and sliced thinly
4 Tablespoons butter
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Place the sliced mushrooms in a food process and pulse until finely chopped. Pieces should be about 1/8 inch.

Melt butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the mushroom mixture, salt, pepper, and thyme and cook while stirring. When the mushrooms begin to release their moisture, turn the heat to low and cook. Stir occasionally until the liquid has evaporated and the duxelles looks dry. This will take ~ 20 – 25 minutes. Let mixture cool.

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Greek Butter Cookies

This recipe is from a cookie class that I completed several years ago. They are lovely cookies and so easy to make. We make them at Christmas time.

1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
2/3 cups ground, lightly toasted, blanched almonds
Powdered sugar for coating

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, cream the butter, powdered sugar, and egg yolk together. Add the almond extract, salt, flour, and ground nuts and mix well. Roll the dough into small ¾ inch balls and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool slightly on a rack. On a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil, shake powdered sugar through a sieve to make a 1/8 inch thick coating. Lift the cookies onto the sugar and continue dusting them with sugar to coat them with 1/8 inch powdered sugar. Let cool. When cool, transfer to an airtight container.

Make about 36 cookies

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Lemon-Thyme Cookies

You will love this cookie or hate it. It has wonderful flavors but if you are not into “modern” baking, do not make these cookies. They are relatively easy to make and the dough is rolled into rectangles and cut into squares with a scalloped-edge pasty wheel.

½ cup soft butter
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon snipped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
1 Tablespoon lemon juice (fresh)
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
Coarse sugar or granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cream the butter in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add sugar and mix until combined, scraping side of bowl. Beat in thyme, lemon peel, lemon juice, and cardamom. Beat in flour slowly with the mixer and stir in the last amount if necessary. Kneed mixture until smooth and form dough into a ball.

Divide the dough into three equal portions. Roll each portion to a 6 x 4 ½ inch rectangle about ¼ inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into 1 ½ inch squares with a scalloped-edge pastry wheel. Sprinkle the cutouts with coarse sugar. Place cutouts on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are just lightly browned. Transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool.

Makes 36 cookies.

Store in layers separated by pieces of waxed paper or parchment paper in an airtight container; cover. Store cookies at room temperature for up to 3 days or in freezer for up to 3 months.

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Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies are a part of Christmas baking for most of us. This recipe is very special because it is over 100 years old and was “gifted” to me by a dear friend.

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 scant teaspoon soda
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 cup shortening (or ½ cup shortening and ½ cup butter)
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
¼ cup buttermilk
½ teaspoon lemon extract

Sift together first 5 ingredients. Cut in shortening just as you would for a pie crust.

Beat eggs very well and then beat in sugar, buttermilk and lemon extract. Mix this liquid mixture into the flour mixture. Do not beat. Stir as little as possible as you would in making a pie crust. Form dough into a flat disc and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Roll out dough to about 1/8 inch and cut into shapes with a cookie cutter. Sprinkle with sugar and bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes.

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Potato and Fennel Gratin (Casserole)

This is a delicious holiday dish. We have made it for Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas dinner. It is an easy dish to assemble.

2 small fennel bulbs
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
2 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
2 lb. russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly with your food processor or mandolin (or by hand)
2 ½ cups grated Gruyere cheese (or Swiss or Jarlsberg), ~ ½ pound
2 cups cream
½ – 1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10x15x2 inch baking dish. I like to use my large oval dish.

Prepare the fennel by removing the stalks and then cut the bulbs in half lengthwise. Remove the cores. Slice the bulbs thinly crosswise. Sauté the fennel and onions in the oil and butter on medium heat until tender for about 10 – 15 minutes.

Peel the potatoes and slice thinly. Mix the sliced potatoes with 2 cups of cream, 2 cups (save the additional 1/2 cup for topping) of the Gruyere cheese, salt, and pepper. Add the sautéed fennel and onions and mix.

Pour the potato mixture into the butter baking dish. With a spoon, smooth the potatoes mixture. Combine the 2 Tablespoon of cream and ½ cup of Gruyere cheese and sprinkle on top of the potatoes.

Bake approximately 1 ½ hours until the mixture is tender and the top is brown and bubbly.

Let set for ~ 10 minutes and then serve.

Serves ~ 8-10

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