Radish, Tomato & Onion Savory Tart

Radishes were one of the first things I planted in my very first garden....I remember pulling them out, washing them off and biting into that crisp, peppery flesh, still warm from the sun. Sheer heaven. One of my favorite lunches was a piece of toast, with a touch of mayo, topped with fresh sliced radishes, salt and pepper.  Another of my favorite radish dishes came much later and is a cooked radish and potato salad. It's amazing, unusual and very few can guess the ingredients. I make it often.

Now that I've discovered this tart, it will also be going on my make often list. Nothing compares to using fresh from your own garden and this recipe combines garden fresh radishes with your home grown tomatoes and results in a delicious and colorful lunch. Save the recipe for when your garden is producing..... this is well worth the wait. The cream cheese is the icing on the cake and that touch of onion is perfect. Perhaps I'll put some herbs on top the next time, but for now, this was fabulous, simple and so easy to make.

Radish, Tomato & Onion Savory Tart

2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
Cream cheese, spreadable
Bunch of radish leaves 
2 medium tomatoes, sliced and drained on paper towels
2 medium onions, sliced
6 radishes, sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place the two pastry sheets on a parchment-lined baking sheet and turn up the edges to form a border. Spread with the cream cheese, add radish leaves, tomato slices, onions and radishes. Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper  and bake  for about 10- 15 minutes.  (I stuck it under the broiler for a bit at the end) Cut and serve.


Spicy Macaroni Salad

Memorial Day was always the first day of real summer when I was a kid. School was out by then, we weren't allowed to go swimming before Memorial Day and picnic season officially began with that weekend. Our little town always had some sort of service honoring our fallen soldiers. And weather permitting, we ended the day with a picnic, my mother's traditional macaroni salad included the picnic basket.

Nothing against my mother's macaroni salad (which we all loved), but I couldn't resist the idea of a spicy macaroni salad to serve this summer alongside some grilled chicken, ribs or steak. Spiced several ways in fact, so perfect next to grilled meat.

Spicy Macaroni Salad

From Noble Pig

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup horseradish
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped peperoncini
1/3 cup  peperoncini juice (from the jar)
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked al dente and cooled
4 large hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

In a large bowl combine mayonnaise, horseradish, sour cream, Parmesan, peperoncini, peperoncini juice, lemon juice, oregano, black pepper and red pepper flakes. (You can easily make this part a day ahead. Don't worry if the consistency is thin, the pasta will soak it all up.) 

Add pasta, eggs and peas to the mayo-horseradish mixture; combine well. Place in the refrigerator for several hours before serving.


Childhood Memories: Mother's Lemon Sunshine

Do you have sweet memories of childhood desserts? I don't know what made me think of this one the other day, but perhaps it would be fun to make an occasional blog presentation of our favorite desserts from childhood. Making this one was a trip down memory lane. I don't think I even made this for my kids!  I saved all my mother's recipes in my files and between my mother and grandmother, we had some awesome treats as children. The British and French often refer to them as nursery desserts. 
Lemon Sunshine was frequently on the menu, as we all loved it.  Easy to make, sweet, airy and lemony in your mouth.  I used a Meyer lemon here because I had one left over. I also cut back on the sugar. The recipe calls for a cup total, but I used 2/3 of a cup total. Taste as you go, both the lemon mixture and the egg white mixture and sweeten as you wish.

Mother's Lemon Sunshine

3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
1 lemon, grated and juiced
1 teaspoon gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup sugar


Soften the gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water.
Beat yolks in a small saucepan and add 1/2 cup sugar, lemon rind and juice. Whisking constantly, cook until slightly thickened. Whisk in the softened gelatin and stir until melted and thickened. Cool the mixture somewhat in an ice bath.
Beat the egg whites, beat in sugar until the whites are thick and shiny. Fold in the cooled lemon mixture. Chill. Makes about 6 custard size cups.


Rhubarb Shortcakes

My first rhubarb recipe of the season. And look at that color! This rhubarb is dark red for a good reason...it's roasted in red wine. Of course, the deeper red your fresh rhubarb is, the darker the color in any recipe, but here, it's even more so. The shortcake recipe is excellent too...tender and better than my grandmothers!  A pretty dessert for company and you can make it all ahead and assemble it at the last minute. 

Rhubarb Shortcakes
From  Bon Appétit, April 2013, by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer 

Ingredients for roasted rhubarb:

2 pounds rhubarb, trimmed, sliced 1-inch thick 

1 cup sugar 

1/2 cup red wine 

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise 

Ingredients for biscuits:
1 cup cake flour 
4 teaspoons baking powder 
1 teaspoon sugar 
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 
1 cup all-purpose flour plus more for work surface

Ingredients for assembly:
3 cups chilled heavy cream, divided 
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted 

Preparation for Roasted Rhubarb: 
Preheat oven to 350°. Combine rhubarb, sugar, and wine in a medium baking dish or ovenproof skillet. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean and toss to combine. 
Roast until rhubarb is very tender and juices are syrupy, 30-40 minutes, depending on thickness of stalks. Let cool. Discard vanilla bean. 

Biscuits and Assembly 
Preheat oven to 375°. Whisk cake flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and 1 cup all-purpose flour in a medium bowl to combine. Add 1 1/2 cups cream; gently mix just until dough holds together. 
Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and form into a 9x6-inch rectangle about 1-inch thick. Cut dough in half length-wise, then cut crosswise 3 times to form 8 rectangular biscuits. 
Arrange biscuits on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart. Brush tops and sides of biscuits with butter. Bake until golden brown, 18-20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool (biscuits can be served warm or at room temperature). 

Beat remaining 1 1/2 cups cream in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Split biscuits and brush cut sides with remaining melted butter. Fill biscuits with roasted rhubarb and serve with whipped cream. 
DO AHEAD: Rhubarb filling can be made 5 days ahead. Let cool, then cover and chill. Reheat slightly before serving. Biscuits can be made 1 day ahead. Let cool completely and store airtight at room temperature. 


Mother's Waldorf Salad


Every year I combine Mother's Day with my mother's birthday, as they fall within the same week. We always did it that way when she was alive, so I'm continuing the tradition. She's been gone 14 years now and I miss her.
I think the best way to remember Mom is in the kitchen as she was a super home cook and a superb baker. But this year, rather than desserts or baked goods, I'm going to feature one of her favorite salads: Waldorf. She made it all the time. We all know the history and when I looked up the Waldorf's most recent remake of this old favorite, it's a far different recipe than my mother's. But I'm going to post hers with the addition of the spiced walnuts from the Waldorf's recipe. (Mother's recipe used toasted walnuts.)

Happy Birthday and Happy Mother's Day, Mom! 

Mother's Favorite Waldorf Salad

2/3 cup dried tart cherries, slightly softened in some hot water, then drained
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
4 Granny Smith apples, cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/3 cups very thinly sliced celery
1 1/3 cups red seedless grapes, halved
2 cups raw walnut halves
1 egg white
1 tablespoon spice mixture (such as a combination of paprika, cayenne, ground fennel seed, and ground coriander)
1 cup sugar

For the walnuts:
Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, combine walnuts and egg white; add spice mixture and sugar and mix until evenly coated. Spread walnuts into an even layer on a nonstick sheet lined with parchment paper; roast in the oven until browned, about 20 minutes.

Whisk mayonnaise and next 3 ingredients in large bowl. Add apples, celery, grapes and cherries; toss. Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange lettuce on platter. Spoon salad over. Top salad with candied walnuts.


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