Posts in Beginnings
Fig Bruschetta with Honey & Gorgonzola Butter

Inspired by the farm to fork cooking of Portland, Oregon’s Tourant chefs Mona Johnson and Jaret Foster, this preparation stands out in its approach to simple cooking with seasonal ingredients. Just when figs are at their peak and chilly autumn air welcomes a bit heavier mouthful, this rich, complexly flavored plate satisfies

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Lavender Brie with Macadamia Nuts

Lavender, a member of the mint family with notes of lemony citrus, a hint of rosemary, and an earthiness and otherworldliness all it own, is a sensory stimulator. A culinary treat processed by bees, lavender is the essential ingredient of monofloral honey, combines to create a lovely, seductive taste that pairs beautifully with buttery, subtly sweet macadamia nuts and creamy brie cheese.

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Concord Grape & Fig Brie

Concord grapes, also known as fox grapes, have dark-bluish, purple skin, perfectly round globes, and a heady aroma that makes these jewel-toned grapes gorgeous culinary companions. Simmered and sweetened, Concord grapes burst into an autumn garnet shade. Served alongside their fall harvest companions, roasted figs, these grapes transform into a season worthy celebration beginning plate to serve alongside some grower's champagne.

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Strawberry Jalapeño Champagne Soup

During the dog days of summer,  nothing beats a chilled, light, bright seasonal fruit soup. Local strawberries have a fleeting, short season, but are one of the most soul satisfying when eating at their sun kissed peak straight from the farmer's field or backyard garden, and onto the spoon.

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Maple Brie with Bourbon Cherries & Almonds

Just when the sun begins to blister New England and most of our cooking has moved out-of-doors, cherries are at their irresistible peak. It is time to make a huge garden salad, pour glasses of pinot noir, and bake a wheel of decadent creamy brie on the grill. A small cast iron plate such as the STAUB 6" CAST IRON GRATIN ROUND BAKING DISH holds a standard supermarket 9" wheel of brie and makes grill to table serving a gorgeous affair and clean up a breeze. A wee soak in bourbon, a handful of toasted almonds, a serious drizzle of maple syrup (BARREL-AGED BOURBON & RYE MAPLE SYRUP even better!), and just a few minutes on the grill or in the oven makes this an irresistible tipsy treat.

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Sun Gold Tomatoes with Burrata, Olive Oil & Basil

Sometimes a craving for tomatoes in February is irresistible . Going against the gut to eat seasonally and pausing in the produce section to admire and remember the taste of summer's glorious sun kissed fruit, the urge for the taste of sunshine may be overwhelming. Hide a box or two of coveted tiny tomatoes under something else in the cart and forgive yourself.  Trial and error proves that the only tomatoes worth even trying out of season are the small, tiny ones. If available, up the ante and serve the tomatoes with burratta's cousin, stracciatella. It will be hard to resist getting a spoon and digging in.

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Salmon Tartare with Apple, Celery & Radish

These individual spoonfuls make for a delightful, colorful, and unexpected appetizer. Spiked with zesty horseradish and crunchy cool-season crop radish, this refreshing zingy small plate teases the palate and provides a perfect pairing with GROWER's CHAMPAGNE, a low sugar dosage, single vintner bubbly.

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Edamame with Truffle Salt

Sometimes the simplest things are the most delicious. This is an addictive, healthy, fun and easy way to enjoy green on a plate. Edamame are the young, soft, edible soybeans found inside the pod that eventually grow into the dry, hard beans used to make tofu and soy milk. A fabulous protein and fiber packed lip smacking snack, try serving this instead of popcorn during family movie night--after some initial grumbling, these little green bites just may turn into the favorite Netflix companion. 

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Sofra's Beet Tzatziki

A CSA share provides access to gorgeous year round produce and offers a glimpse into a farmer's precious dedication to the land. Siena Farms is owned by Farmer Chris who he just happens to be married to the James Beard award-winning chef, Ana Sortun. Lauded for her middle-eastern inspired cooking, she collaborates with her farmer husband to develop crop varietal selections and harvest techniques. Together they seek to sustainably grow some of the best tasting fresh produce. Each week, a box overflowing with beautiful seasonal produce arrives along with inspiration for preparing nature's local bounty. New England's climate allows for a varied harvest. A favorite is the chioggia beet, a candy caned striped variety perfect for this gorgeous beet dish-add a bit of seasoned, cooked, ground lamb, the perfect pocket pita ingredient.

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Queso de Cabra with Tomato & Basil

Who isn't obsessed with Spanish tapas and sangria? To make certain there are leftovers for lunch the next day, double the recipe and use a cast iron skillet to make this oven to table small plate. Simple to prepare, a bottle of Spanish wine and 30 minutes are all that is needed to make a bright tasting and delicious dish. From one entertainer to another, keep a sliced baguette in the freezer and this is a filling gourmet treat certain to wow any surprise guests.

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Quail Eggs with Truffle Mayonnaise

Stylish, elegant and a delight for guests, a pile of nature's camouflaged creamy blue brown speckled quail eggs makes the perfect garden party appetizer. Pile high as if building a bird's nest and let guests entertain themselves peeling and dipping them into a fragrant truffle mayonnaise. The clutch will disappear quickly, but the memory will linger.

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Spring pea soup with crème fraîche & mint

Frozen peas rock. Picked when perfect and flash frozen, they taste amazing. No other frozen vegetable may be able to boast that nine times out of ten, the frozen version wins the taste test. The color of the soup is a brilliant spring green, but because frozen peas are called for in this recipe, it can be made any time of year.

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Swedish Gravlax

This recipe allows for the chef to find the perfect ratio of salt to sugar curing to please his or her palate. Curing salmon lends itself to experimenting with smoked salts, white, brown, muscovado, demerara, or caster sugar, fennel fronds, and spices such as caraway or coriander seeds (just a few of the many possible variations). This preparation is the perfect jumping off point in learning to appreciate and love Nordic cuisine, while making a luxurious, yet simple and sophisticated plate.

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Strawberry Tomato Gazpacho

What better way to get to know the heart of a place than sharing in a country's food culture? International cooking workshops make for a lovely experience-based activity that intimately connects travelers to the place they are visiting. BARCELONA COOKING offers a four hour hands on cooking class complete with a trip to La Boqueria, a public food market dating back to the 13th century. Gazpacho de fresas, a smooth version of the usually chunky soup, is one of Chef Candido's specialties. Originating in the Andalusian region of Spain, today gazpacho refers to any uncooked, chilled soup made with a tomato and bread base. This light and healthy soup is best in early summer when local strawberries are abundant and at their dreamy sweet and juicy peak. 

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