About Me

I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Pickled Butter Radishes and Shallots

Do you know the French eat radishes on buttered bread with a sprinkle of flaked salt for a snack.  I found that remarkably different until a friend brought me a bunch of his" butter "radishes. It's winter and anything from the garden is a treasure and should be prepared with careful consideration. I guess this variety lends itself to the buttered bread idea as they are small and milder than the grocery store bunch.  I thought they'd be more useful to me as a pickled vegetable this time of year.
 Mixing them in with a salad for a tasty bite of crunch and piquant flavor is refreshing during these bleak winter months.  Any type of radish will do and it's a snap to make.

1 pound radishes, cleaned and trimmed of roots and stems, thinly sliced
2 large shallots, sliced thin
1 whole garlic clove
1 bay leaf
Pack into a pint glass jar

Combine the following in a nonreactive medium sauce pan and bring to a boil.
1 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbls sea salt
1 tsp. coriander seed
6 whole pepper corns

Cut the heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
Pour the hot brine liquid over the radishes and shallots in the jar.  Allow the mixture to cool before putting a lid on.  Store in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Elegant Lavender Shortbread

It was a total surprise when the waitress brought a small plate of lavender shortbread at the end of a great meal at Sachet Restaurant in Dallas. I loved the distinct but not overpowering taste of lavender.  I knew it had to be part of my Valentine plans and would make an elegant bite with a cup of tea.  It only takes 5 ingredients.

  •  Use salted European style butter, it works better for shortbread in this case.  
  •  Grind the dried lavender with a mortar and pestle so there are no large pieces or, I prefer, putting the sugar and lavender in a high speed blender to bring both to a fine texture.  The sugar blends in better too that way.
  • Keep the dough cold to prevent spreading while baking

2 tsp dried lavender ground fine
3/4 cup sugar
12 oz. salted European style butter at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Put the softened butter, sugar and lavender in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment in place and mix on low speed until blended.  Add the vanilla and beat in.  Add the flour in four portions mixing well after each addition and the dough holds together.  Wrap dough in plastic and chill for one hour.

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the dough between two sheets of parchment or plastic wrap and roll the dough to 1/2 inch thickness and cut into shapes.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes before placing in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the edges turn light brown.  Remove from oven and cool completely on the cookie sheet.  Store in an air tight container.  Freezes well.
Makes 2-3 dozen.