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chestnut mousse

Chestnut Mousse Recipe: So Rich, So Good

Chestnuts are wonderful, versatile things, as useful in sweet desserts (like this irresistible chestnut mousse) as they are in savory dishes. Their high starch content makes them softer and creamier than most nuts. (Fun fact: chestnuts contain twice as much starch as potatoes!) In places where chestnuts are a native crop, they’re often used as vegetables rather than nuts. Some of the most delicious chestnuts I’ve eaten were in Greece; they were roasted with onions in a light tomato sauce. Chestnuts are the only nut that contains vitamin C, and unlike most nuts, they contain very little fat, making them a low calorie choice in the foraged nut department. Not that this recipe is low cal. I make no apologies for the cream, egg yolks, rum, and sugar. This is a wonderful dessert for a special occasion, and probably my favorite way to use chestnuts. Read more

acorn baklava

Acorn Baklava (with a dash of Spicebush Berry)

When I was in Wisconsin last month, I taught a Forage to Table weekend with Melissa Price. We made a hortopita, and talked about other foraged foods we could make with phyllo dough. We also worked with acorns that weekend, and Sharon Hahn (thank you, Sharon Hahn!) asked if I’d ever made acorn baklava. “Why no, Sharon, I never thought of that. But that’s a helluva good idea!” I promised Sharon credit for inspiring this recipe, and boy does she deserve it. I’m not sure I ever would have thought of it myself. Read more

apricot crumble squares

Apricot Crumble Squares: Recipe

Apricots are a common street tree in Santa Fe. Many years we don’t get fruit, because a late frost zaps the flowers before they can be pollinated. But this year we’ve had an abundance of apricots, and they’ve been ripening gradually, over a period of six weeks. So much fruit falls to the ground, unappreciated (perhaps even cursed) by the home owners who own the trees. I’m happy to do a little cleanup and glean the best of the bunch. I give you here the first of several summer apricot recipes: apricot crumble squares. This is what August in Santa Fe tastes like. Read more

black raspberry parfait

Low Carb Black Raspberry Parfait Recipe

Ok, this recipe is a little unusual for me. First, because it’s based on a store-bought product, second because it’s low carb. But here’s the thing, my husband has just been diagnosed with diabetes, so I’m experimenting with dessert recipes he can enjoy with me. (It doesn’t seem fair to ask him to watch me eat dessert, does it?) So what if it’s based on store-bought jello…the addition of fresh fruit makes this black raspberry parfait special. Easy, low carb, and delicious. What more could you ask of a cool, summer dessert? Read more

spruce tip panna cotta

Spruce Tip Panna Cotta: Recipe

My dinner guests are often confused by this pale green dessert, and I can’t blame them. But I don’t tell them what they’re eating until AFTER they’ve tasted it. Why? I want people to experience these new, unbuyable flavors with an open mind, without any pre-conceived notions. After all, green is an unusual color for a dessert, and most people don’t think of evergreen trees as food plants. Not until after they’ve eaten spruce tip panna cotta. Read more

spruce tip ice cream

Spruce Needle and Spruce Tip Ice Cream: Recipe

For many years I only used the soft, young tips of spruce branches for cooking, but recently I tried some mature, first year branches, harvested on a snowy December walk. I kept the branches in the freezer, waiting for a special occasion, and pulled them out last week to use in spruce tip ice cream. Their flavor is different from that of the tips. It contains more of the quintessential “spruce” fragrance. It’s slightly resinous, sweet, and woodsy, and I love what it brings to this dessert. I recommend using a combination of young tips and first year needles for the best possible flavor. Read more

locust blossom sorbet

Locust Blossom Sorbet: Recipe

Every once in a while I make something I’m really proud of, and this is one of those times. The New Mexico locust trees (Robinia neomexicana) have burst into bloom here in Santa Fe, and their purple-pink flowers are so fragrant, I was sure they’d be tasty, too. I’ve used the flowers of black locust (R. pseudoacacia) in fritters, but I wanted to make the most of both the color and flavor of the New Mexican variety. Plus, it was in the mid-80s here today, and a cool dish of locust blossom sorbet sounded like it would hit the spot. Read more

Jerusalem artichoke cake

Jerusalem Artichoke Cake Recipe

I had a large sunchoke harvest this year, so I’ve been experimenting with lots of different recipes. This Jerusalem artichoke cake is one of my favorites. Poor Michael had to eat three versions of it as I perfected the recipe. Happily, I am finally satisfied, and can spare you all that extra, unecessary cake eating.  Read more