Posts Tagged ‘Mint’

Healthy Brown Rice Noodle Salad | Relishing It

There is a lot to be excited about this week.  First, my kids come home from spending a few days in North Dakota with my Mom and Dad.  This is the second summer that they have spent time away without Radd and me.  It’s hard for me to be away from them, but to be honest, I think it’s important for kids to get to know their grandparents without parents (i.e. me)  interfering all the time.  They get to be properly spoiled and make their own memories and that’s wonderful.  There is nothing quite like the love of a grandparent.  I’m excited to see my little ones– I’ve missed them.  But, my gosh!  It’s amazing what I can accomplish with an entire day without distractions!  There’s just so much…time to get things done.

Healthy Brown Rice Noodle Salad | Relishing It

Healthy Brow Rice Noodle Salad | Relishing It

The other super exciting event this week is that our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) starts delivery this week.  And I am thrilled!  It’s been a crazy June here in Minnesota– we’ve had record rainfalls and lots of flooding.  In fact, the farm that our CSA, Bossy Acres, resides on received almost 7-inches already this month.  Joining a CSA this year has had me feeling like a farm-girl all over again– stressing about the weather.  It’s exhilarating and terrifying.  At any rate– we’ll get our box of goodies on Thursday and I’m more that a little excited to create some meals with it.

Healthy Brown Rice Noodle Salad | Relishing It

Speaking of meals, today I’m sharing a quick one that you can put on your (hopefully outdoor) table in no time flat.  I know, two noodle salads in two weeks?!  I can’t help it– I’m addicted.  This one is cold, refreshing, and basically tastes like a giant spring roll, without the fuss of that rice paper.  I loaded it with cucumbers and radishes.  I would have added grated carrots, but we were out.  The cilantro and mint make the dish in my opinion, as do the peanuts–so load it up!  Mint is one of my favorite summertime additions to cold salads.  I’ve been fortunate enough to find delicious fresh bean sprouts at our farmers market and they are brilliant in this dish.  What a refreshing crunch!  The meal can be served without a meat, of course.  If you want to make it a bit more filling– chicken, shrimp, and especially grilled pork work extremely well.  The dressing is simple and subtle.  It’s not at all “saucy”, in that it pretty much disappears into the noodles leaving you with its subtle influence.  Feel free to make a tad more if you like a bolder flavor.  I hope you are enjoying many outdoor meals this summer and that this dish finds it’s way onto your table.  Enjoy!

Healthy Brown Rice Noodle Salad | Relishing It

Healthy Brown Rice Noodle Salad | Relishing It

The Recipe: Healthy Brown Rice Noodle Salad

(serves 4)

For the Sauce:

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 cucumber, thinly sliced (preferably with a mandolin)

5-6 radishes, thinly sliced (using a mandolin, as well)

2 red scallions, thinly sliced

large handful of fresh bean sprouts

about 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint

about 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

about 2/3 cup chopped salted peanuts

8 ounces brown rice noodles

serrano peppers, thinly sliced, optional

lime wedges, for serving

grilled chicken, shrimp, or pork– optional

In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the sauce.  Stir and set aside.

Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions (they will only take about 3-4 minutes).  Rinse immediately with cold water.  Reserve a bit of the cooking liquid to loosen pasta, if necessary.  Separate the rice noodles with your fingers, so they are loose and airy– this is a fun process.  Get your kids involved to help!

On a large platter or bowl, add the rice noodles, vegetables, herbs, and bean sprouts.  Pour the sauce over and toss with tongs.  Top with grilled meat, if using, peanuts, and a bit more cilantro, mint, and a squeeze of lime.  I used simple grilled chicken breasts with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Sliced serrano peppers would be lovely here, alas my son doesn’t love the heat from them.  This dish is best eaten on the day it is made.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!



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Smashed Summer Pea Spread via Relishing It

I’ve mentioned here more than once that as the weather warms, I try to prepare more simple, fresh foods.  This spread is a perfect example.  I love peas.  Their slightly sweet flavor, that beautiful pop of color– they make every dish better.  When they start to become available at the local farmers markets, we eat them by the pound.  But– and here’s some real talk now– they rarely make it into a recipe.  By the time we’re done shelling them, they have been mostly eaten raw.  And if not, they’re a stand-alone side for our summer meals.  Here, I wanted to keep things simple, yet incorporate peas as the star ingredient.

Smashed Summer Pea Spread via Relishing It

Smashed Summer Pea Spread via Relishing It

For this dish I’ve added a few simple ingredients and a different style of preparation in order to turn ordinary peas into a delicious and healthy appetizer.  Sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, mint, and a bit of anchovy really work with the subtle flavor of peas. Don’t be scared of the anchovy– it adds depth, a bit of saltiness, but doesn’t taste fishy.  Add a few other nibbles, and you’ve got yourself a meal.  Make them with your freshly shelled peas, if you have them, or just rely on a bag of frozen organic ones from the freezer.  It just takes a few minutes from start to finish to get this delicious spread on the table.

Smashed Summer Pea Spread via Relishing It

Smashed Summer Pea Spread via Relishing It

My favorite way to serve this spread is on a grilled baguette brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper.  It is heavenly.   And if you’re worried about the bread, no problem.  I also serve it along with other vegetables, including radishes and endive.  It’s brilliant.  As for the endive, if you’re not familiar with it, you should become so.  It’s a wonderful vegetable that is fantastic served with spreads– the shape makes it easy to fill.  It tastes great, and is a wonderful option if you are gluten-free or just trying not to consume as much wheat.  These smashed summer peas are a delicious healthy option for your 4th of July celebration (for my American friends) this weekend.   It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and over-indulge on chips, burgers, and all other sorts of less-healthy foods in the midst of celebrating.  With this on your table, you don’t have to worry about it.  Hope you enjoy!

Smashed Summer Pea Spread via Relishing It

Smashed Summer Pea Spread via Relishing It

The Recipe: Smashed Summer Pea Spread

10 ounces fresh or frozen organic peas (If using fresh, blanch for a minute or so.  If using frozen, just thaw)

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

3 large sun-dried tomatoes, minced

1-2 anchovies, finely minced

1/2 – 1 teaspoon kosher salt

juice of 1/4 small lemon

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 large mint leaves, finely minced

In a medium-sized bowl, add the peas, garlic, anchovies, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon, salt, olive oil, and mint.  Using a potato masher or fork, smash the ingredients together.   The final texture is up to you.  I like it to be a little bit creamy, with definite chunks of ingredients within it.  Taste and re-season, if necessary.  Serve it with endive, radishes, and grilled bread.  Enjoy!

I hope you all have a wonderful and safe 4th of July!



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Every once in awhile an idea for a recipe pops into my head, and I can’t believe I hadn’t considered it before.  On the one hand, I get a bit disappointed in myself for missing something so obvious.  But then I think, ‘Who cares?  This is going to be incredible!’  Today’s recipe came from one of those epiphanies.  I wanted something bursting with Spring flavors, and this pea shoot and mint pesto does just that.

Pea shoots should be showing up at your local farmers market right now.  If you haven’t tasted them before, please go buy some.   These tasty little shoots are the young tendrils and leaves of the pea plant.  They’re packed with nutrients, including vitamins A and C.  And they’re wonderful on sandwiches, salads, mixed into stir fry, pureed into soups– and of course, in this pesto.

Mint and peas make a great combination– remember this carbonara?  Pea shoots taste like fresh peas, but you don’t have to go through the fuss of shelling.  Here, I blanched the pea shoots for a few seconds to brighten their color.  I added a few mint leaves, and finished it off with a squeeze of fresh lemon.  Do not leave out the lemon!  It’s fine without, but we’re looking for better than ‘fine’ with this pesto.

A couple tips on the bruschetta:  First, make sure you grill the bread.  Season it with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  It makes a huge difference.  I also recommend tearing– rather than cleanly slicing– the mozzerella.  It creates nice crevices and curves to drizzle the olive oil into.  I think it also happens to  look much more interesting.  The radishes add an additional pop of color and fresh crunch.  Aside from using this pesto on bruschetta, you can add it to pasta.  If you think it’s going to be too thick to toss with pasta, add a little more olive oil and remember to always reserve a bit of hot pasta water to get the texture you want.  Either way, I think you’ll be happy with this fresh dish.  Enjoy!

The Recipe: Bruschetta with Pea Shoot Mint Pesto and Fresh Mozzarella

Pea Shoot Mint Pesto:

1 1/2 cups packed pea shoots

2-3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan or grana padano cheese

1/4 cup lightly toasted walnuts, chopped

1 garlic cloves

10 fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

squeeze of lemon juice, to taste

sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

hot pepper flakes, to taste

For the Bruschetta:

1-2 balls of fresh mozzarella

1 -2 cloves of garlic

extra-virgin olive oil

pea shoot  mint pesto

handful of radishes, diced

Good quality rustic bread, sliced  ( I used sour dough)

To make the pesto:  Bring a medium sized saucepan filled with water to a small boil.  Prepare an ice bath, set aside.  Place the pea shoots in the hot water for 30 seconds.  Remove immediately and submerge into the ice bath.  Remove pea shoots from water and gently “wring” them out.  It’s ok if they have a bit of water on them.  Let cool.

Place the pea shoots, mint leaves, and 1 clove of garlic in a mini-food processor.  Pulse a few times, until the greens are adequately chopped.  Add the parmesan or grana padano and walnuts, pulse a few more times.  With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.  You may need to stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Once the pesto is thoroughly combined, taste it.  Stir in some salt, cracked pepper, hot pepper flakes, and a squeeze or two of lemon to brighten the pesto.  Use immediately or store in the refrigerator with plastic wrap placed directly on it.

To make the Bruschetta:  Fire up your grill.  Brush olive oil on both sides.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a hot grill and let it toast on each side until it is beautifully golden, but not burnt.  Remove from the grill and while still hot, rub a clove of garlic on one side of the toast.  Spread the pesto on that.  Rip the mozzarella, to create crevices, and place on the pesto.  Top with the chopped radishes.  Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and finish with a sprinkle of sea salt.  Enjoy!

I’m currently in North Dakota with my kids — made the long 8 hour trip to spend Mother’s Day with my Mom.  I hope all of you Moms out there have a wonderful day.  Thanks to everyone for stopping in — see you next week!


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First, I want to thank all of you who left comments on my One Year Blogiversary post.  I wanted to thank each of you individually, but that would have complicated things for the contest a bit.  I really do appreciate that you take time out of your day to stop by and see what has been happening in my kitchen.  Congratulations to Tammy Kimbler, who won the cookbook!  She chose that fantastic cookbook, Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi.

On to today’s recipe.  I know I’ve mentioned a time or two that I love beets.  Again, I’m not talking about the tasteless little purple cubes that come out of a can.  Beautiful, fresh beets can really be amazing.  One of my favorite ways to prepare them is by roasting.  Roasting brings out their natural sweetness, making them a perfect match for the honey and oranges in this salad.  The balsamic vinegar adds a nice tangy dimension, and the mint provides its signature crisp, freshnesh that ties this dish together.  I sometimes make this dish just for myself– no sharing.  True statement.  I hope you enjoy this salad as much as I do– it’s simple, stunning, and so tasty.

The Recipe:  Roasted Beets with Orange and Mint

(Serves about 4)

About 12 assorted small beets (dark reds, chioggia, and golden)

2 medium oranges, supremed

handful of mint leaves, torn

5 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon dried thyme

salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Wash and trim the beets, but leave the skins on.  Place on a aluminum foil lined baking sheet and drizzle about 2 tablespoons olive oil on them. Cover with more foil and roast in the oven until tender and a knife can cut through them with ease, about 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Use a sharp knife to remove the skins and cut the beets into chunks.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey and thyme together.  Place  the beets and the oranges that have been supremed into a large bowl and pour the dressing over the top. Gently toss to coat.  Add salt and pepper, if necessary, and sprinkle with the torn mint.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Harvest to Heat

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!


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This is one of my family’s favorite weeknight meals.  It’s quick, easy, pretty healthy, and best of all it tastes fantastic.  The pea and mint combination is so refreshing– it’s perfect for this time of the year and will remind you of Spring.  Ideally, I like to use fresh peas in this dish, but frozen ones make an exceptional alternative.  And the little salty bites of crisp, smoky bacon are a nice contrast to the fresh flavors.

Now I love a good, rich carbonara– really, I do.  But this dish is not thick and creamy.  This is a much lighter version that contains very little cream and only one egg.  Despite this, it works remarkably well.   I reserve the heavy version for an evening when I feel like being a bit more indulgent,  but for our everyday meals, I cut back significantly.  The key to this recipe is to remember that it’s really just an outline.  Use as much bacon, mint, peas, and parmesan cheese as you like- it’s a matter of personal taste.  My family loves peas, so we use an entire package.  You can certainly add more parmesan, as well.  Just remember to loosen the pasta with reserved pasta water to get the level of creaminess that you want.  And most importantly, be ready to eat this dish immediately.  The creaminess will not last long, so it’s best served right away.

One last thing:  be sure to enter my cookbook giveaway I’m having to celebrate Relishing It’s First Anniversary– enter here!

The Recipe: Whole Wheat Pasta Carbonara with Bacon, Peas, and Mint

(Makes 4 servings)

1  pound of whole wheat spaghetti or linguine

1 10 ounce package of organic sweet peas

6-8 slices bacon, or more to taste

handful of grated parmesan or grana padano cheese (about 1/2 cup)

about 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1 large organic egg lightly beaten with 1/4 cup organic heavy cream

a few grates of fresh nutmeg

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp.  Remove from pan and wipe pan clean with a paper towel.  Chop the bacon and set aside.   In a small bowl lightly beat the egg, cream, and nutmeg together.  Set aside.  Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to directions on package.  Add the peas into the hot water when the pasta is one minute from being “al dente”.  Reserve one cup of the pasta water.  Drain pasta and peas and pour into the skillet the bacon was cooked into.  Pour the egg/cream/nutmeg mixture over the hot pasta and toss with thongs.  The hot pasta will cook the egg.  Add a bit of the reserved pasta water to loosen the pasta more, if you desire.  Sprinkle the parmesan over the pasta.  Top with the chopped bacon and chopped mint.  Eat immediately!  Enjoy.

Source:  Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Dinners

Thanks for stopping by!


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The St. Patrick’s Day preparations are in full-swing at our house!  My parents will be coming for a visit this weekend to help us celebrate, and my kids are about to burst with excitement!  The brisket is already in it’s brine for homemade corned beef.  I made and toasted my own mixture for pickling spice this year.  The fragrance was fantastic.  So exciting!  The fun party hats and favors have been purchased, and I found a fabulous “green” dessert to help mark the day.

I’ve actually been wanting to make these bars for quite some time, but that beautiful green hue made be hold off until St. Patrick’s Day.  Last year I made this indulgent stout cake that still ranks as one of my favorite cakes of all time.  Apparently, a bit of alcohol in the token St. Patty’s Day dessert is how we roll in the Kulseth house.

My kids are big fans of mint.  In these bars, when combined with the chocolate, it’s brilliant.  These little numbers do not disappoint.  The brownie layer is perfectly fudge-y.  It’s worth noting that under-baking the brownie layer by a minute or so will lead to a perfect bar in the end.  The mint buttercream in the center is ideal– perfectly minty, but not overpowering.  And the top layer is a rich chocolate shell that holds it all together.  These bars keep very well, they’ll last at least 4 days in the refrigerator.

The Recipe: Grasshopper Bars

For the Brownie:

3/4 cup (4 ounces) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa

5 ounces good quality dark chocolate (60-72%) coarsely chopped (I used Sharffen Berger)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon espresso powder

For the Buttercream:

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into small chunks

3 tablespoons crème de menthe

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

For the Chocolate Glaze:

6 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60-72%) coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon light corn syrup

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, cut into chunks

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or metal 9-by-13-inch pan.  Line the bottom with parchment paper, and butter the parchment.  Set aside.

To make the Brownie:  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder.  Set aside.  In a small saucepan over medium/low heat,  add the chocolate and the butter.  Stirring constantly with a rubber spatula until everything is completely melted.  Be careful not to burn the chocolate.  Alternately, this can be done over a hot water bath.  Remove from heat and whisk in the sugars until they are completely combined.  Pour into a large bowl, and let sit until it cools to room temperature.

In a small bowl, gently mix the 3 eggs, vanilla, and espresso powder.  Add the egg mixture to the bowl of chocolate.   Whisk until just combined.  Be careful to not over -mix the batter, as it will lead to a cakey brownie.  Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate and fold the dry ingredients into the wet using a rubber spatula until just a trace amount of flour/cocoa mixture is visible.  Again, do not over-mix.

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth out with an offset spatula.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating halfway.  These brownies will benefit from being slightly under-baked.  A toothpick inserted into the brownies at an angle should contain a few loose crumbs.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.

To make the Buttercream:  In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together.  Add the milk and cream and cook and cook over medium heat, whisking often until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 5-7 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on high speed until cool.  Reduce speed to low and add the butter and mix until thoroughly incorporated.  Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until filling is light and fluffy.  Add the crème de menthe and peppermint extract and mix until combined.  If the buttercream is too soft, chill slightly in the refrigerator and then mix again until it is the right consistency.  If the buttercream is too firm, place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and re-mix to the right consistency.  Spread the filling evenly across the top of the cooled brownie layer and place the pan in the refrigerator for a minimum of 45 minutes.

To make the Chocolate Glaze:  In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter.  Stir constantly with a rubber spatula until the mixture is completely melted and smooth.  Remove from heat and stir vigorously for 1 minute to release some of the heat.  Pour the mixture over the chilled mint buttercream layer.  Use an offset spatula to smooth it out into an even layer.  Place the pan back in the refrigerator until it hardens, about 1 hour.

It is best to cut into the bars using a knife warmed underneath warm water, wiped clean each time.  Store the bars covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Baked Explorations

Be sure to check back later this week  — Relishing It will be having it’s first giveaway and I’m so excited!


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If you’ve taken a spin through my recipe section, you know that I pretty much love any and all types of food.  But meatballs are one of my favorite bites.  Last year I wrote this post, where I confessed that when we get together back in North Dakota, my mother often makes four different styles for our family holiday meal.  I’m not saying I’m an expert, but I certainly have the experience.  These meatballs were a huge hit with my family.  My kids (gasp!) even loved them, and they are proving to be borderline vegetarian lately. I served them with a simple quinoa side dish, but couscous, rice, or polenta would also be wonderful.

For this particular meatball, I wanted to use non-tradional flavors– at least non-traditional for a German-Hungarian from the Great Plains. I was in the mood for an ethnic twist.  Here, I made lamb meatballs infused with beautifully fragrant spices.  The toasted cumin– which smells amazing, by the way– and the coriander really stand out in this dish.  And the vibrant fresh herbs are heavenly.  I also made a red-wine sauce, and simmered the meatballs to add richness.  Turns out, I like the sauce enough that I could drink it by the ladleful.  Finally, I topped the dish with a bright chimichurri.  It adds a nice zing that really makes every bite ‘pop!’

These meatballs are very easy to make.  And they’re loaded with flavor– not just some bland lump covered in sauce.  For this recipe, I used a technique that makes perfect meatballs every time– I bake them in the oven.  The result is a firm, evenly browned meatball that is succulent.  Not dry, but perfect.   Buy the best ground lamb you can find.  The quality of your meat will always be reflected in your dish.  Also, buy whole spices if you can.  Toast them, as it enhances the flavor.  Once they’re toasted, crush them with a mortar and pestle, or anything else that ends up giving you mostly-ground spices.  In a pinch, even placing them in a plastic bag and crushing them with a rolling pin will work.  If you only have ground spices and don’t want to buy whole ones, don’t worry.

The Recipe:  Lamb Meatballs in Red Wine Sauce with Mint Chimichurri

(Serves 4 comfortably)

For the Meatballs:

1 tablespoon whole cumin seed, toasted and ground

1 teaspoon whole coriander seed, toasted and ground

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 pound ground lamb

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

2 tablespoons toasted white bread crumbs

1 egg, lightly beaten

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

freshly ground pepper

Red Wine Sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped red onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 cup dry red wine

1 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon whole cumin seed, toasted and ground

2 cups crushed tomatoes

kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

1 heaping tablespoon freshly chopped parsley

Mint Chimichurri:

1/4 cup packed fresh mint, roughly  chopped

1/2 cup packed fresh parsley, roughly chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

about 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

kosher salt,

1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon finely chopped preserved lemon (a bit of lemon zest can also be substituted)

water to loosen chimichurri a bit, if necessary

(Note:  To toast the cumin and coriander seed, place them in a small skillet on medium heat.  Stir or toss frequently and toast until the seeds become very fragrant, a few minutes.  Be careful not to burn the seeds.  Remove from heat and let cool on a plate.  Then use a mortar and pestle to grind them.)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.  In a 12-inch skillet with a lid, heat the olive oil until hot and add the chopped red onion and garlic.  Saute for a couple of minutes until tender.  Add the tomato paste,  red wine, ground cumin, chicken stock, crushed tomatoes, and salt and pepper, to taste.  Bring to a boil, then immediately turn heat down.  Simmer for about 50 minutes with the lid on.

In a large mixing bowl, add the ground lamb, ground cumin and coriander seed, mint, parsley, red onion, feta cheese,  bread crumbs, egg, garlic, kosher salt and cracked black pepper.  Gently mix with your hands.  Make sure to get everything incorporated, but being sure to not over mix.  Doing so will lead to a tough meatball.  Using a small scoop or form into balls with your hands,  drop onto the prepared baking sheet spacing them an equal amount of distance apart.  Bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until the edges of the meatballs are a deep golden brown.

Remove meatballs from oven and place in the red wine sauce.  Simmer together for about 20 more minutes so the flavors can incorporate.  If the sauce is too watery, leave the lid off and increase the heat, so the sauce can reduce.  If the sauce is a nice consistency already, simmer with the lid on.  When it seems to be done and the sauce is perfect, stir in the chopped parsley and remove from heat.

Meanwhile, using a mini-food processor (a blender or knife can also be used), add the mint, parsley, lemon, garlic, vinegar and salt.  Pulse a few times to incorporate.  Slowly add the olive oil — use more if you see fit.  Or add a bit of water to loosen the chimichurri.  Blend until smooth.  Taste.  Add more salt, if necessary.  Serve along with the meatballs and red wine sauce.  Enjoy!

I’m always delighted that you stopped by Relishing It  — thank you!  Have a wonderful day.


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How does one measure patience?  As the mother of small children, mine (and to be fair, theirs) is tested daily.  But that’s not really what I’m talking about today.  I’m talking more about the ability to delay gratification, or to be patient enough to wait until the time for something is right.  Heck, maybe I’m not talking about that at all, but the point is, I’ve been patiently waiting to make this cake for a very long time.  I’ve  drooled over admired this recipe for a decade.  Seriously.  I’ve always known I was going to make it, and this year I finally decided the timing was right.  No more delayed gratification here– that’s the sort of patience I’m talking about.

So was it worth a 10-year wait?  Absolutely.  This beautiful cake is a stunner.  Not only does it look spectacular, it’s loaded with deep, rich chocolate flavor throughout.  The cake and glaze are primarily dark chocolate, while the center boasts creamy milk chocolate to vary the flavors.  It also perfectly combines refreshing mint– chocolate’s soul-mate during the holiday season.  The layering of the flavors is marvelous.  This decadent cake is the perfect ending to your holiday meal, so don’t wait a decade to make it.

The Recipe: Triple Chocolate and Peppermint Cake

(Serves 12)


8 ounces good quality milk chocolate, finely chopped

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

1 teaspoon peppermint extract


1 cup sifted unbleached all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 large eggs,  room temperature

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped or miniature chocolate chips

Chocolate Glaze:

8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet good quality chocolate, finely chopped

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

chopped peppermint candies for garnish

To make the Filling:  Place chocolate in a medium bowl.  Bring cream and corn syrup to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Pour over the chocolate; add extract.  Let sit for one minute.  Whisk until smooth.  Let mixture sit at room temperature while cake is baking and cooling.

To make the Cake:  Position rack in the middle of oven.  Preheat to 350°F.  Prepare a 9-inch cake pan with 2-inch sides by buttering, lining with parchment paper, buttering again, and dusting with flour.  Tap out excess flour.  Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in a medium bowl.   Set aside.  In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy.  Gradually beat in both sugars, then vanilla.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl, as needed.  Beat in the dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions each.  Mix in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.

Transfer batter to prepared pan.  Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45- 50 minutes.  Be sure not to over bake.  Cool cake in pan for 5 minutes.  Turn out onto a rack.  Remove parchment paper.  Cool completely.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the filling until fluffy and lightened in color, about 1 minute.  Using a serrated knife, cut the cake horizontally in half.  Place 1 layer, cut side up, on rack set over baking sheet.  Spread filling over.  Top with second later, cut side down.  Chill for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare glaze:  Stir chocolate, butter, and corn syrup in heavy small saucepan over low heat until melted.  Mix in extract.  Cool glaze until just lukewarm but still pourable, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.

Pour 1/2 cup glaze over center of cake.  Spread over top and sides of cake.  Chill for 15 minutes.  Pour remaining glaze over the center of cake, then spread quickly over the tops and sides.  Sprinkle with peppermint candies.  Serve after the glaze has set and the cake is at room temperature.  Store at room temperature under a cake dome.

Source: Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine, December 2001

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Here’s a little insight into what’s going on in my head– and I realize this is not normal– but the highlight of my week usually involves hitting the local farmers’ markets with my family.  Aria, my two-year-old daughter, loves it as much as I do.  We pretty much have to drag the home-body boys (Aanen and Radd), who protest all the way.  Well, maybe not all the way.  Once they’re out of the  house, I think they enjoy it, too.    

Anyway, late Summer is when the market really shines– so many different varieties of produce to choose from!  Last weekend I snagged these gorgeous purple potatoes.  Look at how vibrant they are!  This is nature.  This is food.  And it still amazes me.  Despite what some sources say– and I know it’s probably just in my head– I feel like purple potatoes have a more earthy flavor that a plain-old white ones.  If not, well then they’re just more interesting.

This potato salad keeps it simple, yet looks fantastic.  The point is to let the beautiful colors and fresh flavors be the center of attraction, rather than cover everything up with a glop of mayo.  The addition of the herbs (especially the mint, do NOT omit the mint!) make this salad taste like Summer.  The subtle flavor of creme fraiche lets the produce shine, yet adds that creaminess you expect in a potato salad.  The radishes give a contrasting delightful crunch.  If you don’t have creme fraiche, you can use sour cream, but you’ll notice a bit more of a tang.  I love to finish this salad with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.  It just works and it’s one of my favorite potato salads.

The Recipe:  Creme Fraiche, Herb, and Purple Potato Salad

1 – 1 1/2 pounds new purple potatoes

handful of parsley, mint, and basil chopped (around 3/4 cup total)

5-6 green onions, chopped

6  large radishes, chopped

1/2  lemon

1/3 – 1/2 cup creme fraiche

3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

kosher salt and cracked blacked pepper, to taste

To steam the potatoes:  I prefer steaming to boiling– the potatoes retain less water this way.  Put potatoes in a steamer basket placed in a saucepan with a tight lid.  Make sure to put enough water into it.  Steam potatoes until nearly done, then turn off heat and let them sit for 10 more minutes.  The potatoes will continue to cook with the heat turned off.  The cooking time will vary based upon the size of your potatoes, so be sure to check it.  I steamed mine for 25 minutes, and let them sit for another 10 minutes.  Yours may take less time.  Just be sure to check them by inserting a sharp knife into them.  Be sure your saucepan doesn’t run out of water.

Sprinkle potatoes with a bit of salt and let them cool.  Meanwhile, chop the herbs, radishes,  and green onions.  Add them to the cooled potatoes, along with the creme fraiche, olive oil, and a squeeze of the lemon juice.  Don’t squeeze the full amount right away.  Taste as you go along, and definitely feel free to adjust measurements to your liking.  You may want a bit more creme fraiche and olive oil.   Be sure to season with salt appropriately, as the salt really brings all of these flavors together.    Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It today.  Have a great weekend!


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