Its that time of the year when I stand under the big oak tree in our summer garden listening to the bees collecting honeydew, picking mushrooms, pickling gherkins, making jam, weeding, fighting brown murder slugs, cooking outdoors or waiting for the rain to stop so I can hang my laundry.
Earlier this year, Rachel Safko introduced me to Elderflower tea or rather Elderflower herbal infusion. Rachel paired the infusion with Dream Cookies by Unna Bakery. The warm and refreshing tea brought me back to my summer garden where I can enjoy afternoon fika while listening to hard working bumble bees and newborn tree sparrows tweeting in their nests. In the back of the house where I hang my laundry, we have a large elderflower bush. The bush produce enough flowers to treat us with my favorite summer cordial while at the same time infusing our laundry with a refreshing smell.
Obviously, this year I couldn’t resist to dry a bunch of them. And it couldn’t have been easier:
Pick as much elderflower clusters as you can. Cut off the thick stems, and give them a gentle rinse. Place them on parchment paper or something similar in a dry and warm place. Let them dry completely. Store the flowers in airtight containers.
If you need guidance to brew your tea or herbal infusion, check out this diagram that I developed together with Rachel.
The elderflower season is over but here are a few things you can do with the berries:
Elderberry Liqueur by Hank Shaw
Elderberry Jelly by Elise Bauer
Elderberry Capers by Anna Billing (in Swedish)
Elderberry Syrup with Alexis Siemons
Fika with Tea – Paring Tea with Swedish cookies
Tea and Food by Rachel Safko at Fresh Cup Magazine
A Swedish Coffee Tradition Breaks Through the Day’s Buzz by Rachel Safko at Edible Manhattan
Elderflower gravlax by kokblog
Check out the pattern design I created for Unna Bakery’s new cookie packages. The pattern was inspired by Scandinavian porcelain.
Instead of enjoying the Swedish summer by growing vegetables and foraging for berries and mushrooms, I have been stuck with NY’s summer heat. I can’t say it has all been miserable though, it just hasn’t been the same. In Sweden I would have picked wild black cherries instead of gluttonized on local peaches. I would also have picked yellow chanterelles instead of trying to grow my own oyster mushrooms. Its all good as both places have their own unique quality.
I have found it a little hard to be in my kitchen cooking when the city gets too hot and humid. Some nights I end up just eating cold watermelon with feta or something like that. Delicious and simple. Luckily we have had direct access to a really lovely garden so many dinners have been cooked outside on the terrace. Often vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini and field mushrooms (sliced up and simply marinated with herbs, garlic, olive oil and tamari) served together with steak, just barely grilled and thinly sliced.Other specialties are BBQ’d mussels and shrimps (see below). The mussels can be BBQ’d as is and eaten with squeezed lemon. You can also precook them and grill them topped with garlic butter and breadcrumbs.
Grilled Spicy Shrimps
one lb un-shelled raw shrimps, small or medium
about ½ cup olive oil
juice from ½ a lime
fresh chili (what kind depends on how spicy you want the shrimps)
two cloves of garlic
plenty of cilantro
sea salt (seasoning)
Rinse the shrimps and let them dry. Mix together olive oil, lime juice and finely chopped cilantro, garlic & chili. Season with sea salt. Place all the shrimps on the grill on high temperature (but no flames). Turn the shrimps over to the other side when they have got some nice color (after about a minute). They are done when they are cooked through and they all have a nice pink color.
Drop the shrimps directly from the grill into the olive oil mixture. Stir around and serve immediately together with bread and salad.
This article was originally published at Honest Cooking, 27 August 2012
Before buying any fish check with Seafood Watch (US) for the most sustainable options.
I think one of the best meats to barbecue is pork chops. I recommend that you choose the parts that have some fat around the meat. The fat makes it more juicy and some of it will actually disappear when its cooked. Less fat will only make the pork dry and dull.
This marinade also works for vegetables that you should marinate separately. Vegetables I recommend are…
red and green peppers
3-4 parts olive oil
1 part balsamic vinegar
fresh or dry thyme, oregano etc
1-2 bay leaves
2-3 cloves of garlic
Mix the oil and the vinegar together with the honey. Add the spices to your own taste. There should be a nice balance between the sweet honey and the peppers.
Fill a plastic bag with the pork chops and poor the marinade over them. Press the bag around so the marinade spreads around all the pieces. Let them rest in the fridge overnight or for a couple of hours.
When you barbecue the pork chops they should not be over an open flame. Wait until you have a nice glow. If the pork chops are not too thick they will be done quite quickly anyway.
I really enjoy this barbequed meat and vegetables with a arugola/potatoe salad and some spicy red wine.