My Beautiful Matzoh Ball Soup with Herbs and Flowers
Among the many Seder rituals, out of innocence the youngest child who is able asks The Four Questions. The first Question posed, “Why is this night different from all other nights? On all other nights we eat leavened bread or matzoh but tonight we eat only matzoh. Why?”
And to all the children at Seders around the world, the first Question is answered, “This night is different because we eat the unleavened bread called matzoh in remembrance of our ancestors’ haste to escape from Egypt’s bondage as there was no time to let the dough rise.”
Among the many Passover dishes, Matzoh Ball Soup is a perennial favorite.
Since 2007, I have shared many a matzoh ball here on Taste With The Eyes. But this year, because winter had been especially rainy, cold, and snowy from LA, to Las Vegas, to Chicago…I am giving an extra nod to rebirth and springtime by adding more green herbs and pretty edible flowers to the soup.
Everyone had the same reaction to this bowl of soup. “That’s beautiful!” they said, so here I present the 2019 version called My Beautiful Matzoh Ball Soup.
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Smørrebrød is a Danish word that simply translates to buttered bread. What comes after the butter has been spread, however, is where plain bread is elevated to an absolute art form.
There is specific etiquette associated with composing and consuming these fabulous Danish open-faced sandwiches:
- It would not be prudent to lift the sandwich to the mouth and risk the precious toppings falling off. A knife and fork are required.
- Proteins are not mixed, each smørrebrød has a stand-alone special protein.
- Several types of smørrebrød sandwiches are to be eaten in a particular order: herring is always enjoyed first, then other fish, then on to meats and last, cheeses.
- The bread is always spread with a generous portion of butter, for taste, of course, but it also adds a protective layer to keep the other ingredients from turning the bread into a soggy mess.
- Dense dark rye bread is the bread used most often, and always paired with herring. But sometimes white bread is used and often paired with smoked salmon.
- The toppings always generously cover the entire piece of bread in an artful manner.
In planning to make a sardine smørrebrød, I chose ingredients that have a natural affinity for the fish: fennel, orange, lemon, dill, onion, garlic, chili. As always, color and texture enhance the taste, so I added peppery pink radish and some edible flowers too. It is the presentation that makes this open-faced sandwich so compelling.
Sustainable wild-caught sardines are a nutritional powerhouse. Ounce per ounce they boast more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach, more potassium than coconut water, and as much protein as steak.
Sardines are an excellent source of Omega 3s and low in mercury due to their petite size on the food chain. Canned sardines are readily available and have a long shelf-life. Lightly smoked canned sardines packed in extra virgin olive oil that are cleaned and scale-free are preferred.
Mimosas make the perfect sparkling orange accompaniment. Be sure to toast with friends between bites. Cheers and Skol!
Sardine Smørrebrød Recipe
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Peach, Quinoa, and Almond Milk Ricotta Salad/Grain Bowl
Toasted Almonds, Red Oak Lettuce, Mint, Basil
Olive Oil, Balsamic Syrup, Edible Flowers
Lemon Verbena Iced Tea
Hey! How’s your summer going? Hot enough for ya? Try this Peach, Quinoa, and Almond Milk Ricotta Salad/Grain Bowl – it’s a bright, light, and simply delicious summertime meal. Perfect for these sweltering days…there is no recipe per se, just a combination of healthful ingredients that have a particular affinity for each other, all arranged in a bowl. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan too.
Enjoy the salad/grain bowl al fresco along with refreshing Lemon Verbena Iced Tea – the high levels of essential oil contribute to a delightful citrusy aroma and lovely lemony flavor.
Peach, Quinoa, and Almond Milk Ricotta Salad/Grain Bowl
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Squash Blossom Flatbread Pizza
Baby Zucchini, Epazote, Garlic, Monterey Jack Cheese
Two months ago my garden was bursting with arugula and borage, now the epazote has gone wild. This unique sawtooth herb with the curious aroma produces tons of seeds, so it is everywhere. Not to worry, in another month, it too will fade and be replaced by something else. I plant everything I like to cook with, and see where it goes…
In Mexican cooking, squash blossoms (flor de calabaza) are often paired with epazote. It is a heavenly match where the mild slightly-sweet nectar taste of the flowers is complimented by the petroleum-like aroma and the complex flavors of the herb.
In Oaxaca, cheese quesadillas are often flavored with epazote, so it naturally pairs well with the cheese on these flatbreads.
Squash Blossom Flatbread Pizza Recipe
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Golden Beets and Disneyland Roses
With its apricot-orange-pink coloration and delicate spice fragrance, the Disneyland Floribunda is the official rose of the magical kingdom. See this fabulous rose planted at the main gate turnstiles and throughout the park.
After a trip home from the farmers market, I noticed how similar the color of my golden beets were to the Disneyland roses blooming in my garden. They were begging to be photographed together.
Then I roasted the golden beets and this is where they ended up:
Golden Beets, Blistered Haricots Verts, Marinated Blackberries
Vanilla Skyr, Dukkah, Olive Oil, Aged Balsamic Vinegar
Golden earthy beets, tender green beans with a hint of smoky char, and sweet-tart blackberries all pair surprisingly well with creamy vanilla skyr. The nutty, toasty Egyptian spice mix adds depth and exotic notes to this savory-sweet, veggie-fruit combination.
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English Pea and Ricotta Toasts
Lodge Bread German Style Rye
Sometimes we want a different kind of toast for breakfast, especially when there are fabulous hand-shelled, sweet and tender, English peas available. So, no disrespect, but move over avocado, and make room for Fresh Pea and Ricotta Toasts.
Fresh sweet peas and crunchy pea shoots, fresh basil and mint, and lemony ricotta top an extraordinary German style rye by Lodge Bread. This heavenly bread is bold and sturdy – made of 100% whole grain dark rye, buttermilk, local beer, sprouted rye berries, and filled with seeds – sesame, nigella, sunflower, pumpkin, and poppy.
Serve this breakfast with tea. English peas, and tea. Of course it’s lovely.
English Pea and Ricotta Toasts Recipe
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Smashed Cucumber Salad with Garlic Scented Lima Beans
Fennel, Feta, Mint, Oregano, Lemon Juice, Olive Oil
Cool-crisp Persian cucumbers and creamy-buttery lima beans make a delightful summer duo. Fennel adds a bright crunch with a sweet, nutty anise flavor.
The large limas by Lompoc Beans are sold at our local Torrance Farmers Market. They are also available online. Grown in Santa Barbara County, the beans cook up beautifully smooth and tender.
Soak 2 cups of beans in water for 4 1/2 hours then drain. Place beans in a pot and add fresh cold water to cover by 2 inches. Add 4 smashed garlic cloves. Bring to a boil then turn down to simmer, cook uncovered, for one hour. Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary. Cook al dente (soft but not mushy), taste a few beans for doneness. Drain. Set aside to serve at room temperature.
It’s a fun salad to compose. Put cucumber chunks in a roomy ziplock bag and smash with a mallet. Squeeze lemon juice and drizzle fruity olive oil into the bag. Add shaved fennel and toss the bag to coat the veggies with the dressing. Let marinate for 10 minutes.
Smashed Cucumber Salad Composition
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