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Smoked Salmon Dip with Preserved Lemon

27 May

  • 1 Cup (8 oz) cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or creme fresh
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1/4 t Tabasco sauce
  • 6 oz smoked salmon, roughly chopped
  • 2 T finely chopped or pureed preserved lemons
  • 2 T chopped fresh dill
  • 2 T chopped fresh chives
  • Black Pepper, to taste

Combine cream cheese, sour cream, yogurt, lemon juice, lemons & Tabasco in a food processor fitted with the metal blade; pulse until blended. Add salmon, dill & chives; pules until blended. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.

Roasted Asparagus Soup with Preserved Lemon

27 May

We served this at a local fundraising dinner and again at a winery party – and folks were swooning in the isles. This simple soup is a seasonal winner; easy to make but distinctive and unique, with flavor that stands out over a normal roasted veggie soup.

  • 3.5 lbs asparagus
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper
  • 3.5 cups broth (we made an herb/leek broth)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs thyme, chopped fine
  • .75 cups grated Parmesan
  • .5 cups heavy cream
  • 4 Tbs preserved lemon, pureed
  • 4 Tbs butter
  • 1.5 c half and half

Trim  asparagus, season with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 350 degrees until cooked through. Let cool then chop into 1” pieces. Sauté onion, garlic, and thyme in butter. Add asparagus and sauté another few minutes to heat everything through.

Add broth, bring to simmer.

Add parmesan, half and half, and heavy cream. Stir to combine.

Add preserved lemon paste. Stir to combine.


Transfer soup to bowl of a food processor and puree to desired consistency. Served heated or chilled.


Whipper Snapper

1 Apr

Just like the name sounds, this saucy, snappy riff on a Manhattan made with whiskey and pomegranate will have you struttin’ and shakin’ your snappy money maker. In the best way possible.

spirits-whipper-snapper-sm2 1/2 oz Whipper Snapper Whiskey

3/4 oz RoJ Pomegranate Anise syrup

2 dashes of Whiskey barrel bitters

Mix all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice to chill. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a flamed orange peel.


Truths and Roses

1 Apr

This beautiful, floral stunner was a stroke of genius from the folks at Ransom. The addition of a lavender simple syrup takes this complex cocktail to the realms of amazitude. Sip it the next time you want to impress someone, and we mean really impress someone.

spirits-old_smalls_gin-sm1 1/2 oz Smalls Gin

3/4 oz RoJ Quince Lavender Shrub (seasonal, check in fall/winter)

1/2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice

1/2 oz lavender simple syrup

Prosecco float

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice except the prosecco. Stir well to chill, then strain into a cocktail glass and float prosecco.

Hopped Up

1 Apr

Another fantastically refreshing and lively cocktail from our friends at Ransom. This time, we used the Hopped Apple syrup (just what it sounds like; crisp. acidic apples cooked with Oregon hops – wheeeee!) The hops provide strong citrusy notes and wild aromatics to this killer cocktail. Make it for your next bar-b-q, set it next to your pulled pork sandwich and tear up at how good life is.

hops1 1/2 oz Ransom Henry DuYore’s Straight Bourbon Whiskey

3/4 oz RoJ  Hopped Apple Syrup

1/2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 dash of Whiskey Barrel bitters

1/2 oz IPA beer

Mix all ingredients except the beer in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for 30 seconds to chill, strain into cocktail glass, add the beer float and garnish with a lemon twist.

Happy Apple

1 Apr

The RoJ Apple Riesling syrup is everything you’d hope for. Made with tart and crisp Granny Smith apples and local off-dry Riesling wine, the combination is a perfect addition to Ransom’s intensely aromatic and mildly malty Old Tom Gin.  WRansomOldTomGinLoReshy do you think the Apple is Happy?

1 oz Ransom Old Tom Gin

1 oz RoJ Apple Riesling syrup

1/2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/4 oz Ransom Dry Vermouth

1 oz soda

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake to chill and strain into a cocktail glass. Add the soda float, and garnish with a lemon twist.

Roasted Beet and Orange Salad with Blood Orange Marmalade Dressing

5 Mar

Serves 4 as a side, or two as a main

Adapted from


When I think of beets, I think of citrus. Literally, in the very same second.

Having spent the better part of my life convinced that I hated beets, I never really bothered to think of them at all. Until I tasted roasted beets drizzled with a citrus dressing, anyway. Now I think of them all the time.

Life will never be the same.



  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Blood Orange Black Pepper jam
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced shallot
  • 1/3 cup walnut oil (or sub less-expensive EV olive oil)
  • salt and pepper


  • 4 medium unpeeled beets, tops trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 ounce bag of spinach (or use a baby spinach/spring green blend)
  • 1/4 medium red onion finely sliced & pickled (soaked in red wine vinegar at least 3 hrs)
  • 3 medium oranges, supremed (peeled with segments removed from between membranes)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
  • salt & pepper



Whisk vinegar, mustard, shallot, and jam in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season vinaigrette with salt and freshly ground black pepper.


Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss beets and oil in large bowl; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place beets in a row on a sheet of foil, wrap and secure tightly. Place directly on oven rack; roast until tender, 60 to 70 minutes. Open foil; cool 30 minutes. Rub skins off beets (to remove the dense color from your hands simple wash with mild soap and coarse salt); cut each in half then in 1/4″ slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place spinach and onion in large bowl; toss with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette. Divide among plates (or arrange on large platter). Add beets segments to same bowl. Add 2 tablespoons vinaigrette; toss to coat. Arrange beets atop spinach; top with orange segments and sprinkle with cheese and walnuts. Serve, passing any remaining vinaigrette.

Hail Mary (RoJ Bloody Mary)

25 Feb

We make these for lazy Sunday brunches or if we’ve (ahem) overindulged the evening before. The best thing ever is to use a horseradish infused vodka, but you can use the a good quality plain vodka and add a bit of that upper-palate heat by putting a 1 teaspoon of horseradish right into the shaker in a pinch.

  • 2 oz vodka
  • 4 oz RoJ Bloody Mary mix
  • 1 tsp prepared horseradish (optional)

Shake with ice in a cocktail shaker and strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice. Top with a sprinkle of celery salt and a squeeze of lime, garnish with pickled vegetables or the standard celery stalk. Salut!

Horseradish Infused Vodka (adapted from Country Living)

Slice 8 ounces horseradish root into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Add horseradish rounds and 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns to 750ml of vodka (you will need to use a special, large “infusing bottle”, or remove about an inch or two of vodka from the bottle it came in and use that). Steep for 3 to 10 days, tasting once and a while to test flavor intensity. When you are happy with the flavor, strain, then decant into a fresh bottle.

GF Fallen Chocolate Cake with Balsamic Pickled Stella Cherries

5 Jul

Here’s another Stella pickled cherry dessert option that we put together for our 4th of July party-going binge. We love the look of these cherries spooned over this intense and rich cake, and the balsamic and fennel add just the right counterpoint to the dense cake. Bring this gluten free treat to your next party, and you’ll surely be invited back….


Fallen Chocolate Cake with Balsamic Cherries
Adapted from Cooking Light (yes, friends it only has 262 calories and 6.6g. of fat!)
Serves 12
1/2 c. slivered almonds (you can also use pistachios)
cooking spray
1 1/4 c. granulated sugar divided
1/4 c. water
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, best quality you can get your hands on.
1/4 t. sea salt
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa, the better the chocolate the better your cake…trust me.
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 t. vanilla extract
4 large egg whites (yes 4, not a type-o)

Balsamic Cherry Sauce
1-2 9 oz jar(s) of Balsamic Pickled Cherries (drained, but reserve the syrup)


For the Cake: Spray a 9 inch spring-form pan amply with cooking spray, then cut a perfectly fitted circle out of parchment paper to  line the bottom (I trace around my pan and then cut the paper).  Spray the parchment as well, now that it’s on the pan.

Put the almonds in a food processor and whir them to all to heck, leaving a fine crumb of almonds.  Gently press your almond crumbs into the bottom of the pan, on top of the parchment.

To make the batter, in a  medium saucepan combine 1 c. of the sugar, and the water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat; stir in bittersweet chocolate and salt.   Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.  Add cocoa, stirring with a whisk until well blended.  Add the 3 whole eggs, individually, whisking in between each egg addition.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a balloon whisk, put in the four egg whites and beat first on medium then on high until stiff peaks form.  As the peaks are beginning to form, gradually add the 1/4 c. of sugar one tablespoon at a time.

Once the stiff peaks form, fold 1/4 of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture and repeat until all of the egg whites are incorporated. Pour mixture into the prepared pan.  Bake at 350 degrees F. for about 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out nearly clean.  You will have some batter on the toothpick since this cake is meant to have a texture that is a cross between a flourless cake and a touch pudding-y.

Cool to room temperature; run a knife around the outside edge and remove from the pan, gently upside down onto a wire rack.  Peel off the parchment paper and invert again onto a serving plate so it is now right side up.

While the cake is cooling, make the sauce.  drain the cherry syrup into a small saucepan, cook over med/low heat for 10 minutes (until the syrup is reduced by about 1/4).  Add the cherries and bring to a soft simmer, allow to cook for 5 minutes.  The sauce can be used to ladle over each slice of cake upon serving. Top with fresh whipped cream if desired.

Balsamic Cherry Upside Down Cake

4 Jul

Balsamic Cherry Upside Down Cake

This amazingly rich and fruity cornmeal cake was inspired by sweet, sweet Stella cherries from Sunshower Hill Farm in Newberg. Stella cherries are intense, sweet, bright and simply amazing, so we decided to preserve them in way that kept those qualities in place, while adding the RoJ spin. We made a pickling syrup with balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, espresso and fennel – and delicately cooked the cherries in order to preserve as much freshness as we could. The result was incredible, deep and complex flavor like nothing we’ve produced before.

This crazy jar of sunshine is so limited, and so seasonal – we just had to do something special with it. If you know us (and we think you do), you know we like savory-leaning desserts, and these cherries seemed like a great fit for experimentation in that direction. First up is the cornmeal upside down cake (we’ve made a similar version of this with pears before, and loved it). Tomorrow, we’ll try a fallen chocolate cake. Stay tuned!

Balsamic Cherry Upside Down Cake

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 1-33 9oz jars whole pitted Stella Pickled Cherries with Espresso & Fennel, strained (reserve syrup) The more you use, the better it is….
  • ⅓ cup reduced* (reserved) balsamic syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal (preferably stone-ground medium grind)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar


Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Melt ¼ cup butter and combine with cherries and reduced vinegar in 10- to 11-inch ovenproof skillet with 2-inch-high sides. Stir over medium heat for about 2 minutes.

Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup butter in large bowl. Add sugar; beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with milk in 2 additions each, beating just until blended and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in another medium bowl until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat until whites are stiff but not dry. Using rubber spatula, fold 1/4 of whites into batter to lighten slightly. Fold in remaining whites in 3 additions (batter will be thick). Spoon batter over cherries in skillet, then spread evenly with offset spatula to cover cherries.

Bake cake until top is golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool in skillet on rack 5 minutes. Run spatula around edges of cake to loosen. Place large serving platter upside down atop skillet. Using pot holders or oven mitts, firmly hold platter and skillet together and invert. Leave skillet atop cake 5 minutes. Remove skillet. If necessary, rearrange any cherries that may have become dislodged. Let cake cool at least 45 minutes. Cut cake into wedges and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

*reduce syrup by straining whole cherries, and heating the syrup over med/low heat until reduced by ⅓ (about 15 minutes).