Sage-Scented Shortbread
Recipe by Greg Atkinson, Bon Appetit, November 2007

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh sage leaves or 2 teaspoons dried sage
3 tablespoons fresh pineapple sage
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch-thick pieces, room temperature

Blend first 4 ingredients in processor. Add butter; using on/off turns, process until dough comes together. Divide in half. Shape each dough piece into log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Chill until firm enough to slice, about 30 minutes.
Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Cut each dough log into 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick rounds; place on sheets. Bake 10 minutes. Reverse sheets so bottom sheet is on top rack of oven and top sheet is on bottom rack. Bake until cookies are golden, about 15 minutes longer. Cool on racks.

Savory Biscotti
Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons herbes de Provence
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup (2 ounces) goat cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs, beaten, at room temperature

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, herbes de Provence, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and goat cheese together until smooth. Beat in the sugar and eggs. In batches, add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet. With damp hands, form the dough into a 13-inch-long, 3 1/2-inch-wide loaf. Bake until light golden, about 30 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 30 minutes.
Transfer the loaf to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut the log on the diagonal into 1/2-inch thick slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake until pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack and cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Italian Salsa Verde
Author Notes: More a condiment than a chip dip, this Italian version of a green sauce is brilliant on almost anything, from eggs to meatball subs!

2  teaspoons marjoram, minced
3  tablespoons Italian flat leaf parsley, minced
1  teaspoon garlic smear
1  tablespoon Fresno pepper, minced or other hot pepper
1 tablespoon capers, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

To make the garlic smear place your cutting board on a non-skid surface or make it so the board doesn’t slide around. Mince the garlic. Sprinkle the garlic with a pinch of salt. The salt is important because it becomes the grit that breaks down the garlic but you don’t need more then a pinch. Using the broad side of your knife, apply downward pressure and smear the garlic back and forth to make a paste. Think of an old time barber sharpening a razor on a leather strap, back and forth back and forth until the little chunks become a paste.
Place all the herbs into a bowl or a mortar and using the back of a spoon or a pestle bruise the herbs to break out the oils. Add the lemon juice, capers, Fresno pepper and garlic smear. Finally add the oil and black pepper and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt if needed.
I find it best to let the salsa sit for an hour before I want to use it. Stored in the fridge it is good for a day or two but make sure to bring it to room temperature before serving.  Serves 1/2 cup plus.

Sweet & Easy: Apricot Blondies with Monarda
by Susan Belsinger.  Susan is the author of  Not Just Desserts: Sweet Herbal Recipes (Paul’s Printing, 2005).

For the best flavor, these bars should be made with butter for a good butterscotch taste. The red-flowered monarda (Monarda didyma), also known as bee balm and bergamot, since the other monardas have an oregano-like flavor and would not be good in dessert. Orange mint can be substituted for the monarda.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups packed, light brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
About 1 cup dried apricots
About 1/2 cup monarda leaves, loosely packed
2 1/2 cups bleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13-by-9-inch pan.In a heavy-bottom, medium sauce-pan, melt butter over medium-low heat. When melted, add brown sugar and stir. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until brown sugar is thick and syrupy, about 4 minutes. Stir in granulated sugar until it is dissolved and remove pan from heat to cool.  Thinly slice apricots crosswise. Wash, dry and coarsely chop monarda leaves; there should be about 3 tablespoons of chopped herb. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and stir to blend. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture over apricots and toss to coat lightly.  Beat eggs into warm brown sugar and butter mixture (it should not be hot) to blend thoroughly. Add vanilla and stir well.
Pour liquid ingredients into the flour and stir until just blended. Add apricots and monarda and stir until just mixed in. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in a preheated oven for 35 minutes, until the top is a deep golden brown. Allow to cool completely on a baking rack before cutting into bars.   Makes 32 bars.

Herbed Cream Cheese Dip

1/2 cup ricotta cheese
8 oz softened cream cheese
2 tablespoon roasted garlic
2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon + 1 tsp oregano
2 tablespoon Italian parsley
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp basil
2 tablespoon milk or heavy cream
1/4 ground black pepper

Roast garlic in oven 425 F.  Place garlic in a pan lined with aluminum foil & brush with extra virgin olive oil. Roast for approximately 15-20 minutes; until soft and spreadable. In food processor mix together the cream cheese, ricotta cheese and milk or heavy cream. Blend until smooth. Add herbs, garlic & Parmesan cheese. Mix until blended together.

Cilantro Lime Rice

3 cups of hot cooked rice (long grain recommended, since it does not come out mushy)
2 small limes (or 1 large lime)
1 lime, zest of (all of one lime)
1/2 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt (to taste)

Once your rice is cooked fluff with fork.  Add lime juice, zest, cilantro and salt.  Stir well.  Serve warm.  Enjoy.

Cilantro and Ginger Hummus

1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas (you can use dry and cook your own too)
1/2 cup tahini
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup cilantro
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup water (or reserve the chickpea cooking water if you use dry beans)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt

First you need to peel off the chickpea skins. Don’t they look weird?! Like little snake skins or something.In a food processor blend the chickpeas until they are a coarse grain. Now add the tahini, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, cilantro and salt. Blend for a full minute or two. Now with the processor still running drizzle in the oil and then the water. For an even smoother, thinner consistency add more water.

Feta and Mint Dip

200 g feta, drained, crumbled
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped dill
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
1/2 small Spanish onion, finely chopped
Extra virgin olive oil

Combine feta, lemon juice and olive oil in a large bowl. Using a potato masher, mash until smooth. Stir in dill and mint. Spoon mixture into a bowl and smooth surface. Scatter with onion. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Serve with cucumber.

Lemon Balm Pesto

4 garlic cloves
2 cups lemon balm leaves, tightly packed (or lemon verbena leaves)
1 cup shelled walnuts
1 cup Italian parsley
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated

Rinse lemon balm well in a bowl of water. Let it soak until needed.  Grate Parmesan if needed.  Peel garlic. Set up your food processor with the cutting blade or use a blender. Turn the machine on and drop the garlic in while the blade is turning. Turn off when garlic is minced, after about 10 seconds.  Rinse the lemon balm and parsley well and pat dry with towel. Remove leaves and put in food processor or blender. Put walnuts and salt on top of leaves. Process until finely chopped but still a bit rough.  With the machine going, slowly pour in olive oil, then pour in lemon juice.  Stop the machine and add Parmesan cheese. Process briefly to mix. Taste. Add salt and pepper as needed.

Cilantro Pesto

1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
2-3 tablespoons Italian parsley
1/2 cup almonds
3 large garlic cloves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup olive oil

Combine the cilantro, garlic and almonds in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Add the Parmesan, oil and salt and puree to a smooth paste. Add parsley at the end.  Add to taste to remove bitterness.  Stir into hot pasta and serve.

Red Lentil Soup

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch cayenne
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tablespoon salt
1 large onion chopped fine
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups red lentils

GARNISH:
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 tsp dried mint
1 tsp paprika

In a pot melt butter, add chopped onions and salt and stir.  let sweat 5 minutes till soften.  Add the black pepper, ground ginger and a pinch of cayenne.  Stir.  Add the cinnamon, coriander & cumin, stir and cook 2 minutes on medium heat.  Add the tomato paste & garlic and stir continually for 1 minute.  Add the chicken broth, water and red lentils. Let come to a boil then drop to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes.  Whisk 30 seconds and soup will thicken.  Stir in the lemon juice.  To make the garnish melt the butter add the mint and paprika, stir.  Add garnish after the soup in individual bowls. Drizzle garnish on top of the soup.  Enjoy!