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Sage Advice

It’s May! That lusty month of May when all of our senses go awry, birds chirp effervescently and sweet smells of floral waft through the air.

And what a gorgeous spring it’s been here in DC with cool, sunny days and gentle, overnight rains making it perfect to dig dirt and sow seeds. If you’ve always wanted to grow a kitchen garden... now’s the time. Here on Cathedral Ave. we’re already seeing signs of a future harvest pushing through with our fig tree leafing out and our scarecrow keeping critters at bay!

No worries if you don’t have outdoor space; try growing a few herbs indoors on a sunny windowsill, or get inspired by giving our Spring Gardening podcast episode another listen. You’ll be glad you did! 

May Building Block

Fresh Lemon Juice

It’s always a relief to know there’s a jar of freshly squeezed lemon juice in the fridge. Don’t buy the fakes you often see on the grocer’s shelf. They’re not pure and have a lingering after taste. Instead... if you have a juicer... use it. And if you don’t... try a hand reamer... they work wonders!

Why lemon? To wake up your tastebuds and lift and flavor food. Try some to cure garlic, shallots and leeks; make a vinaigrette; splash on grilled or roasted chicken, fish and veggies; measure in a cocktail or mocktail; or, add to the poaching liquid and cake batter in our featured recipes. 

Lemon Buttermilk Cake

For a little zing and a Vitamin C boost… we often infuse both savory and sweet recipes with citrus. This single layer dessert cake is so simple to make and delicious to eat. Blood oranges or Meyer lemons may be substituted for the classic lemons here. Just make sure to reduce the sugar in the batter and the topping to balance the tartness with the sweet.

Ingredients…

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose, unbleached white flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large farm fresh eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of one lemon

Topping…

  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

To make... 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour an 8″x 8″ square cake pan.

Cream together butter and sugar using a Kitchen Aid or hand mixer. Add eggs one at a time and mix well.

In a separate bowl… mix the flour, salt and baking soda.

In a glass measuring cup… measure out the buttermilk, add the vanilla, and stir.

Beginning and ending with the dry ingredients… add the flour and buttermilk alternately in 3 additions while mixing. Stir in the zest. Transfer to the prepared cake pan.

Bake on the middle shelf of your preheated oven for 30 minutes or until slightly golden brown on edges and when poked with a knife, it comes out clean. Let cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes.

In the meantime...

Mix together sugar and lemon juice. Poke cake all over with a toothpick. Slowly pour lemon sugar mixture over warm cake letting it seep into the toothpick holes.

Dust with confectioner's sugar and serve immediately with whipped cream.

What is Salsa Verde?

Salsa verde is a cold, rustic sauce often made of coarsely chopped parsley, lemon zest, capers, garlic and extra virgin olive oil and used as a condiment for dipping meats, fish, poultry, or vegetables. It’s delicious when paired with poached salmon in the recipe below.

Poached Wild Salmon with Salsa Verde

For the Salsa Verde...

Combine in a small bowl and let sit so flavors will meld...

  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
  • Pinch of Maldon sea salt flakes
  • A few grinds of white peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Ingredients for the Poached Salmon...

  • 2 lbs. wild salmon filets
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • ½ fennel bulb, chopped coarsely
  • 1 small carrot, shaved with a hand peeler
  • 4 sprigs each of fresh thyme and 8 sprigs of Italian flat leaf parsley… tied together with cooking twine
  • A chive flower or two, optional and pretty
  • 1 teaspoon whole white peppercorns
  • Enough water to almost cover the salmon filets
  • Generous splash each of freshly squeezed lemon juice and white wine

To Make...

Place all of the above ingredients in a stainless lined poacher or wide-bottom stainless-steel pot with a tight- fitting lid.

Over medium high, bring your liquid to a boil. Immediately turn down the heat so that your liquid stays at a gentle, perceptible simmer. Cover.

Poach for 10+ minutes depending on the thickness of the fish and your desired doneness.

Using tongs, remove salmon and set aside until ready to serve.

To Serve...

Spoon half of the salsa verde on a serving platter. Season poached salmon with Maldon and freshly ground white pepper. Place salmon pieces over the salsa verde, and anoint with lemon juice. Serve with reserved salsa verde on the side. Enjoy!!!

SEE MORE RECIPES

Join Us on Zoom

We continue to offer virtual Zoom cooking classes!

Schedule a personalized class with your family and friends, a staff morale-boosting class with your work group or join in with a group of new friends.

  • Cost: $50 per person/screen
  • Three screen minimum

One week prior to class, we’ll email everything you need to cook along with us... the Zoom link, menu, grocery and equipment lists, recipes and food prep instructions or mise en place. A follow up email with class tips and topics will be sent afterwards.

Email justsimplycuisine@gmail.com to schedule a virtual class.

Kitchen Conservation

To stretch your dish detergent, pour some into a glass bottle and dilute it with H2O. We repurpose a quart size milk bottle and fill it halfway with eco-friendly dish detergent and halfway with water. It’s easy to grab and looks great on the countertop! 

FEATURED BRANDS

American Kitchen Cookware understands that your cookware choice represents a commitment. You need reliable performance and unparalleled durability, to support the day-to-day demands of your kitchen. If you want versatility, for pots and pans that work with your oven, stove top, induction cooktop, glass cooktop and more… If you crave ease of cleaning and care, so you have more time to relax and enjoy the meal… And you prize quality, local craftsmanship that pairs perfectly with your joy of cooking, entertaining, and experimenting with recipes… American Cookware is what you need.

American Kitchen Cookware delivers on these commitments, employing the best cookware materials, superior craftsmanship, and over a century of manufacturing experience with our parent company, Regal Ware. As a privately-held, family owned company, American Kitchen takes pride in bringing you professional quality tri-ply stainless steel cookware and easy, stress-free nonstick cookware and nonstick bakeware. Shop the American Kitchen collection of products, cookware sets, and more. With free shipping and free returns, American Kitchen Cookware makes it easy for you to discover the last, best cookware you’ll ever own.

With the coupon code werecookin you’ll receive 20% off your purchase at checkout!

FireFly Farms is Maryland’s premier and most awarded cheesemakers. Not only are they dedicated to excellence in handmade cheese, they are committed to sustainability and renewable energy… all while creating value for the local farming community and small business economy of western Maryland. They also have a new retail store located inside the historic Whitehall Mill Market in Baltimore. Find cheese, recipes, and more at FireflyFarms.com!

Helpful Hints

Don’t have buttermilk in the house? Add 1 Tablespoon distilled white vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk and let sit for several minutes. Voila!

Capers are salty and briny! We rinse capers in cold water and strain them before using in recipes. 

Visit Our Store

Need some seasonal cooking inspiration? Buy our cookbook for delicious recipe ideas and more.
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