Mint Lemonade

This fizzy concoction is pure bliss when enjoyed on a warm afternoon.

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup packed mint leaves, stems removed
1 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Ice
Club soda

Method:
1. To make mint simple syrup, combine sugar, water, and mint leaves in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Immediately reduce heat and allow to simmer for 2 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Strain the leaves.

3. To assemble the lemonade, add 1 ounce each of simple syrup and lemon juice to a tall glass filled with ice. Top with about 6 ounces of club soda. Stir. Garnish with fresh mint.

Smoked Salmon Spread

This lovely mixture from Ina Garten is fantastic served with slices of this week’s pumpernickel bread.

Ingredients:
4 ounces smoked salmon, chopped
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Cream the cheese in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until just smooth. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper and mix. Add the smoked salmon and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tempered-Butter Radishes

These dipped radishes make for a wonderful starter or snack!

Ingredients:
Red radishes, green tops intact
1 pound butter, at room temperature
2½ tablespoons fleur de sel

Method:
1. Gently wash the radishes in ice water, removing any dirt from the greens. Dry them well.

2. Temper the butter by placing it over moderate heat.* Once tempered, season the butter with the fleur de sel.

3. Dip the bottom half of the radishes into the tempered butter. Dip a second time and gently shake to remove any excess butter from the bottom. Place the butter-coated radish on a rimmed baking sheet lined with wax paper. Chill the radishes in the refrigerator until the butter is set.

*To temper butter, it’s easiest to use a double boiler, placing the butter over a pot of boiling water instead of directly heating the butter. Let the butter melt and heat up, then whisk occasionally until it thickens and stabilizes. It’s fully tempered when it has the consistency of melted chocolate.

Roasted Golden Beet & Carrot Dip

This beautiful spread is delicious slathered on multigrain crackers.

Ingredients:
6 baby golden beets, trimmed and peeled
6-8 baby carrots, trimmed and peeled
1 medium-sized head of garlic, with the end cut off
3 tablespoons plus ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons minced parsley
Sea salt

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Quarter the beets and halve the carrots, then toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet, and slide into the oven. Roast 25-30 minutes or until vegetables are tender and edges are a light golden brown, flipping vegetables halfway through.

2. Meanwhile, set out a 10-inch rectangle of foil. Set the head of garlic in the center, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Wrap the foil packet tightly around the garlic, set in a small ovenproof baking dish, and roast for about 15 minutes, or until cloves are soft and cooked through. Carefully open the foil packet, and set garlic aside until cool enough to handle. Squeeze the soft cloves out of the papery skin and set aside.

3. Place the roasted beets, carrots, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until broken down a bit. Then, with food processor running, drizzle in the ½ cup olive oil, honey and a large pinch of salt. Taste for seasoning and add more salt as needed. Top dip with minced parsley and serve at room temperature.

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