Anise Hyssop Lemonade

Sweetened with an anise hyssop simple syrup, this lemonade is incredibly fragrant.

Ingredients:
1 cup anise hyssop simple syrup (recipe follows)
1 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2-3 cups water

Anise Hyssop Simple Syrup
1 handful (about 20 leaves) anise hyssop
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Method:
1. To make simple syrup, combine ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Once boiling, remove from heat and allow to steep for 30 minutes. Strain anise hyssop solids, and chill syrup until ready to mix lemonade.

2. In a pitcher, pour lemon juice and anise hyssop syrup, adding in 2-3 cups water to taste. Refrigerate and serve over ice with additional sliced lemons.

Fava Bean Dip

This simple, fresh dip enhances the inherent nutty flavor of fresh fava beans.

Ingredients:
2 pounds fresh fava beans, peeled, blanched and steamed (see method)
⅓ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 clove of garlic, peeled
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese (or use this week’s herbed cream cheese!)
1 tablespoons Grana-style cheese, grated
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Combine the cooked beans with the olive oil, mint, garlic, lemon juice and both cheeses in a food processor and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and process again until just combined.

2. Transfer dip to a small serving bowl and garnish with additional chopped mint. Serve at once.

Homemade Bloody Marys

The perfect straws for enjoying these homemade Bloody Marys? Lovage stems, of course!

Ingredients:
4 cups tomato juice
1 cup vodka
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
⅓ cup distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced
¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
Lemon or lime wedges
Garnishes (choose any): Lovage stems (for straws), plus celery stalks, cherry tomatoes, dill pickle spears, pickled okra, and/or green cocktail olives

Method:
1. In a blender, combine the tomato juice, vodka, cucumber, vinegar, celery seed, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Securely fasten the lid and blend on high speed until completely smooth.

2. Taste, and add more hot sauce for more heat (it will taste quite intense now, since the mix hasn’t cooled over ice yet). Add the black pepper and garlic. Securely fasten the lid and blend for just a few seconds (or longer, for a completely smooth texture). Taste, and stir in ¼ teaspoon salt for more overall flavor if you’d like. Set aside.

3. Fill the glasses with ice, and pour the Bloody Mary mix on top. Stir with a spoon, and garnish each with a lemon or lime wedge, a lovage stem for a straw and any additional garnishes of your choice. Serve immediately.

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.

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