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.

Tempered-Butter Radishes

These dipped radishes make for a wonderful starter or snack!

Ingredients:
Mixed spring 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.

Crispy Parsnip Chips

These lightly-salted baked chips are a wonderful afternoon snack.

Ingredients:
½ pound parsnips, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 300°.

2. Using a vegetable peeler, peel parsnips into long, very thin strips. Place strips in a bowl and toss with olive oil and salt. Lay parsnip strips on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until parsnip strips are crispy and golden brown. Allow strips to cool on baking sheets before removing.

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Roasted Beet & Carrot Dip

This beautiful spread is delicious slathered on multigrain bread.

Ingredients:
3 medium-sized 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.

this week's recipes
the italian classic

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