August 2016 – Chicago Botanic Garden, Garden Chef Series, Butterflies & Blooms

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Flowers, Food and Fun

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Chicago Botanic Garden

Garden Chef Series

Chef David DiGregorio

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Recipe: For Appetizer or Favorite Add-On

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Peperonata Crostini with Whipped Ricotta Cheese

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Chef David DiGregorio of Osteria Via Stato Restaurant, Chicago, Illinois as part of the Garden Chef Series on August 7th, 2016 demonstrates his Peperonata Recipe for the attendees.

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Chef David DiGregorio Recipe – Peperonata with Crostini and Whipped Ricotta Cheese as served at Chicago Botanic Garden on August 7th, 2016

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Gloria Goodtaste Version of Peperonata on a Crostini with Whipped Ricotta Cheese

About the Recipe:  Roasting the red peppers created a rich caramelized flavor and vibrant color.  The summer sweet peppers balanced the red wine vinegar, blending the capers, fennel, and shallots.  It makes an easy appetizer since it can be prepared ahead of time.  I also love the idea that you can use it to top any meat or fish course, and it’s perfect for pasta.

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Chicago Botanic Garden – Glencoe, Illinois

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Chicago Botanic Garden – Glencoe, Illinois

Visiting Chicago Botanic Garden
There are times in our lives that we long to just stroll in a peaceful place, drink-in the beauty and tranquility of nature, and feel free to explore the wonders of the prairies and scents of blooming flowers.  And the best part is that all of this is Free, just waiting for you at Chicago Botanic Garden.

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Butterflies and Blooms
at Chicago Botanic Garden

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Butterflies and Blooms

We walked into an enclosed netted structure called Butterflies and Blooms, one of our favorite places, where hundreds of butterflies flew around us, landing on our heads and hands. It was filled with species native to South America, Asia, North America, and Africa.

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Recipe for a Special Breakfast

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Puffy Lemon-Blueberry Pancakes
with Macerated Vanilla Peaches

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Puffy Lemon-Blueberry Pancakes with Macerated Vanilla Peaches

About the Recipe:  This puffy pancake, light and airy, is loaded with the season’s freshest blueberries and juicy sweet peaches.  The light almond lemon flavored breakfast cakes “drink up” the warm drizzled maple syrup adorn with those macerated peach slices.  Add a dollop of whipped cream or yogurt for a delightful breakfast surprise.

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Recipes: Light Salads and Vegetables

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Nopal Cactus Corn Relish Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

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Nopal Cactus Corn Relish Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

About the Recipe:  A light lemon orange taste of summer swirls through the crisp greens of this delightful salad.  It is so attractive accompanied with the tender corn relish, juicy tomatoes, topical mango, crunchy cucumbers, and bright pink prickle pear slices.   It uses local grown veggies and adds a touch of Mexico and Latin America.

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Green Bean Salad with Cilantro
and
Soy-Glazed Almonds

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Green Bean Salad with Cilantro and Soy-Glazed Almonds

About the Recipe:  This is an easy-to-make salad to take to the beach or serve on the picnic table.  Serve it warm or chilled.

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Lump Crab Citrus Salad with Avocado

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Lump Crab Citrus Salad with Avocado

About the Recipe:  Delightfully light, the crab is marinated in the fresh citrus dressing surrounded by a colorful array of minced fennel, celery, shallots, peppers, chives, and parsley.  Gently warmed, they are served on a bed of mache or lambs’ lettuce and topped with chopped ripe avocados.

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Tiny Toy Box Cherry Tomato Salad

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Tiny Toy Box Cherry Tomato Salad

About the Recipe:  Fresh yellow and red cherry tomatoes marinate in sweet balsamic vinegar and oregano dressing, adding a sparkle to your summer supper.  Diced green chilies or hot peppers join the party adding a warm spicy tingle.

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Cucamelon Radish Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

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Cucamelon Radish Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

About The Recipe: Some people called them mouse melons, Mexican sour gherkins, Mexican miniature watermelons, Mexican sour cucumbers, and pepquinos.  The plant is native to Mexico and Central America.  It is sometimes called a savory fruit, resembling a tiny watermelon. They are about the size of grapes and taste a little like a cucumber, lime or fava bean.

They are used in stir-fries, salads, can be pickled, or just enjoyed as a raw snack. Some people like to add them to salsas or use them like olives for drinks.  I loved combining them with radishes for a bright mini salad.  If you see them in your market, do give them a try.  They are strangely addictive.

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Recipes: For Casual and Fancy Dinner

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Summer Harvest Vegetarian Chili

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Summer Harvest Vegetarian Chili – Chicago Botanic Garden Cafe

About the Recipe:  Nothing tastes as good as a hot bowl of chili after a long afternoon of raking leaves, or a brisk stroll in the Garden.

Perennially on the menu at the Chicago Botanic Garden Cafe, the vegetarian chili is surprisingly easy to make at home. Traditional ingredients form the base for this recipe—modify it with cilantro, squash, or other vegetables and spices to make it your own.

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Norwegian Salmon with Fennel Confit, Pommes Frites, Sweet Shallot Port Beurre Rouge, and Lobster Mushrooms

 

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Norwegian Salmon with Fennel Confit, Pommes Frites, Sweet Shallot Port Beurre Rouge, and Lobster Mushrooms

About the Recipe:  Pan grilled salmon is elegantly served with a drizzle of beurre rouge with shallots and a sprinkle of sautéed lobster mushrooms.  Add a fragrant fennel confit and some crisp potato pommes frites as sides.  Pour that chilled wine, and you are so ready for one special dinner celebration.

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Recipes: For Your Sweet Side

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Chilled Naturally Sweet Summer Fruit Soup

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Chilled Naturally Sweet Summer Fruit Soup

About the Recipe: This luscious summer fruit soup swirls together naturally sweet strawberries, mango, pineapple, and blueberries flavored with orange, lemon, lime and pureed fruit juices.  Serve it chilled for a cool treat for those humid summer days as a first course or dessert. It is a wonderful way to captures the flavor of the summer season.

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Vanilla Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Southwestern Strawberry Mash or Rhubarb Compote

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Vanilla Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Southwestern Strawberry Mash or Rhubarb Compote

About the Recipe:  This dessert features a delicious vanilla flavored Panna Cotta served with fresh strawberries, that I flavored with the sweet juice of a prickle pear, or a compote of lightly tart rhubarb.  You can top it with either fruit or mix up your own combination of delightful flavors.

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Mocha Double Fudge Brownies

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Mocha Double Fudge Brownies

About the Recipe:  Delightfully delicious brownies are filled with a soft mocha center and topped with crunchy chopped pecans.  These are special treats that are a “match made in heaven” with a cup of hot coffee.  Just close your eyes and enjoy that beautiful scent of real chocolate.

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