Recipe – Dandelion Wine


Dandelions are the bane of many a homeowner’s existence, but they can be transformed into the most delicious sunshine-filled liqueur (colloquially called wine) by making a dandelion tea (non-alcoholic) and then letting it ferment with sugar and citrus. You will find yourself creeping into neighbors’ yards to pick more blossoms, it’s just that good. Makes about 1 gallon.

4 cups dandelion flowers

6 cups boiling water

2 1/2 cups sugar

1 Meyer lemon, thinly sliced

1 orange, thinly sliced

1. Place dandelion flowers in a large heatproof container. Pour boiling water over top. Cover and let steep for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

When making dandelion wine, cleanliness is key. Make sure your kitchen counters, hands, and all utensils are sterile.

2. Pour the resulting tea through a fine-mesh strainer into a large pot or saucepan, pressing the petals to extract as much flavor as possible. Discard the blossoms and bring tea to a boil.

3. Place sugar in a heatproof 1-gallon jar. Pour boiling dandelion tea into jar and stir to dissolve. Add lemon and orange slices. Cover jar and let liquid stand for 2 weeks at room temperature, shaking every couple days.

4. Pour dandelion wine through a fine-mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter into a clean container. Serve or cover and store refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.

Fermenting Flower Wines

Some of the flowers that make lovely flower wines include pink (dianthus), lilac, lavender, daylily, elderflower, violet, tulip, herb flowers, roses, and pansies. Swap in equal amounts of whatever flowers you like, except for lavender; because it has a particularly strong flavor, lavender should always be used in slightly smaller amounts.

Find the book at Johnson’s for more recipes

Bacher, Miche.(2013). Cooking with Flowers. Philadelpha, PA: Quirk Books.

Photo by Miana Jun

Recipe – Dandelion Wine

Recipe – Frozen Strawberry-Basil Daiquiris

Serves 8; Total volume: about 12 cups

4 cups strawberries, hulled

12 oz. (1 ½ cups) white rum

6 oz. (3/4 cup) freshly squeezed lime juice

6 oz. (3.4 cup) Simple Syrup (recipe below)

4 oz. (1/2 cup) orange liqueur

¾ cup fresh basil leaves, lightly packed, plus 8 sprigs fresh basil, for garnish (optional)

4 cups ice cubes

* for a non-alcoholic version of this recipe, exclude the white rum and orange liqueur

There’s nothing like a round of strawberry daiquiris for a beach party, and a blender makes this a snap to prepare for groups. Chilled glasses are highly recommended for this cocktail, so you’ll need to plan ahead and put them in the freezer for at least thirty minutes before serving.

Cut four of the strawberries in half for the garnish and set aside. Coarsely chop the remaining strawberries.

In a pitcher that holds at least 4 ½ cups, combine the rum, lime juice, simple syrup, and orange liqueur and stir until thoroughly blended. Working in batches if need be, combine the run mixture, chopped strawberries, basil leaves, and ice in a blender and process until smooth.

To serve, pour into chilled Margarita glasses and garnish each drink with a sprig of basil, if desired, and a strawberry half.

Simple Syrup

This basic simple syrup recipe can be used in a broad range of cocktails, and it can easily be customized by adding flavorings like spices, herbs, or tea.

1 cup sugar

8 oz. (1 cup) water

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved. When the syrup starts to boil, lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Stored in a cover container in the refrigerator, the syrup will keep for about 1 month.

Find the book at Johnson’s

Newman, Kara. (2013). Cocktails for a Crowd. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books LLC.

Recipe – Frozen Strawberry-Basil Daiquiris

Recipe – Tomatillo Guacamole


Makes about 3 cups

Tomatillos, also called Mexican green tomatoes, belong to the night-shade family. They resemble small green tomatoes except that the tomatillos have a papery husk. Look for firm fruit with dry, intact husk.

4 tomatillos, papery husks removed, halved lengthwise

2 large plum tomatoes, cored, halved lengthwise, and seeded

2 tsp canola oil

2 large hass avocados, halved, pitted, and peeled

1/2 cup (30 g) chopped cilantro/fresh coriander leaves

1/4 cup (35 g) diced red onion

3 serrano chiles, seeds and ribs removed, minced

2 tbsp fresh lime juice

1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt

1. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill/barbecue, preheat a gas grill/barbecue on medium-high, or place a stovetop ridged grill pan over medium-high heat.

2. Brush the tomatillos and tomatoes with the oil. Place the tomatillos and tomatoes, cut-side down, directly over the fire. Cover the grill and cook, turning once, until dark brown grill marks appear and they are tender, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 1/2 in dice. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, mash the avocados until chunky. Add the grilled tomatillos and tomatoes. Fold in the cilantro/fresh coriander, onion, serrano chiles, lime juice, and salt. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately.

Dip do-ahead: This dip is best when made within 8 hours of serving, but it can be prepared up to 1 day in advance. Place a piece of plastic wrap/.cling film directly on the surface of the guacamole. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving, but keep covered until ready to serve.

Recipe – Tomatillo Guacamole

Recipe – Eureka Tiki Punch


Serves 40; Total volume: about 8 ½ quarts (without ice)

20 ounces (2 ½ cups) honey

20 oz. (2 ½ cups) water

60 oz. (7 ½ cups) light-bodied aged amber rum (such as Appleton Estate Reserve)

60 oz. (7 ½ cups) freshly squeezed lemon juice

20 oz. (2 ½ cups) Yellow Chartreuse

8 oz. (1 cup) ice water

1 tbsp. plus ¾ tsp. Angostura bitters

80 oz. (10 cups) ginger ale (such as Fever-Tree)

1 large ice block or several smaller blocks

Lemon wheels, for garnish

Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

Edible flowers, for garnish

The recipe for this tiki party crowd-pleaser (and I do mean a crowd!) is courtesy of Martin Cate, owner of Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco. This can be served in several bowls placed throughout a party area or one enormous vessel.

In a small saucepan, combine the honey and water and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thoroughly blended. Let cool to room temperature.

In a container that holds at least 9 quarts, combine the honey mixture, rum, lemon juice, Chartreuse, water, and bitters and stir until thoroughly blended. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.

To serve, pour the mixture into one or more punch bowls. Pour in the ginger ale and stir gently. Add the ice and garnish with lemon wheels, mint sprigs, and edible flowers. Ladle into tiki mugs.

Want to set this baby on fire? Here’s Martin Cate’s recommended technique: You’ll need a 1-inch square of white bread, left out to dry overnight. Soak the bread in lemon extract, then place it in a hollowed-out lime hull. Float the lime hull in the punch and use a long match or lighter to set it on fire. This will create a dramatic tall yellow flame. Just be sure to have a pitcher of water and tongs on hand! If the bread starts to blacken and smell like toast, grab it with the tongs and dunk it in the water to extinguish the flame.

Find the book at Johnson’s

Newman, Kara. (2013). Cocktails for a Crowd. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books LLC.

Photo: Teri Lyn Fisher

Recipe – Eureka Tiki Punch

Recipe – Tipsy Palmer

TipsyPalmerServes 16 to 18; Total volume: about 3 ½ quarts

52 oz. (6 ½ cups) hot water

10 orange pekoe tea bags (such as Lipton)

One 1-liter bottle (4 ¼ cups) sweet tea vodka (such as Firefly)

16 oz. (2 cups) freshly squeezed lemon juice

8 ounces (1 cup) Mint simple Syrup (recipe follows)

7 to 8 cups ice cubes

16 to 18 fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

16 to 18 lemon wheels, for garnish

A riff on the classic Arnold Palmer, this recipe is courtesy of Stephen Savage, general manager and beverage director at New York City’s Tipsy Parson restaurant. Savage serves this in a glass Mason jar – the type used for home canning. To serve it to a crowd, look for a large glass jar with a spigot toward the bottom. For a while, Ball (a canning jar manufacturer) made one-gallon jars like this. If you can find a couple of those, they would be ideal.

In a small bowl, pour the hot water over the tea bags and let steep for about 15 minutes. Remove the tea bags, pressing gently to extract the liquid before discarding. Let cool to room temperature.

Pour the steeped tea into a container that holds at least 6 quarts. Add the vodka, lemon juice, and mint syrup and stir until thoroughly blended. Add the ice and stir well to chill.

To serve, pour into pint canning jars or similar-size glasses and garnish each drink with a sprig of mint and a lemon wheel.

Mint Simple Syrup

1 cup sugar

8 oz. (1 cup) water

1 bunch of fresh mint, separated into sprigs

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved. When the syrup starts to boil, lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Gently roll the mint between your hands to release the aromatic oils, then add it to the syrup. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then remove the mint sprigs and strain the syrup if need be. Stored in a covered container in the refrigerator, the syrup will keep up for about 2 weeks.

Find the book at Johnson’s

Newman, Kara. (2013). Cocktails for a Crowd. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books LLC.

Recipe – Tipsy Palmer

Recipe – Lavender-Blueberry

Chronicle: Ice Box Cakes

Yield: 12 to 15 servings

The subtle floral flavor of lavender melds brilliantly with the fruity richness of blueberry whipped cream. (You’ll have extra wafers left over after assembling your cake – lucky you! Store them in a resealable plastic bag in the freezer and enjoy them for up to 1 month.)

One 9-by-5-by-3 in loaf pan

One 10 in oval or rectangular serving platter

Fresh blueberries for decorating

Lavender Wafers

Makes about sixty 2 1/4 in wafers

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tbsp (270 g) culinary lavender – can be purchased at health-food stores or from herbalists, or grown at home

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 (250 g) cups granulated sugar

3/4 cup (170 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

2 tbsp whole milk

1 tbsp light corn syrup

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, lavender, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the granulated sugar, butter, and vanilla on medium-low speed until slightly fluffy, about 2 minutes. Be careful not to overbeat. Scrape the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

In a small bowl, whisk the milk and corn syrup to combine. Add the milk mixture to the butter-sugar mixture with the mixer on medium-low speed; beat until just combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl with the rubber spatula.

Add the flour mixture all at once to the mixer bowl. With the mixer on low speed, beat until the dough just begins to pull away from the bottom of the bowl and forms a cohesive mass. Scrape the sides of the bowl to fully incorporate all the ingredients.

Divide the dough in half and place each half on a sheet of plastic wrap. Loosely wrap the dough and form each half into a log about 2 in wide. Roll the logs along the counter, still wrapped in plastic wrap, in order to shape into perfect cylinders. Tighten the plastic wrap around the logs and freeze them for at least 2 hours, or overnight. If you have trouble forming the soft dough into logs, form the dough into a disk (or loose log shape), wrap it in plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for about 20 minutes, just until it is cold enough to shape into the necessary log, Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Once frozen, unwrap one of the logs and use a sharp paring or chef’s knife to cut it into thin slices about 1/8 in thick; rotate the log as you slice, or the side sitting on the cutting surface will flatten. Arrange the slices about 1 in apart on one of the prepared baking sheets and place in the freezer for at least 10 minutes. Repeat with the second dough log and prepared baking sheet. If you need more room to fit all your dough slices, simply arrange them on additional sheets of parchment paper, layer the dough-covered papers one on top of the other on the second baking sheet in the freezer, and switch them out as you bake off each batch. (You can also wrap the baking sheets in plastic wrap and freeze the rounds for up to 1 week).

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F.

Place one baking sheet of the frozen dough rounds in the oven and bake until they begin to brown just around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through the baking time. Using a stiff metal or plastic spatula, immediately press down lightly on each cookie to flatten it. Let the wafers cool on the baking sheet for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. The wafers should be very crispy when cooled. If they are not, place them back in the 350°F oven for 1 to 2 minutes more. Repeat to bake the additional sheets of frozen dough rounds.

Store the wafers in an airtight container as soon as they have cooled. They will remain crispy at room temperature, tightly sealed, for about 24 hours. Freezing the baked wafers in a resealable plastic bag also works well, for up to 1 month. There is no need to defrost the wafers before assembling your cake.

Blueberry Whipped Cream

Makes about 6 cups

3 cups (720 ml) heavy cream

1 cup blueberry compote (recipe follows), whisked

1/3 cup (45 g) confectioner’s sugar

Refrigerate the bowl of a stand mixer and the whisk attachment (or a medium metal bowl and beaters from a hand mixer) until quite cold, about 15 minutes.

Once chilled, remove the bowl and whisk from the refrigerator, add the cream, and whip it on medium speed until it is just thickened.

Add the blueberry compote  and confectioners’ sugar and, on medium-high speed, whip the cream until it holds stiff peaks that stand upright when the whisk is raised (the stiffer the cream, the more support it will provide the wafers in your cake). Use it immediately.

Blueberry Compote

In a small saucepan, combine 3 cups fresh blueberries, 1/3 cup (65 g) granulated sugar, 3 tbsp lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp salt over medium heat. Cook, uncovered and stirring frequently, until the mixture reduces to a generous 1 cup, 25 to 30 minutes. The mixture should be simmering but not vigorously boiling. Once reduced, the compote will be quite thick. Let cool to room temperature before using. The compote will keep tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Assembling the cake

Line the loaf pan with plastic wrap that hangs slightly over the pan sides. Using a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon, spread a generous layer of the whipped cream on the bottom of the lined pan.

Cover as much of the whipped cream as possible with a layer of the wafers, filling any gaps with broken wafers. The pieces should touch. The goal is a solid layer of wafers.

Continue layering whipped cream and wafers until you run out or reach the top of the pan, ending with whipped cream. Gently cover it with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Peel the plastic wrap from the cake, place the serving platter over the cake, and invert the cake onto the platter. Carefully remove the pan and plastic-wrap lining and sprinkle fresh blueberries on top of the cake. Using a knife, cut it into slices and serve.

Find the book at Johnson’s for more recipes

Sagendorph, Jean and Jessie Sheehan. (2015). Icebox Cakes. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.

Photo by Tara Donne

Recipe – Lavender-Blueberry

Recipe – Salsa Italiana


Makes about 3 cups

Let’s commingle cultural traditions by turning classic Mexican salsa ingredients – tomatoes, peppers, and onions – into an Italian affair with the addition of roasted garlic, fresh basil, and oregano. If you plan ahead and have a head of roasted garlic ready to use, this salsa is a cinch to make on the day of the party. Roasted garlic is a book to the calorie-conscious cook because it adds big flavor but few calories. As you’ll see, only a minuscule amount of olive oil is used in this recipe. I love to serve this salsa as a dip, but I also adore it as an accompaniment to grilled halibut skewers or pan-seared red snapper.

1 head garlic

2 cups (350 g) cherry tomatoes, stemmed and quartered

1 yellow bell pepper/capsicum, seeded, deribbed, and cut into 1/2 in dice (about 1 cup)

1/2 cup (70 g) diced red onion

1/4 cup (15 g) chopped fresh basil leaves

2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano leaves

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp kosher or sea salt

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Roast the head of garlic (see below). While the garlic is roasting, chop the vegetables and herbs.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and crushed red pepper until the salt is dissolved. Remove the warm cloves of garlic from their skins and add to the vinegar mixture. Using a fork, mash the roasted garlic until pureed smooth. Whisk in the olive oil.

3. Add the tomatoes, bell pepper/capsicum, and onion and gently mix to coat with the dressing. Fold in the basil and oregano. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover, and set aside for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld.

Dip do-ahead: This salsa can be prepared up to 8 hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate. Remove from the refrigerator 45 minutes before serving.

Roasting Garlic:

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Peel the loose, papery outer layers of skin off 2 heads of garlic and trim any roots from the bottom. Cut off enough of the top of the garlic head to expose the cloves. Place each head of garlic on a sheet of foil large enough to completely enclose it, with a little extra foil left over. Drizzle each head with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Wrap the foil tightly around the bulbs, twisting it closed at the top. Place on a small rimmed baking sheet/tray and roast until the garlic feels soft when pierced with a knife, about 45 minutes. Open the foil packages and bake until the garlic cloves begin to pop from their skins and brown, about 15 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let cool. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from the skins. Store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator, for up to 3 weeks.

Find more recipes in the book at Johnson’s

Morgan, Diane. (2010). Skinny Dips. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.

Photo by Sheri Giblin

Recipe – Salsa Italiana