Sunday, May 24, 2009

Dill-icious iDeas

For some reason one of the flavors I have missed here in China is dill. I was never it's number one fan previous to moving here or anything, but we had a pretty friendly relationship and absence tends to make the heart, and apparently the palate, grow fonder. Sometimes as I would come out of a store or market I would get a whiff of what smelled very much to me like dill and my eyes would comb the street around me to see if there was someone selling food or vegetables or SOMEthing that would lead me to a place I could perhaps buy this now treasured herb. But did you know that the smell of metal grinding is very similar to dill? I didn't... but now I do.

The last few months I have been preparing a very sacred list on which I put every whim that passes through my head of something that I miss or wish I had... and intend to get when we go home to the States this summer. Probably 95 percent of those items will be crossed off the list when I realize how unnecessary they are to our actual daily life not to mention how much they now cost. As you may have guessed, dill made it on that list. So, try to imagine my delight as I stopped into a supermarket the other day that I rarely get to because of its distance from my house, and came across a deliiciously fresh package of my cherished herb! (I'm not trying to be unfaithful to my true favorite- cilantro- but with cilantro our paths cross daily so the intensity of my feelings when I see it are just not the same)

Nothing says summer to me like the smell of freshly cut grass on an early morning run, watching an evening Little League game with my husband and an ice cream cone, the smell of the grill, worn in flip flops and now, the taste of dill. So, in honor of my excitement about this oft neglected herb, here are a few recipes for some dill inspired dishes... granted it may not be the star player in any of them but it definitely adds some kick and flair and summer goodness! Feel free to add your own or post another dill-icious idea.

Cheddar Cheese and Dill Biscuits
"Fresh dill and chives make these rolls perfect for serving whenever you grill out, or even split and topped with homemade chicken salad"

3 c. all purpose flour
4-1/2 t. baking powder
1 T. sugar
1-1/2 t. dry mustard (I used whole grain)
1 t. salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
(I sub. shortening for this- whatever you have!)
1/4 c. shortening, chilled and cut into pieces
1 c. plus 2 T. milk
1/4 c. fresh chives, chopped
2-1/2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, grated and divided

Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, mustard, and salt. Cut in butter and shortening until crumbly. Blend together milk, chives and dill, stir into dry ingredients and add in 2 cups cheese. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough lightly. Roll out 1/2 in. think and cut using a floured biscuit cutter. Sprinkle biscuit tops with remaining cheese, place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. makes approx. 18 biscuits.

Stuffed Mushrooms

24 large mushrooms
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup butter or marg
2/3 c. fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 c. shredded cheddar or smoked Gouda cheese
1 T. freshly chopped dill

1. Rinse and drain mushrooms. Remove stems; reserve caps. Chop enough stems to make 1 cup.

2. In a medium saucepan cook the chopped stems, green onions, and garlic in butter until tender. Stir in bread crumbs and cheese. Spoon crumb mixture into mushroom caps. Arrange stuffed mushroom in a 15x10x1 inch baking pan. Bake in a 425 oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until heated through.

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