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Carrot Soup Garnished with Hazelnuts

Carrot soup0o

   This is a recipe from lasts fall issue of Gatherings, Rustic Romance (the digatal version is free by the way). It is a simple soup recipe I wanted to share!

    Carrots are an ubiquitous vegetable and one that I always keep on hand. This soup is straight forward. Carrots are cooked in broth and pureed with a touch of cream. What gives the soup its depth of flavor is the hazelnuts and the parmesan rind. I got the idea from light summer minestrone I make, full of vegetables and herbs. I try to keep the leftover rinds from my wedges of parmesan cheese and throw them in soups. After the soup is cooked, I toss the rind away. It is like getting one last squeeze of flavor from the cheese. Simply garnish your soup with some toasted hazelnuts and hazelnut oil. You have a clean but richly flavored soup!

PS all photos are taken by Annetta Bosakova

Carrot soup 1o1

Carrot Soup Garnished with Hazelnuts
6 small servings

2 shallots, peeled and minced
2 TBL olive oil
5 cups carrots, trimmed, peeled and sliced into ¼ “slices
4 cups of chicken broth or water
Heal of parmesan cheese (the thick end of a wedge that is inedible)
¼ cup cream
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup toasted hazelnuts, with skins rolled off and very coarsely shopped
Toasted hazelnut oil or good flavored olive oil

In a soup pot over medium heat, sauté shallots in oil for five minutes or so, until they are soft but do not burnt. Add carrots, broth and cheese rind. Cover pan and simmer ½ hour, until carrots are soft but not mushy. Remove rind and throw away. Add cream and blend with a blender stick or regular blender until smooth. Taste and add salt/pepper to your liking. If the soup is too thick, blend in some water. When you are ready to serve garnish the bowls of soup with hazelnuts and a of drizzle hazelnut oil.

Since this is such a simple soup the better tasting the carrots are, the better tasting the soup will be.
Another garnish that would be good with this soup is chiffonade fresh basil.

Chocolate Lavender Butter Brownies, grain-free


    The summer issue of Gatherings is out (and I made the cover, woohoo ;-). Sadly this is our finally issue. I am sorry to see Gatherings end but I think we are ending on our best work yet and that is a beautiful way to end. I learned so much being a food editor. Working with Annetta Bosakova (all the photos are her work) and Heather Spriggs Thompson has been such a learning experience and I grew quite close to both of them. Heather has always trusted my "food vision" for the magazine and I cannot tell you how much that means to me. Annetta is always able to take what is in my minds eye and make it come to life. That is not an easy task but then she is very gifted.


  The summer issue has a recipe for making Herb Infused Butter (which is very different from herb butter. I keep jars of it in my fridge for cooking). There is also two recipes using the butter: Grilled Chicken with Bay Butter/Honey Glaze and Lavender Butter Chocolate Brownies. I am always looking for new way to use fresh herbs!

    These brownies can be made gluten free, whole wheat or regular but I wanted to post a grain-free version here on the blog, for anyone struggling with high blood sugar like me. This brownie is a twist of my daughter’s all-time favorite dessert, all chocolate brownies. There is no coco powder in this recipe; it is all chopped chocolate, butter and not a lot of flour,. They are rich, dense and a small bite goes a long way. The twist is I first infused the butter with lavender before making the brownies. It is a simple way to give them a little something! I bet they will become a family favorite for you too!


Chocolate Lavender Butter Brownies  

Makes 8x8 pan


1 cup bittersweet, 60-80 percent dark chocolate, chips or chopped

½ cup lavender infused butter, see notes below

1 ½ cup sugar

3 eggs

½ tsp. salt

1 cup almond flour

2 TBL coconut flour


If you do not have lavender butter on-hand, make butter first.

Pre-heat oven 350°F and grease an 8x8 baking pan.

In a sauce pan set on the lowest setting of your stove gently melt chocolate and butter until the chocolate is melts. Then whisk in sugar. Next whisk in eggs, one at a time. Stir in salt, almond and coconut flours. The batter is thick but pourable. Fill greased pan and bake 15-20 minutes. Just until the side puff up a bit and the center is not runny. I like my brownies very soft, so I bake 15 minutes. Let cool in pan.


Lavender Infused Butter

Makes ½ cup


1 stick (1/2 cup) butter. I use unsalted, grass-fed butter

5-7 fresh lavender heads (you can use the steams too. I use a bit of both)


Set butter and lavender in a small sauce pan, gentlying melting butter on the lowest setting of your stove. If butter starts to sizzle or brown, pull it off the heat. You are just trying to melt the butter without breaking the butter fat, so you do not want the butter to boil or fry. When butter is melted, pull pan off heat and let the butter and lavender sit for half an hour. If butter has hardened, re-melt, strain out the herbs and pour butter into a container. Butter will keep 2 weeks refrigerated.



Please use organic unsprayed lavender.

Mint or anise hyssop would be good herbs to use in this recipe. You can use dried lavender too, about a TBL but fresh is so much better.

Feel free to try these brownies without herb infused butter. This is just a pain old good brownie recipe and our family favorite for years.

A regular or gluten-free version of this recipe and the grilled chicken and herb infused butter is in the Summer 2014 Gatherings Magazine

Gatherings Spring Issue

Spring cover

    Well after a lot of hard work (and eating lots of versions of my recipes) I am happy to announce the spring issue of Gatherings is out and boy is it beautiful. I am so lucky to work with such amazing ladies, Heather, MaaikeAnnette BosakovaTrishaBrink, Cristina Colli, Ingrid Henningsson and Ginny Donovan. I really love my job!

Spring 101

    As usual Annetta took stunning photos for me. My inspiration was Annetta's photography. Also using colors to inspire you in your cooking. I choose three colors: acid green, lemon yellow and mauvy pink. There are recipes for quinoa/kiwi salad w/ a chive oil/lime vinaigrette. My favorite dish is a ham and brie sandwich with slices of whole lemon; rich, sweet and bitter all at the same time. And to round out the meal a pink pomegranate ice cream, made with fresh pomegranate juice and rose syrup.


    You can see a sample of the magazine here. Also I have good news, a coupon! Just enter the code BLOGFRIEND and recive a 10% discount on all orders in our shop. I know each of us worked really hard on this issue to inpsire you and I hope you enjoy Gatherings xox

Lemon brie101

Simple Cream Tomato Soup

  Tomatoe soup2

    Okay do not laugh at me, I am 51 years old, I have been cooking since I was 10 and I have never made cream of tomato soup. I guess I thought it would be like the canned stuff, which I am not found of but I decided to give it a try. I am so glad did because it has become a family favorite. I looked around and tried a few recipes but decided to simplify the recipe as much as possible. There is no roux, not straining out seeds and no chicken broth in this recipe. It really is about two things: tomatoes and cream. A perfect marriage!

    My favorite canned tomato is San Marzano tomatoes from Italy. The flavor is rich, deep and there is no tinny, overly acidic taste. Using heavy cream instead of whipping cream or half and half is important too. Heavy cream contains 36 to 40 % more milk fat and will give you a much richer tasting soup. I do not add fresh herbs until the end, to keep the flavors bright. This soup only takes half an hour to make and is very satisfying on a cold winter day.



Simple Cream Tomato soup

Serves 4-6 people (maybe 8 if serving really small bowls)


2, 28oz canned tomatoes (can be whole or chopped, does not matter)

1 whole onion, cut into small cubes

3 TBL butter

½ cup water

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 cup heavy cream

1 TBL honey

1 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

Fresh thyme or basil (or both)


In a large soup pot add tomatoes, onions, butter, water, garlic, salt and pepper. Simmer on medium/low heat for 20 minutes. Then with a blender stick (or in a blender) puree tomatoes until smooth. Put tomatoes back in soup pot. Add cream, honey and herbs. Simmer for 5 minutes or so. Tastes and adjust. See notes about the honey.

Enjoy, we like this with grilled smoked mozzarella sandwiches and a big simple salad.



1. As stated above use the best tasting canned tomatoes. If using San Marzano tomatoes read the can and make sure they are actually from Italy. I get mine at Trader Joes.

2. When soup is finished if it tastes to acidic try adding a bit more honey.

3. This is a thick soup, you can thin it out with water or more cream if you prefer. It is rich but I would rather have a small bowl of rich soup with a big salad, than the other way around.

4. Leftovers can be used as a sauce on pasta or veggies. It can also be frozen.

Gatherings Winter Issue, Celebrating Scandinavia


    I am so, so excited the Gatherings Winter Issue, Celebrating Scandinavia is out. I am over the moon about this issue. My submission is about New Nordic cuisine, a hot new food trend.


    I created a lunch perfect for a cold winter's day based on the tenets of New Nordic cuisine: Potato Apple Soup with Rye Crumbs and Lox, a Quick Pickled Beets and Fennel salad and Smoked Salt Gingerbread Cookies with Strawberry Jam, gluten free and vegan.


    I have to tell you this is only my second photo shoot ever but my first in someone else home and someone I had never met before! It is very strange to go through a persons cabinets you do not know.  But I knew I was in for a life changing moment when I drove up to this small French estate on the water. The girls and I just ohhhed and awwwed. It was a fun shoot. Annetta and I work well together and she took breath taking photos. Over all it is an experience I will never forget. I have to give a big shout out to Auberne` and Chloe, they worked hard and were perfect assistants. Thank you girls. Now I am looking forward to the spring issue, I already know what I want to do! You can purchase a copy here!

Me whitefix

Molasses Pecan Pie w/ Pumpkin

Pecan pumpie

    Pecan pie is a family favorite but I wanted to take it in a different direction. With Thanksgiving coming up I thought something with a pumpkin and gingerbread flavors would be interesting. So this is my take on pecan pie, slightly pumpkin, very molasses tasting, almost gingerbread like in flavor. Please know this is not a pumpkin pie with molasses and pecans, it is pecan pie, soft and slightly runny with pumpkin and molasses. Two very different pies!  I think this pie will become a family must every Thanksgiving in our house!

Molasses Pecan Pie w/ Pumpkin

3/4 cup pumpkin, cooked and pureed
1/3 cup molasses, I use black strap molasses but you can use a milder flavored one.
3 TBL butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla paste or 2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 TBL dark rum or apple cider
1 tsp salt
1tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1 1/2-2 cups pecan halves, lightly toasted
one uncooked pie crust, you can use a gluten free crust of you like

Pre-heat oven 350◦F
In a large bowl add all ingredients except the pecans and crust. Whisk all together and pour into uncooked crust. Then set toasted pecans on top in a pretty pattern, or just tossed them in ;-)
Bake 35-45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Pull out pie and let cool at least thirty minutes. The pie is delicious served with a dollop of homemade whipped cream!


1. This pie is not very sweet and has a strong molasses flavor. If that does not appeal to you, you can use 1/4 cup molasses and 1/4 cup maple. The small increase in liquid will not affect the filling.

2. Using fresh cooked pumpkin taste so much better than canned pumpkin. It is easy to cook and puree a pumpkin. I keep small amounts of cooked pumpkin in my freezer, ready to use. You can read about how to cook you pumpkin here.

3. Please toast your pecans before making your pie. It makes all the difference in the world, as I learned with my first pie, when I did not toast the pecans, thinking they would just toast as the pie baked. They did NOT!

4. Feel free to play with spices you love but I will tell you I found too many spices over shadowed the pie. Also fresh, ground nutmeg adds so much flavor than the dried stuff.


Foraged Feast, Gatherings Fall issue


    I am pleased to announce the fall issue of Gatherings Magazine Rustic Romance is out!! Plus you can now purchase hard copies of the issue, both on-line and in stores. Here is a preview of the Gathering to give you a taste of what we have been up to. We are slowly getting Gatherings out there. I know both Bittersweet and the Little Soap Company Liberty, MO and Ole and Inga in Poulsbo, WA will be caring Gatherings in their shops. If you are interested in a copy, I would give them a call. I will be keeping you up to dated as more shops start carrying Gatherings. If your shop is interested in carrying it, contact Heather.

Fall me

    This issue is very special to me because it is the first time I got to work with a professional photographer. I have to say I loved it. Working with Annetta is fun, interesting and makes me up my game. ( by the way I am soooo excited about the winter shoot we will be doing at the end of the month). My contribution this issue is a Foraged Feast, a menu based on forged foods. You can find the recipes here!

 Carrot Soup Garnished with Hazelnuts

Pasta with Sherry Roasted Mushrooms and Cocoa Dusted Bacon

Chocolate Raspberry Cake with Rosehip Glaze


Just a reminder, you can preview the magazine here. Image by Annetta Bosakovafrom the 2013 fall issue of Gatherings Magazine, A Forgers Dinner written by me!!

Gathering Together and You Can Be A Part Of It!!


    Good day friends, I hope you are doing well. I just popped in to say hi. The kitchen remodeling is sadly held up for a few days and I am ready to pull out all my hair! BUT I have exciting news to share. Gathering magazine has been asked by many a readers to move on to yet another venue, Gatherings in print and you dear readers can help support us so we can make Gathering a beautiful magazine that one can hold and treasure in their own home. Please check out Heather's video on how you can be apart of our Gathering family. There is only 27 days to go, so please check out Heather's video now and help us bring Gathering into print xox

PS. The beautiful music in the background is Heather's hubby.