Recipe from our own service manager, Brett Bankson
8 cups densely packed german chamomile** (or 32 bags [or 4/3 cup looseleaf] chamomile tea)
12 cups water
6 cups rice vinegar
3 cups granulated sugar
3 tbsps kosher salt
16 footlong tender-skinned cucumbers
Large bottle of sparkling water
First, make the salted german chamomile shrub
Add your chamomile in a pot, cover with water *just* to submerge and barely float the chamomile, add in half the water volume of rice vinegar (I prefer rice vinegar for shrubs and pickles in general, but any vinegar you have on hand that plays well with other flavors, such as champagne or sherry, would work perfectly for this application. Remember – you’re going to be drinking this!). Add sugar and salt.
Bring ingredients to a gentle boil, then reduce and simmer with lid partly ajar for 25 minutes. Your shrub will have reduced somewhat, taken on a golden-verging-on-chartreuse color, and become glossy.
Strain chamomile solids and let shrub chill. Flavor and overall experience will amplify as chilling occurs, so please let your shrub sit in the fridge for at least overnight!
Then, juice your cucumbers
This part is pretty simple; wash, peel, and puree / juice cucumbers. Go ahead and juice 16 large cucumbers – you’ll have 2 quarts of juice and no regrets. Cucumber juice is a joy and will make everyone around you really happy. Strain if needed to yield the most demure, jade-colored juice.
Chill until ready to serve.
To make your spritz…
Mix 1 part very chilled shrub, 2 parts very chilled cucumber juice, and a cute, heavy floater of sparkling water together.
If you really like the flavor of your shrub and your juice, go ahead and opt for unflavored! Polar Seltzer, Topo Chico, anything with vigorous bubbles and a violent, mineral-present mouthfeel would be appropriate for this beverage. If you’d like to add a little something extra, then pick a nicely flavored sparkling water – ginger, lemon, peach, pamplemousse, lime. Play with it, see what works best for you!
Tips on foraging chamomile
**If foraging, look for German chamomile vs. its (less common) cousin, Roman chamomile. German chamomile is an annual that grows up to 24” as a spindly, sparse, effloresced shrub, whereas Roman chamomile creeps perennially along the ground with bushy, thick, dill-like fronds. If foraging your own German chamomile is not possible – totally understand – then store-bought loose-leaf chamomile tea is perfectly suitable for the shrub!
When I use foraged chamomile, I just cut a big basketful, then trim off peripheral root endings and any dead fronds, soak the big mess in water for 10 minutes to let sediment descend, then cut everything into about 6” segments, to fit comfortably in a big pot. — Brett
Freshly picked bundles of mixed kale (dino & curly) & Swiss chard
4-8 mixed beets (depending on size)
A handful of crushed Macadamia nuts
8 oz. fresh local chèvre (I always use Truffle Chèvre from Door County Creamery)
Ingredients for Aronia Berry Umeboshi Vinaigrette
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
⅓ cup sesame oil
⅓ cup maple syrup
⅓ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
⅓ cup aronia & blueberry fruit extract
¼ cup umeboshi plum vinegar (usually found in natural food stores by Asian ingredients)
1. Place beets in a pan with water and bring to a hard boil, cover, and put on a simmer. After a good 15-20 minutes check by taking a beet out. When you can pour cold water over it & skin slides off with your hands it’s perfectly poached. Remove skin from all the beets, allow them to cool, and thinly slice them to your desired shape right before plating.
2. Place frozen berries in a saucepan on low heat, as the berries start to crackle in the pan and heat up and begin to muddle them in the pan to extract their juices. If the pan feels dry add a spritz of water to aid in extraction. Once all liquid is extracted, strain out the skin by pouring through a fine sieve. This will be added to the dressing when cooled. NOTE: You can do this step alongside the beets because it also requires cooling. Also the quantity of berries should be minimum 1c each but feel free to make more to add to any other sauce or dressing.
3. Make the dressing: Get a sterilized, pint-size Mason Jar, add all the ingredients into the jar, vigorously shake the vinaigrette until everything is combined, and place in the fridge with lid until ready to toss.
4. Pick your greens and prep your kale by pulling greens off center to just get leafy tender parts, and slice fine into bite size pieces.
5. Dice rainbow chard into ½ inch pieces.
6. Place greens in a mixing bowl and toss with dressing allowing a bit of time for greens to wilt and marinade.
7. Transfer greens to family-style serving bowl.
8. Place beets around the bowl in any pattern you like!
9. With a spoon and knife, arrange eight spoon fulls of chèvre around the bowl.
10. Dust the salad with your Macadamia nuts.
11. Add any edible flowers or other goodies you might have on hand to add colors and textures.
As served at the table by Ohana Hospitality at our August 21st, 2022 event at Hidden Acres in Door County, WI.
A Note from Chef Gigi:
I learned how to make this salad dressing about two decades ago from Chef Consuelo on Maui. It was very exciting to learn about Umeboshi Plum, as it is a star in Japanese cuisine and lifestyle. Its salt content is gorgeous in this salad. As a result, no salt or spices are needed—it is the salt, and lends that wonderfully umami experience with its own simplicity. Consuelo would have the plums on hand and force one under both of our tongues to suck on until it dissolved. We would do this to help us in times when we felt fatigue or indigestion in our lives as hardworking mamas and chefs. It is a crazy thing to try—I highly recommend it! The difference in my version of this dressing is in adding Aronia berries, which is a superfood that grows here in Wisconsin. The combination creates, not only something extra pretty to look at, but the health benefits are incredible.
Thank you for allowing me to share, and aloha!
P.S. I invite you to be playful when making this salad! Remember, that you can always add more or less of anything. Please explore your way and remain open to tweaking this and other recipes to make them your own.
12 baby green courgettes
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
3 tbsp olive oil
flaky sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
a pinch of freshly ground black pepper
a pinch of chilli flakes or cayenne pepper
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp flaky sea salt
150g / 5 ¼oz black seedless grapes, halved
40g / 1 ½oz pine nuts, lightly roasted
1 small bunch of mint, leaves picked
100g / 3 ½ oz goats’ yogurt
Halve the courgettes lengthways and use a small knife to score the flesh with a criss-cross pattern (make sure not to go through to the skin). Set on a tray. Mix the crushed garlic with the olive oil and brush some of this mixture generously over the cut surfaces, then season with salt and black pepper. Place the courgettes cut-side down directly on the grill rack to colour for 3–4 minutes, then flip them over so that they are cut-side up. Mix all the spices into the remaining garlic oil to form a thick paste and brush it over the cut surfaces of each courgette, making sure it gets into the scored grooves. Leave to cook for another 3–4 minutes, then remove from the grill onto a serving plate.
Spoon over any remaining garlic-oil-paste and drizzle with the lemon juice. Top with the grapes, pine nuts, mint leaves and small dollops of the yogurt, and serve.
To cook without a BBQ
Use a lightly oiled, preheated griddle pan on your stove top and cook just as you would on the fire.
As served at the table on our July 16th, 2022 event at Sitopia Farm in London, UK.