Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook 

Every year during Homestead Gardens Spring Open House, Green Drinks/Annapolis Green hosts a vibrant "Eco Happy Hour" with food created by Herrington On The Bay-Rose Haven, MD. Each year Herrington seems to raise the bar for complimentary foods made with style. This year I just had to feature them along with some of the recipes from their executive chef, Michael Archibald. Chef Mike feels very committed to his culinary team; leading them to become the best Eco-Lifestyle Event Design and Catering Service on the East Coast. He enjoys using the freshest ingredients to create food that is as beautiful on the plate as it is in the field. IMG_8339

You could tell the Herrington team was delighted to be in the spring vista of Homestead Gardens as they made the most of the fresh blooms available while featuring different plants within the food display.

Many years ago Herrington On the Bay made the commitment to source whatever fresh and local foods are available in the immediate vicinity.  The entire 1000-slip marina resort is managed in an eco-sensitive manner requiring a true commitment to the ecology of the Chesapeake Bay and it’s surrounds.

 Korean Chile Pork Lettuce Wraps

Cucumber Cups with Vegetable Crudite in Creamy Chipotle Dressing  

Margherita Salted Cupcakes


Korean Chile Pork Lettuce Wraps

Serves 12

Korean food is a hit right about now so I asked Chef Mike where to find the Korean red chile paste he uses in this recipe. He suggested going to H Mart (Ellicott City, MD) or an Asian Market. Whole Foods also has an extensive Asian section.

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless pork butt, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup Korean red pepper paste
  • 4 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
  • 1/2 cup Spanish onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 head Boston bibb lettuce
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced water chestnuts
  • 12 thin slices orange bell pepper
  • 12 thin slices yellow bell pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 cup Hoisin sauce, for dipping

 Place pork and next 8 ingredients (up to the Spanish onion) in a nonreactive bowl and  marinate, refrigerated, overnight.

 In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, place a few pieces of pork at a time (do not crowd) and stirfry until browned. Reserve on a platter until all are cooked.

 Place each lettuce leaf on a flat work surface. Place a slice of pork, yellow and orange pepper, water chestnuts and green onion on each. Place on serving platter with hoisin sauce on the side for dipping. 


 Cucumber Cups with Vegetable Crudite in Creamy Chipotle Dressing

 This colorful nibble is sel-explanatory...not needing a recipe. From the photo you can see how the cucumber has been cut to act as a basket to hold the dressing as well as the vegetable spears. 

 The dressing is a combination of Ranch dressing, hummus and a bit of chipotle for the smoky heat.


Margherita Salted Cupcakes

Makes 12 regular sized cupcakes

These assertive little darlings give a burst of that citrusy lime as well as as a crunch of salt for the finale.


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes
  • 3 tablespoons tequila
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk


  • 2 sticks (1 cup butter)
  • 2 3/4 cups confectioners sugar
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons tequila

Lime Salt

  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Very thin lime slices for garnish

 Preheat the oven to 300F. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake papers.

 In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of a mixer, whip the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time and whip to combine. Add the lime zest and juice from the 2 limes, tequila, vanilla and mix. Turn the beater to low, slowly add the flour mixture and then the buttermilk. Mix until just incorporated.

 Divide equally among the cupcake papers. Bake for 23 minutes. Remove from oven to a cooling rack.

 Make the Buttercream

Whip the 1 cup of butter until light and fluffy. Slowly add the confectioners sugar. Add the zest, lime juice, salt and tequila and whip until fluffy.

 Make the Lime Salt

Combine the salt and lime zest in a small bowl. Rub together to release the citrus oils.

 To Assemble

Pipe the buttercream on top of each cupcake, sprinkle with a mere pinch of lime salt, then top with a slice of fresh lime.

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