Five Ways to Celebrate Spring

It’s been a very long winter, I’m so ready for spring! This is how I am celebrating Spring by the bay!

1. Enjoying the crocus I planted last year

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2. Putting bowls of lemons around the house

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3. Planter filled with pansies on the front porch

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4. Bread, butter, baby radishes and sea salt!

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Simple Radish Crostini
Serves 4
Ingredients

2 fresh radishes
2 tablespoons salted butter
4 slices ciabatta bread
Coarse sea salt

Directons
Clean radishes and using a mandoline slice the radish into rounds. Keep radish slices in iced water until ready to use. In a 400F degree oven, place 4 slices of ciabatta bread on a baking sheet in the oven until the bread starts to brown, flip bread over and toast the other side, 2-3 mins per side. Let toasted ciabatta bread cool a little, then spread with the best salted butter you can buy. Take radish slices out of the water and dry with a paper towel before layering the rounds on top the bread and butter. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and serve.

5. Fresh asparagus crostini – oh my!

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Asparagus Puree with Lemon Ricotta Crostini
Serves 4
Ingredients

16 very thin asparagus spears or 8 asparagus thicker spears
2 tablespoons fresh mint
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
¼ pound fresh ricotta cheese
4 tablespoons grated pecorino cheese
4 slices ciabatta bread toasted
Coarse sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Directions

Clean asparagus, remove the tender tips and place to the side. Snap off woody stems and discard. In to food processor add asparagus stalks broken into pieces and coarsely chop. Add the following to the asparagus: mint, olive oil, lemon juice and 2 tbs. grated pecorino. Pulse a few times. In a separate bowl combine the ricotta cheese, lemon zest salt and pepper. On hot toasted ciabatta bread layer the ricotta cheese, puree asparagus, grated pecorino cheese. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and add asparagus spear to the top.

Shamrock Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies

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I love holidays! I’m not irish but my brother-in-law . On March 17th we all have a little bit of the irish in us. I like to make something to celebrate the holiday with the family and this shortbread recipe is perfect. The vibrant green makes you realize Spring is just a short few days away. These cookies are delicious plain but the chocolate and decorative green sugar makes the cookies more festive! Enjoy!!!

From by the bay , wishing you a very Happy and Green Saint Patrick’s Day.

Maryann

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Shamrock Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from Betty Crocker
Makes approximately 24 cookies, depending on size of the cookie cutter

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, softened ( 2 sticks)
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup chocolate ( semi- sweet or bittersweet or mixed)
6 to 8 drops of green food coloring, or more if you prefer a more vibrant green cookie

To decorate

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup chocolate ( semi-sweet or bittersweet or mixed)
  • decorative coarse sugar , green

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Use an electric mixer to beat together 1 cup butter, sugar and vanilla. On low speed slowly add the flour to combine. Add food coloring and mix well. If the dough is crumbly you use your hands to push together to combine. Roll dough 1/2 inch thick on lightly floured surface. Roll dough in one direction to keep the dough smooth. Use a floured shamrock cookie cutter. Place on non stick cookie sheets 1/2 inch apart. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until set and the bottoms are golden brown. Remove from oven and place onto wire rack to cool, about 30 minutes. To decorate , In a small microwavable bowl add the chocolate and remaining butter. Microwave on high for 1 minute, remove from oven and stir briskly. Repeat process until chocolate is smooth and melted. Dip half of each cookie into the melted chocolate and place on wax paper, sprinkle with decorative sugar and let dry until chocolate is set.

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Lemon Ice Box Pie

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It’s been a long winter and I’m ready to say enough. This past weekend we sprung ahead an hour and I’m ready to spring ahead myself. It started in the house, putting away the last remnants of winter decor in the house . i started to bring in a little color, filled a bowl in the kitchen with lemons and thought about making something that tasted and looked like spring. I found this recipe on the Food & Wine website and made it this past weekend. It was silky, cool and creamy with burst of tartness from the lemon contrasted with sweetness from the milk and sugar.  The color is of warm sunshine. Bring a little spring into your life with this delectable dessert!

From by the bay wishing you sunny and bright food memories!

Maryann

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Lemon Ice Box Pie
CONTRIBUTED BY DAVID GUAS
TOTAL TIME: 1 HR PLUS 7 HR COOLING AND FREEZING
SERVINGS: MAKES ONE 9-INCH PIE
MAKE-AHEAD
STAFF-FAVORITE
This silken frozen pie is adapted from Clancy’s, one of David Guas’s favorite New Orleans neighborhood restaurants. (Recipe adapted from DamGoodSweet.)

Ingredients

14 whole graham crackers, broken
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Two 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cups fresh lemon juice, plus 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
8 large egg yolks

Directions
Preheat the oven to 325°. In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers with the sugar and salt until finely ground but not powdery. Add the butter and pulse until the crumbs are evenly moistened; transfer to a 9-inch springform pan and press into the bottom and two-thirds up the side. Set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, whisk the condensed milk with the lemon juice. In another bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the lemon zest with the egg yolks until pale. Beat in the condensed milk mixture until smooth. Pour the filling into the crust.
Bake the pie for 25 minutes, until the center jiggles slightly and the edges are set. Transfer the pan to a rack; let cool for 1 hour. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and freeze the pie for at least 6 hours.
Wrap a warm, damp kitchen towel around the side of the springform pan to release the pie; remove the ring. Using a hot knife, slice the pie, transfer to plates and serve.

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Avocado Hummus

It’s seems like an endless winter , every weekend seems to have some sort a storm where you end up staying indoors for part of the weekend watching TV.  The wintery weather is perfect for TV binge-watching especially with the latest release of “House of Cards” on Netflix.  Here is a perfect dip for chips or vegetables  to go along with the binge-watching – avocado hummus. It’s a cross between guacamole and hummus. The avocado makes the hummus even creamier and the jalapeno adds just the right amount of heat. You and your guests will love this dip!

From by the bay wishing you great binge-watching food memories !

Maryann

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Avocado Hummus

Ingredients

  • 15.5 ounces Chick Peas / Garbanzos , drained and rinsed
  • 2 Hass avocados, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped jalapeno
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 11/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • optional: jalapeno rounds to garnish

Directions

Place all ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth. Serve cold or room temperature with corn chips or pita chips.

Ginger Pear Cake

On the weekends, it’s nice to complete a meal with something sweet.  This is a really easy cake to make and the perfect finish to any meal. This recipe started as Mitzi’s plum cake a family favorite. The recipe was given to my grandmother over 50 years ago from her friend Mitzi and my whole family makes this recipe each end of summer using plums. I decided to use Mitzi’s recipe for the fall /winter using  pears on their own or with cranberries with great results. This is the perfect quick cake.  Enjoy!

From by the bay, wishing you yummy cake food memories!

Maryann

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Ginger Pear Cake ( adapted from my Mitzi’s Plum Cake)

Ingredients
¼ pound unsalted butter softened plus 1 tablespoon
½ cup fine sugar, plus 1 teaspoon for topping the cake
1 egg
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 Bosc pear
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon ground ginger
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Peel, core and slice the pear. Place pear slices in bowl, cover with lemon juice, mix and set aside. Using electric mixer combine ¼ lb butter and sugar until fluffy, then add egg and combine. Next add the flour and baking powder and combine. This makes a soft dough. Take an 8” non stick cake pan line with parchment and butter and flour the pan. Press the dough into the pan covering the bottom of the cake pan. Use a spatula to spread evenly on the bottom of the pan. Press plums into dough with the cut side facing up in a concentric circle. Combine 1 teaspoon sugar with ½ teaspoon ginger, mix and sprinkle on top of the pears. Dot with extra butter. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, until cake tester is clean.
Variations: replace pears and ginger with plums and cinnamon.

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Kale, Garlic, Mushroom and Ricotta Salad

I know , what another kale salad ? Yes, because this is a great one., one that you will want to eat again and again…. using baby kale greens , sauteed mushrooms , crispy garlic and shredded ricotta salada. Healthy and delicious, it doesn’t get better than that!
From by the bay, wishing you yummy kale food memories!
Maryann
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Kale, Garlic, Mushroom and Ricotta Salad
Serves 4

Ingredients
Salad
5 ounces baby kale, spinach and mixed greens, cleaned
1 large garlic clove sliced in thin slivers
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces mixed mushrooms
1 ounce ricotta salada, shredded
Dressing
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
fine sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Directions
Prepare dressing in a small bowl adding olive oil and vinegar. In a large bowl place greens and add dressing. Toss greens gently in dressing with hands. Season with salt and pepper and mix again. Place greens on a platter. In a small pan heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and saute the garlic. Fry until garlic is brown on one side and turn to brown on the other side. This will take less than 1 minute in total. Use tongs to remove from oil and drain on a paper towel.  Add the mushrooms to the same pan with oil and saute until soft about 2 -3 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool. Top salad with mushrooms, shredded ricotta and browned garlic. Serve immediately.

Chocolate Bourbon Kiss

There are all kind of kisses , the universal symbol of love. Every kiss, they say,  is the talk of the soul. These little bites of chocolate and bourbon are a perfect kiss for your Valentine !

From by the bay, wishing you little chocolate kiss food memories!

Maryann

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Chocolate Bourbon Kiss
Makes approximately 30 cookies

Cookies
3 cups vanilla wafers
6 ounces chocolate chips
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 cup ground pecans
1/3 cup bourbon
coarse sanding sugar for rolling or granulated sugar

Directions

In a food processor, process wafers until finely ground. In a large pot over low heat melt chocolate chips stirring to help melt. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, syrup and bourbon until smooth. Add the ground wafers and pecans and mix well. Shape into 1 inch balls. Roll in sugar and let dry . Store in a airtight container for up to 1 week.

Split Pea Soup with Beer and Bacon

Beat the cold with this wonderful split pea soup. This recipe is from Roberta’s in Brooklyn. The cookbook was a wonderful holiday gift to myself. This soup has the perfect combination of tastes and it’s very easy to make. Although Benton’s bacon is recommended, I’ve tried it with other good quality bacon so don’t let this ingredient get in your way of enjoying this delicious soup!

From by the bay, wishing you split pea food memories!

Maryann

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Split Pea Soup with Beer & Bacon

Adapted from the Roberta’s Cookbook by Carlo Mirarchi, Brandon Hoy, Chris Parachini and Katherine Wheelock. (Clarkson Potter, Oct 2013)

Serves 6

340 grams (1⅔ cups) green split peas
6 slices (about 240 grams/ 8 ounces) Benton’s bacon, diced
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 (12-ounce) can Miller High Life or any lager
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Put the split peas in a strainer and rinse them very thoroughly with cold water. Set a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat and add the bacon. Sweat the bacon slowly until it begins to soften, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the carrot and onion to the pot and cook until they soften and the onion is translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the split peas and water to cover (about 2½ cups). Add the beer to the pot along with a couple of pinches of salt and a few grindings of black pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover, and let cook on a very gentle simmer for 2 hours, stirring regularly and adding water as needed to keep the peas covered. The consistency should be like a thick puree. If it’s not, continue cooking and stirring. It’s not possible to overcook this soup. When it’s done, check the seasoning and serve.

Top Super Bowl Sunday Recipes

Enjoy watching the Super Bowl with these favorite recipes!

From by the bay, wishing you super food memories!

Maryann

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Guacamole
Serves 4

Ingredients
3 Haas avocados, ripe
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup scallions, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt

Directions
In a medium bowl add the lime juice and sea salt , let the salt dissolve. Cut and remove flesh from avocado and place into bowl with lime juice /salt along with scallions and mash with fork. Add ingredients listed below depending on the version you are making and mix well. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

 

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Jalapeno Burger

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck ( each pattie 6 ounces)
4 ciabatta rolls
8 slices bacon
4 slices colby cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons jalapeno rings, coarsely chopped
Directions

In a food processor add mayonnaise and jalapeno. Process until well blended. Refrigerate until ready to use. Make 4 patties from the ground beef, shaping into ovals. In a medium sauce pan, fry bacon until crispy, place on paper towel to drain. Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Season one side of patties with salt and pepper; place on grill, seasoned side down. Grill until lightly charred on bottom, about 4 minutes. Season other side, turn, and top with cheese. Grill to desired doneness, about 4 minutes longer for medium. Transfer burgers to dish and let stand for 3 minutes before serving. Meanwhile, toast buns on grill on until the edges start to brown. Remove bottoms of each bun and add cheese to tops to melt. To assemble burger take toasted bottoms, spread jalapeno mayonnaise on each bottom. Add the burger, the bacon and then top with bun with melted cheese. Serve immediately.

 

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Bloody Mary Mix with Candied Bacon

Makes approximately 32 ounces of mix

Ingredients

1 (25-ounce) jar tomato passata, preferably San Marzano or best quality tomato juice
3 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish or best quality prepared grated horseradish
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice from 4 to 5 lemons
3 celery stalks, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon fine grey sea salt
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 slices bacon, 1/4 inch thick, best quality
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
Directions
Place tomato passata in a bowl. In a food processor add the celery and 1/4 cup water and blend. Strain liquid into a cup. You should have about 1/4 cup liquid. Discard the solids and add the celery infused water to the tomatoes. To the tomato base add horseradish, lemon juice, remaining 1/4 cup water, vinegars, salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and cayenne. Refrigerate until ready to use. About an hour before serving preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place bacon, brown sugar and 1 teaspoon black pepper in a bowl. Mix well. Place slices bacon flat onto the parchment paper. Sprinkle any remaining sugar on the bacon. Cover bacon with a second sheet of parchment. Place a second baking sheet on top of the parchment. This will keep the bacon flat while cooking. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, remove top baking sheet and parchment paper and let continue to bake another 10 minutes or until crispy and a dark brown color. Remove from oven and place on rack to cool immediately.

BLOG HOT WINGS

CRISPY BAKED HOT CHICKEN WING RECIPE
Adapted from Bon Appetit Test Kitchen

INGREDIENTS
HONEY BUFFALO SAUCE
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup hot pepper sauce
1/4 cup honey
WINGS
3 pounds chicken wings, tips removed, drumettes and flats separated
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 400°. Set a non stick wire rack inside each of 1 large rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Place all ingredients in a large bowl; toss to coat. Place wings on the prepared rack and spread out in a single layer. Bake wings until cooked through and skin is crispy, 45–50 minutes. Remove wings from oven place in bowl, pour sauce on top toss and place back in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes until it starts to brown. Serve immediately.

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Orange Cranberry and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 2 1/2 Dozen cookies

Ingredients
1 cup all purpose flour, plus two tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon orange juice
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions
Preheat over to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl add the butter, sugars and vanilla. Use an electric mixer and beat ingredients until light and fluffy. Add the egg , orange rind and juice and beat in well. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the butter mixture slowly and mix at a low speed. Next add the chopped chocolate and dried cranberries and combine. Drop in rounded teaspoons of dough onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes, until slightly brown on bottom. Remove and cool on wire racks. Store in air tight containers.

Chili Parmesan Crisps

The perfect cocktail or wine companion are these chili parmesan crisps. Easy to make and delicious to eat, you’ll discover a new food addiction! If you don’t like chili, you can replace the red chili flakes with one of these options such as crushed black pepper, fennel seeds, minced rosemary or thyme. These crisps also make a great snack for on the go. Try them out this weekend!

From by the bay wishing you, crispy food memories.

Maryann

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Chili Parmesan Crisps

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. On a parchment lined baking sheet , take half the shredded parmesan and form a rectangle approximately 8″ by 12″. Sprinkle half the chili flakes and all the salt uniformly over the cheese. Layer the remaining cheese lightly pressing down. Sprinkle the remaining chili flakes over the cheese. Bake in the oven until golden brown, approximately 10 minutes. Cool and break into piece. Store in an air tight container until ready to serve.

Options: substitute 1 teaspoon of red chili flakes with one of the following:

minced rosemary, minced thyme, crushed black pepper or fennel seeds

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