Easy Fig Jam

 

Inspired by my travels in Napa Valley and falling in love with the sights, taste and aromas of the wine country is my super easy fig jam. The  jam is the perfect when served with bread, cheese and wine. This recipe helps  to transport me back everytime to this beautiful destination!

From by the bay wishing you fond wine country food memories!

Maryann

Fig Jam

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons  olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced
  • 8 ounces fresh black mission figs, stemmed and split in half

Direction

In a medium sauce pan heat olive oil. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add all remaining ingredients except figs ( sugar, water, vinegar, salt, rosemary, lemon juice and zest). Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer. Simmer until it is the consistency of a syrup and add figs. Continue to simmer until figs are soft. Cool and place in a covered glass container. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. This will keep about 5 days in the refrigerator.

 

1

Belgian Waffles with Whipped Marcarpone Cream and Peaches



It’s County Fair Season and I sure do love it. Our local fair is pretty small in scale but scale is made up for in location, location, location! The fair sits on the edge of the sand and sea. Warm breezes and salty air waft over the fairground. A perfect time to be out enjoying the music, rides and the food. Let’s talk about fair food. I can enjoy the real deal as much as the next person – the funnel cakes, corn dogs, kettle corn, snow cones and all kind so of things fried, but I often wonder wouldn’t it be nice to kick it all up a notch and maybe not be eating just fried everything. I decided to create my own fair food menu, perfect with your next fair or family gathering.

From by the bay wishing you delicious country fair food memories!

Maryann

Belgian Waffles with Whipped Mascarpone Cream and Peaches

Makes 8

 

1 ½ cup flour

2 tablespoons fine sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs

½ cup milk

¼ sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ cup melted unsalted butter

Spray vegetable oil

 

Directions

 

In a large bowl mix together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add milk, sour cream, vanilla and melted butter to the dry ingredients and mix well. Let batter rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile spray waffle iron with vegetable oil andpreheat waffle iron. Add ½ cup of batter for each waffle. Cook as directed with iron until waffles are golden brown. Serve waffles with whipped mascarpone cream and freshly sliced peaches. Dust some confectionery sugar on top of the assembled waffles.

 

Whipped Mascarpone Cream

 

¼ cup mascarpone

¼ cup heavy cream

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons confectionery sugar

 

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and using an electric mixer, whip together until the cream is in soft peaks that hold their shape. Serve immediately with the waffles or keep in the refrigerator covered until ready to use.

Nashville -The Rise of the Biscuit

Nashville – The Rise of the Biscuit

I enjoy traveling for food inspiration. My food travels recently took me to Nashville where there is an incredible food scene happening, in addition to the wonderful live music venues.  Nashville is the perfect place to indulge in my passion for food and music. Farm to Table restaurants abound in and out of the city.  I found inspired southern cooking everywhere. Many of the restaurants pride themselves in maintaining their southern cooking roots but approach food preparation in new exciting ways. As I ate my way around Nashville it became apparent that whether I was eating at the classic road stop – Loveless Cafe or fine dining at the Capital Grille in the famous Hermitage Hotel, there was a reference for the biscuit. If I wanted to recapture my food experiences back home on Long Island, I would need to master the southern biscuit.  I found the perfect book to take home with me – filled with biscuit recipes from the experts – “The Rise of the Southern Biscuit- The Biscuit Dive Guide” by Maryann Byrd.  I tried several recipes and I’m sharing my favorite. I also used some of the biscuit tricks in the book, that really made a difference in the  quality of the biscuit. Here are my favorite tricks:
1. Use a lower gluten flour – about 8% for a light airy biscuit – I bought a flour from the South – White Lily All purpose flour ( thank goodness for the the Amazon grocery) , the difference from the flour alone was remarkable.
2.  Don’t over handle the dough, use your finger tips, first to incorporate the lard into the flour and again when you are making your biscuits push the dough down lightly using your finger tips only ( the same is a good tip for pizza making as well)
3.  Use lard ! I found again my biscuits were better using a lard that is staple in southern pantries – Armour brand.
4. One of my favorite kitchen tricks, if you don’t have buttermilk just add 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar to whole milk an let sit a minute or two before using.
5. Instead of kneading the dough, I combine together and then fold 4 to 5 times to create layers.
Now you are ready to make light airy biscuits!  I’m also sharing an easy berry jam recipe, it uses apple as a natural pectin to make the jam. Biscuits and fresh jam – I can’t think of a better start to any day !!
From by the bay, wishing you Nashville food memories!
Maryann
 
Mondell’s Country Biscuits
From “The Rise of the Southern Biscuit- The Biscuit Dive Guide” by Maryann Byrd
Makes 12 biscuits
 
Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup buttermilk (room temperature)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Sift the dry ingredients together. Mix shortening with your finger tips until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and pour in the room temperature buttermilk until flour leaves
sides of the bowl and forms a ball. If it sticks, add a little more flour until it comes away from the sides of the bowl. Place the dough on to a floured surface and knead five to six times. Make sure the surface is not cold. You can roll out or pat out into 1/2 inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter. Place biscuits on greased or non stick cookie sheet.  Brush with melted butter and then place in oven and bake 8 to 12 minutes until biscuits start to brown.
Easy Berry Breakfast Jam
approximately 10 ounces jam
Ingredients
6 ounces berries – such as strawberries, raspberries , blackberries or blueberries
1/2 cup fine white sugar
1/2 apple, peeled, cored and small dice
Directions
In a small saucepan bring sugar and berries to a boil stirring occassionally. Add apple and stir. Bring back to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring often. Let cool and place in a jam jar or container. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. This will keep for two weeks in the refrigerator.

Cinnamon Tahini Cookies

Middle Eastern food is having a big moment in the food world. Along with that trend baking with tahini seems to be everywhere.  I always have a jar of tahini in my home, it has so many uses from making hummus to salad dressing and sauces. I love the results when I have used tahini in my baking. This cookie has easily become a family favorite. A cookie that is slightly crisp thanks to being rolled in black and white sesame seeds, warm from the cinnamon and a light nutty flavor from the tahini. The cookies last for a week stored in an airtight container. (Although the cookies never last that long). You should definitely give this cookie recipe a try!

From by the bay, wishing you great tahini food memories!

Cinnamon Tahini Cookies

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart, “Martha’s Tahini Cookies”

Makes approximately 32 cookies

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 1/2 cup tahini, well mixed
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup lightly toasted sesame seeds, white or black and white mixed

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line four baking sheets with parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in tahini. Reduce speed to low; beat in flour mixture until just combined. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Spread sesame seeds on a shallow dish. Scoop 1 round tablespoon of dough; roll into a ball. Roll in sesame seeds until thoroughly coated, then transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing 3 inches apart. Bake, rotating halfway through, until golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheets to wire racks; let cool completely

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Crostata

There are so many things to look forward to in early spring and perhaps one of my great food pleasures is rhubarb. Rhubarb although often thought as a fruit is really a vegetable. We see rhubarb here in the northeast for such a brief period that once I see it in a store I grab what I can and make a series of dishes sweet and savory. This weekend is the beginning of a little rhubarb festival by the bay. The star of this festival is this delicious strawberry rhubarb crostata. A very crispy pie crust with a juicy filling of sweet strawberries and slightly sour rhubarb. It’s fantastic. I love the tangy taste of rhubarb! If I have enough rhubarb I often opt to use just rhubarb alone in the filling and add a little more sugar to balance it out. I’m in love with  the bright vibrant color of the filling. This is definitely a perfect early spring treat!

From by the bay wishing you delicious rhubarb food memories!

Maryann

Strawberry Rhubarb Crostata

Serves 4

Ingredients for Dough

  • 8 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter ( one stick)
  • 1cup , plus 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons cold water

Ingredients for filling

  • 2 cups rhubarb  (stalks only) cut into 1/2 inch pieces and hulled and sliced strawberries combined (50/50)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

To assemble

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • Coarse sugar

Directions

To make dough cube the butter.  In a small bowl combine sea salt and water. Place both the butter and salt water in the freezer for 10 minutes. In a food processor add the flour and lemon zest. Pulse twice. Add the cold butter and pulse 3 to 4 times to incorporate pieces of butter into the flour. Slowly add some water until the dough is a crumb like texture. You may not need all of the water. Place dough onto plastic wrap and fold wrap over to close and push dough together to combine. Flatten into a disk covered with the plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Meanwhile, make the filling by combining all ingredients in a bowl. Preheat over to 375 degrees F.  Take a piece of parchment paper and place the dough in the center cover with the plastic sheet and use a rolling pin to roll out and fold turn parchment sheet  90 degrees and repeat another 3 times. Roll out the dough on the parchment on the bottom again with plastic wrap over the top of the dough into a round approximately 1/8 inch thick. Spoon the filling in the center of the round leaving a 1 inch border all around. Fold the edges over the filling partially covering around the border. Place parchment with pie carefully onto a baking sheet and place in the refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes. In a small bowl whisk together the egg and cream to make the wash. Remove from the refrigerator and brush the egg wash on the edges of the pie. Sprinkle with coarse sugar and place into oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the crust is brown and the fruit is bubbling. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes. Slide carefully onto a serving platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Simple Carrot Soup

Sometimes, it’s the simple things that bring the greatest pleasure. That’s what this carrot soup recipe is all about. A few ingredients allowing the star ingredient to shine in flavor. This carrot soup tastes slightly sweet and fruity from the carrots while the potatoes add some creaminess to the soup. The color is bright and vibrant. Garnish with some fresh snow pea pods and you have a soup that screams springtime!

From by the bay, wishing you simple and delicious food memories!

Maryann

 

Simple Carrot Soup

Ingredients

2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped

2 potatoes, peeled and diced

4 cups chicken stock

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons fine sea salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Optional garnish, blanched snow pea pods

Directions

Add all the ingredients into a stock pot. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cook until the carrots and potatoes are soft. Bring to room temperature and puree in a food processor. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Best New Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

I’m sure most people will say who needs another chocolate chip cookie recipe, but when the source of that recipe is Dorie Greenspan, the ultimate baker of cookies, well one most stop , bake, taste and enjoy. This recipe is a slightly more adult version of the classic cookie adding spices you might not think of adding to the cookie- ground coriander and nutmeg. Before dismissing this, please reconsider…. these spices enhance the flavor, but the flavor is indeed subtle and delicious. I like the idea of adding some spice to chocolate chip cookies and plan to experiment myself with cinnamon and chinese-five spice powder. These cookies have a nice chewy texture, more so than a classic chocolate chip. This is definitely a great alternative and also seems to appeal to those who may not normally like a chocolate chip cookie. I highly recommend Dorie’s cookbook, “Dorie’s Cookies” published in 2016. It’s a great cookie bible from one of the greatest baker of our time. I use this book over and over again. I especially enjoy how Dorie suggests variations and changes to her recipes to try for fun. If you can’t have fun baking and eating cookies, well when can you have fun?

From by the bay, wishing you fun chocolate chip cookie food memories!

Best New Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

By Dorie Greenspan from Dorie’s Cookies 2016

Makes about 50 cookies

  • 1 3/4 cups (238 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup (91 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces; 226 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 10 ounces (283 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or 1 2/3 cups chocolate chips)

Directions

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
  3. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for about 1 minute, until smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes or so, until well-blended. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes inches Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated. On low speed, or by hand with a rubber spatula, mix in the chocolate and nuts.
  4. Spoon the dough by slightly rounded tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between spoonfuls.
  5. Bake the cookies- one sheet at a time and rotating the sheet at the midway point- for 10-12 minutes, or until they are brown at the edges and golden in the center; they may still be a little soft in the middle, and that’s just fine. Pull the sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for 1 minute, then carefully, using a wide metal spatula, transfer them to racks to cool to room temperature.Repeat with the remainder of the dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.
  6. Repeat with the remaining dough, being certain to use cool baking sheets.

Bananas for this Banana Dessert!

It’s almost Valentine’s Day and I’m sure you have seem every chocolate recipe imaginable! But what do you do if your favorite loved one doesn’t like chocolate! I say go bananas with this double dose of banana cookery from two of my favorite chefs! I decided to double my banana game for dessert one evening by making Dominique Ansel’s banana bread. This is the perfect recipe! It is rich, delicious, moist  and easy. Seriously this recipe is perfection. The bread stays moist for days if wrapped well. Next up is the banana jam, just imagine a caramel and a banana joined together and that is what this jam is ! It’s great on toast, biscuits and yes this banana bread. If you want to kick the whole thing up an notch serve a slice of banana bread topped with a scoop of vanilla or caramel ice cream and then drizzle the top with banana jam!  It’s heaven! Each recipe stands perfectly on its own but in honor of Valentine’s Day it’s about the union . This is a union you will want to experience.

From by the bay wishing you, top banana food memories!

Maryann

Dominique Ansel’s Banana Bread

As featured on Tasting Table courtesy of Dominique Ansel

Preparation Time 1 hour and 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing pan

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 10″ x 5″ x 3 ½” loaf pan and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, baking soda, nutmeg, salt and baking powder. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and combine with the mashed bananas. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix together until just combined. Stir in the melted butter until fully incorporated. Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before slicing.

Biscuit Love Banana Jam

Yields 4 cups    Preparation Time 40 minutes

As featured on the Food Network Courtesy of Karl Worley of Biscuit Love Nashville

 

Directions

Mix the sugar and 1/4 cup water in a heavy-bottomed large saucepan. Heat the sugar mixture on high heat until the mixture caramelizes; the water will need to evaporate before the sugar will caramelize. Once the caramel reaches a deep brown color, turn the heat to low and carefully add the bananas. Stir with a wooden or heat-resistant spoon until the bananas begin to break down, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the salt and remove from the heat. Stir in the lime juice and vanilla.

Serve with warm biscuits. The jam will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

 

Game On! Two Essential Super Bowl Recipes – Chicken Wings and Guacamole!

My pick for the top Super Bowl Sunday recipes are chicken wings and guacamole. These two recipes are easy to prepare and delicious to eat through out the game! I This recipe for zesty chicken wings requires no FRYING, yet is a touchdown on the big flavor. Every Super Bowl party needs guacamole, even if you are a party of one. This guacamole can be made in minutes. These party favorites are WINNERS – score and touchdown!

From by the bay wishing you winning Super Bowl food memories!

Maryann

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.
Basic Guacamole
Serves 6
3 Haas avocados, ripe
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup scallions, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
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.
Make it Classic:
To the base recipe add 1 teaspoon jalapeno pepper, chopped.
Make it Red:
To the base recipe add 1 teaspoon jalapeno pepper, chopped and 1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomato
Make it Greek:
Make the base recipe but replace the cilantro with chopped mint and add 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese.
Make it Blue:
Make the base recipe but instead of cilantro add 1/4 cup sour cream and 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese.

 

Cranberry Eggnog Scones

This scone is like taking a bite of Christmas, eggnog and bourbon soaked cranberries…. the perfect start to Christmas morning or perhaps your perfect morning for these scones are New Year’s weekend , when you still have the last of the eggnog left and you are wondering how to use it. I do think this recipe is worthy buying some eggnog for your holiday but if you don’t have any eggnog, please feel free to replace the 1 cup of eggnog with 1 cup of heavy cream.

From by the bay, wishing you sweet eggnog food memories!

Maryann

Cranberry Eggnog Scones

Makes approximately 8 sconces

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup bourbon or rum or apple juice depending on preference ( I use Bourbon)
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and diced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup chilled eggnog, plus more for brushing
  • Demerara or raw sugar (for sprinkling)

Directions

In a small sauce pan add bourbon and dried cranberries. Bring to a simmer and stir a few times. Turn off heat and  set aside for 15 minutes. There liquid should be soaked up by the cranberries , if not strain any remaining liquid and set the cranberries aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Sift flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and salt and whisk together. Add butter and blend with fingertips until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Mix in cranberries. Whisk eggnog and eggs in a small bowl and add to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined do not overwork. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and pat to 1 inch round. Cut out rounds using 3 inch cookie cutter. Gather dough to cut additional rounds. Transfer scones to a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush dough with eggnog and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake scones for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking until golden brown approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Cool slightly and serve warm or at room temperature. Scones are best eaten same day.