Entertaining: What’s Cooking this Weekend!

Enjoying another summer weekend,  I think I’ll wake up early and make a batch of my favorite Homemade Granola, perfect with some greek yogurt and all the seasonal berries.

After breakfast and a quick class at the gym it’s off to the farmstand, where I’m bound to find some of my favorite ingredients – sweet corn, kirby cucumbers and some juicy peaches.

I don’t plan to spend much time in the kitchen this weekend, but I will make some quick pickles using my recipe for Pickled Cucumbers with Dill and Lemon.

I’m keeping it simple this weekend, something quick on the grill – one of my favorite chicken recipes is Barbecue Chicken Breasts with Fresh Peach and Jalapeno Sauce

Corn of course is the perfect side dish – anyway you want to serve as long as you eat it the day it’s picked on the farm the freshness is the star of the show – so grill, boil, it’s so fresh you can eat it raw, but if you want to try a new corn side dish, you will want to try my recipe for Corn in a Cup!

Now for dessert, it’s an easy  Stone Fruit Crostata, using the rest of my peaches!  a recipe that is so forgiving and beyond delicious with it’s crispy and buttery crust.

From by the bay, make great friends and family food memories this weekend!

Maryann

Homemade Granola

Pickled Cucumbers with Dill and Lemon

Barbecue Chicken Breasts with Fresh Peach and Jalapeno Sauce

Corn in a Cup

Stone Fruit Crostata

Chilled Zucchini Soup with Mint

Zucchini – one of the favorite staples of the summer harvest is showing up in farmer’s markets and grocery stores. If you are lucky like me it shows up at your door courtesy of a generous neighbor with a fabulous vegetable garden. No matter how you get that zucchini into your kitchen you must try this recipe for chilled zucchini soup. Super simple to make this is a refreshing treat to enjoy for lunch or dinner. Try drinking this cup of summer freshness!

From by the bay, wishing you chill food memories!

Maryann

 

Chilled Zucchini Soup with Mint

Serves 6

  • 4-5 medium zucchini sliced in rounds approximately 2 pounds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ cup fresh mint chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • additional coarse sea salt to finishing

Directions

In a large pot heat olive oil and sauté the white onion until softened about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini, salt and pepper stirring occasionally until the zucchini is softened, about 5 more minutes. Add the broth to the pot, bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until the zucchini is tender, about 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Using a food processor puree the zucchini mixture along with the parmesan cheese, pine nuts, mint and lemon juice. Pour into a bowl adding the buttermilk and blend. Cover and place in the refrigerator to cool for at least 3 hours. Adjust seasoning with coarse sea salt. Serve chilled and garnish with toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil.

Entertaining: What to Cook for the 4th of July Weekend!

It’s a big holiday weekend – family picnics, barbecues with friends, sun, water, fireworks ….. food is an important part of our celebrations! Here are a few of the recipes, I’ll be cooking over the long weekend. Mornings will start slowly, after that first cup of coffee I’ll be taking out my muffin pan to make Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins

I like to keep lunches light , it’s better for jumping into the pool or to enjoy a game of kanjam so a salad is nice, I’ll probably make a nice Heirloom Tomato Salad with Fresh Ricotta

Keeping it easy for dinner so starting with a great burger topped with my Whiskey Special Sauce

Side dishes are the key, make them in the morning before the day gets going and you can enjoy the day your self, I’m going old school with my Deli Style Macaroni Salad

Another classic side dish with a twist is my Jalapeno Kale Coleslaw, it is a delicious and healthy second side.

If I can find some corn in the farm stand, you can be sure that I’ll be making and although it’s perfect just grilled or even boiled, I’ll like make Fresh Corn and Zucchini Salad

Now for dessert…. I’ll still be taking advantage of all those fresh berries that are around and make my Red and Blue Firework Crisp and if I have time I’m make some star shaped  cookies using My Favorite Sugar Cookies !

From by the bay , wishing you and your family a very Happy 4th of July!

Maryann

Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Fresh Ricotta

Whiskey Special Sauce

Deli Style Macaroni Salad

Jalapeno Kale Coleslaw

Fresh Corn and Zucchini Salad

Red and Blue Firework Crisp

My Favorite Sugar Cookie Recipe

Whiskey Special Sauce for Hamburgers

There is nothing like a summer hamburger cooked to perfection on an outdoor grill.  You may want to stop there but I strongly suggest that if you want to really amp up the flavor of your grilled burger, try making your own version of special sauce. Usually, special sauce is a combination of your favorite condiments – mayonnaise, mustard and ketchup. The base of my special sauce is the same but I like to chop up bread and butter pickles for a little sweetness  along with pickled jalapenos for some spice and heat to mix into my sauce so that every bite of my burger has a combination of many tastes. I could have stopped here but decided to take my sauce up one more level of flavor.  I added to my sauce one of the best ingredients I could think of – whiskey! Whiskey really makes that special sauce a “special, special sauce”.  The whiskey enhances the salty and sweet flavors.  As for topping the burger feel free to have a slice of melted american cheese. You can also try my new favorite, freshly grated parmesan cheese generously grated over the burger like a big cloud of freshly fallen snow! It’s burger time with your own special sauce!

From by the bay, wishing you whiskey special sauce food memories!

Maryann

 

Whiskey Special Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup good quality prepared mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon whiskey
  • 3 tablespoons chopped bread and butter pickles
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapeno

Directions

In a small bowl mix all the ingredients until well combined. Place in a covered glass container and refrigerate for at least one hour below using. The sauce keep refrigerated for up to one week.

Note: You can make the special sauce without the whiskey

Watermelon Cucumber Salsa

It’s not even summer yet and we are about to have our second heat wave starting Sunday! During the last mini heat wave I wanted to serve a  side dish that was cool and refreshing. It turns out that watermelon and cucumbers are a perfect pair.  I served this salsa along with grilled fish tacos, but this side is so versatile it complements most fish, pork and chicken.  Oh, and let’s not forget a perfect salsa for dipping a tortilla chip. It’s a must try recipe!

From by the bay, wishing you cool food memories!

Maryann

Watermelon Cucumber Salsa

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups finely diced seedless watermelon
  • 1 cup finely diced english cucumber
  • 3 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced and seeded jalapeno pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • zest of one lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground  black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint

Directions

In a medium size bowl combine the honey, lime juice salt and pepper. Mix well.  Add the remaining ingredients and toss gently. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 1 day.

 

 

 

 

Favorite Summer Spare Rib Recipes

Memorial Day Weekend is the kickoff for summer grilling season, but one of my favorite dishes for summer entertaining is spare ribs. I’m sharing some of my favorite rib recipes, which are mostly prepared in the oven. These recipes are easy to make , taking more cooking time than preparation time with mouthwatering results. Try of one or all of these variations for your next summer gathering!

From by the bay, wishing you mouthwatering rib food memories!

Maryann

Spare Ribs with Bourbon Apple Barbecue Sauce
Serves 4 as main course or 8 as appetizer

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 lbs. racks baby back ribs
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a small sauce pan add all ingredients except for ribs. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, then turn off heat and cool. Puree in a food processor and set aside covered. In a large roasting pan lined with aluminum foil place the ribs in a single layer. Place in oven to brown for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes remove ribs from pan and pour off any juice and fat. Place the ribs back into the pan. Use half the barbecue sauce and pour over and spread over the ribs. Lower the oven to 400 degrees F and place the ribs back in the oven, turning the ribs over and covering them with the remaining sauce. Bake for another 30 minutes and remove from the oven. The ribs can be served immediately or at room temperature.

Spare Ribs with Root Beer Barbecue Sauce

Serves 4 as main course or 8 as appetizer

2 1/2 lbs. racks baby back ribs

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 cup ketchup

3/4 cup root beer, preferably made with cane sugar

2 tablespoons molasses

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a small sauce pan heat olive oil and saute garlic for one minute, then add the remaining ingredients except for ribs. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, then turn off heat and cool. In a large roasting pan lined with aluminum foil place the ribs in a single layer. Place in oven to brown for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes remove ribs from pan and pour off any juice and fat. Place the ribs back into the pan. Use half the barbecue sauce and pour over and spread over the ribs. Lower the oven to 400 degrees F and place the ribs back in the oven, turning the ribs over and covering them with the remaining sauce. Bake for another 30 minutes and remove from the oven. The ribs can be served immediately or at room temperature.

Mango and Honey Glazed Spareribs

Serves 4 as main course or 8 as appetizer

2 ½ lbs. racks baby back ribs

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh ginger , grated

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

¼ cup honey

¼ cup vermouth

½ cup soy sauce

6 ounces mango chutney

Directions

Combine all ingredients into a plastic sealed bag. Place in refrigerator for at least 6 hours or better overnight. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking dish with aluminum foil and empty the entire contents of the plastic bag into the dish. Arrange ribs in pan in one layer. Place in oven and turn every 15 minutes as the ribs brown. Bake for approximately 45 minutes. Tranfer ribs to cutting board and let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

Sometimes I use country style ribs for this dish, in which case the cooking time is a little longer 1 hour. The meat literally falls off the bones – it delivers great favor and is more economic.

Tip: keep handy in the refrigerator tubes of garlic and ginger paste. They are available in Japanese specialty food stores. They are perfect for making quick marinades – without compromising the taste.

Asian Style Barbecue Beef Short Ribs
Serves 4-6
Ingredients

For the ribs
21/2 pounds boneless beef short ribs
2 star anise
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 cinnamon stick
1 inch piece ginger, peeled
chopped scallions to garnish
For barbecue sauce
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1 cup cooking water from ribs
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seed oil
Directions
Place short ribs in a large cooking pot with star anise, cinnamon, garlic and ginger. Add water to just cover the ribs. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to simmer and cover with a lid for 45 minutes. Remove the ribs and place on a platter, covering with some foil. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water for the barbecue sauce. To make the sauce, add to a medium sauce pan the hoisin sauce, ketchup, cooking water, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and toasted sesame seed oil. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes. Preheat the grill . Brush the short ribs with the barbecue sauce and grill for 8 to 10 minutes on each side. Serve immediately.

Great Balls of Fire- Memphis Style  Dry-Rub

2 tablespoons smoky paprika

1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 ½  teaspoons fine sea salt

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

( at the time of use 1 tablespoon white vinegar)

 

To make the rub combine all dry ingredients well and store in a covered jar. When ready to use add a little white vinegar, if using all the rub add 1 tablespoon of vinegar.

To make ribs: 

Use 4 pounds of slab baby back ribs. To prepare the ribs, remove the thin papery skin from the back of each rack of ribs. Wash and pat dry. In a bowl mix all the rub ingredients together .  Rub ½ of the mixture all over the ribs on both sides and place in a shallow roasting pan. Keep the remaining rub for later. 

Place ribs in a 450 oven for 30 minutes. Continue baking in a 350 oven for about 2 more hours. Half way through take the drippings and mix with remaining rub and baste the ribs with the mixture.  When done transfer the ribs to a cutting board and cut into pieces. Serve with your favorite  barbecue sauce. 

 
Rockin Blue Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
Makes 2 cups
 

1 1/2 cups Jack Daniel’s Black Label or Bourbon

1 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

4 tablespoons dark molasses

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce


 Pour 1 cup of whiskey into a saucepan. Bring the saucepan to a boil and reduce the liquid to about 2 tablespoons. Don’t let the alcohol flame. 

 Add 1/2 cup of the whiskey and the other ingredients. Simmer over a low heat for 30 minutes and reduce it by about 1/3. Use it immediately or bottle it and keep it in the refrigerator for a month or more.

Blackberry Barbecue Sauce

Memorial Day is right around the corner. How I look forward to many meals centered around grilling!  I love to make my own barbecue sauce mixing my favorite flavors, finding that right balance between sweet, savory and heat. This sauce is so simple to make combining many ingredients  you would have in your kitchen except maybe for the blackberry jam, which you will love to have anyway whether its for this recipe or your morning toast and the haberno chile. If you can’t find a haberno, jalapeno would work fine too. I love this sauce on spare ribs, pork chops and chicken. Let the season begin with this sauce!

From by the bay, wishing you sweet and savory blackberry food memories!

Maryann

Blackberry Barbecue Sauce
Makes 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons seedless blackberry preserves
  • 1 teaspoon minced habanero chile
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Directions
Place all the ingredients into a saucepan and mix well.  Simmer over a low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce is slightly thicken. Use it immediately or place in a glass container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Sweet Pea Pesto Crostini

To continue the spring vegetable celebration, find some young green peas and make this vibrantly bright green sweet pea pesto. Young peas are the taste of spring. Crunchy, peppery, sweet. Young peas are not starchy, they are crisp, fresh and slightly sweet. I’m using this sweet pea pesto as an appetizer, but you can also make a wonderful salad with leafy greens including young pea shoot leaves , toss with your favorite vinaigrette, then add a few dollops of fresh ricotta cheese and sweet pea pesto. It’s the perfect spring salad.

From by the bay , wishing you bright spring green food memories!

Maryann

Sweet Pea Pesto Crostini

8 ounces fresh shelled sweet peas or defrosted frozen peas

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

To serve: grilled country bread, shaved parmesan cheese, young pea shoot greens, Maldon Salt

Directions

Boil salted water in a medium saute pan. Blanche the peas in boiling water until the peas start to turn bright green, 10 to 20 seconds. Place in cold water to cool. Remove from water and pat dry. Place peas in food processor. Add cheese, lemon juice, salt, pepper and process until well combined, you want the peas to have some texture. Slowly pour olive oil to combine. Place in a covered glass jar. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Serve at room temperature. To assemble the crostini – take the grilled bread, top with shaved parmesan, sprinkle with Maldon Sea Salt and finally top with a sprig of young pea shoots.

Spring Wild Ramp Pesto

 One of the first vegetable treats in early Spring is wild ramps! I grab a bunch as soon as I see it available and quickly make ramp pesto! the recipe is simple and much like the basil pesto you make during the summer with a few changes. No need to add garlic since ramps are a member of the Allium family tasting like a cross between garlic and onions. Once you have the pesto you have many ways to enjoy your wild ramps. Here are a few ideas:

  1. top your favorite pasta with pesto along with a little more grated parmesan cheese
  2. top a piece of grilled chicken, fish or beef with pesto
  3. top grilled bread with some fresh ricotta cheese and pesto
  4. add a spoonful of pesto to your salad vinaigrette
  5. add a spoonful to 1/2 a cup of good quality mayonnaise to use for sandwiches
  6. put a little pesto in an omelette
  7. add a spoonful to a favorite soup such as minestrone

Get creative and enjoy!

From by the bay wishing you wild ramp filled food memories!

Maryann

ramp

noun

  1. Allium tricoccum is a North American species of wild onion widely known as ramps and/or wild leeks. An early spring perennial, ramps have smooth light green leaves, that might have touches of burgundy or purple on the lower stem. They resemble scallion stalks and bulbs.

Ramps, like onions and garlic are an excellent source of vitamin A and C and some of their health benefits include healthy skin, teeth and bones, as well as promote healthy eyesight.

Spring Wild Ramp Pesto

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of ramps
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (toasted)
  • 1/2 cup, you kind of have to eyeball it)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions

 

Boil salted water in a medium saute pan. Wash and cut off the bottom roots of the ramps. Blanche the ramp in boiling water until the leaves turn bright green, 10 to 20 seconds. Place in cold water to cool. Remove from water and pat dry. Add chopped walnuts, cheese, lemon juice, salt and 1/4 cup olive and process until well combined. Slowly pour remaining olive oil to combine. Place in a covered glass jar. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Serve at room temperature.

 

Unbaked Brownies with Chocolate Frosting

If you are looking for a healthy yet delicious dessert try this easy to prepare version of unbaked brownies. It’s made with ground dates, walnuts and cocoa powder topped with the best chocolate frosting made with cocoa powder and sweetened with maple syrup.  This is almost a cross between a brownie and fudge. The best part is that the dessert is flourless  in addition to being low in cholesterol and sodium. I like to cut up into little bite size pieces. Enjoy without the guilt!

From by the bay, wishing you guilt free food memories!

Maryann

Unbaked Brownies with Chocolate Frosting

as featured in Health Magazine by Katie Higgins

  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: 16 brownies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups cups loosely packed pitted dates
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted coconut oil

Directions

1. Combine dates, walnuts, 6 Tbsp. cacao powder, 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla, 2 tsp. water and salt in a food processor. Process until completely smooth.

2. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking dish, or line dish with parchment or waxed paper. Transfer dough to dish. Press dough very firmly into dish with your hands until dough is evenly distributed.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup cacao powder, remaining 1/2 tsp. vanilla, maple syrup and oil. Stir until mixture forms a paste (this is the frosting). Spread paste evenly over dough in baking dish. Refrigerate brownies for at least 2 hours to set, then cut into squares. Refrigerate any leftovers in a covered container for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 2 months.