I recently rediscovered the Bloody Mary at brunch a few weeks ago. The reason I abandoned this wonderful drink was due to all the poor tasting versions I had over the the years. You can only drink watered down tomato juice with a splash of vodka so many times before giving up. The Bloody Mary I drank a few weeks ago was something completely different. It had the best quaility ingredients and as we know that can make all the difference!! So I set out on the happy task of making my own bloody mary mix and then to make it extra special I added a candied strip of bacon to stir the cocktail. The mix is peppery with from the fresh horseradish, with some heat from the cayenne and a freshness thanks to all that lemon juice. Make sure the Bloody Mary is icy cold to really enjoy all the flavors. Dipping that sweet crispy candied bacon into the cold spicy Bloody Mary and taking a bite really is heaven! I suggest a pitcher for your next lazy weekend!!
From by the bay, wishing you Bloody Mary food memories and don’t forget the bacon!
Bloody Mary Mix with Candied Bacon
Makes approximately 32 ounces of mix
- 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
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.
To make Bloody Mary:
Take 3 parts bloody mary mix to 1 part vodka. Mix well. Serve chilled or over ice. Place a slice of candied bacon into each bloody mary just as you serve.
Summer evenings are meant for enjoying barbecue foods and nothing is more satisifying than lip smacking and finger licking ribs. This recipe highlights a barbecue sauce that is tomato based with added sweetness from fresh apple and a hint of bourbon. A touch of molasses creates that lovely sweet bark finish. The best part of this rib recipe is that they are made in the oven with minimal work but fantastic results. The meat from these ribs just pull off the bone. Summer is officially here this weekend, this is the perfect dish to celebrate!
From by the bay, wishing you summer food memories!
Spare Ribs with Bourbon Apple Barbecue Sauce
Serves 4 as main course or 8 as appetizer
- 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
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.
My grandparents farm had lots of fresh strawberries to pick. The strawberries would rarely last long enough to bake . I would say the same holds true today. But if you do find yourself with some berries this is the perfect morning treat. A moist muffin that is not too sweet. It’s the perfect start to a nice relaxing weekend morning!
From by the bay , wishing you berry food memories!
Ricotta Strawberry Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup white sugar, plus extra tablespoon to sprinkle on top of muffins
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped
Preheat oven to 400 F. Take a 12 muffin pan and line with paper baking cups. Put tin to the side. In a bowl combine flour, 1/4 cup sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and lemon zest. Add melted butter, ricotta cheese and stir. Add the eggs to the buttermilk , mix and pour into the flour mixture and combine. Add strawberries, mix and then fill each muffin liner about 3/4 filled. sprinkle tops of muffins with remaining sugar. Place tin on baking sheet and bake on the center rack for 20 to 25 minutes until cake tester comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes then remove muffins to wire rack to cool. Serve warm or room temperature.
I recently had dinner with a good friend of mine at Franny’s in Brooklyn. Over a great bottle of wine we shared a few dishes and this one was a seasonal standout. We enjoyd the roasted asparagus topped with a creamy and nutty pine nut dressing, egg and croutons. Here is my take on a memorable dish. It may seem as if this is a lot of steps, but they are all little simple ones and the results are delicious. You could double the recipe and it make it the star dish of the evening and serve it with something simple off the grill.
From by the bay, wishing for Franny-like food memories!
Asparagus, Egg and Croutons with Pine Nut Dressing
- 1 pound fresh asparagus
- 1 egg
- 1 thick slice rustic bread
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons for bread and asparagus
- 1 tablespoon wine vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
To make the egg, place in small sauce pan and cover with cold water. Bring to a low simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and cover. Keep covered for 10 minutes. Remove egg from the pan and place in an ice bath or cool under cold water. Set aside. Preheat over to 400 degrees F. Place bread on baking sheet and brush both sides with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. Place in oven for 5 minutes until one side is brown, turn over for another 3 to 5 minutes until brown. Remove from oven and cool. Pull bread apart into large pieces to make croutons. Clean and trim stems of the asparagus and place on baking sheet. Drizzle asparagus with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper. Place in the same oven for about 15 minutes until the asparagus are tender and start to brown. Place asparagus on a serving platter. Remove from oven and cool. Place a small dry pan with pine nuts over medium heat until the nuts start to brown. Remove from heat and cool. Take 1 tablespoon of the toasted pine nuts aside to garnish. To make dressing place the remaining pine nuts go into a small food processor. Add 1/4 cup olive oil, vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt and pulse until blended and creamy. Peel egg and break into small pieces over the asparagus, then drizzle dressing and add croutons and remaining toasted pine nuts. Serve immediately at room temperature.