Monthly Archives: September 2014

Grandma’s Plum Dumplings

As I was growing up, there was no finer signal that fall was near than when my grandmother make plum dumplings. The recipe was one my grandmother brought to the United States from her homeland of Gottschee, which long ago was a part of Austria. My grandfather would grow small italian plums and when they were ripe my grandmother would make dumplings which were similar to large gnocchi, filled with the plums and sugar. You would cut open the dumpling to a burst of purple sweet almost jam like filling. It was delicious!!!  Yes, making this dumpling dough sounds a bit daunting , but you can press it into shape easily with your hands and as long as you pick any holes with your fingers you’ll have the same results in taste and perhaps the look is slighlty more rustic, but the taste will still deliver. This is traditionally a dessert but by the bay this is a special dinner. The season for these sweet italian plums are short so celebrate Fall this weekend and enjoy!

From by the bay, wishing you plum bursting food memories!

Maryann

 

blog plum dumpling

 Grandma’s Plum Dumplings

Makes 16 dumplings

Ingredients

  • 4 yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra to roll
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 16 small italian prune plums, or 8 medium size italian prune plums, cut lengthwise, pitted
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs

Directions

Peel and chop potatoes. Place in a medium sauce pan with cold water and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until tender. Drain and cool. In a bowl mash potatoes. Measure two cups of mash potatoes and place in large mixing bowl. Add flour and salt and mix well. Add the egg and oil and mix dough to form a ball. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky . Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes.  In the meantime, bring a large stock pot of salted water to a boil. On a lightty floured surface roll out the dough to about a 1/3 of an inch . Cut dough into 16 squares or pat into 16 circles, flour your hands to handle the dough.  Sprinkle the inside of the plums with sugar. Place one plum ( or 1/2 plum if the plums are medium size) to the center of each circle of dough.  Gently bring up corners of the dough to center and pinch edges to seal.  Carefully add dumplings to boiling water. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a dumpling comes out clean. In a medium sauce pan melt butter  until it starts to foam and then add breadcrumbs and saute until they start to brown. Remove from heat. Gently roll the dumplings in the bread crumbs and place on a serving platter. Sprinkle with extra sugar and serve immediately.

 

 

blog plum dumpling 2

 

For another great dessert using italian plums try Mitzi’s Plum Cake
http://blog.entertainingbythebay.com/2014/05/mitzis-plum-cake/

Goat Cheese, Concord Grape and Fig Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

 

blog grape salad

Goat Cheese, Concord Grape and Fig Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

 

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 6 ounces butter lettuce, lightly torn in pieces
  • ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 4 fresh black mission figs, cut in half lengthwise
  • ¼ cup seedless black grapes, preferably concord
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • fine sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions
To make dressing combine olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup and mustard all  in a glass jar and shake vigorously. Keep to the side until ready to use. Shake again before pouring onto salad.
To make salad place lettuce, grapes and figs in a bowl and add 1/2 the dressing and gently toss. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss again. Arrange on a serving platter. Sprinkle salad with the goat cheese and walnuts. Drizzle extra dressing on top of the salad and serve.

Broccoli Rabe Pesto with Grilled Shrimp and Bread

This dish highlights the bold flavor of broccoli rabe with it’s nutty and distinctive bitter taste, that is much loved in southern italian cooking. I love broccoli rabe not only for the taste , but also that it’s packed with loads of vitamin C and A as well as potassium, while being low in calories. So this delicious and light dish features an easy pesto , grilled shrimp and bread kicked up with some red chili flakes for a little heat. It’s perfect light, delicious and vibrant colored meal!

From by the bay wishing you a bold broccoli rabe  food memories!

Maryann

 

blog grilled shrimp

Broccoli Rabe Pesto with Grilled Shrimp and Bread

Serves 4 

Ingredients 

  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, tough lower stems removed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup slice almonds nuts, toasted
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish
  • fine grey sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • High-quality extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing (optional)

Directions

In a resealable plastic bag add shrimp, 1 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Let shrimp marinade in refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Set up a bowl of well-salted ice water. Cook the broccoli rabe in the boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes and then immediately plunge in the salted ice water. This will prevent the broccoli rabe from being overcooked and will set the lovely green color.

Drain the broccoli rabe and squeeze out any excess water. Pull out about 1/2 cup of the broccoli rabe, especially the florets and set aside. Place the remaining broccoli rabe  ( approximately 1 cup) in the bowl of a food processor and puree until it is a coarse paste. Add 1/2 cup olive oil, almonds, lemon zest, lemon juice and parmigiano and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning salt and pepper to taste. Serve room temperature.

In a small bowl add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, minced garlic and red chili flakes and mix. Cut the ciabatta bread length-wise in half and brush the inside with the olive oil mixture.

Prepare grill . Remove shrimp from marinade and cook until the shrimp turns pink, about 1 1/2 minute on each side depending on the heat of the grill. Remove shrimp and place bread on the grill , cut side with olive oil past down and grill until toasted brown. Remove from grill.

To serve dish add shrimp , cover with broccoli rabe pesto and cut bread into slices arranging around the shrimp and pesto. Drizzle with a little olive oil before serving.

 

Note: This could also be make on stove top in a grill pan. Heat a tablespoon of  olive oil to cook shrimp on both sides until pink and then grill bread face down in pan until toasted.

 

Tip: When buying broccoli rabe look for bright green and crisp leaves. Never buy with any yellow leaves.

Moroccan Marinated Lamb Chops

The key ingredient to this marinade is the moroccan spice mixture of ras-el-hanout , a exotic mixture that might include up to 30 ingredients such as  rosebuds, cardamon, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, turmeric, coriander, cloves, lavender, ginger, pepper and mace. Obviously, you would want to buy this already prepared. When I first started to cook with this moroccan spice it was hard to find ras-el-hanout but today it’s in many supermarkets and of course readily available on-line.  You can double this marinade and use on leg of lamb as well.  The results are a very flavorful lamb with a minimum of effort.  Enjoy!

From by the bay, wishing you exotic moroccan food memories!

Maryann

blog lambchops

 

Moroccan Marinaded Lamb Chops

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 12 lamb chops, bone in

for moroccan marinade

  • 1 tablespoon ras-el-hanout
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro coarsely chopped

Directions

To make marinade place all marinade ingredients into a food processor and pulse into a paste. Pour marinade into a resealable plastic bag along with lamb chops. Rub paste into chops and keep refrigerated for at least 4 hours .  Bring to room temperature before cooking on grill or in grill pan using a little olive oil a few minutes on each side until done ( depending on thickness and your preference of color).

Serve with greek yogurt or tzatziki sauce – see recipe for tzatziki sauce

http://blog.entertainingbythebay.com/2014/05/greek-mezes/

 

 

 

Food Beat: Kenney Dale Johnson Drummer for Chris Isaak Discovering Local Cuisine on the Road

Sharing an interview from awhile back with Kenney Dale Johnson the fantastic drummer for Chris Issak – thought I would share again since they are currently on tour and not to be missed!

blog beyond the sun

 

Food Beat: Kenney Dale Johnson Drummer for Chris Isaak Discovering Local Cuisine on the Road

By Maryann Kraker

There has been a lot of chatter over the past few months about food as the new rock and roll and chefs as the new rock stars. While I’m not sure we’ll ever see chefs inducted into a food hall of fame, it seems to me that rock stars and musicians are certainly in a position to be experts on food based on their rigorous touring schedules. They have a unique opportunity to explore foods throughout the world.

I had the chance to catch up with Kenney Dale Johnson the other day about food on the road. Kenney is the gifted drummer for Chris Isaak providing a great beat along with backup vocals. He has been playing with Chris for almost 30 years. Over a span that long, we are talking a lot of gigs and travel.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to sample fare from all over the world, it’s pretty cool. I’m very adventurous.”

I asked Kenney if he has a favorite meal discovered while touring and as if to prove his adventurousness, he said, “so many I couldn’t possibly name only one. We go to Australia, Europe, all over the United States, not just the big cities and there is good food everywhere.” Kenney recalled a favorite meal in Paris “we’ve been there a million times,” where he enjoyed trying local specialties such as the sweetbreads and chittlin sausage.

When it comes to food in the United States, Kenney’s favorite is Tex-Mex. In fact, when I asked Kenney what food he misses while on tour, he said, “naturally it’s Mexican food. It’s my favorite. It’s really hard to get good Mexican food east of the Mississippi.” I asked if Kenney ever tried Mexican food in New York and his response was “I wouldn’t be searching in NY.” It might not be Mexican but Kenney does enjoy dining in New York. Two of his favorite restaurants are “Tratorria Dell Arte and Virgil’s Real Barbecue. “

Now barbecue is something Kenney really knows about being from Texas. Kenney’s favorite barbecue is “brisket and ribs.” Kenney spoke about some great barbecue he had on the road such as, “Carolina’s Mustard-based Barbecue Sauce and Blueberry-based Barbecue Sauce in Nashville.” When Kenney is home grilling he is making ribs , mostly wet, although Kenney found a great dry rub that he uses from “Charlie Vergo’s Rendezvous Charcoal Ribs in Memphis.” Kenney “bought a bunch of the rub and uses it to make chicken. That place is a kick in the pants if you ever get to go there.”

Kenney got to recently spend some time in Memphis while recording “Beyond The Sun,” the album recently released by Chris Isaak and the band, as well as their new PBS special “Chris Isaak Live! Beyond The Sun”. The album is a collection of Sun cover songs from the early days of Sun Studio including Elvis Presley’s ”Can’t Help Falling in Love,” Jerry Lee Lewis’s “Great Balls of Fire,” Carl Perkins’ “Dixie Fried” and Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” just to name a few of the 36 songs on the album.

Our conversation moved on to some food trivia questions, for example is there a sandwich named Kenney Dale Johnson, if not what would it be? He confessed he had never really given it any thought, but he does know where he can find his favorite sandwiches. He likes Art’s Delicatessen on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City, CA. “It’s pretty awesome, where every sandwich is a work of art.”

When I asked if Kenney’s photo was hanging in any restaurants, Kenney’s response , “ Now it’s funny when we were making a TV show up in Vancouver there is this really cool place called “The Crab Shack”. I put my picture up there. Michael Buble` is from there and he would see the picture and go what the…. What is this doing in here?”

Well, if you see Kenney’s picture hanging up in a restaurant, you know you are in the right place, this is a guy who really knows good food when he finds it.

 

Here’s a list of the restaurants Kenney’s mentioned:

Trattoria Dell’Arte 900 Seventh Avenue New York, New York

Virgil’s Real Barbecue 152 West 44th Street New York, New York

Charlie Vergo’s Rendezvous Charcoal Ribs 52 S 2nd Street Memphis Tennessee

Art’s Delicatessen Restaurant 12224 Ventura Blvd. Studio City , California

The Crab Shack 2464 Dollarton Highway North Vancouver British Columbia