Category Archives: appetizer

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

Savory Rosemary Parmesan Biscotti

Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs. I love the taste, aroma and look of rosemary. This is my must have herb that I use over and over again while cooking. It’s especially nice that rosemary also offers some health benefits as well. This recipe is a delicious change up on the traditional biscotti. It’s a savory version prepared with rosemary, parmesan cheese , walnuts, cracked black pepper and fennel seeds. This biscotti is perfect served with a runny cheese and a glass of wine for cocktails or on the side of a green salad , soup or omelette. You’ll love the taste!

From by the bay, wishing you rosemary flavored food memories!

Maryann

 

rose-mar-y

noun

  1. an evergreen shrub, Rosmarinus officinalis, part of the mint family, which is native to the Mediterranean region, having thick, narrow leaves and pale-blue, bell-shaped flowers, used in cooking to flavor foods, as well as used in perfumery and medicine. Rosemary is a traditional symbol of remembrance.

Rosemary has several health benefits. Some of the benefits are reducing anxiety, elevating mood, boosting memory, offering brain protection, pain relief, headache relief and anti-inflammatory.

Savory Rosemary Parmesan Biscotti

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for kneading
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted softened butter, 12 tablespoons
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • coarse sea salt such as Maldon for topping

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the peppercorns and fennel in a spice grinder and pulse until coarsely ground. In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, fine sea salt, rosemary, fennel and pepper. In a separate bowl, using a mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add three of the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add the cheese and nuts and mix well, then add the dry ingredients until the mixture just comes together. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and with floured hands roll into logs to a length of about 12 inches and width of 1 1/2 inches. Whisk the remaining egg and brush it over the dough. Place logs side by side on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the logs with the coarse sea salt, and bake for about 30 minutes or until the logs are light brown and firm to touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool 20 minutes on a rack. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs into 1/2 inch slices and arrange the slices cut side down on the baking sheet. Return to the 350 degrees F oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Turn, and bake another 5 minutes or until firm to the touch. Cool completely before storing.

 

Roasted Cauliflower Hummus

Inspired by all the cauliflower dishes on menus today and the great appreciation of a vegetable that for many years was out of favor, here is a delicious hummus celebrating cauliflower! It’s brightened with lemon juice and given texture with the use of several garnishes. The most interesting garnish being popcorn. I think it’s a great idea to make enough popcorn to not only garnish the hummus but to serve along to guests. If you don’t want to serve popcorn you can easily pop some corn in a small sauce pan with a cover over medium heat just adding a few dried kernels and cover. Shake a few times to ensure the corn does not burn, you’ll know when it’s ready by listening carefully to the corn popping. I like to serve this along with a nice toasted multi-grain bread.

From by the bay, wishing you warm cauliflower food memories!

Maryann

blog-cauli-hummus

Roasted Cauliflower Hummus

Ingredients

  • 28 ounces cauliflower florets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1/2 cup
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

To garnish use approximately 1 tablespoon of each depending on your preferences

  • dill
  • red onion  pickled with red vinegar
  • roasted and salted pumpkin seeds
  • fresh popcorn

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss cauliflower with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and roasted in the oven until cauliflower starts to caramelize and is soft, approximately 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. In a small dish add the red onion and red wine vinegar and mix. The vinegar will softened and pickle the onions. Once the cauliflower is cool add to a food processor along with the tahini, olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Process until smooth. Taste to adjust for seasoning. Serve at room temperature or keep refrigerated until ready to use. Garnish with pickled onions, pumpkin seeds, popcorn and dill. Serve with toasted multi-grain bread.

Fresh Roasted Figs with Gorgonzola

blog-roasted-figs

Loving this time of year and one of the best things available in early September is figs! I just picked up some Black Mission Figs at the market and was deciding how to prepare them, when my mother recalled some of her fond food memories about eating figs as a young child in Brooklyn. Her parents had a few figs trees in their small backyard. My grandmother prepared the figs with honey. I found this recipe from Emeril Lagasse , loving that the figs are roasted stuffed with blue cheese for a salty note and finished honey for additional sweetness. We loved this recipe, especially my mother remembering her childhood with this food memory!

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

Maryann

Fresh Roasted Figs with Gorgonzola

Adapted from Food Network Recipe by Emeril Lagasse, 2004

Ingredients

12 ripe figs
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Gorgonzola
1/3 cup good-quality honey
4 pinches finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Using a paring knife, carefully trim any tough portion of the stems from each fig. Rub each fig all over with extra-virgin olive oil, then slice down through the stem about 3/4-inch. Make a second cut perpendicular to the first cut, so that you have an X-shaped cut in the top of each fig. Gently pry the edges apart and stuff each fig with about 1 teaspoon of the Gorgonzola. Place the figs upright on a baking sheet and bake until the figs are plump and shiny but have not burst, about 10 minutes.
Drizzle equal amounts of the honey on each of 4 serving plates and place the figs on top of the honey. Sprinkle each plate with a pinch of the chopped rosemary and some of the remaining Gorgonzola. Serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, 2004

 

Ricotta Stuffed Pattypan Squash

blog pattypan

 

I love how cute pattypan squash looks. I can’t resist food this pretty and cute. So I found myself faced with a bag of pattypan squash along with the question, how should I prepare this sweet little vegetable.  My answer was no further than preparing my favorite filling for zucchini flowers and adding an egg and some cheese to make it firmer. A quick bake in the oven and you have the perfect little appetizer. If you find tiny ones the stuffing will fill more than 12 , think of this as a summer version of a stuffed mushroom. Or you can serve slightly larger pattypans on a bed of lightly dressed greens as a first course, or a light summer lunch or dinner. Enjoy!

From by the bay , wishing you cute pattypan food memories!

Maryann

blog pattypan veg

Ricotta Stuffed Pattypan Squash

Serves Six

Ingredients

12 small patty squash

2 tablespoons olive oil

Ingredients for filling

1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese

1 tablespoon mint, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon thai red chili, minced

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 egg

Optional: Dress with additional olive oil and flake sea salt such as Maldon

blog pattypan scoop

Directions

To prepare squash rinse and cut off the tops with stem leaving approximately 3/4 of the squash remaining on the bottom. Use a teaspoon and gently scoop the flesh and seeds making a small circular hole. Make sure not to break the remaining outside of the squash. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. In a small bowl mix the ingredients for filling until blended.  Brush each squash with olive oil. Place on the foil lined baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Use a teaspoon to fill each squash with cheese filling. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for approximately 5 minutes longer to brown the tops of the filled squash. Remove from oven. Serve warm or room temperature on a bed of you favorite lightly dressed greens, such as arugula.  Once the pattypans are assembled on the lettuce drizzle lightly with additional olive oil and sprinkle with flake sea salt.

 

Festive Red Beet Hummus

Looking for festive foods to add to your 4th of July holiday menu?   Try this recipe for red beet hummus. This is unique hummus is a feast for both the eyes and your taste buds. A slow braise of the beets in the oven makes this easy to prepare along with your food processor. I love the pink red vibrant color!

From by the bay, wishing you festive 4th of July food memories!

Maryann

blog beet hummus

Beet Hummus

Makes 4 cups

As seen in Food and Wine Contributed By Eli Sussman and Max Sussman  Published June 2016
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds red beets, scrubbed
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup tahini
  • Kosher salt
  • Warm pita bread, for serving

blog beet hummus 2

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425°. In a medium enameled cast-iron casserole, cover the beets with water and bring to a boil. Cover and braise in the oven for about 2 hours, until very tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beets to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, slip 
off the skins. Cut the beets into 1-inch pieces, spread them on a baking sheet and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour. In a food processor, combine the braised beets with the garlic, coriander and lemon juice and pulse until finely chopped. With the machine on, slowly drizzle 
in the olive oil until incorporated and the beet puree is smooth. Scrape into a bowl and whisk in the tahini. Season with salt and serve with pita bread.

Spring Pea Guacamole from ABC Cucina

This recipe combines some of the best aspects of Spring-  early spring peas and celebrating Cinco de Mayo. I, unfortunately, can’t take credit for this vibrant combination of spring peas and avocados, Chef Jean-George Vongerichten serves this incredible dish at ABC Cocina in New York. He fortunately shared this recipe with Tasting Table and I’m passing it along. The few extra steps to make this guacamole is well worth the extra work, as it rewards in it’s outstanding flavor. Celebrate the season and the holiday this week !

From by the bay, wishing you sweet green pea food memories!

Maryann

blog pea guacamole

Spring Pea Guacamole from ABC Cucina

Recipe adapted from Jean-Georges Vongerichten, ABC Cocina, New York City as seen on Tasting Table

INGREDIENTS

Ice

¾ cup shelled sweet peas

¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped

1 tablespoon sunflower seeds

1 medium jalapeño

1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

2 ripe avocados–halved, pitted and peeled

3 scallions, white parts only, thinly sliced crosswise

2 tablespoons finely grated lime zest, plus

¼ cup fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)

Pinch sea salt

Tortilla chips, for serving
DIRECTIONS

1. Fill a large bowl with ice and water. To a medium saucepan of boiling water, add the peas and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the whole cilantro leaves and cook just long enough to wilt them, about 5 seconds. Strain both the peas and cilantro into a fine-mesh sieve and plunge the sieve into the ice water to stop the cooking. Once the peas are cool, transfer them to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Place the cilantro in a few layers of paper towels and wring dry.

2. To a skillet set over medium-high heat, add the sunflower seeds and toast until fragrant and golden-brown, about 1 minute. Transfer the sunflower seeds to a medium plate. To the skillet, add the whole jalapeño. Cook, using tongs to turn it often, until the jalapeño is charred, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the chile to a small bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 5 minutes. Peel the charred skin from the jalapeño, remove the stem, halve the chile lengthwise and remove the seeds with the tip of a paring knife.

3. To the small bowl insert of a food processor (or using a small capacity food processor), add all but 2 tablespoons of the cooled peas, the blanched cilantro, the charred jalapeño and ½ teaspoon of the kosher salt. Pulse the mixture until it is coarsely chopped, about 20 one-second pulses. Transfer the pea mixture to a medium bowl.

4. To the peas, add the avocados, scallions, lime zest, lime juice and remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Mash with a fork. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the sunflower seeds, the remaining peas, the chopped cilantro and the pinch of sea salt. Serve with the tortilla chips.

Award Winning Party Foods

and the winners are these delicious appetizers that will make your party Oscar worthy!!

From by the bay wishing you Award winning food memories!

Maryann

blog clam dip

Caramelized Onion Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha hot chili sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup good quality mayonnaise

Directions

In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the onions and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 25 minutes. Let the onions cool slightly, about 15 minutes.
In a food processor add  1/2 the onions and the remaining ingredients and blend. Stir in the onions and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Serve at room temperature.

blog chili parm crackers

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

 

blog olives 1

Marinated Olives with Orange and Cranberries

Ingredients

1/2 pound green pitted olives, such as manzanilla
1 shallot, minced
1/4 fresh orange cut into 1 inch pieces, with rind
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon rosemary leaves
Directions

Bring 1 cup water to boil in small sauce pan. Remove from heat and add cranberries. Let sit 15 minutes and drain and cool in mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

blog peanut cup

Mini Peanut Butter Cups
Makes 12 mini cups
Ingredients
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
6 tablespoons ground graham crackers
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 ounces milk chocolate
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoons light corn syrup
Coarse Sea Salt , such as Maldon
Baking Spray
Directions
Take a non stick mini muffin tin and spray with your baking spray or line each cup with a paper liner. In a bowl add the sugar, cinnamon and graham cracker crumbs, mix and set aside. Use a glass bowl to microwave peanut butter and butter in 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval until mixture is smooth. Usually, doing this twice will work. Add this mixture to your graham cracker mixture and stir to combine. Use a teaspoon to place mixture into the bottom of each muffin tin. Place filled muffin tin into the refrigerator to set. Now add the chocolate to the microwave and melt using 30 second intervals to stir the melting chocolate 2-3 times should do it. Once the chocolate is melted add the cream and corn syrup. Stir until smooth. Take the peanut butter filled muffin tin and fill with melted chocolate. Sprinkle coarse sea salt on the top. Place back into the refrigerator and let set for another 30 minutes before serving. You can remove the peanut butter cups from the tin and store in a plastic container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Variations: to the ground graham crackers , cinnamon and sugar mixture you can omit the cinnamon and add 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder to have a chocolate peanut butter bottom, or you can use bittersweet chocolate instead of milk chocolate and omit the light corn syrup to top your peanut butter cups.

blog star cookies

Sugar Cookies

From the Food Network, Alton Brown

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough
Directions
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If dough has warmed during rolling, place cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill. Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat. Sprinkle with colored sanding sugar and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Serve as is. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

Recipe courtesy of Alton BrownS

Caramelized Onion Dip

Here is a great entertaining recipe for any get together or party. I have wonderful  food memories from my childhood eating onion dip when my parents entertained. It was a favorite dip in our house, probably in many houses.  You opened a dry soup mix and added it to sour cream and bam it ‘s a dip. Let me say I loved it growing up. In fact, my early days of cooking included many recipes using store bought soup in a package or can. Of course today, I love using fresh ingredients and with a little more effort the results deliver much better flavor and are far more healthy.  You’ll love this onion dip –  caramelizing the onions is the part that requires the most time, but the results are worth your time. Serve with your favorite potato chips and enjoy!

From by the bay wishing you yummy onion dip food memories!

Maryann

blog clam dip

Caramelized Onion Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha hot chili sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup good quality mayonnaise

Directions

In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the onions and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 25 minutes. Let the onions cool slightly, about 15 minutes.
In a food processor add  1/2 the onions and the remaining ingredients and blend. Stir in the onions and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Serve at room temperature.