Category Archives: desserts

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.

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.

 

Peppermint Shortbread

Well, with Christmas fast approaching, perhaps you are looking for that perfect Christmas cookie for your platter or maybe you are looking for something new to add to try for the holiday. Well, search no more this is soon to be your favorite cookie. Consider a cookie that combines the taste of shortbread, candy canes and chocolate……….what????

Yes, your Christmas dreams should have visions of peppermint shortbread dancing in your head! If you don’t care for chocolate and yes there are some who don’t , this cookie is delicious without chocolate too. I only dip half of my cookies and both versions are eaten quickly!

From by the bay, wishing you sweet peppermint shortbread food memories!

Maryann

Peppermint Shortbread

Adapted from Ina Garten Shortbread recipe 2008 as published for the Food Network

  • 3/4 pound unsalted butter , at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup red and green peppermint candy crunch ( crushed into small pieces)
  • 6 to 7 ounces good quality dark chocolate

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Add the candy crunch and mix through. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut with a 2″ round cutter. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.

When the cookies are cool, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Put 3 ounces of the chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave on high power for 30 seconds. (Don’t trust your microwave timer; time it with your watch.) Stir with a wooden spoon. Continue to heat and stir in 30-second increments until the chocolate is just melted. Add the remaining chocolate and allow it to sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it’s completely smooth. Stir vigorously until the chocolate is smooth and slightly cooled; stirring makes it glossier.

Drizzle 1/3 to 1/2  of each cookie with just enough chocolate to coat it. Place on a rack so chocolate can set. Place in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Pear Cranberry Bread Pudding

Add this delicious recipe to your holiday line up! This recipe for Pear Cranberry Bread Pudding is quick to assemble making  for a perfect ending to a holiday meal serve warm with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream, an excellent addition to your holiday buffet along side a baked ham or use in place of french toast for breakfast or brunch with powdered sugar on top and a little warm maple syrup served on the side along with sausage or bacon! The cranberries give it a festive note. This bread pudding uses brioche bread that is toasted , it can be fresh or stale bread. No need to wait hours or overnight for soaking the bread pudding in the milk and eggs, just 5 to 10 minutes, so it can be assembled last minute. Try and enjoy this holiday season!

From by the bay wishing you yummy bread pudding food memories!

Maryann

Pear Cranberry Bread Pudding

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 pound broiche, cut into 1 inch cubes, with crust ( 1 loaf of broiche from 14 to 16 ounces )
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large pears ( such as Bosc) peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brandy such as Calvados
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 4 large eggs beaten
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the bread cubes evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden and dry, approximately 15 minutes. In the meantime, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saute pan, then add the pears and 1/4 cup sugar. Continue to cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until the pears become soft and caramelized, approximately 15 minutes. Stir in cinnamon. Remove from heat, then add the brandy and cranberries. Stir well. The mixture should be syrupy and thick, if not place back on a low heat until it’s syrupy. Set aside. In a large bowl beat together the milk, eggs, 3/4 cup of sugar and vanilla extract. Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Brush a  8″ by 11″ baking dish with about 1/3 of the melted butter. Add the bread cubes and then the custard mixture, stir well coating the bread cubes. Next add the pear and cranberry mixture to the bread and custard, mix again well. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes so the bread will soak some of the custard. Place in the oven and bake for approximately 50 minutes until golden brown and the custard is set. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. To serve sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and then serve with whipped cream or ice cream if serving for dessert.

Note: If not serving immediately, cover with foil to keep warm . Serve within the hour.

 

Entertaining: What’s Cooking Labor Day Weekend!

If you are like me, you are finding it very hard to believe that September and Labor Day Weekend are here!  But with that we like to celebrate Labor Day Weekend with friends and family. Here are a few of the recipes I’ll be using to entertaining this weekend!

Part of my holiday weekend will be filling the house with some sunflowers, while I still can. Nothing says late summer more to me than sunflowers! In addition, I’ll be using the best of the produce from the farm stands this weekend and corn is still at it’s peak! I’ll be making some corn hummus with corn leftover from another meal. You need just four extra ears.  This recipe calls for roasting the corn in the oven at 425 for 45 minutes wrapped in foil. I’ve been making my corn like this all summer, it’s easy to prep in advance and really easy to serve a crowd of people. I prep it before anyone arrives, leave it on a tray in the oven and just turn the oven on an hour before I want to serve it warm. Delicious!! so make a few extra and also make Roasted Sweet Corn Hummus

Another favorite meal that is an easy meal for a crowd that is delicious and super simple to make is Brisket with Cola Barbecue Sauce. You’ll love the flavor using your favorite NON-DIET Cola in your sauce!

Wondering what to serve along side this dish , you definitely need some fresh coleslaw. I like to make my Grandma’s Coleslaw with Warm Dressing.  Definitely, a comforting complement to the brisket!

The perfect dessert for a crowd is a crumble and this crumble mixes blueberries and plums for a slightly sweet and spicy dish. You will love my Blueberry Plum Crumble!

If you need a breakfast brunch idea for the weekend, one of my favorite dishes is Vanilla Bourbon Soaked French Toast. I use big thick slices of brioche soaked in vanilla and bourbon. Bourbon? Why not it’s a holiday weekend and the french toast is topped with a  yummy mixed berry and plum compote!

I will definitely try to bake some cookies this weekend to have around the house and in celebration of sunflowers I think I’ll be baking sugar cookies topped with sanding sugar to look like my beautiful sunflowers! Use my Favorite Sugar Cookie recipe!

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

Maryann

 

Roasted Sweet Corn Hummus

Brisket with Cola Barbecue Sauce

Grandma’s Coleslaw with Warm Dressing

Blueberry Plum Crumble

Vanilla Bourbon Soaked French Toast

Favorite Sugar Cookie

Entertaining: What’s Cooking? It’s Yellow!

Here is what’s cooking this weekend by the bay and I’m keeping it yellow, hopefully as yellow as the sun brightly shining in the sky.

To kick off my weekend of sunshine eating, I’m making my Cornmeal and Sweet Corn Pancakes. A delicious start to any weekend, using some farm fresh yellow corn or use your leftover corn from the night before mixed with some corn meal .

Dinner is a nice bowl of Fresh Corn with Shrimp Grits, it doesn’t get better than a bowl creamy grits made with a corn broth, cooked along with shrimp and bacon and splashed with lemon juice to brighten the flavor. Served on the side a nice plate of yellow tomatoes, simply drizzled with a good olive oil and sprinkled with coarse sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Perfection.

Dessert is a lovely light and lemony pudding using my recipe for Lemon Posset

Sunday Lunch, I’ll be keeping it light and serving Ricotta stuffed PattyPan Squash , I like to find lovely smaller squash to fill and serve on a bed of arugula. Along side this another great yellow dish is Fresh Corn and Zucchini Salad.

A weekend of great food!

From by the bay, wishing you sunny yellow food memories!

Maryann

 

Cornmeal and Sweet Corn Pancakes

Ricotta Stuffed PattyPan Squash

Fresh Corn with Shrimp and Grits

Fresh Corn and Zucchini Salad

Lemon Posset

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

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

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.