Tag Archives: cocktail party recipes

Homemade Potato Chips

farm potato

The perfect comfort food treat- homemade potato chips – make it interesting by using different varieties of potatoes, I  tried purple fingerling potatoes and just loved the deep violet color. The skin is smooth and edible so no need to peel. This is perfect along side your favorite champagne, wine or well with almost anything.

From by the bay wishing you vivid homemade food memories!


blog blue potato chips


Homemade Potato Chips


28 ounces canola  oil
3-4 medium russet potatoes (about 1-1/4 pounds) or Blue Yukon
Fine sea salt


Pour oil  into 4-quart saucepan  about 3 inches deep. Use a thermometer and heat oil to 375º F. Scrub potatoes, remove deep eyes and blemishes from skin. Slice potatoes thinly, about 1/16-inch using a mandoline (manual slicer) . Place slices into a large bowl of ice water covering potatoes and let soak for 30 minutes. Drain water from potatoes and repeat placing potato slices in another bowl of ice water for 30 more minutes. Remove excess water by processing in salad spinner and then blot with paper towels to prevent spattering while frying. Line two baking sheets with paper towels. Deep fry potatoes in 2 to 3 batches, stirring potatoes occasionally, until light golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle hot chips with sea salt to taste; toss to coat evenly. Repeat with remaining potatoes. Before serving you can reheat the chips on an unlined baking sheet in a single layer in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.

Chili Parmesan Crisps

The perfect cocktail or wine companion are these chili parmesan crisps. Easy to make and delicious to eat, you’ll discover a new food addiction! If you don’t like chili, you can replace the red chili flakes with one of these options such as crushed black pepper, fennel seeds, minced rosemary or thyme. These crisps also make a great snack for on the go. Try them out this weekend!

From by the bay wishing you, crispy food memories.


blog chili parm crackers

Chili Parmesan Crisps


  • 5 ounces shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt


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 parm crisps tray

New Year’s Eve Easy Party Snacks

Here’s a couple of my favorite party recipes , easy to use for New Year’s Eve or any party!

From my the bay wishing you Happy New Year’s Eve memories!


blog olives 1

Marinated Olives with Orange and Cranberries


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

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 bacon date

Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Provolone
24 pieces

24 pitted Medjool dates
12 slices bacon
2 ounces provolone cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the bacon slices in half with a scissor. Cut the provolone cheese into 24 small sticks approximately 1” x 1 ¼”. Place cheese into the date. Wrap date with a ½ slice of bacon and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes and turn the dates over and bake for 15 more minutes until the bacon is crispy. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
You can make these with other sharp cheeses such as Manchego, Parmesan or Soft Gorgonzola.

blog pickle grapes

Pickled Grapes with Rosemary and Chiles


6 cups stemmed mixed red and green seedless grapes (about 2 pounds)
2 cups distilled white vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
3 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
Leaves from 1 four-inch sprig rosemary
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried red chile flakes


Pack the grapes into 3 pint-size glass containers with lids. Pour the vinegar and 1 cup water into a saucepan, set it over medium-high heat, and add the salt, sugar, garlic, rosemary, and chile flakes. When the mixture starts to simmer, remove the pan from the heat and divide the hot brine among the pints of grapes. Cover loosely and let cool to room temperature. Cover tightly and chill in the refrigerator for about 1 hour before serving. The pickles will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.

Reprinted from The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern: Knockout Dishes with Down-Home Flavor by Matt and Ted Lee. Copyright © 2009 Published by Clarkson Potter

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Yield: Makes 1 1/2 quarts

blog curry cashews

Curried Cashews
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
¾ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups raw whole cashews
Additional coarse sea salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Heat olive oil in pan add curry powder, salt, cayenne pepper and cook until fragrant – approximately 1 min.
Add cashews and coat nuts for one to two minutes. Remove from heat and place on baking sheet in one layer. Bake for 12-15 minutes, stirring once. Remove from oven, sprinkle with additional sea salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.

blog shrimp cocktail

Bloody Mary Cocktail Sauce

3/4 cup organic low sodium ketchup
3 tablespoons grated horseradish
1/4 teaspoon tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon vodka, optional

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and chill until ready to use. Serve with shrimp, crab or lobster.

Bloody Mary Mix with Candied Bacon

 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!


blog bloody mary

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.



Caramelized Onion and Fennel Focaccia

A onion fennel focaccia 012

Caramelized Onion and Fennel Focaccia



  • 1 tablespoon fine sugar
  • 1 ½ cups very hot water
  • 1 package yeast
  • 3 cups flour plus flour for kneading ( ½- 1 cup)
  • Spray cooking oil



  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large Vidalia onion thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fennel thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seed
  • ½ cup grated gruyere cheese
  •  ½ teaspoon Grey sea salt to top bread


Directions to make dough:


In a bowl dissolve sugar in 1 ½ cup hot water, then add the yeast cover with a towel and set aside for 10 minutes. The mixture should start to foam. Add 3 cups of flour mix and turn dough onto floured surface. Put some flour on top of the dough and on your hands and knead for about 5 minutes. As you work the dough add enough flour to make the dough less tacky. After kneading, spray a bowl with cooking oil. Place dough into bowl. Spray the top of dough with more cooking oil spray. Cover the bowl with a moist dishtowel and place to the side to rise for 1 1/2hr. The dough should be double in size. Punch the dough down. Take a non stick rimmed cooking sheet 9” x 13”, spray lightly with cooking oil and spread dough out to the size of the pan. Cover with damp dishtowel and let rise again for 30 minutes.


Directions to make topping:


Take a sauté pan to medium flame add butter. To melted butter add the sliced onions and fennel, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper and cook until brown and caramelized stirring frequently not to burn, approximately 15 minutes. Add the fennel seed and let cool.


Directions to bake bread:


Preheat over to 425F , take the cooking sheet with dough and using finger tips press into the dough making dimples. Spread the onion fennel mixture over the top leaving 1 inch not covered around the perimeter of the pan. Next added the grated cheese and the grey sea salt. Place in oven and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm or room temperature.

Cool Cucumber Salsa

In the height of summer, cucumbers abound. Here is a perfect summer side dish for those sultry summer nights. The cucumbers make a crisp, cool base for this salsa. It’s great to serve with fish, chicken or with some grilled vegetable kebabs.
From by the bay, wishing you cool food memories!
blog cuke salsa

Cool Cucumber Salsa

2 English Cucumbers, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fine granulated sugar
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lime, juice and zest
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and place in a refrigerator for at least two hours before serving.
Note: You can also use regular cucumbers, but remove the seeds before chopping. It’s easiest if after you peel the cucumber slice length wise in half , take a spoon and scoop out the seeds.You might want to add a little more sugar to taste, sometimes regular cucumbers are little more bitter.

Maple- Glazed Peanuts and Bacon

I was wandering through the Food Hall in Grand Central Terminal and happened upon these beautifully packaged and very addictive tasting peanuts! They are from ” The Redhead” Restaurant in Manhattan http://theredheadnyc.com/. They are without a doubt the perfect combination of sweet and salty, and then you add bacon and well this is one perfected recipe. Fortuantely, it seems as if the recipe was shared with Food and Wine and Meg Grace, who I think is a fantastic contributor. Now you can head to Murray’s Cheese Shop in Grand Central and buy these tasty little morsels or you can make them just as easily. I suggest using a great quality thick cut bacon – such  as one using bershire pork and if your tastes lean to the spicy side like mine do, I increased the about of Old Bay Seasoning from 3/4 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon. The menu at “The Redhead” reads ” because everything is better with bacon” and isn’t that so true!

From by the bay wishing you tasty food memories, with bacon please!

blog maple peanuts


Maple- Glazed Peanuts and Bacon
Recipe from “The Redhead” restaurant published in Food and Wine by Meg Grace
Makes about 4 cups

1/2 cup pure maple syrup
3 cups unsalted roasted peanuts ( 1 pound)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon thyme leaves, minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
3 thick slices of bacon , 3 ounces ( note I use a little more)
1 tablespoon fine sea salt or kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt such as Maldon Salt

Preheat oven to 325 degree F. In a medium skillet , cook the bacon over modrate heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain and cool. Finely, chop the bacon into small pieces. In a medium bowl mix together the thyme, fine sea salt, Old Bay, cayenne and dry mustard. Add the peanuts, maple syrup and bacon and toss until the peanuts are evenly coated. Scrape the nuts onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, stirring at least once, until the maple syrup has thickened. Remove from oven and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.  Let peanuts cool completely, stirring frequently to break up any large clumps. Transfer the peanuts to a glass jar or a bowl and serve.

Peanuts will last 5 days when stored in an airtight container – but these are SO GOOD, it’s not likely to last!

Spicy Maple Roasted Marcona Almonds

One of my guilty pleasures as evening approaches here by the bay is watching the glorious sunsets with a glass of chilled white wine and some little nibble along with it. These spicy maple roasted marcona almonds are the perfect pairing to a glass of wine. Each bit captures the perfect mix of being savory and sweet with an under note of heat. The best part is just how simple these cocktail nuts are to make. Enjoy!
From by the bay, wishing you savory and  sweet food memories!
blog marcona almonds
Spicy Maple Roasted Marcona Almonds
1 1/2 cups marcona almonds, roasted and salted
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon smoked spanish paprika
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh coarse sea salt, such as Maldon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl toss all ingredients except the salt. Turn onto the lined baking sheet, spreading into a single layer. Bake nuts for about 20 minutes, until the nuts are golden and bubbling. Sprinkle with the sea salt and let cool for 20 minutes, before breaking about. Serve immediately or store in an air tight container for up to one week.
Note: if you can’t find marcona almonds this will also work with regular dry roasted almonds or actually any dry roasted nuts that you prefer.

Mini Peanut Butter Cups

I love movies and like people all over the world, I’ll be watching the Academy Awards to see who will be walking on to the stage to accept each award. It’s fun television and although I might be boring and watching those awards home in my pajamas, I definitely like to make the evening a little bit of an event. I like to serve some champagne while watching and indulge some bit size food, including the dessert. For this year, I’m planning on making these mini peanut butter cups. They are decadently delicious and yet easy to make. Now, let’s get down to business , which film is winning Best Picture??
From by the bay, wishing you starry food memories!
blog peanut cup
Mini Peanut Butter Cups
Makes 12 mini cups
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
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.

food peanut cup 2

Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Provolone

Well, we are well into the holidays season and still a few parties to go from now until New Year’s.  I thought I would share my all time favorite crowd pleasing appetizer recipe . Variations of this recipe abound but if you have never tried it , you definitely should. It’s easy to make and assemble in advance for a party, which is a plus in book for any party recipe.

From by the bay wishing you happy holiday food memories!


blog bacon date

Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Provolone

24 pieces


24 pitted Medjool dates

12 slices bacon

2 ounces provolone cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the bacon slices in half with a scissor. Cut the provolone cheese into 24 small sticks approximately 1” x 1 ¼”. Place cheese into the date. Wrap date with a ½ slice of bacon and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes and turn the dates over and bake for 15 more minutes until the bacon is crispy. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.


You can make these with other sharp cheeses such as Manchego, Parmesan or Soft Gorgonzola.