Tag Archives: summer recipes

Vanilla Bourbon Soaked French Toast

It’s my first Sunday home after an inspiring vacation in Nashville, Tennessee! The food was so delicious and clearly many people are living the farm to table lifestyle, especially with the close proximity of farms to downtown Nashville. My weekend back home started with the trip to my local farm, where I found the ingredients to make a delicious late summer fruit compote of blackberries, raspberries and dark plums. This autumnal colored compote is a sweet complement to use at breakfast on top of french toast , pancakes or waffles, or at dinner on top of a pork chop or even for dessert on top of ice cream or a slice of pound cake. I decided today to recreate my Nashville experience with bourbon soaked french toast along with the mixed berry and plum compote. It’s a perfect brunch dish for s slow, relaxing Sunday in New York.
From by the bay, wishing you bourbon soaked food memories!
Maryann
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Vanilla Bourbon Soaked French Toast
Serves 4

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup bourbon ( up to 1/3 cup depending on preference)
4 whole eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
8 slices bread, ciabatta or brioche ( thick slices)
2-4 tablespoons unsalted butter as needed
Directions
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Set aside baking sheet with rack to hold french toast warm in oven. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the milk, sugar, bourbon, vanilla, eggs and cinnamon.  Pour into a shallow dish, I use a glass pie plate. Dip the bread into the batter and let sit a minute or two to soak. Add butter to a hot griddle or non stick saute pan. Once the butter is melted place the battered bread on the pan and cook until the bread becomes golden brown. Flip the bread slice over and cook until the other side also becomes golden brown. Place toast on rack in warmed oven and continue to make your french toast using butter as needed. Once done place onto a platter and shift confectionary sugar on top. Serve with butter and maple syrup or fruit compote.
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Mixed Berry and Plum Compote

Ingredients
1 cup mixed berries such as raspberries and blackberries
1 cup chopped plum, pitted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
Directions
Place all the ingredients into a non reactive medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or when the plums are softened. Serve at room temperature. Can to stored in the refrigerator for about a week.

Lemon Poppyseed Plum Muffins

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My grandparents would grow italian plums on their small weekend farm. We always looked forward to early fall when we would have a short but sweet time to enjoy these little purple treats. When I found them at the local farm stand, I bought a big basket of plums and tasked myself with the best way to enjoy them. This weekend, the plums were worked into a delicious lemon and poppyseed muffin. It was a delicious combination and one I’m sure you would enjoy too! Hurry and buy some italian plums before they are gone for the year.
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Lemon Poppyseed Plum Muffins
12 standard size muffins
Ingredients for batter
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
3/4 cup fine granulated sugar
2 eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons poppyseed
2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups plums, pitted and chopped, preferably italian plums

Preheat oven to 350 Degree F. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin or use paper liner. Sift together in a bowl the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in poppy seeds and set aside. Using an electric mixer cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add one egg at a time, beating to combine.  Using a wooden spoon to mix, alternate adding the flour mixture with the milk, buttermilk, and lemon zest. Add plums and combine, try not to over mix. Pour the batter evenly, into each muffin tin, filling the cup almost to the top. Bake muffins in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Let cool slightly, and remove muffins from the tin. Serve warm or cooled at room temperature.

Cornmeal and Sweet Corn Pancakes

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Spying some fresh corn in the corner of my farmstand, I quickly moved  to take a few ears home with me to enjoy before the sweet corn is gone for the season. I immediately knew how to use the corn. Having recently returned from a recipe inspiring trip in Nashville, I wanted to try my hand at fresh corn and cornmeal pancakes. My breakfast food preferences lean towards the savory side while my sister Nancy loves a sweet breakfast. Finding a perfect breakfast to meet everyone’s preferences is not an easy task, but these cornmeal pancakes are the perfect solution. For those who like a savory breakfast these cornmeal pancakes with just a little butter on top are delicious just as they are. A perfect accompaniment would be some grilled ham, bacon or sausage. For those who like a sweeter breakfast, you can top your pancakes with some warm maple syrup or your favorite berries or some jam. When working on this recipe, I purposely used just a touch of sugar to keep the dish on the savory taste. As for technique, my preference is adding boiling water to the corn meal , as if i were making polenta. The buttermilk adds a touch of acidity and adds a lightness to the pancake. Everyone in your family will enjoy these pancakes!
From by the bay wishing you sweet corn food memories!
Maryann
blog corncakes

Cornmeal and Sweet Corn Pancakes
Serves 4

3/4 cup cornmeal

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 cup boiling water

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, plus additional butter for griddle
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, at room temperature

3/4 cup fresh corn, off the cob ( 1 ear)

Directions

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. In a medium bowl place the cornmeal, sugar and salt. Cover with boiling water and leave to the side from 5 to 10 minutes. In the meantime, in another bowl combine remaining dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and baking soda and mix. In a large measuring cup add the buttermilk , melted butter and  egg. Whisk together. Add the buttermilk mixture  to the cornmeal and mix. Add the remaining dry ingredients to the same bowl and combine. Lastly, fold the corn into the batter. Batter will be a little lumpy.  Heat a griddle pan, melt a tablespoon of butter and spread 1/4 cup of batter for each cake. Cook approximately two minutes on the first side, until the edge is set and the cake starts to bubble.  Flip the cake and cook another minute. Place on baking sheet and keep warm in oven. Repeat adding butter to the griddle as needed 1 tablespoon at a time until all cakes are made and ready to serve. Serve with butter or warmed maple syrup.

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Pasta with Roasted Summer Vegetables

It’s after Labor Day, and the signs of fall are sadly arriving everywhere. Acorns are dropping onto the deck, leaves are gently falling into the pool, evening’s are getting a little cooler and the farmer’s market stalls are starting to fill with up with chrysanthemums and gourds. I am determined to savour the end of summer by snapping up in my shopping basket eggplant and summer squash. Once I arrive home, I enjoy the task at hand , figuring out what I’ll make with all that eggplant and squash. I came up with this easy pasta dish , which is light and delicious and uses alot of fresh eggplant and squash. Roasting vegetables in a little olive oil , can make the most finicky eater love vegetables. I chopped the vegetables into nice little cubes, toss with a little olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper and roast in the oven. Next, I saute until crisp some great quality slab bacon or pancetta also cut into cubes. Cook some pasta and use some grated cheese and you have a fantastic meal. Enjoy your last days of summer with some fresh vegetables and savour the moment!

From by the bay, wishing you memorable end of summer food memories!

Maryann

blog summer veggies
Pasta with Roasted Summer Vegetables
Serves Four
Ingredients
8 ounces dried pasta such as tagliatelle or thin spaghetti, cooked according to directions.
2 cups cubed eggplant
2 cups cubed assorted summer squash, such as zucchini
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
4 ounces chopped good quality pancetta or slab bacon, cut into cubes
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup cooking water from pasta
fine sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste
Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Dice your eggplant and summer squash into cubes, approximately 1/4 inch in size. Dice your bacon or pancetta into similar size cubes. Line two roasted pans with foil. Place the eggplant cubes on one pan and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, coating the cubes. On the second pan add the squash, thyme and remaining olive oil. Toss well coating the squash. Place both pans in the oven and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes until the vegetables become soft and start to brown. Watch the vegetables as cooking time could vary depending on the cube size. Remove from oven and place in bowl and keep to the side. While the vegetables are roasting in the oven take a medium saute pan and add the pancetta or bacon and cook until crisp. Drain on a paper towel. Cook the pasta according to directions. Just before straining the cooked pasta, reserve 1 cup of cooking water. Place the pasta in a bowl , add the roasted vegetables, bacon and cheese. Add some of the cooking water to make the sauce creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

 

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Zucchini Salad with Toasted Pine nuts and Shaved Asiago Cheese

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Zucchini Salad with Toasted Pine nuts and Shaved Asiago Cheese
Serves Four
Ingredients
2 medium size zucchini
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, such as Maldon
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons basil
Asiago cheese , shaved to taste
Directions
Place a dry small pan on medium heat, add the pine nuts and toast in pan until they start to brown. Remove from heat and keep to the side. Take the zucchini and cut off the ends. Use a mandolin or box grater to slice thinly the zucchini length wise. Place on platter. Dress with the olive oil,  lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix well. Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving, allowing the zucchini slices to marinate. When ready to serve, top with the pine nuts, basil torn into pieces and the shaved Asiago cheese and then serve.

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Julia’s Crabcakes with Cilantro Mayonnaise

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Each summer our family would visit my mother’s sister Julia and her family at the Jersey shore. It was a big treat for all of us. We would spend our time running around outdoors and then come in to a wonderful meal. What better summer seaside meal then crabcakes. My aunt served them with tartar sauce and lemon.  So when my mom finally got around to getting the recipe, she named the crabcake as Julia’s Crabcakes (best ever made). This is no exageration. I didn’t  touch my aun’t recipe for the crabcakes. How can you improve on the best ever made?  I did add some cilantro mayonnaise and placed on a bed of sauté red peppers with fresh corn,  Yum!

From by the bay wishing you the best ever made food memories!
Maryann

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 Julia’s Crabcakes with Cilantro Mayonnaise

Serves 4

1 lb lump crabmeat, pick for cartilage

2 eggs beaten

2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

1 tablespoon finely chopped red bell pepper

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

¼ teaspoon Worchester sauce

½ cup bread crumbs

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

Juice of ½ a lime

½ teaspoon black pepper

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

Cilantro leaves to garnish

Directions

It’s very important that the lump crabmeat is very well picked over for any cartilage. Add to a bowl. In a small sauté pan use 1 tablespoon of butter and sauté the onion and pepper until very soft. Add to the crabmeat. Add the remaining ingredients except butter into the bowl. Form 8 crabcakes patties. Place on a tray and cover with plastic wrap. Keep in the fridge for an hour. Using a large skillet, melt butter and sauté  cakes until golden brown. Place on a bed of the red pepper and sweet corn sauté, add a little cilantro mayonnaise to the top of each cake and a few cilantro leaves. Serve remaining cilantro mayonnaise to the side.

Cilantro Mayonnaise

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic minced

2 tablespoons water

6 oz cilantro leaves

1 cup store bought mayonnaise

Juice of 2 limes

Zest of 1 lime

5 drops Tabasco

Directions

In a food processor combine olive oil, garlic and water. Add cilantro and puree. Add mayonnaise, Tabasco lime juice and zest and blend again. Remove and place in glass jar cover and refrigerate until ready to serve with crabcakes.

Mango and Honey Glazed Spareribs

Living and working in Manhattan is one of the best experiences in the world. There are however, tradeoffs around the contraints of apartment living. For someone like me,who has a passion for cooking, a small city kitchen requires alot of creativity and organziation. Entertaining in small spaces can be challenging. So when I bought my house by the bay, among the many wonders this house had to offer such as sweeping views of the water, open spaces, a great kitchen, there was one feature that I had no idea how much I would love.  Wait for it …….a walk in pantry. I love my pantry! Just keeping it stocked with interesting food items is fun. My souvenirs from traveling are now often food to place onto my pantry shelf in anticipation of creating some new dish. When I start thinking about a recipe I walk into the pantry and rummage through the shelves looking for ingredients to inspire me. The recipe below for Mango and Honey Glazed Spareribs is one such recipe. I always have some of Major Grey’s Mango Chutney on my pantry shelf.
Major Grey’s chutney is a combination of mango, lime juice, raisins, tamarind, onion and spices.  My dad loved this chutney and it’s exotic taste. I pulled the chutney off the shelf because it was getting close to the expiration date ( this is a whole other aspect of pantry living, managing to expiration dates ).  I used the chutney as the base to my glaze and the results were amazing.

From by the bay wishing you lovely chutney food memories!
Maryann

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Mango and Honey Glazed Spareribs

Serves 4 as main course or 8 as appetizer

2 ½ lbs. racks baby back ribs

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh ginger , grated

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

¼ cup honey

¼ cup vermouth

½ cup soy sauce

6 ounces mango chutney

Directions

Combine all ingredients into a plastic sealed bag. Place in refrigerator for at least 6 hours or better overnight. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking dish with aluminum foil and empty the entire contents of the plastic bag into the dish. Arrange ribs in pan in one layer. Place in oven and turn every 15 minutes as the ribs brown. Bake for approximately 45 minutes. Tranfer ribs to cutting board and let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

Sometimes I use country style ribs for this dish, in which case the cooking time is a little longer 1 hour. The meat literally falls off the bones – it delivers great favor and is more economic.

Tip: keep handy in the refrigerator tubes of garlic and ginger paste. They are available in Japanese specialty food stores. They are perfect for making quick marinades – without compromising the taste.

 

Brisket with Cola Barbecue Sauce

I have been intrigued with cooking with cola and other soft drinks ever since I first read about it – which was in the Nigella Lawson’s book “Nigella Bites”. Leave it to me to learn about Southern cooking  from a British food writer.  I started to experiment with barbecue sauce and the result is this jazzed up version for brisket. It’s a great way to entertain a crowd with big flavor and little work. The sweetness of the cola permeates the brisket which is then perfectly balanced with the acid coming from both the Balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. You will find yourself making dish over and over again. Yes, it’s that good!

From by the bay wishing you sweet cola food memories! Maryann

blog cola brisket

Brisket with Cola Barbecue Sauce

Serves 6

3 pounds brisket

3 cups cola barbecue sauce

Directions

Place brisket overnight in a sealed plastic bag along with the barbecue sauce. Next day, preheat oven to 275F. Empty the contents of the plastic bag into a Dutch oven include all the sauce. Cover with lid and place in the oven for approximately 4 hours. Brisket takes approximately 1 hours and 15 minutes per lb to cook. Remove from oven. Using two forks pull the meat apart and shred into the remaining sauce. Combine and serve. This can also be served as a sandwich using either fresh rolls  and coleslaw or as a soft taco along with some sour cream. 

 

Cola Barbecue Sauce

Makes 3 cups

12ozs. Cola

1 ½ cup ketchup

4 garlic cloves, smashed

5 bay leaves

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup Worcestershire Sauce

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

¼ teaspoon chili flakes

5 bay leaves

1 tablespoon fennel seeds

2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped

Directions

In a medium saucepan bring all ingredients to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes , sauce will thicken . Cool and use with steak, chicken or pork.

Note: no diet cola for this – the sugar is essential to the taste of the barbecue sauce.

 

Lobster Roll with Tarragon

Last weekend I had guests out from the city visiting by the bay. So when I was thinking about  what to serve my friends so that they could really experience the waterside, of course lobster came to mind, the quintessential waterside dish. I love lobster rolls and I make it many different ways. Sometimes I just want the simplicity of fresh lobster meat , a toasted roll and melted butter and it’s delicious. This weekend I wanted to kick up the ingredients for my lobster salad with Old Bay Seasoning to add warmth to the taste of cool mayonnaise, fresh herbs such as parsley and the slightly licorice flavor of tarragon and  a touch of fresh lemon juice to brighten all the flavors. My friends were taking the train from Penn Station, I told them to come early and I would pick them up in Port Washington and we would head over to the pier to buy some fresh lobsters. Once by the bay, I steamed the lobsters and made my salad. After a walk to the beach, we came back to have a terrific lunch of lobster rolls on the deck. What a perfect day!

From by the bay wishing you perfect waterside memories!
Maryann
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Lobster Roll with Tarragon

Serves 6

6 cups chilled lobster meat from 4 – 1  lb steamed lobster cut in chunks

½ cup celery, chopped fine

2 tablespoons scallions, chopped

¾ cup fine store bought mayonnaise

2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

4 tablespoons lemon juice

4 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped

4 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Pinch cayenne pepper

6 brioche rolls, top split

1/2 cup unsalted butter

Directions

To a bowl add lobster, scallion and celery. In a separate bowl , whisk together mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, tarragon, parsley, old bay seasoning, salt , pepper and cayenne pepper. Pour over the lobster mixture. Blend well. Place in refrigerator covered until ready to use.

Melt butter and brush the insides of the roll. Toast in a 400 degree F oven 4 minutes until golden brown. Fill buns with lobster salad and serve.

Fresh Corn with Shrimp and Grits

I got up early the other morning and when straight to the farm stand. I just love this time of year, especially the corn. I found some beautiful ears of butter and sugar corn which is a mix of yellow and white kernels. I wanted the corn to be the star of my dinner that night so I decided to make shrimp and grits. In order to have the delicious corn taste enhance each part of the dish, I shucked the corn to mix into the dish at the end and also make a corn stock that I used to make the sauce for the shrimp as well as to cook the grits. I finished the dish off with some fresh basil from my garden. The results were terrific. Don’t be daunted by the steps, they are all easy and go quickly, so definitely try it out.

From by the bay wishing you butter and sugar food memories!
Maryann
Tip: when shucking the corn, I place a large bowl in the skin and shuck the corn instead the
bowl, with a knife. This makes for an easy clean up afterward.
blog corn shrimp grits
Fresh Corn with Shrimp and Grits
Serves 6
Ingredients for stock
6 large ears corn, shucked, kernels and cobs separate, keep 1 1/2 cups corn kernels for shrimp
4 cups store bought low sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
Directions for stock
In a stock pot add all ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Remove the cobs from the stock and discard. Place remaining stock and corn into food processor and puree. Strain and keep stock to the side. You will have about 3 1/2 cups of stock. If you have less use less stock in the grits and add more water.
Note: This can be done in advance, earlier in the day.
Ingredients for grits
1 cup stone grounded grits
2 cups corn stock
2 cups water
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 pound unsalted butter
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons corn stock  or olive oil optional
Directions for grits
In a large sauce pan  4 cups of liquid in total – add stock, water, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Add grits and cook uncovered for about 20 to 25 minutes until liquid is absorbed into the grits, stirring occasionally so grits don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and add the butter and cheese, stirring well. Optional : Right before serving add 2 tablespoons of the corn stock or olive oil  to loosen the grits.
Ingredients for shrimp
2 pounds shrimp cleaned and deveined
4 ounces thick cut bacon, chopped into cubes
1 1/2 cups fresh uncooked corn kernels
1 garlic clove minced
2 tablespoons green onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups corn stock
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons basil, chopped
Directions for shrimp
Place a large saute pan on medium heat  and add the bacon and cook until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon and drain on a paper towel. Set aside. In the same pan saute the shrimp until they turn pink, cooking on both sides. Do not over crowd the pan. Remove the shrimp and set aside. Leave about 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat and add the garlic, green onion and corn. Saute for about 2 minutes until softened, then add the corn stock and lemon juice bring to a boil and add the shrimp and bacon, mix well and remove from the heat. Serve on top of the grits and top with chopped basil.