Tag Archives: winter recipes

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!


Dominique Ansel’s Banana Bread

As featured on Tasting Table courtesy of Dominique Ansel

Preparation Time 1 hour and 30 minutes


  • 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


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



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.


Cranberry Eggnog Scones

This scone is like taking a bite of Christmas, eggnog and bourbon soaked cranberries…. the perfect start to Christmas morning or perhaps your perfect morning for these scones are New Year’s weekend , when you still have the last of the eggnog left and you are wondering how to use it. I do think this recipe is worthy buying some eggnog for your holiday but if you don’t have any eggnog, please feel free to replace the 1 cup of eggnog with 1 cup of heavy cream.

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


Cranberry Eggnog Scones

Makes approximately 8 sconces


  • 1/4 cup bourbon or rum or apple juice depending on preference ( I use Bourbon)
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and diced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup chilled eggnog, plus more for brushing
  • Demerara or raw sugar (for sprinkling)


In a small sauce pan add bourbon and dried cranberries. Bring to a simmer and stir a few times. Turn off heat and  set aside for 15 minutes. There liquid should be soaked up by the cranberries , if not strain any remaining liquid and set the cranberries aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Sift flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and salt and whisk together. Add butter and blend with fingertips until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Mix in cranberries. Whisk eggnog and eggs in a small bowl and add to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined do not overwork. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and pat to 1 inch round. Cut out rounds using 3 inch cookie cutter. Gather dough to cut additional rounds. Transfer scones to a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush dough with eggnog and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake scones for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking until golden brown approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Cool slightly and serve warm or at room temperature. Scones are best eaten same day.

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!


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


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.

Kale, Garlic, Mushroom and Ricotta Salad

I know , what another kale salad ? Yes, because this is a great one., one that you will want to eat again and again…. using baby kale greens , sauteed mushrooms , crispy garlic and shredded ricotta salada. Healthy and delicious, it doesn’t get better than that!
From by the bay, wishing you yummy kale food memories!
blog kale mush salad
Kale, Garlic, Mushroom and Ricotta Salad
Serves 4

5 ounces baby kale, spinach and mixed greens, cleaned
1 large garlic clove sliced in thin slivers
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces mixed mushrooms
1 ounce ricotta salada, shredded
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
fine sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Prepare dressing in a small bowl adding olive oil and vinegar. In a large bowl place greens and add dressing. Toss greens gently in dressing with hands. Season with salt and pepper and mix again. Place greens on a platter. In a small pan heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and saute the garlic. Fry until garlic is brown on one side and turn to brown on the other side. This will take less than 1 minute in total. Use tongs to remove from oil and drain on a paper towel.  Add the mushrooms to the same pan with oil and saute until soft about 2 -3 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool. Top salad with mushrooms, shredded ricotta and browned garlic. Serve immediately.

Split Pea Soup with Beer and Bacon

Beat the cold with this wonderful split pea soup. This recipe is from Roberta’s in Brooklyn. The cookbook was a wonderful holiday gift to myself. This soup has the perfect combination of tastes and it’s very easy to make. Although Benton’s bacon is recommended, I’ve tried it with other good quality bacon so don’t let this ingredient get in your way of enjoying this delicious soup!

From by the bay, wishing you split pea food memories!


blog split pea soup

Split Pea Soup with Beer & Bacon

Adapted from the Roberta’s Cookbook by Carlo Mirarchi, Brandon Hoy, Chris Parachini and Katherine Wheelock. (Clarkson Potter, Oct 2013)

Serves 6

340 grams (1⅔ cups) green split peas
6 slices (about 240 grams/ 8 ounces) Benton’s bacon, diced
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 (12-ounce) can Miller High Life or any lager
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Put the split peas in a strainer and rinse them very thoroughly with cold water. Set a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat and add the bacon. Sweat the bacon slowly until it begins to soften, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the carrot and onion to the pot and cook until they soften and the onion is translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the split peas and water to cover (about 2½ cups). Add the beer to the pot along with a couple of pinches of salt and a few grindings of black pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover, and let cook on a very gentle simmer for 2 hours, stirring regularly and adding water as needed to keep the peas covered. The consistency should be like a thick puree. If it’s not, continue cooking and stirring. It’s not possible to overcook this soup. When it’s done, check the seasoning and serve.

Lentil soup

We continue to be fighting cold weather and the flu here on the east coast. So my call to action is comfort food for strength. I think a hearty soup is the perfect answer.  I used the ham bone I had in the freezer from Christmas , I embarked on making a lentil soup that uses some of my favorite flavors, such as rosemary, thyme, red chili flakes, garlic and some dry sherry. It’s my mother’s lentil soup kicked up a few times for more flavor. I love adding just a touch of heat to the soup with the red chili flakes, and the sherry is purely for medicinal purposes! Lentils are considered a power food, it helps lower cholesterol, helps lower the risk of heart disease and it’s filled with antioxidants. So fortify your family with this delicious and warming soup.

From by the bay wishing you nourishing food memories!

blog lentil soup

Lentil Soup

Serves 4-6


2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups sweet onions finely chopped

2 tablespoons garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes

2 quarts chicken stock

1 ham bone with some meat on bone

1 pound umbrian lentils 

2 teaspoons fine sea salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/4 cup dry sherry


In a stock pot heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sauté the onions until soften. Add garlic and red chili flakes and saute another minute. Add rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves. Sauté until fragrant about one minute. Add the stock and ham bone.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat , cover and simmer for approximately 1 hour. Remove the ham bone, chop the meat from the bone and add back into the soup along with the lentils, salt and pepper and simmer covered another hour. Add sherry and simmer another ten minutes. Remove from heat and serve. 

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Dried Cherry, Coconut and Chinese Five Spice Granola

I love lazy winter weekend mornings, when you just want to sit in with a cup of coffee and read the newspaper over breakfast. Home made granola is a terrific breakfast for such mornings. It fills the house with a welcoming aroma and you can make enough granola to last through the week. It’s perfect for topping your yogurt and or fruit. This crunchy granola is easy to make and delicious to eat……it takes about 5 minutes to get the ingredients mixed together and into the oven. There is nothing like a little effort with big results!
From by the bay, wishing you sweet and crunchy food memories!

blog 5 spice granola

Dried Cherry, Coconut and Chinese Five Spice Granola

3 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1 1/2 cups pepita (pumpkin) seeds, unsalted
1/2 cup blanched sliced almonds
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chinese five spice powder
4 tablespoons orange blossom honey
½ cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup dried cherries

1/4 cup shredded coconut


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Combine all ingredients except the dried fruit into a mixing bowl, combine well. On a parchment lined sheet spread ingredients in 1 layer. Bake for 50 minutes until brown stirring every ten minutes until mixture is browned. Remove from oven and cool granola. Once cooled add dried cherries and coconut. Mix well. Keep in airtight container. It should keep about one week.

Beef Short Rib Braised in Red Wine

Well, it was bound to happen. Temperatures just plunged here on the East Coast and when the wind whips across the bay, it is bone chilling! When the weather turns that cold, I find making a nice braise that spends a few hours in the oven the ultimate comfort food. I love making braises through out the winter and one of the most rewarding is this slow red wine braise for beef short ribs. Beef short ribs are one of the most delicious and flavorful cuts of meat. It takes some love and time to bring the best out of this cut in preparation.  First, the ribs are bathed in a brine for a few hours to  add flavor and keep the meat tender while it slowly braises in the oven in a bath of red wine and beef stock with some lovely herbs and vegetables. The final step is a splash of red wine vinegar to balance against the richness of the meat.  The result is a beautiful, complex marriage of flavors. I know this sounds a little theatrical but the results are show worthy!

From by the bay wishing you lovely slow braised food memories!


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Beef Short Rib Braised in Red Wine

Serves 4-6

For Brine

1 tablespoon pink peppercorns

2 bay leaves

1 cup light brown sugar

1 cup coarse sea salt

6 cups water

For Braise

4 tablespoons olive oil

3 pounds beef short ribs

¼ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

2 cups leeks, chopped in rings using the white and light green parts only

1 cup fennel, chopped ( remove fronds, stem and core) 

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups beef stock

1 bottle dry red wine

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper


In a large stock pot add the ingredients for the brine and bring to a boil, dissolving the sugar and salt. Cool completely then add the beef short ribs , cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours. Remove from the refrigerator and remove meat from the brine pat dry and let come to room temperature , before proceeding with making the braise. Mix flour, salt, pepper and paprika in a sealed plastic bag. Add beef  short ribs into the bag and coat with the flour mixture. In a large Dutch oven heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sauté the floured beef short ribs until browned. Remove browned meat into a bowl and place to the side. Add remaining olive oil to a pan and sauté the leeks and fennel until both start to soften. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and saute a minute . Add the fennel seeds, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves. Sauté until fragrant about one minute. Add the tomatoe paste. Deglaze with the wine and stock . Add light brown sugar , salt and pepper and then add the meat. Bring to a boil, then lower heat , cover and simmer until very tender but meat still on the bone, approximately 3 hours. Skim any fat from the sauce and then  add one tablespoon red wine vinegar and simmer another ten minutes. Remove from heat and serve with soft polenta or mashed potatoes.

Eggnog Pudding

Well the holidays are officially done and I would venture to guess that just like me , you are probably looking at various leftovers when you stare into your refrigerator. As I looked at the carton still half filled with eggnog, I considered several different uses and landed on making some pudding. This was a quick and delicious way to use what was left and give new life to the holiday eggnog!

From by the bay wishing you rich and creamy food memories!
blog egg nog pudding
Eggnog Pudding
Serves 4
2 cups eggnog ( if you don’t have 2 cups of leftover eggnog , use milk to get 2 cups of liquid)
1/2 cup fine granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
optional: nutmeg to sprinkle on top of the pudding
In a small bowl mix 1/4 cup milk and cornstarch. Mix well until smooth and set aside. Place into a saucepan eggnog and sugar on medium heat and bring liquid to a simmer to dissolve the sugar. Add the cornstarch mixture and continue to whisk until the mixture starts to thicken, it will have the consistency of soft pudding and start to bubble at the edges. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and continue to whisk to keep the pudding smooth. Pour into 4 serving dishes. Cover the top of each pudding with plastic wrap to prevent from forming a skin on top, pressing wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding. Place into the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours before serving. Sprinkle with nutmeg when serving.

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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.