Monthly Archives: November 2015

Turkey Cobb Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

Here is a perfect use of your leftover turkey and cranberry sauce by making a cobb salad. This salad uses layers of flavor – starting with cubes of turkey meat, tomatoes, avocado, blue cheese, bacon, boiled eggs and lots of fresh lettuce. I use some leftover cranberry sauce to make the perfect vinaigrette – that is both slightly sweet and acidic at the same time. The best part is this meal is light and healthy after the excesses of Thanksgiving Day. Look forward to this meal the day after Thanksgiving – there is nothing leftover about it!

From by the bay, wishing you turkey leftover food memories!


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Turkey Cobb Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette


  • 8 cups of you favorite assorted greens, such as romaine, boston, baby lettuce leaves
  • 4 slices of lean bacon, chopped fine
  • 2 ripe avocados (preferably California)
  • 2 cups diced turkey
  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped fine
  • 1/2 hard-boiled large egg, separated, the yolk grated fine and the white grated fine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons leftover cranberry sauce
  • 1/3 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Roquefort


In a large salad bowl toss together assorted greens. In a skillet cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring, until it is crisp and transfer it with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Halve, pit, and peel the avocados and cut them into 1/2-inch pieces. Arrange the turkey, the bacon, the tomato, and the avocado decoratively over the greens and garnish the salad with the grated egg and the chives. In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, the mustard, cranberry sauce and salt and pepper to taste, add the oil in a slow stream, whisking, and whisk the dressing until it is emulsified. Stir in the Roquefort. Whisk the dressing, pour it over the salad, and toss the salad well.

Pumpkin Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting and Caramel Filling

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Here is the ultimate pumpkin cake! It’s the cake that will make your holiday unforgettable! It’s a delicious, decadent , over the top dessert! Spicy pumpkin cake in four layers, caramel layered between the cake, then topped with a cream cheese buttercream frosting.  On top of the cake are shards of pepita ( pumpkin seed) brittle. The cake stays moist so you can make it a day in advance and keep covered in the refrigerator. It’s sublime!

From by the bay wishing you, pumpkin food memories!


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Butter for coating cake pans, at room temperature
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel

Cream Cheese Frosting
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons canned unsweetened pumpkin purée
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Caramel Filling

  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar or until thick enough to spread

Directions for the cake

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch sides. Line the bottom of each pan with a circle of parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper. Sprinkle the pans with flour, tap the pans to evenly distribute the flour, and then shake off the excess flour. Set aside.
To make the cake, in a large bowl, sift together the 2 cups flour, the granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom and allspice. In a electric mixer using the paddle attachment combine the pumpkin, sugar and oil. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in orange zest. On low speed add the flour mixture to the flour mixture until just combined. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, spreading it evenly. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until a tester inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean. Transfer to wire racks and let cool in the pans for 15 minutes. Run a table knife around the edge of the pans to loosen the cakes. Invert the cakes onto the racks and peel off the parchment paper. Let cool completely before frosting the cakes.

Directions for the cream cheese buttercream frosting
To make the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed for about 3 minutes until smooth. Add the butter and beat for about 2 minutes until combined. Add the pumpkin purée and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and beat for about 3 minutes until fluffy.
Place 1 cake layer on a cake plate or platter. Using an offset spatula, spread half of the frosting over the top of the first cake layer. Spread the frosting right to the edge of the top without frosting the sides of the cake. Carefully place the second cake on top, lining up the edges. Spread the remaining frosting over the top of the cake without frosting the sides. Swirl the frosting to decorate the top. Refrigerate the cake to set the frosting. Remove from the refrigerator 30 to 40 minutes before serving.

Directions for caramel filling

In a medium sauce pan add brown sugar and butter and cook for two minutes on medium heat, melting butter. Add mild and bring to a boil. Take off heat add vanilla, mix and cool. Once cool whisk confectioner’s sugar until good consistency to spread and smooth. Add more sugar until thickened if needed.

To assemble cake :

Cut each cooled layer of pumpkin cake in half with a serrated knife. Place first layer on cake stand and using an offset spatula spread on top of cake. Spread the frosting right to the edge of the top without frosting the sides of the cake. Carefully place the second cake on top, lining up the edges.Repeat with the remaining 3 layers.

Spread  cream cheese buttercream frosting over the top of the cake and sides. Swirl the frosting to decorate the top. Refrigerate the cake to set the frosting. Remove from the refrigerator 30 to 40 minutes before serving.Spread the top and then sides with the cream cheese buttercream frosting. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve. Let come to room temperature.

Optional : garnish with pepita/ pumpkin seed  brittle recipe follows below

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Pepita Brittle

Adapted from “Craft of Cooking” by Tom Colicchio and Smitten Kitchen Blog from 11/1/2008

Makes one 12 x 16 – inch pan

Canola -oil spray

2 cups sugar

1/4 pound unsalted butter

6 tablespoons corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 pound  or 1 1/2 cup shelled raw unroasted pepitas ( pumpkin seeds)

1 1/2 tablespoons Maldon sea salt 


Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray parchment paper with Canola oil. Take a large non-stick pot and add sugar, butter, corn syrup and 1 1/3 cups water. Place on high heat melting sugar until the caramel turns amber color, stir occasionally as this is cooking. This might take awhile, it will thicken as it boils before it finally turns amber. At this point add the baking soda and salt, then remove from heat and add the pepitas. Stirring well, then quickly pour onto the baking sheet and spread out evening with a spatula. An alternate method for a smoother brittle is slide the parchment paper out of the baking pan and onto a smooth counter top. Cover with another sheet of parchment paper and use a rolling in, to smooth the brittle and roll it out thin. Once the brittle is rolled out you can remove the top sheet of parchment paper and  let the brittle cool and then break into pieces. If you can resist eating this , store in an air tight container.

Mushroom and Melted Leek Dressing

I love this dressing! The base starts with toasted rye cubes mixed with assorted wild mushrooms, leeks and herbs. These ingredients combine into this tasty savory dressing, the perfect side to your Thanksgiving turkey or for any of your holiday celebrations.

From by the bay wishing you wild mushroom food memories!


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Mushroom and Melted Leek Dressing

Serves 6 to 8


2 rye bread boules, cut into ½ inch cubes with crust

1 ½ pounds assorted mushrooms, sliced

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large leek, sliced in rings

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

1 fennel bulb, finely sliced

1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes

3/4 cups grated parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons fine sea salt

2 tablespoons dry sherry

2 to 3 cups low sodium chicken stock

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Place bread cubes in a single layer on two rimmed large baking sheets. Bake until toasted about 10-12 minutes. Set aside to cool. In a large skillet add 4 tablespoons butter and saute the mushrooms until they release their liquid and start to brown about 10 minutes. Place mushrooms into a large mixing bowl. Add remaining butter to the same skillet, melt butter and then add fennel, thyme and rosemary, when fennel begins to soften add the leeks. Saute together until softened about 10 minutes, separating the leek rings. Add chili flakes and saute another minute. Remove from heat and add to the bowl with the cooked mushrooms. Add the toasted bread cube, cheese and parsley to the bowl. Add 2 cups of chicken stock. Mix the ingredients together and season with salt and pepper. If dressing is not moist add the additional cup of stock. Mix well. The dressing can be made up to this point one day in advance and refrigerate until ready to bake. To bake the dressing, remove from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes, until dressing is heated through the top is golden brown. Remove from oven and serve warm.

Basic Turkey Gravy

Here is your go to recipe for gravy. I love it because you can make most of it in advance, the key to a well planned Thanksgiving, doing as much of the preparation as you can in advance.

From by the bay wishing you easy gravy food memories!


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Basic Turkey Gravy

Gravy Base

6 cups chicken stock

Giblets and neck from turkey

1 bouquet garni

1 onion, peeled and quartered

1 carrot, chopped

1 teaspoon black peppercorns


6 tablespoons flour

6 cups gravy base

4 tablespoons butter

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoons fine grey sea salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

½ cup chop parsley

Optional : Giblets – chop giblets braised in the gravy base and add to gravy

Directions for gravy base

Combine into a soup pot chicken stock, bouquet garni, onion, celery, peppercorns, giblets and neck from turkey. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 1 hour. Cool and strain broth and keep refrigerated until ready to make gravy. This can be done one day in advance.If you like giblets in your gravy , save and refrigerator.

Directions for gravy

Place seasoned broth into a saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Melt butter in a bowl and then add flour , whisk until it is a smooth paste. Take one cup of hot broth and whisk into flour mixture until smooth. Pour this back into the broth and whisk to blend. Add bay leaves, honey, salt and pepper and whisk again. You can have this prepared as the turkey is roasting. Once the turkey is done and removed from the roasting pan pour pan juices into a measuring cup. Spoon off fat and discard. Add remaining juices into broth in the saucepan. Place roasting pan back on heat and deglaze with the 1/2 cup of seasoned stock. Scrap pan to get all brown bits, let reduce to half , about 2 minutes. Add to the gravy. Whisk together and let simmer until reduced to a sauce consistency. Remove bay leaves, mix in parsley adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve with turkey. 

 Optional : Giblets – chop giblets braised in the gravy base and add to gravy

Citrus Herb Roasted Turkey

Your turkey is the main event for your Thanksgiving feast. I suggest buying a fresh turkey. Order one in advance so you don’t find yourself with out a turkey the size you want. I’ll never forget the first time I cooked for Thanksgiving for my family in New York City. I didn’t order a turkey in advance and there were no fresh turkeys available. My mother had to strong arm the guy behind the counter to find one in the back to sell us. Lesson learned the hard way! I like to brine my turkey. I find it’s more juicy and tender. I change the favors up year to year. This year it’s the bright taste of citrus using lemons and oranges, mixed with herbs, lacquered with honey and butter. It’s delicious!

From by the bay, wishing you wonderful turkey food memories!


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Citrus Herb Roasted Turkey

1 16-18 lb. turkey, preferably organic
16 cups cold water , or more to cover turkey
8 cups chicken stock
1 cup fine sea salt
1 cup fine granulated sugar
2 Meyer lemons , quartered
2 oranges, quartered
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 cup orange blossom honey
2 onions , peeled and quartered
3 fresh bay leaves
To roast turkey
1 Meyer lemon, quartered
1 orange, quartered
1 bunch fresh rosemary and 1 bay leave
2 tablespoons fine grey sea salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
To baste
8 tablespoon unsalted butter at room temperature
zest of one orange and one lemon

¼ cup orange blossom honey

Note: if Meyer lemons not available use lemons

Garnish with oranges, lemons , rosemary and fresh bay leaves
Prepare brine by combining water, sea salt, honey, sugar, onions, rosemary, thyme, bouquet garni and peppercorns. Cut 2 lemons into wedges, squeezing juice of lemons into the brine along with the wedges. Repeat with oranges and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Clean turkey with cold water removing any giblets and or neck. Keep giblets and neck in the refrigerator to use later for gravy base. Place turkey and brine into a resealable plastic bag or into a large non reactive bowl covered with plastic wrap. The turkey should be covered with the brine, if not add more water. Refrigerate over night. The next day remove turkey 40 minutes before planning to place into the oven. Preheat oven to 425 degress F. Remove turkey from brine and pat dry with paper towels inside and out. Season the turkey cavity with salt and pepper. Squeeze lemon and orange juice into the cavity and add the quarters along with rosemary. Tie turkey legs together and place into roasting pan. In a small sauce pan melt butter. orange zest and honey together on a low heat. Use this to baste turkey once before placing into the oven. Roast the turkey at 425 degrees F for 30 minutes then lower the oven to 350 degrees F. For an 18 lb. turkey cooking time will be approximately 3 hours. Use a meat thermometer to check that the meat registers 175 degrees F at its thickest part of the thigh. Baste the turkey about every 30 minutes with the butter and honey mixture. If the turkey browns too quickly tent that part with aluminum foil. When ready, remove from the oven. Take turkey from the roasting pan and place on a cutting board to rest before carving, at least 20 minutes. If you are serving later then 20 minutes from removing from oven tent turkey with aluminum foil until ready to serve.

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Citrus Cranberry Relish

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving for me without homemade cranberry sauce or relish. It’s so simple to make and it tastes so good. When I’m starting my cooking for the holiday I love to make the cranberry sauce first , because it takes just a few minutes and I can look at my list of dishes to prepare and within minutes – cranberry relish – check and done!

From by the bay, wishing you citrus cranberry food memories!


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Citrus Cranberry Relish
Serves Six


2 oranges , juice and zest
1/2 cup fine sugar
1 12oz, package whole fresh cranberries
¼ cup Grand Mariner
1 cinnamon stick


Combine cranberries, orange juice, zest,sugar  and cinnamon in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat and simmer approximately 10 minutes until the cranberries start to burst. Remove from heat and add Grand Mariner. Cool completely and then chill in refrigerator. Cranberry sauce will thicken. Serve chilled.

Pear Royale

Kicking off my series of Thanksgiving recipes with a the perfect festive fall cocktail, Pear Royale. Easy to make with pear simple syrup and your favorite champagne! Follow along all month as I share recipes to make a delicious Thanksgiving feast!

From by the bay, wishing you bubbly food memories!


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Pear Royale


  • 1 glass of champagne
  • 1 tablespoon pear simple syrup ( recipe follows)
  • optional: thin pear slices


In a champagne flute  add the pear simple syrup, top with champagne.

Pear Simple Syrup

3 pears
2 cups water
2 cups sugar

optional: pear slices to garnish


Peel, core and cube pears. Place in a medium saucepan with water and sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.  Use a potato masher to mash pear.  Use a fine mesh sieve to strain mixture pressing the liquid through with a back of a spoon and cool. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use. Keeps for a week.

Wild Mushroom Soup

To warm up on a fall chilly evening, you’ll love the light yet earthy taste of this wild mushroom soup! I love to use a mix of mushrooms depending on what’s available along with some dried porcini or chanterelle’s, a staple in my pantry. This is a soup you can prepare quickly. The earthy mushroom taste is brightened with some lemon zest and juice and there is a hint of heat from the red chili flakes. This dish is very versatile, whether you make it for a quick weeknight dinner or serve as a first course for a special dinner party. Enjoy!

From by the bay, wishing you earthy food memories!


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Wild Mushroom Soup


2 ounces dried porcini and/or chanterelles
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces mixed fresh wild mushrooms , clean and sliced
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
2  shallots , peeled and finely chopped about 1/2 cup
1 handful fresh thyme , leaves picked
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
32 ounces organic low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley , leaves picked and roughly chopped
1 cup half and half
1 lemon (1/2 teaspoon zest and 1 teaspoon of juice)

Place the dried mushrooms in a small dish, add boiling water just to cover, and leave to soak. Heat a large stock pot pan, then add olive oil and your fresh mushrooms. Stir around very quickly for a minute, then add chili flakes, shallots and thyme and a small amount of seasoning. Saute a minute add half of your porcini/chanterelles chopped up, and the rest left whole. Strain the soaking liquid to remove any grit, and add it to the pan. Cook for about 20 minutes until most of the moisture disappears. Season to taste, and add your stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for around 20 minutes. Remove half the soup from the pan and purée  in a food processor then pour it back in stock pot. Add  the parsley, cream, lemon zest and juice. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and serve warm.