Make any Passover friendly recipe for deviled eggs (I added a bit of horseradish to mine) and then arrange them with green onions, watercress, dill, and radishes to form flowers and buds. What a lovely dish this would make for a Passover (or Easter) brunch!
Category Archives: Appetizers
We eat a lot of fish in our house and we are always looking for ways to make this dinner staple more interesting. As an artisan jam maker the one thing we always have plenty of in our house is a large selection of tasty preserves. So I began pairing some of our sweet and savory Fall and Winter conserves and fruit mustards with seafood and came up with some delicious combinations.
When I heard there was going to be a seafood throw down contest at one of the local farmers markets where we sell our jam, I had to share my recipes. One of our flavors, a spicy orange marmalade called South Beach Sizzle was even selected by one of the competitors to be used in their dish. So here are a few pairings you might like to try and I will post more ideas when the summer flavors arrive:
Coat a boneless cod filet with Cranberry Fruit Mustard and a sprinkle of panko breadcrumbs. Place in a lightly oiled shallow baking dish and roast at 350 degrees until the fish is cooked through.
Falling Leaves fig, apple, cranberry conserve fills baked trout with a rich earthy flavor. Take 2 cleaned and prepared whole trout and lay each on a lightly oiled square of foil. Slice and saute a medium sweet onion in a little olive oil until tender. Spread about a tablespoon of Falling Leaves on the inside of each fish. Layer in the sautéed onions. Add a small sprig of rosemary and drizzle with some lemon juice. Wrap the foil around the fish and cook at 400 degrees until cooked through (about 15 minutes).
Make a delightful appetizer by serving grilled shrimp with a dipping sauce of South Beach Sizzle – our spicy orange marmalade.
Salmon and orange marmalade are a match made in heaven. Mix a few tablespoons of Orange Blossom Express blood orange and Meyer lemon marmalade with some dried dill and a teaspoon of hot water. Sear the salmon in a very hot pan, turn the heat to medium and add a splash of white wine. When the salmon is nearly done, glaze with the marmalade and cook for a few minutes and serve.
With the delicious flavors of horseradish and dill, our Spring! conserve makes a great topping for grilled swordfish and other grilled fish steaks. Simply grill the fish until done and top immediately with a few spoons of Spring!.
Sea scallops get a warm smoky heat when paired with Evil Apple our spicy apple and chipotle conserve. Sear Scallops in a mix of butter and oil a very hot pan. Serve imediately over fresh greens with a dollop of Evil Apple on each scallop.
Take one simple, no-fat pizza dough (recipe below)and invite guests to top it with all kinds of tasty foods and you have a great DIY pizza party. Make up a batch or two of dough and lay out familar toppings such as tomato sauce and shredded mozzarella for the traditionalists. Now for the really fun part-scout your fridge and pantry for interesting sauces, vegetables, fruits, cheeses, condiments, preserves, dried fruits, etc. and lay them out for guests to mix and match.
Assign each person a small rectangle of dough (you can fit about three on a typical cookie sheet) and stand back. Watch adults giggle at the crazy combinations they are making while normally picky kids become foodies fussing over creative culinary creations. Have the oven very hot (450 degrees) and ready for the pizza masterpieces. The pizza will need to bake for only about 15 minutes and is done when the crust is brown at the edges and lightly brown underneath.
Some of our pizza party topping favorites have included Thai peanut sauce, barbeque sauce, pesto, cocktail sauce mixed into tomato sauce, duck sauce, olives, capers, cashews, smoked salmon, fig jam, speck or bacon, hoisin, roasted chicken. Some toppings are great layered on the pizza before it goes in the oven while others such as truffle oil or microgreens are best added after baking.
The pizza pictured above is topped with our Doves and Figs Falling Leaves jam (apple, fig, and cranberry), shaved piave cheese, speck, and thin sliced Meyer lemons.
3 cups All-purpose flour+additional for kneeding
½ cup low salt vegetable broth (warm not hot)
½ cup warm water
1 pkgs dry rapid rise yeast
1 tsp sugar
In a mixer or large bowl mix water, broth, yeast, and sugar
Mix together until yeast disolves
Add 2 cups of flour and stir or mix together to form a soft dough
Turn the dough out onto a floured board and kneed in about one more cup of flour and continue kneeding until dough is no longer sticky but is still soft.
Form the dough into a ball
Coat a large, clean bowl with non-stick spray
Roll the dough in the bowl to coat and cover with a towel and place in a warm place to rise.
Allow dough to rise to about double in size
Divide dough into three pieces
Lightly spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and press the dough into rectangles on the cookie sheet. Pulling and patting the dough to shape it.
Top as desired and bake for about 15 minutes at 450 degrees.
My love for Julia Child goes back to watching The French Chef as a little girl with my Dad. We learned and laughed together. Dad is not one to strictly follow recipes (or directions-just ask my Mom) but rather I watched him gather ideas from this and other cooking shows and make them his own. It is the way I cook today. Mostly I look to cookbooks for ideas or techniques and Julia Child’s The Art of French Cooking is a lifetime companion for me in the kitchen.
With the celebration this week of what would have been Ms. Child’s one hundredth birthday, there are so many people posting dishes and meals they are creating from or inspired by her works. While the elaborate, multi-step recipes are the ones getting the most attention (and I have made my share of those), it is the simple recipes that I like the best. Galettes Au Fromage from Volume One of the Art of French Cooking is simple enough to prepare with children for a fun snack but can also be served elegant nibble for your next cocktail party. Julia even notes that this recipe is a good way to use of leftover cheese and since I often freeze little bits of cheese that is a bonus.
I made my Galettes Au Fromage with a mix of cheddar, swiss, and parmesan and shaped then into little hearts instead of the round shapes detailed in the recipe. (Tuck this idea away for Valentines Day!) I served them with some homemade fig, apple, cranberry spread which matched well with the salt and crunch of the biscuits. Bon Appetit!
With our beloved Patriots going to battle in the Super Bowl this weekend, the supermarket was filled with every kind of junk food you could dream up (and a few that tested the limits of imagination). No I will not be buying pretend cheese food glop to slather over my pizza flavored chips. I love football and I love snacks but I want to nibble on something delicious while I cheer on the home team.
I tasted some Food Should Taste Good chips at Whole Foods and they were great. I brought home a bag of their Sweet Potato chips which had much less salt and fat than my usual choice of chip and I had a plan. When I got home I grated some sharp Cabot cheddar and opened a jar of Evil Apple (my spicy apple & chipotle conserve). I sprinkled the chips with cheese and melted it in the oven. I spread the Evil Apple over the cheese and with very little effort had a great game day snack that was healthy, local and full of flavor. Go Pats!
Bright red cranberries and crunchy walnuts make this festive tart perfect for dessert or cut into thin wedges, it can be served as a cocktail party appetizer. It is rich and full of butter, eggs, and sour cream but not very sweet so it complements other more sugary desserts. The recipe makes two 6″ tarts but can also be used to make individual tiny tarts using a mini muffin tin.
Cape Cod Cranberry Walnut Tart
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
4 tablespoons sour cream
2/3 cup sour cream
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
candied cranberries (see below) or dried sweetened cranberries
- Heat the oven to 350°
- Place flour in a bowl, stand mixer, or food processor.
- Chop cold butter into pieces and mix into the flour until you have bits of four coated butter the size of small peas. Don’t over mix.
- Blend in sour cream and mix just until the dough comes together loosely
- Gather the ball of dough together in your hands gently and divide into two even pieces
- Roll each dough ball on a floured board to about a 7″ circle
- Lay the dough into the tart pan. Fix any tears by patting the dough into shape
- Press the dough evenly on the bottom of the pan and against the sides
- In a medium bowl whisk eggs and sour cream and milk
- Add flour, sugar, cinnamon and whisk to combine
- Scatter the cranberries and nuts evenly in the tart crusts
- Pour the sour cream/egg mixture over cranberries & nuts
- Bake for about 30 minutes
- Remove from the oven and let cool in the tart pan placed on a rack
Cranberry Syrup and Candied Cranberries
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
3 cups water
1 cup sugar
- Simmer all the ingredients for 20 minutes or until cranberries get soft and release their juices
- Strain the syrup and chill (great for making cocktails or cranberry soda)
- Use the cooked cranberries in Cape Cod Cranberry Walnut Tart above
I have been making these delicious little cheese pretzels for years. They are simple to put together and even freeze well so you can make a big batch and have some on hand to quell a snack craving or to serve as a nibble with cocktails. Recently I bought some Cabot horseradish cheddar and thought I might try it in this recipe. I replaced half of the sharp cheddar normally used in this recipe with the horseradish cheddar . The result was an extra snappy flavor that we loved. These crunchy bites are a perfect companion for a crisp glass of hard apple cider or regular cider for the younger crew.
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup finely shredded horseradish flavored cheddar cheese
3-4 Tbs cold water
1/4 tsp baking powder
Egg yolk mixed with 1 tsp water for glaze
Sesame seeds for topping (optional)
Heat oven to 350 degrees
Mix the baking powder and flour in a large bowl
Cut in cold butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles course crumbs
Add the cheese and stir together
Sprinkle in water and mix gently with your hands until a dough forms
Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours
Roll the chilled dough on a floured board into a rectangle 15″ x 6″
Cut into 1/2″ wide strips 6″ long using a knife or pizza or pie dough cutter
Roll each strip with your fingers until it is round and measures about 8″ in length
Twist into a pretzel shape
Brush with egg yolk mixture and sprinkle with sesame seeds
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned
Frozen baked pretzels can be reheated in a 325 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Do not heat in microwave or you will lose the crunch.
Firm green tomatoes are one of the pleasures of both early and late summer. I usually grab a few when they show up at the farmers market and then collect the unripe holdouts from my garden as frost is threatening. I love the classic fried green tomatoes, but this year I tried a few new tricks for an old favorite.
Yesterday, I make Green Tomato/Corn Meal Drop Cakes (shown left and recipe below). For dinner tonight, I whipped up a simple Green Tomato BBQ Sauce by cooking green tomatoes until soft and then passing them through a food mill. I added brown sugar, honey, smoked paprika, mustard, vinegar, & oil and blended it all together. We roasted some bluefish with the Green Tomato BBQ Sauce and served it with fresh sweet corn and salad from the farmers market.
Green Tomato/Corn Meal Drop Cakes
2 medium Green Tomatoes
1 cup Flour (plus additional flour for dredging)
4 Tbs Coarse Corn Meal
2 tsp Baking Powder
2/3 cup Buttermilk
1/3 cup Whole Milk
1 Tbs Butter (melted)
¼ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Paprika
¼ tsp White Pepper
Oil for frying
- Heat 1-2” inches of oil in a deep pot to 375 degrees
- Mix flour, corn meal, baking powder, salt, paprika, and pepper in bowl
- Add melted butter, buttermilk, and whole milk and mix well
- Slice the tomatoes in half and then cut into ½ inch wedges
- One at a time, dredge the tomato slices in flour and then coat them with batter and drop in hot oil
- Fry only a few at a time until golden brown on one side
- Flip the drop cake and cook on the other side until brown and cooked
- Remove from oil and drain on paper towels
- Cool slightly and serve
- Best eaten right away
While many of my friends were away at the cheesemakers festival in Vermont this weekend, I was home writing and cooking. As much as I would have liked to go, I had some commitments that I couldn’t break. To assuage my cheese consuming envy somewhat, I woke up yesterday morning and decided to make some cheese. I had buttermilk in the house (I use it for biscuits and waffles all the time) and whole milk and those are the only two ingredients needed for a basic ricotta.
I had less than a quart of milk and didn’t feel like running to the store at 7:00 AM so I pared the recipe down to 1/2 a cup of buttermilk and 2 cups of whole milk. Making it was a breeze. I simply poured the buttermilk and whole milk into a pan and heated it slowly to about 180 degrees. The curds and the whey separated. I then carefully poured everything into a flour sack towel lined strainer with a bowl below to catch the whey.
Once the curds had drained, I twisted the edges of the cloth to make a neat little cake out of the cheese and continued to let it drain for a bit. The result was a delicate flavoured cheese that was both crumbly and creamy.
I divided the disk of soft cheese in half and added chopped squash blossoms, salt, lemon zest, and a drizzle of wonderful olive oil that was a gift from friends Rob and Laura aka The Two Palaverers. Next, I make a sweet mix with blueberry honey and a few port soaked berries on top. I had to stop nibbling at both dishes long enough to take photos but they did serve as an excellent breakfast. Sitting in my garden, sipping tea and feasting on just made cheese and toasted semolina bread, home seemed a lovely place to be.
On Wednesday night we threw a party that combined my love of food and food history with my husband’s love of music and singing. We invited a group of my fellow food blogger friends and the members of the Sounds of Concord Barbershop Chorus (where Mark sings Bass) to an Evening of American Food and Song.
The foodies selected and prepared dishes that reflected their vision of the American spirit and the Barbershop guys sang their hearts out for us including a rousing version of the Star Spangled Banner . Despite the showers we gathered in the house for cocktails and dinner but when the rain let up the boys filed out to the patio to fill the summer night with their harmonies.
It was a magical evening of friendship, fun, and fantastic food. I will try to give you a flavor of some of the festivities and dishes but honestly I was having too good a time schmoozing and listening to the music to snap a ton of pictures. I think we may just have to make this an annual event!
Some of the dishes we made and our clever and talented friends brought included:
Ham Fancies, Homemade Pimento Cheese, Daisy Sandwiches, Picnic Pickles
I adapted these appetizers from the 1917 American cookbook, ”1000 Ways to Please A Husband” Mark was not convinced that cutting pimento sandwiches into cute little shapes is the way to a man’s heart but he did enjoy the homemade picnic pickles
Red, White, & Blue Grass-Fed Beef Sliders
Jon Ross-Wiley from www.localinseason.com grilled up baby burgers topped with blue cheese and tomatoes that were delicious and fit the theme perfectly. He shared with me that our friends at CityFeed in JP donated ingredients when they heard about our party. Thanks guys!!
Anita Freed made as American a dish as you can get featuring foods that reminded her of pre-Colonial Thanksgiving feasts. In more modern times, ingredients arrive in a CSA box. You can get the recipe for this tasty dish and other local food recipes from her blog, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Swiss Chard
Wild Rice Salad
Lara Zelman, a.k.a Good Cook Doris also brought us a dish filled with native foods and Colonial transplants from the earliest days of our nation. Wild rice and cranberries already grew here and parsley and celery (often Lovage or cutting celery) were frequently grown in Colonial gardens. This dish was delightfully cool and light; perfect for a hot summer night.
Sue McCrory who brings us many delicious stories and events in the Public Radio Kitchen brought her family’s favorite baked beans. “Pat Riley’s (Vegetarian) Baked Beans” were so rich and full of baked in sweetness that I just wanted to heap them on a plate with a chunk of cornbread and eat huddled in a corner, growling like a hound if anyone came near. Luckily, she made a huge pot so there was plenty to share.
Another hearty dish was brought by Mike and Laura Angotti. I am not typically a huge chili fan, but this cowboy style recipe full of meat and beans in a thick flavorful sauce won me over. They also supplied blue corn chips and shredded cheese to finish it off right.
Corn and blueberries, as native American foods, played a big part in the menu and were featured in a corn casserole from Brian (a Barbershopper), a blueberry/strawberry cornbread, and some petite blueberry muffins bursting with berries made by Margie Gordon Hurwitz. The muffins came nestled in linens in a vintage basket with a little tag that read ”House of Hurwitz”.
Blueberries were also used in a drink we called a Yankee Doodle, which contained gin, homemade blueberry syrup, tonic water, and a squeeze of lime. There were homemade maraschino cherries and blueberries to add that packed a punch! The other drink pictured was a moscato based sangria with summer fruits. Of course we also enjoyed a selection of good old American beers.
Alan Bone, another of the Barbershop singers, brought a Southern Macaroni Pie and brought home an empty dish-yum!
AND THEN CAME THE DESSERTS
Mark insisted that an Americana party had to have a watermelon basket and so he carved up this number just shortly before the party began. It was filled with melon and berries and went well with the fresh cherries one of the guests brought.
There was also more fruit for dessert in the luscious blueberry cobbler made by Laura and Rob Ciampa who mostly blog about great restaurants and travel in New England but clearly some terrific things come out their own kitchen! There was a blueberry pie from the charming Noj and Lily Zachariah as well of some fine singing from Noj.
And I made some fruit tarts if only to justify owning 19 tart pans. Blueberry with cornmeal crust, sour cherry with almond crust, and peach spice with shortbread crust.
And throughout the evening lots of singing and chatting and smiles:
Sounds of Concord is always looking for men who like to sing to join them. Check the website for details and rehersal times.