June 29, 2015

Garlic Scape Corn Relish (for hot dogs)

2 ears' worth of corn (raw) kernels
3 garlic scapes, diced
1/4 cup minced fresh shallot (or spring onion)
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seed
sea salt

to serve:
hot dogs

Stir together all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour prior to serving. Use to top hot dogs.

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups

My thoughts:
It is really no secret that hot dogs are one of my favorite foods. Every time I go to a new city, I figure out what their regional hot dog is and track down an iconic spot to try it. I also like making hot dogs at home and varying the toppings (Baltimore is oddly lacking in the hot dog department). This time I went for a quick and easy corn relish using tasty in-season garlic scapes and corn. I used it about an hour after making it, but the leftovers were still crisp the next day just in case you needed to serve it a bit later than that. If you don't like hot dogs (the horror!) it would also be great served over grilled fish.

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June 27, 2015

Apple Butter-Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter*
4 ounces butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1/2 cup sugar
1/2-3/4 cup Musselman's Apple Butter

Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Whisk together dry ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

Beat peanut butter and butter with a mixer until smooth. Add brown sugar, and continue to beat until fluffy and well incorporated. Add egg and vanilla paste, and beat until incorporated. Stream in dry ingredients, and mix until combined.

Scoop tablespoons of dough and roll in your hands to form into balls. Pour sugar into a shallow bowl. Roll each ball in the granulated sugar, and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart.

Bake until cookies are puffy, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and make indentations in centers by pressing with your thumb. Return to oven, and bake an additional 5-8 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer sheets to wire racks, and let cool completely.

Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of apple butter into each cookie.

Store in an air-tight container.

Yield: about 35 cookies

*I used the natural kind that you don't have to stir the oil back in to use.
My thoughts:
My husband grew up in a "healthy" household and a treat was apple butter-peanut butter sandwiches. I took that and turned it into something even more indulgent, cookies! He has been busy this spring taking an evening sign language class and for their last day, they had a potluck. What better place to serve something nostalgic like thumbprint cookies? Peanut butter is always a crowd pleaser (we checked--no allergies in the class) and this year I am a Musselman's apple butter blogger so I knew exactly which apple butter to use. The apple butter is surprisingly spicy so it was a nice contrast to the sweetness of the cookies. Quick tip, if you are transporting these, they did really well in a square Tupperware container with sheets of wax paper between the layers of cookies.

Check out the Musselman's Apple Butter Pinterest account for more ideas.

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June 25, 2015

Spiralized Cucumber Salad

1 cucumber, spiralized*
2/3 cup matchstick carrots
1 bunch's worth of green tops of fresh shallots or spring onion, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
12 grape tomatoes, quartered
juice of 1/2 lemon
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


Cut the spiralized cucumber in half. Place in a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, toss to evenly distribute all ingredients. Allow to marinate at room temperature one hour prior to serving.

*I used this handheld tool I bought very cheaply on Amazon.

My thoughts:
I've been enjoying playing with my little handheld spiralizer. I'm not fooled into thinking it is pasta but it is saving the tedium of chopping. This salad was made extra special by the fresh shallot tops which I had never had before! They added a bit of onion-y goodness without having to toss in regular raw onion which I sometimes find overpowering cucumber salad.

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June 22, 2015

Triple Raspberry Cake


2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup seedless raspberry puree*
1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup olive oil
pinch salt

1 cup whole raspberries

for the icing:
1/4 cup seedless raspberry puree
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a standard loaf pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.

In a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the egg, balsamic, milk, puree and oil. Slowly stream in the dry ingredients (while the mixer is running!) and mix to combine. Fold in whole raspberries. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean. Unmold to a wire rack and cool.

Whisk together the icing ingredients. Frost cooled cake.

*I made this by blending 2 cups of fresh raspberries in the blender and then whisking it through a wire mesh strainer. Discard the seeds. Repeat for 1 additional cup for the frosting.

My thoughts:
This recipe is brought to you by...the over 2 quarts of raspberries my husband and I picked in our backyard in a single evening. Raspberries are some of my favorites but unfortunately, even freshly picked raspberries don't last long. I need to make something with them quickly! This recipe uses a lot of raspberries: in the batter, stirred into that batter then turned into a shockingly pink icing. Let's just say my counters and hands were quite pink for much of this afternoon. The result of all those raspberries is that this cake the dessert with the truest raspberry flavor I have ever had. Every bite is a raspberry bonanza. I love loaf cakes, they seem sort of old-timey and since we are a family of two, the perfect size for just us or to share with a couple or two.

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June 20, 2015

Cherry-Blueberry Shrub

1 cup blueberries
3 1/2 cups pitted cherries (otherwise left whole)
1 1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 3/4 cups apple cider vinegar

Place the fruit and the sugar in a nonreactive bowl, jar or plastic bag. Crush the fruit with a muddler or, if using a bag, squeeze lightly. Refrigerate 24-48 hours or until the juices are well seeped and starting to form a syrup.

Place a metal sieve over a bowl and mash the fruit with a potato masher until any large pieces are well mashed. Whisk the mashed pulp through the sieve. Discard the pulp. Pour the resulting liquid back into the nonreactive container, stir in vinegar and refrigerate until ready to use. Try it as-is, stirred into club soda, still water or if feeling naughty, spike it--historically dark rum was often stirred in.

Yield: about 1 quart

My thoughts:
Like I've said before, shrubs are a great way to revisit our colonial past without the fear of the stockade, trampling horses, dysentery, cholera, yellow fever, outhouses, or lack of proper bathing.

Shrubs are a precursor to the modern day soft drink; mildly effervescent and nonalcoholic. Not only were they refreshing in the hot summer months; the vinegar helped preserve the drink so they didn't need refrigeration, something difficult to come by at that time. I do recommend refrigerating modern day shrubs like this one because 1. we can (in your face, colonials) 2. it will keep longer 3. I think it tastes better cold.

Shrubs are also a great way to use up fruit that might be slightly too soft to pleasantly eat out of one's hand but otherwise perfectly fine to eat. In this case, I combined deep red, sweet cherries and blueberries to make a drink that is as dark purple as it is tasty. Impress your friends and take it to your next picnic or cookout! It required less than 10 minutes hands-on time but everyone who drinks it will be impressed.

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June 18, 2015

Cherry-Chipotle Ketchup

4 cups well-crushed sweet cherries
3 cloves garlic, quartered
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground chipotle
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Prep your jars/lids. Place all ingredients in a heavy-bottomed nonreactive pot (I used my enameled cast iron Dutch oven). Bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat. Use an immersion blender or ladle in a regular blender to pulse until smooth. Return to a rolling boil and cook until thickened to ketchup consistency*, about 20 minutes. Ladle into pint jars leaving 1/4 inch headroom. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Yield: about 4 8-oz jars

Note: A great source for canning information is the Blue Book guide to preserving. I highly recommend it for learning how to can. Here are some of my other favorite canning books and supplies.

*The sauce does thicken up a bit upon cooling. You can place a small amount on a dish and chill it in the refrigerator (while you're cooking the ketchup) to check the cooled consistency if you'd like.

My thoughts:
The cherry recipes continue! As longtime readers know, one of the few foods I truly despise is ketchup. Sweet, syrupy, bland tomato ketchup holds no appeal. I do like to dip things so I'm always a little sad when I have say, a tot and nothing to dip him in. Enter the homemade fruit (and vegetable!) ketchup. Spicier and more flavorful than its store-bought red cousin, it is welcome on burgers, fries and any place you need some zip.

For this one, I paired the sweet cherries with chipotle to give it some heat and used what I think of as "warm" spices to flesh out the flavor. I love the result! A ketchup for adults and sophisticated children everywhere.

Note: Since this makes a small batch, I made it at the same time as the cherry-raspberry jam so I could fill one whole canning pot.

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June 16, 2015

Cherry-Raspberry Jam

1 cup crushed raspberries
3 cups crushed sweet cherries
3 tablespoons powdered pectin*
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla paste


Evenly sprinkle the bottom of the Ball Jam Maker with the pectin. Spoon the fruit in a relatively even layer over the pectin.  Press the jam button. You will hear a beep at 4 minutes. Sprinkle the sugar and vanilla paste over the fruit mixture while the machine is still running. Cover and wait for the jam cycle to complete. Press the cancel button and unplug the machine. If not using a Ball Jam Maker, make the jam on the stovetop using the traditional method as seen in this recipe.

Ladle the jam into prepared jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process in the hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Yield: about 4 8-oz jars

*I recommend these jars of flex batch pectin.

Note: A great source for canning information is the Blue Book guide to preserving. I highly recommend it for learning how to can. Here is a bunch of other canning books and equipment I find useful.

My thoughts:
Once again the sweet people at Sweet Preservation sent me a big box of Washington stone fruit to can. For the first time it was cherries; more cherries than I have ever seen before. I've made a few things with the cherries, but I thought I'd share this one first. Last year I don't think I made jam for the first time in years. We didn't have a good berry crop here and I ended up making more pickles, ketchups and shrubs. This year looks like it is going to be a good one for our garden. I picked the raspberries I used here in just one day; the first day I had any ripe fruit. We finally have pawpaws growing this year too. Fingers crossed I can make something fun with them later this summer! Anyway, the cherries were super ripe and sweet and would have made a great jam on their own but why not take advantage of some other in-season fruit while you have it? The raspberries added a depth of flavor and for those who are seed-adverse, only a tiny bit of seeds to the jam--much less than would be there in straight raspberry jam. Plus it is a beautiful purple-red color.

Note: I know some canners do not like the Ball Jam Maker but I really do. It makes just about 4 jars of jam (perfect for someone like me who mostly does small batch canning), frees my stove up to cook up other things to preserve, and makes the jam in less time than it takes to watch a sitcom. Which you can, because you do not need to watch the jam while making it. Of course, you can safely can this jam the traditional way if you so choose.

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June 10, 2015

Old-Fashioned Zucchini Corn Pie

3 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup shredded Mexican mix cheese*
2 ears' worth of corn kernels
1/2 onion, chopped
5 sprigs' worth of thyme
3 eggs
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil an 8-inch pie plate with olive oil. Set aside. Place all ingredients in a large bowl, mix until well blended (I used my stand mixer but a hand mixer or even a spoon would be fine). Scrape into prepared pie plate. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack then slice and serve.

*Mine was a mix of Monterey Jack, Queso Quesadilla, Cheddar and Asadero cheeses.

My thoughts:
It is a little early in the year to be overwhelmed by zucchini but I had two zucchini I wanted to use up before my next produce delivery. Those two, relatively small, zucchini yielded three whole cups of shredded zucchini! It was tempting to make zucchini bread but we needed dinner, not a snack. I had read in a novel last fall, after zucchini season, about a savory zucchini pie and I tucked that idea away until now. I had never had zucchini pie before but it seemed like the perfect solution: a one-dish meal that required very little effort yet yielded great results and used up a lot of zucchini. I don't think corn is a traditional addition, but I had some sweet corn and thought it would add bursts of flavor. It added a summery touch too.

The pie ended up being quite custardy and had a light, smooth texture. Sort of like a cross between a souffle and a quiche but much easier than both because all I had to do was mix together all of the ingredients, no sauteing required. Perfect for the end of a busy day.

We had this as our main dish, along with some fruit and then gelato but thought it would be good as a side as well. Perhaps with a pork chop or grilled sausage? Nothing to heavy. A salad might be good too if you are trying to really get your recommended daily servings of vegetables in.

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June 08, 2015

Marinated Tomato-Radish Salad

1 quart Campari tomatoes, quartered
1 bunch red radish, diced (reserve greens for future use)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 sprigs' worth of thyme leaves
1/4 cup diced onion
2 1/2 tablespoons nonperil capers
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a small bowl. Toss to coat. Allow to marinate 1 hour prior to serving. Toss again prior to serving.

My thoughts:
I wasn't even going to share this recipe with all of you, but Matt reminded me that sometimes these recipes, the ones you don't think are earth shattering are the best. He said he wouldn't have thought of pulling together these rando ingredients I happened to have on hand to make a tasty salad to serve alongside our burgers and tots (yes, tots) this evening. It was rather good, honestly. Lightly marinated and fresh tasting despite the fact that tomatoes are not yet in season and I made do with Campari tomatoes, which, like grape tomatoes are some of the better slightly-out-of-season tomatoes out there. If it is tomato season, feel free to cube up some of the big ones. The flavors are vaguely Italian (thanks, capers) but not so much so it was out of place when paired with a burger. I love peppery-crisp radishes and they were a great foil for the juicy tomatoes. It isn't a gorgeous salad, but it is a good one and worth trying as we ease ourselves into summer weather.

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June 05, 2015

Littleneck Clams with Bacon, Radishes, Potatoes and Corn


1 small-medium Vidalia onion, small dice
3 slices thick cut bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 lb small potatoes, halved*
1 bunch red radishes, quartered (save leaves for another use)
1 cup stock, water or clam juice
2 bay leaves
3 ears' worth of corn kernels
4 sprigs thyme
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
50 littleneck clams

olive oil


Fry the bacon in a dutch oven until crisp. Remove the bacon. Remove excess fat as needed, leaving about 1 1/2-2 tablespoons left in the pan. Saute the onion, radish and potatoes until the potatoes and radish are nearly fork-tender, about 10-12 minutes. Add the stock and deglaze the pan. Add the remaining ingredients and the bacon back to the pan. Cover and cook until the clams open, about 5-8 minutes. Discard any clams that do not open.

*Or quartered, I used Yukon Royale potatoes which are small but a few needed to be quartered

My thoughts:
One of the things I love best about living in the Mid-Atlantic is all of the seafood. We have oysters, clams, crabs and even scallops available that have been harvested from less than 2 1/2 hours from where I live. I was lucky enough to find these Chesapeake, Va clams right in the seafood department of my local grocery store. I scooped them up and brought them home to make this one pot meal. It was so easy yet so delish! Clams make the meal seem special, but honestly, it was quicker than most weeknight meals I make. Tossing in the corn and radishes totally eliminated the need for a side dish.

Pro tip: Use a spider (or large slotted spoon, but I prefer the spider) to scoop the clams and vegetables out of the pot to serve and take care to check for any lost clams at the bottom of the pot. I find littleneck clams make their way out their shells much more easily than larger clams or mussels.

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June 01, 2015

Old Bay Crab Deviled Eggs


6 hard boiled eggs, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped chives
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay

blue crab for garnish (I used leftover meat from steamed crabs)

Place the yolks, mayonnaise, mustard, chives and Old Bay in a mini chopper or food processor. Pulse until smooth. Divide evenly among the halves. Garnish with crab. Sprinkle with additional Old Bay.

My thoughts:
If Baltimore had an official deviled egg, this would be it! Full of our favorite Old Bay and topped with crab (leftover from streamed crabs, natch) it is everything Baltimoreans love rolled into one dish. Perfect for your next picnic, cookout, party or crab feast.

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