Thursday, July 20, 2017

Blackberry Cornbread with Honey & Thyme

Remember I made a blueberry cornbread?

Well, today I am making BLACKBERRY cornbread.

I found some nice local blackberries at my farmer's market, they are in season now.
Summer berries are the best for cakes....and in this case, cornbread.

I like a sweet cornbread, but I know most purists only use a tablespoon of do what you like.
I also made a honey glaze for the top, which works so nicely with the summer berries.

Blackberry Cornbread (loosely adapted from Rachel Ray)

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp almond extract

1 cup blackberries
turbinado sugar for sprinkling
honey and fresh thyme for the glaze

Mix dry ingredients w/ the wet (do not add in berries).

Pour the batter into a 9" greased cast iron skillet.
Dot the top with the blackberries, pressing into the batter.

Sprinkle the berries with turbinado sugar and bake for 25 minutes in a 375F oven.

Heat 2 tbsp of honey with 1 tsp of water in the microwave for 20 seconds.
Brush the warm cornbread with the honey glaze and let cool in the skillet.

This is so good with coffee for breakfast.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Jersey Corn Pizza

What? Corn on a pizza?

In New Jersey, we are famous for so many things.....especially annoying things that we really don't want to be associated with (highway exits and Jersey Shore stigma). I won't get into it, but you know what I am referring to.

We are also famous for our corn (and pizza!).
So why not put them together?

Question: Why is Jersey corn so much better than corn from the let's say, the corn belt?
Answer: I don't have an answer for you.

All I know is that I grew up with this delicious corn and people go crazy for it. It must be something in the soil (like Jimmy Hoffa's remains).

My favorite artisanal pizza place in NJ makes this pie when Jersey corn is in season....and only serves it for a few weeks. It's the bomb.

Here, I tried to copy them and I did a pretty good job, though their dough is better than anyone else's.

Make your own pizza dough or buy it....whatever works.

I know you are going to ask me if you can use frozen corn kernels here....I say ok....but it won't be the same as cutting the sweet corn off the cob fresh.

Here are the toppings. This is my new favorite.

for 1 large pizza:

pizza dough
3 balls of fiore di latte (fresh mozzarella, the big egg size balls)
2 ears of fresh corn on the cob, husked, kernels sliced off the cobs
a few dollops of pea pesto (you can use basil pesto, but I made pea with mint and pistachio, so used that)
1 tbsp of pimenton or piment d'espelette (smoked Spanish paprika, or the Basque version)
olive oil
sea salt
fresh snipped chives and basil leaves for finishing

Spread out your dough in a pizza pan or on a pizza stone, however you would usually make your pizza. (This is my husband's job).

Dot sections of the dough with pesto and torn hunks of the cheese.

Fill in the gaps with the shucked corn kernels. Sprinkle w/ the pimenton.

Gently drizzle with a little olive oil, just a little.

I baked mine for 15 minutes in a 475F oven and it came out perfect.

Sprinkle w/ some sea salt and snipped chives....don't skip this step.
I also garnished with some fresh basil leaves.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Purple Cauliflower w/ Chickpeas & Quinoa Salad

I love purple cauliflower.

When I see it at the farmer's market, I have to buy 3 heads......because I am afraid I won't see it again (and I rarely do!).

It tastes like regular cauliflower, but that purple is just so vibrant...and unlike purple green beans (which loses its purple when you cook them), the purple colors gets even brighter after cooking!

Here, I roasted the purple stuff on a sheet pan w/ canned chickpeas.
Tossed with cooked quinoa, raisins and some herbs.

This was so delicious on its own and then for dinner w/ some maple mustard salmon on top.

Here's how:

1 head of purple cauliflower, cut into florets
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup cooked quinoa
kosher salt
olive oil
fresh parsley & chives


2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 tsp ras el hanout or garam masala
1/4 cup of olive oil
sea salt & pepper

Lay the chickpeas and cauliflower florets on a roasting pan. Drizzle w/ olive oil and kosher salt.

Roast in a 425F oven for 20 minutes, shaking the pan, so the chickpeas and vegetables are browning.

Meanwhile, cook the quinoa as per package directions. Transfer to a large bowl.

Whisk the dressing w/ a fork, macerating the raisins.

Combine the roasted vegetables with the cooked quinoa and pour dressing over. Add in snipped chives and fresh parsley. Season to taste w/ sea salt & pepper.

If making ahead, I like to add a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten it up just before serving.

So good! (pretty too!). :)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Very Berry Muffins

These are my favorite summer muffins.

Any berry will do.
But lately the farmer's markets have been stocked w/ strawberries and blueberries, and they have been just delicious.

Very Berry Muffins:

1 1/3 cups sugar
zest of a lemon
1 stick of butter, softened
2 eggs
1/4 tsp almond extract

Mix all together until light and creamy.

Now add in a bit at a time:

1 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of almond flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Next, add in:

2/3 cup milk
1 cup of blueberries
cinnamon sugar for the top

375F for 25 minutes for normal size muffins.

For those of you asking where I get these large pretty paper baking liners (they are great, no sticking, and no cleaning up muffin tins)....I buy them online at amazon, or at Home Goods when I see them. They come in all sizes.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Tonnato Dip

Tonnato sauce is a delicious salty cold tuna sauce made to serve w/ Vitello Tonnato, (cold, thinly sliced veal).

I have made it with turkey breast and it is a delicious summer dinner.

I tried Melissa Clark's version of tuna dip from her new book.

The recipe read funny to me, it said use a 3 oz. can of tuna, most cans are 5 oz. size, and it seemed like a lot of other ingredients for just a little tiny I took liberties and used two 5 oz. cans of Italian tuna in oil to make about a cup of dip.

This is delicious with hard boiled eggs, crudite, boiled potatoes or breadsticks. It is addictive.

Tuna Spread (loosely adapted from Dinner Changing the Game):

2 cans of tuna packed in oil (try and use good tuna from Spain or Italy), drained
1 tbsp capers
1 garlic clove
a few fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup of mayo (I use Hellmann's)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 anchovies
chopped kalamata olives

Pulse everything together (except the olives) in a food processor until a nice creamy consistency, almost mousse like.

Fold in the chopped olives with a silicone spatula and spread in a bowl.

Before serving, drizzle some more olive oil on top and season w/ black pepper and parsley or basil.

Can be made ahead and kept in the fridge.

Lick the bowl.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Summer Random Bites

Sometimes I am just too lazy to write out a recipe after I create something special.

So the pics make the Random Bites category.

Remember these delicious potato chips with creme fraiche and smoked salmon from years back?

I found red/white/blue chips and dabbed them w/ Greek yogurt this time and the salmon for the 4th of July. You can't make them too far ahead, but they are easy and delish.

I am still finding asparagus at the farmer's market, but they will be gone soon, so I use them in everything I can.

I made a delicious salad w/ seared crisp asparagus, peas, mint, dill, almonds and parmesan curls....with just a squeeze of lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper.

What is Romanesco? It is from another planet, by the looks of it.

The taste is a cross between broccoli and cauliflower, but I just buy it because I like the funky look of it!

Here, I made David Tanis' recipe from the NY Times, and dumped the leftovers on flatbread pizzas.

So good.

Hope you are cooking up some delicious things this summer......Jersey tomato season is upon us, so stay tuned!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Sour Cherry Frangipane Tart & Winners!

Remember that gorgeous sour cherry coffee cake I made in 2015?
Well, that little cherry is back at my farmers' markets and I am going to grab them while they last.

I've been hearing about sour cherries for years, my sister-in-law always telling me how special they are for jams and pies......and a food blogger that I read gets nervous when he sees them at the farmer's market, because he knows their time is so short (that's a bit weird, but I kind of get's how I feel about figs, I want to buy them all when I see them).

People are obsessed with them.

So what is all the fuss about?

First of all, these are a "sour" cherry (hence the name, duh), not sweet. Not great for eating, unless you like to eat lemons (but I didn't mind eating a few).

They are wonderful to pit, nice and small, with the pit coming out easily, and they don't stain your clothes or skin!

I chose the NY Times Frangipane Tart for my first recipe......I will be making another sour cherry coffee cake with the rest.

If you are not acquainted with "frangipane", get to know it. It is a simple almond filling and goes so well with summer berries (especially figs!).

I am posting the recipe w/ the NYT crust, but I used puff pastry, which always works out well for me.......

Sour Cherry Frangipane Tart (adapted from the NYT):

For the Tart Dough: (you can also use puff pastry)

1 cup/125 grams all-purpose flour
¼ cup/45 grams granulated sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons/86 grams chilled unsalted butter, in small pieces
1 egg yolk beaten with 2 teaspoons water

For the Filling:

1 cup/4 ounces/sliced almonds (you can use almond meal, not almond flour)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup/90 grams granulated sugar
5 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
12 ounces/350 grams pitted cherries (about 1 3/4 cups)
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Grind almonds in a food processor and set aside.

Roll dough out into a large circle and lay it in a 10" fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press in well (patch any cracks with extra dough). Refrigerate or freeze for 1 hour.

Heat oven to 425F degrees. Blind bake tart shell until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. (You do not need to cover the shell or use pie weights, and if you are using puffed pastry, obviously, skip this step).

Make filling. Mix everything except for the cherries, in a large bowl until nice and smooth.

Turn the oven down to 375F.

Pour frangipane mixture into the pie shell and cover with the pitted cherries.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until the filling is puffed and golden.

Let rest in the tart pan 15 minutes before unmolding.

So good with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

And on another order of business.....thank you for all of your lovely comments from Monday's anniversary post, it made me feel so good!!
And the winners of the DEISS Pro Julienne Peelers are: drumroll please......

SEMS Library Lady
Amen Kahwajy
(from Dallas who loves figs now)

Please contact me with your mailing addresses, so you can receive your new gadget (which you will LOVE!).


Monday, July 3, 2017

A Few of My Favorite Things.......9 Years & a Giveaway!

Today is the 9th Anniversary of Stacey Snacks.

I have enjoyed writing about and photographing the foods I eat and cook for the past 9 years......I can't believe it's been that long.

I have decided that when I turn 10, I am going to end my reign as Stacey Snacks and reinvent myself (I do this every 10 years)........don't worry, you have me for another year of recipes and ramblings.

This is the first blog post I ever wrote to introduce myself back in 2008. I never published it, but was going thru my archives, so thought, why not?

NOTHING has changed on my favorite foods list (except I might add kimchi to the list today). I'm consistent and dependable.

Please enjoy and hum to the tune from The Sound of Music.........

"Raindrops on Roses (corny) and Whiskers on Kittens (I guess so).

Bright Copper Kettles
(I like original patina) and Warm Woolen Mittens (makes me itch).

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String (that is intriguing, could be a bakery item).

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

Let's get to the real stuff (food items only):

I absolutely love an AVOCADO: sprinkled with kosher salt, I love them just by themselves, or in guacamole.

PIZZA: but only from New Jersey, Brooklyn, NYC or Philly.

ARUGULA: by far, my favorite green, especially from the garden, scary spicy.

PASTA: in any shape or form. w/ butter, w/ cheese, a ragu, pesto, you name it, I'll eat it and love it.

EGGS: I eat them everyday for breakfast. I love them hardboiled, egg salad, fried, or soft boiled.

CHEESE: can't live without it. Especially good cheese from the cheese man in town. God help me if I ever become lactose intolerant.

CILANTRO: This is a love hate thing for most people. You either love it or hate it. I love it. It is my favorite herb. Sometimes I snip a piece of a leaf in the supermarket just to smell it. Best in guacamole and with any Southwestern recipes.

FIGS: Fresh of course. I have a fig tree that produces maybe 10 fruits the whole season! I LOVE Kadota, or Mission. Sliced and served on crostini w/ ricotta and a drizzle of balsamic and I am in heaven!

FRIED EGGPLANT: it has to be done just right, has to be sliced paper thin, with a light batter, rolled in a rollatine, or just eaten fresh out of the pan!

To celebrate 9 years, I am giving away 3 Deiss Pro Dual Julienne Peelers to my loyal readers. This is my new favorite side peels the vegetable, the other side makes zoodles! (I am also giving away Deiss Pro Apple Peelers and Corer sets).

What are your favorite foods? Just leave a comment!

Thanks for reading me for all this time. :)


Thursday, June 29, 2017

4th of July Berry Cake

This is your typical summer berry cake.....easy to make and always a crowd pleaser.
There's nothing fancy going on here, it's just about the summer berries.

Raspberries would be extra good in this recipe, but I had blueberries and strawberries.

With some whipped cream on top, we can call it a red, white and blue-berry cake.

It's important here to use an 8" springform, because the batter makes a small cake....(you can also use a 9" Pyrex glass pie plate, for some reason, these 8" cakes come out nicely in the pie dish).

4th of July Berry Cake: (adapted from Coastal Living)

1/2 cup unsalted butter (one stick), softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup unbleached flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup halved strawberries
zest of a lemon
1 teaspoon lemon juice for the top
turbinado sugar for top

Heat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar for 3 minutes with a mixer, until light in color.
Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and eggs, and beat at medium speed 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl once. Spread the batter evenly into an 8-inch greased springform pan. I like to line my springform pan w/ a circle of parchment paper.

Place blueberries and strawberries on top of the batter, pressing lightly into the surface. Drizzle lemon juice evenly over the top.
I sprinkled some turbinado sugar on top for a nice crunchy crust.

Bake 45-55 minutes or until golden. Remove and allow to cool slightly in the pan. Run a knife around the edges, and remove sides of the pan. Top with powdered sugar or freshly whipped cream to serve.

My fruit sunk into the cake after baking, but it was fine....tasted delicious anyway.

Have a happy 4th of July!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Garlic Scape Hummus

You might see these swirly weird things at the farmers markets now in late June......they are garlic scapes!

Garlic scapes are the flower bud of the garlic plant. The bud is removed in late June to encourage the bulbs to thicken up.

They taste like garlic, but a bit can grill them, chop them for pesto or make a scape hummus (which is SO GOOD) with these funky alliums.

This is an amazing hummus/dip. We ate the entire bowl w/ toasted pita for dinner.

I read recently not to refrigerate hummus......serve it warm or at room temperature like they do in the Middle East.

This was the best hummus I have made to date.

Garlic Scape Hummus:

1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
5 long garlic scapes, chopped (not the flowers, only the stems)
juice of a whole lemon
pinch of kosher salt or more to taste
1/4 tsp of pimenton (smoked Spanish paprika)
2 tbsp of tahini (I actually tried Trader Joe's brand, and it was good!)
1/4 - 1/3 cup of olive oil
1 tsp honey (secret ingredient)
sesame seeds for the top

Whiz all ingredients in a food processor or mini chopper. If the hummus is too thick, add a tsp of water to thin.
Season w/ salt & pepper to taste.

Make a well in the hummus before serving and drizzle w/ good olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Toast pita and cut into triangles.


Monday, June 26, 2017

Seared Asian Style Tuna Steaks with Avocado

Here is a simple weeknight recipe for fresh tuna steaks.

Tuna is so easy to prepare at home. Don't be afraid.

The only rule is MAKE SURE IT IS UBER FRESH.

I buy sushi grade tuna, and I am a heathen because I don't love it RARE (like you are supposed to eat it!). When I am out, I always order it MEDIUM.

In this recipe, Tyler Florence wants you to cook the fish only 1 minute on each side, but I opt for 2 minutes. The center is still nice and red, but I like my tuna warm, not cold in the middle. Just a personal preference. Do whatever you like.

Tyler Florence's Asian Style Seared Tuna: (adapted from Food Network)

2 big handfuls fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1/2 jalapeno, sliced (or dash of hot pepper flakes)
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, grated
2 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
pinch sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1 (6-ounce) block sushi-quality tuna
1 ripe avocado, sliced

In a mixing bowl, combine the cilantro, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir the ingredients together until well incorporated.

Place a skillet over medium-high heat and coat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the tuna generously with kosher salt and pepper. Lay the tuna in the hot oil and sear for 1-2 minutes on each side to form a slight crust.

Pour 1/2 of the cilantro mixture into the pan to coat the fish. Serve the seared tuna with the sliced avocado and the remaining cilantro sauce drizzled over the whole plate.

Delicious and easy.