Brussels Sprouts that neglected and shy little bulb has become trendy – the darling of the vegetable world. Healthy, tasty, versatile, a chameleon, changing depending on the pairing – never boring or the same. Steamed, baked, roasted, raw in a salad, your choices of preparation are endless. For a deliciously healthy salad, I love fresh raw Brussels Sprouts combined with apples, pistachios and shaved parmesan cheese- dressed with a light lemon vinaigrette.
Brussels Sprouts Apple Salad with Pistachios and Shaved Parmesan Cheese
4 cups thinly sliced Brussels Sprouts
2 Granny Smith Apples, chopped
1/2 cup chopped unsalted pistachios
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan Cheese
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh grounded black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
Combine Brussels Sprouts, apples, pistachios and cheese in a bowl. Toss with lemon vinaigrette. (If you prefer you can serve vinaigrette on the side.) I like my salad lightly dressed. Refrigerate remanding vinaigrette for up to two weeks.
Lemon Vinaigrette: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.
Ah, fall is in the air! Time for fabulous apple desserts to herald the beginning of fall. Fall is my favorite time of year when the leaves start to change with the crisp Autumn air. And fall clothes, need I say more to soft cashmere sweaters, light wool pants, and boots! But I can’t forget about fresh-picked apples right off the tree. It’s perfect for just taking a big juicy bite or using for outrageous apple desserts like the recipe that I am sharing today, half cupcake, half muffin, but totally delicious.
Cream Cheese Filling
1 8 ounces package cream cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup finely chopped pecans
3 cups flour
1 cup of sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup apple sauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups peeled Gala apples, finely chopped
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoon milk
1 cup powdered sugar
Prepare Filling: Beat the first three ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended and smooth. Add egg, flour, and vanilla beat until combined.
Prepare Batter: Preheat oven to 350. Bake finely chopped pecans in a shallow pan 8-10 minutes until toasted. Stir together flour and the next seven ingredients in a large bowl; stir in eggs, and follow with the oil, apple sauce, and vanilla until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in apples and pecans.
Spoon batter into cupcake lined pans, filling half. Then spoon about 1/8 cup of cream cheese filling using all the filling. Top with remaining batter.
Bake 20-25 minutes until a wooden tester comes out clean.
Makes 24 cupcakes
Prepare Praline Frosting: Bring brown sugar, butter, milk to a boil in a 2-qt saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil one minute. Remove from heat, add vanilla, stir. Gradually whisk powder sugar until smooth. Stir for 3-5 minutes until frosting slightly thickens. Before the frosting is cool, frost cupcakes. Top with chopped pecans and one dried apple chip.
Fall at it’s best with fresh-picked apples baked in a rich pound cake with a crumb topping and caramel drizzled on top. Richly flavored with just a hint of orange juice, cinnamon, and crisp tart apples. I used Granny Smith Apples in this cake for their tart flavor along with a firm consistency after baking. As gorgeous as this cake looks it is quite easy to make. Delicious, dazzling, easy to duplicate, what could be better.
Candied Apple Crumb Cake
4 cups flour
2 cups of sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup oil
1 cup of orange juice
3 large eggs (4 if small)
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 Granny Smith Apples peeled and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon fleur de sel (or another sea salt)
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease tube cake pan and set aside. Sift together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Place in a large mixing bowl making a well.
2. Combine oil, orange juice, eggs, and vanilla. Pour into the center of the well and beat for three minutes.
3. Combine sugar and cinnamon in the small bowl and set aside.
4. Pour a third of the batter into prepared pan, add half sliced apples and half cinnamon-sugar. Cover with half the remaining batter. Top with remaining apples then cinnamon-sugar. Add remaining batter on top.
5. Combine ingredients for crumb topping blending until thoroughly combined. A pastry blender works best to make the crumb topping but you can cut the butter in with two knives.
6. Sprinkle over cake. Bake 1 hour 30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
7. Cool for 1 hour before removing from the tube pan.
8. Make caramel sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat combine the sugar with 1/4 cup cold water and stir to combine. Cook, without stirring, until the sugar has turned a deep amber color about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, warm the cream in a small saucepan. When the caramel is ready, slowly, whisk in the warm cream and continue simmering for another 2-3 minutes until the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat, then whisk in the butter,, and then salt. Slowly drizzle over cake.
Many shy away from making fish at home thinking that fish is difficult requiring a higher degree of cooking to master or just unaware of how easy fish is to prepare. Fish is a healthy alternative to meat along with being an integral element of the Mediterranean diet which I follow so we eat fish regularly. Fish is so versatile lending to using many different seasoning especially with white body fish such as swordfish, cod, halibut, just to name a few. With this recipe I flavored swordfish with traditional Moroccan spices, skewed then grilled to perfection. If you are intimidated by making fish grilling is a great to start to gain confidence and enjoy a healthy fish meal.
In a large, shallow dish, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, turmeric, thyme and crushed red pepper. Add the swordfish and stir to coat with the marinade. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Light the grill preheating to 450F. Thread the swordfish onto 6-inch skewers. Season with salt. Grill the kebabs over a hot fire, turning once, until lightly charred and cooked through, about 8 minutes.
Watermelon is synonymous with hot summer days, infused with sun-kissed flavor. I remember growing up waiting – not patiently- for my mother to cut the biggest watermelon for us to enjoy when we returned home from a day spent at the pool baking in the sun. (we didn’t know about sun protection then) Instantly cooling and so refreshing!
I still slice up watermelon to serve for family and friends on hot summer days. Perfect after a barbecue or here in New England, we’re fond of clam bakes. For parties or picnic, I love to splurge making a watermelon salad adding tomatoes, red onion and feta cheese with a sweet and salty dressing. Fresh mint and a pinch of Himalayan pink salt just the perfect finishing touch.
1 small watermelon (about 3 – 5 lb.)
1/2 c. fresh mint, finely chopped
1/4 c. red onion, thinly sliced
12 oz. cherry, halved
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. pure honey
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup Crumbled feta
pinch of Pink Himalayan salt
Remove the rind from watermelon and cut the flesh into 1/2 inch-thick cubes; arrange on a platter. Top with fresh mint, red onion, cherry tomatoes. Combine olive oil, fresh lime juice, pure honey, and kosher salt and black pepper in a bowl. Spoon over watermelon; top with crumbled feta. Sprinkle with a pinch of Pink Himalayan salt.
If you are taking on a picnic or to a party assemble salad at your location.
August is peach season with fresh picked peaches in all the markets. Peach pie is one of my favorites pies(I know I say that about every pie!). Sometimes you have to do something different, go a little rouge, shack it up! That’s what I did with this Peach Pie, I added Peach Schnapps to the filling, added a streusel topping all in a phyllo pie crust. I just let my creative cooking ideas flow for this show stopping pie!
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
3 3/4 to 4 pounds peaches, peeled with vegetable peeler, halved, pitted, cut into 1-inch wedges
Phyllo Pie Crust:
10 14×9-inch sheets fresh phyllo pastry or frozen, thawed
5 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
Stir flour, oats, sugar, and salt in medium bowl. Add butter; rub in with fingertips until mixture holds together in moist clumps. Mix in pecans. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.
Stir sugar and next 4 ingredients in large bowl. Mix in Peach Schnapps, then peaches; toss. Let stand at least 20 minutes, tossing occasionally.
Lightly butter 10-inch-diameter tart pan. Place rimmed baking sheet in oven to heat. Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in small bowl.
Set rack at lowest position in oven. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lay 1 phyllo sheet on clean work surface and brush lightly with butter (keep remaining phyllo sheets covered with plastic wrap and damp towel to prevent drying). Sprinkle 1scant teaspoonful cinnamon mixture over phyllo. Repeat 4 times with phyllo, butter, and cinnamon mixture. Arrange stacked phyllo in tart pan, gently pressing and allowing long sides to hang over edge of pan. Repeat layering process with 5 remaining phyllo sheets. Arrange stacked phyllo crosswise atop first sheets so that overhanging corners point in opposite directions. Roll overhang in to form edge of crust.
Spoon filling into crust. Scatter topping over, breaking up large clumps.
Bake pie 30 minutes. Reduce oven to 350°F; bake until juices bubble thickly and topping is golden, covering edges with foil if browning too quickly, about 30 hour. Cool on rack at least 1 1/2 hours. Serve warm or at room temperature.
I was in the mood for egg salad one day but not an ordinary egg salad so I just started mixing some of my favorite ingredients. If I do say so this turned out delicious. I will caution that this egg salad is very rich so just eat a smaller portion with a wonderful salad of fresh vegetables. My philosophy has always been that you can eat well-staying thin and fit if you use portion control of rich foods. I like to balance my meals with more greens and fresh vegetables less high caloric foods. If I make and eat a rich dish I watch my portion. Also, exercise is essential for staying fit and healthy. Find a physical activity that you enjoy to incorporate into the fabric of your day then you will always have time for exercise! Back to food I do believe that presentation is so important even if you are eating alone, make it look good! I made a colorful salad placing a small amount of egg salad in the center, drizzled some balsamic vinegar for a beautiful and wonderfully tasting dish. Did I mention so easy too!
Goat Cheese Egg Salad with Red Beets
4 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise with olive oil
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon scallions, minced, just the white part
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup red beets, chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
In a medium bowl, mix eggs and mayonnaise. Add goat cheese and mix until combined. Add remaining ingredients. Makes 4 small servings Serve on lettuce with your favorite raw veggies and beets.
My exploration and love affair with Martha’s Vineyard, never sated, only increases each time I return bewitched by this magical island. The first time we visited Menemsha – the charming fishing village on Martha’s Vineyard named after the native American word meaning “still waters” – I immediately recognized the location as the shooting background for the fictional “Amity Island” of Steven Spielberg’s 1975 film Jaws. Even before my first visit to Martha’s Vineyard I was enamored with the book and movie Jaws. I remember vividly late one night reading in bed the frightening opening in the book – far from the ocean still completely captivated by fear. In a dark movie theater with the perfect John Williams movie score, the opening scene did not disappoint as I was totally terrified again! You can imagine how thrilled I was to discover a reoccurring location in the film. I half expected to see Chief Brody walking the village!
Beachgoers and tourists populate Basin Road along Menemsha harbor disguising the historic harbor which serves as a point of departure for local fishermen. I love to come here for some of the freshest fish on the island at Larson and Menemsha Fish Market. At Menemsha Fish Market Mandi, Dan and I can’t resist the hot lobs’ter roll; 1/3 pound lobster meat, butter, lemon on a grilled hot dog roll deliciously fresh, sweet, melt in your mouth lobster, lick your fingers good. While waiting for our lobs’ter rolls I pick out lobsters to be steamed which I’ll pick up before we leave for grilling at home.
Shopping in the unique boutiques along the harbor is another activity I can’t resist when visiting Menemsha. A family favorite is Beetlebung where we love their iconic logo T’s and hats for adults and children. Our grandchild, Alexander, Charlotte, and Madeline, not to be excluded sport Beetlebung wear. Check out their colorful straw bags, an island must.
I adore mermaids, obsessed, I am told. Imagine my joy when I discovered last year at Copper Works of Martha’s Vineyard their exquisite handcrafted weathered copper wall art only to be quickly disappointed as all the mermaids were sold out. This year I made sure I visited the shop earlier finding only one lonely mermaid which I couldn’t resist and is now perfectly at home on my living room wall.
At Menemsha Deli inviting brightly painted outside picnic tables welcome you where inside you’ll find owner Cybele McCormick offering an assortment of freshly made sandwiches, all delectable creations not to be missed.
Look for the sign with the mermaid holding the sub roll aloft and you’ve found the Menemsha Deli.
Traveling down Basin Road you’ll find more retail shops including Menemsha Blues a relaxed clothing line taking inspiration from the sea surrounding the island with four stores on the island.
Our trip to Menemsha is complete without a visit to Menemsha Beach. The beach is a little rocky with a pleasant, gentle surf as it faces north on the Vineyard Sound, rather than the Atlantic Ocean; the vistas from Menemsha Beach are beautifully breathtaking with sweeping views of Cuttyhunk and the rest of the Elizabeth Islands. On beautiful summer evenings, we’ll return to this premier spot enjoying a Martha’s Vineyard sunset.
On our ride home still enchanted, never tiring, we plan our next visit to this quintessential New England fishing village, Menemsha.
I’ve had a long love affair with hydrangeas. My grandmother and mother cultivated gardens overflowing with massive hydrangea plants and introduced me to the plants as a young girl. My mother called the large globe-shaped blooms snowballs, and I’d laugh with her about snowballs in the summer. I was hooked and my fascination continues to this day.
At my house and vacation home, hydrangeas are my rock star, taking center stage. On Martha’s Vineyard where I have a vacation home, hydrangeas flourish in the sandy soil bathed in the nourishing sea air. A little Holly Tone in the spring and fall to fertilize is all that is needed to produce mammoth blooms.
Now that I am a grandmother I am continuing the tradition and introducing my two granddaughters to my favorite flower. My very eager helpers enjoy learning about growing hydrangeas and they especially love cutting the blooms for indoor vases.
On our family vacations at my home on Martha’s Vineyard, the girls help me cut blooms for vases. *
Their arms are filled with copious blooms! And I enjoy sharing my gardening passion with Madeline and Charlotte and another generation of green-thump women are born!
My granddaughters, enjoy choosing vases to display our blooms throughout the house!
In the fall the blooms can be dried for winter arrangements filling my home with summer memories!
*In order to extend blooms’ life, I seal the stems in boiling water. First, add mild dish soap to room temperature water in the vase – soap keeps bacteria away. Remove the leaves – they take up a lot of water. Cut the stems on an angle and cut up the stem so they can soak up more water. Dip stems in boiling water – this prevents sap from blocking stem.
Luscious end of the season ripe fruit makes the most delectable pies. Who can resist a delicious piece of pie with vanilla ice cream simple but oh so good! I especially love the combination of nectarine and blueberries. I made my own pie crust and the recipe follows. But for a quick and easy pie, you can buy the refrigerated pie crust. I like the Pillsbury brand. Don’t be intimidated by a homemade pie crust, as I’ve always said, the more you practice the better you become. If time is an issue you can make the pie crust the day before and refrigerate overnight, then just roll out the dough the next day, add the filling, bake and in no time you have a wonderful homemade pie.