Mary’s Thanksgiving Favorite!
“The topping of caramel almonds sells it, but it’s the rich, complex flavor of brown butter in the base that makes this update on classic blondies unforgettable”
INGREDIENTS – Makes 6
Make the blondie layer: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper, or butter pan and dust it with flour. In a skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Continue cooking until butter is a brown-gold and smells like hazelnuts, around 5 minutes. Pour brown butter into a heatproof bowl and let it come to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Use an electric mixer to beat brown butter with brown sugar until well combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Continue beating until smooth. Use a rubber spatula to fold in flour and salt. Do not overmix.
Transfer batter to prepared pan. Pre-bake blondie layer until middle is no longer liquid, 25 minutes. While the blondie layer is pre-baking, prepare the caramel almonds: Toast almonds on a baking sheet in the oven until just starting to turn golden, 5 minutes. In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine butter, sugar, honey and cream. Cook, without stirring, until mixture reaches 116 on a candy thermometer or comes to a boil, about 7 minutes. Taking care in case of splatters, add nuts and stir to coat. Remove from heat. Immediately cover pre-baked blondie with an even layer of caramel almonds. Bake for 10 minutes more. Let cool to room temperature.
#2: Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
INGREDIENTS – serves 4
Separate garlic into individual cloves. Toss in olive oil and wrap tightly in a small piece of aluminum foil. Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes. When the garlic has cooled to the touch you should be able to squeeze it out of their shells. Mash the roasted garlic with a fork.
Peel and boil potatoes in salted water until tender. Mash the potatoes by your usual method. Put the potatoes, garlic, sour cream, butter, and salt and pepper in a mixer bowl, and whip at medium speed until smooth. Add milk to adjust consistency!
#3: Cranberry Pineapple Salad
1 package (6 oz) of raspberry/strawberry gelatin
1 ¾ cup boiling water
1 can (16 oz) whole cranberry sauce
1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple, undrained
¾ cup orange juice – I use the frozen can undiluted
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ cup chopped walnuts
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Break up and stir in cranberry sauce. Add pineapple, orange juice, and lemon juice. Pour into the jello mold of your choice. Chill until partially set and then stir in walnuts.
#4: Sweet Potato Casserole with Praline Topping
Susan’s Thanksgiving Staple!
This is hands down the BEST recipe for sweet potatoes. They are so rich and delicious. It is like dessert. A must for Thanksgiving and Christmas!
INGREDIENTS – serves 12
Mix together and place in 9×13 baking dish
Blend ingredients with a pastry blender. Sprinkle over potatoes. Bake 60-70 minutes at 350 degrees until the top is brown and bubbly. Remove and garnish with pecan halves.
Gabby’s Thanksgiving Favorite!
INGREDIENTS – 12 servings
Fill a large bowl with cold water. Working with 1 Yukon Gold potato at a time, peel, then cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds and place in a bowl with water. Repeat with sweet potatoes. Combine cream, butter, and garlic in a medium saucepan; bring to simmer. Remove from heat. Mix all herbs in a small bowl. Mix sea salt and black pepper in another small bowl. Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Drain potatoes, then pat dry with kitchen towels. Transfer half of the potatoes to prepared baking dish. Use hands to distribute and spread evenly. Add a layer of sliced onions.Sprinkle with half of salt-pepper mixture, then half of herb mixture. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Repeat with remaining potatoes, salt-pepper mixture, herb mixture, and cheese. Pour cream mixture over gratin, pressing lightly to submerge potato mixture as much as possible. DO AHEAD Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and chill. Remove plastic wrap before baking.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cover gratin tightly with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake until top of gratin is golden and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes; serve.
#6: Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust
Here’s my recipe for a fall favorite cheesecake. It’s a hybrid of several other recipes out there – I took all the best parts – and made it my own. Serve a slice with whipped cream or caramel ice cream. Enjoy!
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs, pecans and butter. Press crumb mixture into bottom of pan. Wrap foil around the outside of the pan to prevent drips. Bake crust 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool 5 minutes at room temperature. Refrigerate about 5 minutes or until completely cooled.
Meanwhile, in another small bowl, whisk flower, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and pumpkin. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in brown sugar and granulated sugar until smooth. On low speed, beat in 1 egg at a time just until blended. Gradually beat in pumpkin mixture until smooth. Pour filling over cooled crust. Bake 1 hour 25 minutes or until set but the center of cheesecake still jiggles slightly when moved. Turn the oven off and open the oven door at least 4 inches. Let cheesecake remain in a warm oven for 30 minutes. Run knife around edge of pan to loosen cheesecake. Cool in a pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight before serving. To serve, run knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cheesecake. Carefully remove the side of the pan before cutting cheesecake. Store over in the refrigerator.
#1: Roasted Delicata Squash, Pomegranate and Arugula Salad
“This stunner just might steal the show at your Thanksgiving feast, and for good reason. A vibrant salad featuring delicata squash, pomegranate, arugula, pepitas and feta tossed in a maple balsamic vinaigrette. If you are preparing this salad in advance, reserve the dressing on the side until you are ready to serve.”orchards in the Bay Area!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon real maple syrup
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
Casey’s favorite pumpkin dessert- made with graham cracker crust
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (14 crackers)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 extra-large egg yolks
1 package (2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 ripe banana, finely mashed
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 cup cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup (1/2 pint) cold heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Orange zest, optional
#3: Garides Me Feta
Mary’s Favorite Fall Recipe
“You will shout “Eureka” when you try this Greek rendition of shrimp in a tomato sauce with Feta cheese.”
INGREDIENTS – Serves 4
½ cup of minced onion
1 ½ tablespoons butter
1 ½ tablespoons oil
½ ncup dry white wine
4 ripe medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded & chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¾ teaspoon oregano
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 pound raw large shrimp, shelled and deveined
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
In a heavy skillet, saute onion in butter and oil until soft. Add wine, tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper and oregano. Bring to boil, lower heat to medium, and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened. Stir in cheese and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Adjust seasonings. Just before serving, add shrimp to hot sauce and cook for 5 minutes or until shrimp are just tender. Do not overcook. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately in a large bowl with crusty French bread.
Gabby’s Thanksgiving Favorite!
INGREDIENTS – 12 servings
1 1/2 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes
1 1/2 pounds medium red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced in half moon shape
1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups (packed) coarsely grated Gruyère and/or Asiago cheese (about 5 ounces)
Fill large bowl with cold water. Working with 1 Yukon Gold potato at a time, peel, then cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds and place in bowl with water. Repeat with sweet potatoes. Combine cream, butter, and garlic in medium saucepan; bring to simmer. Remove from heat. Mix all herbs in small bowl. Mix sea salt and black pepper in another small bowl.
Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Drain potatoes, then pat dry with kitchen towels. Transfer half of potatoes to prepared baking dish. Use hands to distribute and spread evenly. Add layer of sliced onions.Sprinkle with half of salt-pepper mixture, then half of herb mixture. Sprinkle with half of cheese. Repeat with remaining potatoes, salt-pepper mixture, herb mixture, and cheese. Pour cream mixture over gratin, pressing lightly to submerge potato mixture as much as possible. DO AHEAD Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and chill. Remove plastic wrap before baking.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Cover gratin tightly with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover; bake until top of gratin is golden and most of liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes; serve.
While the transition from summer to fall may feel different this year, one thing still remains – Apples are back in season! With October being the peak apple-picking month, now is the perfect time to plan a trip to one the many local apple orchards. Whether you’re looking for the perfect bushel for homemade applesauce or fillings for your Thanksgiving pies, apple picking is a fantastic kid friendly activity for all. Make sure you check the website or call ahead to find out about availability and COVID-19 precautions before you head to these u-pick apple orchards in the Bay Area!
#1: Gabriel Farm – Sonoma County
If eating organic is important to your family, head to Gabriel Farm (located in Sebastopol, a town practically synonymous with the fruit) where you’ll get a tour of the certified organic orchard in addition to the opportunity to pick your own apples through mid-November. Varieties include McIntosh, Gravenstein, Gala, Braeburn, Gilbert Golden Delicious, Fuji and Rome.
To participate in u-pick at Gabriel Farm, sign up to become members of their CSA online. This $40 cost will get you a case of their Asian Pears and the opportunity to pick apple. Once you’ve paid for your CSA membership online, you’ll receive instructions on how to email to secure your u-pick spot. U-pick price is an additional $2.50 per pound of fruit. The farm has a store with juice and jams for sale as well.
3175 Sullivan Rd.
COVID-19 Update: No drop-in u-pick is available. You must purchase your CSA membership and email for a u-pick time in advance. No large groups are allowed.
#2: Apple-a-Day Ratzlaff Ranch – Sonoma County
With a name like that, you know Ratzlaff Ranch is focused on apples! U-pick Gravensteins, Rome and Golden Delicious are a bargain at $2/pound or $50 for 40 pounds (now that’s a LOT of pies!). They are open daily from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. (except Thursdays and Saturdays when they are closed). Check their website for the opening date.
13128 Occidental Rd.
COVID-19 Update: Open for u-pick starting Sep. 21. Book your reservation here.
#3: Chileno Valley Ranch – Sonoma County
Apple season is going to look a bit different this year at Chileno Valley Ranch. Instead of u-pick, they are offering a pre-paid, drive-up option beginning August 23. Purchase your fruit and farm items in advance and schedule a date to pick them up. Head over to their Facebook page for more info. Varieties include Arkansas Black, Candy Crisp, Enterprise, GoldRush, Honey Crisp, Jonafree and more. You can also purchase pears, ground beef, honey and olive oil.
5105 Chileno Valley Rd.
#4: Gizdich Ranch – Watsonville
The u-pick apple season at Gizdich starts Sept. 12 and lasts about a month. While not all apple varieties are available for picking (you can expect Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Pippins and Galas), they do have many varieties for sale in the barn. Visit their website to see what varieties are in season.
Make sure you make time to head to the bake shop after picking to grab one of their out-of-this-world pies to take home. If you visit on a hot day, cool down the kids with an apple popsicle or apple slush. They are open 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily during picking season. Bring your own containers.
55 Peckham Rd.
COVID-19 Update: Opens 9/12 for apple picking
#5: Live Earth Farm – Watsonville
This spot in Watsonville grows a small variety of apples including Gravensteins, Pink Pearls and Macintosh. The u-pick start date is still TBD as it depends on when the crop ripens. Stay up to date on their u-pick schedule via their Facebook page. Expect them in late September or early October. The picking is a bargain at $1.50/pound.
1275 Green Valley Road
#6: Clearview Orchards – Watsonville
Located in the beautiful Santa Cruz Basin, Clearview Orchards offers a huge variety of certified organic apples, specializing in Gala and Fuji, Honey Crisp and Mitsu. Pick some apples and enjoy their beautiful terraced grounds with a view of the Watsonville valley. They also sell delicious local honey and fresh-pressed apple cider. Kiddos can even pick out their own pumpkins, just in time for fall. Open Saturday and Sundays only, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
646 Trabing Rd.
COVID-19 Update: Open Sept. 5-Nov. 1
#7: Apple Hill Region – Sacramento
For a bit of a longer trek, you’ll get no better apple selection than in the Apple Hill Region, about fifty miles east of Sacramento. With over 55 ranches offering different apple varieties and activities, you are bound to find the perfect experience for the kids. The Apple Hill Growers Association lists orchard details including U-pick hours, picnic areas, local attractions, and more. The u-pick ranches tend to be very small and very popular, so it is a good idea to call the ranches themselves to make sure they have the apple variety you want and that the fruit is available.
For more farms in the Apple Hill Growers Association, check out their site or call their number at: 530-644-7692.
Information in this post was primarily from a fantastic article written by RedTri, check it out below!
With Halloween right around the corner, it’s the time of year to begin searching for your favorite giant orange pumpkins! Whether your wee ones want the bigger than big pumpkin that will take hours to carve, or a teeny tiny mini one, these local pumpkin patches have them all. To go along with your pumpkin picking, you’ll also find some amazing corn mazes, pumpkin trains and face painting galore! We’re also sharing the full scoop on all COVID-19 precautions in place, so read & enjoy!
#1: Lemos Farm
This just might be the granddaddy of all the area pumpkin patches. Lemos Farm has that magic mix of fun for families with kids of all ages. For the under five crowd, there’s a fantastic selection of pumpkins along with pony rides, bounce houses and a haunted train ride. The haunted house has two versions of the Scare Zone: look for the “Halloween Fun” version for the younger kids. Older kids or grown-ups, be warned the other Scare Zone includes live actors who are hired to “scare the yell out of you” so its really not good for littles. Located in the heart of Half Moon Bay, you could easily weave a beach trip into this outing.
For 2020: pre-sold tickets are available online.
Location: 12320 San Mateo Rd. (Hwy 92), Half Moon Bay, CA
Hours: Open everyday Oct. 1-31, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: Prices vary by attraction. $20-25/all day unlimited activities for kids 14 mos. and up; $10/adult pass
#2) Pastorino Farm
During the month of October, Pastorino’s offers a seasonal pumpkin farm. Our pumpkin farm offers beautiful gifts, food, children’s activities, (hay rides, train rides, ponies, pet and feed farm animals, giant slides and jumpers). In addition, on the weekends we also offer a haunted house and face painting. And of course a field of pumpkins to choose from.
Location: 12391 San Mateo Road (Highway 92), Half Moon Bay, CA
Hours: 9:30am – 5:30pm, September 15 to October 31
#3) Webb Ranch Pumpkin Patch
A quick drive down 280 brings you to the home of this creation at Webb Ranch. The family-owned and operated farm has a pumpkin patch featuring more than 20 varieties of organic pumpkins. On-site hay rides, pony rides, a train ride and a reptile exhibit make this a destination that is all about the pumpkins and more. The corn maze is free, all other extras require tickets.
For 2020: Purchase your activity pass online before you arrive as a limited number will be sold per day.
#4) Farmer John’s Pumpkin Patch
For a simpler, pared-down experience, check out Farmer John’s in Half Moon Bay. Free of rides and extra kitsch, their appeal lies in the abundance of natural beauty and astounding variety of pumpkins. You’ll find more than 60 varieties of pumpkins and squash, including their specialty, the Atlantic Giant, which varies between 250 and 500 pounds! Inspired to grow your own? Farmer John’s sells pumpkin seeds for the backyard warriors to plant in their own gardens. Shutterbugs won’t be able to resist the photo ops that Farmer John’s provides, including a giant pumpkin display, authentic Native American Teepee, vintage tractor and rolling fields of pumpkins.
For 2020: Check their Facebook page for COVID-19 precautions
Location: 850 North Cabrillo Highway, Half Moon Bay, CA
Hours: Sep. 18-Oct. 31, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily
#5) Rodoni Farms
Come visit this third generation family farm on 100 acres of fun. You’ll find fields of pumpkins located along the beautiful California Coast on Hwy 1. They also have hay bales, scary cutouts and a 5-acre corn maze! Grab some fresh Brussels sprouts on the stalk, artichokes, corn stalks and gourds.
Location: 4444 Coast Road, Hwy 1, Santa Cruz, CA
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
#6) Arata Pumpkin Farm
When it comes to pumpkin farms, there are no shortage in Half Moon Bay but few can boast such perks as a 6-acre corn field, pumpkin river and the infamous two-acre Minotaur’s Labyrinth Hay Maze. There’s a Haunted Barn to explore, see the sights on a hay ride and for the small-set a Play Land area complete with a mini corn maze. Pack a picnic and plan to spend some time. You won’t regret it.
For 2020: Check here for all COVID-19 precautions in place. There will be no bounce houses this year.
Location: 185 Verde Rd., Half Moon Bay, CA
Hours: Mid-Sept.- Halloween, Mon.-Fri, 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Sat. & Sun. 9 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
Cost: Pumpkins start at just $1 but the maze and other attractions have various fees. Bring some cash!
#7) Blue House Farm
Located between Half Moon Bay and Pescadero is this lovely u-pick farm is open for pumpkin season in early October. Bonus, you can also do strawberry u-pick and purchase other produce from the farmstand while you are there!
For 2020: Check their website for updates and opening day announcements.
Location: 950 La Honda Road, San Gregorio, CA
Hours: Sat.-Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Information in this post was primarily from a fantastic article written by RedTri, check it out below!
I look forward to Greek Easter every year. Greek Easter is usually celebrated on or after Catholic Easter. This year, Easter is April 19, so in case anyone celebrated on April 12 and wants to have two fun celebrations, get your whisk and grill ready as I share some foodie favorites on what to make for your Greek bonanza.
Like any traditional holiday, Greek Easter is about three things (with the obvious exception of religion): family, food, and fun! I grew up going to a Macedonian Park in Calistoga every year for Easter. The entire family (all 40 of us) would rent a long picnic table and bring different Greek dishes to share. The best way to eat Greek food is family-style. While this year I will miss the smell of lamb cooking on the BBQ, a live Greek band in the background, and Greek dancing snaking throughout the park, I hope to recreate a similar ambiance at home with my favorite dishes, Spotify, and FaceTime.
Here are some Greek classics for you to enjoy!