Corn & Lobster Tart

What a lovely summer meal! After having sourdough baguette slices slathered with brie as an appetizer, we ate this flavorful tart and a green salad dressed with buttermilk-herb dressing for dinner. It could also be served as a special appetizer- perfect with a glass of rosĂ© or white wine. We had fresh strawberry pie with vanilla ice cream for dessert. Eating pie for dinner and dessert was incredibly indulgent and fabulous… I would recommend it. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Florence Fabricant. I used a Trader Joe’s pie crust as a shortcut. I also substituted 2 lobster tails for a whole lobster and used a Vidalia onion and parsley in the filling. Delicious.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

  • pastry for a 9-inch tart
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 1½ cups fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon or parsley
  • pinch cayenne
  • Âľ cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • ÂĽ cup heavy cream
  • 1 1 1/4-pound lobster boiled or steamed, shucked and diced (I used 2 lobster tails (1 pound total weight)
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Roll out pastry between layers of plastic wrap or on a lightly floured surface. Fit into a 9-inch straight-sided tart pan or a pie pan.
  3. Prick bottom, line with parchment and foil and add pastry weights.
  4. Bake 10 minutes, until pastry starts to look dry. Remove foil and weights and bake 5 or so minutes more, until pastry is lightly colored. Remove from oven but leave oven on.
  5. While the crust is par-baking, cook the lobster meat. I cooked the lobster tails in boiling, salted water for 8 minutes. (1 minute per ounce- each tail was about 1/2 pound.) When cool enough to handle, cut off the shell and coarsely dice the meat.
  6. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add onion and cook on low until soft but not brown, about 5 minutes.
  7. Stir in corn, tarragon or parsley and cayenne.
  8. Stir in milk. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.
  9. In a bowl, beat eggs and cream together and slowly stir into the pan.
  10. Add lobster. Stir in lemon zest and season with salt and pepper.
  11. Ladle mixture into prepared tart shell. Bake 10 minutes.
  12. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake about 20 minutes more, until top is firm to the touch and very lightly browned, and a knife inserted in the filling comes out clean.
  13. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving.

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Clams Casino #2

What is happening!?!? This post is very belated. I made this appetizer to bring to my Clams Casino-loving friends’ house for the Fourth of July this summer… Well, I think I know what is happening! I am super behind on my blog posts, that is what is happening. :/ I’m happy to report that Littleneck Clams are still readily available! 🙂

I have made Clams Casino only one other time in the past. (to see the post click here) This new version has several modifications from the first. It omits the breadcrumbs (a selling point for me), keeps the clams whole, and includes pancetta instead of bacon. This recipe was adapted from Giada De Laurentiis via Foodnetwork.com. I cleaned and cooked the clams as I had done in my previous dish. I also adjusted the amount of most of the ingredients and added strained clam juice to the filling. It’s a great appetizer for a crowd!

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces sliced pancetta or bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups finely diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • rounded 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, divided
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 30 medium (2 1/2-inch) littleneck clams
  • lemon wedges for garnish, if desired

Note: The clams can be stored for a day in a bowl in the coldest part of the refrigerator.

  1. Begin by cleaning the clams. Rinse them thoroughly. Put them in a large bowl with very cold water, and stick the bowl in the refrigerator. This will give the clams the chance to spit out any sand or grit that may have gotten inside. After about 30 minutes (or up to an hour), drain the bowl of water, and refill with fresh cold water. Refrigerate. After the second soaking, scrub them with a kitchen brush.
  2. Cook the clams: Preheat the broiler to high (I set it to Broiler-Max, 500 degrees). Place the clams on a large, heavy baking sheet in a single layer. Place under the broiler, and broil for about 3 to 5, or until the clams have opened completely.
  3. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and reserve the clam juice that has dripped into the pan. Strain the clam juice in a coffee filter to remove any bits of shell or grit. (I used 2-3 tablespoons of this strained clam juice in the filling.)
  4. Remove the clam from inside the shell with a spoon. Set aside.
  5. Gently twist the clam shell at the hinged side to separate the halves. Clean any remnants of clam from the shell with a knife. Reserve bottom shells.
  6. Make the Filling: Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sauté until crisp and golden, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a plate.
  7. Add the bell pepper, shallots, garlic, and oregano to the same skillet and saute until the shallots are tender and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  8. Add the wine and simmer until it is almost evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  9. Remove the skillet from the heat and cool completely. Stir the reserved pancetta, 2 or 3 tablespoons of the strained clam juice, and 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese into the vegetable mixture. Season the mixture, to taste, with salt and pepper.
  10. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
  11. Line a heavy large baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Arrange the clams in the reserved shells on the baking sheet. Spoon the vegetable mixture atop the clams, dividing equally and mounding slightly. Sprinkle with the remaining 3 tablespoons of Parmesan.
  12. Bake until the clams are just cooked through and the topping is golden, about 10 minutes.
  13. Arrange the clams on the platter. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

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Fourth of July S’mores Bars with Marshmallow Meringue

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I love the 4th of July. Love fireworks. Love celebrating with friends. Love all-American desserts and an excuse to make them too! 🙂

This morning we ate breakfast outside listening to Pandora’s Patriotic station courtesy of my son. The music inspired my kids to come in and play patriotic music- my son on the cello and my daughter on the piano. Great! The celebration begins…

But now we may have a new July 4th tradition in my house… this dessert! A graham cracker crust topped with a rich Valrhona chocolate layer and then fluffy (and pretty!) marshmallow meringue- a genius upgrade of all-American s’mores! This recipe was adapted from a Food and Wine “staff-favorite” recipe, contributed by Cheryl and Griffith Day.

I’m sharing this deliciousness at Fiesta Friday #75‘s J & J show this week which I am co-hosting with Julie of Hostess at Heart. Happy Independence Day!!

Yield: 30 bars (or up to 60 bites!)


For the Crust:

  • 3 cups graham cracker crumbs (12 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

For the Brownie Filling:

  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped (I used Valrhona 71% Cacao Dark Bittersweet Chocolate)
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature (I put in a bowl of warm water)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

For the Meringue:

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

To Make the Crust:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° (on convection, if possible).
  2. Line a 9-inch-square baking pan with foil, allowing 2 inches of overhang on two sides.
  3. In a medium bowl, using a fork, mix all of the ingredients until evenly moistened. Press the crumbs evenly into 
the bottom of the prepared pan. (I used the bottom of a dry measuring cup.)
  4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, just until lightly browned. Let cool completely. Leave the oven on.

To Make the Filling:

  1. In a heatproof medium bowl set over 
a saucepan of simmering water, melt the butter with the chocolate over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar, vanilla and salt. Whisk in the eggs until smooth, then stir in the flour until just incorporated. Spread the batter evenly over the cooled crust. Bake for about 22 minutes on convection or up to 25 minutes in a standard oven, until the edge is set but the center is still slightly jiggly. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.

To Make the Meringue:

  1. Preheat the broiler, if using (I used a kitchen torch.).
  2. In a heatproof medium bowl (I used my stand mixer bowl) set over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk the egg whites with the sugar until the whites are warm and the sugar is dissolved, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Transfer the egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk. Add the vanilla and cream of tartar and beat at medium speed until firm.
  4. Increase the speed to high and beat the meringue until stiff and glossy, 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Mound the meringue on top of the filling, swirling it decoratively. Broil the meringue 8 inches from the heat until lightly browned at the tips, about 1 minute. (or use a mini kitchen torch instead.)
  6. Cut into bars and serve.

Note: The bars can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

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German-Style Bacon & Shallot Potato Salad

I have to confess that I am not really a huge fan of potato salad. I guess that I usually think of potato salad as the typical super starchy mayonnaise-laden version. This German-style potato salad is loaded with mustard, bacon, and shallots- some of my absolute favorite ingredients. When my husband requested potato salad for his belated Father’s Day cookout, I was so happy to have found this mustard version! It was tangy and loaded with flavor. 🙂 This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. It is best eaten warm, just after it is assembled, but would also be good at room temperature. Perfect for every summer cookout. I’m sharing this with my friends at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #75 this week- which I am co-hosting with my friend Julie of Hostess at Heart! Come join the fun! 🙂 Happy 4th of July! Yield: Serves 8

  • 2 pounds small waxy white or yellow potatoes, roughly about the same size
  • 6 ounces thick-cut bacon, diced
  • ½ cup thinly sliced shallot (I used 2 GIANT shallots)
  • 3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, more to taste
  • ÂĽ teaspoon coarse salt, more as needed
  • freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • chopped parsley, for garnish, optional
  1. Place whole unpeeled potatoes in a large pot with enough salted water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until potatoes are just tender, 15 to 25 minutes depending upon size.
  2. Drain and cut potatoes into 1 1/2-inch chunks as soon as you can handle them. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, fry bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.
  4. Stir shallots into the skillet with the bacon fat and fry for a minute, until just slightly crisped. Remove from heat.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk in shallots and bacon drippings. (I added the mustard mixture directly to my skillet to combine with all of the drippings.)
  6. Crumble in bacon. Immediately toss potatoes with dressing. Adjust seasonings if necessary.
  7. Garnish with parsley and more vinegar if you like and serve warm or at room temperature.

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Perfect Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I initially made these cookies to bring to a friend’s home to watch the 4th of July fireworks… but, because of rain, the fireworks were postponed. It was impossible to postpone eating these cookies though! 🙂

This recipe from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook results in perfect cookies- sweetened with maple syrup and chewy from shredded coconut. They are my daughter’s favorite cookies. All-American and perfect for July 4th! We ate them with ice cream and blueberry pie. Delicious!!

Yield: Makes 5 to 6 dozen small cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup raisins

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; stir in the coconut. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Add the maple syrup, and mix to combine.
  5. Add the egg and vanilla; beat until well combined, about 1 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in two batches; mix until just combined. Add oats and raisins; mix until combined.
  7. Chill the dough in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, at least 30 minutes, and up to one day, prior to baking.
  8. Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop, scoop dough and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
  9. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden brown, 14 to 15 minutes on convection, or up to 20 minutes in a standard oven.
  10. Let cookies cool on sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer parchment and cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: Cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

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