Friday, February 21, 2020

Smoked Salmon Tarts for #FishFridayFoodies

It's time for our Fish Friday Foodies event of the month.  This month Karen of Karen's Kitchen Stories is our hostess and she suggested Pies.   And of course, since it's Fish Friday Foodies time, it also means it has to have seafood in it.
I have to admit to being somewhat relieved that she didn't want us to make any kind of bread, cause she's the Queen when it comes to making different kinds of bread.

Smoked Salmon Tart

Well, I'm really not to fond of fish pie, just not my thing, but I do love smoked salmon and started brainstorming ideas, and googling and looked at a lot of recipes online.  I had made a Savory Salmon Cheesecake for another blogging event a couple of years ago, and didn't want to copy it. However, I usually keep at least one pouch, if not more of Smoked Salmon in the pantry.  They come in so handy. 
 I did go to several sites for inspiration and took a little from this one, and a little from that one, and a touch from a third.

Then I blended a little from each of them, but made it my own.  I served slices of the tarts at a party, and they disappeared in short order.

I served the slices with various options of topping the Salmon Tart slices.  I offered Crème fraîche, Capers, finely diced Shallot and a concoction I came up with, heavy cream blended with Quince and Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar and chopped chives.  I made enough of that so I can have some on a salad. 

I had fun.

If I can't have fun in the kitchen, I don't want to play.

Fish Friday Foodies is a fantastic group of bloggers who joins Wendy each month in sharing Fish/Seafood recipes based on a theme chosen by one of the members.  I've gotten such great ideas and recipes thanks to all the other bloggers, and have shared a few recipes along the way as well.
 If you are a blogger and would like to join in the fun you can email her at and she'll send you out an invite.  Although you are also welcome to just check out the bloggers who share their great recipes as well.

Smoked Salmon Tarts

Yield: 4- 4 inch tarts, cut into 4 slices each or one 8 inch tart
prep time: 15 Mcook time: 30 Mtotal time: 45 M
These are a lovely appetizer or starter to a meal, although they also sub as a light lunch, served alongside a salad.


How to cook Smoked Salmon Tarts

  1. Mix the cheese and flour together, cut the cream cheese and butter into the flour mixture, until it resembles a coarse meal.  Mound the mixture in the bowl and add the cream,  forming it into a ball. Add more cream if  needed, making sure not to 'work' the dough too much.   Divide the dough into fourths, rolling each piece out large enough to fit into the tart pans with removable bottoms and pat into place.  Cut the excess dough off level with the top of the pans.
  1. Whisk the egg and cream together, add the pepper, capers, and shallots and mix.   Flake the salmon up, mix into the filling.   Divide the filling into fourths, and distribute evenly in between the tart pans.  
  2. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
  1. After the tarts have cooled, remove them from the tart pans, and sprinkle with the chives. 
  2. Serve with some Creme Fraiche, finely minced shallots, Chives, and capers for topping.  Let the guests top their slices as they wish.
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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Red Velvet Cookies - Gluten Free for #FantasticalFoodFight.

I have to start this post with a little history.  Many years ago I belong to a group of bloggers called The Secret Recipe Club.  We were assigned another blogger's blog to make and post a recipe from. Well, all good things come to an end and the SRC was disbanded to the dismay of many. 
Gluten Free Red Velvet Cookies

Then along came Sarah and started a group called Fantastical Food Fight which is a group of food bloggers who were challenged to come up with a recipe using the theme or the main ingredient each month.  You could make up your own recipe, find one online or in a cookbook, it was up to you, you just had to cite your source. 

Again, we're at the end of a great era, and this is the final Fantastical Food Fight, this time round we're having a Red Velvet food fight.  We're tasked to make something Red Velvet, whether it be cake, cookies, breakfast, pancakes, or where ever your imagination takes you.

I brought my best to the food fight a few times, with my Cantaloupe Salsa for Fish Tacos, this amazing Banana Bundt Cake, I've made Eggnog Cake, Pecan Pie Butter Tarts, and these Honey and Garlic Roasted Carrots.  And those are just some of them.    Wait a minute, I almost forgot these Chocolate Cherry Balls.  OMG were they good.  Come to think of it, I've got a chocolate cake in the freezer, and some cherries in the pantry, I may just have to make some more of these, soon. 
Lots of great recipes, and best of all memories. 

I wish Sarah the best in her new life, and I will miss this group.
Here's what I brought to the Fight this time.   I've been playing with gluten free recipes for a while now and when I ran across this recipe from The Toasted Pinenut, it intrigued me.  I didn't have any white chocolate chips, and I also put my particular spin on the recipe as well.

Now for my true confession. I'm really not crazy about Red Velvet Cakes.  I'll have a taste from time to time, but have only had a couple over the years that I thought were really good.  A friend here makes an awesome one, and if she brings one to a gathering, I'll have some of hers.

I'm not going to share just how many of these cookies I sampled,TMI,  but I did leave some to share.
This dough is sticky, and you really do need to let it rest in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes. I also wasn't thrilled as to how brown they were, but I really hate to use a lot of red food coloring. 
Gluten Free Red Velvet Cookies
Here are the cookies on the cookie sheet before baking.  I used a fork dipped in water to press them down a little.  They really don't spread that much.
Gluten Free Red Velvet Cookies
 First batch, baked.
Gluten Free Red Velvet Cookies
Side view of the first cookie to undergo the 'taste' test.  It was crispy on the edges and soft in the middle.
Gluten Free Red Velvet Cookies
And an overview
Gluten Free Red Velvet Cookies
I don't know if it was the humidity (really high today) or the nature of the cookie, but they became very soft after sitting for awhile.
And here is the cookie as a sandwich with Ermine frosting in between.   Ermine frosting was the frosting for Red Velvet Cake long before Cream Cheese frosting was made popular.  Actually, this looks a lot like Whoopee Pie or maybe a Goober.  All I know is, it was delicious. 
Gluten Free Red Velvet Cookies

Red Velvet Cookies - Gluten Free

Yield: 20 cookies
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 12-14 Mtotal time: 45 M
It's hard to believe these little cookies are gluten free, and almost keto friendly.


  • 1/2 butter
  • 1/2 cup raw Sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon Pomegranate Liqueur or Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoon red food coloring
  • 1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tsp. mild vinegar


How to cook Red Velvet Cookies - Gluten Free

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together.  This will take several minutes as the raw sugar takes awhile to break down.  Use your stand mixer if you have one.
  2. While that is mixing,  blend the almond flour, cocoa powder, baking soda together. 
  3.   Add the egg, and continue to mix, then add the red food coloring (bonus point if you have organic or natural food coloring) and the pomegranate liqueur or vanilla extract.  
  4. Add the almond flour mixture and fold in, and mix until combined. 
  5. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and then take cookie dough out of fridge and form into 20 balls, using a small scoop.  Flatten them slightly using a fork dipped into some water to keep the dough from sticking to the fork.  Place on a parchment covered cookie sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes.   Leave on cookie sheet to cool for at least 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. 
  7. If you want to continue with the Red Velvet theme, you can add some Ermine frosting to the tops, or make them into a sandwich cookie. 
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Monday, February 17, 2020

Maple and Walnut Bundt Cake

The last cake I baked for the Legion Cake raffle was this Maple and Walnut Bundt Cake.
And it was delicious.
Maple and Walnut Bundt Cake
I did go online and look for recipes, saw this one, and it looked amazing, and then I found this one,   and it looked good as well.

Then I decided to go with a my tried and true bundt cake recipe with a few changes.  I added maple syrup and walnuts.

And it was good, not too sweet, but had a lovely maple flavor.   I loved the addition of the walnuts.

But where this cake really went over top, taste wise, in my opinion was the Candied Walnuts and the frosting.
Maple and Walnut Bundt Cake

There was a major YUM factor there.

So much so, I had to share how to make the Candied Maple Walnuts, however the cake also deserves its own moment of glory.
Maple and Walnut Bundt Cake

Maple and Walnut Bundt Cake
Maple and Walnut Bundt Cake

Yield: 12-16 servings
prep time: 15 Mcook time: 55 Mtotal time: 70 M
Maple syrup isn't just for pancakes anymore, you can use it in cakes as well. And this cake hits all the right notes for a festive cake.


  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups self rising flour
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or brandy.
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 cups confectioner sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 2 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 oz butter


How to cook Walnut and Maple Bundt Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, and grease and flour a bundt pan.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together for several minutes, until almost white in color.  Add one egg and mix well. Add the second egg and mix in.  Then add a tablespoon or so of the flour and finally the third egg.  Mix the milk and maple syrup together.    Add one third of the flour, mix in, add half the milk mixture.  Mix well, then add another third of the flour and then the remainder of the milk. Finish off with the final third of the flour.    Take the bowl from the mixer and fold in the chopped walnuts and the vanilla extract or brandy.   Pour mixture into the prepared bundt pan and bake for about 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.  Invert onto a cooling rack and remove the pan.  Let cool.
  1. Whisk together all the ingredients and put into a piping bag.  Pipe a generous amount around the top of the cooled cake in a pleasing manner.  Decorate with the candied walnuts and serve. 
  2. Note: if the frosting is too runny, you can always add more sugar.  The butter and cream cheese help it to set up nicely.  
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Sunday, February 16, 2020

Candied Maple Walnuts

I've shared here how I bake, decorate and donate cakes every other week or so to our local American Legion.  They raffle off chances on the cakes and use the funds generated for local community projects.
I love to bake anyway, and donating my efforts also fuels my urge to volunteer and do stuff in the community so it's a win-win situation.

I've made a lot of cakes over the past few years, and love to make bundt cakes.  They're so easy to make and perfect for cutting up into multiple slices.  (a lot of the time the winner of the cake has it cut up and shared out and a lot of people get to taste the cakes.)

I made a Maple and Walnut Bundt cake a few weeks ago, and I'll share how to make it in a separate post.
I topped it with some Candied Walnuts that were so good, I had to share how to make them in a separate post.
In fact I made a second third batch cause I ate most of the second batch, before I could take too many pictures.
Candied Maple Walnuts

These would be perfect not only as a snack, I know whereof I speak, but would be great chopped and sprinkled on a fresh greens salad, or on more cake or any place you want a slightly sweet and munchy nut topping.

Maple syrup comes from the maple tree, and basically is maple sap boiled down.  The process to do so is called sugaring.  We then purchase the end result as maple syrup.  Lesson over.

Honestly, there are so many different things you can do with Maple Syrup, apart from just pouring it on pancakes and waffles and french toast.
This is just one of them.
I did pick out this particular walnut, cause the shape reminded me of a frog.
Didn't taste like one though,  'Wink'
Candied Maple Walnuts

I got the initial recipe here, but did change it up a little.

And these are my pictures during the process. 
Pouring the maple syrup in which already has the brandy or cognac mixed in,  the alcohol evaporates during the cooking process. (if you use vanilla extract, it also has alcohol, pretty much the same % in fact)
Candied Maple Walnuts
 I had pushed the walnuts to the side to see how the syrup was doing.
Candied Maple Walnuts
After all the syrup had coated the walnuts, I dumped them out onto a cookie sheet to cool.
Look at how they glisten. 
Candied Maple Walnuts
I taste tested them right away and burned my tongue, but it was totally worth it.
These walnuts are lightly sweet, can keep up to a month in a sealed container, if they last that long without being eaten. 

Candied Maple Walnuts
Candied Maple Walnuts

Yield: 3-6 servings on a salad, or one batch to a cake
prep time: 5 Mcook time: 5 Mtotal time: 10 M
These lightly sweet, crunchy walnuts are perfect on top of a cake, as a simple snack or sprinkled on top of a lovely fresh green salad.


  • 1 cup walnuts, shelled
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon brandy or cognac
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt - optional


How to cook Candied Maple Walnuts

  1. Preheat a skillet over medium heat and the walnuts. Stir around for a minute or so and then add the maple syrup and brandy.  Stir to combine.  Continue stirring as the maple syrup starts to caramelize and coats the walnuts.  This takes less than 5 minutes.  The maple syrup will have reduced by this point.    If using salt, sprinkle it on top and toss to combine.
  2. Spread the walnuts out on a greased pan or some parchment paper to cool. 
  3. Store in an airtight container for up two weeks, if they last that long.
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All recipes and their respective images are either original or adapted and credited, and are all the sole property of Sid's Sea Palm Cooking © 2011-2020, with all rights reserved thereof.

Check out my cookbooks on Amazon.  All are available as paperbacks or as e-book. 
 Simple Shrimp Recipes - 25 + Appetizer, Entree and Dipping Sauces.
 Nibbles and Bites - A Compilation of Appetizers, Canapes and Finger Foods
  Hygge - Danish Food and Recipes 

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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Community Potluck for February.

We had an amazing turnout for the Community Potluck this month.
Not only people, but also some awesome food as well.
I'm very grateful for people who step up each month and act as hosts.  It's really not that hard, you just need to make sure everything is set up, wipe it all down again, and most important of all, enjoy.
Harriett Beach was the instigator for the potlucks, and roped me in, but I was happy to be roped.  And I do enjoy it.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, we have some incredible cooks in our area, who also love to share their expertise.
So without further fanfare, and more words, cause I know you really came here to see the pictures of the food that was brought and enjoyed.
As usual there was a lot of variety.   And a lot of food. 
Here it is:
Asian Sweet and Sour - there was rice to put it on.  And everyone knows what rice looks like, so no pictures of rice.
I made some Frikadeller - Danish Meat Balls
Sausage in BBQ sauce, also served with rice
Breaded Chicken Bites
Chicken Wings
  Veggie Casserole
Chorizo and Macaroni
 Potato Casserole

Quiche with Veggies
Roasted Broccoli
Deviled Eggs
Three Bean Salad
Coleslaw - and I have to say something here, I love seeing the pretty dishes people bring their food in.  So many of us have pretty serving dishes, which only see the light of day, when a special occasion happens. 
We also had an incredible variety of delicious desserts:
From this frozen Trifle
Chocolate Pie with fresh raspberries on top.
A Brownie Delight
Another pie, it had a pink filling, and I didn't get a chance to taste it.
Dishpan cookies
You knew this was coming, didn't you?  Yup Santa and his Pineapple.
 Carrot Cake
and this is what it looks like after everyone's been through the line at least once.  Not too much is left.
From the other end, the dessert end that is. I did blur out the people on the left, cause this is all about the food people.

That's it for this month,  I actually think I got everything this time, but I may have missed something.  If I did, please forgive me. 

All recipes and their respective images are either original or adapted and credited, and are all the sole property of Sid's Sea Palm Cooking © 2011-2020, with all rights reserved thereof.

Check out my cookbooks on Amazon.  All are available as paperbacks or as e-book. 
 Simple Shrimp Recipes - 25 + Appetizer, Entree and Dipping Sauces.
 Nibbles and Bites - A Compilation of Appetizers, Canapes and Finger Foods
  Hygge - Danish Food and Recipes  

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Monday, February 10, 2020

Bacon Jam

A few weeks back I attended a party and got to taste this thing called Bacon Jam.
My mouth started singing in joy, and if you don't think that's embarrassing, well, let me tell you it is. Especially when it tries to sing the high notes.
Bacon Jam

I spoke to the lady who brought it, and she told me she'd only brought a couple of jars with her, (they're snowbirds), but wanted to share a little bit of it.  I'm so glad she did. 

I had to try and recreate it.

I had to.

And while my version may not be exactly like hers, it's good enough.
At least to share the recipe.

You can play with amounts of this a little, but it's important to make sure you have a good quality bacon to start with.
That is, bacon you yourself like the taste of.
I did go online and looked at a lot of recipes, and read all the commonalities.  Most had onions, brown sugar and bacon as the base.  Many added other herbs, flavored vinegar, etc.
You can also double the amounts in here, I didn't cause if I did, I'd either eat myself silly or have to share it more often.  
  I made this to my taste.  You can play with the amounts if you like, but I would ask for your first time through to just follow it.  
You do need to simmer this, slowly, it is a jam after all. 
In the pan.  After I took the picture, I transferred it all to a larger skillet.  I didn't want to crowd it too much.
Bacon Jam
After it's cooked for about 10 minutes or so.
Bacon Jam
I then added the brown sugar and let it simmer
Bacon Jam
As you can see, it's had a chance to simmer for a few, the color is starting to develop a little, and that's when I plunked a whole Serrano pepper in.    
I just kept simmering this for another 20-30 minutes.
Bacon Jam
I served this on some cream cheese, but I'm thinking it shouldn't be limited to just that.  I'm going to try it on some burgers, turkey burgers come to mind, or maybe a pork burger, and or how about adding some to a grilled cheese sandwich.
You could also do as I do, which is eat it with a spoon, straight out of the jar.  
I should never admit to stuff like that, but when I do, I will get a fresh spoon every time. 

Bacon Jam

Yield: 8-12 servings as an appetizer - makes a 6 oz. jam jar
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 45 Mtotal time: 55 M
This is totally for the bacon lovers among us. Sweet, salty with a touch of heat, it's perfect draped over some cream cheese and served on toast points.


  • 1/2 lb. uncooked, thick slice bacon, cut into dice
  • 1 smallish onion (tennis ball size)- cut into dice
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 whole Serrano pepper (can also use jalapeno if desired)
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fruity balsamic vinegar glaze - you can make your own or buy some.


How to cook Bacon Jam

  1. Cut the bacon and onion into a dice, approximately the same size.    Place in a shallow pan and cook slowly for about 10 minutes or until the onions becomes translucent.  You don't want to brown the onion, this just makes it bitter.   Stirring every few minutes.   Do not remove the fat. 
  2. Add the brown sugar, mix it in and simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so.   Add the whole pepper, and let it simmer with the rest of the ingredients.  Remove after ten minutes, seed it, discarding the seeds. Mince the rest of the pepper up, and add back in with the simmered bacon and onions.  
  3. Simmer over low heat for an additional 10-15 minutes, stirring from time to time.   The mixture becomes very thick and jam like.    Simmer a little longer if needed.  Add the rice vinegar, and stir through.   Then add the balsamic glaze, and stir to combine.  Taste.  Pour or spoon into a jam jar and let sit for 15-20 minutes.   The fat from the bacon will rise to the top and you can them remove the excess fat, if you like. 
  4. Serve at room temp on top of a block of cream cheese, with either toasted bread points or good crackers.
  5. You can also use this as a burger topping or on a grilled cheese or ?  
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All recipes and their respective images are either original or adapted and credited, and are all the sole property of Sid's Sea Palm Cooking © 2011-2020, with all rights reserved thereof.

Check out my cookbooks on Amazon.  All are available as paperbacks or as e-book. 
 Simple Shrimp Recipes - 25 + Appetizer, Entree and Dipping Sauces.
 Nibbles and Bites - A Compilation of Appetizers, Canapes and Finger Foods
  Hygge - Danish Food and Recipes 

Continue Reading