Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

cheesecake bars with swirled strawberry and fresh strawberry garnish on a white plate

When the local, native strawberries seem to be jumping off the vine during a more rainy than usual June on Cape Cod, I can’t help myself:  I must pick as much as I can carry home.  After paying a small fortune, I realize that I need to come up with some really good ideas for these luscious gems.  Strawberry jam is an obvious choice for me to make as I put up a batch just about every year.  Strawberry Shortcake and fresh strawberries at the ready to just pop into my mouth are favorites, too.  I came up with a strawberry smoothie including almond milk and Kefir for those who want to keep it healthy but what about those of us who love some sugar with our berries?  Strawberries and cheesecake is a classic combination but who has the time for cooking a fancy New York style cheesecake that takes hours of low and slow baking for the creamiest of textures?  Behold the Strawberry Cheesecake Bar.  Easy, portable, and incredibly creamy and delicious with just the right amount of sweet fruit. Continue reading

Campfire Strawberries

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It’s strawberry season on Cape Cod.  That time of year when the native berries are ripe and juicy, practically jumping off the vine, begging to be picked and popped right into your mouth.  It’s a short season as far as produce goes: just a few weeks and they are gone.  So, it’s important to drop everything and partake in these glorious red orbs at every possible moment.  Continue reading

Ginger Lemon Squeeze

Drawing of Ginger Lemon Squeeze recipe

Oh yeah.  Ginger and lemon.  Not too sweet, just the perfect amount of sour.  And did I mention that this one was invented for me by my husband and my sister in honor of my 50th birthday?  Yes.  But watch out, it will come up on you quickly.  I recommend Canton Ginger Liquor.  Keep it on hand in your arsenal, there are many delicious concoctions that can be made with it.

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Blood Orange Pie

fresh cut blood oranges and juicer

The first time I made this pie, I followed the original instructions which included the pith and the skin of the oranges and the lemon.  And it was oh, so bitter.  But in spite of the fact that I do not like bitter orange flavors like marmalade and such, I persisted and ate all of the pie, a small slice per day, until it was gone.  Not because I am stubborn, prideful and refuse to let my hard work go to waste (all these points are true), but because of the real reason: the crust was exquisite and shame on anyone who wastes a crisp, flaky homemade pie crust.  Shame on them. Continue reading

Crab Puff

TriscuitcrackersHellmansRealMayonnaisePhiladelphiaCreamCheeseBumbleBeeCrabmeatforcrabpuffIt’s really nothing to look at but delicious to eat.  A perfectly easy hot hors d’eouvre to serve with crackers or even Cape Cod Potato Chips.  I found the recipe in my grandmother’s recipe file.  While she wasn’t known for her cooking,  she certainly loved to entertain.  Her old file is filled with no shortage of quick and easy recipes mainly magazine and newspaper clippings affixed to recipe index cards with Scotch tape that is slowly disintegrating.  From recipes with Campbell’s soup as its base to more intricate ones like Swedish Meatballs and even one made with green jello, canned pineapple and cottage cheese, there is something for everyone…that is if you having a “Mad Men” themed party. Continue reading

My New Book: Notes From Val’s Kitchen: Stories, Food and Life on Cape Cod

  So, I wrote a book. Well, actually, I put together a collection of my favorite blog posts from 2008-2016.  Can you believe I have been writing this blog for that long?  I definitely cannot.  The posts are organized by subject instead of dates which makes for an interesting analysis of my thoughts on my childhood, motherhood, my family and, of course, my friends.  It’s all wrapped up in a paperback that you can snuggle up with in bed or throw in your beach bag.  The reading is light enough that you don’t need to think much about it and most of my musings include recipes, too.  So you can make a snack or a cocktail or both if you want something to go with the entertainment. Continue reading

Everything Bagel, Cheddar and Chive Swirl Buns

Everything Bagel, Cheddar and Chive Swirl Buns in a cast iron pan  I love everything bagel flavored anything.  I love soft bread and savory versions of my favorite sweet treats.  I love toasted bagels with scallion and chive cream cheese smeared all over them.  And I absolutely love sharp cheddar cheese.

So, it should come as no surprise that I re-purposed this super easy cinnamon bun dough to make some savory delights.  Of course, I made sure to make some of the original recipe*, as well.  Because they so delightful slathered with cream cheese frosting.  And maybe, just maybe I can keep the kids away from the savory ones that I like to enjoy with a glass of red wine. Continue reading