Category Archives: Holiday

Spicy Witch Fingers

This time of the year there are so many sweet Halloween treats available, I thought I’d go ahead and share some of my favorite savory treats in a series of posts.

It’s almost Halloween and quite frankly my teeth are starting to hurt from all the sweets out there.

How about these for a fun treat? Fingers WP

They’re actually a cheese cracker, which can be either formed into ‘fingers’ with almond fingernails, but can also be formed, cut and baked into little crackers suitable for serving with a cocktail.

They just happen to taste great when made with gluten free flour. 

I’ll share how to make the ‘Ogre’s Blood’ Dip later this week. 



Spicy Witch Fingers Cheese Crackers

Yield: 36 + crackers
Author: Sid’s Sea Palm Cooking adapted from my mother’s recipe
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 25 Mtotal time: 35 M
You’ll never believe these are gluten free crackers. They go great with a tapenade for cocktails, or crumbled up over chili or soup. Perfect for snacking and totally great for Halloween.


  • 8 oz. Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated – you can substitute Shredded Gouda here as well.
  • 2 oz. finely shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 cup all purpose gluten free flour- Besan (Chickpea based) preferably.
  •  1 large egg yolk, mixed with 1 tablespoon of water
  • 36 (about 1/3 cup) sliced Almonds


How to cook Spicy Witch Fingers Cheese Crackers

  1. Mix together the grated cheese, butter and cayenne in a food processor, if you have one, or just in the KitchenAid and mix til smooth. Add the flour and either pulse (if using a food processor) or cut in until it’s all mixed together. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth.
  2. Divide the dough into 36 pieces and roll each one into a 4 inch long ‘finger’. Divide the dough into thirds, and then into thirds again.
  3. Form the pieces into ‘finger shapes’, with the indentations in between where the joints are. Place the fingers onto 2 parchment covered baking sheets and brush with egg wash.
  4. Press an almond slice onto the end of each finger for a fingernail.
  5. Hint: If you do like me and get to this point and find out you don’t have any almond slices, (cause you used them in another recipe and forgot to buy more) just put a small handful of whole almonds into a cup with some water and microwave them or pour boiling water over them, and let them sit for a few minutes. Slip the skins off and then being very, very, very careful, slice the almonds with a sharp knife.
  6. Place the fingers in the fridge for at least 15 minutes for them to firm up.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the fingers on the upper and lower thirds of the oven for about 13 minutes then swap the pans, and bake an additional 12 minute, until they’re all puffed up and golden.
  8. Cool the ‘fingers’ completely, then arrange on a plate and serve.
Created using The Recipes Generator


I wanted to make something fun for Boat Club this month, since it’s the last one before fall.

I decided to make some personal Smorgastarta, which are just basically a sandwich cake, but a fun one.

I had a couple of Hoagie Rolls in the freezer and I sliced them into thin slices, then layered egg salad and smoked salmon spread in-between the layers.   I also made up a few with egg salad and ham salad layers.


Let me show the fun I had…

I usually have fun in the kitchen when I’m creating, just not so much fun when it comes time to clean up, but I’m getting better at cleaning as I go.

To start with, cut the crust off of the bread.  And umm, it helps a lot if the bread is still frozen at this point, it was really hard to get the crust off the one thawed loaf.

Then slice it into thin slices.  And again, the frozen loaf worked out a lot better this time round.  I used my new Miracle Blade slicer for this.  I just bought the set, and the slicer and the paring knife are worth it in my book, both are super sharp.   Just had to say that.

I used the ham salad spread recipe I made in January, with one exception, I used some thin sliced luncheon ham for the spread.  And it worked out quite well.   I didn’t have any scallions, but I did find one lonesome looking leek in the veggie drawer, so it was pressed into service.   Leeks do tend to last a lot longer than scallions or green onions and make an admirable substitute when you want a little oniony flavour but you don’t want it to hijack your dish.

I think I’m officially in love.

With my food processor.

I placed a few slices of ham in here and let the food processor have its way with the meat.

Added a little cream cheese, mustards, and mayo along with some of the chopped leek.

Mooshed up the hard cooked eggs, and added some mayo and mustard to them.

The leeks just as I was chopping them up.

 Deviled Ham Salad all ready to go.

From the left, Egg Salad, Smoked Salmon mixed in with some cream cheese and mayo, and the Deviled Ham Spread.   In the front Leek cut up and ready to decorate.

Spread some egg salad on one slice, top it with another slice of bread which has been spread with either the ham salad or the smoked salmon spread.


Assembly line…

Continue until all the slices are done or you’ve run out of one of the spreads.

Place into a covered container and put into the fridge for a couple of hours.


This gives the sandwiches a chance to rest and recuperate and also means you get to clean up the kitchen.

After they’ve rested, you need to ‘frost’ and decorate them.
I used equal amounts of a good  mayonnaise, in my case Duke’s Mayonnaise, Creme Fraiche and Sour Cream.  Mix it together and then spread the ‘frosting’ along the sides and top of the sandwich.  Don’t worry about it looking pristine or even really pretty.   You will be decorating them a little.
I used a spoon to spread the ‘frosting’ along the sides and then spread a little on top, placed them on the serving platter and then I had fun.   And forgot to take pictures of the just ‘frosted’ sandwiches.   whoops.

I then had fun decorating.
You can do whatever your heart desires or in my case what I could find in the fridge.
I really need to go shopping, soon.
I used some of the leek I’d minced up, some of the  hard cooked eggs, some parsley out of the garden along with some ham slices and the last of my jar of fire-roasted peppers.

And there you have it.

Mini Smorgastarta, and this won’t be the last time I make them.  It’s just too much fun bringing them to the party.

Cranberry Cream Cheese Tarts

After I made that great pie crust last week and baked up the pumpkin pies, I had some pastry left over.

I did make some leaves and stuff to decorate the pies, however there was still a little dough left so I had some fun.

I rolled out the dough, then pressed them into these little tart pans.

I then grabbed some cream cheese out of the fridge and softened it in the microwave.     Dumped it into a bowl and mixed in some confectioners sugar, and added a teaspoon or so of Grand Marnier.
Then I took the cheese mixture, spooned it into the tart pans

and dolloped some of my Boozy Cranberry Sauce on top.

3 oz. cream cheese
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier

Baked them off until the tops were nicely browned and took them out of the oven.

They were so good.

Really good.

But I had to share them.   The bird wanted a taste and after she’d eaten a nice corner of it, she came back for more.

So this recipe is bird approved.   And if you’re wondering about the bit of alcohol in this, it had cooked off long before she got her beak into the pie.

I’m so going to make some more, but next time I’ll make enough to share with more than the bird.

Here’s the decorated Pumpkin Pies


Remarkable Flaky Pie Crust

I posted a recipe for a totally amazing pie crust last year, and while it was good, it wasn’t quite right.

I’d done part of it from memory and part from a scribbled note I’d made at the time, which I totally, ummm, screwed up.

I found the correct recipe last week.

The whole recipe this time, and I made it and then proceeded to bake two pumpkin pies.   I also had some dough left over which I had fun with.  I’ll tell you about that one later on.

I have to say, this is fiddly.   But worth it.   And only three ingredients to worry about.   Just make sure your butter is cold.  And if you happen to have a marble or stainless steel counter or work area, go for it.   I also place a bowl of ice on the stainless top of my little island.  You also need some kind of scraper to get the dough off of the counter.   I used my off-set spatula along with a dough scraper.

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus a little more for dusting.
8 oz. cold salted butter, cut up into chunks
1/4 cup ice water

To start with, measure out the flour and dump it in the middle of your counter or your pastry sheet.   Then place the cut up butter on top, and toss them together until the butter is covered with flour.


(this does get a little messy).   Then using your fingers or the heel of your hand or your rolling pin, press the butter into the flour and roll it.
You’ll get long streaks of butter here, then use the dough scraper and scrape the dough together into a rough pile, use your rolling pin and roll it out again, repeat this a couple of times, then make a well in the middle of the dough pile and add the ice cold water.


Work the water into the flour/butter mixture and then roll it together one more time.
Sprinkle a generous amount of flour onto the counter/ pastry sheet you are using.  Then,  roll into a rough rectangle,



and then fold the dough into thirds, like a letter.  Turn this 90 degrees and roll out again, forming a rectangle.  Repeat the folding and rolling twice more.  The dough will have come together beautifully by now.

Form into a rough disc and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.  This gives the flour time to relax, and cool down.   Divide it into two pieces at this point, cause it does make two crusts.
Trust me on this, it’s a lot easier to roll out each piece, rather then fight with one big one.

After the final roll out, form it into a nice round and roll it over the rolling pin,


then transfer the pastry sheet to the pan, draping it in the middle.

Fill with your favourite filling, in this case it was pumpkin pie.   And bake.
And this dough also lends itself well to make lattices for the top of the pie.  I haven’t done that in forever, but I think it’s time to give it a try.  It’s kinda hard to overwork this dough, really.
You can make up a couple of batches of this pie crust and freeze it for later on.  And I just got a great tip the other day, a friend said her grandmother would roll out her pie crusts, then freeze it flat, and that way she could whip up a pie in no time at all.   I’m going to be a copy cat and try that myself, just as soon as I get couple of things out of the freezer, and make room for more stuff.

Za’atar Pita Crisps

Have you ever tried Za’atar?  It’s an interesting spice mix from the mid-east, usually consisting of thyme, sesame seeds and sumac and other herbs sometimes.   It has a kind of lemony taste, but is so good on roasted meats, on top of greek yoghurt and various Syrian and Lebanese dishes.

A friend, Debi Jordan, musician extraordinaire, introduced me to this spice mixture the day she showed me how to make Stuffed Grape Leaves.   And then I went and bought more, just for myself.   Well, the bag I bought was quite large, so I split it with her.

The Za’atar has sat in my spice drawer for quite a while now.   I keep meaning to use it, and in fact have used it seasoning some chicken dishes, etc.


As I was moving it aside the other day, I realized that I really did need to use it up, or at least use more of it in something.

Then I saw this recipe on and realized “YES” I can do this.

And in this season of conspicuous consumption, this is even semi healthy.

At least the olive oil is good for you.

Take about 1/2 cup of Za’atar, mix it with some olive oil, in other words make a paste.  Set aside.

Pull out a couple of Pita Bread rounds, cut them into wedges, and then split them in half.    Put the rough inner side up on a baking sheet, and spread the Za’atar mixture on top.

Bake in a 400 deg. oven for about 6 minutes, or until the edges start to brown a little.    ( I cut them in half before I split them, they were a little harder to cut into wedges after baking)

Serve with some Hummus and you either have a nice light snack or lunch.

I made these for NPA last night and they disappeared.

I think I’m going to keep some Za’atar on hand as well as some Pita Breads in the freezer from now on, cause this was so simple and easy to make and it just plain tasted good.

I did sample a couple or three before I took them to NPA as well.

You know I’m not going to share something unless it tastes good, right?

Home Made Mayonnaise

I made some mayonnaise the other day, and was about to do something rude to myself, cause I realized, that this is so much better than any commercial mayonnaise, and why haven’t I been making this more often?

Have you ever tried making some?   I guarantee you, it’s not hard, and the taste and texture, well, hands down I think it’s better than most commercial brands.

And with an immersion blender, so dang easy to make, I’m kicking myself I haven’t made it for myself in a long time.  And when you make your own, you can customize it, however you like.   I like mine a little on the lemony side, but sometimes I like garlic or tarragon or an herby kind of mayo.

But for your basic old mayonnaise, this is the way to go.

Just 4 basic ingredients and I bet you have them all in your house.

1 Egg yolk
1 teaspoon Lemon juice (half a lemon works well here)
1 cup mild Oil (I like using a bland vegetable oil, but have made it with olive oil in the past, but it takes on the flavour of the oil)

1 teaspoon Mustard

That’s it.

I have to add in a caveat here, I love my immersion blender, especially the little whisk that came with it.    I use it a lot.

First off.   Separate an egg, set the white aside, you can always add it to the omelette or freeze it or do what I did, which was add it to the dog food I was making.

Sorry got sidetracked there.

Place the egg yolk in a beaker, add a squeeze of lemon juice, a little mustard.  I used some Grey Poupon Country grind, about 1/2 tsp. (sorry I didn’t measure too carefully).

Whisk the egg yolk mixture together, you’ll notice it thickening up a little, well, OK a lot.  Then start drizzling the oil in, just a drop or two to begin with.
Then the magic happens.

It starts to look a little thicker, and as you add more oil, drops at a time, it all comes together.  After you’ve managed to get about half the oil in the beaker, then you can drizzle the oil in, whisking it continually.
That’s the trick, continually whisking as you’re pouring in the oil.  And drizzle the oil in very slowly.

And after you’ve got the whole cup of oil incorporated, you end up with this luscious, velvety, smooth concoction called Mayonnaise.

Which you can use how you use regular mayonnaise, cause, umm, gee, this is real mayonnaise.

Couple of hints here.
I did say it’s been a long time since I’ve made mayonnaise, and I ‘broke’ it.  Which means it started to separate, which is not what you want it to do.
But I rescued it.
I added a tablespoon of hot tap water, whisked it through just a tad and the mayo got reacquainted and made up.
Just a little trick to keep in mind.
And if you have access to pasteurized eggs, go ahead and use them if you’re concerned with any kind of salmonella contamination.   You are using an uncooked egg yolk here, and don’t feed it to anyone who maybe be immune compromised, you know the drill.

Home made mayonnaise will keep for about three days in the fridge, but mine never lasts that long, it gets eaten.

****BTW****  Is your turkey in the fridge thawing yet?  It’s not too early to haul it out of the freezer and stick in the fridge to start thawing.    Remember for every 4 lbs. of turkey, you need to have it in the fridge for 24 hours.    So that 20 lb. turkey needs to go in the fridge today.

Nutty Persimmon Cake

Nutty Persimmon Cake

It’s that time of the year, and Persimmons are ripe and ready.   You can see them on the trees, these bright orange globes, just hanging, waiting to be picked, eaten and savoured.I stopped by a friends house the other day, and went home with a big bag of Persimmons.   They weren’t quite ripe yet, but were getting close.

The one on the left is ripe, the one on the right is not.

The kind I got was the Hachiya which are best eaten ripe, cause otherwise you pucker right up from the tannins and that’s not fun.  They’re very astringent in other words, when they’re unripe.

It’s really fun to have them sit on the counter and ripen, cause you can tell, just by looking at them when they’re ripe.    The orange globes deepen in color and get totally translucent.   At which point, “THEY’RE RIPE” and need to be eaten or frozen to eat later on.   And they really do feel like filled water balloons when you pick them up.   And so easy to get the pulp out.  Just cut off the top, or twist the calyx off, then use a spoon to scoop it out into a bowl.

Just use your immersion blender to whip it up.

(I bet you can use these in smoothies as well.)

At any rate, I wanted to find a recipe to make with them.   So I googled and read and disseminated a bunch of recipes.   I found this recipe but didn’t want to go out and buy more stuff, and I really only wanted one cake.  I also wanted to use up some of the supplies I had in the cupboard.    So I modified and played with it, and this is what I came up with.   And I found out that most of the recipes had booze in them as well, and gee, guess what, I had booze in my cupboard as well.

The whole process of putting the cake together was kinda fun as well, cause you put the wet ingredients into the dry, which is basically how you can make muffins.

I vacillated between making one cake or a bunch of cupcakes as well.  And ended up baking it in an 8 inch square glass pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease pan, set aside.
2 cups self rising flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. molasses
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs
1/4 cup American Honey bourbon
11/2 cups persimmon puree  (from 3 ripe persimmons)
6 oz. chopped walnuts
1 cup fruit cake mix or dried fruit of your choice, chopped

Sift flour, sugar and cinnamon together in a large bowl, add the fruit cake mix or dried fruit, set aside.

Mix the melted butter, persimmon puree, bourbon, eggs together.

Make a well in the dry ingredients, then pour the liquids into the well.

Mix until just combined.

Pour into greased pan.  Bake for about an hour, I checked for doneness after 45 minutes, using a toothpick, and gave it another 15 minutes.

Tip out onto a cooling rack after about 10 minutes and let it cool.

**I sprinkled some Turbinado sugar in the bottom of the greased pan before I poured in the batter.   And it did make a lovely caramelized bottom for the cake.

I made a cream cheese frosting for the top, and piped it onto each slice.

1 package cream cheese (8 oz)
1 jar Marshmallow Fluff  (7 oz)
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons American Honey Bourbon

Mix together, and taste.  Pipe or spread onto the cooled cake and serve.

When a recipe calls for sifted confectioners sugar, they do mean to sift it before adding it to the frosting.  I had to ‘push’ my frosting through a sieve to get the lumps out.


I was just going to take the whole cake, let people cut a slice and then top it themselves with the frosting, but decided at the last minute that I could cut it at home, and then I took the frosting with me in a piping bag and piped it onto the cakes at Boat Club.

And that worked quite well.

I think this cake would be totally awesome served warm with some spiced whipped cream as well.

And guess what, I still have some persimmons left, and as soon as they ripen, they’ll be residing in the freezer until the next time I make this cake.   And I will make it again.