Sweet and Savory Cherry Tomato Jam

Jimmy’s Hideaway Version

I’m a fan of blending savory and sweet notes in dishes.  and when visiting restaurants I often select dishes based on the potential combination of textures and flavors.  I came across this dish for a vegetarian Tofu Napoleon at Jimmy’s Hideaway in Provincetown, One of my favorite places to eat. The Jimmy’s version is a layered dish is gluten free with layers of marinated & grilled  Asparagus, Crimini Mushrooms, Gruyere Cheese Topped with Roasted Tomato Basil Pesto. It’s a huge portion and tasted as good the next day!

My version!

Now when I take a something and decide I want to recreate it – I will often amp it up a bit and in this case the idea of marrying it with some kind of compote or jam struck a chord. So I dug into my recipes and “re-lived” this version for Savory Sweet Cherry Tomato “Jam”. On my version I also swapped out the gruyere and added a layer of seared brie and  polenta along with the grilled vegetables.




Savory Sweet Cherry Tomato “Jam”


  • 1 ½ -2 pounds cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 medium thin  sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or sugar substitute)
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cut diced dates or dried cherries (optional)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and left whole
  • 1 -2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 teaspoons Herbs De Provence (you can substitute crushed rosemary or thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil or Bacon fat


  • To a cold saucepan add some olive oil or bacon fat
  • Add the red pepper flakes, sliced onions and turn on medium heat and saute 3 min
  • Add the tomatoes, sugar, apple cider vinegar, water, garlic and herbs, salt and pepper ( if using the dried fruit add it here too).
  • Bring  to a simmer.
  • Cover and reduce heat to low. The mixture will be very liquidy for about 10-15 minutes, but stir occasionally
  • Continue simmering the jam, stirring every few minutes,  until it has reduced down to a thick, slightly sticky, and sweet consistency.  depending on your pan this could take 20 – 40 minutes
  • Once it resembles a chunky loose jam. Remove the garlic. Taste.
  • Add any more herbs, salt or pepper. You can also add some honey if you want it more sweet. (Remember as this cools the flavor will be more muted so you want to plan for this)
  • Allow the mixture to cool before storing it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.


My take on a plant-based Curried Cauliflower soup

Paul recently became alarmed over some labs and asked if we could incorporate more vegan and plant-based recipes while we worked to get weight down.

Last year he had ordered the How Not To Die Book and the companion Cookbook. So it was a perfect chance to try one of the recipes.

I changed up the recipe a bit but overall its very similar to the original. The author creates his own savory spice seasoning blend used in several of the books recipes and I’m a fan of that alone! But make it the day prior as it needs a day to meld the flavors. I’ve included them both below.


  • 4 cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1½ teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1½ tablespoons curry powder (start with 1 tablespoon- you can add more later depending on how warm you like it)
  • 2 teaspoons date sugar syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Savory Spice Blend (see below)
  • 1 head cauliflower, trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest. Reserve the juice for the end –  (original version used a blended peeled lemon but it wasn’t worth the effort in my opinion)

For garnish

  • 1 plum tomato, finely chopped, for garnish or
  • 1 medium diced apple


  1. In a large pot, heat 1 cup of the broth over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the juice of 1/2 lemon
  4. Purée the soup in a food processor or with an immersion blender, working in batches if necessary.
  5. Stir in the lemon zest
  6. taste and adjust; more curry? Add some now, more lemon juice? Or other seasonings as desired.
  7. Ladle into bowls and serve hot, garnished with chopped tomato or apples. Sprinkle fresh herbs or additional nutritional yeast.

If it is too “spiced” add a dollop of greek yogurt or dairy free sour cream to help balance the heat.


“How Not To Die” Savory Spice Blend

MAKES: ABOUT ½ cup for your cabinet

Great replacement for salt!

  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast*
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard (mustard powder)
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon celery seeds

Combine all the ingredients in a spice grinder or blender to mix well and pulverize the dried herbs and spices. Transfer the blend to a shaker bottle or jar with a tight-fitting lid. Store in a cool, dry place.


Adapted From: How Not to Die CookbookHow Not to Die Cookbook

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Slices

This dessert is the perfect example of divine simplicity.

You can use a either homemade pizza dough, or a store-bought pizza dough as your base. There are multiple recipe versions online, including the original version I saw for “Pain de Quatre Heures” from Jacques Pepin (He has it in his Heart and Soul Cookbook) where he used hazelnuts. As somebody allergic to hazelnuts and cashews, it seemed that a perfect solution for me, was to swap them out for one of my favorite nuts; macadamia.

Since I make savory Calzones and Stromboli‘s all the time it wasn’t a huge leap for me to do a sweet version. So no matter what you call it; a sweet calzone or a sweet sandwich, either way it’s going to be a sweet ending!

Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Slice


  • 1 lb pizza dough

  • 2 cups diced chocolate

  • 1-1/2 cups rough chop macadamia nuts

  • 1/2 stick of melted butter

  • Castor Sugar or Turbinado Sugar

To Make

  1. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and its packaging lay out on a plate. Cover with a little bit of vegetable spray, vegetable oil or olive oil, cover with a piece of plastic loosely and a towel and put in a warm place for a few hours. (this will make the deal much easier to work with and so that you don’t have to roll it out if you don’t want to.)

  2. Preheat your oven to 425°

  3. Take a cookie sheet, flip it upside down and cover it with a piece of parchment paper or foil

  4. Spread your dough into a rectangle well, lay on the parchment paper.

  5. Cover the top half of the long side of the rectangle with the chocolate

  6. Then add the nuts spread on top

  7. Using the parchment paper as a support, flip the other piece of the dough over and seal the edges well

  8. Lightly coat the top of the dough with a bit of the butter (you’ll use the rest of it when it’s done ) makes three small cuts on the top for steam to escape

  9. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until dark golden brown

  10. Remove from the oven and place immediately on a rock in order to keep the bottom crispy.

  11. Brush on melted butter and a sprinkling of the sugar

  12. Let cool 10 minutes before cutting.

New England Style Blueberry Cake

This cake has been part of our family’s dessert menu for well over 50 years. Since it’s the start of Blueberry season here on the East Coast – I thought it was time to share.

Some context for the cake

It’s been my mom’s favorite cake to make to take to parties to make for breakfast and it’s the one she really doesn’t like to share the recipe for because it’s so good and so standard it’s sort of her “signature” bake.

It raises a bit of contention in the house because she would always make it when she knew I’m coming home for a visit which makes my sisters a little crazy.


I’ve also been researching the recipe and I found references to variations on this as old as the 30s. Many of the difference includes the type of pan it’s cooked in, and the length of cooking time; which has an effect on the crust of the outer cake. Some people like it more crunchy so they’re gonna cook it longer some like it more delicate so they cook it last. The other big distinction I am seeing is the type of eggs large or extra large and the number of eggs, as well as the types of sugar she used.

Below is my version I tend to make more these days. You can see the bake on my TikTok channel @KitchenBearSF

@kitchenbearsf My mom‘s been making this #recipe for me since I can barely remember. I researched variations of this. It is an incredibly popular New England #Blueberry #cake. I’ve gotten versions of it as early as the 1940s. This is my version. It’s easily adapted to fit your tastes. @Frank the KitchenBearSF @Frank_MentorSF ♬ original sound – Frank the KitchenBearSF


Blueberry Cake

For the Batter:

  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of sugar ( white or a combination or white and lite brown sugar works)
  • 1 cup of olive oil or corn/vegetable oil (either works or a combination is totally up to you.)
  • 1/4 orange juice with pulp (or a mix of lemon and orange juice)
  • zest of one lemon (or orange, or both!)
  • 4-5 eggs Egg size of your choice.*
  • *if using a round-style Bundt pan or Angel food cake pan with a removable bottom, four eggs is usually fine if you wanna make this in a glass brownie pan five eggs works well.
  • 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder
  • pinch of salt

For the Berry Topping & Center

  • 5 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups of rinsed and dried fresh blueberries (Frozen will work too)
  • pinch of salt

To make it:

  1. Preheat on the oven to 350°
  2. Into a large bowl add flour, the sugar, baking powder, lemon zest from the batter list above.
  3. Using a fork, mix well until combined.
  4. In a smaller bowl or 2 cup liquid measuring cup eggs, oil, vanilla extract, orange juice. Whisk well until you dont see any eggs. (I often use an immersion blender for this but a hand mixer works as does a vigerous hand wisking)
  5. In a smaller bowl; add the remaining 5 tblsp of sugar and tsp of cinnamon and pinch of salt. Then add the blueberry’s and mix to coat them well.
  6. Take your pan and spray coat it really well. Note: don’t do this first, wait until just before you’re adding the batter when useing spray grease. You can use butter especially when using a Bundt pan. It is your preference
  7. Add a little less than half of the batter into the pan, smooth out and top with about half of the blueberry sugar mix
  8. Add the remaining batter and top with the rest of the blueberry mix
  9. Bake in a preheated oven on the middle rack for 90 min. Checking for doneness at 74 minutes. A toothpick inserted, should come out clean. Same with the nice light brown crunchy top. That is personal preference.
  10. Once done remove from the oven let’s sit and cool.
    1. When I do this in the brownie pan I leave it alone and let it cool in the pan and I serve it that way, sometimes I pop on at some whip cream otherwise I just serve it that way.
    2. But if I’m using the angel food pan with removable bottom, I wait about 10-15 minutes then remove the sides so the sides of the cake stay crisp then remove the bottom once cool.
    3. The Bundt pan is always the one that gives me problems removing it in one piece, so wait until that suitably cool enough to flip it over and remove it from the pan.

The cake uncut is fine the next day so is great for a “make and take”. Once you cut it, keep it in a sealed container if you want to keep it moist. The leftover cake can be toasted or griddled with butter. But  I’ll be honest I think I’ve rarely had it last more than two days before it’s gone.

Random Hints

  1. Recipe works great in a Bundt pan, an angel food pan that has a removable bottom and glass brownie pans. The reason I say a glass brownie pan is because he gives you a really nice crispy edge on all sides
  2. The batter volume will also fill three foil loaf pans are are perfect for gifting or freezing once cooled
  3. The same recipe and substitute the fruit as you choose to
  4. Really doesn’t need any extra toppings but if you wanna go over the top this is great with crème fraîche or ice cream or even a berry or orange liquor drizzled over it

Old School Ham and Pickle Salad

I took a walk down memory lane recently and remade a favorite Ham & Pickle sandwich. I grew up with this forgotten sibling to the ubiquitous tuna and egg salads and have some great memories of it. My Aunt would start making make this dish for me as soon as she got word I was coming back to CT for a visit and im not talking a little bowl.. Im talking quarts!


  • 1 pound of cooked ham (you can use a baked, boiled, a ham steak or thick slices of ham from the deli)

  • 1 stalk (or 1/2 cup finely diced celery)

  • 1/2 half of white or red onion rough chop

  • 4-5 pickles (about a 1/2 cup dill pickles diced or use relish)

  • 2 tablespoons pickle brine

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard (more to taste)

  • Fresh black pepper to taste

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce


  1. In a food processor, blitz the ham into a small chop (3-4 times pulses).

  2. Add onions, pulse.

  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the processor with the ham and onion and pulse several seconds to your desired texture.

  4. Taste for seasonings and adjust if needed. I like balance salad that tastes like ham but with the mayo and mustard to balance sweet and sharp

  5. Remove from the food processor into a sealable bowl (I’m a huge LockNLock fan for this). Mix with a spatula

  6. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour, then stir again , taste for salt, pepper etc. before serving.

Serving options; Spread on your preferred bread and make a sandwich or scoop some in bowl with a side of crackers, pita chips, celery sticks or core a tomato and fill.

Chicken with Mint Sauce

I came across several old references in Italian cookbooks of a grilled or sautéed chicken breast that was simply prepared with a fresh mint sauce. Now I’ve seen other variations, where people do lemon, dill or rosemary but this one caught my eye several times so I finally took it apart played with it. Below is my version that I am thrilled with. It’s the simplicity of simple ingriedeints that makes this shine, thigh the star being the brightness of the mint sauce.

I noticed many references say this may be a traditional Sicilian dish, but I also have seen variations in other parts of the country. Here in the US, I’ve seen it on menus but very rarely.


  • 3-4 large boned and skinned chicken breasts (totaling 1 to 1½ pounds), cut crosswise into ½-inch-wide strips
  • ¼ medium red onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • Generous pinch of sugar
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar ( you could use white or even Apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • zest and juice of 1 medium lemon
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ tightly packed cup fresh mint leaves,
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper finely chopped
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


Step 1:
  1. Slide the chicken breast crosswise into 1/2′ wide strip or medallions and place in a sealable container or silicone storage bag (a plastic one will also work)
  2. To the chicken add 1 tbsp of the oil, lemon zest, oregano, and pepper. Seal and toss well.
  3. Let marinate in the refrigerator 1 to 6 hours.
Step 2:
  1. About 30 minutes before cooking, make the sauce;
  2. Stir together the minced onion, garlic, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl.
  3. Let stand 20 minutes
  4. Then whisk in the remaining oil.
Step 3:
  1. About 15 minutes before serving, heat a heavy skillet, or a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat or you grill on medium.
  2. Sauté or grill the chicken, sprinkling it with salt.
  3. Turn the pieces as they pick up color and immediately reduce the heat to medium-low.
  4. Continue cooking about 4 minutes, until the chicken is barely firm when pressed.
  5. Be sure there is, no sign of raw meat. An instant read thermometer should read 160 -1 65 degrees.
  6. Transfer it to a serving warm plate or a plate layered with lettuce or arugula
  1. Stir the 3 tablespoons of the fresh mint into the prepared sauce,  spoon over the chicken
  2. Sprinkle remaining mint over the chicken for garnish
  3. Suitable as simple summer lunch or as dinner along with  Broccolini with Peanut Sauce

Notes – I make double the sauce as everyone asks to add more!


Adapted from the Italian Country Table, by Lynn Rossetto Kasper, 1999

Ricotta Cheese Crumble

Ricotta cheese is one of those items that most conect it to the lushes filling between lasagna noodles. But for many cultures it also has a rich history as add-in or star to everything from pancakes , pasta to dips and even sweet endings. This dish resembles the marriage of a custardy like cheesecake sandwiched between layers of a simple crumble. 

Ricotta Cheese Crumble


Ricotta filling:

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese (drained)
  • 7 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 lemons, zested ( you can also substitute with oranges)

Crumb cover and base:

  • 2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 7 Tbsp sugar
  • 6 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 lemon, zested


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F°/180C°.
  2. Line with parchment paper and butter a 9” springform pan
  3. To make the ricotta filling, place in a medium bowl the filling items and gently blend together with a fork.
  4. To make the crumb , place the remaining ingredients in a bowl and using your fingers, rub the egg and the oil into the flour, zest and sugar to make a crumb-like mixture
  5. Using about ⅔ of the crumbs, make the cake bottom and edges, lightly shape up the sides to make a ridge. You don’t need to compress it tight
  6. Pour the filling into the this crumble shell, then top with a sprinkle the crumble mixture
  7. Bake for 30-40  minutes until lightly golden.
  8. Let it cool at room temperature, and served dusted with icing sugar

Note: You can use any combination of citrus with this crumble. You can also add chopped pistachios to the top layer of the crumb for some extra crunch.

Pastel Azteca Enchilada Casserole

I remember Tricia making this recipe for Pastel Azteca (Enchilada Casserole / Mexican Lasagna) live and it’s one I have made a few time since. I bet if you follow her account @SketchyChef on tiktok – you might be catching her do it again one day!


  • 3 Roma tomatoes, cut in halves

  • 1 medium onion, cut in half

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 2 dried ancho chilies

  • 1 dried Cascabel chile

  • 2 pounds boneless chicken breast, cooked and shredded

  • 16 Corn Tortillas

  • Vegetable Oil (for frying)

  • Queso Fresco

  • 1 cup Mexican Crema or Sour Cream

  • 1 cup shredded Manchego cheese (or your favorite blend)


  1. Cook the boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Once the chicken is done, shred the chicken and set aside.

  2. To prepare the sauce, place the tomato halves, the onion, garlic, and dried chilies in a medium saucepan.  Cover with water and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.  Remove the seeds and stems from the chilies.  Puree the tomatoes, onion, garlic, chilies and 1 cup of the cooking water until smooth.  Pour the sauce into a medium saucepan or bowl; season with salt.

  3. Ladle enough sauce into a 9-inch square baking dish to cover the bottom; set aside.

  4. Heat about 1/2 cup of vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Fry the corn tortillas, one at a time, for about 30 seconds per side.  Transfer the tortillas to a heatproof plate until you’ve finished frying all of the tortillas.

  5. Arrange 4 of the fried corn tortillas in the bottom of the baking dish.  (The tortillas will overlap slightly.)  Ladle an additional 1/2 cup of the sauce on top of the tortillas, making sure the sauce makes it all the way to the edge, adding more sauce if necessary

  6. Top with shredded chicken, crumbled queso fresco and a couple of dollops of sour cream.

  7. Repeat for 2 additional layers, topping the third layer with the last of the fried tortillas.  Top the tortillas with more sauce, crumbled queso fresco, and shredded manchego cheese.

  8. Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for 30 to 40 minutes until the cheese has melted and starts to turn a light golden brown.

Catch Tricia on TikTok as @SketchyChef and she’s also part of the collaborative group  @TheFoodieNetwork . You can also see all of her shared recipes here

Smoked Hog Muffuletta Sandwich

Having just returned from New Orleans (yes, I carried back with me a well wrapped version of the local Muffuletta sandwich) and saw that my new pals at Stoltzfus Meats sent me some new treats to sample. This included some of the Cottage Bacon ( which I had never tried before but is now my new favorite child), Smoked Cheddar Cheese and a package of its branded Canadian Bacon. So you know what that meant; I was making up my own version of the Muffuletta that was amped up in flavor and smoke.

A bit of history on the Muffuletta Sandwich

According to many online sources – the muffuletta bread has origins in Sicily with the sandwich version showing up as early as 1906 in  New Orleans, Louisiana. Common belief is that the sandwich was created by delicatessen owner Salvatore Lupo, a Sicilian immigrant. But others had paid claim to that as well..

The traditional-style muffuletta sandwich consists a sesame seeded “muffuletta bowl shaped soft loaf” split horizontally, filled with layers of marinated diced olive salad, and cured meats commonly eaten in Italian households at the time including salami, ham, Swiss or mozzarella and provolone cheeses, and mortadella.

The diced olive salad consists of olives combined with quick or jarred pickled celery, cauliflower and carrot. Most of these can be usually found in a jar of giardiniera, seasoned with oregano and garlic, covered in olive oil, and allowed to combine for at least 24 hours. In fact for my version I used my own recipe for  Sherrys Garden Giardiniera” base with several kinds of cured, jarred minced olives to enhance the taste. My giardiniera also includes serrano peppers, radishes and okra. You can find my version on the FoodtokTV site here or on here on Bitetheroad.

The recipe below gives you a full version, but you can use the recipe above for “Sherrys Garden Giardiniera” and amp it up with olives like I did. Note: You can often find jarred Olive Salad in the pickle section of the grocery stores and on Amazon.

Think about following me on Tiktok under my new food & recipe focused account @KitchenBearSF

  • 3/4 cup pitted mixed oil-packed olives
  • 1/2 cup giardiniera (Italian-style pickled vegetable salad or make you own Sherrys Garden Giardiniera)
  • 1 large roasted red peppers ( yes you can use jarred ones)
  • 1 tablespoon capers (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 large muffuletta-style roll (Since I couldn’t find them locally, I used a sourdough roll)
  • 1/3 pound thinly sliced sweet soppressata
  • 1/3 pound thinly sliced mortadella
  • 1/3 pound thinly sliced capicola
  • 1/3 pound thinly sliced provolone cheese
  • 1/3 pound of Smoked Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/3 pound of cooked Cottage Bacon
  1. Combine olives, giardiniera, capers in a food processor and pulse to a small mince. For a chunkier version, dice by hand with a sharp knife.
  2. Transfer to a bowl. Add olive oil and vinegar and stir to combine. For best results, let you olive salad rest overnight before continuing
  3. Split the muffuletta roll in half and spread each cut surface generously with olive salad, with the liquids!
  4. Add alternating layers of meats and cheeses, in the middle add the layer of roasted red pepper.
  5. Close sandwiches and press down gently press to compress.
  6. Wrap tightly in paper or plastic and let rest for 1 hour  – 2 hours before serving.

You can make this a day before and leave wrapped then slice. This is a perfect party or picnic food as it is best room temperature so can be removed from the refrigerator to come to room temp before eating.

Ricotta Dip Topping

Ricotta Dip Topping is the perfect topping for a Date Nut Bread, cake or grilled peaches  


  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • 8 ounces (full or part-skim ) ricotta strained at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon of a sweet peach or orange jam
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup dried apricot halves finely diced
  • 1/4 cup shelled roasted pistachios, chopped
  • Base of for the topping: Crackers, Pyhllo sheets, Pound cake, grilled fruit etc


  1. In a medium mixing bowl, blend together the cream cheese, ricotta, honey, jam and salt until smooth.
  2. Taste and add additional salt or honey as desired.
  3. Gently stir in the apricots.
  4. Transfer to a serving dish of using as a dip and  sprinkle with pistachios and drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon honey.
  5. or Smooth on to your prepared Phyllo bases or my favorote way spread on Date-Nut Breads
  6. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.


As a topping the options are endless. This is great on grilled peaches and other fruits as much as a topping for toast, pound cakes or as an addition to a Cheese and fruit course