(Ha, spellcheck tried to turn ‘streusel’ into ‘stressful’. I can’t imagine muffins being stressful. Really? They are anti-stressful if you ask me. The cure for stress. A couple of these and some tea? Or a glass of milk or even coffee…)
First, Happy Mothers Day to all Mothers, grandmothers, foster mothers, God mothers, and anyone involved in mothering.
Since it was Mothers day, I figured I would make some of my own personal favorite muffins, apple walnut, although I do not have a go-to recipe really, like I do for some other recipes. This one is always hit and miss. So I dug through some of my favorite baking books.
My aunt and I were on a road trip together last fall (which is its own whole story) and one of the most memorable meals we had been a delightful lunch at a cafe on lake Winnipesaukee. We had just gone wild at the Keepsake Quilting store in Connecticut and were looking for a lunch of champions. We almost missed it, a little stand alone house converted to a cafe that just looked appealing. In fact I think we turned around to go back to it. I would tell you the name of it if I could remember. (see photo below)
I DO remember we split a lobster roll, the best I’d ever had, and each had a bowl of butternut bisque, wherein we both licked the bowl clean, looking over at the others bowls to see if maybe she missed a bit. Continue reading “Butternut and Bacon Bisque”→
I kind of like the idea of being called ‘saucy and sweet’. Better than ‘cranky and bitter’.
Well these potatoes are neither cranky n or bitter.
It is a fabulous dish to have even if its summer and too hot to bake. Hubby picked out the apple bits at the end because he said it tasted like apple pie and, being gluten free, that was something he really didn’t have any more.
It’s so easy, you don’t really need a recipe per say.
We all love crisps around here. Me because I don’t have to deal with any kind of crusts and the all of us because they are so danged delicious, why would anyone bother with anything else? If I made nothing but crisps out for our fruit desserts until the end of my days, I would hear no complaints. (Or would I say ‘I would brook no complaints’?)
Here is a recipe from Americas Test Kitchens “Cooks Illustrated All-Time Best Holiday Baking’ magazine. Along those lines I also got, from hubby, a new baking book to add to my collection, the new “Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book” and I would recommend it to any would-be, wanna-be or has-been-for-a-while baker. The recipes are pretty fool-proof. This fool would know.
This one is in the magazine though and is absolutely wonderful! A sweet crispy topping over apples and cranberries, both fresh and dried, with a drizzle of my secret ingredient. Ou-la-la!
Recipe by Adapted from Holiday Baking by Cooks Illustrated
A wonderful holiday or any day dessert.
Yield: 12 servings, give or take
ingredients for topping:
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cubes butter, cut into about 12 pieces
1 teaspoon Cinnamon or Cinnamon Plus (PC)
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1 pound fresh or frozen cranberries
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup water
2 1/2 lbs granny smith apples, peeled, cored, halved and cut into thin slices
2 1/2 lbs. Braeburn or other type apples, peeled, cored, halved and cut into thin slices
1 cup dried cranberries
3 Tbsp. Instant Tapioca
1 Tbsp. Tuaca, an Italian liqueur (Optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
For the topping: Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor, mix the flour, brown and white sugar, cinnamon and butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Transfer to a bowl and add the oats, using your fingers to mix and squish together.
Chop up some walnuts and set aside, if using.
For the filling: bring fresh cranberries, 3/4 cup of white sugar and water to a simmer in large pot or skillet. Cook on medium heat until cranberries are softened and jam like, about 10 minutes. Pour mixture into a bowl.
add half the apples, dried cranberries and 1/2 cup of sugar and cook until the apples begin to release their juices, about 5 minutes. You can then either put those apples in a bowl and cook the other half of the apples, or, like me, just skip that step and use the rest of the apples raw.
Off heat, stir in all the apples, cranberry mixture and tapioca. Add the Tuaca, if using, and stir in.
Pour the whole thing into, supposedly, a 9×13 baking pan, but I used a slightly larger one for all those apples.
Mound the topping over the filling in the center of the dish and rake it all over with your fingers towards edges. sprinkle chopped walnuts over that and pop into the oven.
Bake for at least an hour. Not until just tender, but until tender and browned and caramely and bubbly. (You can make topping up to 5 days ahead of time, or even freeze it for later use.)
Enjoy leftovers for breakfast. Hide it from the kids.
I had no idea what to make for dinner the other night and it was already 4 in the afternoon, which eliminates some meals like beef stew or pot roast, things that are slow and low cooking. Just no time. This is what is wrong with the world of not planning your meals. If all you have to do is look at your menu planner and say something like, “oh yeah, today is ____ so I better take some meat out of the freezer.” It takes the pressure off.
But without a plan, the pressure builds all day. “Whatsfordinner, whatsfordinner, whatsfordinner…” The mantra keeps going in the back of your brain. You can push it away, but it is still lurking there in the shadows, tapping you on the shoulder. You can wish for a miracle and sometimes it works. You might find out people won’t be home. “Oh, its just the two of us, perfect for this leftover eel pie hon!” And suddenly you find yourself going out for pizza.
But I recommend menu planning a week at a time.
It would be nice if I took my advice more often.
Anyhoo, I was freezer diving and found some thin cut rib eyes. Rib eyes?! Jackpot!
They thawed out quickly. I had some Trader Joes balsamic glaze to drizzle over it and there was some blue cheese in the fridge. Hot dang! This would be yummy.
Okay, meat, asparagus calling for help in the crisper…what kind of other side dish? I was a little tired of the pasta-potato-rice usual suspects. And we are kind of on a sort of diet. So how about another vegetable?
I found this tasty looking vegie-fruit treat in a magazine my mom brought over. It is another enticing way to get certain people to eat cooked carrots. (yes, I am talking about me.)
And it was so easy. See below and enjoy. In fact I think we shall have it again tonight with the halibut and risotto. (You heard me, riiiissooootttoooo, yum!)
Carrots and Apples with pecans
Well, the title pretty much sums it up. A great and easy side dish.
2 carrotspeeled and cut into bite size strips (or in my case, rounds)
Cook the carrots in a skillet with a small amount of boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain off liquid.
Add butter to carrots in skillet. Add the apples, ginger and salt. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add vinegar and toss to coat. In a small bowl, mix the pecans and parsley. Sprinkle over carrots and apples. Transfer to a serving dish, or dish out onto the plates, or be a read bohemian and stick a fork in the pan and pass it around.
As I was sitting in the recliner, otherwise know as the cat scratching post, the recliner having the magic capacity to render any one sitting their hiney in it to certain sleep, I was also thinking about something for dinner. Or tea. Or supper. Whatever.
Food for my menfolk.
They were out doing manly work, taking an engine out of a car and otherwise stripping it to ready it for a paint job.
Hubby and his apprentice.
So there I was, in the magic shredded up chair, trying to stay awake, listen to an episode of Dr. Who and browse through a cookbook for ideas. I can still multi-task baby!
Here is what I found to make, with my little adaptations for what I had handy.
Italian grilled cheese sandwiches and apple walnut salad:
Here is the salad:
Whisk together the following:
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp. sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Thats it, can you imagine? And so tasty your mouth will be dazzled!
1 chopped up apple
1 Tbsp. chopped green onion
3 cups torn Bibb lettuce (or whatever you have on hand)
2 Tbsp chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp. crumbled blue cheese
Toss these together and pour the whisked dressing over it. Toss, eat, repeat.
Now for that sandwich. Easy.
You need a couple slices of bread. I used sourdough. Brush one side of each slice with butter.
Either sprinkle with parmesan or, as I did this time, put parmesan cheese on a plate and lay the slice down butter first to coat.
Sprinkle with a little garlic salt and a bit of Italian Seasoning.
Grate some mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
Heat up a skillet, such as a handy cast iron one. Rub a little bit of oil in it.
Lay down one of the slices, parmesan side down. Lay the shredded cheese over it, carefully trying to keep it on the bread and not on the skillet where it will burn and stick. Then lay the other slice over it, parmesan side up. Use a spatula to gently press down. Cook until browned.
Carefully flip it and keep cooking until brown on the outside and melty on the inside.
Then make another if you like. Slice them in half. Eat them up!
Someday I am going to start up my other dream blog site and in it I want to make a collection of what people are having for dinner.
So, whats for dinner tonight?
Then I would keep a category of them. And when I run out of ideas and just cant get my brain cells to work together for dinner ideas. I, you , all of us, can refer to it. I have a tendency to often wait until 5 or 6 o’clock to plan a dinner and I need something quick and something I have supplies for because, lets face it, this late I am probably not running to the store. Unless we just dont mind eating really late.
And who knows? It might be inspire me to actually plan ahead for a week of meals! I love it when I do that. Dont know why I don’t do it more. I guess I like living on the edge.
I found this recipe in my King Arthur Whole Wheat baking book and it intrigued me. I was looking for a whole wheat cookie, other than chocolate chip. So I tried this one. I have had more complements and someone requested the recipe. So here it is. I do not have any pictures, but picture little brown cakes with apple spice frosting on them.
Oh, it helps if you have boiled apple cider. I bought some from K.A. bakers catalogue. It comes in a bottle and I use instead of corn syrup, although it is thinner and you have to account for it. You do not have to use it for this recipe, it just helps. But you should have apple juice for the frosting.
1 1/2 sticks of butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tbsp. brown sugar corn syrup or dark corn syrup or apple cider syrup
2 Tbsp. molasses
1 cup raisins
1 medium-small apple, peeled, cored and diced very fine
1/3 minced crystallized ginger (I never did use this. Imaging how much better it would be with it)
2 1/4 cups traditional whole wheat flour (but if you use white whole wheat, I won’t tell)
Beat the butter, brown sugar, salt, soda, powder, spices in a bowl until smooth. Beat in orange juice, scraping the bowl, then add the egg, corn syrup and molasses. Add the fruit and ginger, beating until well combined.
Add the flour beating until well combined. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheet. (Oh, did I mention turning on the oven to 350?)
Bake until the are barely brown around the edges and still appear to be soft in the middle, 12 minutes. Let them cool on the pan a bit before moving to a rack.
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
4-5 Tbsp apple juice concentrate, thawed
Whisk all the frosting ingredients together, adding sugar or apple juice as needed to get the right frosting consistency. Frost each cooled cookie generously.
Eat them. Enjoy them and know you are getting some fiber. Whoo-hoo
That title alone is a mouthful, wouldn’t you say? I have a couple battered, stained, dog-eared, well loved booklets put out by Pillsbury with bake-off winning recipes inside them. You know what I mean, the kind they have at grocery store check outs? Some of these recipes I have been using for years, then again, sometimes I pull it out and find something new that suddenly sounds wonderful. This is one of those recipes. It has become a family favorite.