Local Seasonal Food, DAMMIT!

Apple Muffins. Oh gods yum. You read Smitten Kitchen, right? Well, this is adjusted from her Pumpkin Muffin recipe (also amazing).

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It starts with apple butter I had in the freezer from last year when I was gifted a bunch of tiny Lady apples. You chop the apples without peeling them, toss in the crockpot, add a little water, some spices, a bit of sugar, and then cook them into oblivion. Blend smooth, and cook some more, they should be a dark brown paste. Freeze in zippy bags in 1 cup portions for use in recipes or random special bread spread. 

 

Apple Butter Muffins

2 oz whole wheat flour (half a cup)

4.5 oz all purpose flour (1 cup)

1 tsp baking powder

1ish cup chopped apple (optional)

1 cup apple butter

1/4 cup oil (olive or coconut is preferable)

2 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

Sprinkling sugar (raw is good)

 

Heat oven to 350. Prepare muffin cups by oiling or lining with paper.

Wisk flours and baking powder together in a small bowl. Add apples and toss to coat.

Wisk remaining ingredients in a large bowl until thoroughly mixed. Stir in flour and apples until almost smooth. Portion into muffin cups, you may have more than 12 muffins worth if you added apple, or you may just have really full cups. Smooth tops and sprinkle with sugar or cinnamon sugar if desired.

Bake for 20 minutes or until spaghetti noodle comes out clean (I never have toothpicks)

NOM!

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The Unsung Snickerdoodle

Interesting fact: when I ask people what their favourite cookie is, or what they want me to make most say chocolate chip or peanut butter… but when I put out a tray of assorted cookies it’s ALWAYS the snickerdoodles that go first. What’s up with that? Anyway, my recipe is adapted from Alice Medrich’s ‘Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy’, which I can’t recommend highly enough. If I were stranded on a desert island… with an oven and ingredients… nevermind, terrible metaphor. A dessert island maybe? Anyway, if I were restricted to only one cookie recipe book for ever and ever this would be the one, no hesitation. Go buy it. Seriously.

Snickerdoodles

13 ½oz AP flour

2 tsp Cream of tartar

1 tsp Baking soda

½ tsp Salt

8 oz Unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened

10 ½oz Baker’s sugar

2 large eggs, warmed to room temperature

1/8 tsp Fiore di Sicilia (or ¼ tsp lemon extract)

8 oz cinnamon mini chips (optional)

2tsp Cinnamon

¼ C Turbinado sugar

Instructions

Wisk flour, salt, baking powder, and cream of tartar together in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl beat butter with sugar until smooth and creamy.

Mix in eggs and Fiore until just blended.

Stir in flour and mix until barely incorporated.

Gather the dough into a ball, flatten slightly, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes. These cookies get even better (crisper, more buttery) when you let the dough rest for several days.

Heat oven to 400F. Line cookie sheets with parchment.

Mix cinnamon and turbinado in a shallow bowl.

Form cookies from level tablespoons into balls (20 grams) and and roll in cinnamon sugar.

Place 2 inches apart on cookies sheet.

Bake 11 minutes, cookies will puff and begin to settle. I find that switching the sheets at 6 minutes gives me more even browning.

Yield: 48 cookies

Notes:

Every time I make this I wish I’d doubled it. They are gone within a day.

Fiore di Sicilia and cinnamon mini chips are available from King Arthur flour. Both are optional. Even the lemon can be left out.

Turbinado sugar gives extra crunch to the outside of these cookies, but regular sugar works too.  Regular sugar can be used in place of the Baker’s as well.

If you chill the dough for several days you will have to dampen the sugar slightly to get it to stick.

 

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Another Old Favourite

This is the cookie my friend Jessica always requests, these cookies can be crisp, or chewy. If you want them crisp, reduce or leave out the eggs in the recipe. If you are using a hand-held mixer make a half-recipe, the full one will make it very unhappy.

PEANUT BUTTER AND HONEY COOKIES

  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup  white sugar
  • 1 cup  honey (12 0z)
  • 2 cups peanut butter (1 18oz jar)
  • 2 cups shortening
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour (575 grams)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups honey roasted peanuts, chopped (12oz can)
  1. Heat oven to 350
  2. Cream together sugar, honey, peanut butter, and shortening
  3. Stir together baking soda and water
  4. Blend soda mixture into shortening mixture
  5. Mix in eggs
  6. Stir in flour and peanuts
  7. Drop from 1oz scoop or 1/8c coffee measure or roll into 2 Tbsp balls and flatten with a fork or potato masher.
  8. Place on cookie sheet lines with parchment (8 per sheet, staggered)
  9. Bake 8 minutes, swap racks, bake 5 more minutes (edges should brown slightly)
  10. Cool on rack

Makes 6 dozen 4” cookies

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‘Those’ Cinnamon Rolls

I’ve been meaning to type up this cinnamon roll recipe for a few years, and finally got around to it. It originally came about because I wanted chewy intensely cinnamon rolls, rather then the fluffy CinnaBon type, so I went looking for a soft yet dense bread to base them on. I settled on the Challah recipe in Gisslen’s ‘Professional Baking’ (my old school text) for it’s rich egginess, and sorta guessed on the filling and topping, and a star was born.


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Sunshine on a Plate, aka Very Tangy Lemon Bars

It’s funny how smells can evoke memories. Lemons do it to me, every time. Bright and sunny, with their tangy sweet fragrance, a perfectly ripe lemon brings me back to Southern California summers by my Gramma’s pool. As we left the house, headed towards the pool in the backyard, we passed by her lemon and lime trees. Smooth, glossy green leaves, this little stand of trees was sometimes fragrant with sun-warmed blossoms, sometimes allowing brief peeps of startling yellow or fresh green fruit. Some days, I would stand near them just inhaling the fragrance that drifted on the breeze. Nothing beats a lemon fresh off the tree, except something made with those same lemons. Sadly, the days of being able to pick lemons from Gramma’s trees are gone. She moved to the mountains (as did most of my family) where her lemon trees would not grow, and I moved away from home first to follow a military husband, then to Colorado to be with my second husband.

Lemons used to make the lemon barsWhenever I work with lemons, the fragrance always takes me back to those warm lazy days by the pool. Slice one open, and sudden it’s Summer again, and I’m reminded of a more relaxed time. I feel happier too (probably explained by lemon oil’s natural mood-lifting qualities), and even gloomy days seem a little brighter. So when I decided to make Alice Medrich‘s recipe Very Tangy Lemon Bars 2.0 (recipe at the end). I was at the very least pretty happy. Three beautiful lemons on a plate, sliced and then zested and juiced had released their delicious perfume into the small room that is my galley kitchen. Continue reading

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The Beauty of food – as seen through my camera

Haven’t posted much lately, but I have been taking pictures. I’m new at food photography, but I know that – like with anything – you get better with practice, and don’t have a big fancy camera or photography equipment. So bear with me, as I inflict my novice food pictures on you all. If you have any constructive criticism, I’m all ears. If you just wanna tell me they suck, please don’t, I’m already aware of the limitations of my skillz. 😉

Dinner waiting to be served

Cheeseburger pie with cheddar biscuit topping and spinach salad.

Ruby Reds

Beautiful ruby red grapefruits, just waiting to be turned into...

 

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Beer!

Every Saturday, we and our husbands get together with our neighbors across the street. There’s gaming, grilling, and beer – ah, the beer. Among the six adults, we’ve got three

Dark Force

It lives up to the name "Dark"

beer drinkers, and three non-beer drinkers… two of

paradox glen grant

Whiskey-cask aged stout?

the men and one of the women are, and two of the women and one of the men aren’t. We who do drink the fermented grain ambrosia have grown up in our beer tastes over the years – starting with the extremely light pilsner-style beers known to most – Bud, Miller, Coors, Keystone, and Pabst, and evolving through to looking for the craft beers that are new to the local liquor store. We find a couple of beers, and share them between the three of us, enjoying the new flavors, comparing and contrasting them with others by the same brewery, or with others of the same type we’ve had before. Our tastes tend to run to two types – the dark, heavy, rich Porters and Stouts, and the lighter, bitter, full of flavor India Pale Ales. Tonight, we had two different Imperial Stouts -Dark Force by HaandBryggeriet and Paradox Glen Grant by BrewDog. So which beer was better?

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