Satisfying the hunger in us all.

Breads and Muffins / August 20, 2015

Social media has taken over our subconscious minds. We think far too much about whether or not we’ve posted often enough, with varied content that thrills, and/or spoken in a way that connects to our audience. There is the worry that our selfies were awkward; the spoon resting a little too contrived next to the plate and ruining the composition. But really!!! Who are we thinking about when we post? Sadly, ourselves and not those to whom we seek to fulfill. In our relentless pursuit of becoming viral by praying to our internet marketing deity, we are only speaking out to space.

Makes me nervous.

So, who is our audience? Who, beyond the faces of those friends and family we love, is really paying attention? Well, here’s the good news about being a food blogger. Your audience is everyone who eats. There’s something about a photo of delicious food that smooths our path through life and we can’t get enough of it. Nourishment can happen on many levels, and apparently the visual appetite is as insatiable as the physical one. And sometimes the word YUM is all we need to validate our experience.

Because this isn’t my full time hobby yet, (I hate it when your real job, isn’t your real job. Don’t you?) the postings must often revolve around the priorities of my life. And quite frankly, as much as I love to cook, write, photograph and develop recipes, I find myself realizing that walks with my husband do indeed trump sitting in front of my laptop working on the 140-characters-to-greatness quotient.

But you deserve to be fed! You deserve to have your virtual taste buds sated with a collection of organic obsessions. Ready? Scroll down and enjoy!

It’s true. Spaghetti squash is very fun and lends whimsy to every recipe. Here I baked Tilapia with an Indian spice rub, topped it with a savory peach salsa, and then created some cheesy potato pancakes. Colorful and full of flavor! Recipe here for my Spice Rubbed Tilapia over Spaghetti Squash, Potato Pancakes, with a Soy Maple Reduction and topped with Peach Salsa!

Strawberry Honey Poppy Seed Muffins

Light, moist, airy and satisfying. This is my go-to recipe for muffins!

Makes 1 Dozen


Ingredients:

2 C self-rising flour
½ C sugar
1 t baking powder
½ t salt
1 t poppy seeds
1 egg
¼ C butter, softened
½ C heavy cream
½ C 2% milk
1 t vanilla extract
1 T honey
Raw sugar for sprinkling on top
1 ½ C fresh strawberries chopped*


Direction:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Stage 2 bowls. One for the wet and one for the dry ingredients. Grease muffin tin with butter. In the bowl for the wet add the butter and the egg and whisk until mixed well. Add the milk, cream, honey, and vanilla. In the other bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds. With a small spatula, add the wet to the dry, folding and incorporating. Then gently fold in the chopped up fresh strawberries. Switch to a large spoon and mix just until the whole mixture is all wet. Spoon the mixture evenly into the 12 muffin cups and top each with a sprinkling of raw sugar. Cook for 25 minutes or until browned. Remove, let sit for about 10 minutes, take out of muffin pan and cool on wire rack.
  • *In place of strawberries use blueberries, fresh peaches, raspberries, or blackberries.

Veal Caper Meatballs With a Lemon White Wine Sauce over Shells

Serves 6


Ingredients:

1 lb ground veal
1/3 C Italian breadcrumbs
1 egg
2 T cream
1/8 C plus 1 T capers, drained and divided
Salt and pepper
Pinch oregano
Pinch coriander powder
¼ C finely chopped sweet white onion
2 C shells pasta
2 C unoaked chardonnay
4 T butter, divided Fresh basil to garnish
1 t corn starch
1/3 C fresh squeezed lemon juice


Direction:

  • Blend the veal, bread crumbs, egg, cream, 1/8 C capers, onions and salt. Form into small 1”balls. Set aside. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  • In a large saucepan, melt 2 T butter, then brown the meatballs, about 2 minutes on each side until browned. Remove and keep under foil. With the heat still on medium, add the white wine,and let reduce for about 2 minutes, stirring to bring up the bits of browned meat. Add the salt and pepper, and the lemon juice, and continue to stir on medium low for about another minute. Add the shells to the boiling water. Add the meatballs back in, add the rest of the capers then cover and let simmer until veal is done, about 3-5 minutes. After it is done, remove about ¼ C of the hot liquid, mix with the cornstarch and blend well. Then add that mixture back to the saucepan, stirring quickly and letting it firm up. Loosen with butter, or wine or a little more lemon juice as needed to taste. Taste to see if you need to add more salt. Usually you will need very little salt as the lemon and capers are tangy enough. Ladle the shells out of the boiling water and add to the pasta, stir to incorporate the meatballs, sauce and shells. Then serve in pasta bowls with fresh basil on top.

Complete Bling Meal! Butter and White Wine Braised Chicken Breasts With Curried Corn and Carrots Over Stock-Simmered Quinoa

Butter and White Wine Braised Chicken Breasts

Serves 4
Note – Braising gives the meat a chance to stay very moist and infuses it with lots of extra flavor. You can also thicken the remaining sauce to make a gravy and really amp up this simple, flavorful meal!


Ingredients:

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into two pieces each, so you have four 5 oz. portions.
4 T unsalted butter
2 T light olive oil
½ C all-purpose flour
1/8 C fine corn meal
2 t of fresh thyme leaves chopped
2 t of fresh parsley chopped
1 t kosher salt and ½ t black pepper
¼ t poultry seasoning
Dash of garlic salt

½ C white wine, preferably a Pinot Grigio or Riesling. Steer away from butter chardonnay wines that will make the dish bitter (Also, have a little more wine on hand if the wine evaporates too quickly. You want the chicken breasts cooking in liquid, not continuing to brown, so watch your pan carefully.)


Method:

  • In a shallow bowl mix the flour, corn meal, salt, pepper, thyme, salt and pepper, poultry seasoning and garlic salt. Dredge each dried chicken piece in the flour mixture, tapping to remove excess. Bring a large saucepan to high heat and add the oil and 2 T butter. When shimmering, add the chicken pieces and let them sear on each side for about 2-3 minutes. Don’t move them around. Let them sit in one spot with your pan on medium heat so they get nice caramelization. Don’t crowd them either or they’ll steam and not brown, and then they will get rubbery. After you have browned the second side, remove the chicken and put on a plate.  Now add the wine and scrape up the browned bits into the wine and let it reduce, while bubbling, for about 2 minutes. Lower the heat to medium low, add the chicken back in and let braise for about another 7-10 minutes, until chicken pieces are done. It will depend on the thickness of the pieces for cooking time. Right before serving add the other two T of butter and swirl around. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed to sauce. Perch the chicken on top of the quinoa and drizzle with the buttery wine sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley
  • Curried Corn and Carrots

Note
there are two ways to prepare these, roasting or boiling. I find that roasting imparts the best flavors.


Ingredients:

4 medium carrots peeled and cut into 1” angled chunks
1 ½ C frozen white shoe-peg corn thawed and drained and patted dry
1-2 T light olive oil
Zest of one lemon
½ t lemon juice
½ t very good quality curry powder like Penzy’s “The Now Curry.” Love this flavor profile. Click to buy!
A little salt and white pepper


Method:

  • Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Toss carrots with the olive oil, juice and curry powder and salt and pepper. Spread out on a shallow metal baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes until carrots are a little soft and caramelization as occurred. Then add the corn and toss again on the sheet so everything gets on the corn, and cook for another 10 minutes. Watch carefully so the corn doesn’t burn. Serve with coarse sea salt.
    Stock Simmered Quinoa

Ingredients:

1 C quinoa
1 ½ C good chicken stock (Don’t settle for any stock. Invest in a good stock – or make your own! – and taste it before you cook with it so you know it is good!) Click here to read what TheKitchn has to say about stock choices!
1 T butter
1 t salt and ½ t pepper


Method:

  • Melt the butter and add the quinoa, stirring on medium-high heat until you smell a nice toasty flavor. Add the water and stir, then let it come to a boil. Lower heat to low, cover and cook for about 20 + minutes until stock is absorbed. Taste to see how much salt it needs since most stock is salted. Serve! (Can I tell you how good this is with some of that butter white wine sauce from the chicken? Hold me down!!!)

Ham, Leek and Parmesan Twice Baked Potato Casserole

Serves 6


Ingredients:

3 ½ C cubed red potatoes, unpeeled
½ C thinly sliced leeks
½ C ham slices cut into small cubes
3 T butter and some to grease pan
½ C grated sharp parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
3/8 C heavy cream
1 t salt and ½ t pepper
Sea salt to finish


Direction:

  • Melt 3 T butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and let them begin to caramelize. Then add the ham. Let cook for about 7 minutes longer until the ham and leek are fully caramelized. Take off heat and let cool. In a small bowl, beat the egg. Set aside.
  • Cover potatoes with water and boil until very soft. Drain, and let sit until cooled off a bit, about 20 minutes. Now mash them with ah and masher, until combined but still very, very lumpy. Then add the buttery leek, ham mixture. Now the cream. Blending as you go.Finally incorporate the egg and stir well. Then finally the cheese and salt and pepper. Combine well. Spoon into a small casserole dish, mashing down to flatten so the mixture is the same thickness all the way across the pan.Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt if desired.Bake in a 375 degree F oven for about 35 minutes or until the edges start to brown.
  • Serve with your favorite meal! I served it underneath my butter braised chicken breasts!

Red Pepper and Clementine Relish

Makes ¾ C of relish. Simply double or triple ingredients for more

Ingredients:

½ large red pepper, white pith removed, julienned or chopped to the size you desire for the presentation.
Zest from ½ clementine (1 t)
Juice from ½ clementine (2 t)
2 T chopped fresh parsley leaves
Salt and pepper
2 t red wine vinegar


Directions:

  • Combine all and let marinate for at least two hours. Serve atop crackers,cheese, or as I did, atop a chicken breast.


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