Archive | July, 2012

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

30 Jul

Robbbb was craving blueberry muffins. I was craving an upgrade to blueberry muffins.

Ingredients

I settled on these Blueberry Streusel Muffins.

Muffin mix and Streusel mix

They were so moist and delicious.

Mmmmm collective yum

And the streusel topping was the perfect mix of sugar and spice.

Cracklin’ with Blueberries

Sooooooo chock full o’blueberries!

What a fine specimen

Take a BITE

I definitely recommend these muffins – they are suuuuuuper yummy and they freeze well, too!

Blueberry Crumb Muffins

For the streusel:

  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cubed

 For the muffins:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 pint blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line muffin pans with paper liners.

For the streusel topping, mix together all ingredients with your fingers, rubbing to make a coarse meal. Set aside.

To make the muffins: Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars on medium speed until pale in color, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. With the mixer on low speed, add 1/2 of the flour mixture then the milk and finally the remaining flour mixture, beating only until just combined.

Scrape the sides of the bowl then add the blueberries, folding them into the batter. Divide the batter evenly among the wells of the muffin pans, filling each about 3/4-full. Break the crumb topping into small pieces and scatter over the tops of the muffins, pressing lightly to adhere.

Bake for about 22 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the muffin pans to a wire rack and let the muffins cool for a few minutes before removing them from the pan to the rack to cool completely.

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Hard….boiled

27 Jul

I have a close family – we are always in and out of my parent’s house  especially in the summertime. I think checking to see what’s in their fridge is a mandate whenever we are there. I stopped in last summer while they were away for a weekend. My mom told me she left a hardboiled egg in the fridge and that I could have it if I wanted.

I get there and see that there is NO mistaking which egg is hard boiled! What a goof!!!

New York-Style Crumb Cake

25 Jul

I dont even know why I wanted to make this cake.

Ingredients

I found it on foodgawker and both the pics and the mixture of spices for the crumb topping suckered me in. There was cinnamon and cardamom – yum!

Crumb Topping

Wet mixture in dish

I love dishes where you can see distinct layers in the food!

Look at the layers

Baked layers

It was so easy to throw together.

First piece!!

Look at that dish of sweet goodness

It was great to take to an early morning meeting that I had with clients – and then was nice to leave at my client’s office, rather than in my house 🙂

Look at the crumbs

New York-Style Crumb Cake

(makes a 9″ x 13″ cake)

For the topping:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and warm

For the cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup 100% whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2) sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position the rack in the center. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9″ x 13″ pan. You can use glass or metal, but the sides of the cake may get a bit crispier if you use metal.

For the crumb topping, mix flour, both sugars, salt, cinnamon and cardamom together in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and whisk or stir until well incorporated. Set aside.

For the cake, sift both flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter with a hand or stand mixer until completely smooth. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture begins to look pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until well mixed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds. Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat until well incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, scraping down the bowl before each addition. Be careful not to overmix.

To assemble the cake, pour all of the batter into your prepared pan. Use your hands to scoop up a handful of crumb topping and squeeze it in your fist until it holds together. Break off in chunks and drop them over the cake. Repeat until you’ve used all the topping (and yes, there’s a lot of it).

Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes (rotating the pan once or twice) or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting; about 30 minutes.

Supper Club – Indian Night

22 Jul

Last night was time for our second Supper Club! This time it was John’s turn to host and cook. The theme was INDIAN! I love Indian food…..but the best part is that John had never had Indian food until a week ago. He realized he had better get out and try some before he cooks it so he knows what it should taste like 🙂

I have to say, for someone who had never really tried it before, he did an AWESOME job making everything taste amazing and authentic.

We started with Lemon Hummus with Mango Chutney. This was flat-out delicious. We couldnt stop eating it.

Then we cruised on to some Naan and Mulligatawny. This soup was off the HOOK. Perfect amount of spices and flavor. I could have eaten a vat of it….but I wanted to save room for the rest of dinner.

Then comes the main course: Chicken Tikki Masala! This stuff was so good. John even made his own cheese (tofu-like consistency) that was included in the dish. So impressive!!!!!! And once again, this dish had a fabulous proportion of spices and flavors. It was completely awesome.

And then came dessert! Jeff made Gulab Jamun for dessert and I give him mad credit. I have heard of this dish before – but had never tried it. Indians arent really known for their desserts. He explained how he made it – it sounded so interesting. It had a great cardamom flavor and the sauce on top was delicious.

Gulab Jamun

We had a super fun night. We ended up watching some hysterical Real Housewives music videos and parodies of said music videos. And then played scattegories for a couple hours.

Indian night wasnt the typical curry and rice meal that one might expect. John really went above and beyond and we had a blast. Even Austin got in on the fun!!!!

Looking forward to next Supper Club Night at my place……!

Mini Pepperoni Pizza Muffins

21 Jul
I saw this recipe online last December and bookmarked it for a later time. When tasked to try something different to bring to John and Jeff’s Gay Wine Poolday last weekend, I found it and made it!

There’s your ingredients

I wasnt sure how it would turn out…but when I asked Robb to taste-test, he immediately said with enthusiasm, “These are going to be gone in NO-TIME tomorrow. Everyone is going to eat the s*&t out of them”.

Mixture

Mixture up close

Annnnnnnnnnd, he was right! They were a HUGE hit. They look more like flattened muffins, but the taste was ALL there. I think next time I might cut back on the crushed red pepper flakes – depending on my audience. They were definitely spicy but nothing you cant handle.

Get ready to bake, muffins!

Freshly baked

Next time I want to try variations and see what happens by adding sausage or bacon and maybe some tomatoes!

Soooo good. Dip in marinara sauce!

Mini Pepperoni Pizza Muffins

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (preferably whole but I used lowfat)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups pepperoni slices (chopped up)
  • 1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and combine the dry ingredients. Whisk in 2 eggs.
Shred the cheese, chop the pepperoni, and add them to the mixture. Stir together.
Grease your pan and divide the mixture evenly. If you are using mini-loaf pans, they will bake about 45 minutes.  I used a cupcake pan to bake these – they took about 20-25 minutes at the same temperature. Use a toothpick to make sure the centers are cooked through
Let them cool for a couple of minutes and serve with warm marinara sauce!

Tomato Bounty – – – Corn and Tomato Salad

15 Jul

Look at all these tomatoes!!!!!

On Saturday morning after returning home from the Farmers Market, I saw an email from my favorite farmers down the road from me – Skippack Creek Farm. I get all of my tomatoes from them – and all of my herbs and vegetable plants from them in the beginning of the season. They are super nice and friendly and they run an organic farm. I love their produce – but I also love chatting with them and seeing them either at local farmers markets or their own farm stand!

Look at these 2 mutants

Mutant tomato show-down

As I was saying, I got an email from my friends saying that since I was one of their fave customers and they liked me so much, they wanted to give me a free bag of tomatoes!!! Um, YES PLEASE! Their tomatoes taste like bites of juicy heaven. I jumped on it. When I saw how much they were giving me, my mind started to wander thinking “what can i make? what can i make?”

Fresh, simple ingredients

I settled on meaty tomato sauce (which I’ve never made before, and I totally “wung” it without a recipe!) and a fresh Tomato Corn Salad. This corn salad is my mom’s recipe. She made it a couple times earlier in the season and we INHALED it at dinner!

Want to stick my face in there

This salad is so fresh and delicious and SIMPLE SIMPLE SIMPLE! It’s just a couple ingredients – and it’s completely customizable! You want to add beans? Add beans. You want to omit the jalapeno? Go for it. (In fact, my mom’s recipe does not include jalapeno – I added that)

Up Close and Vegetable

The best is if you used sweet corn, you will think there is sugar in this recipe. But there’s not! The sweet corn and the acids together give off a sweet taste that makes you want more!

Cant wait to eat this!

Corn and Tomato Salad

Ingredients:

  •                     3-4 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
  •                     4 ears corn, cooked
  •                     1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  •                     1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  •                     2 cloves garlic, minced
  •                     1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  •                     2 tblsp Red Wine Vinegar
  •                     1/4 cup olive oil
  •                     salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

Dice tomatoes, jalapeno, and onion. Cut kernels from cooled corn cobs. Add garlic, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Ad the red wine vinegar and olive oil and stir together! Serve cool or room temperature.

Mid-Season Garden Check-In

12 Jul

So it’s mid-summer and I wanted to take a pulse on the growth of the garden so far. I spend as much time watching it and inspecting it and, lately, watering it like crazy due to the heat and lack of rain.

Whats up, Gnomey?

My herb pot

My basil is growing like gangbusters!!!! I am nuts about ensuring I pinch off all the flower buds before they start growing. This makes the taste of the leaves better (not bitter) and also allows the plant to keep sending shoots up from the ground instead of getting taller and flimsier. I’ve been pinching leaves here and there for recipes – and loving every bit of it!

Look how tall that basil is!

Ground level

My tomatoes are doing really well! I have a zillion black cherry and yellow teardrop tomatoes that I am practically trying to COMMAND to turn ripe every day when I walk past……I also have roma tomatoes – it’s hilarious to watch tomatoes grow in an oblong oval shape. And my Early Girls are large and green…….I am willing them to turn ripe as well.

Early Girl

View of all 4 tomato plants from the back

These oblong tomatoes crack me up

I forgot to get a pic of my jalapeno plant…..but there are 3 decently-sized peppers on there, and I picked and used one last weekend for my muffins.

And then there’s my flower garden – it’s all come to life! The butterfly bush and milkweed are attracting TONS of monarchs and other butterflies – love watching it!

Flowerbed

And my hydrangea has 3 big blooms on it this year. I turned the color from blue to pink 3 years ago. It was originally in my front yard, but I transplanted it when I moved into the house 6 years ago. It took a while to catch on in the back yard. I am so proud of it 🙂

Hydrangea

I’ll update again in the middle of august to see how everything is growing! In the meantime, let’s all do a lil rain-dance – not only for me and other casual gardeners, but for our local farmers, too!!

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