As I continue on my journey to learn more about baking I turn once again to The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook by John Barricelli. The Girl and I chose to give these muffins a try because they seemed like a quick and simple thing to bake after a long, hot day. They did go together rather quickly...and they are SO good. They have that familiar cornbread taste, but they are delicately moist and not crumbly at all. They will make a great addition to our breakfast rotation once I figure out how to get rid of some of the sugar. If you are thinking of dipping your toes in the 'learn how to bake' water, I highly encourage you to give this cookbook a gander. I feel like I gain more confidence in the kitchen each time we make something from it.
Strawberry Thumbprint Corn Muffins
From The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook: The Best Sweet and Savory Recipes for Every Occasion by John Barricelli. Clarkson Potter (2010).
The addition of preserves in the muffins makes these corn muffins a real standout from the typical corn muffin. At the bakery we use our own homemade strawberry preserves. We bake these muffins in a square shape, but they can also be made in a standard round muffin pan, as written and shown here.
Makes 12 muffins
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon coarse salt
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup coarse yellow cornmeal
3 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup sour cream
¾ cup strawberry preserves
1. Set the oven rack in the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a standard 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray, or generously butter with softened butter; set aside.
2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and cornmeal until combined.
3. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the buttermilk and oil. Mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl halfway through. Add the sour cream and mix to combine.
4. Use a 2-inch (¼ cup) ice cream scoop to divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups.
5. Bake, rotating the pan about two-thirds of the way through, until the muffins are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 15 to 18 minutes.
6. Transfer the muffin pan to a wire rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Using your thumb or the back of a teaspoon, press down in the middle of each muffin, creating an indentation deep enough to hold 1 tablespoon of preserves. Spoon or pipe (fill a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip with the preserves and gently squeeze) 1 tablespoon of strawberry preserves into each indentation. Let cool for another 10 minutes. Use an offset spatula or table knife to gently lift the muffins and transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm.
If you get a haircut, and you don't blog about it, did you really get your hair cut after all? Kidding! Sort of. The Girl took the photograph on the right because she wanted to remember me with long(er) hair. I think it's funny that apparently we both have an aversion to including the top on my head. Curious...
This is a great dish to help use up the summer squash that has started popping up all over the place. I tossed it with shredded parmesan, but you could also top it with sharp cheddar and throw it under the broiler for an extra cheesy version. Cauliflower with Summer Squash
(Serves 6 as a side)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, diced
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup zucchini, sliced
1 cup yellow squash, sliced
1/2 tsp herbs de provence
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup freshly shredded parmesan
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or wok on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and continue to saute for 2 minutes. Add the cauliflower florets and stir, coating them in the olive oil mixture. Cover and cook until the cauliflower is just shy of al dente. Add the zucchini and yellow squash. Stir. Sprinkle the herbs de provence over the vegetables and stir. Cook until the vegetables are tender, but not squishy. Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 of the parmesan. Use the remaining parmesan as a garnish upon serving. Salt and pepper to taste.
We dropped the kidlets off at Nana & Fred's yesterday and in exchange, Nana handed me a beautiful basket of peaches freshly picked off their peach tree.
They were pretty tiny to hand peel as many as I needed, but I remembered that I had read about a quick peeling technique in the new edition of Edible Austin. You flash boil the peaches for 30 seconds and then throw them in an ice water bath.
Once they are cool to the touch, the peels really slide right off. I had never heard of this before...but it is so cool!
The recipe for the Peach Buckle is the same as for the Blackberry Buckle, you just sub in 4 cups of peaches for the 4 cups of blackberries. In this case, I only had 3 1/2 cups of peaches, so I threw in a handful of blackberries to top it off. I also ran out of cinnamon (baking fail)...so I used pumpkin pie spice. Sounds weird, but it was actually tasty. I love the way the peaches caramelize across the top of the buckle.
Just thinking about it seriously makes me want to sneak downstairs and grab a plate right now.
The Blackberry Smash is minty and refreshing and just the right amount of sweet and sour. This drink reminds me of sipping on the porch or a night out with my mama-friends swapping stories about all of the ridiculousness that has ensued since the last time we were together.
2 tbsp coarse sugar
2 1/2 tbsp lime juice
8-10 fresh mint leaves
1 1/2 oz. Chambord
1 oz. Jack Daniels Whiskey
Handful of fresh blackberries
Muddle the sugar, lime juice and 6-8 mint leaves for about 30 seconds or about 8 twists of the muddler. Add the Chambord and whiskey and muddle for another 8 twists or so of the muddler. Shake over ice and pour with the ice into a tall glass. Mix in the blackberries and fill the rest of the glass with club soda. Add remaining mint as garnish. I love to pluck the blackberries from the bottom, after they've been soaking in the 'smash' for a while and enjoy their juicy goodness.
The Man had expressed a craving for Cowboy Cookies. I had just received my first "I'm booooooooooooooooooored" from the Girl for the Summer of 2010. Never needing much of an excuse to make cookies, I decided to hit two birds with one stone and make both of them happy. "Grab your apron, Girl...let's make Papa some cookies" And so we did...and all was good...and fun.... I'm holding on to the moment because who knows when that next exclamation of boredom will come, and if I'll be able to rise to the occasion.
Makes about 30 cookies
2 cups all-purpose baking flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 cup butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups oats (not instant)
6 oz. chocolate chips
3/4 cups sliced almonds*
1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder and cinnamon and set aside.
3. Beat together butter and the sugars on medium-high until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating on medium. Beat in the vanilla.
4. On a low setting, slowly add the flour mixture. Beat just until completely mixed. Beat in the oats, chocolate chips, almonds and coconut just until all the ingredients are incorporated fully.
5. Drop the dough onto the cooking sheets, 1/4 cup at a time. If you have a nice ice cream scoop with a release lever, you can use that. Make sure you leave about 3" of space between the cookies. They will spread as they bake, and they need space. I usually get six to a baking sheet. You can store the dough in the fridge between baking batches.
6. Bake until the edge of the cookies are a nice golden brown color. Baking time is between 15-19 minutes depending on your oven. I usually bake them for 7 minutes, rotate the cookie sheet and bake for another 7-9 minutes. When they're done in the oven, place the cookie sheet on top of a cooling rack for about 5 minutes. Then transfer the cookies to the cookie rack and let cool completely.
*I think most people use pecans for Cowboy Cookies, but we're not really a 'nut family'. Using sliced almonds stills gives a nice crunch (and protein), but dials back the nut factor and consequently limits the number of complaints to the kitchen.
1 large cucumber, cut in half, de-seed and sliced in 1/4" pieces
1 medium tomato, de-seeded and cubed
1 white or red onion, sliced
1/2 cup white or red wine vinegar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice *
1/4 tsp cumin powder
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne pepper or sriracha to taste (if you like it hot)
Place the sliced onions in 1/2 cup of vinegar and let soak in the fridge for an hour if you have it, 30 minutes if you don't. While they are marinating, mix up the remaining ingredients. *I usually add the lemon juice gradually so that I don't overdo it. Once the onions have softened in the vinegar mix add them to the cucumber mixture. You can serve this salad immediately, but I find it tastiest if you let it chill and soak in it's own juices for a while in the fridge. Tastes like summer!