Monday, October 25, 2010

Breakfast Muffins


I love muffins so you'll probably see a few muffin recipes posted here.  Obviously they're not something I eat every morning but once in awhile it's a nice treat.  In August, I visited my brother and his family in Oregon.  Cooking is one of our family's favorite things to do when we're together.  We dig out our favorite recipes as well as add some new ones each time we visit.  We now have extra help in the kitchen from my niece and nephew, ages 9 and 6.  They're both little chefs in the making.  We had some delicious strawberries and blueberries leftover from earlier in the week.  This muffin recipe seemed like a good way to use them up.  
We made these muffins when the strawberries were super sweet.  We decided to combine strawberries and blueberries, but you can do what you like.  We found that these muffins only got better with time so don't worry if you can't eat them all in one sitting!

This is a Martha Stewart recipe and we pretty much kept to the recipe except that we didn't put the muffin icing on top.  I figured they had enough sugar.  I have included the icing recipe below in case you want to use it.

Breakfast Muffins

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1 1/4 cups fruit

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  

Spray a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.  Whisk to combine.

In another mixing bowl, combine butter, vanilla, milk, sugar and egg.  Mix to combine.  Fold butter mixture and fruit into flour mixture - the less you mix the better.

Spoon 1/4 cup of batter into each cup.  Top with 2 tablespoons of streusel on top of each one.  Bake for 15-17 minutes.  Let cool for 15-20 minutes before removing from pan.  Transfer to a wire rack.  When completely cool, drizzle with icing if you'd like.  Makes 1 dozen

Streusel Topping

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Use your fingers to mix until mixture is moist and crumbly.

Muffin Icing

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup confectioners' sugar
Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix until mixture is smooth.  Drizzle over muffins.

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living Annual Recipes, 2003
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Monday, October 18, 2010

Peach Freezer Jam

Come on, you deserve a treat in the morning.  You have a long day of work (or play) ahead and a simple breakfast of buttered toast with peach jam is sure you get you started right.  My grandmother always had strawberry freezer jam on the table when we would visit.  It was so good on buttered toast.  The strawberry juice melts into the bread and mixes with the butter.  Every bite is warm, buttery, strawberry delicious.  Anyway, back to the peaches.  I wanted these peaches to last forever they were so good.  In my attempt to immortalize them, I made jam.  Easy jam.  This takes less than an hour and there is no fancy canning technique required.

My mom used to serve us peaches with a little milk and sugar when we were growing up.  It's an easy treat and really good!  As you can tell, I like peaches.

I debated on whether to post this now since it may be too late for you to get peaches at the market (they had some had Costco over the weekend - so maybe not) but the good thing about this recipe is that you can use any kind of fruit and if you do want to try peaches, just get a bag of frozen peaches.

The great advantage to making your own jam is that you control what ingredients are used like how much sugar.  I used very little in this recipe because the peaches were so sweet.  It's up to you though, if you like it sweeter, add more to your jam.
Peach Freezer Jam

2 lbs or 3 cups peaches, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup sugar (the original recipe calls for 4 1/2 cups so feel free to add more if you like)
1 box of Sure Jell or Fruit Pectin
2 tablespoons lemon juice

In a large bowl, mash peaches with a potato masher or fork to desired consistency.  Add sugar to peaches and stir well.  Set aside so sugar can dissolve.

In a sauce pan, add 3/4 cup of water and fruit pectin.  Bring to a boil while stirring constantly.  Boil for one minute.  Add to peaches and stir well until sugar is dissolved.

Pour into clean 8 oz jars (or plastic containers) and leave 1/2 inch space at the top.  Use a damp paper towel to wipe around the rim and sides of jars to remove any residue.  Place lids on jars and let the jars sit for 24 hours at room temperature.  When done, place in the freezer until ready to use.  Store opened jars in the fridge.  

Sometimes the boxes of Fruit Pectin have recipes for freezer jam.  Feel free to follow that recipe if different than mine.  They are usually good too. 

Adapted from the website: Southern Plate
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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Crab Bites

Talk about a tasty treat.  These crab bites will leave you craving more.  I was planning a dinner party early last week and was looking for an appetizer that would be easy and really good.  I found this recipe on All Recipes.  I modified it a bit and I'm very happy with the results.  These are everything you could want in an appetizer - warm, soft, cheesy, crabby and melt in your mouth good.   If you like crab and cheese, you should definitely plan to make these soon! 

I know some people say you shouldn't put cheese on seafood but my motto is the more flavor the better and how can anything with cheese not taste better.  The original recipe calls for biscuit dough as the crust but I thought crescent roll dough would make these lighter and more "melt in your mouth."  

I made these last week for my parents-in-law.  They were here visiting amongst the craziness of finalizing a new job and wrapping up some other projects.  We had a busy week entertaining, visiting the botanical gardens in Berkeley, shopping (such a chore), and just catching up.  We had a great visit and we wished them well yesterday as they headed off for a 23 day cruise through the Panama Canal.  Oh, the retired life.  One can only hope that we will someday enjoy playing and traveling world as they are. 

A few tips for you on these.  You can make the filling ahead of time and just leave it in the refrigerator until about an hour before you guests arrive.  Then put everything together and bake.  This way they'll be nice and warm when you're ready to serve them. 

Crab Bites 

2 (8oz) packages refrigerated crescent roll dough
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 (6oz) can crab meat, drained
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 tablespoons green onion, diced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch paprika

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly spray a mini muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Mix the cream cheese, mayo, Parmesan, cheddar, green onion and Worcestershire sauce in a medium bowl.  Slowly fold in the crab meat.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Unroll 1 of the 2 sections of crescent roll dough.  Seal the seams together with your fingers.  If you have a rolling pin, it works to roll it out a bit (not necessary though).  Cut circles using a can that measures 3 inches or a circle shaped cutter.  Press each one into a mini muffin hole until covering bottoms and sides.  This doesn't need to be perfect.  Add a teaspoon of mix to each one and sprinkle with paprika.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until brown.  Makes 24 bites. 

Adapted from All Recipes

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pumpkin Bread with Cinnamon Honey Butter

It's feeling like fall outside!  A week ago today it was 103 degrees.  Today it's 62 degrees and cloudy.  It certainly isn't cold, but for us in California it's feeling pretty chilly compared to what we're used to.   Obviously with the cooler weather, I start thinking about all the fun fall dishes I can make.  One of my favorite things is pumpkin in the fall.  I love a good Pumpkin Bread - or muffin or pie.
If you're looking for something that will give you that spicy, sweet smell floating through your house to put you in the mood for fall, give this pumpkin bread a try.  It's great for breakfast, snacking or even to give as a gift.  The Cinnamon Honey Butter puts it over the top.

I tried a few different pumpkin bread recipes and settled on this one.  My husband and I did a taste test this morning (rough job!) and this one won out.  It's very light and moist with lots of flavor.  I don't make mine really sweet so feel free to add more sugar to the batter if you like yours sweeter.  Once the bread is cool, if you don't plan to eat it all in one sitting, just slice it up and put it in the freezer.  That way you can pull a slice (or two) out when you need one.

Pumpkin Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, really soft
3 large eggs
1 (15 oz) can of pure pumpkin
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray two loaf pans with nonstick spray.  In a bowl, mix the flour, spices, salt, baking soda, baking powder and nuts.  In another bowl, mix the sugar, butter and eggs on medium speed for about two minutes or until fluffy.  Add the pumpkin and mix well.  Add the flour to the wet mixture in three batches until it is just incorporated - don't over mix.  Pour batter into prepared pans.  Bake for one hour or until a knife comes out clean and the top is golden.

Printed Recipe 

Cinnamon Honey Butter

1/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine the butter, honey, cinnamon and salt and mix well.  Serve at room temperature but it can be stored in the refrigerator.
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties
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