Thursday, July 30, 2009

Variations On A Cherry Muffin

Yep. Using up the fruit before it goes bad. There are a bunch of desserts that I would love to try, but honestly, how many desserts can two people eat? I don't think I want to know the answer to that. Enter the muffin. It's handy for breakfast (or a snack). It may not be exactly "healthy", but it's probably healthier than a cupcake. You can put almost anything in them. Like fruit no longer at its peak. This base recipe is really easy and goes together really fast. The finished product is not your average gargantu-cakey-café-muffin, but a modest-sized old school muffin. The kind Mom might have made, had she made muffins. These particular muffins are headed straight for the freezer. It seems kind of sad (and also irresponsible) to send them off without trying one first. At its best. Warm from the oven. With butter.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cherry Berry Sour Cream Scones

Cherry season is nearing an end and I'm noticing the prices coming down. Time to do some baking. These are the first scones I've ever made using fresh fruit. I usually make scones in the winter when dried fruit is the norm. But when in summer, do as the summer does and make these berry studded treats. The best scones are worked very quickly and baked hot. If you notice that you're taking too long or have them ready to go only to find that you've forgotten to turn on the oven (yep)... pop them into the fridge for 15-20 minutes and then resume.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bumbleberry Jam

What else can you do with a whole bunch of fruit? Make jam! Sometime in the next week or so, I will make my first batch (ever) of jam. I like the idea of making an entire year's worth of something in one afternoon. Sweet! This recipe I found on gardenopolis looks like the front-runner so far... Blueberry-Strawberry-Raspberry No-Pectin Jam. We're starting to see blackberries ripening on the roadside, so I may use those instead of the raspberries (free is always the most cost-effective option). And then I can call it "Brambleberry Jam"!

Blueberry Banana Pancakes

Blueberry Banana Pancakes with Strawberries On Top
What do you do when you have an excess of fresh blueberries, strawberries and bananas that won't keep forever? You make blueberry banana pancakes with strawberries on top! The mashed banana in the batter lends a nice subtle note of flavor to each bite. I also like this recipe because it doesn't call for buttermilk. I know it's great in pancakes, but how often do I have buttermilk on hand? Never. And I'm just not the sort to plan my breakfast the day before. For guests or a holiday, yes. Otherwise, I make a variation of these...

Friday, July 24, 2009

101 Summer Salads

Getting bored with the same old salad? Not with this list from Mark Bittman by your side...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Zucchini Fritters

These look easy, cheesy and good. Bonus: they evidently taste better cold/room temp!
Perfect for a party... Zucchini Fritters at

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter & Banana Panini

I'm sorry. No I'm not. I am intrigued by this. This just sounds like all kinds of yum. The Hubs is skeptical though. Panini, oh yes. Sweet panini? He's just not sure. Looks like I'm going to have to prove it to him... sigh.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Linguine With Raw Sauce

I first came across this recipe for pasta with raw sauce last summer while looking for tomato recipes in anticipation of our bountiful crop of heirloom beauties. The idea of an uncooked "sauce" was a revelation to me. I had to try it. After all, who wants to babysit a big pot of marinara in the middle of summer? I know I don't. This turned out to be so fresh tasting and easy to put together. Perfect for a summer meal and just the thing to highlight the flavor of our homegrown tomatoes. I only had a chance to make this a few times though; we moved a couple of months later. It just killed me that it was right at the height of tomato season. We picked whatever was ripe at the time and gave the plants to friends. Our new home doesn't have room or sun enough for tomato growing on the scale we had at the old place. It makes me kind of sad to see the photos of our old garden again. I miss it. Don't get me wrong, the house was a slum and we're grateful to be away from there. The garden however... was an oasis.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bayou Chicken Pasta

Recipe from Emeril's Bayou Chicken Pasta at

Notes (10/11/09): Used one package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs; leftover cooked spaghetti. Didn't have onion powder or garlic powder. Used too much cayenne! That'll learn me for not measuring. Red onion instead of yellow. Whole milk instead of cream. No tomatoes, green onion, habañero or parsley. Added a small can of mushrooms. Used big cast iron skillet. Was flavorful but a little too hot.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Banana Bread (Whole Wheat)

We're in the middle of a heatwave and I've been loath to do any baking whatsoever. Sometimes you have no choice in the matter though. Hot summer days make for overripe bananas; I already have 6 of them in the freezer and another bunch are well on their way to becoming "ingredients". Time to bake some bread!

I wanted to try a different recipe since I'm still rather new at banana bread and don't have a favorite yet. Rather than go to the internet for a recipe, I thought I should utilize my little arsenal of cookbooks instead. I picked up the first book on the shelf and looked in the index... bingo! There's no photo (eek!) and no heartwarming story or imagery-rich description, just the recipe. It met all the requirements though: sounded tasty, looked easy, and we have all the ingredients on hand. What really caught my eye was that it called for whole-wheat flour (whole-wheat flour makes things healthy and takes away any residual guilt you might have after eating more than one serving). I went for it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tortellini Salad

Not only will this link take you to a really easy and tasty sounding picnic salad, it will also take you to one of my favorite (non-food) blogs...

Tortellini Salad To Go from justsomethingimade

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Egg Bagels

Egg Bagels a la Sunset
Egg Bagels from Page 30-31 of the Sunset Cookbook Of Breads, 1975

My Notes (7/8/09): I wanted to try this recipe because it makes 32 bagels rather than just 12 like most other recipes. I didn't have "potato water" as called for in the recipe, so I dissolved 1 tsp of potato starch in 2 cups of water. Tried to use my Kitchen Aid mixer to do the kneading on this but I think it had a mild coronary. The dough was extremely stiff. Don't ask me how, but I managed to only make 16 bagels. Sixteen REALLY BIG bagels. (Well, the Hubs was complaining that we couldn't make decent Egg-A-Bagels* with the diminutive bagels I made before. He should be happy now... these things are monsters!) I think the problem is that I am excessively hungry right now, having missed lunch. Blood sugar is crashing. I think it affects my higher brain functions (like math). This could explain any poor grades I got in school: I was just hungry!

Anyhow, back to the gargantu-bagels. I did not do the rope-coil-attach method as called for in the recipe. I stuck to the poke-a-hole-in-the-middle-of-the-ball-of-dough method. I think it's easier. Next time make the egg wash with just one yolk and one tblsp of water. I ended up with lots left over and hate to have to waste it.

My Notes (7/15/09): After all was said and done (and after eating these for the past week), I can't say that I will make these again. They went together and baked up just fine and they certainly looked great, they just didn't taste great to me. They didn't taste bad, they just weren't wonderful. If you like egg bagels, then this recipe rocks. Otherwise, skip it and stick to the "regular" bagel recipes.

*Egg-A-Bagel:A homemade bagel sandwich consisting of: a split and toasted bagel with mayo and "fancy" mustard, a fried egg (whisked first with a touch of milk), a pinch of sea salt, black pepper and oregano, your choice of cheese, and any meat that is in the fridge (especially if it's pepperoni). The Hubs' specialty.

Friday, July 3, 2009

S'mores at Sunset

Yummy grown-up variations on a campfire classic. I'm especially intrigued with the one using a caramel-filled chocolate square, and the one with a peanut butter cup... brilliant! And then there's that one with ginger snaps... See them all and dream about gourmet s'mores at

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Watermelon On Tap

Hubs thought this was seriously cool (have to admit, so did I). It might even work with a pumpkin come October...

In Season: Blueberries

A bushel of recipes featuring blueberries...