Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Made Mom's Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins

Another great recipe from growing up.  I used to think these took my Mom forever to make…but everything seems to have taken much longer as a little girl "waiting".  Enjoy this simple, healthy and homemade recipe for Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins.

1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. oatmeal
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg slightly beaten
3/4 c. water
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 c. blueberries, drained

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and set aside.  In small bowl, mix egg, water and oil.  Add to dry mixture and stir until moistened.  Stir in blueberries.  Spoon into greased muffin tins.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Bake for 18-20 minutes.  Makes 1 dozen muffins.

Made Chocolate Chip-Toffee Scones

While dating, B gifted me with a Central Marketing cooking class for Breakfast Breads & Muffins.  It was a fun date to experience together and this is my favorite recipe out of what we baked.  As I think through traditional dishes this might just be one that makes an appearance each Christmas Eve to share with special friends.  One sad thing to note is the iphone pictures below…I decided to bake remotely, outside of the Madeley kitchen, and forgot to bring the camera.  Maybe next year I will post again with better shots but the steps are the same no matter he lens you are looking through.  Hope you had a very Merry Christmas preparing meals and eating with the ones you loved!!

3 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/2 c. chocolate-covered English toffee bits
2 c. chilled whipping cream
2 tbsp. (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Additional sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly butter 2 large baking sheets.  Combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt in large bowl.  Stir in chocolate chips, toffee bits.  If you decide to use nuts, also add in this step.  The toffee bits are not the chocolate-covered but Heath pieces out of a package.  I think it is best to use the chunks of chocolate you buy in bulk at Central Market.

Beat cream in another large bowl until stiff peaks form.  Yes…that is a hand-held whisk not beaters which is definitely the easier way.  I wanted the full "homemade" experience…my arm hurt the next day.

 Fold whipped cream into dry ingredients.

Turn dough out only lightly floured surface.  Knead gently until soft dough forms, about 2 minutes.  Don't over manipulate the dough…does not have to be perfect.  Form dough into ball; pat down to for 1 1/4-inch thick round. 

 Cut dough into 12 wedges.

Transfer wedges to prepared baking sheets, spacing apart.  Brush with melted butter.  Sprinkle additional sugar.  Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Serve warm.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Made Herb & Tomato Salad

I found myself searching for a recipe for this salad last week and then I thought it is really just tomatoes, an herb mixture of my choosing and homemade balsamic dressing.  It was a freeing experience!!  If you really want a recipe here is a good start and feel free to alter as your heart so desires…

6 medium tomatoes, quartered
1-2 bunches of green onions, white and green parts
Fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Fresh dill, roughly chopped
Fresh basil chiffonade (Pretty sure this was the last basil from the Madeley garden until the Spring)
Your favorite homemade balsamic dressing

Combine all your red and green veggies and pour over with the balsamic dressing.  

And easy side dish for a weeknight dinner, shower or Christmas party with friends!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Made Butternut Squash Soup

iphone photos are what happens when you forget your fancy camera on the kitchen counter before leaving town.  I did have fun being creative with mac photo booth though!  I am really hoping this soup turns out as good as it tasted at my sister-in-law's house last week.  Thanks for the taste-test, ET!  It was AMAZING and I have built it up to B so I better deliver.  Between Cabbage Rolls last night (sorry no post) and Butternut Squash today I am taking some risks.

1 butternut squash peeled, seeded and diced
1 tbsp. olive oil and extra for roasting
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. diced onion
3/4 c. diced carrot
3 c. chicken stock (or vegetable if you prefer)
1/2 c. heavy cream
Nutmeg to taste
Salt & pepper to taste

Peel, seed and dice the butternut squash.  Drizzle with olive oil and roast in a 400 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, until soft.  After roasted, set aside.

 Not time for the nutmeg yet but I got excited about shaving fresh nutmeg.  The smell is incredible!

Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. butter over medium heat.  Stir in onions and carrots and cook until until tender.
Pour 3 cups chicken stock.  Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste and bring to a boil.  Make sure veggies are tender.
In a large food processor, puree the roasted squash.   

Add the stock mixture to the food processor and blend until smooth.  Make sure your food processor is big enough to handle the amount of liquid.  I have an 11 cup and it was perfect.

Pour the full mixture back into your stock pot and add the 1/2 cup cream.  I actually used milk and then added a large serving spoon of cream.  Heat but do NOT boil.  Serve warm.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Breakfast Skillet with Green Onion Home Fries

This recipe just came across the Madeley kitchen via the Williams Sonoma catalog and of course I had to try it.  I fell in love with a similar Williams Sonoma dish this time last year and made made Toad In The Hole for Christmas morning.  This Breakfast Skillet dish is definitely worth the effort and process to enjoy on a cold Saturday morning, fireside or on a Friday night with special friends as we did this weekend.  Thankful to celebrate the coming of Christmas in our home, serving those we love!

2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. vegetable oil (I used EVOO)
1 1/2 lb. small red potatoes, boiled until just tender, drained and quartered
4 green onions, white and light green portions, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 lb. Mexican chorizo (fresh from the butcher, not links)
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 large bunch Swiss chard, stems and ribs removed, leaves cut into 1/2" strips
1 red bell pepper, roasted, seeded and cut into 1/4" strips
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
8 eggs    
 Another first for me…Swiss Chard.  I think this is a very pretty vegetable and I kind of felt sophisticated with it sitting in my basket as I wheeled around Whole Foods.  I thought about my friend, Merritt, who would have been so proud of me taking on this hearty veggie.  It was fun to cut up too…rinsed off and let air dry.  Cut off the stems and then cut the rib out of each leaf center prior to cutting my 1/2" strips.  Piled into a bowl until I was ready to cook them down.

I was so distracted with the breakfast skillet that the only pictures we took were of the potatoes boiling and the finished product.  Sorry about that but here is how to take on the potatoes and whip them up so you can focus on the skillet.  Boil your potatoes then….
In 10" nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, melt butter with 1 tbsp. oil.  Add potatoes, cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 10 minutes.  Add green onions, salt and pepper; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minutes.  Remove from the heat; cover with foil.

Position rack in upper third of oven, preheat oven to 500 degrees.  In 12" nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, cook chorizo, crumbling with wooden spoon, until browned, 5-6 minutes.  Drain on paper towels.  Wipe out pan, return pan to medium-high heat, warm 1 tbsp. oil.  

Was not really sure how to roast a red bell pepper but this seemed to work.  Warmed a few dashes of olive oil and stirred the strips until soft and browned on the outside.  

Cook yellow onion, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes.  Add chard; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.  

Add chorizo and bell pepper; cook 1 minute.  Stir in cheese; season lightly with salt and pepper.

 Crack eggs over chorizo mixture, spacing them evenly; season with salt and pepper.  Transfer pan to oven; bake until eggs are just set, 5-6 minutes.  My sweet hubby and photography assistant was also the egg cracker…I was too nervous about the shell. 

Serve immediately with home fries.  Serves 6.

What I would do next time:
Boil potatoes until tender and not soft, too soft and they will come apart when in your skillet