Archive for October, 2010

Can I get a “What what?” Muffins

October 31, 2010

I have hit that critical point in law school when students begin asking themselves, “Why the hell did I sign up for this?”  Let’s be clear: it is a self-chosen path.  However, there are high stakes (read: a single end-of-semester exam in each class, graded on a 3.0 curve).  At the half-way mark, people begin to get a little stressed out.  By this, I mean that breakdowns become more regular, and some of us cry in the shower.  Others dance themselves into oblivion at Student Bar Association Halloween Parties, which is great entertainment for the criers.  In either case, there is no more denial.  We can only hope that we are learning what we are supposed to have learned.   In the meanwhile, I try to get my jollies wherever I can.  This week, I attended a public interest karaoke fundraiser.  I had the delight of watching my Torts professor (attempt to) rap Jay-Z’s “Can I Get A…”  This would have sufficed as glorious entertainment all on its own. However, being me, and being a little punchy from a long week, I felt compelled to open Thursday’s class with, “Can I get a what what?”  The professor didn’t hear my remark, and he earnestly replied, “Can I what?”  To this, I was forced to respond, matter-of-factly, “Get a what what.”  Yes, it has really come to this.  It was one of those moments in which words have run amok without my mouth’s permission.  So, for now, I’m going to stick a muffin in it.  Enjoy.

–Little Ms. Muffin

Two-Tone Muffins

1 cup milk
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
2 sticks unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
zest of one orange
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup slivered almonds

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease two muffin tins.
2) In a medium mixing bowl, combine the milk, orange juice, sour cream, eggs, and butter.
3) In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Mix it well.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a hand-mixer on low until there are no lumps.
4) Fold in the orange zest.
5) Separate half of the batter and add the cocoa powder.  Plop one tablespoon of the white batter into one side of each muffin cups.  Then, plop one tablespoon of the cocoa-ed batter into the other half of each muffin cup.
6) Sprinkle the slivered almonds over each muffin and bake for 18-20 minutes.  Allow muffins to cool before removing.

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Ginger Ale Bread

October 31, 2010

I’m always tempted to start these entries with something to the effect of “necessity is the mother of deliciousness” because every time I go to make something, it seems I can never find all the right ingredients and have to substitute something.

This is a variation on “bubbly beer bread” one of my favorite bread recipes.  This is probably partially because this is the easiest bread I’ve ever made.  Bar none.  You can find the original recipe, made with beer here, but if you’re forced to be… erm… creative… like I was, then gingerale makes a delicious substitute :)

Ginger Ale Bread

3 c.  sifted flour

4.5 tps baking powder

1/3 c. brown sugar

1 bottle ginger ale (or any other carbonate beverage)

1/2 stick melted butter

1)  Mix dry ingredients

2) Add ginger ale and stir well until dough comes together

3)  Put into greased and floured loaf pan

4)  Drizzle butter over the loaf, covering it evenly

5)  Bake 55 minutes at 375 F.

Movie Theater Brownies

October 29, 2010

Last weekend, my cousin Katie convinced me to go see Paranormal Activity 2 at the movies with her.  After buying tickets we made our way to the concession stand and ordered drinks, candy, and popcorn.

Me:  One medium popcorn please.

Clerk:  Do you want to make it a large for only a quarter more?

Me:  Sure, why not?

I’m not sure why it is, but I’m a sucker for this move.  A quarter seems so trivial, and after all, what if I really did want more popcorn?  Well – as predicted I came out of the theater with a good amount of popcorn still in my bag – just about the difference between a medium and a large in fact…

I’m not sure why, but lately I’ve been on a “use every part you can find” kick.  At any rate – I was determined not to let my quarter go to waste.  at first I was tempted to make popcorn balls, but in the end my chocoholic heart won out.  So I present to you – movie theater brownies:

<3 Betty

Movie Theater Brownies

1 batch of your favorite brownie mix

left over popcorn from the movie theater

2 cups M&Ms (whatever other candy strikes your fancy.

1)  Make brownie batter as directed

2)  Add movie theater leftovers

3)  Bake according to recipe.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

October 27, 2010

There’s one thing I may love more than pumpkin (emphasis on *may*) … and that’s following the Eskimos’ example and putting nothing to waste.  Last week I made Cathy at Noble Pig’s baked eggs in bread bowls (didn’t catch photos, so they’ll have to wait until next time I make them), so I had a bunch of bread scraps lying around.  Ruing throwing out, I decided to make bread pudding.  But why not combine my two favorite things in one?  So I present to you Pumpkin bead pudding!!!

 

PS – The skins and seeds went into the compost pile too!  Yay not being wasteful!

<3 Betty

 

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

3 cups pureed pumpkin

2 cups 2% milk

2 large eggs

1 cup sugar

2 cups cubed fresh pumpkin

6 cups cubed bread

2 Tbsp butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 Tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp all spice

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1)  Combine pumpkin puree, milk, eggs, and sugar in a stand mixer until smooth and creamy

2)  Butter 13X9 pan well and fill with bread and cubed pumpkin.

3)  Pour liquids over bread mixture.

4)  Combine brown sugar, butter, and spices until crumbly and spread over top.

5)  Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees F.

6)  Eat warm (with ice cream!)

 

Don’t Mock the Dead Muffins

October 25, 2010

In 2006, I spent a semester abroad en la belle France.  The French really love a good fete—there is a national celebration (and time off work) for almost anything short of winged monkeys on pogo sticks.  So, it seems un peu bizarre that Halloween never caught on.  It was more surprising that ma mere d’accueil, my host mother, had a vehement opinion about the holiday that does not receive even the proverbial tip of one’s hat.  She informed me that Halloween mocks the dead.  Trying to convince her otherwise was futile.  Ghost costumes, no matter how cute, truly insulted her sensibilities.  Therefore, I thought of her fondly as I made my way through “Terror in the Country,” in Warren, Oregon.  Indeed, I am one of “those” folks who remains ever-so-willing to shell out some dough to test bladder control in a non-clinical environment.   (So far, so good, in case you were wondering.)   In this particular haunted house, there was a room covered with dolls smeared in red paint.  I am inclined to say that this room definitely would have upset my host mom.  However, there was also a mime.  Yes, a very creepy wide-eyed mime who tailed guests through the room.  I imagine that his presence would be particularly offensive.  A ghoulish mime is not only a mockery of the dead, but a mockery of the dead with a subtle French twist.   But regardless of how you feel about Halloween, I have a muffin recipe to die for (har har, ::cough::).

–Little Ms. Muffin

Cream-Cheese Filled Pumpkin with Sugar Crumble

Filling:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ cup confectioners’ sugar

Muffin Body:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½  tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ground cloves
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 cups sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
½ cup melted butter

Topping:
¼ cup sugar
2 ½ tbsp flour
¾  tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1) Make the filling first by creaming the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar.  Roll the creamed lump into a 1-2 inch thick rope, and then wrap it in plastic wrap.  Then add a layer of aluminum foil and put the rope in the freezer until firm (allow at least two hours).

2) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a muffin tin.  Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

3) In a separate large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree, and melted butter.  Mix them until there are no lumps (a handmixer is helpful, but not necessary for this step).

4) Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.

5) Put together the muffin topping by combining the sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Whisk these ingredients together.  Chop the butter into small pieces and drop them into the sugar mixture.  Use a fork to cut the butter into the sugar until there are pea-sized lumps.

6) Remove the cream cheese and sugar log from the freezer and cut it into twelve slices.  Fill each muffin cup with a tablespoon of muffin batter.  Plop a cream cheese slice in each muffin cup.  Then, add another tablespoon of muffin batter to each muffin cup (to cover the cream cheese slice).

7) Sprinkle the crumbly topping over each muffin cup. Bake the muffins for 23 minutes.

8 ) Let the muffins cool before eating (the filling gets extremely hot).  Refrigerate when they are cool.

**Recipe adapted from annies-eats.com/2010/10/08/pumpkin-cream-cheese-muffins/

Peanut Butter Chews

October 23, 2010

This one goes out to all of you who first discovered this peanut-buttery deliciousness in Eagle Hill 7th grade Home Ec. class, with a big shout out to Mrs. Brenner!  So easy even twelve year olds can do it, and done in under a half hour, this was the perfect first project for a bunch of rowdy middle school kids (not to mention the perfect project for weeknights when you desperately need a peanut butter fix…)

Yesterday at work, I was talking to some of my colleagues about these tasty delights, and decided when I got home to whip up a batch.  The following conversation ensued:

My Aunt:  Hey, what are you making?

Me:  Peanut butter chews :)  They’re really easy and ueber tasty!

My Aunt:  Peanut butter JUICE?  GROSS!

And so I present to you, peanut butter juice… erm, chews.  (Best served in fact with a big glass of milk, not juice…)

Peanut Butter Chews

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 cups cornflakes cereal
  1. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, mix together the peanut butter, corn syrup and sugar. Cook over medium heat 4-5 minutes, remove from heat.
  2. Add cereal, mix well and mold into small balls.


“I’ll Have What She’s Having” Muffins

October 20, 2010

I am having an affair with Portland dining.  Every time Josie comes for a visit, which she did unexpectedly this weekend, I have multiple food orgasms. By this I mean head-thrown-back, makes-you-moan, absolute food ecstasy.  No Meg Ryan faking here.  (Sorry, mom, after writing about the inner workings of Viagra for the student paper as an undergrad, I figure you’re already immune to my raunchy word choices.)   After meeting a friend for hot chocolate, Josie and I stumbled upon the 23rd annual apple-tasting festival.  A local nursery hosted the event. Vendors galore were eager to share their apple-related products—caramel, cheese melts, salsa, dip, butter, cider, strudel…It was absolutely incredible.  If it has been a while since you yourself had a food-gasm, light a candle and eat one of these hot out of the oven.  Just don’t disturb your housemate with too much noise.

–Little Ms. Muffin

Apple Strudel Muffins

2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
¼ cup sour cream
1 ½ cups farm-fresh apples (peeled and cored)

Topping:
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. butter

1)      Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a muffin tin.

2)      In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Peel, core, and dice the apples and set them aside.

3)      In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar.  Thoroughly mix in the egg and the vanilla.

4)      Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well. Mix until the batter is not lumpy.  Add the sour cream, until it is incorporated well.  Gently stir in the diced apples.

5)      Fill the muffin cups to the rim.  In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour.  Cut in the butter until there are pea-sized lumps.  Sprinkle the topping over the muffins.

Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the muffins from the pan as soon as they are cool enough to handle safely, and let them continue to cool on a wire rack or plate.

Chocolate “Scuffles”

October 19, 2010

My heart is beating fast as I type this.  In the oven with about nine minutes left, are six chocolate souffles – just waiting to rise or flop.  I consider myself a pretty adventurous cook.  I like trying new recipes and adventuring with new ingredients, but souffles have been the one item I’ve been too scared to try making until now.  There’s something about souffles that intimidate the heck out of me.

Often, friends who don’t cook much will admire my skills in the kitchen, but the way I see it – cooking is like a science lab.  Follow the directions and no one will get hurt.  Of course there’s creativity in coming up with new ingredient combinations too, but generally, I don’t see cooking as a “hard” thing to do.  Except for souffles.

The other night at dinner, my cousin Katie was looking at the dessert menu.  “What’s a chocolate scuffle?” she asked.  ”A chocolate scuffle?  What are you talking about,” we wondered.  Peeking over her shoulder, there it was – “chocolate scuffles” or to the more careful eye “chocolate souffles.”  We were laughing over it all the way home, and I just knew, with an event that silly to share, I had to face my fears and blog about it.  Oops – there’s the timer – wish me luck!

… katie was almost as nervous as I was…

katie was nervous

… TADA!!!!

 

Hooray!  These beauties rose perfectly and are melt-in-your-mouth good.

(Katie agrees)

mmmm good....

Here – I present to you fine ladies and gentlemen – chocolate scuffles!

PS  Any suggestions as to what to do with to left over egg yolks?

PPS  What recipes have you been too scared to try?  Which ones have you tried and confronted your fears with?

Chocolate “Scuffles”:

  • 7 ounces finely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus for preparing the molds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 8 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Confectioners’ sugar for garnish

1)  Brush 6 (6-ounce) ramekins with soft butter, then coat with sugar. Put the prepared ramekins in the freezer. (This can be done a day ahead.)

2)  Set an oven rack in lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

3)  Put the chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Set aside.

4)  Combine the egg yolks and warm water in the bowl of a standing mixer or large bowl and beat until frothy. Gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar, and continue beating until ribbons form, about 5 minutes. Very lightly fold the yolks into the chocolate mixture. (Rinse the bowl well, if using for beating the egg whites.)

5)  Remove prepared ramekins from freezer. Put the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer, or large non-reactive bowl, add the lemon juice. Beat on medium until frothy; then gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and increase speed to high. Beat until the whites hold a stiff but not dry peak.

6)  Working quickly, fold about a third of the egg whites into the chocolate to lighten; then fold in remaining whites until blended. Gently ladle or spoon the souffle mixture into the ramekins, and place on a baking sheet. (Level off the surface with a straight edge, scraping any excess mixture back into the bowl.)

7)  Immediately bake until the souffle rises about 1 1/2 inches from the ramekins, and the tops are touched with brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.

original recipe

Parm Poached Eggs

October 14, 2010

parm poached eggs

Have you ever seen the movie Runaway Bride?  It’s one of my favs, I can’t help it – I’m a sucker for RomComs.  Throughout the movie we see that Julia Robert’s character almost marry a bunch of different guys that are as different as night and day.  With each man, her personality changes to follow them, reflected by her egg choice.

At the end of the film, she sits down and makes eggs all different ways and finally decides for herself that she likes eggs benedict, and hates all other kinds.  I myself –  I’m a poached eggs kind of girl (but the whites have to be fully cooked while the yolks are set but still bright yellow…. ok, ok I’m picky…).

poaching pods

The other day my aunt came home with these adorable little silicon egg poacher baskets – just crack the eggs into them, float them in boiling water, and cook away!  Inspiration struck as I decided to try a variation on a favorite recipe of mine from Cathy at The Noble Pig – eggs in bread bowls (more on these later).  So tasty and convenient – these little babies avoid all the mess usually associated with poaching eggs.  Not to mention they’re a good alternative to The Noble Pig’s eggs in bread bowls recipe for those of you watching your carbs (unless of course you serve them with toast like I do….).

Parm Poached Eggs

2 eggs

2 poaching pods

grated parmasan cheese

salt

paper

1)  bring a medium sized sauce pan of water to a medium boil.

2) crack eggs into poaching pods and top with parm, salt, and peper.

3) Float in boiling water and cover.

4)  Poach 4-6 minutes depending on desired softness

5)  Remove water using tongs (don’t burn yourself!)

6) Enjoy!

Veggie Ragout

October 11, 2010

veggie ragout

Of all the wonderful things in the kitchen that find their way into my day dreams from time to time – butter and cream, chocolate and hazelnuts, egg yolks, sushi (ok, time to stop myself before the whole entry becomes a list of deliciousness…)  sometimes the best ingredients one could hope for are simple, fresh produce.

This past weekend I was up in Portland, OR (where I had the *most* amazing lunch ever!  but more about that later…) attending an awesome patient safety conference and visiting Little Ms. Muffin and had the pleasure of rummaging through her organic veggie delivery for the week.  Chinese eggplant popped up, and immediately I knew what I had to make :)  A little more rummaging and lots of chopping later and I had myself a side dish fit for kings :)

This dish is sooooo good – hot as a side dish, or cold slapped on a sandwich with some humus, you can’t go wrong.  Screw V8, **bonks forehead** could have had some veggie ragout :P

Veggie Ragout

5 Chinese eggplants

1 head broccoli

1 large red bell pepper

1/4 red onion (you can use more, that’s just all I had on hand

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. dried tarragon

1 sprig fresh oregano

1 handful fresh basil

1 cup chicken broth

1) chop all ingredients

2) combing and cook over medium heat until perfectly tender :)

Now, above I’ve listed the amounts of each veggie I used, but mostly, this was just what I had on hand – I probably would have used a whole onion if I had it on hand (but that might just be my laziness and unwillingness to find a ziplock to throw the leftovers in).  Feel free to add more, less, omit something if you don’t like it, or add anything in your fridge that’s hit the “you or the trash” point.  After all, cooking is an art – be an artist!