Archive | breakfast

Chocolate Babka

If it were not for Downton Abbey, I wouldn’t have known that ironing newsprint sets the ink, leaving one’s hands stain-free. Then again, I have yet to test this method. My last newspaper print subscription ended more than half a decade ago.  J’s mom, on the other hand, still gets her daily Globe and Mail. I kind of miss it and I must admit, I don’t think I’ll mind having stained fingers. I miss reading the papers and holding them in front of me on a table, a guilty pleasure I still do at coffee shops and from my occasional  purchase. They remind me of simpler times.

I remember being six or seven, eagerly awaiting the newspaper and milk delivery guys on summer mornings at my grandparents’ home. My grandmother would usually be found watering the red, pink, yellow and orange daisies along the curved driveway in front of the house. I would sit on, what seemed to me then were, always impeccably-clean mustard-colored stone doorsteps. My grandfather would either be typing away in the office, or busy attending to some concerns in the community (he was the head of a theological seminary then).  The glass jug of freshly pasteurized carabao’s milk from the nearby dairy farm would usually arrive first and I would carry it straight to the kitchen. It’s a dairy treat that’s not just for drinking, but also for eating —  it’s poured over fried or steamed jasmine rice and sprinkled with rock salt, a delicious combination I tell you. As for the newspaper, I would take it to the dining table and everyone would have their piece of it once breakfast was ready. I took the comics section, with Garfield and Dennis the Menace. Breakfast conversations were a mix of chatter about the headlines, politics, crime, sports (oh, how Filipinos love their basketball), and everything and anything that’s going on with us and the community. Oftentimes, my conversational contributions were about my new jokes, new “inventions”, and a rough idea of where my friends and I will go that day, and what food we’re taking for the lunch. There were no table-side electronic gadgets that demanded attention then, so everyone talked and read.

W (J’s mom) shares her newspapers every now and then, when there’s something interesting to read (we don’t live close enough to share papers reguarly), like the 2-page spread of the different FIFA teams and the match schedules. She’ll sometimes bring a newspaper clipping of a recipe she thinks we’ll enjoy and would have otherwise missed, like this chocolate babka. She gave it to us on a Thursday night and after quickly going through it, I decided to make it the next evening. Saturdays being our cleaning days, I go for recipes I can make ahead on Friday nights. This fits the criteria perfectly.

Chocolate Babka

In the morning, all that was left to do were the egg wash and the crumble topping while the oven is preheating.

The scent of chocolate melting between layers of dough makes its way from the kitchen to adjacent rooms after the 30-minute mark. By the time the oven beeps and you’ve been intoxicated by the baking aromas, you’ll meet an impressive-looking golden brown loaf once you open the oven. It really is a stunner.

Sliced Chocolate Babka

However, don’t start calling every one  just yet. It is best to  delay (every)one’s gratification and let it cool for a bit to set the chocolate, or it would be oozing everywhere when you try to slice it. It is truly worth the wait and can melt any morning grumpiness.

If you want to take it one chocolate step further, spread Nutella on a slice. [And know what else this would be good for? French toast.]

The length of the recipe looks daunting, but just take a deep breath and read through it carefully. There’s nothing complicated and with a little bit of patience. you can do it. I’ve included a lot of photos below to guide you through the different processes, which I hope would help.

I like this tradition of passing on recipes, from J’s mom, to us, then to you. This turned out to be a lovely and special breakfast for us, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it, too.

If you have any questions, you know where to reach me. :-)

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Posted in baking, bread, breakfast, brunch, chocolate, coffee buddy, featured, make-ahead, snacks8 Comments

Effortless Anytime Fruit Crumble

I wasn’t the type of person who kept frozen fruits in the freezer. A firm believer of eating everything fresh, I just bought what’s in season at the farmer’s markets. Shakes or smoothies weren’t my ‘thing’ either, preferring to masticate on my fruits and veggies to fill me up because I tend to snack throughout the day. It wasn’t until I lived with a smoothie-loving frozen fruit-stocking partner that I realized what I had been missing.

While I (still) rarely reach for a shock of cold fruit drink, except for two scorching-hot summer days every year, I appreciate those bags of frozen fruits now. They satisfy any last-minute cravings for fruit pies, especially for out-of-season fare. Whenever everyone in our household would have the patience to wait for a couple of hours, I would make pie–double crust and all– or tart, but a quicker substitute for our dessert-/sweets-loving family is this go-to simple crumble. This minimal-effort snack, dessert or breakfast treat requires only these 3 easy steps:

  1. Toss the fruits in sugar and flour. [I add a pinch of ground cinnamon and nutmeg sometimes.]
  2. Top with a layer of easy-mix crumble.
  3. Bake for half an hour or so. Do something else.

Then eat!

We love having this for dessert and I usually prepare this right after dinner. While it’s baking, the girls either do homework and we’ll catch up on some reading (or knitting) or we’ll play board game if it’s a non-school night. Easy peasy.

Berry Crumble

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Posted in baking, breakfast, brunch, dessert, fruits, original Gourmeted recipe, quick & easy4 Comments

Peaches with Goat Cheese and Honey

There’s no getting around the too-lazy-too-cook-for-oneself bug when you’re at home for lunch on a hot summer day, or any day for that matter. I’ve heard it many times from friends who live alone: how do you get motivated to prepare a healthy meal or snack? Look no further than your local grocery store or farmer’s market and get what’s in season. That is my dirty little secret. I can admit to eating bananas or ants on a log (i.e. celery with peanut butter and dried cranberries) when I’m really pressed for time and need sustenance.

I had this for lunch last week and I felt much better about eating it than reaching out for a bag of chips. Hey, it happens.

This is as simple as it gets:

  • Peel and slice fresh peaches (or just slice nectarines)
  • Crumbled creamy goat cheese over the quarter moon slices
  • Drizzle with a tiny bit of honey
  • Eat!

Peaches with Goat Cheese and Honey

Posted in breakfast, brunch, cheese, cooking for one, dairy, dessert, fruits, gluten-free, healthier choices, original Gourmeted recipe, quick & easy, raw, snacks, vegetarian, wheat-free0 Comments

Dana Treat Scones: Sweet Dreams Are Made of Savory Cheese-Dill

On a gray Saturday morning in Seattle, we huddled around the kitchen island, hands clutching cups of tea and coffee for warmth,  and minds still waking up from restful slumber. The morning lull segued into caffeinated conversation, all of us excited to revel in the food blogging bubble for a weekend. Dana, the admirable hostess that she is, had breakfast treats ready for us house guests: fresh blackberries and Frog Hollow Farm peaches, yogurt, and home baked muffins and savory scones. It was a good morning.

This was two weeks ago.

Wouldn’t you agree that there are things about a vacation that anchor you there? The ebb and flow of time, the scents and sounds, the vibe, the people, and the food and their flavors. Although Seattle had its own charm, with its quaint rows of colorful houses amidst greenery, there is no contest that our weekend there could be easily embodied as a collection of tastes.

Here’s the great thing about memories surrounding food: you can recreate the dishes and be transported back to that moment with

a

single

bi t e.

Or whiff.

Yesterday at the crack of dawn, when it was cold and dreary, just like that weekend morning, I enjoyed a leisurely brunch of scones and tea.  The girls I miss, yes, but I was back in Seattle with them if only for a few nibbles (and Tweets).

Savory Dill-Cheese-Shallots Scones

Savory Dill-Cheese-Shallots Scones

These scones, they’re light and flaky; perfect. The inviting aroma of shallots, dill and baked cheese beckon you to usher a wedge into your mouth. Sinking your teeth into the buttery bread, you can listen to it crumble, morsels rolling down your chin, fingers, and onto your plate, your table. Some might be left at the corner of your mouth, but don’t be too prudent and wipe it, please, only if you must. There will be more. Sip tea, look around you, relax. Come back for more.

You couldn’t even tell I have had scone-o-phobia, can you?  They used to be under my category of, “I’ll Live Even If I Don’t Get To Ever Make Them” having sworn them off because of one too many cardboard-ish (cafe) scones. Opinions change once your friends make them and you’re willing to give it a second chance. The rest is history. And well, my dad should be happier now that I’ve finally made his long-standing request. Hah!

Dana Treats

I got the recipe from Dana, and for me they are Dana Treats even if they were originally Holly Bower‘s (aka Holly B of Holly B’s Bakery in Lopez Island Washington) recipe.

Just so you know, I really had fun with these scones. {grins}

Mmmm...scones

Now get bakin’ and munchin’!

Get the recipe for the Dana Treat Scones (Savory Cheese-Dill)

Posted in baking, bread, breakfast, cheese15 Comments

Quick Apple Crumble with Cranberries

Enjoy the homey flavors and aroma of baked apple pie in less than 30 minutes. You won’t miss the traditional flaky crust too much once you taste the crunchy-gritty toasted cornmeal streusel on warm, spicy apples.

I know, I know…you were expecting all the juicy details of my trip to San Francisco two weeks late and all I can offer you today is pie. Oh, and it’s not even a real pie, it’s a crisp! A crumble! I’ve been a horrible updater of this site, I’m so sorry. Worrisome exhaustion >> Blog, in the grand scheme of things. I will make it up to you…

Quick Dutch Apple Crisp with Cranberries

This will make my super-late SF update worth the wait, I promise you.

After being away for more than a month, I sorely missed the local farmers markets. I’m one of those weird gals who enjoy shopping for fruits and vegetables…must be the old-lady streak kicking. Haha. Last Saturday’s excursion was no exception from my market black book, I filled up the baskets with my hoarding eyes. I picked up six Fall apples, the Okanagan Fuji ones, which are were so sweet and crisp. All of them ended up being cooked and baked. Mmm…

Since I am not 100% physically well these days, I usually choose the path to anything that requires less of my time and energy. I really wanted an apple pie a few nights ago, but with an extra trip to the store to get vodka (Oh, that? I still have to tell you about that crust!) for the crust, that’s not going to happen. I stared lovingly at the Fuji apples and thought of what to do with them besides eating them as is. I didn’t dare search Gourmet.com because thinking about the demise of the magazine still brings me physical pain. So I decided to make use of my online membership to dear old Cook’s Illustrated. There was a recipe for Quick Dutch Apple Crisp, which inspired that night of experimentation.

After making Peach Crumble for years and being left with delicious, yet unsatisfying, toppings that become soggy and unappetizing as leftovers, I was hesitant to try another fruit variation. But what can you do? If you have a craving, you must give in to The Craving! I was not disappointed. Cooking the fruit and the streusel separately was a godsend, and the cornmeal in the streusel made it a perfect contrast to the soft apples. Oh…my…god. This is why I always have cornmeal in the pantry: it’s not just for cornbread or coating. Amen.

So here, ladies and gentlemen, is the quickie apple pie that will satisfy your cravings in a jiffy. Go back here and tell me it’s awful if you try it and you’re not satisfied. I just know you’ll thank me once you taste it. :-)

Quick Apple Crumble with Cranberries Download the print-ready PDF recipe for Quick Apple Crumble with Cranberries

Ingredients

Apple Filling

  • 3 medium-sized apples, peeled, quartered, chopped into ¼ x ½  x ½ -inch chunks and fills about 5 cups. Use what you have on hand or your preferred variety. (I used Okanagan Fuji apples.)
  • 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon triple sec liqueur (optional)

Crumble/Streusel topping

  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

Preparation

1. Place the rack in the lower-middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.

2. For the apple filling

  • Mix brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl, and toss the apple chunks in it.
  • Melt butter over high heat on a Dutch oven until it begins to turn amber in color and the milky froth from the butter has almost cleared (don’t allow it to burn).
  • Add the apples into the pot and reduce heat to medium-high. Stir with a wooden spoon and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the cranberries and stir. Cover for another 5 minutes or until the apples begin to soften and break down in the steam. Juice will collect on the bottom of the pan.
  • Remove from the heat and pour over a strainer with a large bowl underneath to catch the juice.
  • Pour the juice back into the Dutch oven over high heat and mix it with heavy cream and triple sec liqueur (if used). Stir until the mixture is reduced and thickened. It’s done when you drag your wooden spoon on the bottom of the pan and it leaves a trailing line. Turn off the heat and toss the apples and cranberries in it.
  • Transfer the fruits and any remaining liquid into an 8-inch square, or circular, baking dish and flatten the top with a spatula. For individual servings, you can pour them into ramekins or other oven-safe bowls.

3. For the crumble/streusel topping:

  • Mix flour, brown sugar and cornmeal in a medium bowl with a fork. Drizzle melted butter while continuing to mix it until it forms pea-sized chunks.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the streusel mixture evenly on top of it.
  • Bake it in the pre-heated oven for 5 minutes. Watch closely once you hit the 4-min mark. It might start to burn depending on your baking sheet.
  • Take it out of the oven and set aside to cool on a trivet for 5 minutes. Toss the crumble around with a small spoon to prevent it from burning if it is already getting dark.
  • Sprinkle topping over the dish/ramekins/bowls filled with fruit.

You can skip to #5, as the fruit and toppings should be good to go. Continue with #4 if you prefer the streusel to be deep brown and/or want to warm up the dish.

4. Set the pie plate/ramekins/bowls on the now-empty baking sheet and place in the oven until the streusel is a deep golden brown, about 5 minutes.

5. Cool pie plate/ramekins/bowls on a wire rack for 10 minutes and serve apple crumble warm, preferably with vanilla ice cream on top, paired with a warm cup of coffee or tea.

You might also want to check out other food bloggers’ recipes:


Posted in breakfast, dailies, dessert, quick & easy19 Comments

Cranberry Granola

The truth is, there are a lot of recipes and posts I have for you, I just haven’t had the chance to post them. I get these food blogging lulls. There is always something made in the kitchen, the photos have been taken, but the words to get them all tied up together in a meaningful bundle are just not happening. The problem with that is, I sometimes forget where I jotted down the ingredient list, or if I do, I forget to note the procedure and by the time I get around to writing the recipe, it’s gone — POOF! And I do, I really do want to share all the good stuff with you. I really do need to keep a pen and paper in the kitchen so I can write down steps as I go. This aging brain isn’t that reliable anymore.

Just when I started editing the photo below, my heart almost sank. For heaven’s sake I could not remember if I even wrote down the ingredients. When that happens it does feel like I invited people over to my dinner party at an exotic location and I forgot to give proper directions and there’s no way they’re going to get here. Gah! I eventually found the recipe on the last page of my To-Do list steno notebook. I jumped with glee (in my head). This is one granola mix that I really, really love and would like to make again and again. So I do hope you like it.

When Dan and I started hiking in Arizona, I wanted to try making our own granola to bring. I tested a few recipes that contain a lot of oil and I don’t feel too good about that, so I tried to look for alternative ways to ‘soak’ the oatmeal to cook it without using oil. I also wanted it to be clumpy for easier eating on the trail, but I don’t want a bar, just clumps so it’s not too messy to eat while hiking. I also have to put into consideration the nuts and fruits that Dan doesn’t like. He’ll only accept dried cranberries in there. I had to bargain to add the sunflower seeds. Sounds confusing? Welcome to our kitchen! Haha.

This smelled amazing while it was baking in the oven. I wanted to bottle up the aroma. Mmmm! It kept longer than I expected. I’ve read several recipes saying that homemade granola can keep for one week in an airtight container. Others suggested to put the container refrigerated. In my experience, it seems that putting in the fridge is the best — it keeps the crispiness better. Leaving it in room temperature makes it a bit chewy, which other people might prefer. Oh yes, this recipe makes crispy granolas, but not hard. Those small chunks of goodness are a delight to snack on. Yummy!

So here it is. Let us know if you make it. We’d love to hear what you think! Continue Reading

Posted in baking, breakfast, snacks20 Comments

MixMyGranola (Plus A Healthy Giveaway!)

Say hello to my new morning companion: MixMyGranola granola. It’s delicious, all-natural and preservative-free, comes in sexy packaging and it’s made just the way I like it. Did I just say sexy? Can’t blame a girl for liking good packaging.

We love granola. Dan snacks on it, and I enjoy mine with yogurt. So we were more than happy to accept Raoul’s offer to try their product. Raoul, Andreas and Matt are the guys behind MixMyGranola.com, the hip new website that lets you customize your very own blend of granola.

The idea is simple: Choose one of the delicious organic, all-natural or low-fat granola bases. Then choose from more than 50 ingredients like fruits, nuts, seeds, and extras, including all-time classics like cranberries, blueberries, almonds and organic raisins, or unique ingredients such as hemp seeds, organic gummy bears and goji berries to create your individual granola mix – exactly the way You like it. Then, be creative and give your mix a name and check out.

Dan and I were like kids in a candy store when we created our own granola mixes. Go check out the website and you’ll see what I mean. I love that we could see the actual nutritional information (and cost) of our granola mixes as we added each ingredient.

Each personalized granola mix came in a (sexy) sleek 16-ounce recyclable tube that is similar to a Pringles container. And the labels look like these:

Each mix you create has a unique Mix-ID that identifies your particular blend. This allows you to re-order the same mix for faster check out next time if you want to stick to the same one. I like that a lot.

We were amused by the extra ingredient included: “lots of LOVE“. I kid you not, and you can see above for yourself. We also noticed that our mixes were prepared and signed by Andreas, complete with a happy face. I love all these small details. It is always a treat when you come across products made with love, passion and pride.

Now let’s move on to our MixMyGranola mixes! Show and tell time…

Joy’s Granola:

Pretty colorful, huh? It was a fantastic blend of salty and sweet, if I may say so myself. I picked the organic granola as my base and added goji berries (the red-orange that stands out), dried bing cherries (big dark dried fruit on there), amaranth seeds (the tiny bird seed-like seeds on the lower right corner), pistachios, sunflower seeds and cranberries. I absolutely loved MY blend — I mean, I was afraid that I would finish it in a day!

Dan’s Granola:

Dan’s mix is sweeter with the French vanilla granola as the base, combined with cranberries, roasted almonds, amaranth seeds, honey smacks, cocoa crisp bite. He loved his crunchy-sweet blend.

Do they really taste like they’re made with lots of love? You bet!

Dan and I love this great and excellently executed idea for custom granola mixes. My only problem is — Why didn’t we think of this first?! Haha. This is a perfect solution to our (obvious) differences in granola preference. I also think it would be great as a gift for the people who seem to have everything. For them, you need to create a need, and what better way than to introduce them to something healthy (and looks hip!) they didn’t know they’ve been deprived of.

We loved the granola so much that we thought YOU might want to try them! Soooo…

We’re giving away a $25 gift certificate to MixMyGranola.com!!! :-)

That would get you about two custom granola mixes, including delivery. Isn’t that great?!?!?!

Ok, there are several things you can do to enter the draw for this yummy prize:

1. (For 2 entries) Sign up for our brand-spanking new monthly newsletter. We’ll include index card-size printable recipes, cooking tips, household cleaning, organization, and productivity tips, featured ingredients, our favorite kitchen tools and gadgets, discounts and giveaways, and much more!

2. (For 1 entry each tweet) Tweet this:

Win $25 to create your own granola blends at MixMyGranola.com http://foodurl.info/18h3 from @gourmeted  #gourmetedMMG

** Don’t forget the hash tag #gourmetedMMG. That will help us track your tweets. ** [Max. of 3 tweets to be honored as entries per user to avoid spamming the twitterverse for a week.]

3. (For 1 entry) Blog about it. Link to this contest on your blog post. [Max 1 entry per blog]

4. (For 1 entry) Leave a comment with an answer to this question: What do YOU like in your granola? :-) [Max 1 comment per person.]

Winners will be randomly drawn. Contest ends next week, March 3, 2009 at 5pm PST.

Good luck!

** The giveaway prize was generously provided by MixMyGranola.com. Thank you, Raoul! **

Posted in breakfast, contest, healthier choices, snacks36 Comments

Filipino Champorado and a Happy New Year!

All the dishes and accouterments from Christmas have been cleaned and the kitchen is ready to face another round of cooking for the New Year (not by much as I would like to greet the new year in peace, literally)…we’re slowly getting back to posting.

Ah, New Year! It’s all about beginnings. Good beginnings, I hope.

And to end the year 2008 and start anew for 2009, I’ll introduce you to a beloved Filipino breakfast, called Champorado. I figured that a day that begins with champorado is good, and a year that starts with champorado would be even better. Haha! This comfort food tugs at heartstrings of Filipinos everywhere. Back in the Philippines, being a tropical country, we especially like eating this on rainy mornings. Here in Canada, winter is a darn good time to have it. Warm, filling and very comforting.

Champorado (Chocolate Rice Porridge/Pudding)

Champorado (Chocolate Rice Porridge/Pudding)

I’ve seen it being called Chocolate Rice Pudding and Chocolate Rice Porridge in English, but it’s always going to be Champorado for me. It’s basically glutinous/sticky/sweet rice cooked with a lot of water to make it soupy-gooey (think oatmeal and congee), with chocolate and sugar added, and enjoyed with evaporated milk, powdered milk, milk or cream. As a child I’ve always wanted it with evaporated milk or powdered milk. The chocolate used was a traditional locally-produced chocolate (and us being very regional, the way this is made is different depending on where you go and who makes it). We’re a mishmash of cultures like that.

The day after Christmas I had the yearning to make this for whatever reason. Perhaps because we woke up to 3 feet of snow and that the possibility of our next Christmas celebration with friends for that day was getting slim. I have to admit that we were snowed in for good that day. After a few phone calls between friends, we all decided that it’s better to stay home. And then, I made this for dinner. I needed some comfort food.  This is also Dan’s introduction to this very Filipino (“Pinoy“, as we refer to it) breakfast.

Champorado -- yummy!

Champorado -- yummy!

So how do you make this super simple concoction?

Ingredients:

1 cup of white glutinous/sticky/sweet rice [What is this?]

3 to 4 cups water, depending on your thickness preference

1/2  cup cocoa powder [this will be very chocolate-y, you can decrease it up to 1/4 cup if you prefer]

1/2 cup sugar (I like to use brown)

Procedure:

Combine rice and water in a pot and wait for it to boil under medium-high heat. Stir regularly. Boil in medium for about 10 to 15 minutes minutes. When the mixture thickens and the rice starts to become translucent (meaning, it’s cooked), mix in the cocoa powder and sugar. Cook to your desired consistency. Serve hot with milk or cream mixed in the porridge.

Yeah, that’s it!

It’s super easy, relatively effortless and definitely delicious!!! And with that we wish you all an easy, relaxing and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! We wish you the very best for 2009!

Posted in breakfast, Filipino dishes13 Comments

Honey-Cheese Corn Muffins

It’s not too late to sign up for the Christmas Snail Mail. Go clickety-click!

I think I should start by saying that these are all gone. I baked them the previous night and between me and my brother, we finished all 8 of them in less than 24 hours. I thought 8 was too many and enough to share outside of the house. Either we were hungry or these were really good. Hah!

Most of you know by now that I love tinkering with a good recipe. It doesn’t matter what you tell me, I just will. I blame it really on my university “training” where we were not spoon-fed at all and we basically had to live by the “find your own creative means” mantra to get the end results. In the beginning this was something I detested because hey, I just got out of a sheltered private Catholic high school life and I’m being thrown into the lion’s den. I eventually loved it…thrived in it. And now here we are. Unless there’s no leeway (e.g. following instructions for a camera), I will tweak to my heart’s content. It does not satisfy me to just do what’s been done. I like to play, especially with food. Cooking has satisfied my creative hunger (pun hehe) like no other. And I get fed, too. :-)

SOOO… (good lord I babble a lot), when I saw Elle’s corn muffins, there was no question that when I make them I will mess with them. [Sorry, hun.] She used Gale Gand’s Featherlight Muffins recipe. I noticed that that the tops looked soft, and I would like them a bit harder, but not too hard that it will scrape the roof of my mouth. When I checked the ingredient list I got a bit worried about the mere half cup of sugar for a cup of flour. I didn’t think that was enough sweetness for me, so I added honey to add a little more. Plus I increased the temperature to 400°F to hopefully give that little crisp at the top which I just love about muffins.

I wanted to make ones like the Kenny Rogers corn muffins, which I really, really love, but we didn’t have corn nibblets. Hmph. To remedy this need for another ingredient and to further experiment, I added crumbled aged creamy cheddar cheese to just four of the muffins.

You’ll see melted cheese peeking on the right muffin, which has it. The left one is ‘plain’.

The ones with cheese are so incredibly good!!! And you know what? I would like to have more and bigger chunks of cheese next time. Yum, yum. Stick with good cheese, though.

I waited for the muffins to bake until it started to brown on the sides, which took about 17 minutes and 30 seconds [no really!]:

The brown part that you see? I always eat that the last. Yummers!

Here’s my army of eight that have dutifully served their duty to feed and be delicious:

Honey-Cheese Corn Muffins

I used tart shells because I didn’t realize that there are no muffin pans at my parents’ house. Hrmm.

Okay, so here’s the verdict on my little experiment:

Good things about these muffins: A delicious muffin top that’s worth the last bite for and it’s not too hard either, I’d say they were crunchy/chewy. Soft, dense (but not too much that you get full with one muffin), creamy and I could almost say “cushion-y” muffin body that is so, so nice to bite into, you won’t feel like you’re eating it just to get to the “top” — ‘know what I mean? They are GOOD. I like the sweetness of this — it’s perfect for me. The cheese is a really nice touch and I won’t make them without next time. Make this as a breakfast treat and people will be running to the kitchen to wait — no, DEMAND — for them, because not only are they so divine to the olfactory senses plus they live up to the aromatic hype. I can still remember how they smelled right out of the oven!  MMMMMM….yummm. Can’t wait to make the next batch tonight!

Bad thing about these muffins: You’ll be able to finish them in a wink. I could have easily eaten ALL of them by myself.

Ok, on to the almost step-by-step photos and recipe.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

I’ll post the PDF recipe tomorrow done!, which is going to be our blog’s FIRST YEAR. I still can’t believe it’s that old.

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Posted in baking, breakfast, cheese, Christmas, dairy9 Comments

Fresh Homemade Butter

What could be better?

I love butter. I want my butter all fat and all full of flavor. Give me real creamy butter or deprive me of it. I won’t hold high anything in between.

For a person who loves butter this much, you’d think I’d try to make it sooner. But neither did I know I could, nor how. As with a lot of things, it’s more special when it happens at the right time. (Haha…I crack myself up.) This butter would not be here if we did not have leftover heavy cream that we did not want to consume in one sitting of strawberry with crepes. I don’t know, I just didn’t want it to go to the dairy purgatory and find out later we have a bad cream. And it was such a nice “experiment” with excellent results.

I remembered reading about people putting heavy cream in a gallon bottle and shake it until the butter forms. We don’t have that kind of bottle and I wasn’t about to labor for it that long. I also read that you can use your hand mixer and I can deal with that. So the cream transformed from this:

To this:

To something that resembles butter, which I thought would never come:

Then into butter AND liquid (I read in some places that this is buttermilk):

Oh, hello!!!

And it went right into my toast.

I will add that I only got a bite of this because before I knew it, Dan finished it.

And what did I do with the remaining liquid (buttermilk?)? I used it to soak chicken tenders. Nothing’s wasted.

If you’re up for it, here’s you need to make (unsalted) butter:

  • Heavy cream
  • Hand mixer or stand mixer
  • Deep bowl (the liquid will start to splatter once the butter starts forming)

And all you need to do is beat the cream until butter forms. For about 10 minutes, I think. I lost track of time. You’ll see the yellow butter form. Don’t stop the first time you see it. Mix it further for about 5 minutes until the solids separate in clumps from the liquid. After that, you just need to squeeze out the liquid (I used clean hands) and transfer it to a container or measure it out in tablespoons or cups as you wish.

You can also put the butter in a separate mixing bowl and add salt and whatever spices and herbs you like, then roll it in parchment paper. I think homemade butter would be perfect for making butter with herbs.

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE TASTE of homemade butter? SO GOOD. I might have to make butter for our toasts from now on. It’s worth the effort, definitely.

Posted in bread, breakfast, dairy, experiments, fun, quick & easy11 Comments