Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Morning Glory Muffins

I've had a real thing for muffins recently.  They feel like the ultimate grab and go breakfast.  I haven't been able to master the sit down breakfast at home recently, and making my own muffins makes me feel as if I can get in some fruit and whole grains in the morning.  I spied thought they these in the King arthur Whole Grain Baking Cookbook, and wanted to give them a try.  They sounded like a tarted up carrot cake, and taste just as good.  They make a hearty, toothsome breakfast and are filled with sweet nuggets of goodness.  Next time I'll try to replace some of the eggs and oil with applesauce, just to make them a wee bit healthier. 

Morning Glory Muffins

from The King Arthur Whole Grain Baking Cookbook
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) raisins
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur whole wheat flour, traditional or white whole wheat
1 cup (7 1/2 ounces) brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups (7 ounces) carrots, peeled and grated
1 large tart apple, peeled, cored, and grated
1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup (2 ounces) chopped walnuts
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) sunflower seeds or wheat germ, optional
3 large eggs
2/3 cup (4 5/8 ounces) vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup (2 ounces) orange juice

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin, or line it with papers and spray the insides of the papers.

To make the muffins: In a small bowl, cover the raisins with hot water, and set them aside to soak while you assemble the rest of the recipe. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, spices, and salt. Stir in the carrots, apple, coconut, nuts, and sunflower seeds or wheat germ, if using. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and orange juice. Add to the flour mixture, and stir until evenly moistened. Drain the raisins and stir them in. Divide the batter among the wells of the prepared pan (they'll be full almost to the top; that's OK).

To bake the muffins: Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, until nicely domed and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes in their pan on a rack, then turn out of pans to finish cooling.

Nutrition information per serving (1 muffin, 106g): 20g whole grains, 342 cal, 18g fat, 6g protein, 26g complex carbohydrates, 19g sugar, 4g dietary fiber, 53mg Cholesterol, 347mg sodium, 322mg potassium, 541RE vitamin A, 3mg vitamin C, 2mg iron, 47mg calcium, 131mg phosphorous.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Papa al Pomodoro

After my freshman year in college, my friend Marni and spent the summer living in Florence.  I didn't learn much italian that summer (does "hello little dog" count?), but I did gain a huge appreciation for simple Italian food.  I didn't have a bad meal the whole summer, and our forays into saving money by cooking in our friend's apartment jump-started my love of cooking and entertaining. 

One of the many delicious foods I discovered that summer was this soup, Papa al Pomodoro, made mainly of tomatoes and stale bread, key ingredients on rustic tuscan menus during the summer months.  This soup was delicious in the summer, but is instantly comforting in the cold winter months, as well.  My co-worker, Abby of Big East Baker, uncovered a recipe a few weeks ago, and I knew i had to make it as soon as I could accumulate enough stale bread.  One dinner party later, and we were ready to go.  This is a quick, filling dinner you can make with little effort- give it a try!

14 oz. Canned Plum Tomatoes
2 large stale wheat rolls, torn into rough chunks.
2 Cloves Garlic
Handful of fresh chopped Basil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper, to season
Sugar (optional)

Begin by chopping your garlic into thin slices, then heating gently in a pan with a good sized drizzle of olive oil.
Before the garlic starts to go brown add in the tomatoes and 1 1/4 cups of water. Stir well.
Mush the tomatoes up a bit with a wooden spoon and bring the whole thing up to the boil before reducing down to a simmer.
Simmer for 40 minutes; about 5 minutes before the end add in your bread and basil and stir.
Remove from the heat and check for seasoning, making the necessary adjustments with salt, pepper and sugar (if needed). Allow to stand for a couple of minutes.
Pour in approximately 6 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and stir loosely to combine.
Ladle into bowls and top with a sprig of fresh basil.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Tasty Bits, February 20th

Here what's been catching my eye lately, and apparently, reminding me of friends I haven't seen in years:

Chicken and Dumplings from The Bitten Word.  I haven't had chicken and dumplings since my friend Helen made them for us when we were living in DC.  She is from the south and they were awesome.  I am a little scared to try them and ruin my memory of Helen's- but I might make these, they look so good.

It's It's on Serious Eats. Have you ever had an It's It? Very Northern CA. I forgot they even existed till I saw this post. They are these amazing ice cream sammies made with oatmeal cookies and a zillion grams of fat.  My elementary and high school cafeteria used to have them.  My friend Kerry used to be obsessed with them, but she was a swimmer and her metabolism could handle them.  She lives in New Jersey now.  I bet she misses them, too. 

Apple of My Eye at Pastry Studio looks fantastic, even if it's from a couple weeks ago.  I love love love apple desserts with cheddar cheese, like my dear friend Emily and her family like to eat them.  This looks like a super fancy shmancy version, but I could just as well go for a piece of Em's mom's famous pie right now . . . 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

TWD: Devils Food White Out Cake

At last, the coveted cover cake, that has been taunting us all these months has made it to ovens and plates across the blogosphere.  Stephanie from Confessions of a City Eater finally chose this cake for the Tuesdays with Dorie group this week.  I made it for a dinner with our friends Emily and Jeff.  I found the cake part to be very good if a little sweet ( i enjoyed the mini chocolate chips in it).  I am a big fan of chocolate cakes such as this one, made with hot water, which  create a moist moist cake.  However, I am not a fan of italian meringue, which is the frosting for this cake.  Just a little too sweet as a combo.  It makes a pretty cake though, and the idea of putting cake crumbs on the outside is tasty and novel.  Check out Stephanie's blog for the recipe!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Black Bean Soup

I've been munching happily on this soup for lunch all week. It's half leftover, half inspiration, and half made up.  Yes, that makes me bad at math, but it also makes me full and satisfied.  We had some stock leftover from boiling some ham hocks, and I remembered that Nigella makes black bean soup using leftover cooking liquid from her ham and coca cola recipe.  So I used the ham stock and added half a can of coke to replicate that flavor.  Thanks for the idea, Nigella!

1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 tbs olive oil

1 lb bag of black beans

ham stock
1/2 can of coca cola

cumin, salt, pepper to taste.

Soak beans overnight.  The next day, saute onions and peppers in oil until soft.  Add beans, stock, and cola.  Add water to cover.  Cook on medium high heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until beans are tender and soup is thick.  Add water as needed. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

TWD: World Peace Cookies

This week, the Tuesdays with Dorie Bakers made World Peace Cookies.  I wanted to make these cookies immediately once I saw them in the book, so I added them to my christmas cookies list last year.  I mean really, world peace?  perfect for the holiday season! (or a beauty pageant). They are delicious- deeply chocolaty, a little salty, with tiny chocolate chips in them.  The best tip ever is to refrigerate or freeze the dough in paper towel rolls for perfect cylinders. 

This week's recipe was chosen by Jessica of cookbookhabit.  Check out the recipe on her blog.  Check out the other tuesdays with Dorie bakers here

Monday, February 2, 2009

R2R: Holopchi

This month's Recipe's to Rival challenge, (which I am a day late in posting) was the most interesting concoction that I would never, ever choose to make on my own. Imagine a light bread dough, wrapped in a green (beet leaves are traditional, I used swiss chard), and then served with a creamy, oniony dill sauce. Just reading the recipe was a bit confusing, a bit challenging, due to the massive amounts of flour it calls for, but once I tried it, I was quite surprised and even pleased. This dish consists of dumpling like bundles that are really complemented by the creamy dill sauce. The bread springs up into little pillowy parcels in the oven that are surprisingly light and tasty. Try it, you'll like it!

NOTE: I quartered the recipe and it made plenty. I can't imagine how much a full recipe makes. But I list it anyhow in case you are feeding the Duggar family.

Beet Leaf Holopchi
from The Keld Community Ladies Club in Ashville, Manitoba.

Bread Dough:

2 pkgs. yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 cups scalded milk
4 cups warm water
1/4 cup melted butter
8 cups flour
3 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp Sugar
6 1/2 cups flour
a couple bunches of beet leaves


1. Dissolve 1 ts. sugar in 1/2 cup tepid water, sprinkle with yeast and let stand for 10 minutes.

2. To the milk-water liquid add the melted butter, dissolved yeast and 8 cups of flour. Let rise in a warm place until double in bulk (about 1 hour)

3. Add salt, beaten eggs, sugar and remaining flour.

4. Knead well until dough is smooth and top with melted butter or oil.

5. Place in a warm place and let rise until double in bulk. It will take about 2 hours. Punch down . When dough has risen to double in bulk, place a piece of dough, the size of a walnut on a beet leaf and roll up (leaving sides open)

6. Place holopchi loosely in a pot to allow for dough to rise to double in bulk again.

7. Arrange in layers, dotting each layer with butter.

8. Cover tightly, bake in a moderate oven of 350 F for 3/4 to 1 hour. Serve with dill sauce or cream and onion sauce. (I like to cook the holopchi with the sauce but you don't have to. You can add it later - just make sure you have enough butter in roasting pan before layering your beet leaf rolls.)
(I baked mine longer - about 1 1/2 hours and was happy with the result)


1/2 cup butter
2 cups whipping cream
8 small onions (I used chives)
2 handfuls of chopped fresh dill (this makes the whole dish)
2-4 large cloves of garlic, chopped fine

Melt butter in saucepan. Add onions (chives) garlic, dill and cream.
Let it come to a boil and then turn down the heat.
I like to cook the holopchi with the sauce but you don't have to. You can add it later - just make sure you have enough butter in roasting pan before layering your beet leaf rolls.