Friday, May 29, 2009

Double Berry Muffins

You know, if I'm not careful people are not going to believe me when I say that I don't like cooked fruit... I guess I will say that I am expanding my palate and I can now tolerate different types of cooked fruit in muffin or coffee cake form. But I still say that you won't catch me eating an apple pie anytime soon! Ick.

Now for the recipe at hand. My grocery store had raspberries on sale today for 99 cents and blueberries for 2.50. I bought both and quickly decided that I wanted to make muffins (It's going to be perfect for my 6:30 am rode trip tomorrow!). I used my new favorite search mechanism (searching foodgawker, I'm a sucker for a pretty picture) and I found a recipe that looked a little different from my usual muffin base. It came together pretty quickly and they smell fantastic. I will say that I am not sure that the preserves actually did anything for my muffins other than turning the batter greyish so next time I think I will leave them out. I also think that the crumb topping needs a little adjusting so I will make those changes below. Other than that this recipe turned out great! I would definitely make these muffins again.

Double Berry Muffins
(Source: original recipe for Raspberry and Jam Muffins found on Joy the Baker)

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup whole milk

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2- 1 cup frozen or fresh berries (I used raspberries and blueberries)

For the topping:

4 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

Put a rack in the upper third of oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Generously butter muffin cups or line with cupcake papers.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over moderately low heat; remove from heat. Whisk in milk, egg, yolk and vanilla until well combined.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add milk mixture and stir until just combined. Gently but thoroughly fold in the berries.

Divide batter among muffin cups and spread evenly.

For the topping:

Combine all the topping ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over batter in cups.

Bake until golden and crisp and a wooden pick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean, 18-22 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes, then run a knife around edges of muffin tops and carefully remove from cups. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 12 muffins

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Raspberry Swirl Coffee Cake

This post has moved to the Sunny Side :) Click the link for the recipe, I promise it's worth it!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Shrimp and Feta Linguine

My sister is home from college for a week (yay!!) and last night she came over to hang out. I really wanted to make something tasty and special for her but I couldn't decide what I wanted to make. I had a few different ideas and finally decided on making a pasta dish with shrimp. From there I just sort of wung (winged?) it. The result was a delicious pasta with shrimp, tomatoes, feta cheese and a light cream sauce.

Shrimp and Feta Linguine

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
4 cloves of garlic, minced
10 oz raw peeled medium size shrimp
1/2 cup white wine
4-5 small campari tomatoes, diced (at my grocery store they come on the vine and are about the size of a golf ball)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dry basil (next time I will use fresh but the fresh stuff at my grocery store didn't look so good)
1/2 tsp dry oregano
1/4 tsp dry parsley
1/3 cup half and half
1/2 pound of linguine
3-4 oz crumbled feta cheese

Start boiling a pot of water, when it is boiling add the linguine and cook until al dente. While the water is boiling heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet. When the butter is melted added the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 2-3 minutes, don't let it brown!). Add the shrimp (and a small shake of salt and pepper)to the pan and cook for one minute. Then add the white wine and bring to a simmer. When the shrimp is pink remove from pan and keep covered. Next add the diced tomatoes to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes stirring often. Add the seasonings and the half and half and bring back to a simmer then turn the heat to low and return the shrimp to the pan. When the linguine is finished, drain the water and toss the pasta in the skillet with the sauce. Finally add the feta cheese.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Three Cheese and Mushroom Pizza

This weekend I was really craving pizza and not the kind you order from your local Domino's. A few weeks ago I posted a recipe for a really great weeknight pizza dough. I used to make calzones (and have again several times since) but I had yet to make an actual pizza out of it. So Sunday afternoon was the perfect opportunity. The pizza flavor itself was awesome but I thought the crust turned out a little soft. Jesse said he really liked it though. Still, I think next time I will heat my pizza stone in the oven first and then put the dough on the hot stone. That should crisp the dough up more.

Three Cheese and Mushroom Pizza

1 ball of pizza dough
3/4 cup tomato sauce (recipe below)
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4-1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
8 Mushrooms (I used baby bellas) sliced

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

To assemble the pizza roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Transfer the rolled out dough toa pizza stone lightly covered with corn meal. Spread the sauce in an even layer leaving about an inch around the edges. Top with the (3) cheeses. Spread the mushrooms on top of the cheese. Bake for 9-11 minutes.

*Next time I will roll out the dough and then put it on a HOT pizza stone while I assemble the pizza. Then bake.

My "Throw it Together Tomato Sauce for Pizza"

1 can crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
Dried oregano, basil, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper

I start by heating the olive oil in a small sauce pan. Then I add the red pepper flakes (about 1/4 tsp, more if you like things spicy) and cook for a minute. Then I add the crushed tomatoes. A few shakes at a time I add the seasonings. I just keep tasting it as I go along until I come up with something that tastes good. I probably used 1/2 tsp of oregano, basil, and garlic powder and 1/4 tsp parsley, onion powder, salt and pepper.
*For real pasta I'll use real garlic and onions and fresh basil. But for pizza I like for my sauce to be pretty smooth so I use powdered.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

This post has moved to the Sunny Side :) Click the link for the recipe, I promise it's worth!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Simple Things in Life

Have you ever gone to a party and completely fallen in love with a dish, then you find the person that made it and learn that it is actually really simple and has only a few ingredients? Food doesn't always need to be overly complicated and have the most trendy and exotic ingredients. Sometimes the best things in life are the simple things. Just a few classic ingredients that when put together.... YUM!

That's what this potato salad is. I remember the first time my awesome friend Michelle had this recipe at a party. I remember telling her how much I loved it and asking how it was made, I was shocked at how simple it was! It's just a really good potato salad. Of course it makes sense that she would have a fabulously simple recipe like this because potato salad is in her blood (well figuratively not literally, LOL). Her grandparents own a deli in New York, so her mom was pretty much raised around these sorts of classic deli treats and she passed them on to Michelle.

When Michelle gave me this recipe she just gave me the list of ingredients and said that taste testing is the best way to go. Since this is a food blog I'll go ahead and give you the measurements that I used, but remember, TASTE TASTE TASTE. It's the only way you'll end up with your own perfect potato salad. Also, I should mention that I did ask for permission before posting this recipe. She said as long as I gave a shout out to her family it was fine. :)

My Friend Michelle's Family Potato Salad
(Source: My friend Michelle and the generations before her)

Red potatoes (I bought 3 3 lb bags and after picking out the very smallest ones I probably had 6-7 pounds)
8 boiled eggs chopped into small pieces
2 boiled eggs sliced, for topping
1 smaller jar (15 oz I think) HELLMAN'S mayonnaise (brand is very important according to Michelle)
2 tbsp milk (Michelle didn't say milk but I used some because I was worried I didn't have enough mayo)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp celery seed
3/4 tsp salt (plus some for the water when boiling the potatoes)
A few sprigs of parsley and some paprika for garnishing

Boil the whole red potatoes with the skin on.
While the potatoes are boiling combine the mayonnaise, black pepper, celery seed and salt. I added each ingredient 1/4 tsp at a time taste testing in between to make sure I had the right amounts. Set the mayonnaise mixture in the refrigerator until it's time to combine with the potatoes and eggs.
When the potatoes are done (mine took about 26 minutes) drain the water and let cool for a few minutes. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle start peeling and chopping the potatoes into bite size pieces.
Put 1/2 of the potato pieces and 1/2 of the eggs in the container (I used an aluminum pan that was about 9x13 and 3 inches deep). Top with 1/2 off the mayo mixture and carefully stir with a rubber spatula. Top with the remaining potatoes, eggs, and mayo. Carefully stir with a rubber spatula again until the potatoes are well covered. Finish with the sliced egg, parsley and paprika for a pretty presentation.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Breakfast Casserole

I think that breakfast casserole is the kind of thing that everyone and their mother has great recipe for. It seems like every family I know has their own version of it. This just happens to be the version that my family has always used (with a few slight modifications on my part). In fact, this casserole is a Christmas tradition for my family. It's not Christmas morning if we're not eating this casserole. I can even remember a late Christmas Eve when the entire family was worn out from the party that my parents had just hosted and my mom saying "Do we really need the casserole?" and everyone responding with a resounding "YES!"

This week I was invited to a brunch and I immediately thought of this casserole. I mean, I've had this blog for almost 2 (!!) years now and I have never blogged it. So last night I threw it all together and this morning I baked it and it was hot and delicious for the brunch.

My Families Breakfast Casserole

6 slices of bread torn into bite size chunks
1 tube of breakfast sausage (I used Jimmy Dean's Reduced Fat Pork Sausage)
8 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper (depending on your own taste, I added this to the recipe that my mom uses because I LOVE pepper)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and start to brown the sausage. While it is browning, in a large bowl, beat together the eggs, milk and spices. When the sausage is finished set aside to cool for a minute. Add the the torn bread pieces to the egg mixture and stir until moist. Next stir in the sausage and 1 cup of the cheese. Pour the egg mixture into a 9x13 pan. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Let it sit overnight in the refrigerator.

The next morning, bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until the cheese on top starts to turn golden brown and bubbly. *I kept the foil over the top for the first 25 minutes. I'm not sure if my mom does that or not.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies

While I was blog surfing a few weeks ago I came across this incredibly delicious sounding treat on the Beantown Baker blog. As I have mentioned before, I am not a huge fan of cooked fruit and do not generally use it in my desserts, but there is something about the combination of raspberries and chocolate that I just can not resit (besides, preserves don't really count as cooked fruit). When you add cheesecake to the mix I begin to drool. So I knew that I would I be making these scrumptious little delights very soon. This morning was the perfect opportunity. I am not working on Fridays and do not have class until 1 and today I made plans to have lunch with my old coworkers. I figured it was the perfect excuse to make a sweet treat and not have to worry about it laying around the house.

I decided to use a different recipe for the brownies because I wanted to use a 9x13 pan, so, I went back to my new favorite recipe (King Arthur's). Because I used a bigger pan my cheesecake didn't turn out quite as puffy and pretty as the Beantown Bakers. My brownie also did not seem to want to cook, so the 4 brownies right in the middle were very gooey. I think next time I will reduce the oven temperature a few degrees and cook them for longer. Other than the gooey brownies in the middle (which are really not a bad thing in my book) they turned out great! The perfect balance of chocolate, raspberry and cheesecake.

Raspberry Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Brownie Recipe can be found here.

Cheesecake Topping
(Source: Found on Beantown Baker, originally from Baking Bites)

8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I also added a 1/2 tsp of raspberry extract)
1/3 cup raspberry preserves/jam (heated mine in the microwave for about 20 seconds so it would be easier to work with)

Prepare brownie batter and pour into a 9x13 pan lined with foil (this makes it easier to pull them out and neatly cut later). Then pour the cheesecake topping over top of the brownie batter. Next drop dollops of the raspberry preserves at random on top of cheesecake. Use a spoon to swirl the raspberry preserves into the cheesecake.

Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes (mine was closer to 38 and next time I think I will turn my oven down to 340 and bake for 45 minutes straight)