Monday, July 20, 2009

Blueberry Muffins

First off, sorry for the long hiatus. I have been traveling through Kansas for my friend's wedding as well as been very busy with work. While I was in Kansas, I made sure to stay a couple nights in Lawrence so I could get my favorite treats. I had to make stops at:

-Wheatfields for my favorite hash browns, cinnamon rolls, as well as their kalamata olive loaves and chocolate chocolate cookies.
-La Parrilla for their rice bowls and margaritas
-Free State Brewing Company for their fish and chips and of course beer!

I just wish I could have made it to Rudy's and Papa Kenos...I guess I will have to make another trip.

I also stayed in this adorable bed and breakfast called Glick Mansion, and Chris the innkeeper made a blueberry blanket for breakfast one morning.

So before I left I made blueberry muffins in my dark kitchen (my flourescent light bulbs are burning out - so I apologize for the dark images). I got the recipe from Martha Stewart and they ended up coming out fine, but they were definitely lacking something. I am sharing the recipe with you today, but next time I make it I will add a couple teaspoons of grated lemon zest or even make a streusel crumble to go on top.

Here are the ingredients for Martha Stewart's Blueberry Muffins (makes 12 muffins):
-6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for muffin tin
-3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
-1 tablespoon baking powder
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
-1 large egg
-2 large egg yolks
-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
-1 cup milk
-1 3/4 cups blueberries

Some adaptations for next time:
Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of grated lemon zest for the batter for a little zip or make a streusel topping. For directions on how to make streusel click here. It is from the same recipe I made for Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumb Bars.

For the blueberry muffins, begin by buttering the muffin tins and preheating the oven to 375 degrees.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
In another bowl beat cream the butter and sugar on medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add egg, egg yolks, and vanilla to the mixture.
Reduce speed to low and alternate mixing by adding parts of the flour mixture and parts of the milk. I ended alternating about 6 times, starting and ending with the flour mixture until everything was combined.
Gently fold in blueberries by hand.
Divide the batter among the buttered tins and sprinkle generously with sugar. I ended up using natural sugar cane because the crystals are larger.
Bake until golden for about 30 minutes. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Enjoy these muffins at breakfast or even freeze them in a ziplock bag and take them out whenever you need them.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

CSA Week Six

Here is what I received from my CSA this week:

-3 pounds summer squash
-1 pound potatoes
-1 bunch flat leaf parsley
-2 heads of garlic
-mesclun greens
-1 kohlrabi
-1 bunch red beets
-3 peaches

This morning I preheated my oven to 400 degrees and chopped up my potatoes and tossed with olive oil, rosemary, chives, sage and two cloves of minced garlic. I roasted them for about 25 minutes until they were soft and had browned on the edges.LinkMy roommate and I had a BBQ last week so we grilled the squash, and I ate all the cherries and peaches already. I plan to make blueberry muffins today. Click here for the recipe. I used the parsley I had on a quinoa salad for a picnic on Friday. Click here for the recipe.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Swedish Delicacies

Sometimes I wonder if I go to Ikea for its cheap designer furniture and accessories, or for its delicious dollar treats. I think it is a little of both. I took the Ikea bus from Port Authority to Elizabeth, New Jersey on Sunday morning. Since the Ikea in Red Hook opened, the NJ Ikea has been so pleasant and manageable. I use to have to go in a with a game plan - a war strategy, now I wander leisurely (somewhat) throughout the mega store picking up things I never thought I needed until now. I can't resist bendy-straws, melamine trays, etc., etc. At the end of your journey, passed the check-out the Swedish Food Market & Bistro beckons you in. How can one pass up a $1 hotdog, cinnamon roll, or frozen yogurt? I can't. So on Sunday I got my usual frozen yogurt cone and two cinnamon rolls (I saved one for later - so don't judge).

The frozen yogurt is sweet and has a smooth texture - think Dairy Queen soft serve, but it is yogurt. The cone is as unpretentious and simple as the yogurt - just a cardboard-tasting container - which is fine because I am eating it for the yogurt. I don't need something else competing for my attention. Although, I love Pinkberry's tangy yogurt, Ikea's yogurt is what I think I prefer.
As for the cinnamon rolls, to me they are good, but not great. I appreciate a cinnamon roll that has some carmelization and a bit of bite on the edges. Ikea's cinnamon roll is perfectly fluffy and doughy throughout - there is no real variation between the outside and inside. But it is filled with plently of cinnamon and then drizzled with sweet icing.
Whenever I hear that someone went to Ikea, I instantly ask if they got the yogurt. I know I look disappointed when I hear that they didn't. So on your next stop in, don't forget about the dollar treat.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Zucchini Spice Bread

I have made Martha Stewart's zucchini spice bread several times last summer. It is a great way to use up zucchini if you feel you are a bit over loaded with it. This bread is pretty quick to make and it freezes well, so you have the option of saving it for later. This recipe calls for the usual spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. It also calls for ground ginger which I didn't have on hand, so I just substituted all-spice this time for a "Christmas in July" taste ;) Zucchini has a very mild and subtle sweet flavor. You don't really even realize there is a vegetable in the bread. The zucchini just creates a very moist and dense bread - depending on how large your zucchini is.

Friday, July 10, 2009

CSA Week Five

This week from my CSA, I received the following:

-2 cucumbers (one green, one white)
-4 yellow summer squash
-1 sunburst squash
-5 scapes
-1 head of green lettuce
-1 head of red lettuce
-1 head of escarole
-1 bunch of cilantro
-3 containers of blueberries

This week I am planning to make a lot salads, blueberry kuchen again, and a bunch of squash meals such as:

-lemony zucchini goat cheese pizza
-summer squash spolight

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Blueberry Kuchen

Blueberry kuchen is one of my favorite summer time desserts. The dough is both easy to make and work with, and the filling is as simple as it gets: blueberries, sugar, and cinnamon. Kuchen (pronounced coo-ken) is a German word for cake, but comes in a variety of forms. When researching the work "kuchen" I came across a plethora of definitions including: coffee cake, cheesecake-like pastry, and pie-like pastry with cakey dough. I would consider this kuchen to be basically a blueberry tart, with maybe a slightly crumblier crust.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Doughnut Plant

Friday - on my day off, I woke up early than I do for work so I could make it down to Clinton Street Baking Company as soon as they open (which is 8:00 am). As I made my way to their door I noticed a sign that said "On July 3rd we will be serving brunch starting at 10:00 am." I was furious! I had checked the website the night before and there was no such notice about the special holiday schedule. I paced the block trying to decide what to do, when my friend and I remembered The Doughnut Plant in the area.

I first heard of The Doughnut Plant on the Food Network show "Throw Down with Bobby Flay." Although The Doughnut Plant's founder, Mark Isreal was a bit of a sourpuss/diva on the show, I couldn't deny that he had inventive flavors and shapes for doughnuts. Mark makes both yeast and cake doughnuts, and is famous for inventing his "Jelly-filled Square Doughnut" which shape prevents the jelly from leaking out the bottom like the typical round doughnut. Mark prides himself on using seasonal ingredients, adding specialty donuts throughout the year. His signature doughnuts include his Tres Leche, the Peanut Butter-Glazed Jelly, and the Black Out.
Peanut Butter-Glazed Jelly Yeast Doughnut (Exterior and Interior)
Tres Leche Cake Doughnut
On this visit, my friend and I got the Tres Leche, Peanut Butter-Glazed Jelly, Blueberry Glazed, and the Glazed Banana Pecan - oh and a chai iced tea. I have to say that I was disappointed in the Blueberry Glazed. Visually it was beautiful, but as for taste - it was really lacking in blueberry flavor. The Glazed Banana Pecan definitely made up for the other doughnut! It was so delicious, I can't even begin to describe. It was like banana bread to the extreme - so tender, banana-y and sweet. The glaze is the perfect topping with small bits of pecan that give it a subtle bite.
Blueberry Glazed Yeast Doughnut
Glazed Banana Pecan Cake Doughnut
If you are down the Lower East Side and want to grab a quick breakfast or just a sweet treat, stop by The Doughnut Plant. Click here to see The Doughnut Plant's website and learn more about how Mark got his start.

Note: The Doughnut Plant is really just a place to pick up doughnuts - there isn't really a seating area besides a thin bar with a couple stools. Fortunately, there are a gazillion pretty places to sit outside in New York, or the doughnuts are easy enough to take with you on the subway to your final destination.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

CSA Week Four

This week I was really excited to get raspberries and blueberries! Plus I got some snow peas, bok choy and even broccoli - perfect for another stir fry.

Here is what I officially received:

-5 garlic scapes
-bok choy
-red lettuce
-green lettuce
-braising greens
-snow peas
-2 zucchinis
-swiss chard
-2 pints of blueberries
-1/2 pint of raspberries

Okay, so I couldn't help but eat all the raspberries immediately, but with the rest of the food I am planning this:

-blueberry kuchen
-stir-fry with broccoli, scapes, bok choy, zucchini, and snow peas
-Sweet potatoes, apples, and braising greens
-black bean tacos
-zucchini spice bread