English Muffins

IMG_2688Makes 6

  • 1 c milk
    1 T butter
    1 T honey
    2 t (1 pkt.) instant yeast
    2 c all purpose flour
    1/2 t salt
    For dredging
    2 T cornmeal
    1 T flour

In a large bowl (I used my mixer bowl) whisk together flour, yeast and salt.

In a pan, heat milk until just warm, remove from heat and add honey and butter.  Stir until melted.  Add to flour, and mix with dough hook until dough is smooth and elastic.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a draft-free location overnight or for 12 hours.

Put a cast iron griddle on the burner over medium heat.  Turn oven on to 350°F.  In a small bowl, mix cornmeal and flour.  When the griddle is hot enough to sizzle water dripped on it (350°-375°F), dip a serving spoon in water, then gently scoop out 1/6 of the dough.  Place dough in cornmeal mixture and turn over.  When evenly coated, gently shape dough into a round and place on griddle.  Repeat until all the dough is used, and turn the heat to low (this should make 6 muffins).  Cook for 10 minutes, lifting muffin halfway through to assess browning.  Muffins should be a deep golden tan at the end of 10 minutes — you may need to adjust the flame.  When muffins are nicely browned, gently flip and cook for another 10 minutes,  then remove from griddle to a baking sheet and finish in the oven for another 10 minutes.  Cool on a rack.

I found this recipe kicking around in the pantry.  I’d printed it from somewhere, sometime, but I now don’t know where I found the recipe.  It is simple and easy.  I used 50% Sifted Whole Wheat Flour from Maine Grains, a new local grist mill in Skowhegan, Maine.  The verdict?  Delicious, but they were not as holey as I would like, so I need to do some research to see if I can solve that problem.  Look for more about Maine Grains and my recent tour of the mill on Henbogle.

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Feta, spinach and tomato stuffed mini peppers

IMG_26132 T oil
1 medium onion, small dice
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 c rice
1 c water or stock broth
1/4 t salt
¼ t black pepper
1/4 c dry white wine
10-12 oz. fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1/2 c chopped seeded tomatoes
3/4 c crumbled feta cheese
½ +/- c water for baking pan
30 mini peppers

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until onion is tender, about 6 minutes, add garlic and stir until garlic is fragrant but not browned. Add rice and stir until rice is translucent, about 2 minutes, then IMG_2596water/stock and wine and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook until rice is almost tender, about 15 minutes. Mix in spinach. Cover and cook until rice and spinach are tender and all liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat and stir in tomatoes and cheese.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut tops from baby peppers (keep stems on tops) and reserve. Cut a IMG_2597very thin slice from bottom of each pepper so it can stand upright (don’t worry if you make a hole in bottom). Scoop out and discard seeds and ribs.  Fill each pepper with rice mixture and add reserved top. Arrange peppers upright in an oiled baking dish.  Add water to dish and bake, uncovered until peppers are tender about 50 to 60 minutes.  Transfer to serving platter.  If there is leftover filling it is great on its own or use as a base for burritos.

These are remarkably tasty — I think it is the ratio of pepper to filling.  I made them for a party and they seemed to disappear.

My favorite scone recipe

3 c flour
1/3 c sugar
2 1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter
1 c buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda into large bowl.  Cut in butter. Add buttermilk,stirring gently until clumpy. Turn out onto floured board and knead until dough comes together. Form into a round for large wedges, or a rectangle for smaller wedges. Cut into wedges and bake until lightly browned, about 25 minutes.  Parchment paper is great for scones if you can find it.

Variations

Zest of one orange or lemon
3/4 +/- dried cranberries, mini chocolate chips, dried cherries, pecans, currants, etc.

Kale Salad with Dates, Parmesan and Almonds

I found this fantastic kale salad online on the Epicurious.

Zoe Singer of SELF magazine

Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 shallot, chopped
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 bunches kale, stems removed, leaves shredded or finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup sliced almonds
8 dates, pitted and chopped
2 1/2 ounces Parmesan, shaved with a peeler

In a bowl, whisk juice, shallot, honey, salt and pepper flakes. Add kale; toss well. Let sit 20 minutes. Mix in oil. Refrigerate for up to 1 day, or serve immediately. Toast almonds until color deepens and they are fragrant. Add almonds, dates and Parmesan to kale; serve.

 

Banana Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

I needed to make a birthday cake, and had some very ripe bananas on hand, so started looking for a banana cake recipe.  I found this recipe on Epicurious, and it seemed like it would work, and it would help me use up some sour cream aging in the fridge.  I needed to make a few changes to meet my available ingredients/equipment and desire for chocolate frosting.  The recipe below reflects my changes.IMG_2544

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 t baking soda
2 t kosher salt
1 1/2 c sugar
1 c unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla
2 very ripe bananas
1 cup sour cream
1 10-ounce bag mini chocolate chips

For cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 2 9” round cake pans )or line bottom of pans with parchment).  Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat sugar, butter, and brown sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping down sides and bottom of bowl. Beat in vanilla, bananas and sour cream.

Add dry ingredients; beat on low speed just to blend. Fold in mini chips. Divide batter evenly among pans and bake cakes until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool in pans for 15 minutes. Turn cakes out of pans and let cool completely.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

8 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1/2 c baking cocoa
7 T water
1 1/2 cc butter, room temperature
4 c confectioner’s sugar
2 t vanilla

Melt chocolate and cool until barely lukewarm but still pourable. Mix cocoa powder and 7 tablespoons water in heavy small saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until smooth and thick but still pourable, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if necessary.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

Beat butter and 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar in large bowl to blend.  Add melted chocolate, vanilla; beat until smooth. Beat in cocoa mixture. Gradually add remaining 3 2/3 cups powdered sugar and beat until frosting is smooth.

For a flavor kick, stir a tablespoon of Kahlua in a the end.