Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cherry Muffins

Adapted from:

I bought a bag of my favorite fruit, cherries, this afternoon, and I have been dying to make muffins, hence, these cherry muffins. I found a blueberry muffin recipe on, so I just subbed out the blues for the cherries!

I made the batter, gave it a little taste, and thought, wow, this really isn't very sweet, maybe I need a bit more sugar... I turned for the sugar, and realized I never added ANY! Oops. So my batter was ultimately probably over mixed, and also probably not as combined as I would like, but the end result was still good. These were sweet, light and moist!


1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and quartered
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1-1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Line or butter/grease 12 muffin cups
3. If using fresh cherries, rinse and thoroughly dry the berries.
4. In a small bowl, toss the fresh or frozen berries with the 1 tablespoon flour.
5. In a large bowl, stir together the 2 cups flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; make a well in the center.
6. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg and 1 cup of the buttermilk until combined.
7. Whisk in the vanilla and melted butter.
8. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the well.
9. Begin stirring the liquids, gradually drawing the dry ingredients into the well until they are almost, but not quite, combined.
10. If mixture is to thick, add the additional 1/4 cup of buttermilk and gently mix.
11. Add the cherries and fold in just to distribute evenly taking care not to overmix.
12. Evenly divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups.
13. Bake the muffins for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
14. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then carefully turn out onto the rack.
15. Serve warm, or cool completely.
16. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Shrimp Etouffee

Source: Cooking Light

When I was flipping through my Cooking Light I was elated to see a recipe for shrimp etouffee. I was in New Orleans with some friends last month for my very first visit to the unique city, and I have to admit that I was pretty upset when it was time to leave and I had not had the chance to try all the restaurants/dishes I wanted to! Next time. On the flight home I immediately started thinking about the Cajun meals I wanted to cook for DH when I got home. I had a crawfish etouffee when I was out there, so I was so happy to see this lightened version of etouffee in Cooking Light I could prepare for us. 


4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 ounces)
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2/3 cup diced celery
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon salt-free Cajun seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (I used about 1 tsp of flakes, we like it SPICY!)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 30 shrimp)
4 cups hot cooked long-grain rice

1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat; bring to a simmer. Cover and remove from heat.

2. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Add flour to pan; cook 8 minutes or until very brown, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat. Add 1 cup broth mixture to pan; stir with a whisk until smooth. Add remaining 3 cups broth mixture, stirring with a whisk until smooth; set aside.

3. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon butter in a large Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 cups onion, celery, and bell peppers to pan; cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender and onion is golden brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in 3/4 cup water, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add tomato paste, Cajun seasoning, garlic, salt, black pepper, and red pepper to onion mixture; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add reserved broth-flour mixture and Worcestershire sauce to pan, stirring well to combine; bring to a simmer. Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add green onions, 1/4 cup parsley, and shrimp; cook 3 minutes or until shrimp are done. Discard bay leaf. Serve over rice. Sprinkle each serving with 2 teaspoons remaining parsley, if desired.

Makes 6 servings

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pate Brisee

As Seen On: Brown Eyed Baker


Makes two 8- to 10-inch single-crust pies or one 8- to 10-inch double-crust pie
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water


Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, and process for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add the ice water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube, just until the dough holds together. Do not process for more than 30 seconds.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Divide in two. Place each half on a sheet of plastic wrap. Flatten, and form two discs. Wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour before using.

Blueberry Pie

Source:  Williams Sonoma
As Seen on:  Brown Eyed Baker

This was the very first pie, and pie dough I have ever attempted!  I can say that the taste was overwhelmingly positive for both!  As you can see from my photo, it is NOT the most beautiful pie, but maybe I meant for it to be "rustic" looking, yeah.  It's a rustic pie.  I can practice on the presentation later, I wanted to get the taste right this time around! 

2 rolled-out rounds of basic pie dough (see Pate Brisee recipe here)
4 cups blueberries
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice, strained
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbs. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Fold 1 dough round in half and carefully transfer to a 9-inch pie dish. Unfold and ease the round into the pan, without stretching it, and pat it firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Using kitchen scissors, trim the edge of the dough, leaving 3/4 inch of overhang.

Set the dough-lined pan aside, along with the other dough round, in a cool place until ready to use. Place the blueberries in a large bowl, sprinkle with the lemon juice and toss to coat evenly. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, salt and cinnamon. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the berries and toss to distribute evenly. 

Immediately transfer to the dough-lined pan. Dot with the butter. Fold the reserved dough round in half and carefully position it over half of the filled pie. Unfold and trim the edge neatly, leaving 1 inch of overhang, then fold the edge of the top round under the edge of the bottom round and crimp the edges to seal. Using a small, sharp knife, cut an asterisk 4 to 5 inches across in the center of the top to allow steam to escape during baking. 

Refrigerate the pie until the dough is firm, 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake the pie until the crust is golden and the filling is thick and bubbling, 50 to 60 minutes. 

Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely to set, 1 to 2 hours. Serve at room temperature or rewarm in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes just before serving. 

Makes one 9-inch pie; serves 8. Note: If fresh blueberries are unavailable, use frozen blueberries (without thawing them first) and increase the baking time by 10 to 15 minutes.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dorie's Chewy Blondies

Source:  Baking From My Home to Yours, Dorie Greenspan


I am not a part of Tuesdays with Dorie. I would love to be, but just the idea of having a new baked good in my house every week makes my pants tighter, so no TWD for me. But, I was inspired to buy the book!! And, in keeping with the TWD theme, and because I think it is the right thing to do, I will not post Dorie's recipe here.

I made these twice over 4th of July weekend. Once to bring to a cookout, I tried one, and loved it. Dorie calls for about a cup of 4 mix-ins in her recipe. Chocolate chunks, Heath bits, coconut, and walnuts. I bought a bag of each, and used roughly 1/2 of each bag to make one batch of blondies. I knew these would sit and waste away in my cabinet, so the day after the cookout, I made ANOTHER batch. This batch was for us at home to enjoy. And boy were they were good!

I did have to add about 7 minutes to Dorie's baking time, and I also let it sit in the pan about 5 extra minutes more than Dorie recommended, as I thought it would fall apart, but I think they came out perfect. Buttery, Chewy, Chocolately, Sweet, just delicious.

BB: Smoked Salmon Spread


Late July's Barefoot Bloggers selection was Ina's Smoked Salmon Spread. I am not a big fan of smoked salmon, although, every once in awhile, I will try a smoked salmon cream cheese on a bagel, or have a bite of my husbands lox on his bagel. I don't hate it, I just don't enjoy it as much as other things that are usually available to me at the same time!

I halved the recipe for this since 1: I don't love smoked salmon, and 2: It was only DH and I that would be eating it.

The spread was actually quite good. DH LOVED it. I did enjoy a little of it, actually more than I thought I would, but again, I didn't have the same feelings of love as DH had.

I'm glad he liked it, and I'm glad I tried it. That is the whole point of participating in a cooking blog, isn't it?? Thanks to Ashley of The Spicy Skillet for late July's selection! Can't wait to see whats to come in August!

Ingredients (already halved):

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish, drained
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 pound (4 ounces) smoked salmon, minced


Cream the cheese in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until just smooth. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, horseradish, salt, and pepper, and mix. Add the smoked salmon and mix well. Chill and serve with crudites or crackers.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

BB: Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

For our first July Barefoot Bloggers recipe, a jalapeno cheddar cornbread, was chosen by Sabrina and Alexander of Cooking with the Kids.

This cornbread was more cake-like in texture than the more common crumbly cornbread that I am used to. I think it kind of surprised me at first, but after my second piece, I started to enjoy it! This would be great dipped in a spicy chili during football season! I think I will save this one for then! It's coming up soon!!!

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups milk
3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease the pan
8 ounces aged extra-sharp Cheddar, grated, divided
1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts, plus extra for garnish, 3 scallions
3 tablespoons seeded and minced fresh jalapeno peppers

Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter. With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved. Don't overmix! Mix in 2 cups of the grated Cheddar, the scallions and jalapenos, and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking pan.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining grated Cheddar and extra chopped scallions. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into large squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.