Monday, August 30, 2010

end of the summer blueberry muffins

summer's end blueberry muffins (#240)

I took advantage of the end of the summer bounty at the regional market to make some of these Perfect Blueberry muffins (from Smitten Kitchen).

Like Deb says, these muffins are pretty much damn near perfect. I used sour cream in mine, which I had my doubts about but worked wonderfully. Mine got a little slime-y after day two in the ziploc bag, but still perfectly edible. I found these really refreshing after eating so many cloyingly sweet excuses for blueberry muffins from the Starbucks / Dunkin' Donuts of the world.

Pita with Red Peppers, Onions and Feta

pita with red peppers, onions and feta (#241)

I used to make this a lot for dinner my first year here, and then I sort of forgot about it. It's an awesome, late night - don't know what to make for dinner. It also helps that the ingredients are things that are often on hand.

I included a recipe below, although it's very self explanatory - chop up veggies, and eyeball the proportions on top of the pita. Normally I use 1/2 to 1 red pepper, half a smallish onion, a handful of feta and recently I've added a bit of minced garlic. I could also see dressing this up a bit and sautéing/caramelizing the onions before putting them on the pita, since the onions in this version have a bit of a crunch to them. But mostly when I make this I'm sort of desperate for food as quickly as possible.

Pita with Red Pepper, French Feta and Red Onion
(Adapted from Not Eating Out in New York)

1 pocketless pitas
1/2 to 1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
handful of French feta, crumbled
olive oil (about 1 Tbl)
freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pita on a baking sheet and arrange peppers, onions and feta on both. Drizzle with 1 Tb of olive oil. Sprinkle with pepper and a touch of salt. Bake for about 8 minutes. Remove from sheet and let cool a moment before serving.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Brown Butter Blondie with Chocolate Chips

The trouble with baking a lot is that baking leads you to do more baking. It's a circular problem. Some nights I feel a sort of restlessness which can only be combatted by getting out the mixer and some butter. I really enjoy creaming butter and sugar and then adding the dry ingredients. It calms me. It's like a zen thing.

brown butter blondie with chocolate chips (#230)

The worst is when there is no specific project to channel my desire toward. The other night I simply wanted something, I felt vaguely Brownie-ish, and more specifically a Blondie - which I prefer to Brownies. That's when I came across Martha Stewart's recipe for Brown-Butter Toffee Blondies. I made them sometime last summer, but I now realize, I did not brown the butter long enough last time. Because if I had browned the butter long enough, I would not have stopped eating them between then and now. I didn't have toffee bits, so I went with chocolate chips. Given the chance, without toffee I would just leave out the chips. They were almost too overpowering for how dense and amazing the rest of the batter was.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Compost Cookies & A Return to My Neglected Blog

Oh, blog. I've been neglecting you. I keep thinking about you. Posts I should write. I want to keep better track of the things I make and how they turn out. So here we go again. And what better way to jump back into food blogging than with a Momofuko Milk Bar recipe?

During the spring I took two trips to New York, and both featured dragging people to the two different Milk Bar locations to buy and sample a good chunk of the menu. I had already made the Blueberries & Cream cookies, Caramelized Cornflake, Marshmallow & Chocolate Chip cookies, and the Crack Pie. So there was only one logical conclusion for what to bake next, Compost Cookies.

Everyone and their mother raved about this recipe. But I remained skeptical. In part because I don't have a stand mixer, and I read a comment on one blog about how attempting the 10 minute creaming process with a hand mixer could result in burning out the motor. In the end my curiosity won out. I made the cookies.

And they were awesome. Just as amazing as everyone said they would be. I'm a big fan of order while baking, preferring anal retentive Martha Stewart-esque recipes to a "throw whatever strikes your fancy in." But I have to admit I think anything would work in these cookies within certain parameters. I used pretzels in some brownies a while back and they were a disaster, but these retained their crunch. I ended up playing it pretty safe with my mix-ins, opting for coffee grounds, chocolate chips, peanut butter cups, regular potato chips and pretzels.