Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Caramel Apple Crunch Muffins-Bigelow Tea

Now that fall has set in, a steaming, aromatic cup of tea, that you can wrap your hands around, brings classic comfort. Whether it is after a football game, reading a good book, or visiting with friends tea is a long standing ritual.
The Bigelow Tea company are family tea blenders since 1945.
Along with their original tea, Constant Comment, they have a variety of black, green, and herbal teas.
They also have seasonal favorites like Pumpkin Spice and Apple Cider.
This muffin recipe is from their website, and sounds like a great start to a fall morning.

Caramel Apple Crunch Muffins-Bigelow Tea
6 Bigelow Vanilla Caramel tea bags
1 cup boiling water
1 3/4 all purpose flour (I used gluten free)
1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1 cup tart apple, peeled and grated
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup apple sauce or apple butter
brown sugar, for topping, if desired

Preheat oven to 375F.
Grease or line muffin cups with liners.

Place 6 tea bags in heat proof measuring cup, and add 1 cup of boiling water.
Allow to steep for 3 minutes, remove tea bags and let tea cool.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
Stir in grated apple. Set aside.
In another bowl mix butter, egg, apple butter, and tea together.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mix until just combined.
Spoon into muffin cups, about 3/4 full.
Sprinkle with brown sugar, if desired.

Bake for 20-22 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before removing from cups.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Roasted Purple Carrots with Dijon-Thyme Vinaigrette

The CSA delivered a bunch of purple carrots, I wonder if the darker skin has the same nutrient properties of blueberries? The core is orange and the skin a deep purple.
A quick roast and a splash of vinaigrette, side dish completed.

1 bunch of purple carrots, peeled
Roasted Purple Carrots with Dijon-Thyme Vinaigrette
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil

Dijon-Thyme Vinaigrette

1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme
pinch of sea salt and pepper
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon pure maple syrup
1 Tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 400F.
On a baking sheet lined with foil, toss carrots with salt and olive oil, and roast until tender, about 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine thyme, salt and pepper, vinegar, mustard, and maple syrup.
Whisk in olive oil.

Turn the warm carrots out to a serving dish, drizzle with vinaigrette and sprinkle with additional fresh thyme leaves.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Eggplant and Tomato Salad

The CSA delivered some medium size eggplants and the neighbors have been showering us with tomatoes from their gardens.
A quick broil, with a little cheese, and a salad or appetizer for dinner is ready.

Eggplant and Tomato Salad
2 medium eggplants, sliced 1/2 inch
4 medium size tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan
4 ounces feta cheese
salt and pepper
5 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 Tablespoons fresh basil, sliced
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Garnish: fresh basil leaves

Score the eggplant lightly and sprinkle with salt and let sit in colander for about 15 minutes.

Preheat broiler.
Line a baking sheet with parchment and brush with 1 Tablespoon of oil.
Broil the eggplant, turning until lightly browned.
Top each eggplant with shredded Parmesan, and broil until melted.
Top with tomato and feta cheese and broil again, until cheese is softened.
In a small bowl, combine 4 Tablespoons of olive oil, basil, garlic, and lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Place eggplant and tomato stacks on serving platter and drizzle with olive oil, basil mixture.
Garnish with fresh basil leaves, if desired.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Raincoast Crisps with Tapenade

I am off to Seattle to attend the International Food Bloggers Conference and one of the sponsors is Raincoast Crisps.
We are huge fans of these crackers. They elevate any cheese plate and are delicious on their own.
They come in a variety of flavor combinations and now also have several wheat free options, Thank You!
Today, along with some cheese, I am serving the Raincoast Oat Crisps with Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade. The Raincoast Crisps hold up to any dip or pate.

1-9 ounce jar roasted red pepper, drained and chopped
Raincoast Crisps with Tapenade
1-12 ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup parmesan, grated
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles a chunky pesto.
Allow the flavors to meld for a few hours.
This could also be used over pasta, as a sauce or on top of grilled fish.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mashed Yukon Golds with Dungeness Crab

How decadent could this be?
 I was thinking of making a corn and crab chowder but the potatoes at the market looked so good.
Why not combine the two? This turned out to be the main course, with a green salad and a side of vegetables.

1 1/2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
Mashed Yukon Golds with Dungeness Crab
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
3 Tablespoons butter, divided (or Ghee)
1/3 cup cream
2 Tablespoons green onions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
8 ounces fresh cooked Dungeness crab

Place potatoes and garlic in a pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are tender. Drain and put potatoes and garlic back into pot.
Add 2 Tablespoons of butter and cream and beat with a mixer. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
In another saucepan heat 1 Tablespoon of butter on low, add crab just to heat through.
Place mashed potatoes in a serving bowl, top with crab.
Sprinkle green onions and fresh parsley over top and serve.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Congo Bars

I was talking with my brother Stephan, and he mentioned this incredible sandwich that he makes. It is freshly sliced peaches with fresh spinach and sliced red onion, topped with Grey Poupon. Actually, I think most of his dishes require Grey Poupon!
Not quite ready to indulge that particular sandwich, I was reminded of the Congo Bars I would make and send to him at college, decades ago. The bars are still appreciated.

Preheat oven to 350F.
Congo Bars

2/3 cup butter, melted
2 cups dark brown sugar
3 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar.
Add eggs one at a time and beat well.
In a separate bowl blend flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add dry mixture to butter mixture.
Stir in chocolate, nuts, and vanilla.
Put into greased 9x13 inch baking pan.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, do not over bake.
Cut while warm.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Thai Chicken Cakes with Cilantro Lime Mayo

These can be formed into small 2 inch cakes to serve as an appetizer or made into 4-6 inch cakes to be used as a main course. Served along with a side salad, would be perfect for lunch or dinner.

Thai Chicken Cakes with Cilantro Lime Mayo
Cilantro Lime Mayo:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
juice of 1 lime
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
3 green onions, minced
1 bunch of cilantro, leaves only minced
1-2 Tablespoon honey
garlic chili paste or Sambal Oelek, 1/2 teaspoon+

Mix together mayo, lime, fish sauce, onions, cilantro, honey, and chili paste(to taste) stirring well.
Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Thai Chicken Cakes:
2 chicken breast, cubed
2 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 inch peeled fresh ginger root, roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 small onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1 1/2-2 cups panko, for breading (I used GF crackers, processed)
2 Tablespoons, plus more if needed, rice bran oil

Place the chicken, garlic, ginger, mustard, onion, cilantro, red pepper, salt and pepper in a food processor and process for 15-20 seconds.
Shape the chicken mixture into cakes and roll into panko, place on a wax paper lined baking sheet.
Heat the oil in a frying pan of medium heat and fry the chicken cakes on each side until golden.
Remove to serving platter and dollop with Cilantro Lime Mayo.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Grilled Donut Peaches with Ice Cream-Caramel-Lavender

These cute little donut peaches are eaten out of hand, like a donut. To make for a festive dessert these were grilled and served warm with ice cream and toppings.

Grilled Donut Peaches with Ice Cream-Caramel-Lavender
for each serving;
1-2 grilled donut peaches, sliced in half, horizontally
3 Tablespoons vanilla ice cream (Bakes favorites are Trader Joe's or Tillamook)
1 Tablespoon caramel topping, heated
1 teaspoon dried lavender

Grill the donut peaches on a medium-high heat, about 2 minutes on each side.
Put peaches on a plate and spoon ice cream over top.
Drizzle with caramel and sprinkle with lavender.
Serve immediately!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Maple Bacon Pecan Cookies

This weekend is all about brining and smoking fresh caught salmon. You know, the flavors of apple wood, maple syrup, and maybe some bourbon?
I came across a recipe from Heather Christo that she posted on Twitter, for cookies with similar ingredients. 'Tis the weekend for Maple Bacon Pecan Cookies, with a side of smoked salmon!

Maple Bacon Pecan Cookies
1 cup of butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon maple extract
2 Tablespoons bourbon
2 1/4 flour (I used gluten free)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups pecans, chopped
1/2 cup crispy cooked applewood bacon, chopped

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar.
Add eggs mixing well between each addition. Add maple extract and bourbon and mix again.

In another bowl combine flour, salt, and baking soda.  Add dry mixture to batter and mix until dough is sticky.
Add pecans and bacon to batter and mix well.
Drop by heaping teaspoon onto silpat lined baking sheet.
Bake 12 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and cool on baking racks.