I love finding recipes that are different from the norm. Perfect for Thanksgiving Day morning while you are watching the parade, this muffin recipe adds the surprise of rosemary for a subtle and intriguing twist. The lemon zest and spices are the perfect touch of zing. Yummy with your morning coffee, afternoon tea, or anytime in between. For a deliciously different dessert you could cut them in half and top with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce...mmmm!
Rosemary-Polenta Pumpkin Muffins
1/4 c minced fresh rosemary, yes add all of this!
grated zest of one lemon
1 3/4 c sugar plus 1 tsp
1 2/3 c flour
1/2 c polenta
2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs
3/4 c olive oil
3/4 c pumpkin purée, canned or homemade
2 T raw sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 20 standard muffin cups with paper liners. In a small bowl combine the rosemary and lemon zest and mash with 1 tsp sugar. In a large bowl stir together the sugar, flour, polenta, baking powder salt and spices. Put the eggs and rosemary mixture in the bowl of a stand mixture and blend at medium speed, add the pumpkin and slowly pour in the olive oil. Add the dry mixture mixing until just blended.
Spoon batter Into muffin cups, filling each until 3/4 full. Sprinkle with the raw sugar. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center, comes out clean, 20-30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
We have been experiencing an Indian Summer here in the Sierra Foothills these last couple of weeks, but with the leaves falling all around, I am starting to crave soup! This soup is light and hearty at the same time with the rich taste of roasted garlic underpinning all of the other flavors. The bacon adds a smokiness, the chard lends the healthy greens element and the parmesan adds the cheese-y taste we all love. Once you have the garlic roasted (you can even do the day before), this soup goes together quickly and makes a nice light lunch or comforting dinner with a simple salad and a loaf of good bread. Happy Fall y'all!
Creamy Roasted Garlic Soup with Bacon and Chard
4 heads garlic
2 T olive oil
8 oz bacon, chopped and fried until crisp, set aside
1 yellow onion, chopped coarsely
1 russet potato, peeled and cut into 1" dice (optional but t thickens the soup nicely)
4 c chicken stock
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese plus more for serving
1 c heavy cream
1 bunch swiss chard or kale, stripped from the stems and coarsely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the tops off of the garlic heads, drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap each head in foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes until the cloves are soft, let cool. When cooled, press the garlic out of the skins and set aside. Fry the bacon pieces (I used a pot deep enough to hold the soup) until crisp, reserve for later. Pour out all but 2 T of bacon grease and add the onions and potato to the pan. Sauté until they start to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock and roasted garlic. Purée with an immersion blender in the pot or transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Return to the pot, if using a blender and add the cream, parmesan and chard. Cook until the chard is soft. Check for salt and pepper. Serve in bowls with the bacon and more parmesan on top.
I have taken quite the break from my blog and I do apologize. You see, my daughter Lily got married a couple of weekends ago. Those of you who have ever been the Mother of the Bride know what it takes to make a wedding day the best it can be and I think we succeeded. Congratulations to Michael and Lily Belli!
And now for something chocolate! I love Ina Garten! She and I share many of the same philosophies about cooking. Her brownie recipe is the best I have ever tasted. Begin with lots of butter, really good quality chocolate, good vanilla and you really can't go wrong. Yes, there are some decent mixes in a box but it doesn't take that much more effort to make them from scratch and they are so much better. These brownies are more like a flourless cake, fudge-y and intensely chocolate. You could even cut them into rounds and serve as an elegant dessert with whipped cream and raspberries....or not. Love!
Ina's Brownies with options
1 lb unsalted butter
1 lb plus 12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
6 oz bitter chocolate
6 large eggs
3 T instant coffee granules, I use instant espresso granules
2 T pure vanilla extract
2-1/4 c sugar
1-1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 c chopped walnuts or other nuts, toasted (optional)
1 tsp cayenne pepper or milder chile powder (optional)
zest from a lemon or an orange (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 12 x 18 x 1-inch baking sheet.
Melt together the butter, 1 pound of chocolate chips, and the bitter chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water or in a large glass bowl or measuring cup in the *microwave. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.
In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts (if using) and 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup of flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour into the baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not over bake! Allow to cool thoroughly and cut into 20 large squares.
Got cucumbers? I have to say that this is currently my favorite cold soup. My friend Carol served this to me for dinner last week and I couldn't wait to share the recipe. Cool, creamy, tangy and a bit spicy but what was surprising was the tarragon and mint combination, so different and absolutely perfect. Super easy, this soup goes together in minutes in the food processor or blender. Then, just chill (the soup) and eat!
Chilled Cucumber Soup with Tarragon & Mint
2 lbs cucumbers, *peeled, seeded and chunked (Armenian, English or garden variety)
1 avocado, cut in 1/2" dice
2 cup buttermilk
2 T fresh tarragon
2 T fresh mint
2 t white wine vinegar
1-2 t sugar depending on your cucumbers and your preference to sweetness
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t pepper
1 serrano chile pepper, diced (optional) My friend John loves hot peppers so he added a serrano to the soup. I have to say, I did like the kick!
Dice a bit of cucumber to reserve for garnish. Place the rest of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and and purée until smooth. At this point you can serve as is or **strain through a sieve for a more delicate and smooth presentation. Chill, taste for seasoning and serve garnished with the reserved diced cucumber and a sprig of mint.
*I used English cucumbers but decided to leave the skin on which resulted in the soup being more green in color. If the skin is not bitter or tough, you can leave it on, up to you. The soup will be a bit more pale in color if you skin them.
**I strained my soup which made it very velvety and smooth. You can serve it either way, chunkier (do not strain) or smooth (strain).
Oh the joy of a homegrown summer peach! You know the kind—the ones that smell like a peach and taste like a peach. A “drip down your arm as you bite into it” peach—the kind that are so hard to find in the grocery store these days. Luckily I have my friend Chris Parker, owner of the Courtwood Inn, here in Murphys. She recently brought me a bag full of gorgeous peaches from the trees in her yard. "What can you make with these that I can serve to my Inn guests for breakfast?" she asked. I think this recipe is just the thing. Creamy without using cream, spicy with cinnamon and nutmeg and peaches that pop with the color of a 'sunny side up' egg. Serve with the sauce and whipped cream for a great dessert or with tangy yogurt for a tasty summer breakfast. Add a side of salty bacon or sausage for the perfect brunch.
Just Peachy Bread Pudding
6 T butter
8 cups day-old French bread with the crust on, cut or torn into bite sized pieces
3 cups whole milk
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
6 large peaches, *peeled and sliced lengthwise into 1/4" slices
6 large eggs
1 T vanilla
1 T cinnamon
1/2 t freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 t kosher salt
3 - 4 T brandy
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 10" x 14" baking dish. Put the bread pieces in the baking dish and pour the milk over them, stirring to coat all the pieces. Let soak for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, melt the butter with 3/4 cup of sugar in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the sliced peaches and cook 1-2 minutes until they release their juices. Strain into a bowl and reserve. Whisk the eggs, 1 cup of sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Pour over bread and stir to combine. Fold in peaches. Put the baking dish in a large roasting pan, put in the oven and fill with very hot water to come halfway up the side. Bake until the pudding is browned, puffy and firm when pressed, about 1 hour.
Simmer the reserved juices until steaming. Whisk in the brandy. Serve the pudding with the sauce and whipped cream.
*the peaches I used were easy to peel by just pulling the skin away from the flesh. I usually have to get some boiling water going, cut an 'X' in the bottom of the peach and then submerge in the boiling water for about a minute until the skin peels off easily, just like you would do a tomato.
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
"Love your recipes! Pat made your avocado toast a few weeks ago, delish! I'm taking them to a party in a few weeks, although the mushroom crostata looks pretty darn good!"