Thursday, October 30, 2014

Not Your Ordinary Blueberry Muffins

I'm always looking for new breakfast ideas for my husband and son and this one definitely hit a home run! I serve them still warm with a dab of butter, a side of scrambled eggs and fresh berries. I hope you enjoy these as much as we do.

Not Your Ordinary Blueberry Muffins
by Holly
Adapted from Martha Stewart's "Hearty Blueberry Muffins"

3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Organic Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached White Flour
1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine ground sea salt
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1/4 cup expeller pressed virgin coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
2 large eggs, at room temperature
8 ounces fresh blueberries, rinsed

Heat oven to 375°F. Line a standard size 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together all 3 of the flours, baking soda and the sea salt.

In a medium bowl, blend the brown sugar, yogurt, coconut oil and eggs until just combined.

Add the sugar mixture to the dry mixture until just mixed. Gently fold in the blueberries.

Divide the batter into the 12 cups. (It will seem very thick). Bake until browned, about 18-20 minutes. Use a toothpick to test doneness (test the cake, not the berries.) Cool 10 minutes in the pan, on a rack for 10 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool completely.

It's Halloween and the Undead are Rising!

Ah, Halloween. Time for thrills, chills, ghouls, and - of course - TREATS.

These adorable-horrible coffins, while not written for a 37 Cooks challenge, does feature two of our previous sponsors.

The coffin cookie cutter is made by Good Cook, who sponsored the Picnic Potluck Panic challenge. The coffin cookie cutters weren't part of the challenge, though.

And, of course, Bob's Red Mill supplied us with bags of all-purpose flour, which is what I used here.

The bag of flour I got from Bob's is long gone, but that's to be expected in my house. Flour doesn't last here very long at all.

I had a lot of fun assembling these coffin cookies. I colored the icing I used for assembly using food coloring to make it brown so it didn't stand out quite as much against the dark cookies. I used plain white royal icing to form the hands that are creeping out of the coffins. Spooooky.

The nice thing about the coffin cookies is that you can fill them with even more goodies. How about some chocolate mousse? I attached the lids, but it would be fine if it was un-attached, too.

I use black cocoa quite often. It's sold under quite a few names, depending on the seller, but it's a distinctive and very dark cocoa. If you don't have it, you can use regular cocoa. The cookies won't be quite as dark, but they'll still be good.

Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies

3 ounces chocolate chips
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened black cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Royal icing (recipe here)

Put the chips in a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup and heat in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until they're melted. They don't need to be hot - just softened and melted and smooth. Set aside until it has cooled to room temperature.

Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk or stir until they're well combined. Set aside.

In your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or with an electric mixer, beat the butter until it's smooth. Add the sugar, and beat until it's light. Add the egg and beat until it's incorporated. Add the melted chocolate chips and the vanilla. Beat until they are incorporated.

Add the flour mixture (you might want to add in several additions to keep it from flying around when you start the mixer) until the flour is incorporated. You don't need to beat it any further once it's mixed together.

Place the dough in a zip-top bag and flatten it. Refrigerate for at least four hours, or up to a few days.

When you're ready to bake, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it warm up just a little bit. Heat the oven to 350°F and line a few baking sheets with parchment paper.

Divide the dough into several pieces to make it easier to work with. Flour your work space lightly - you don't want to add too much flour to the cookies, so be gentle. Roll the dough to between 1/8- and 1/4-inch thick - smaller cookies are best if they're rolled thinner, while larger cookies are easier to work with if they're a little thicker.

Cut the cookies with cookie cutters as desired. If you want your very own 3D coffin cookie cutter, you can get it from Good Cook.

Transfer the cookies to your prepared baking sheets, leaving a little space between them. These don't spread a lot, but they do grow a little.

If you're baking cooking that are different sizes - like the 3D cookies I made that has smaller pieces for the sides and larger pieces for the top and bottom - put the smaller pieces in the center of the baking sheet and the larger pieces along the edges of the sheets.

Bake at 350°F until the cookies are firm on top and slightly darker around the edges. Since these are pretty dark to begin with, it's sort of hard to see browning, but if you look, you'll see a slight difference - about 12 minutes.

Let the cookies cool for a minute or two on the baking sheets before moving them to a rack to cool completely.

Decorate the cookies as desired.

Blueberry and Nectarine Buckle

A buckle? What is a buckle? No. Not the clasp that holds your belt together. It's an old-fashioned, summertime, English dessert and a quite tasty one at that!

The original recipe (from Real Simple magazine's July 2013 issue) calls for peaches, but to be honest, I couldn't find any good ones. However, I had perfect nectarines and decided to give those a try. So glad I did!!

Blueberry and Nectarine Buckle
by Holly
Adapted from Real Simple magazine's "Peach and Blueberry Buckle" Recipe

1 3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached White Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine ground sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground orange peel
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
4 nectarines, cut into 8-10 wedges (about 4 cups worth)
1 pint blueberries, rinsed and stemmed
1/3 cup sliced almonds
Confectioner's sugar, for dusting the top

Heat oven to 350˚. Place rack on lower third of oven to prevent premature browning of the buckle.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and orange peel.

In a medium bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar with a hand mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla until just incorporated.

On low, alternate adding half the flour, then the sour cream and the rest of the flour. With a spatula, fold in the nectarines and blueberries. It'll seem like there's more fruit than cake, but that's ok. The cake will expand when cooked.

Place the batter into a 8" x 8" baking dish. Sprinkle the almonds on top. Bake until browned, about 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes. Use a toothpick to test doneness (test the cake, not the fruit.) Cool 10 minutes in the pan, on a rack for 10 minutes. Dust with confectioner's sugar and serve warm.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mini Farfalle with Creamy Four Cheese Sauce

Mini Farfalle with Creamy Four Cheese Sauce
by Lesia

1 box mini farfalle, cooked according to box directions
4 Tablespoons butter
3 cloves crushed garlic
4 Tablespoons Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached White Flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
1/2 cup shredded Asiago cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded Romano cheese

In heavy saucepan, melt butter and saute' garlic lightly until aromatic. Add flour and stir until smooth. Add milk, salt and pepper and cook on medium-high heat until thick and bubbly. Stir frequently so there's no scorching in the bottom of the pan. Add heavy whipping cream and all cheeses. Reduce heat to low and stir until smooth and cheese is melted. Serve over pasta immediately. This dish is also great with grilled chicken and/or freshly steamed broccoli served on top.

Double Dipped Fried Green Tomatoes

I have found that these little jewels are much more scrumptious when fried in a a cast iron skillet, however, the cast iron skillet is not a requirement for a crispy crust. You can also use an electric skillet set on the highest heat setting, just make sure to stand guard over the skillet so that the tomatoes don't burn. That would be a travesty!

Double Dipped Fried Green Tomatoes
by Lesia

10 thin slices green tomato, patted dry with a paper towel
Oil for frying
Buttermilk for dipping
1 cup Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached White Flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
2 teaspoons sugar
Extra sugar for dusting

Heat oil in skillet of choice. You'll need enough oil to almost cover the slices of tomato completely, but not too much. No one likes a soggy fried green tomato.

Fill a small mixing bowl with buttermilk. In a separate mixing bowl, mix together the flour, corn meal, salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning, and 2 teaspoons of sugar until well-combined.

Dip the tomato slice in buttermilk then cover well with flour mixture. Repeat the dipping process one more time then place in hot oil. Cook until well-browned on each side. Drain tomato slices on a layer of paper towels. After each batch is cooked and transferred to paper towel, sprinkle lightly with sugar. This step is optional, but it's one I never leave out and I've been told they have the perfect balance of "tang and sweetness".

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cheese Ravioli with Pesto Sauce

My friend, Stacie, holds cooking classes at her home on Ford Island, Hawaii. From her home you can see the Arizona Memorial and I feel like I have stepped back in time, as her home is one of the original military quarters that survived the attack on December 7, 1941. It was fun to learn how to make pasta with Stacie and when we received flour as our challenge, I thought it was time to try out my new pasta machine and put my lessons to good use. The picture of the ravioli certainly do not do this recipe justice, as they were delicious. My husband loved it, even though I did not add any meat.

Cheese Ravioli with Pesto Sauce
by Nancy
Adapted from Stacie Husmann, owner of Cooking Thyme with Stacie (fresh pasta)

3 large eggs
1 teaspoons salt
2 -3 Tablespoons water
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 1/2 level cups Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached White Flour

Combine eggs, salt, water and olive oil in a bowl. In a food processor add the flour and pour the egg mixture, pulse a few times. Combine the mixture until it resembles small crumbs. Test a small portion by squeezing it between your forefinger and thumb. If it sticks together it is good, otherwise add an additional Tablespoon of water and pulse the mixture. (I needed 2 1/2 Tablespoons of water using the Bob's Red Mill flour.)

Turn out the dough onto a floured surface.  Knead the dough about 10 minutes, folding it over itself. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough into thin sheets, either by hand or with a machine. If using a machine, set the pasta machine on the widest setting, which is usually setting the number to "1" on the dial (please read the instructions on your machine as this could be reversed.) Divide the dough into quarters and work with one section at a time. Flatten out the first piece of dough into a rectangle. Feed it through the machine, then fold it over and feed it through again. You need to do this about 12 times. It will make the dough smooth and elastic. Without folding the dough between settings, keep reducing the settings until the dough is rolled as thinly as you like it. If the sheet of pasta gets too long, cut it into sections to make it easier to work with.

Place one sheet of dough on a floured ravioli pan. Spoon 1 level teaspoon of the cheese ravioli filling (recipe below) into each section. Cover with another sheet of pasta. With a rolling pin, roll until the pieces are cut, then turn out onto surface.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a few Tablespoons of salt. Add the ravioli and cook 2-3 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and toss into the pesto sauce (recipe below), garnish and serve.

Cheese Ravioli Filling 
by Nancy
Adapted from Stacie Husmann

1 1/2 cups (15 ounces) whole milk ricotta
3/4 cup (3 ounces) coarsely grated mozzarella, at room temperature
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, at room temperature
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients. Ingredients for approximately 100 raviolis.

Pesto Sauce
by Nancy

1/4 cup butter
6 Dorot garlic cubes
2 Dorot basil cubes

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat thoroughly. Serves 2.