Citrus Infused Blueberry Muffins

January 11th, 2020

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One of my Christmas presents from my Daughter-In-Law Kristen was a small bottle of citrus flavoring that can miraculously transform many kinds of baked goods.  The flavor is subtle with warm and zesty overtones.  It is described as a combination of vanilla ice cream and orange sherbet.  You will want to use it in everything.

fiori di sicilia

Fiori de Sicilia is sold by King Arthur Flour.  This Italian flavoring is used by Italians to scent their panettone and pandoro.  But it can be used in cookies, pound cake, pies, meringues and sweet breads.  It is strong, so no more than 1/2 teaspoon is needed to flavor your baked goods.

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Fiori di Sicilia certainly woke up my blueberry muffins.  The recipe I used came from Bobby Flay’s new cookbook, Bobby at Home.  His recipe only called for lemon zest and vanilla extract for flavoring.  I’m sure the original recipe would be just fine if you don’t have the Italian flavoring.  That option will be in the following recipe.

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We are happily settled in our Florida cottage for the Winter.  The muffins will go in the freezer for all of our guests and friends over the next few months.

CITRUS INFUSED BLUEBERRY MUFFINS (Adapted from Bobby Flay)

Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 cup frozen blueberries
(1 teaspoon lemon zest and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract) or (1/2 tsp. vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp fiori di sicilia)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with nonstick spray.

Combine the flour, sugars, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl.  Whisk the egg in a medium bowl until smooth, then add the buttermilk, melted butter, oil and vanilla (or vanilla and fiori di sicilia combination).  Add lemon zest if using.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until the batter just comes together.  Fold in the frozen blueberries.  Evenly divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups, filling each three-quarters full.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out with a few moist crumbs attache 18 to 20 minutes.  Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes.  Remove from the tin and let cool 5 minutes longer.

Printable Recipe

Christmas Cookies

December 19th, 2019

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I am bringing back  favorite recipes for Christmas cookies with an update.  The first recipe is for Chocolate Shortbread Bars. I have been making these for years because who doesn’t love chocolate, shortbread and pecans?  But in the past, I have made them with a simple chocolate like milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips.  This year I have amped up the chocolate.  I have used a high quality bittersweet chocolate instead.  Dark chocolate with less sweetness has its followers.  These chocolate bars are the best.

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Then there are my Moon and Stars cookies.  Swedish crescent cookies covered in powdered sugar have been favorites of mine for many years.  I have a former neighbor in Florida who is missing these cookies.  She is Jewish and we traded her Latkes for these cookies for many years. Her Potato Latkes were the best and I am proud of my Swedish crescent cookies.  The star cookies are Speculoos, a spicy Belgium cookie celebrating Saint Nicholas from Dorie Greenspan.  The cinnamon aroma will waft through your kitchen and make you glad that it is the holidays.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all.

Recipes:

Chocolate Shortbread Bars

Swedish Crescent Cookies

Speculoos

 

Creamy Gravy Scalloped Potatoes

December 6th, 2019

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And so it begins.  I have to admit that I got a head start on the holidays by putting up the tree and decorating right before Thanksgiving. Since we have to put everything away by December 29th to make the trek to Florida, it seemed like the right thing to do to get the most joy out of the season.  This Scalloped Potato Recipe is another reason for joy.  It is easy to assemble and a perfect dish to make ahead of time and reheat.  Because it is just the two of us before the holidays get underway, I halved the recipe for this photo-op.  But as a full recipe, it would go so well with Christmas celebrations with friends to accompany most anything from Roasted Rib Eye, Crown Roast of Pork, Baked Ham or Leg of Lamb.

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The combination of Gruyere Cheese and a thick white sauce make the potatoes luscious.

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There will be more Christmas recipes in the next few weeks.  We wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

Christmas 2019

CREAMY GRAVY SCALLOPED POTATOES

  • 3 pounds Potatoes , peeled and sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup Butter , plus extra for buttering baking dish
  • 3 cloves Garlic , minced
  • 1/4 cup Flour
  • 1 cup Chicken Stock or Beef or Vegetable Stock
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt , or to taste
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper , to taste
  • 2 cups shredded Cheese , divided
  • Optional – chopped Italian Parsley for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter an 9”x13” baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter and then add the garlic. Cook until softened, about 1 minute.
  3. Whisk in the flour until smooth and cook for about 20 seconds. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock until well combined. Whisk in the milk and then season to taste with salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring regularly until it comes to a gentle boil and slightly thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Layer 1/2 of the potatoes in the prepared baking dish, making sure to separate slices. Top with half of the gravy. Layer about 1/2 of the cheese over the potatoes.
  5. Top with the remaining potatoes (making sure to separate slices). Top with remaining gravy and cheese.
  6. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes, the remove foil and bake uncovered for about 30-35 minutes or until top is golden and potatoes are cooked through. If desired, top with chopped parsley and serve warm.

Printable Recipe

Angel Corn Casserole

November 19th, 2019

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Family traditions play a big part in most get togethers over the Thanksgiving holiday.  The same dishes are served year after year.  I remember that no one could make better dressing than my Mother. It was a classic bread dressing with basic ingredients and loved by all.  I blogged about it here.   But this year I am sharing a recipe that is not one of my family’s traditions.  Rather, it comes from Cory Baldwin; a  food writer and contributor to the Food52 website.  This Angel Corn Casserole is a part of her family heritage, passed down from her Grandmother.  It is indeed delicious and worthy of the holiday.

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I tried to research the term “angel” in describing this dish, but found no explanation.  I am going to assume that family members thought that the taste was heavenly.  That is not hard to believe after tasting it.  The corn is combined with crushed Ritz crackers, heavy cream, eggs, brown sugar, butter and nutmeg.

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I plan to make this again for our Thanksgiving with the extended family.  It calls for frozen corn kernels.  I have decided to use a different frozen corn this time.  I am going to look for small white shoe peg corn.  Since we are traveling, I appreciate that the Angel Corn Casserole can be made ahead.  Hopefully, it will become a part of our family traditions also.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

ANGEL CORN CASSEROLE ( From Cory Baldwin via Food52 )

  • (16-ounce) bags frozen corn (or about 4 1/2 to 5 cups fresh corn kernels)
  • large eggs
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives, plus more for optional garnish
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup plus a heaping 1/3 cup crumbled Ritz crackers, divided
  • Salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a large 9×13-inch casserole dish.
  2. If using frozen corn, steam and drain the kernels. If using fresh, scrape kernels off the cob.
  3. Beat the eggs, cream, and brown sugar in a large bowl until just blended. Stir in chives and nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in corn kernels.
  4. Combine 1 cup of the crumbled Ritz crackers with 6 tablespoons of the melted butter. Add to the corn mixture. Stir until combined. Pour into the casserole dish.
  5. Toss remaining cracker crumbs with the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle buttered crumbs over the top of the pudding.
  6. Bake uncovered until golden brown and slightly firm to the touch, about 45 minutes.
  7. Optional: Garnish with more snipped fresh chives.

Printable Recipe

Goulash Soup with Red Peppers and Cabbage

November 10th, 2019

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Soup is always on my mind when the cold winds blow.  We are expecting the first below freezing temperatures tonight.  To complicate our lives, our heating system is not working.  We are managing to keep warm with our gas fireplace and may even light a wood fire in out kitchen fireplace.  David is now down in the furnace room with the new parts.  Hopefully we will have heat again soon.  But soup restores all discomfort and warms the soul.  This goulash soup was adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen.  David is still avoiding carbs so this combination of Ground Beef, Cabbage and Roasted Red Peppers fits perfectly into a Keto diet.

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The changes I made to the recipe were to increase the ground beef and cabbage.  I doubled the cabbage from two cups to four cups.  I increased the ground beef from 1 pound to 1 1/2 pounds.

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We enjoyed the warming goodness of this soups flavored with paprika, beef stock and tomatoes.  The cornbread is a side dish that I enjoyed alone.  It is Rosa’s Cornbread which is very rich and indulged in only in small slices.

GOULASH SOUP WITH RED PEPPERS AND CABBAGE (Adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen)

  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 tsp. finely minced garlic
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 T sweet Hungarian Paprika
  • 1 T hot Hungarian Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed caraway seed (optional)
  • 4 cups homemade beef stock (or 3 cans, 14 oz. each)
  • 3 cups roasted tomatoes or 2 cans (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups finely diced cabbage
  • 1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef (ground chuck is best)
  • 1 jar (12 oz.) roasted red peppers, diced into 1 inch pieces
  1. Heat large heavy frying pan, add oil, and saute onions about 5 minutes, until barely starting to color. Add garlic and saute 2 minutes more, then add paprika (and caraway if using) and saute 1 minute more.
  2. Put onion/spice mixture into large soup pot. Deglaze pan with 1 cup of beef stock, then add that and rest of beef stock to soup pot. Add roasted tomatoes or canned tomatoes, cabbage and 2 cups water to soup pot and start to simmer.
  3. Brown ground beef in frying pan until quite brown, breaking into small pieces as it cooks. When browned add to soup pot. Let simmer on very low heat one hour. (Taste for seasoning and add more paprika if desired.
  4. After one hour, add diced red peppers and simmer about one hour more. Serve hot, garnished with sour cream.  This freezes very well.

Printable Recipe

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.