April 9th, 2020
February 19th, 2020
Week three of home confinement. We have fallen into a rhythm; marking the days with small household tasks, canceling airline tickets for a Fall trip to Europe, cooking, reading and cherishing our continued good health. It is on my mental list to do some major cleaning to closets and bathroom tiles. But for now, all I can manage are small steps. Trips to the Supermarket are fraught with worry. We try not to go often. Cooking has been one of the ways that restores calm. I bought a bag of Navel oranges a few weeks ago and have been using them in baked goods.
This simple one bowl poundcake came from Melissa Clark of the New York Times. Rubbing the sugar with orange zest seems to release the oils in zest and impart more flavor.
It is a treat to have this bread available for a quiet breakfast on the deck with a cup of coffee each morning. The beauty of nature soothes us in these turbulent times. Stay safe.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a loaf pan.
1 Cup sugar
Zest of 1 navel orange
2 Tbls melted butter
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla (or 1/4 tsp Fiori de Sicilia Citrus flavoring and 1/4 tsp vanilla)
Grated nutmeg (optional) or 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup plain cornmeal
1 1/4 cup flour
In a large bowl, rub the sugar with the orange zest. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine.
Whisk in the dry ingredients in this order; salt, baking soda, baking powder and cornmeal. Once smooth whisk in the flour until combined well.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let the bread cool in the pan. Remove. Slice and serve as is or place in a toaster for a crispy warm treat. Butter optional (or not).
October 3rd, 2019
I have been hesitant to share this recipe with you. Not because it isn’t delicious, but because it uses a couple of ingredients that I first thought were questionable. My philosophy is to use as many natural and high quality ingredients as I can find. But because my husband is limiting his carbs, he is always ordering ingredients to compensate for higher carb alternatives. Corn and cornmeal are high in carbohydrates. This cornbread is made with almond flour with the addition of Sweet Corn Extract. The extract contains no artificial ingredients. Even though it is rather expensive, a little goes a long way and it has a long shelf life.
The other ingredient is Besti monk fruit allulose blend. It is a natural alternative to sugar. You can click on the link to read about it and decide for yourself if it is a sugar substitute that you would feel comfortable using.
I was surprised by how much I loved this “cornbread”. It was extra moist, slightly sweet and definitely corny. I will be adding this to my repertoire of low carb recipes. By the way, David made this; start to finish. He did a good job and cleaned the kitchen too. All I did was photograph it!
LOW CARB CORNBREAD (From Wholesome Yum)
5 cups Blanched almond flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/3 cup Besti monk fruit allulose blend
1 tsp sea salt
2/3 cup Butter (melted; plus more for greasing)
2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
6 large eggs
1 Tbsp Sweet corn extract
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch cast iron skillet with butter.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, sweetener, and sea salt.
Stir in the melted butter, almond milk and eggs, until smooth. Stir in the sweet corn extract.
Transfer the batter into the skillet and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean and the top is golden brown.
August 22nd, 2019
Nonnettes are tender little muffins originating in Dijon, France. What sets them apart is the warm spice (pain d’epices) which is a blend including cinnamon, ginger, star anise, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and coriander. It is easy to make and I will include the recipe at the bottom of this post.
In addition to the spices, the Nonnettes have a filling of orange marmalade, orange zest and Grand Marnier. They are perfect for the Fall weather to come. It is still summer on Lake Lure even in these early days of October.
I made these Nonnettes a few months ago and photographed them. The leftovers were frozen. I forgot to add the drizzle to them before I froze them. The muffins above came from the freezer. I added the glaze and enjoyed them just as much as when they were freshly made.
ORANGE MUFFINS (NONNETTES) WITH GRAND MARNIER (Adapted from The French Life)
3/4 Cup Water
7 Tbls Butter
3/4 cup Honey
1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar
1 Tbls Pain d’épices spices
2 Tbls Grand Marnier
3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup All-Purpose-Flour
1 Tbls Baking Powder
Zest of 1 Orange
6 tsps. Orange Marmalade
3 Tbls Orange Juice
1/3 to 1/2 cup Confectioners’ Sugar
Heat water, butter, honey and sugar, just until butter is melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the spices and Grand Marnier. In a large bowl whisk the flours and baking powder. Add the orange zest and stir to combine. Pour in the syrup (it should still be fairly hot). Stir until combined. Flour and butter a 12-hole muffin tin. Divide the batter over the holes. Chill for half an hour. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Using a teaspoon, make a little well in the center of the batter and fill with half a tsp of marmalade. Bake the nonnettes for 20 minutes. The nonnettes should be tender and spring back when pressed. Allow to cool completely before unmolding. Place the nonnettes on a rack, making sure there is a sheet of tin foil underneath it. Make a thin glaze by whisking the orange juice into the powdered sugar. Drizzle over the nonnettes and leave to set.
Pain d’épices Spices:
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
4 whole star anise ground
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp coriander
Use 1 tablespoon of this mixture in the muffins and save the rest.
June 19th, 2019
One of my favorite “low-carb conscious” recipe websites is Kalyn’s Kitchen. She has creative recipes for South Beach, Paleo and Keto diets to name a few. David has been on the Keto diet for long enough for it to have become a lifestyle choice. Sometimes he craves more than bacon and eggs for breakfast. These muffins made with mostly almond flour fit the bill. There is a small amount of flour in the mix, but not enough to give him pause. The muffins are spiked with bacon crumbles, green onions and Parmesan cheese. I love them too.
I thank Kalyn for this wonderful recipe. I may serve them when the whole family comes for the Labor Day Weekend. They are quick to assemble and will be an easy breakfast for 14 people all on different schedules. Let the fun begin! Happy Fall.
COTTAGE CHEESE AND BACON AND EGG BREAKFAST MUFFINS (Slightly adapted from Kayln’s Kitchen)
- 2/3 cup cottage cheese (regular or low-fat)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
- 2/3 cup almond meal
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3 T water
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 4 strips bacon, cooked until crisp, fat blotted with paper towel, then crumbled
- 3 T thinly sliced green onion (scallions)
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray
- In mixing bowl, combine cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, white whole wheat flour, almond meal , salt, water, and beaten egg. Mix well.
- Gently mix in crumbled bacon and green onion, until well distributed in batter.
- Fill muffin cups 3/4 full with cottage cheese and egg mixture.
- Bake 25 -30 minutes, until muffins are firm and lightly browned.
I am beyond excited about the results of this year’s James Beard Awards ceremony. The winner of Outstanding Chef of the year is Ashley Christensen of Poole’s Diner in Raleigh North Carolina. Her empire has expanded to several other restaurants in Raleigh. We spend a lot of time in the Raleigh area because our family is there. Eating at Poole’s Diner has been on our bucket list, but it hasn’t happened yet. The lines are long and reservations are not taken. We even have a kitchen connection. Our DIL Kristen’s brother David is one of the line cooks at the restaurant. We will make it in there one of these days. Her other local restaurants are Death and Taxes which specializes in Wood Fired cooking, Beasley’s Chicken + Honey for fried chicken, biscuits and waffles, Chuck’s for burgers, Poole’s side Pies for Pizza and Fox Liquor Bar, a subterranean drinking den. The chef is multi-talented.
Chef Ashley Christensen’s first restaurant, Poole’s Diner hit the mark for traditional Southern fare with a creative edge. Her signature macaroni and cheese au gratin is the most popular item on the menu. You can find the recipe here.
But the reason I am thrilled by Ashley Christensen’s recognition is because she is a good person. There is no cheffy persona in her wheelhouse. She has turned her celebrated life toward good works. She was quoted as saying “I think that philanthropy, through restaurants, will ultimately end up being my life’s work.” She works for both the Southern Foodways Alliance and the Frankie Lemmons School for Disabled Children. The local Stir the Pot fund raiser is also one of her projects. Supporting her community and other chefs is what she is all about.
In honor of her Southern roots, I want to share this biscuit recipe that I have found to be a winner. I could never find Ashley’s biscuit recipe on line, but I have a feeling that it might be close to this one. The flakey layers are obvious in these biscuits. It is important to keep the butter cold while working the biscuits. Instead of cutting the butter into the flour, which will warm the butter, the stick of butter is frozen and then grated directly into the flour and stirred in. Working and turning the dough a few times ensures that it is not overly handled and produces many layers. Making these biscuits puts me in mind of Edna Lewis, Ashley Christensen and all of the Southern cooks that have made our region recognized for its creative cuisine. Congratulations to Ashley Christensen, a North Carolina native.
FLAKEY BUTTERMILK BISCUITS
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (250g)
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter (Frozen)
- 3/4 cup Buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the dry ingredients.
With a box grater, grate the frozen stick of butter into the flour mixture. Stir into mixture. Add the buttermilk and stir just until combined.
Dump the mixture onto a floured board. Lightly flour top of dough and shape into a rectangle. Gentle fold into thirds like a letter. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and fold again. Repeat several times.
Gently flatten dough to 1″ thick. Using a 2 3/4″ biscuit cutter, cut out about 3 biscuits. Pull dough back together and cut the remainder into biscuits. You will get about 6 biscuits.
Place biscuits on baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and brush the tops with melted butter.