Despite my frequently dessert heavy focus on the blog, I actually don’t have much of a sweet tooth. Give me a plate of hot, salty fries or crunchy chips any day over a donut or pastry. That being said, one sweet treat that I usually can’t pass up is a good Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie. I am, however, very particular about the cookies: they need to be chewy, slightly salty, and with a good dose of chocolate. I absolutely adore the mini oatmeal chocolate chip cookies found at Potbelly and recently set out to create a similar cookie at home. You know, so I don’t have to drive anywhere to get them when the craving really strikes!…
Muffins. Oh, how I love you. And oh how very picky I am about muffins. Why? Well, if I’m going to eat cake for breakfast (because, let’s face it, they really are just unfrosted cupcakes that we all pretend are not desserts), I want them to be juuuuuust right. Not too sweet, definitely not too dry, and studded with the sweetest bits of tart fruit. After a long search, I’ve finally found a recipe for the best Lemon Blueberry Muffins and I’m going to share it with you today. You’re welcome.
I’ve long been a fan of America’s Test Kitchen and a few years ago was given a copy of their Family Cookbook (I use this edition; here is a link to the newest one). Like just about everything ATK does, this cookbook is filled with great, near foolproof recipes for just about anything you could want. One of my favorite finds in that book is the recipe for “Big Beautiful Muffins.” You guys, you have to have make these muffins. They are super easy to make and (scout’s honor!) turn out perfectly every time. I love to make a double batch and freeze them for later – 20 seconds in a microwave and they make a perfectly fresh on-the-go breakfast!…
Usually when it comes to breakfast foods, I am solidly in in Camp Salty. I love a good omelet, studded with veggies, cheese and bacon. I love breakfast potatoes, roasted and crispy. That being said, I also have a weak spot for really good waffles. A good waffle (in my mind, at least) is a bit crisp on the outside, and perfectly light and chewy on the inside with just a hint of sweetness. I have been searching for a go-to recipe for a few years now. …
Cinnamon churro cupcakes? Did I say “churro” cupcakes? Like those sinfully delicious pieces of sugary fried pastry you can get (for a dollar!!!!) at Costco? Yep, just like that, but I dare say a little healthier (well, at least not deep fried). I’ve been seriously craving sugar lately (which is a little different from my usual salt cravings, and also different from my crunch cravings, and maybe even different from my ice cream cravings…never mind, my cravings may be too numerous to categorize). These cupcakes really hit the spot!…
I’ve always been a total fair weather fan when it comes to blueberries. At the height of the season, when they’re firm, sweet, and just a bit tart, I eat them pint after pint, nearly as fast as I can buy them. I love to put them on yogurt, in salads, or just eat them plain. Last summer, as I was relishing some particularly perfect blueberries, I came across a recipe in the New York Times for Blueberry Jam with Lime. The recipe comes adapted from the book “Saving the Season” by Kevin West….
Parker House Rolls. What is better than fresh bread? Yet for years I was really intimidated by anything that needed to “rise”. I thought that it was easier to buy bread and that there was not much difference in the taste. Well, I was probably right on the first count, but I was oh so wrong on the second count. There is nothing like fresh bread!…
There are many times in the kitchen when I want to put my own spin on things. And then there are times when you don’t mess with a classic. Think: Ottolenghi’s hummus. Jim Lahey’s bread. Ree Drummond’s Lasagna. Not surprisingly, many of my “don’t mess with it” recipes come from the geniuses at Cooks Illustrated. With their scientific approach to finding the best methods in the kitchen, their recipes are often instant classics. The Molasses-Spice Cookies featured in their 1999 cookbook, The Best Recipe, certainly falls into that category. (Side note: There is a new version of the cookbook aptly titled, The New Best Recipe. I don’t know if this particular cookie is featured in that edition.)…
Ahhhh, vacation. Yep, that is right, vacation. Much needed, well-deserved, greatly enjoyed. Don’t we all love going on vacation? Well, my in-laws have decided to “winter” in Arizona 5 months of the year, truly living the ultimate vacation. Unfortunately that means that they aren’t always available to celebrate my youngest child’s birthday on his actual birthday date (in February). No problem, he’s now old enough to understand that not having grandma and grandpa here on his birthday just means presents in the mail (so awesome) and another celebration at a later date (even more awesome). Who doesn’t love another celebration?…
My Grandma Dotty, whom I call Bestemor (the Norwegian word for Grandma), is the most amazing cook. I consider many of her recipes to be the tastes of my childhood. Her brown bread with raisins is one of my favorite things in the world. This recipe for Rhubarb Muffins comes from her as well, adapted from the muffins served for years at the drugstore cafe (yes, that was a thing!) in the sweet little town where she lives….
The winter months are not known for their abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. After the heavy meals of the holiday season, the arrival of the mid-winter citrus crop is always a welcome addition to my kitchen. A few weeks ago I bought a giant bag of fresh limes at Costco, and while a few wound up in gin and tonics, I was left with pounds of limes and a little inspiration. Enter: Lime Curd with a Hint of Vanilla. It’s an easy, creamy, bright and versatile treat that can be added to baked goods like tarts, cupcakes or scones, or simply eaten with a spoon (my preferred method!).
Lime curd is a careful meld of butter, sugar, citrus juice, and eggs. Gently heating the eggs in the presence of sugar allows them to stay creamy and light and keeps them from scrambling. If you’re into the science of cooking, check out this article in the LA Times (from 1998!). The beauty of a citrus curd is that its proportions are forgiving. I prefer a soft, slightly more tart version so I use whole eggs, less sugar, and a moderate amount of butter. If you want a sweeter and firmer version (for use in bars or pies, for example) you can simply increase the sugar and switch to egg yolks. The key to the recipe is really to take it low and slow and be sure to temper the eggs so they don’t scramble. Let it cool and then just try to keep from eating it all at once. It’s delicious on scones and really fantastic mixed into some vanilla Siggi’s yogurt in the morning. The curd will keep in the refrigerator for at least a week and freezes beautifully.
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup lime juice (approximately 2 large or 3-4 small limes)
- zest of 1 lime
- ¼ tsp vanilla bean paste
- Melt the butter in a non-reactive sauce pain over low heat.
- While the butter is melting, pulse together the sugar and lime zest in a food processor until combined.
- Add the lime juice, sugar and zest, to the pan with the butter and whisk until the sugar dissolves.
- Gently beat the eggs in a small bowl.
- Working one tablespoon at a time, add some of the lime juice mixture to the beaten eggs. Be sure to keep whisking so as not to scramble the eggs!
- Add the egg/juice mixture back to the sauce pain.
- over continued gentle heat, whisk the mixture constantly until a smooth curd begins to form, somewhere just below a simmer (and around 160-175 degrees).
- Remove from heat and let cool. Stir in the vanilla bean paste to taste.