Monday, June 13, 2011

chels has been wrestling with a muffin recipe

so the first batch started like this:


pistachio-topped strawberry rhubarb muffins
ingredients!
dry...
2 3/4 c. flour
1 1/3 c. packed brown sugar, plus 2 tbsp.
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1 tbsp. candied ginger
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. chopped pistachios
wet...
1 egg
1 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. chopped strawberries
3/4 c. diced rhubarb (as small as dice as you can manage, 1/4" is great.)
Juice and zest from 2 key limes
for pistachio streusel topping
1/2 c. chopped pistachios
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. cardamom
dash of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1/4 tsp. candied ginger
1 tbsp cold butter
remaining lime zest

instructions!
- in a medium-sized bowl combine rhubarb and strawberries with lime juice, zest from 1 lime, and 2 tbsp of brown sugar to macerate while you mix the batter.
- in a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and nutmeg. add brown sugar and stir it in well with fork or large whisk.
- in smaller mixing bowl, beat together buttermilk, egg, oil and vanilla extract. add to dry ingredients in the larger bowl, stirring only until the mixture is just moistened. (all muffin batters should be extremely lumpy!)
- fold in the macerated berries and rhubarb.
- fill paper-lined muffin pan cups 2/3 full.
- combine streusel topping ingredients in a small bowl (just mix it with your fingers till it's all coarse & crumbly.) sprinkle over batter.
- bake at 400 F for 20-25 minutes.

anyway, this was how they turned out...



at that point, it was taste-test and family critique time! the texture was great. the second batch (taken out after 16 minutes in the oven) was pretty, smelled delicious, moist, fluffy, muffiny, fantastic.

and then we bit into them. right off the bat, too much spice not enough fruit. the pistachios in the topping... not yummy. they got a little too toasted or something and were kind of bitter. after everyone weighed in, recipe #2, now tweaked, is the next in line to be tested. i think i shall omit the pistachios entirely. i was hesitant (because i love pistachios so much) to take them out of the batter, but for the sake of testing, this next batch will be nutless. also, toppingless! i want to get the plain ol' batter down poifectly before i mess with topping.

so!


round two! nutless, un-topped strawberry rhubarb muffins
ingredients!
dry...
2 3/4 c. flour
1 1/3 c. packed brown sugar, plus 2 tbsp.
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cardamom
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
zest from 3 key limes
wet...
1 egg
1 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. chopped strawberries
3/4 c. diced rhubarb (1/4" dice)
Juice from 4 key limes

instructions!
- in a medium-sized bowl combine rhubarb and strawberries with lime juice, zest from 1 lime, and 2 tbsp of brown sugar to macerate while you mix the batter.
- in a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. add brown sugar and stir it in well with fork or large whisk. 
- in smaller mixing bowl, beat together buttermilk, egg, oil and vanilla extract. add to dry ingredients in the larger bowl, stirring only until the mixture is just moistened.
- fold in the macerated berries and rhubarb.
- fill paper-lined muffin pan cups 2/3 full. 
- bake at 400 F for 20-25 minutes. (Start testing with toothpick after 15 minutes.)

pictures and results of round 2 sometime this week. stay tuned!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

chels is a fan of alice waters

when you have 
the best and tastiest 
ingredients, 
you can cook 
very simply 
and the food will be 
extraordinary 
because it tastes 
like what it is. 

alice waters

chels kicks it off with some "small ears," bacon, some citrus...

or in other words...

orecciette with mushroom, orange and bacon

ingredients!

1 pkg orecciette pasta
1 carton of white or button mushrooms, diced in 1/3" cubes
6 slices of thick-cut bacon, diced in 1/3" cubes
1 small red onion, diced in 1/4" cubes
2 tbsp butter
zest & juice of one orange (a little lemon juice too, i think)
1/2 c heavy whipping cream
fresh ground black pepper
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese (fine or coarse, doesn't matter)
1/4 tsp thyme (if dried; whole tsp, chopped fine if fresh)
1/4 or 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

instructions!

- bring large pot of water to a boil. season with salt; add pasta and cook according to package directions, stirring occasionally, until 1 minute before the pasta is al dente. drain pasta, reserving 1/4 c. of the cooking water.
- while the pasta is cooking, in large saute pan - over med-high heat - saute onions with thyme, crushed red pepper, and salt & pepper in butter for a minute or two, add bacon.
- saute until bacon pieces just start to turn crispy on the edges, and the onions are translucent, but not golden. add mushrooms, and saute until the mushrooms are just cooked through.
- add the reserved pasta water, orange juice (with a splash or two of lemon juice), half of the orange zest, and the cream; bring to a boil, stirring. add the orecciette.
- cook, stirring until sauce coats pasta and the pasta is done. season with addition salt & pepper to taste.
- remove from heat, stir in parmesan cheese, and serve.


p.s. if you don't like mushrooms, you can leave them out and i might forgive you. i would say if you're not going to use the mushrooms, you don't have to use much of the thyme or the crushed red pepper, either.

the next time i make this recipe, i will get a good picture to share.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

chels decides to keep the food in the kitchen

despite the fact that i probably need another blog like i need a hole in my head, or more stress at work, the requirement for some serious space (with elbow room) to explore my love of creative cooking and culinary experiments in general, has caused me to add this nook for all my little chelicious kitchen exploits.

chelicious is destined to become a decoupage of all sorts of edible-related randomness - a recipe journal, pictures of cool food stuff i find. a place to horde my renegade foodie-related links from the corners of the interweb... it's all gonna be here.

as harold mcgee, my newest and most favorite source of cooking inspiration says in his landmark book on food and cooking: the science and lore of the kitchen :

"food is an infinitely rich subject and there's always something about it to understand better, something new to discover, a fresh source of interest, ideas, and delight."