Nov 12 2010

butternut squash and sage soup with sage breadcrumbs

Ok, so here’s another butternut squash soup that you have to try.  I think Joseph and I actually liked this one better than the last one.  The sage is a really nice flavor and the breadcrumbs give it a little texture and a lot of richness.  Possibly too much richness.  I think I won’t add as much to mine next time because it was a little too rich for me.  We used extra breadcrumbs on some delicious butternut squash tortellini we got from Whole Foods.

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Oct 4 2010

quick and easy cornbread

Growing up I loved corn bread, but rarely actually got the good stuff.  You see my mom, as wonderful as she is, is convinced that the best corn bread is just cornmeal mixed with water.  She may have put some other stuff in there, but that’s pretty much what it tasted like.  Her early years were spent in Arkansas and she’s convinced that cornbread should never have any sweetner and should be as gritty as possible.  My sister and I eventually gave up on trying to convince her that sweet cornbread was infinitely better and learned to stop asking for cornbread altogether.

A couple years ago I was searching online for a cornbread recipe (because no way was I going to ask my mom for her recipe!) and found a very highly rated recipe called “Golden Sweet Cornbread” with the tagline, “If you like sweet cornbread, this is the recipe for you!”  When I saw how simple the ingredients were, I was completely sold.  These are things that we always have on hand and it’s so easy to make that I can throw it together almost faster than you can Joseph can say, “Let’s make chili tonight.” And some recipes have a stick or two of butter, and as good as I’m sure it is, I like to have a couple of pieces of cornbread with my meal without having to worry about artery overload.  Continue reading

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Aug 13 2010

Healthy Carrot Zucchini Muffins

carrot zucchini muffin

Remember that carrot cake I made last week?  And how much I enjoyed shoving carrots down the shoot of the food processor?  Well, I went overboard on both the purchase of carrots and the shredding of carrots.  The carrots I didn’t shred were perfect for the Chicken in Escabeche of Caramelized Onions, Carrots, and Jalapeños.  But I needed something to use up the nearly two extra cups of shredded carrots that I ended up with.  I saw a recipe somewhere for carrot zucchini muffins and decided that was the perfect way to at least use some of them up.  I finally got around to getting some zucchini last night, but then I couldn’t find the recipe.  I searched through my cookbooks, but finally gave up and went to my friend, the interwebs.  I found a healthy (you know, as healthy as they can be when they have a cup and a half of sugar…) recipe that was reviewed well and I had all the ingredients, so I went with it.

Let me just say that this is not a dessert muffin.  I know there are plenty of people that generally don’t eat muffins for dessert, but I think many muffins, especially right out of the oven, make a wonderful dessert.  These muffins are fine for breakfast or a snack.  But they are NOT a dessert muffin.  So when your husband has just made you a delicious dinner and then wants some dessert, don’t tell him to hold off on dessert because you are going to make these muffins because everyone involved will be disappointed.  No, it’s probably better that he go for the Ben & Jerry’s fro yo in the freezer.

I still have another 3/4 cup or so of shredded carrots, so let me know if you have any great ideas!

Carrot Zucchini Muffins
Adapted from Nicole’s Winter Carrot Zucchini Bread

Makes 12

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
6 egg whites*
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup grated unpeeled zucchini
1 cup grated carrot
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)**

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease muffin tin.
  2. Sift together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in a large bowl until well blended.
  3. Beat egg whites with a mixer until light and frothy. Stir in applesauce, brown sugar, zucchini, carrots, and vanilla until well combined. Mix in the raisins and pecans, if using. Add the flour mixture, stirring just until blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20-25  minutes or so. Pop the muffins out and let cool on a wire rack.

* I didn’t feel like wasting 6 egg yolks and didn’t have time to make ice cream or a custard and I was lazy and didn’t feel like doing the whole beating and folding with the egg whites, so I just used 3 eggs.  It might work with just 2 eggs.  And it would certainly be healthier with all egg whites, but oh well.

** I didn’t use em. And I’ll hide it in the footnote that you can also add raisins if you want.  If I were ever going to put raisins in a muffin, this is probably the muffin I would do it in.

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Aug 3 2010

4 hours in Paris

A no/low carb diet sounds about as appealing to me as giving up air.  When I was a kid, I once asked for another piece of bread with dinner and my mom gave me a choice: another piece of bread OR dessert.  I LOVE dessert.  From the very bottom of my heart, I love baked goods, I love ice cream, I love brown sugar right out of the bag.  Don’t even start me on chocolate.  And yet, I chose the bread that night.

When Joseph and I began our plans for our trip to Eastern Europe for Peter and Agne’s wedding in Lithuania, we we were faced with a choice of a reasonable layover or an 11 hour layover in Paris.  We chose the 11 hour layover, despite the fact that we knew we would be exhausted after the overnight flight (I hardly slept at all!), but how can you give up a chance to see Paris?  Our time was limited and I told Joseph that all I really cared about for our quick stint in Paris was eating some cheese, bread, a chocolate croissant, and having some good wine.  Oh, and it would be pretty cool if we saw the Eiffel Tower.

Pain au Chocolat

When we got off the train from the airport, we snapped a couple of shots of the Notre Dame, and then bagan the search for a bakery.  We stumbled across La Boulangerie de Papa where I got a pain au chocolat.  It was not even in the same realm with the croissants that I had had before.  It left my hands slippery with butter.  The chocolate was made my heart skip a beat.  And the flakiness!  It was heaven.

I wanted to order at least one of everything in the bakery, but my husband insisted we move on.  Sigh.  Not without at least a shot of the beautiful baguettes.

French bagguettes

How can anyone willingly give up bread??

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