Monday, May 28, 2012

Strawberry muffins!

Ed and I got back from our anniversary trip to Philadelphia late last night... too late to go to the grocery store. We woke up this morning and tried to order breakfast from our usual bagel delivery spot only to discover that they were closed for Memorial Day. Nooooo!

Since we'd cleaned out the fridge in anticipation of our trip, there wasn't much to scrounge up for breakfast. No milk, half a cup of Greek yogurt, a single solitary egg.... not exactly promising. But hey, we did pack some local strawberries away in the freezer before we left. And then, with just a little Googling, the answer became clear: strawberry muffins!

I thawed two eight-ounce jars of chopped strawberries to use in the muffins - one that we'd just popped in last week and one that had been frozen in light syrup since last June. I was a little worried that the berries that had hibernated in the freezer for close to a year would be kinda funky, but they were actually just as delicious as the day we'd packed them.

I had to make a couple of quick substitutions - yogurt instead of milk, almond extract instead of vanilla - but the muffins were delicious anyway; light and fluffy and bursting with strawberry flavor. Breakfast is saved!

Strawberry Muffins
barely adapted from A Recipe A Day 

1/2 c. softened butter
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg
2 c. flour
2 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1/2 t almond extract
1/2 c. Greek yogurt
1 1/2 c. chopped strawberries

3 T sugar
1 t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a mixer or by hand, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and almond extract and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and one teaspoon of cinnamon. Add half of flour mixture to butter mixture and incorporate well. Add yogurt and mix, then add remaining flour and mix until just incorporated. Stir in strawberries and divide batter into greased and floured muffin tins. Combine remaining cinnamon with remaining sugar and sprinkle over the muffin batter. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Spring is back, and so am I!

 It's easy to love the farmer's market in the spring time. The weather is warm enough that you don't mind the walk, the vendors are plentiful, the sunshine makes everyone happy and sociable, and the first few tender green vegetables are just so tempting.  I can't help picking up one of almost everything - from ramps to spinach to bok choy, if it was green, it was in my basket!

I used a lot of today's bounty in dinner tonight: garlic and ginger flounder with sauteed baby bok choy. It was delicious, light and easy and flavorful. I think we'll be making this one again!

It's so easy to make - you make a foil packet and fill it with chunks of scallion, garlic, ginger and ramps, if you've got 'em. Then make your sauce - I combined roughly equal amounts of soy sauce, honey and rice wine vinegar - and preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Then place your fish filets on top of the veggies and spoon a little bit of your sauce on top. We used flounder filet from Blue Moon Fish for this dinner - about a quarter pound for each of us.

Fifteen minutes later, you've got a gorgeous piece of tender fish, perfectly cooked and aromatic. I cooked up some baby bok choy for the side - a quick saute with garlic, ginger and olive oil then a brief simmer with a few tablespoons of chicken broth until tender. We didn't eat any starches with dinner tonight, as we'd both had a few treats during our afternoon walkabout and were not super hungry when suppertime rolled around, but in the future I'd serve this with some rice or quinoa. Delish!

I also want to share with you guys the amazing strawberry rhubarb marshmallows that I made this week! Unfortunately, I neglected to take pictures of them... so just picture a marshmallow.

(Pretend this is a marshmallow picture!)
Nice and square,
just barely pink,
soft and fluffy
and covered in powdered sugar.

 I used this recipe from Food 52, which was posted by my amazing supper club partner in crime, Emily. (Side note: if you want awesome marshmallows but don't feel like getting yourself - and your kitchen - all sticky, Emily sells her very creative 'mallows at Emily's recipe starts with six ounces of Meyer lemon marmalade, but I substituted a jar of runny strawberry rhubarb jam from last summer. The resulting 'mallows were SO good that I'm considering making a huge batch next June to give out as wedding favors. (Oh yes! In case you haven't heard, Mr. Cooking Inside the Box has decided that he liked it, and subsequently put a ring on it. Guess he likes the cooking!)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

What's cookin'

Hello, dear readers, and apologies for my recent blog-neglecting. I didn't update because I didn't have a whole lot to write about, at least not a whole lot of local, seasonal, farmer's market-y food. It seemed like every time I stepped into my kitchen in December, I came out with one of these things:

Pumpkin Brown Butter Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting,
via Sprinkle Bakes
Frosted Sugar Cookies

Almond Biscotti
via Smitten Kitchen

Cherry Winks
via my mom's "secret" recipe

All were very delicious, but none were really in keeping with the general theme of this blog, hence the radio silence. Until now.

Tonight, I defrosted the farmer's market rhubarb I'd tucked away in the freezer seven months ago and made this pie that is at once hideously ugly and incredibly delicious. It's got the lovely, bright flavor of rhubarb softened by creamy layers of vanilla-scented custard, all poured into a yummy butter-laden crust. This pie is exactly the little bit of springtime in the winter I'd been anticipating since freezing the rhubarb last June... and I'm so glad that I did!

Rhubarb Custard Pie!

After dinner tonight, when I proudly presented this pie (sans one slice) to Ed, he was all, "I don't really like rhubarb, you know. Too stringy."

And I was like, "Oh man, what a bummer!" (But of course, what I really meant was, "Whoo hoo! More for me!")

Rhubarb Custard Pieadapted from
one unbaked pie crust (I used a homemade all-butter crust from Southern Pies, but you could use your favorite recipe or a store-bought frozen crust.)

3 c. chopped rhubarb
3 eggs
1 c. sugar
2 1/2 T all-purpose flour
1 T butter, melted
1 1/2 t. vanilla

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Distribute the chopped rhubarb evenly inside of the pie crust.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until frothy. Stir in sugar and whisk until well-combined, then whisk in remaining ingredients. Pour egg mixture over rhubarb in pie crust.

Bake at 425 degrees for ten minutes, then turn your oven down to 375 degrees and continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes. If you can muster the willpower to refrain from gobbling it all down as soon as it comes out of the oven, you really should wait until pie is cool to slice into it. (But I won't blame you if you can't.)