Lemon Blueberry Scones

It’s blueberry season!  They are abundant and delicious and to top it all off, they are a superfruit,  full of antioxidants and nutrients.  I found an awesome deal on blueberries today…80 cents a pound.  I came home with 6 pounds of blueberries.  I’m going on a blueberry kick for the next few days.  I’m going to be making blueberry preserves, crumb bars, muffins, sauce…I’m doing a happy dance in my head.  But first I think I’ll start with the basics….A wonderful lemon blueberry scone.  Scones are great with coffee anytime.  As a dessert or as a breakfast or brunch item.  They also freeze really, really well which means I can have some when I get off this Master Cleanse (I just had a food porn moment).

Add the zest of one lemon
Blend in the butter with a pastry blender
Fold in cream and egg mixture with blueberries
Pat dough into a square on a well floured surface
Cut into 8 parts or 16 (I prefer 16)
Brush each scone with some heavy cream and sprinkle top with some raw sugar
Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees

Lemon Blueberry Scones

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg

zest of one lemon

1 stick of unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup heavy cream

a little extra cream and some turbinado (raw) sugar for brushing and sprinkling on top

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Add lemon zest to the flour mixture and mix together. Using a pastry blender or two forks cut the cold cubed butter into the flour mixture until it’s a coarse mixture.  Beat together egg and heavy cream and pour into the flour mixture and fold the mixture together, when it’s fairly well mixed, gently mix in the blueberries taking care not to smash the blueberries.  Don’t over work the dough.  On a floured surface, press the dough dough gently to form a square about 1 inch thick.  Cut into half then into half again so there are four squares.  Cut the squares at a diagonal to get the triangle shape.  If you want smaller pieces cut the triangles again so you get a total of 16 pieces.  Place on a ungreased cookie sheet.  Brush the tops of each triangle with some heavy cream and sprinkle with some turbinado sugar.  Bake for about 20 minutes at 400°F.  Let the scones cool on a cooling rack before serving.

Spiced Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Leftover bananas can sneak up on you.  It seems like one day they are firm, yellow and delightful and the next day they are dark brown and overripe.  Thankfully bananas are very versatile.  They are fantastic for baking, making smoothies and drinks and even in savory dishes.  I enjoy making banana bread with my overripe bananas and have posted my favorite version here. This time I wanted to make some muffins that were healthy AND delicious with some chocolate thrown in to make it special.  I used mini chocolate chips because 1/2 cup goes a long way and feels like there is a lot more than there is!  They turned out moist, flavorful and delicious.  This recipe makes one batch of 12 muffins.  If you get up early, you can throw the ingredients together stick it in the oven and go for a 22 minute run and come back to incredible warm muffins for breakfast.  It’ll improve your performance (guaranteed) when you know such deliciousness is waiting for you!

Mix bananas with melted butter, yogurt, egg and milk until well blended
Add dry mixture to liquid mixture and blend until just mixed (do not over mix)
Scoop into muffin pans and bake at 350 for 30 minutes
Let cool and enjoy!
Moist, flavorful and delicious!

Spiced Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I used Atta, or Indian WW flour)

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp salt

2 large bananas, mashed

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup (half a stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 large egg

1/4 cup 1% milk

1/4 cup non fat greek  yogurt

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 350° F. In a large bowl mix the flours, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt.  In a separate mixing bowl, combine the mashed bananas, baking soda, egg, melted butter, milk and yogurt until well incorporated. Stir the banana mixture into the dry ingredients until just blended (don’t over mix).  Stir in the mini chocolate chips.  Line a muffin pan with paper liners and using an ice cream scooper fill the muffin cups 3/4 full.  Bake the muffins for 30 minutes until golden brown.  Transfer the muffins to rack to cool for 15 minutes.

Very Blueberry Muffins

I love fresh fruits of any kind.  Especially berries.  I had never had any type of berries until I moved to the States and lived on a farm with my American family.  Every summer I helped to pick raspberries, marionberries and blueberries.  I got scratched a lot in the middle of the bushes.  The thorny kinds had the best yields.  That’s when I learned that freshly picked berries warmed by the sun are a special treat.  I ate as many as I picked!!   I keep meaning to put in a berry patch in my yard but they never seem to fit into my landscaping plans.  So, I’m always on the look out for fresh berries at the grocery store.  This week there were entire flats of blueberries available for $4 at this local store I like to go to that sells unusual combination of things.  I had to buy them up.  I ended up making blueberry compotes, chutneys, breads, pancakes ….and muffins.  These muffins were everything a muffin should be and unlike the Seinfeld episode, I ate the whole thing with my coffee and not just the muffin tops!

Mash about 3/4 cup of the blueberries with a fork
Mix in the smashed blueberries to the batter, alternating wet and dry ingredients as the batter is mixed
Stir in the remaining whole blueberries by hand
LIne muffin cups with liners and scoop out batter with an ice cream scoop
Sprinkle top with a little raw sugar before baking
Bake for about 22-25 minutes at 375 degrees.

Very Blueberry Muffins

1 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 cups flour

2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

1/2 cup milk

raw cane sugar for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 375°.  Line muffin pans with paper liners.  Using an electric mixer cream the butter and the sugar until creamy.  Add in the eggs and the vanilla and continue mixing.  In a separate bowl smash 1 cup of the blueberries with a fork and add to the batter and mix.  In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking powder, salt until blended and with the mixer running at low speed add half the flour mixture to the batter and half of the milk and blend.  Add remaining flour and milk.  Fold in the remaining blueberries by hand.  Using an ice cream scoop, fill the muffin cups 3/4 full and sprinkle a little of the raw can sugar on top of each muffin.  Bake for 22-25 minutes until golden brown.  Cool on a wire cooling rack before serving.

Adapted from a Gale Gand recipe published in 1999

Romancing the Granola

I kind of have a soft spot for Granola.  You see, I had just stuffed my mouth full of some yogurt and granola in the university dining room.  I had misjudged how much my mouth could handle and the extreme chewiness of the granola so I was trying desperately to gnaw my way through like a chipmunk….when I saw HIM.  He had hazel eyes and long eye lashes and was wearing a dark green sweater.   It’s funny the memories that come up with certain smells, sounds or foods.  As I was getting all the ingredients together for this granola for Onjoli and I to have with our yogurt or just as a cereal, I was grinning to myself and thinking about that first “meeting”.  The best part of that encounter was what happened a few minutes later.  I finally gulped down the granola and decided that I should make myself memorable.  Earlier that week I had learned the English word “saunter” (I was trying to improve my English by learning and using new words everyday).  I understood “saunter” to be sort of like a supermodel walk down the catwalk.  Not accurate, but hey, I was 17 years old.  In my head I planned to “saunter” past this hunk of manhood in my female glory so he’d be amazed and wonder “who was that gorgeous woman?”  I was so busy “sauntering” that I ran into one of the closed doors of the cafeteria.  I mean a serious face plant on the door.

The plan did work, he did notice me, just not exactly in the way I was planning.  Something must have worked, because that was 28 years ago.  Next week we will celebrate 26 years of marriage!

I was inspired by the awesome Chef Connie and her recipe for granola (she has a great blog!).  The granola turned out fantastic and I know that each time I take a bite, I’ll smile just a bit.  Do you have food that brings back a flood of memories?  I’d love to hear it!

Mix the dry ingredients, spices and brown sugar together
Heat together the applesauce, maple syrup, honey and oil
Add the heated “sauce” to the dry mixture
Add the heated “sauce” to the dry mixture
Spread on a cookie sheet to bake making sure to stir every 10 minutes to keep it evenly browned
Chop up the dried fruits
Add dried fruit to cooked granola while it’s still warm and mix well

Delicious Granola

5 cups rolled oats

1 cup pecans, rough chopped

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup flax seeds

1/2 cup raw peanuts, rough chopped

1 cup sunflower seeds, raw and unsalted

1/2 cup – 3/4 cup of any type of dried fruit you like—I used dates, apricots and dried cherries

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cardamom powder

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp sea or kosher salt

3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup honey

2 tbsp oil

Mix all the nuts, oats and seeds together (reserve the dried fruit for later) in a large pan or big bowl.  Add the spices, brown sugar and salt.   In a saucepan mix the applesauce, honey, maple syrup and oil and heat all the way through.  Pour over the dry ingredients and mix well.  Spread the mixture evenly on a parchment or Silpat lined cookie sheet in a pre-heated 350° oven.  Cook for 40-45 minutes but make sure and stir it every 10 minutes to brown it evenly.  Remove from oven and add in the dried fruits and mix well.  Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

No Knead Artisan Bread and Baguettes

I discovered this wonderful recipe from a delightful food blog called www.whilehewasout.wordpress.com  There are great ideas and recipes in this blog so you need to check it out.   What caught my eyes was this artisan bread recipe because you don’t have to knead it and you can store it in the fridge until you need to bake it. It’s like bread for dummies.  Could it really be that easy?  So I decided to try out the recipe and make both bread and baguettes since I was getting ready to make some Bruchetta later as well.  The dough is so versatile you can make rolls, pizza, calzones, stomboli and a myriad of other bread type recipes.  If you let it rest in the refrigerator the flavors of the dough deepen and give it some delicious almost sourdough like qualities.

Stir everything with a wooden spoon
Mix until all the flour is incorporated, cover and let rise
Dough will double in size after 2 hours
If making loaves, shape into two round loaves (or whatever shape) and let it rise another 1 1/2 hours
If making Baguettes the recipe will make four
Bake the bread with a cup of water underneath to create a steaming effect
The last 5-10 minutes bake directly on the rack
Baking directly on the rack gives a nice even crust all the way around
The round loaves
Cool completely to room temperature before slicing
The recipe makes four baguettes

Here’s the Recipe:

No Knead Artisan Bread and Baguettes

6 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tablespoons of active dry yeast

1 1/2 tablespoons of kosher salt

3-4 tablespoons of olive oil (a little more or less won’t hurt, I like a bit more)

3 cups warm water

In a large bowl (about 5 – 6 quart size) add water, yeast, salt and olive oil.  Add all the flour and mix with a wooden spoon until incorporated.  Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for about 2 hours.  You can use this dough right after the two-hour rise time or stick it in the refrigerator for use later.  It can be stored for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator (make sure it’s covered well but with a little venting).  When ready for use, dust dough lightly with flour, take out amount of dough that you want and shape it into any shape, place it on a cookie sheet or pan lightly dusted with corn meal, cover and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until double in size.  Right before putting the bread in the oven score it with a knife (this makes it look all fancy and professional).  Pre-heat oven to 440 degrees Fahrenheit or 230 degrees Celsius.  Place a small oven safe bowl or cup with warm water in the bottom rack and place the bread on the rack above it to bake.  Bake for 20 -25 minutes until it is a deep golden brown color.  Take the bread off the pan and place it directly on the rack and bake for another 5 -10 minutes to give it a nice even crust all around.  Cool completely to room temperature before cutting and serving.

Recipe courtesy of www.whilehewasout.wordpress.com

Apple Cinnamon Cottage Whole Wheat Pancakes

Did I mention that I currently have eight college students chilling out for Spring break? I love having a houseful.  It’s fun and  anytime any of my kids and their friends choose to hang out at our house, I count it a blessing! I know that time is fleeting.  But having house guests who can eat a lot means preparing mass quantities of food.  This morning after I got some work done on the computer and had a cup of coffee I braced myself to make a hearty breakfast with things I had around the house.  I decided to make pancakes with lots of delicious, healthy, high fiber options packed in.  Pancakes are very forgiving.  You can add all kinds of ingredients and still have it turn out great!

Measure out dry ingredients in a batter bowl
Add Cottage cheese, buttermilk, eggs to the dry ingredients
Pancake batter should be slightly foamy and well incorporated
Sprinkle apples and cinnamon over batter and wait for it to bubble up
Flip to cook the other side
Serve with a little sprinkled powdered sugar or some chocolate hazelnut spread for a little added decadence!

Here’s the recipe:

Apple Cinnamon  Cottage Whole Wheat Pancakes

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup wheat bran

3 cups low-fat buttermilk

2 eggs

1/2 cup cottage cheese

1 tsp kosher salt

2 tablespoon sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 Granny Smith or Gala apples peeled and chopped

2 tsp Cinnamon

oil for the griddle

Mix chopped apples and Cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.  Measure out all the dry ingredients in a batter bowl.  Add buttermilk, eggs and cottage cheese and mix to get all lumps out.  Heat a cast iron griddle or a non-stick griddle (or a frying pan) over medium heat.  Brush a little oil on the pan.  Pour 1/3 cup batter on the heated pan and spread Cinnamon coated apples evenly over the batter.  When the batter bubbles, flip over pancake and cook 50 seconds and serve warm.  You can top with powdered sugar, maple syrup or chocolate hazelnut spread (Nutella) – the current favorite at this house.  Makes about 12-13  four inch pancakes.