Tag Archives: blueberries

Summer Fruit Tart

fruit-tart-Melsisa-Iwai-2016

Summer is here in Brooklyn, and in expensive, delicious fresh fruit is in abundance (unlike when I lived in California where this is the norm!) My cousin visited us recently, and I made a Summer Fruit Tart for the occasion. They were impressed, but it is a pretty simple dessert to make. The key for me is to do it in steps over a couple of days. I made the dough on Thursday, the pastry cream on Friday, and baked and assembled the tart on Saturday right before our guests arrived.

I’ve made mini fruit tarts in the past, which are fun to do with kids.
tartlets_flash

For this one, I just made one large crust and filled it with one batch of the pastry cream. For the fruit, I arranged cut strawberries, sliced oranges (I cut off the membranes), kiwi, and blueberries and glazed with thinned apricot jam. Below is the recipe I used with some adjustments.

 

tart-close-melissa-iwai-2016

Pastry Cream (Adapted from Jacques Torres’ Dessert Circus)

2 large eggs

2 large yolks

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar (4.5 oz.)

3 tablespoons flour (25 g)

2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon cornstarch (25 g)

2 cups + 1 tablespoon milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 1/2 tablespoons butter

1.  Whisk eggs, yolks, sugar, flour, and cornstarch in a medium bowl until combined.  Make sure there are no lumps.

2.  Heat milk in a 2 quart heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium high heat.  Bring to a boil.

3.  Temper eggs.  Pour a little bit of the heated milk into the egg mixture while whisking constantly.  Then pour this mixture into the saucepan of milk.  Continuously whisk as it thickens.  After it comes to a boil, cook 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and butter.

4.  Transfer to a clean bowl and cover with saran wrap gently pressed on top of custard to prevent a skin from forming.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Pate Sucre (Sweet Dough) (Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)

1 large egg yolk

1 tablespoon heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup flour (6 oz.)

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar (1.5 oz)

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into pieces

1.  Whisk together egg yolk, cream, and vanilla in a small bowl.  Set aside.  Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Scatter butter over the flour.  Pulse 15 times.  With machine running, add egg mixture through feed tube.  Process until dough comes together, about 25 seconds.  Shape into disk and wrap with saran.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour

2.  Let stand at room temperature until malleable.  Roll out about 1/4-inch thick.  Cut to fit tart pan.  Press in and prick bottoms with the tines of a fork.  Chill until ready to bake.

3.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Fill tart with pie weights (or cover with a piece of aluminum foil sprayed with non-stick spray and fill with uncooked rice).  Bake about 15- 20 minutes.  Remove weights; bake 10-15 more minutes,  Watch closely – tarts should be golden — don’t let them brown too much.  Let cool on baking rack.  Using a sharp knife, remove shell to rack to cool completely.

Assemble Tart:

Glaze

1/3 cup jelly (I used apricot jam)

2 teaspoons water

1.  Heat jelly and water together.  Whisk.  Add more water if necessary to get a consistency of thin honey which you can easily brush on fruit with a pastry brush. If your preserves are lumpy, pass through a strainer.

2.  Cut fruit into slices.  Wash and dry berries.

3.  Fill tart shells with pastry cream.  Make a design on top using fruit.  Brush on jelly glaze with a pastry brush.

 

 

 

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BookCourt and Mini Donuts Three Ways

5 dozen Mini Muffins and 7 dozen Mini Donuts

5 dozen Mini Muffins and 7 dozen Mini Donuts

Last Saturday we had our book launch at BookCourt in Brooklyn.  We’re so lucky to have such a fantastic independent bookstore in our neighborhood!

Anne reading Truck Stop.

Anne reading Truck Stop.

Anne Rockwell, the author, came all the way from Stamford, CT to be there!  It was nice to see her again.  If I had any brain cells I would have had Denis take a picture of us in front of the store!

Talking about how I made the artwork.

Talking about how I made the artwork.

It was well attended and a lot people ended up staying a long time even after the reading was over (that’s a sign of a good bookstore!)

I made mini donuts and mini muffins for the occasion.  Luckily there were no leftovers to bring back home…  A big THANK YOU to all those who showed up!

Cinnamon sugar, chocolate, vanilla with chocolate glaze, and vanilla with sprinkles

Cinnamon sugar, chocolate, vanilla with chocolate glaze, and vanilla with sprinkles

 

Note:  I used a mini donut pan.  You could make regular sized donuts instead.  You will have to bake them for about 15 minutes and it will make about 1 dozen for each recipe.

Baked Vanilla Donuts with Vanilla and Chocolate Glaze (based on this recipe from theKitchn. I used a different method for the glaze because I wanted to make sure the glaze would be firm enough for transport)

Non-stick spray

2 teaspoons active dry yeast (one packet)

2 tablespoons warm water

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 large eggs

1 cup plain yogurt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Vanilla glaze:

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

water

Drop of food coloring if you want!

sprinkles

Chocolate glaze:

2 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup powdered sugar

milk as needed (about 1-2 tablespoons)

Cinnamon Sugar:

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

sprinkles

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Spray donut pan with non-stick spray.

2.  In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water and set aside.  In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

3.  In another bowl, whisk the eggs, yogurt, melted butter, vanilla extract, and yeast mixture until combined.  Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until incorporated.

4.  Spoon batter into donut pan –just a little bit — about half way.  With the mini donut pan, you don’t need much! It will spill over and look like a muffin.

5.  Bake donuts until puffed and golden, about 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 5 minutes on rack.  Transfer donuts to rack to cool.

6.  For vanilla glaze, I just added vanilla and a bit of water a little at a time to sugar until the consistency is opaque but still wet.

7.  For chocolate glaze, melt chocolate and butter together in microwave in 30 second intervals.  Stir until smooth.  Add sugar gradually.  Add milk if it is too thick.

8.  For cinnamon sugar topping, mix sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl.

9.  To decorate, dip donuts in glazes and sprinkle with sprinkles if desired.   Dip on both sides in cinnamon sugar mixture.

Baked Chocolate Donuts (based on this recipe on Mom Advice

Non-stick spray

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

4 teaspoons butter, melted

2 tablespoons coffee

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 325 F.

2.  Coat donut pan with non-stick spray.

3.  Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

4. In another bowl, whisk milk, sugar, egg, butter, coffee, and vanilla until smooth.

5.  Add milk mixture to flour mixture.  Whisk until fully incorporated.

6.  Fill donut pan a bit less than half-way full.  Bake for 8 minutes or until donuts spring back when touched.

7.  Cool in pan for about 5 minutes on rack.  Remove donuts to cool on rack.

8.  Dip in vanilla glaze (see above).

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Filed under Art Related, Books, Breakfast, Children, Desserts

TRUCK STOP Giveaway and Mini Blueberry Muffins

Truck Stop was released just five days ago last Thursday and author, Anne Rockwell, and I have been enjoying doing guest posts and interviews on our blog tour.  So far, here are our stops:

Once Upon a Story

Cracking the Cover

Hey Lorri

There’s a Book

Momma Drama

Just A Little Creativity

Kid Focused

A Mom’s Take

The Children’s Book Review

Five Minutes for Books

Susan Heim on Parenting

Kid Lit Frenzy

As They Grow Up

I’m also doing a giveaway of a personalized signed copy of Truck Stop on The Hungry Artist.

On Saturday I did my first signing of Truck Stop at the Greenlight Bookstore in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn.  I took part in Artist Battles with Sophie Blackall, Melissa Guion and Sergio Ruzzier.  There was a list of topics, and the kids would choose one for us to draw.  Then they would clap for their favorites at the end.  Whoever “won” would go on to the next round with a new competitor.

Me and Melissa Guion drawing "balloons".

Me and Melissa Guion drawing the word “balloons”.

It was all quite stressful and I was sweating profusely, but everyone was so nice.   It was more of a celebration of different drawing styles.

Melissa Guion and Sophie Blackall drawing the word, "battle"

Melissa Guion and Sophie Blackall drawing the word, “battle”

Me drawing a "moose" eating chocolate "mousse".  I didn't realize I was being watched so closely!

Me drawing a “moose” eating chocolate “mousse”. I didn’t realize I was being watched so closely!

At the signing table.

At the signing table afterwards.  Do I looked relieved?  I am!

I also handed out activity sheets from Truck Stop.  Click here to download some for yourself. 🙂

This week’s recipe inspiration comes from Flatbed’s Driver’s breakfast:

flatbed

Blueberry Muffin!

A Blueberry Muffin!

I love muffins, but I love mini ones even more.  🙂

mini muffins_crop


 

 

Mini Blueberry Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar Topping

Ingredients:

1 cup flour, plus 1 tablespoon for dusting

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of kosher salt

½ cup butter (1 stick) softened at room temperature

½ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ cup milk

1 ¼ cups fresh blueberries

Topping

1 tablespoon demarra sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Spray a mini muffin tin with non-stick spray and line with mini cupcake liners
  3. Whisk 1 cup flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.  Set aside
  4. Cream butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Add sugar and beat until pale and creamy.
  5. Add egg and vanilla.  Beat to combine
  6. With lowest setting running, add ½ of the flour, then ½ of the milk.  Mix to combine.  Repeat.
  7. Toss blueberries with 1 tablespoon flour to coat in a small bowl.  Add to muffin batter and stir gently with a spoon.
  8. Heap tablespoons of batter into cupcake liners.
  9. Mix topping ingredients together in a small bowl and sprinkle about ½ teaspoon on muffin tops.
  10. Bake for about 15 minutes, until a tester inserting in center comes out clean
  11. Cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.
  12. Remove muffins from pan to rack and cool a bit.

Yield: 24 small muffins.

*****************************************************************************************************

GIVEAWAY! (Sorry I tried generating one on Punchtab, but having problems with wordpress so I have to do this manually!)
I will be giving away a signed copy of Truck Stop.  The winner can have it personalized to whomever and I will also draw a picture of their choice.  The giveaway closes May 27 at 11 pm.  Then I will pick a winner and announce it in the next post!

To enter, just leave a comment — what is YOUR favorite breakfast item?

For more chances, Like Me on Facebook and tell me you did.

Follow me on Twitter and tell me you did.

Like Anne on Facebook and tell me you did.

Tweet about this giveaway and tell me you did.

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Filed under Art Related, Books, Breakfast, Snack

Individual Summer Fruit Crumbles

With vanilla ice cream–a perfect summer treat!

I’m right in the middle of finishing all the illustrations of my latest book project.  It will be published by Viking Press next year and is written by the amazing,  award winning Anne Rockwell.

I can’t show anything to you yet, but I can say that yummy breakfast food is a part of it. 🙂

Pancakes anyone?

Denis and I are also getting ready for the launch of our collaborative effort, Hush Little Monster, out next month.  More on that to come soon!

You would think with my workload I wouldn’t have time to make dessert on a daily basis.  But….

You would be wrong!

Here’s a  super easy and great summertime dessert that you can throw together without thinking.  The secret is to have a stash of topping already prepared.

Mix up a batch of crumble topping.  I use butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, some flour or oats, spices and chopped nuts.  Sometimes I also add coconut.  I’ve even made a sugar free one for a friend out of just butter (you could use coconut oil also), almonds, cinnamon, and oats.

Store this crumble mixture in the refrigerator and use as needed.

Leftover crumble in container I keep in the fridge

When you want to have some dessert, cut up some fruit — summer is wonderful for stone fruits and berries which work well here.   Mix with a bit of sugar and other flavorings if you like, such as lemon juice, zest, liqueur– have fun.

Blueberries and chopped cherries mixed with a touch of sugar

Then fill ramekins.  We use about 1/2 cup of chopped fruit mixture per ramekin.

My assistant spooning fruit into ramekins

Top with however much crumble you want.

Putting on topping

Bake at 375 F degrees.   Since it’s been so hot, I just use our Cuisinart toaster oven, aka Easy Bake oven, because it preheats so fast and doesn’t heat up the apartment.  It only takes ten minutes to warm the fruit up and brown the crumble.

Unbaked crumble

Baked crumble – after ten minutes in toaster oven

You could also use a larger baking dish and make a big batch at once time, but you’d need to bake it longer– about 40-45 minutes and use a regular oven.

I like the little individual ramekins because they are portion controlled, heat up fast, and are small enough to fit in our above mentioned toaster oven.

Also, they are cute.

This is a sugar free, dairy free version: Just fruit, oats and sliced almonds!

My son loves making these crumbles.  Serve with whipped cream or ice cream and enjoy!

Warm, crunchy, and creamy!

Individual Summer Fruit Crumbles

½ cup chopped summer fruit and/or berries per ramekin

½ – 1 teaspoon sugar, depending on how sweet you like it – or none at all

dash of liqueur (such as Kirsch or Cointreau) or lemon juice or zest if you like

Crumble Topping – use however much you like (see recipe below)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees.
  2. Stir fruit and sugar (and liqueur, lemon juice, zest, if using) together.  Spoon into ramekins.
  3. Top with crumble.
  4. Bake for about 10-15 minutes until lightly browned on top.
  5. Serve immediately or cool to room temperature.

If you want to make one big crumble for 4-6 people, use about 2 ½ pounds fruit with ¼ cup sugar and stir together in a square baking pan or pie pan.  Top with crumble mixture.  Bake for about 40-45 minutes at 375 F degrees.

Crumble Topping:

6 tablespoons flour or oats or combination

¼ cup packed brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar

pinch of salt

cinnamon or nutmeg to taste

5 tablespoons butter, chilled, cut into pieces

¾ cup chopped nuts (I like sliced almonds)

Note:  you can also add in dried coconut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds – use whatever strikes your fancy.

  1. Pulse flour, oats if using, with sugars and salt and spices in a food processor a couple times to mix together.  Add butter.  Pulse some more until mixture is sandy.  Then add nuts (and seeds and coconut if using) and pulse a few times more until mixture is clumpy.
  2. Store in a container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

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A Day of Souffles

I bought several different sizes of soufflé dishes years ago which have languished unused in our cupboards until recently.

OK – I didn’t really eat soufflés all in one day – Hello cholesterol!  I just want to share some soufflés (some sweet and some savory) that can be served and eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as dessert.

The only one I had ever made in the past is a lovely chocolate one, I found in Gourmet Magazine.

I decided to experiment and make a Chocolate Kahlua Soufflé based on this recipe (I got two huge bottles of Kahlua while on our cruise this past summer!)

Chocolate Kahlua Soufflé

Soufflés are characterized by their top crown that rises up from a straight edged dish.  Their texture is light and fluffy due to egg whites which have been beaten and folded into an egg yolk based batter.  They are best eaten immediately out of the oven when they are still tall and crusty on the outside and creamy and light inside.

The basic technique is to preheat an oven (it should be at the correct temperature when you put the soufflé in), butter a soufflé dish or individual ramekins,

This one is dusted with sugar after coated with butter

flavor beaten yolks,

for Chocolate Kahlua Soufflé I chopped chocolate and melted it and mixed this with Kahlua and the yolks

melted chocolate mixed with Kahlua and egg yolks

then fold in the whites,

Beat until they are just stiff – I added espresso powder and sugar to these, so they are tan instead of white.

pour mixture into prepared dishes, and then bake.

Ooops, dish was way too big!

My dish was too big – I should have used a smaller one.  Ideally the unbaked soufflé mixture should come about 1-inch ABOVE the rim of the dish.  Then when it bakes, it expands straight up, creating a crown.  I’ve also read that before you put it in the oven, if you run your thumb along the inside rim of the dish making a little well, it will make the crown shape better.

When filled, the unbaked soufflé mixture should come to about 1-inch above the rim of the dish.

I like using the little ramekins because they are fun to eat and look so nice.

Soufflés don’t have to be sweet.  I came across a recipe for Zucchini Soufflé in the New York Times earlier this month.  I loved the idea of a savory soufflé, and even better — it has veggies in it.  Mark Bittman featured a simple savory souffle recipe that cut out the traditional bechamel base (a sauce of flour and butter with hot milk) he called a “Mock Souffle“.   I adapted Mark Bittman’s recipe a bit.  I reduced the cheese and made 2/3 of the recipe since there are only three of us, and I didn’t know if everyone would be eating it.  Lol .

The result was mixed – the flavor and texture were great, but I had forgotten to butter the dishes – a huge mistake in Making Soufflé 101!  The butter allows the batter to rise up in the dish.  Also it allows you to remove it easily.   I will make this again though.  You can substitute different vegetables as well.  He suggests using spinach in place of the zucchini.

I was hooked.  I love frittatas and this mock soufflé is very similar in terms of ingredients.  Both have eggs, some cheese and, and some kind of added filling.  While frittatas are dense and compact, these soufflés are light and airy due to the different cooking method.

One evening last week I had some leftover grilled chicken, but not enough of it for the three of us.  So I decided to be adventurous and use it in a soufflé rather than a frittata.  We love caramelized sautéd onions, so I included those as well.  The chicken was already seasoned with thyme and garlic salt.  I added it, the caramelized onions and some grated Gruyere to the egg yolk mixture, and folded the beaten egg whites into it.

The result was a light, cheesy, onion-y treat with bits of chicken incorporated throughout.  My husband loved it so much, he had two full servings – always a good indicator for repeating the recipe in the future.

It would be fun to experiment some more and make different flavored soufflés.  I’m dreaming of a smoked salmon, dill, cream cheese one… a roasted tomato, basil, Parmesan one – there are so many possibilities!  These mock  soufflés can be a simple weeknight dinner if you have the fillings ready.

Finally, I saw a blog post the other day of an oatmeal soufflé and thought, “OK, I must make this!”

I love oatmeal and I love eggs for breakfast.  This is a great dish for a weekend brunch.  I substituted my whipped cottage cheese for the cream cheese (mascarpone cheese would be heavenly…) and reduced the amount of brown sugar because I like my oatmeal sweetened with banana.

Like a lot of other bloggers who have a love affair with oatmeal, I eat my oatmeal flavored a variety of ways:  topped with different seeds and nuts, dried coconut, granola, cinnamon, pureed pumpkin, peanut butter, with pumpkin butter, preserves, cottage cheese, berries, Nutella – oatmeal doesn’t have to be boring!  My favorite is oatmeal with blueberries, toasted pecans, and a pinch of sweetened coconut.  It tastes like a coconut blueberry pecan pudding dream.  So I decided to recreate it as a soufflé!

It is more labor intensive than oatmeal, but I love the texture more.  It was very light and fluffy and tasted like a dessert.  I drizzled a bit of maple syrup on top.  🙂

If you come up with any fun soufflé recipes, please share them with me!

Chocolate Kahlua Soufflé

adapted from Gourmet

3 tablespoons sugar plus additional for sprinkling

½ teaspoon espresso powder

2 ½ oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 tablespoon Kahlua

1 ½ egg yolks at room temperature

3 large egg whites

  1. Preheat oven to 375.  Butter soufflé dish and dust with a pinch of sugar, knocking out the excess.  Mix 3 tablespoons of sugar in a small bowl with espresso powder.  Set aside.
  2. Melt chocolate in a bowl set over simmering water.  Remove from heat and stir in Kahlua.  Then stir in egg yolks.
  3. Beat whites with a pinch of salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks.  Add sugar mixture a little at a time, beating at medium speed.until whites just hold stiff peaks.  Stir about 1/2 cup of whites into chocolate mixture to lighten, then add mixture to remaining whites, folding gently but thoroughly.
  4. Spoon soufflé into dish and run the end of your thumb around inside edge of soufflé dish, (this will help soufflé to rise evenly).  Bake in middle of oven until puffed and crusted on top but still jiggly in center, 15-20 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Souffle can be assembled up to 30 mintues before baking.  Keep, covered with an inverted large bowl (do not let bowl touch soufflé), at room temperature.

Zucchini Soufflé

adapted from Mark Bittman (I halved his recipe, reduced the oil and cheese and omitted the parsley)

1 tablespoon butter

2 teaspoons olive oil

½ medium onion, chopped

½ teaspoon minced garlic

2 small zucchini, grated (about 13 oz.)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

5 eggs, separated

2 ½ oz. Gruyere cheese, grated

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter four 1 1/2 -cup ramekins or one 6-cup soufflé dish.

2.  Heat oil in a large skill over medium high heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the zucchini, season with salt and pepper, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until very tender, another 10 minutes or so.  You can substitute a 10-oz. bag of spinach, chopped and cooked the same way.  Drain the vegetables if there is extra liquid and let cool.

3.  In a large bowl, beat egg yolks and add cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the vegetables and stir.  In a clean mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until they just hold soft peaks.  Stir a third of the whites into the yolk mixture to lighten it, then gently fold in the remaining whites.

4.  Pour into ramekins or soufflé dish.  Bake until golden and puffy, 30 to 35 minutes, and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings.

Chicken, Gruyere, Caramelized Onion

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon butter

1 medium onion, sliced thinly lengthwise

about 1 cup cooked chicken, diced

1 ¼ oz. of grated gruyere (about 1/3 cup)

4 eggs, separated

2 servings of egg whites (I used Quick Whites)

Non-stick spray or melted butter

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium low heat.  Saute onions in pan until softened and caramelized, about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, separate eggs so that yolks are in one bowl and whites are in a cold mixing bowl of stand mixer.
  4. Beat egg whites until they hold soft peaks.
  5. Beat egg yolks with a whisk until smooth.  Stir in chicken, cheese, and caramelized onions.  Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites until combined.  Then slowly fold in the rest of egg whites into mixture.
  6. Spray a large soufflé dish with spray or brush with melted butter.  Pour egg mixture into dish.  Bake for about 30-35 minutes in middle of oven.
  7. To serve, run a knife around edges to loosen, cut into fourths, and spoon onto serving plates.

Blueberry Coconut Oatmeal Souffle with Toasted Pecans

adapted from Persnickety Palate

Butter for preparing the dishes

Pinch of granulated sugar for dusting

½ cup milk

½ cup water

1 ½ oz. oats

½ medium banana, sliced thinly (optional-if omitting, use more brown sugar to sweeten oatmeal)

1/3 cup whipped cottage cheese, cream cheese or ricotta

2 teaspoons brown sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of salt

2 egg yolks

¼ cup thawed frozen blue berries

2 tablespoons sweetened coconut

1 tablespoon toasted, chopped pecans

3 egg whites

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Butter 5 ramekin dishes and dust with sugar, knocking excess out.
  3. Heat milk and water in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add oatmeal and banana.  Cook, stirring occasionally until oatmeal thickens, about five minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in whipped cottage cheese, ricotta, or cream cheese.  Then stir in brown sugar, cinnamon and pinch of salt.
  4. Separate egg yolks and whites in two large bowls.  I use Quick Whites for the extra white.  Add a bit of oatmeal mixture to bowl with yolks to temper it.  Then add yolks to saucepan and stir to incorporate.
  5. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks just form.  Fold in about 1/3 cup whites into oatmeal mixture to lighten.  Then fold oatmeal mixture and rest of whites together gently, so that the whites don’t deflate.
  6. Transfer to prepared dishes. Bake for about 30 minutes.

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Filed under Breakfast, chicken, Desserts, Dinner, Lunch, Sides, Vegetables

Happy Accident: Mini Blueberry Cinnamon Sugar Dusted Muffins

Things are going well these days.  On the book front, my editor told me my book, Soup Day, has sold out of its first printing.  Yay!  That means I’m closer to my goal of selling the 9,000 or so copies I need to sell to get a sequel (which I’ve already written.)  Please support me in the effort and buy a copy for that young chef in your life and encourage them to join you in the kitchen!

Today, Amy Zavatto, a wonderful food and wine writer, wrote a lovely piece about spending a day with her niece and cooking on her Barnes and Noble food blog.

I’ll be part of the November Picture Book Bonanza at Books of Wonder in Manhattan this Sunday (11/21) from 1-3.  There will be so many amazing authors and illustrators there – James Howe, Wendell Minor, Dan Yaccarino, Lenid Gore, and a bunch of others!

And if you are in the Naperville, IL area, I would love to meet you at Anderson’s Book Store Tuesday (11/23) at 7.  I’ll be visiting schools in the area during the day and then doing the book store event at night to kick start my Thanksgiving holiday with my family. 🙂

On the food front, I flubbed a recipe big time, but sometimes mistakes can turn into a nice gift – isn’t that how pot stickers were invented?  The legend goes that the chef was cooking for the emperor and he burnt the dumplings on the bottom.  He didn’t have time to make a new batch, so he served them and called them “Pot Stickers”. The emperor loved them, and pot stickers were born.  Mine wasn’t as revolutionary but shared the same spirit!

Last weekend we had a brunch to go to, and I decided to try a new blueberry muffin recipe.  Here is the original source.

Photo by Mrs. Unrath

The problem was that I was in my 5:50 am pre-coffee state of mind.  My plan was to divide the recipe in half and make mini muffins.  I made the unfortunate (or fortunate?) error of halving everything except the butter.  Oops!  Oh, also the vanilla.  And I was too lazy to grate nutmeg, so I substituted cinnamon.

Additionally, I tweaked the recipe by adding the dry ingredients together, rather than the order in the original recipe and used demarra sugar instead of granulated for the topping because it’s prettier.  I was working on auto pilot…

But lo and behold – when the little treats came out, they were the most delicious blueberry muffins I have ever tasted.  A growling stomach may have had some influence, but I am sure the double dose of butter didn’t hurt!  Even with the extra serving, they weren’t greasy at all – just moist and heavenly.  The demarra sugar gave the tops a nice crunch, and the cinnamon was a perfect complement to the blueberry.  Even Picky #1 and Picky #2 said they were “the best muffins” they’d ever had — which is saying a lot!

Even though they were a bit more decadent—they are very small, so it is a mini indulgence. I felt like I was channeling my inner Ina Garten and Paula Deen writing up this recipe!

The only thing I would change next time is to bake them in paper liners so they are easier to remove from the muffin pan.  Try my recipe as is – or if you want to be a little health conscious, cut the butter in half.  If you do, let me know how they turn out!

Best Blueberry Mini Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar Topping

Ingredients:

1 cup flour, plus 1 tablespoon for dusting

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of kosher salt

½ cup butter (1 stick) softened at room temperature

½ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ cup milk

1 ¼ cups fresh blueberries

Topping

1 tablespoon demarra sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Spray a mini muffin tin with non-stick spray and line with mini cupcake liners
  3. Whisk 1 cup flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.  Set aside
  4. Cream butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Add sugar and beat until pale and creamy.
  5. Add egg and vanilla.  Beat to combine
  6. With lowest setting running, add ½ of the flour, then ½ of the milk.  Mix to combine.  Repeat.
  7. Toss blueberries with 1 tablespoon flour to coat in a small bowl.  Add to muffin batter and stir gently with a spoon.
  8. Heap tablespoons of batter into cupcake liners.
  9. Mix topping ingredients together in a small bowl and sprinkle about ½ teaspoon on muffin tops.
  10. Bake for about 15 minutes, until a tester inserting in center comes out clean
  11. Cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.
  12. Remove muffins from pan to rack and cool a bit.

Yield: 24 small muffins.

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