whole wheat apple muffins

i think out of all the muffin recipes i've tried, this is definitely my favorite so far.

these muffins crumble in your mouth.  the buttermilk is the perfect addition (in my opinion).  yum.

whole wheat apple muffins

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, divided
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk or yogurt
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped (i used 2 1/2 gala apples)
1) Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease and flour or line with paper muffin cups 14-16 muffin cups and set aside).
2) Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and add 3/4 cup of the sweetener of choice. Beat until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix in the buttermilk gently. (If you over-mix, the buttermilk will cause the mixture to curdle.) Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the apple chunks.
2) Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar on top. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 400°F, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 
Yield: 14-16 muffins

 she said "serve warm with butter" but, i didn't think butter was necessary.  i also forgot to put the remaining 1/4 cup sugar on top.  still good ... still delicious!

Nutrition Facts
whole wheat apple muffins
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat5.9g
      Saturated Fat3.6g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber2.5g
Vitamin A 4%Vitamin C 2%
Calcium    5%Iron 5%


whole wheat spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce & garlic basil oil

oh my gosh, this was soooooo yummy!

usually i'm not a huge fan of spaghetti because i really don't like spaghetti sauce.  especially the meaty kind so my poor family has suffered through jar after jar of ragu.  i thought it was supposed to be like a marinara (ragu) but it's not.  not at all.

this however, this is the perfect tomato sauce.  the infused olive oil adds the perfect kick and the fresh tomatoes were just so nice and so fresh.  

i served it with italian seasoned grilled chicken and garlic bread but i would have been perfectly satisfied with just the spaghetti and a small side salad.

please try this recipe.  i beg you.

whole wheat spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce & garlic basil infused oil
adapted from the steamy kitchen

4 ripe tomatoes
12 oz can whole tomatoes
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
1 oz parmesan cheese (1/2 cup)
8 fresh basil leaves, well washed & dried, stacked & rolled into a cylinder & sliced thinly into a chiffonade*
1 lbs whole wheat spaghetti

garlic & basil infused olive oil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 whole cloves of garlic
10 whole fresh basil leaves
generous pinch of red pepper flakes

first make the the garlic-basil oil by heating a small saucepan over low heat with 1/4 cup olive oil, garlic cloves, basil leaves & pepper flakes.  keep the heat on low to allow the ingredients to warm slowly & release their flavors.  when the garlic is lightly browned (this was about 25 minutes for me), turn the heat off & let cool for 10 minutes.  the longer you let the oil sit, the more infused the oil.  strain the oil, discarding the solids.  (then take a wiff .... yum!).

(horrible photo, i know ... sorry)

next, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  have a large bowl of ice water nearby.  cut a small X on the bottom of each tomato.

next, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  have a large bowl of ice water nearby.  cut a small X on the bottom of each tomato.

ease the tomatoes into the pot & boil for about 15 seconds then promptly move them to the waiting ice water.

pull off the skin with the tip of a paring knife.  quarter the tomatoes & use your finger to flick out the seeds. 

after the tomatoes are peeled, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat until quite hot.  add the fresh & canned tomatoes, red pepper flakes & season lightly with salt & pepper.  let the tomatoes cook for a few minutes to soften.  then, using a potato masher (or, if you're like me who does not own a potato masher, use the back of a wooden spoon), chop the tomatoes finely.  cook the tomatoes for 20 to 25 minutes until the tomatoes are tender & the sauce is thickened.

to cook the spaghetti, bring a large pot of water to a boil & cook the spaghetti until just shy of al dente & drain, reserving a little of the pasta cooking water (i forgot to do this and could have used a little water when all was said & done).

add the cooked pasta to the sauce & cook over medium high heat, gently tossing the pasta & the sauce together with a couple  of wooden spoons & a lot of exaggerated movement until the pasta is just tender & the sauce, if any oil had separated from it, now looks cohesive.  (if the sauce becomes too thick, add a little pasta cooking liquid to adjust it).  Remove the pan from the heat & toss the butter, basil & cheese with the pasta in the same manner.  drizzle with just a bit of the garlic & basil infused olive oil on each plate (you might not use it all.  if there's some leftover, store it in the fridge).

*the first time i was instructed to slice fresh basil into a chiffonade i had no idea what that meant.  it goes like this ...

stack the basil leaves on top of one another

roll into a cylinder

and slice ...


serves at least 6 (the kids ate theirs gone, husband had seconds and there was still a lot leftover).  nutritional info for garlic basil oil is for 1 tsp per serving.  makes 12 tsp.

Nutrition Facts
spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat12.6g
      Saturated Fat4.2g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber7.8g
Vitamin A 17%Vitamin C 42%
Calcium    12%Iron 17%

Nutrition Facts
garlic and basil infused olive oil
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat4.7g
      Saturated Fat0.7g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber0.1g
Vitamin A 2%Vitamin C 1%
Calcium    0%Iron 0%


sweet italian sausage with cabbage tossed with penne

okay, this is a keeper.  i know it doesn't look like it but, it was freaking fantastic and the kids went back for seconds. 

i've felt uninspired lately and my blogging has suffered.  not that anyone cares (i know this) and not that anyone reads (i know this too) but,  still feel like offering an explanation.  the thing is, even though i don't do anything to make this blog "bigger" or "better," i still enjoy the hobby and i love having a written record of all the recipes i've tried and liked.  it's my cookbook.  that's all it is.

so, i add this to my cookbook and if by some off chance another person catches this post, i urge you to give this recipe a try.  it's the perfect combination of sweet, spicy, crunchy and soft.

sweet italian sausage with cabbage tossed with penne
recipe adapted from martha's version and a version i ran across in real simple magazine

1 1/2 lbs sweet italian turkey sausage links (casings removed)
3 green onions, chopped
6 cups green cabbage, sliced thin
2 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup unsalted chicken stock
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp chives
s&p to taste
~10 oz penne pasta (i used barilla plus)

brown sausage over medium high heat.

while turkey is cooking, chop onions and cabbage and bring pot of water to a boil for pasta.

once turkey is browned, remove from heat and add olive oil to the pan (leave turkey drippings).  once oil is hot, add cabbage and onion sauteing over medium heat for 6 minutes.  during this time, add pasta to be cooked according to package directions.

add chicken broth to the cabbage mixture and simmer for 3 minutes.  drain pasta.  add turkey and pasta to cabbage mixture.  add vinegar and chive to mixture and toss to coat.  serve with s&p to taste.

serves 6

Nutrition Facts
Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage with Cabbage and Penne
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat13.9g
      Saturated Fat2.8g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber5.6g
Vitamin A 3%Vitamin C 51%
Calcium    11%Iron 13%

carrot tomato soup with homemade croutons

what to do with all these tomatoes?  

that's the thought i had after i realized i had way more than i could eat myself.  the problem is no one else in this home likes tomatoes but me.  however, they all like tomato soup.  ding ding ding!

i made this soup the other night.  it was pretty good.  i say "pretty" good only because we all could have done without the carrots which is interesting consider the original source adds carrots so her kids will eat it.

i'd make it again for sure but without the carrots.  if you like carrots though and your kids like carrots then i'd say it would go over quite well on your table.

carrot tomato soup
2 TBSP butter
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 lbs tomatoes, peeled* and sliced in half with stems removed
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
(optional) fresh sprigs of thyme, oregano or rosemary
1 medium sized yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
5 medium sized carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
Place sliced tomatoes on a baking sheet. Cover with most of the olive oil (reserving 2 TBSP or so), and the salt and pepper. If you'd like a little more flavor, I sometimes add a fresh sprig or two of oregano or thyme atop the tomatoes. Place in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes to roast.

Halfway through the roasting, melt the butter and remaining olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add onion, celery, carrots, and garlic and cook until the vegetables begin to get soft (15 minutes or so). When the tomatoes are done, add those to the pot (removing the sprigs of herbs), along with the stock. Simmer on low until the vegetables are all tender (another 15 minutes or so).

Puree the soup. (I don't have an immersion blender, so my regular blender works just fine, doing it in batches.)
Return the soup to the pot and onto the stove. Heat slowly. Add the chopped basil and heavy cream.
*To peel the tomatoes, heat a sauce pan full of water and bring to a boil. Place tomatoes in for a minute. Remove and let cool. The skins will peel off easily after that.

homemade croutons
3/4 loaf french bread cubed (as large or small as you'd like your croutons to be but, keep the size the consistent)
olive oil, salt, pepper and whatever seasoning/cheese you'd like (i stuck to plain old s&p)
chop your bread.  
while bread is in a large bowl, pour oil and seasonings over the top and mix well with your hands.  once the bread is evenly coated, place the bread in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven tossing several times during baking (bake until golden and crunchy).

sorbet {grapefruit & mango} & candied grapefruit peel

we've had an abundance of produce around here.
two weeks in a row the co-op included mangos and one week we received an big bag of grapefruit.

mangos are yummy but, not something i'd just eat to eat and really, grapefruit is good too but, i knew we wouldn't eat that huge bag in one week so, i made sorbet.

first, forgive the quality of these photos.  my camera is not it's usual self so i'm making due with what i have.  

both were super easy to make (using an ice cream maker) and we gobbled them up.  i've decided i prefer sorbet and fruit sherbets over the creamy stuff.  thank goodness.

mango sorbet
(her photo is much nicer)

2 large, ripe mangoes (2 pounds, 1 kg) {i used 4 small}
2/3 cup (130 g) sugar
2/3 cup (160 ml) water
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon dark rum, plus more to taste {i used 2 Tbsp coconut rum}
Pinch of salt

Peel the mangoes and cut the flesh away from the pit. Cut the flesh into chunks and put them in a blender with the sugar, water, lime juice, rum, and salt. Squeeze the mango pits hard over the blender to extract as much of the pulp and juice as possible. Puree the mixture until smooth. Taste, then add more lime juice or rum if desired. Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions

pink grapefruit sorbet
(her photo is much nicer too)

3 each Pink Grapefruits
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Water
1-2 Tbsp. Grenadine
Wash the grapefruits and zest 2 of the grapefruits. Combine the water, sugar, and zest in a saucepot and bring to a boil. Just cook until the sugar is dissolved then remove from the heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes so that the zest can infuse the simple syrup with its flavor. Meanwhile zest the third grapefruit and very finely mince the zest. Measure out 1/2 Tbsp. for the recipe and reserve the rest for another use. Juice and strain the grapefruits. This should yield approximately 2 cups of juice. Stir the mince zest into the juice. Strain the simple syrup into a measuring cup. It should be about 12 ounces. Pour half of it into the juice. Taste and adjust to your liking. It should taste overly sweet as the freezing process will deaden the sweetness considerably. I like my sorbets pretty tart so I stop with the 6 ounces. If you want something a little sweeter add a couple more ounces. If the color is not to your liking add the grenadine to bump up the color. You could also try food coloring, but be very careful, you want a nice light pink color, not red. Chill for at least 2 hours then freeze, in an ice cream maker, following the manufacturer’s directions. Once it is done it is ready to eat, but I like to give my sorbets and ice creams a chance to harden in the freezer overnight before I dig into them.

candied grapefruit peel

i also made candied grapefruit peels from the other grapefruits brooklyn and i had for breakfast.  i can't remember where i got the recipe from but i doubt anyone really cares.  they were fun though (fun to make and fun to eat) and the kids really liked them.  two days worth of work and this is all we got out of it:

the first thing you do is get the peel off of the grapefruit getting rid of as much of the white part as possible without leaving the peel too thin.  i used two grapefruits.

then, you cover the peel with boiling water and boil for five minutes, strain, re-fill the pot, bring to a second boil and add the peel again for another 5 minutes.  repeat this four times total to get rid of the "bitterness" from the peel.

the next step is probably where i'll fail you.  it seems you dissolve a cup or two of sugar in a cup of water then boil the peel for an hour and half in this sugar water.   once the peel is translucent, remove it from the sugar water onto a rack (line under the rack with parchment paper to catch the drips).  let sit overnight (for at least 8 hours) then roll the peels in sugar.

nice and healthy *wink*
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