Brown Butter Maple Oat Breakfast Muffins; Learn my Quick, One Pot “Blank Canvas”  Recipe, and a lemon version

img_9499I’m bringing muffins back! Some of you may be thinking, I never knew muffins were out, neither did I! That was until I went to research muffin recipes in my new cook book and nada! Looking further online, it seems the culinary world has turned its back in this American staple. The muffin  is underrated and seen as creation that takes little skill that has now been confused with its trendier counterpart the cupcake. Muffins were created in America, different from the English version, this muffin was a batter that required a tin, and baking powder, which wasn’t invented until the late 1800’s. Muffins were traditionally made by hand, but modern bakeries wanting to make them more light like the much desired cupcake,  added more sugar and used a mixer to add dry to wet ingredients. Personally the muffin means a lot to me. It has been a wonderfully easy way yo be creative as a busy mom, and feed my kids a wholesome snack at the same time. Muffins are versatile and a great way to use seasonal fruits an vegetables. The possibilities are endless, and in using traditional methods with high quality  ingredients its like creating a work of art. It has taken me time to be able to not have to look at a recipe, creating a stand by muffin recipe that I can make quickly,  being able to get creative with what I have, and double easily to share. My recipe takes one pot, little mess and little time. I usually can make these in 10 minutes or less and you can too! Think of this recipe as a blank canvas. The ingredients should be the freshest you can find. If you can take the time to make fresh yogurt  I encourage it. See my recipe for homemade yogurt. Besides added health benefits, yogurt tenderizes baked goods. The homemade yogurt makes this muffin special, and creates a feeling of accomplishment. Get cookin’!

Ingredients

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Everything here except the Baking Soda and Powder

  • 3 C flour
  • 1 C Rolled Oats
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 3/4 C Sugar
  • 1/4 C Maple Syrup
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 C yogurt
  • 1/2 C Butter (melted)
  • 1/2 – 1 C add ins- see below.

For Lemon Oat Muffins:

  • Juice and Zest of 2 Meyer Lemons
  • Powdered Sugar for dusting.

Other ideas for ad ins for both sweet and savory muffins include ; Apple sauce, Fruit puree or whole berries, chocolate chips, almond butter, roasted nuts, pureed vegetables like carrot or cauliflower, cheeses, grated zucchini, and the list goes on! You can adjust the add ins by decreasing the amount of yogurt or butter used. For example if you want to add 1 C apple sauce use only 1/2 C yogurt.

Have fun creating new muffins to try with your family. The portable nature of a muffin makes it such a great convenience and a way to pack nutrition into your day without hitting the drive thru, taking time and money. Remember these also freeze great for later use so stock up when you have some extra time to bake!

Directions;

In large pot melt butter. If making Lemon Muffins as pictured above, add lemon zest and juice. Let butter cool slightly. Add sugar, yogurt, maple syrup and oats, stir.

Place sifter over pot and sift in flour, salt, baking powder and soda.

Make a well in center of flour crack in 2 eggs. Using a fork beat the eggs until yoke and whites combined, then fold into dry and wet ingredients until just combined. Do not over mix, batter should be lumpy and this is OK. Spoon into buttered tins.

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You can never over fill and muffin tin!

bake 350 F for 15-20 minutes, or until tooth pick comes out clean. For Lemon Muffin sift tops with powdered sugar and additional lemon zest. Enjoy!

 

Christmas Jam; Persimmon and Pomegranate

This is a recipe that if you are fortunate to receive or have large amounts of this special produce should be made with care and given with love. It is literally so good you can eat this by the spoonfuls! It has just the right amount of sweetness.  I don’t even like Persimmons, or so I thought. This will be used in many recipes from a cheese cake to a turkey glaze, so stay tuned, and get creative using this in your own recipes!  This was truly a blessing and joy to make. Our Meyer lemon tree is almost ripe, and the juice in the lemons worked well to bring some tartness to the super sweet persimmons. We picked the persimmons from a ranch in Knights Ferry that my aunt so graciously lets us visit anytime. The persimmon tree has been there for ages and is a sight to behold as you wind your way down to the valley on the ranch. The boys helped pick a bunch. We eagerly tasted one, big mistake. Not quite ripe,  I liken it to eating a bitter cotton ball!  The persimmons set out a week they became mushy soft, which is what you want for this variety, also known as Hichiya,  before you try to eat or bake. They were super sweet in a delicate way. Little did we know we came upon a fortune, as at the grocery store persimmons were going for 2$ each! My sweet neighbor, Barbra, brought us a large bag of pomegranates from her beautiful tree, these are the best I have ever had. Store bought does not compare, I can barely taste the seeds in these there is so much fruit inside. I thought combining these two seasonal fruits into a Jam that will serve as a gift and an ingredient in holiday baking would be festive and appreciated!

Ingredients:

(You can triple this recipe to give as gifts for Christmas)

  • 1 C Persimmon Puree (6 large persimmons)img_8703
  • 1/3 C Sugar (or to taste, depending on how sweet fruit is, can also be left out)
  • 2 Tbsp Water
  • 1 Tbsp Corn Starch
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 C Fresh Pomegranate Juice

 

Directions:

Peel persimmons into blender. I find it easiest to use my hands and kind of mulch out the innards.  Seed the pomegranates by cutting in half and using a large wooden spoon to whack until seeds fall into bowl.

Will seem messy at first but once you get the hang of this it will go fast. Make extra and freeze the juice for later or for drinking.  Puree Persimmons until smooth. Using juicer juicepomegranate  seeds to extract juice. (Or use store bought!)  Place puree in sauce pan, add sugar and pomegranate juice over medium  heat until incorporated. Add water and corn starch in separate bowl and whisk until dissolved. Whisk into puree. Add lemon juice. Boil on low until thickened, approx 15 minutes. Let jam cool to room temperature and pour into sterilized jars. Can if desired, or store in refrigerator.  Enjoy and share the love!

Harvest Short Ribs; Braised in Brown Butter and Tarragon on Bed of Creamy Yogurt Polenta

img_8608Tried to sound fancy; got you didn’t I?? This is simple as food gets, but we can make it sound pretty elevated. This is “peasant food,” which by the way is the kind of food I love to eat and cook. It is about using what you have, making the most of it. When cooking my recipes, have fun be creative. Don’t have nutmeg? Don’t drive to the store, use something you may have, cloves or coffee can warm up this dish with flavor just as well, then it will be truly your creation.

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The short rib is by no means a fancy cut, but when cooked right it is buttery melt in your mouth divine. I used the last of our garden vegetables as I prep our garden beds for a fall garden. I roughly chopped up the vegetables, letting them cook down through out the day, and then puree in a blender. I plan to use the other half for a vegetable based soup. The ribs are braised with tarragon,  butter and coconut oil, then allowed to stew with the sauce until tender. The coconut oil allows the butter to get to a high temperature without burning. I serve this over polenta. My mother and grandmother always had polenta, I was shocked at how little other people use this Italian staple!  I like my polenta creamy, but not watery, similar to a thick “grits,” with the grain of polenta is finer. I stir in my yogurt made fresh from the dairy farm to give the polenta extra creamy.  If you haven’t tried to make your own yogurt try it using my method! This is a perfect meal for a cold fall night. Make extra and invite friends!

Ingredients:

  • 4-8 Qts vegetable puree. (A full 8 Qt Pot of chopped vegetables)
  • 4- 6 lbs Short Ribs
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Chopped Tarragon
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 C wine
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • 1 tbsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 C molasses
  • 1/3 C balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 C sugar

Polenta:

  • 1 1/2 C Corn Meal
  • 6 Cups of Chicken Stock
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Yogurt
  • Parmesan Cheese

Directions: Roughly chop what vegetables you have on hand (carrots, celery, onion, kale, garlic, eggplant, zucchini etc) Add olive oil, salt and pepper and cook until all vegetables are tender. Puree in blender or with immersion blender in pot.

In separate pan, brown short ribs. I will explain the method of braising; start by heating the butter and coconut oil in saute pan. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Chop tarragon and add to pan. Pace ribs in pan and let brown on one side, then flip. Approx. 3 minutes a side at very high heat. Make sure you get a nice “crust,” this will allow the ribs to seal in any juices and lead to tastier meat. Now you will have some burnt looking bits, this is the fat that has been rendered and is full of flavor. Add a little liquid of your choice, wine, water or chicken stock. About 1/4 cup. Using spatula scrape these bits with the liquid and let it reduce a bit. Add ribs and browning liquid to vegetable puree.

Add molasses, nutmeg, sugar and vinegar. Simmer on low heat for 1 hour. Place in 350 F oven for 2-4 hours. Make polenta by boiling chicken stock and butter. Add Polenta slowly with whisk to avoid lumping. remove from heat and let sit for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Serve short ribs over polenta with extra juice and a little parmesan if desired! Enjoy.

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Because if I ever become a mother who keeps their family from eating to get a good picture, please tell me to stop