Monday, November 8, 2010

Cinnamon Buttermilk Muffins

Cinnamon Buttermilk Muffins

7 Tablespoons unsalted butter - softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract

1/3 cup white or raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line 12 muffin cups.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together using an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
3. Add the egg and beat until pale yellow and smooth.
4. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.
5. Add the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla - beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
6. Stir until just mixed - overmixing causes tough muffins!
7. Spoon the batter into the muffins cups evenly and sprinkle tops with a mixture of the sugar and cinnamon.
8. Bake until golden brown and springy to the touch - about 20-25 minutes.
9. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before removing muffins.
10. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Adapted from William's Sonoma Muffins cookbook.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Delicious and EASY Pot Roast

We're all looking for tasty, easy dinners these days. This recipe takes a little bit of thinking ahead since it takes a few hours to cook in the oven but once you put it in you're done until supper time!
The best cut of meat that I have found for this is Beef Shoulder - if you can get part of the shoulder blade in there it makes it even better.
Disclaimer - I made this yesterday and did not make the caramelized onions or roasted carrots - we ate the carrots that braised with the beef - they were delicious!

Pot Roast with Caramelized Onions and Roasted Carrots

For Pot Roast
½ cup canola oil
salt and pepper
3 – 4 pound beef shoulder roast
1 cup dry sherry
4 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 large onions, peeled and roughly chopped
8 stalks celery, peeled and roughly chopped
8 cloves garlic, peeled
1 bay leaf
About 8 cups chicken broth

For Roasted carrots and caramelized onions
6 medium carrots, peeled, halved horizontally, then halved lengthwise
¼ cup olive oil
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 medium mild onions, sliced crosswise into ¼ inch thick slices

1. Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 350 F.
2. Season beef with salt and pepper.
3. In a large Dutch oven or other ovenproof pot, heat oil over moderately high heat unitl hot
but not smoking.
4. Add beef and sear until dark brown and crisp on all sides.
5. Transfer beef to a large plate, pour off oil in pan and discard.
6. Add sherry and simmer, uncovered over medium heat, scraping up browned bits until
reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
7. Pour reduced sherry into a heatproof liquid measuring cup.
8. In the same pan, combine carrots, onions, celery, garlic, and bay leaf. Lay beef on top of
vegetables and pour reduced sherry over top of beef.
9. Add enough chicken stock to cover ¾ way up the beef.
10. Cover pan and place on lower rack of oven and roast until fork tender – about 3 hours.
11. While beef is roasting prepare carrots and onions. During final hour of roasting, toss
carrots with olive oil in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
12. Spread carrots on a baking sheet and transfer to upper rack in over – roast until tender
and slightly browned, about 45 minutes.
13. Heat canola oil for onions in a skillet over moderately high heat. Add onions and sautee
until caramelized – about 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
14. When beef in finished, remove from pot and cover with foil to keep warm on serving
platter. Drain juices through a sieve, discarding solids, and skim off fat. Return liquid to
pot and bring to a boil. Simmer until slightly reduced and season with salt and pepper.
15. To serve, combine carrots, onions and half of juices in a bowl and serve with sliced beef
and rest of juices in a gravy dish.

Yeast Rolls

Why not make your own rolls to go with dinner? No preservatives and WAY cheaper! Takes about 2 1/2 hours with rising and baking!
Half the recipe and it makes 16 good sized rolls - make the whole recipe and freeze half for later in the week!

Yeast Rolls
5 ¾ to 6 ¾ cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 pkgs active dry yeast
1 cup water
1 cup whole milk
½ cup butter
1 egg
melted butter, if desired
1. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, salt and yeast, mix well.
2. In a small saucepan, heat water, milk and ½ cup butter until very warm.
3. Add warm liquid and egg to flour mixture, blend at low speed until moistened.
4. Beat 3 minutes at medium speed.
5. Add an additional 2 ½ to 3 cups flour and kneed until dough pulls away cleanly from
sides of bowl.
6. Add an additional 1 ¼ to 1 ¾ cups flour and kneed on medium speed for 3-5 minutes –
until dough is smooth and elastic.
7. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover loosely with a towel.
8. Let rise in a warm place until light and doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes.
9. Punch down dough and divide it in half.
10. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.
11. Using half the dough, divide into 16 equal pieces.
12. Shape each into a ball, pulling edges under to make a smooth top and place balls, smooth
side up, in greased pan. Do this twice and use all the dough.
13. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 20 to 30 minutes.
14. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
15. Uncover dough, brush with egg wash(1 egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon water) and bake 16 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
16. Immediately remove rolls from pans and cool on wire rack for 15 minutes.
17. Brush with melted butter if desired.
18. Serve warm or cool.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Greek Pasta Salad with Shrimp and Olives

Greek Pasta Salad with Shrimp and Olives


3/4 pound tomatoes, chopped

1 large red bell pepper, seeded, chopped
1/4 pound feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup chopped pitted black olives (preferably brine-cured)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 

1 teaspoon dried thyme

6 green onions, chopped
1-2 large garlic cloves, chopped

3/4 pound linguine or other pasta, freshly cooked

3/4 pound cooked medium shrimp


1. Mix first 10 ingredients in large bowl.
2. Add linguine and shrimp and toss to blend.
3. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper.
(Can be prepared 30 minutes ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

Monday, March 29, 2010

The BEST Carrot Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

I've made this recipe twice in 4 days now since it is so delicious! The women at the first party were also going to be at the second party and they requested the carrot cake again - it got eaten even faster the second time!

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Lemon Zest Frosting


2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
3/4 cup canola oil
4 large eggs
3 cups grated carrots - 4 or 5 carrots
1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Butter two 9 inch diameter cake pans, line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper, butter the paper, flour the inside of the pans and tap out the excess.
3. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves in a medium bowl.
4. Whisk sugar, oil, applesauce in a large bowl and whisk in eggs, one at a time.
5. Add flour mixture and stir until blended.
6. Stir in carrots, nuts and grated ginger.
7. Divide batter between prepared pans and bake until tester inserted in the middle comes out clean - about 40 minutes - less in a convection oven.
8. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes, turn out onto racks, peel off parchment paper, cool completely.

Cream Cheese Lemon Zest Frosting


Three - 8 ounce packages cream cheese - at room temperature
2 sticks (1 cup or 8 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon good vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar - sifted


1. In a standing mixer whip the cream cheese and butter on medium high until combined and airy - about 2 minutes.
2. Mix in lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla.
3. Sift the powdered sugar and add slowly to mixer on low speed - try to keep it in the bowl!
4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix until all combined.
5. If frosting is too soft, mix in some more sugar and refrigerate until you need to use it.


1. Cut each layer of the cake in half horizontally with a long serrated knife.
2. Lay the first layer on the cake plate, top with 1/2 cup icing spread to the edge. Top with second layer, spread icing and repeat with 3rd and 4th layers.
3. Cover top and sides of the cake with icing and refrigerate until serving.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Happy St. Patricks Day!

In honor of our friend St. Patrick I thought I would post. This is a really good and easy recipe for corned beef.

Corned Beef and Cabbage


One 3 pound corned beef flat cut brisket, in brine
Water to cover in pan
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
4 whole allspice
2 whole cloves
½ head green cabbage cut into wedges
8 small new potatoes (about 1 ¼ pounds) halved
4 carrots, cut into chunks
Freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Place the corned beef in a colander in the sink and rinse well.
3. Place the corned beef in a large dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid.
4. Add the water to cover, bay leaves, peppercorns, allspice and cloves.
5. Bring to a boil, uncovered and skim off any scum that rises to the surface.
6. Cover the pan and transfer to the oven, braise until very tender, about 3 to 3 ½ hours.
7. Transfer the corned beef to a cutting board and cover tightly with foil to keep warm.
8. Add the cabbage, potatoes, and carrots to the cooking liquid and bring to a boil.
9. Lower the heat and simmer until vegetables are tender – about 20 minutes.
10. Using a slotted spoon – remove the vegetables from the liquid and transfer them to a large platter.
11. Slice the corned beef across the grain in thin slices and arrange on platter with vegetables.
12. Ladle some of the hot cooking liquid over the corned beef and season with pepper.
13. Serve immediately with stone ground mustard or horseradish sauce.