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Archive for July 11, 2013

FOOD HOLIDAY: National Blueberry Muffin Day

Homemade blueberry muffins. Photo © Klikk
| Fotolia.

 

July 11th is National Blueberry Muffin Day. If you’ve never made blueberry muffins from scratch, today’s the day. Use seasonal fresh blueberries. Most commercial blueberry muffins use frozen blueberries, which can get watery. There‘s nothing like the real deal.

The creator of this recipe is unknown, but it appeared in early versions of the Fanny Farmer Cookbook. The name evokes Twin Mountain, New Hampshire, a pair of mountain peaks called North Twin and South Twin. The recipe is not in the current edition, but you can purchase a reprint of the Fannie Farmer 1896 Cook Book.

RECIPE: TWIN MOUNTAINS BLUEBERRY
MUFFINS

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pastry flour*
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup blueberries
  •  
    *You can substitute 1-7/8 cups of all-purpose flour, but pastry flour creates more tender muffins.

    Preparation

    1.PREHEAT oven to 400°F. COMBINE 1-1/2 cups flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl. In a second bowl combine eggs, milk and butter. In a third bowl, sprinkle 1/2 cup flour over the blueberries.

    2. POUR the egg mixture over the flour mixture. Stir only enough to dampen the flour; the batter should not be smooth. Gently stir in blueberries.

    3. SPOON into buttered muffin tins. The batter should fill the each muffin cup two-thirds high. Bake for 15 minutes.

    MUFFIN VS. CAKE

    Muffins are often referred to as “small cake-like breads” and quick breads, but this explanation needs to be rethought. As recipes have evolved over time, the sugar and butter content of many muffins put them into the cake category—more precisely, the cupcake category. Many of them can pass as un-iced cupcakes.

    That’s why you can serve them for dessert. Cut the muffin in half, toast it lightly if you wish, and top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or mascarpone.
     
    See all of the July food holidays.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Tartlet With Matching Sorbet

    Thanks to the enthusiastic response to yesterday’s easy, light summer dessert, the Pavlova, here‘s another idea. It was inspired by a dessert we saw at Chocolate Lab restaurant in San Francisco:

    Serve a fresh fruit tartlet with a matching sorbet. Here are the easy steps: Choose a pairing theme (mango, raspberry, strawberry or other fruit where you can buy or make a matching sorbet) and assemble the ingredients.

    You can start by looking for inspiration at artisan sorbets±blueberry tarragon, strawberry basil, etc. But there‘s nothing wrong with a simple, everyday sorbet.

    FRUIT TARTLET WITH SORBET

    Ingredients

  • Tartlet shells, purchased or made
  • Fruit(s) of choice
  •  

    Strawberry tartlet with strawberry tarragon sorbet from Chocolate Lab | San Francisco.

  • Optional base (crème pâtissière [recipe] or purchased custard, vanilla yogurt) or glaze (melted currant jelly)
  • Optional garnish (mint leaf, chocolate medallion, etc.)
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    Preparation

    1. CUT the fruit into pieces that fit comfortably into the tartlet shell

    2, ADD a light base of crème pâtissière or alternative (if using current jelly, pour it over the fruit). Top with fruit.

    3. SCOOP sorbet onto plate; add tartlet; garnish and serve.

    FOOD 101: TART VS. TARTLET

    A tart is an open-face pastry with a base of plain or puff pastry dough. It is baked in a shallow tart pan that has either straight or fluted sides and a removable bottom, or in a metal tart ring placed on a baking sheet. The filling can be sweet or savory.

    “Tart” refers to the full-size, multi-portion pastry, a cousin to the pie. Individual-size tarts are called tartlets; a mini tart (bite size) is also a tartlet.

    Unlike a pie, a tart is removed from the tart pan or ring before serving. Here are all the differences between tarts and pies.

      

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    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Mojito Day & A Coconut Mojito Recipe

    A coconut Mojito. Photo courtesy
    FirewaterBars.com.

     

    July 11th is National Mojito Day, a time to relax with a tall glass of rum, ice, sugar and mint.

    While we’re great fans of the original Mojito recipe, here‘s a variation from Cruzan rum, a distiller that makes both conventional and flavored rums on the Caribbean island of St. Croix:
     
    COCONUT MOJITO RECIPE

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2 parts light rum or Cruzan Aged Light Rum
  • 1 part coconut rum
  • 8-10 mint leaves
  • 2 lime wedges
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Coconut water or coconut soda (check at Latin American markets)
  • Ice cubes
  • Mint sprigs wrapped for garnish
  •  

    Preparation

    1. Muddle mint, lime and sugar in a cocktail shaker; top with rums and ice. Shake 2 times to mix.

    2. POUR into glass. Top with coconut water/soda.

    Variations

    You can add cranberry juice to make a Cranberry Mojito, or muddle raspberries for a Raspberry Mojito.

    For more intense coconut flavor, check out the Coquito Mojito, a recent winner in a Florida cocktail competition.

    And if you love beets, try this Beet Mojito.

     
    MOJITO HISTORY

    The mojito (moe-HEE-toe) is a quintessential Cuban cocktail. The name derives from the African voodoo term mojo, to cast a small spell.

    The drink can be traced to 1586, when Sir Francis Drake and his pirates unsuccessfully attempted to sack Havana for its gold. His associate,* Richard Drake (a possible distant relative), was said to have invented a mojito-like cocktail known as El Draque, “The Drake.” It was made with aguardiente, a crude forerunner of rum, sugar, lime and mint.

    Around the mid-1800s, rum was substituted and the cocktail became known as a Mojito.
     
    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE COCKTAIL RECIPES.

    *His position was “factor and prize agent.”
      

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    FOOD 101: Everyday Nutritious Foods

    Here’s great advice about what you should be eating: what nutritionists eat. The original article, from Redbook magazine, was published on Yahoo.

  • Dark berries, especially blueberries (high in antioxidants, low in calories)
  • Almond milk (high in the antioxidant vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol)
  • Cinnamon (a “superspice,” 1/s teaspoon of cassia cinnamon daily can help regulate blood sugar [a drop in blood sugar creates feelings of hunger] and may lower blood sugar, which causes diabetes)
  • Avocados (an anti-inflammatory; the high calories are from heart-healthy avocado oil)
  • Greek yogurt (straining removes much of the whey and lactose [milk sugar], providing double the protein and half the sugar content for roughly the same calories))
  •  

    Quinoa salad withkale, dried cherries, snap peas and radishes. Photo courtesy Chef Scott Conant.

  • Eggs (inexpensive protein with 13 vitamins and minerals and the anti-inflammatory nutrient choline; the cholesterol scare of the past is now being modified)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (heart healthy monounsaturated fat, packed with antioxidants)
  • Hummus (portable, high in fiber, protein and healthy fat from the olive oil)
  • Nuts, especially almonds and walnuts (fiber-rich, the fat is monounsaturated (heart healthy), protein, antioxidants, and a variety of vitamins and minerals (see the health benefits of nuts)
  • Kale (the “queen of greens” packed with calcium and the antioxidant vitamins A, C and K—snack on kale chips made by tearing kale into pieces, coating with a little olive oil and baking at 375°F for 10 to 15 minutes)
  • Water with lemon (hydration with the antioxidant vitamin C—a good way to start the day)
  • Quinoa (the supergrain that’s a complete protein [more protein than milk] plus fiber and omega 3s)
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