Mother's Day Strawberry/Blueberry Muffins



What better treat for mom on Mother's Day -- or any day -- than home baked muffins with strawberries and blueberries?

They're simple and take only minutes to mix up a batch.

Here's how:

Ingredients

1 c chopped fresh strawberries
1/2 c fresh blueberries
2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c dark brown sugar
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/8 t kosher salt
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1/4 c vegetable oil
1/2 c half and half

Sanding sugar to top muffins before baking


Process

Preheat oven to 375F
Fill large muffin cups with paper liners, or coat well with melted butter.

1. Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt).
2. Mix and beat gently wet ingredients (egg, half and half, oil)
3. Add berries to dry ingredients, mix gently and coat well

4. Add wet ingredients to dry, mix well.
5. Fill muffin cups

6. Top each muffin with sanding sugar (about 1/8 t)

7. Bake for 25 -30 mins @ 375F or until toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out dry.


Added tips:
1. You can use frozen blueberries, but be sure they are completely defrosted and drained well before mixing into batter.
2. You can use milk instead of half and half for a lighter muffin. We like half and half because it adds a creaminess to the muffin.
3. You can use light brown sugar instead of dark brown sugar.
4. You can add rolled oats to batter (1/3 c) to give the muffins even more heft.

What is sanding sugar?
Sanding sugar is a fancy topping for baked goods. It's clear and sparkling, comes in many colors, and doesn't melt in the oven. It adds a wonderful sweetness to every bite of your muffins (and pies). Available in most specialty food stores, or online.





Cinco de Mayo Muffins


Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with these easy muffins. Here's how:

Preheat oven to 400F.

Ingredients

1 package Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
3 T chopped red pimiento pepper
1/2 c Mexican cheddar cheese
1/3 c whole kernel corn
1/4 t red pepper flakes or 1 T chopped jalapeño pepper
1/3 c half and half
1 large egg, slightly beaten

Process

1. Mix the half and half and egg, add the corn muffin mix.
2. Add the pimiento, corn kernels, cheese and jalapeño.
3. Mix until just blended.
4. Bake in lined muffin cups for 20-23 minutes or until golden brown.
5. Top and serve with butter for an extra creamy texture.









The Perfect Springtime Dessert


If you've eaten at Joe's Stone Crab in Miami, you'll know about their famous Key Lime Pie, just the best there is. They've generously shared their recipe online, and we are big fans ... making it frequently. It's a hit with young and old. Here's the link to their recipe, and thank you Joe's!!




Gettin' Our Corned Beef On!

It's time for corned beef and cabbage ... now as St. Patrick's Day is tomorrow, and really anytime of the year. It's always delicious and always a big hit ... day of, and day after! You'll need a big pot of water, lots of pickling spices, a quality cut of corned beef, a bunch of yellow or russet potatoes, an onion or two and time to let it simmer on the range. Here's how we do it:

Corned beef simmering in large pot of water with pickling spices (recipe below).


Add cabbage and potatoes ...

Cabbage, cored and quartered, ready to jump into the pool!


Ingredients

One 4-lb. corned beef brisket, thin cut (get the best you can find)
2-6 tbsp. pickling spices
4-6 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
One large onion, peeled and quartered
One medium head cabbage, cored and cut into 8 quarters

Process

1. Put the corned beef into a large pot and cover with cold water. Add 2 tbsp. pickling spices. Cover and bring to a boil.
2. Skim the gray residue that comes to the top of the pot. Cover. Simmer for 30 minutes. Skim residue. Add 1-2 tbsp. more pickling spices to make up for ones you skimmed away.
3. Cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours on medium heat.
4. Add potatotes, onion, more water (boil it first) to cover corned beef. Adjust spices by adding more if needed. Simmer 30 minutes.
5. Add cabbage and simmer 30 more minutes.

Serve with Irish soda bread and a pint of Guinness! Top of the evening to you, mateys!bread!

Snow Soup!


In our house, the minute it starts snowing is the tip-off to get the split pea soup going! This recipe is rich, thick, hearty and works as an entire meal, especially if you add these buttery croutons which are insanely delicious! Allow time to simmer on the stove-top, at least an hour or until the peas have broken down and the ham is tender. Enjoy!

Ingredients

2-3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
One package split dry green peas
Ham bone from smoked ham
Extra ham from leftover shank or butt half, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 small potatoes, cubed into 1/2" pieces
4 stalks celery, chopped (with leaves)
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups water
2 beef boullion cubes
Salt and pepper




Process

1. Sauté the ham and ham bone, garlic, onion and carrot in dutch oven.
2. Add water, bouillon cubes and bring to a simmer.
3. Skim foam that comes to the top of the pot.


4. Add peas, carrots, celery, potatoes and bring to a simmer. Re-skim if necessary.

 5. Simmer and stir as vegetables and peas soften and break down.



6. Allow soup to simmer until well blended.


7. Serve with or without buttery croutons. (Recipe follows)



"Insane" Croutons!

Ingredients

3 cups day old Italian bread, cubed
2-3 tbsp. melted butter
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil


Process
1. Line cookie sheet with foil.
2. In a large bowl, combine bread cubes, salt and pepper, olive oil and melted butter (and optional* herbs if desired).
3. Mix with your very clean hands to be sure the cubes are covered completely with the butter/oil/herb mixture.
4. Spread out on to cookie sheet.
5. Bake 10 mins @ 400F, until crunchy and golden brown.
6. Serve with hot pea soup and watch them disappear!



*Optional herbs: Can add thyme, rosemary, 


Cuisinart Recall Results in Delay Replacements

If you own a Cuisinart Food Processor, you've probably heard about the recall due to shards of metal spinning off the blade and into your food. (If not, see the link below.)

In December, we checked the model number of our unit (see link below) and found that it was one of the recalled products. We filed for a replacement and at the end of January, had not received it. A phone call to customer service (after 1.5 hour wait to reach a live person!) resulted in sheer frustration. Our claim was nowhere to be found and we were forced to file a new claim. Fast forward to the end of February, another ridiculously long wait to reach a live person, and told that there was no replacement in the "forseeable future" because of the millions of blades that were on backorder.

Incredibly poor service. We recommend that our readers choose another manufacturer when buying a food processor, or any small appliance.

Cuisinart Recall Problems

SPICY CHICKEN CURRY



Here's an authentic, spicy dish you can make in less than an hour!  We love it served with rice and a high-quality mango chutney. Garnish with a spritz of lemon and chopped cilantro. A sure winner, weeknight or weekend!

Ingredients
2 tbsp oil
2 c onion, chopped finely
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs



2 fresh tomatoes, chopped

1/4 to 1/3 c heavy cream



Spice mixture
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp celery seed
2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped

Process

1. Sauté onion in oil until translucent

2. Add tomatoes, chicken, spice mixture and sauté for 15 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked.



3. Add cream, reduce heat to low, and sauté until thickened, about 5 minutes.



Serve over rice, with a high-quality mango chutney.  



Garnish with a spritz of lemon and chopped cilantro. 




Enjoy with a sparkling Reisling or Kingfisher beer!