blueberry cornmeal muffins

blueberry muffins, muffin tray

Is there something you really like to eat, but have yet to find the ultimate recipe?

That’s how I felt about blueberry muffins. I had been on a quest to find the ultimate recipe and failed. I tried muffins with almond flour, wheat flour, with butter, without butter, olive oil etc. etc. Every recipe tasted like flavorless white cake with a bunch of berries thrown in. I was looking for something hearty, not cake-like.

So I began to experiment with cornmeal. I like corn muffins, how bad could it be?

blueberries, measuring spoons, cornmeal, eggs

I was pleasantly surprised I must say… The muffins were moist, but not sticky. They were sweet, but not too sweet. The crumb had good texture, but was not dense. The cornmeal added a lovely, sweet flavor which was a nice compliment to the berries. I think I was onto something!

blueberry muffins, white cake stand

But wait, it gets better-  these little guys are freezer friendly. You can freeze them already baked or you can freeze the batter itself. To do that, just line a muffin tin with paper cups, pour in the batter and pop the whole thing into the freezer. When they’re frozen you can store them in zip loc bags. To bake, place the muffin cups back in a tin and bake straight from frozen (cool, isn’t it?) I’ve done this several times and it works like a charm.

blueberry cornmeal muffins

muffin cups, blue stripe

These blueberry cornmeal muffins are my ultimate ‘go to’ recipe. I’ve made them a hundred times and the flavor is excellent. I’m still on the hunt for the ultimate traditional blueberry muffin, but if I never find it I can rest happily.

What is your favorite muffin recipe?

blueberry cornmeal muffins
 
Author:
Serves: 12 muffins
Ingredients
  • 1 c. all purpose flour
  • ¾ c. cornmeal
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • ¾ c. sugar
  • ½ c. oil
  • ¼ c. whole milk yogurt (not greek)
  • ¼ c. whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup blueberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper cups.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients; flour, cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder, and a pinch of salt.
  3. In another bowl mix together the wet ingredients; sugar (yes, sugar is dry but mixing it with the egg and other ingredients helps to break down the sugar crystals), oil, yogurt, milk and egg.
  4. Combine the dry and wet ingredients. DO NOT over mix or else you will have tough muffins.
  5. Gently fold in the blueberries.
  6. Spoon the batter into your muffin cups, about ¾ full. You should be able to get 12-14 muffins.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or when a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
  8. Cool for 15 minutes inside the tin. Then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Notes
* Use fresh or frozen blueberries. * Muffins will keep for about 3 days. * You can freeze already baked muffins or the batter itself for up to 3 months.

curried zucchini and swiss chard

curried zucchini, swiss chard, platter

The last time I had this dish, we were packing up our apartment. We were moving. Amidst all of the chaos, I was starving of course. In the fridge we only had 1 zucchini, a sad looking bag of spinach, and a bottle of Gatorade or something. Mmm, just what I had in mind…

I didn’t have time to be picky so I quickly shut the fridge. I waited. I opened it again. Nothing. Still the same stuff inside. As if opening and closing the fridge was going to magically produce some new kind of food. Why do we all do that?

sliced zucchini, swiss chard, scallions, curry

So I ended up throwing everything into a pan (no, not the Gatorade) and sauteing it with a little curry powder. Don’t even ask me where I found curry powder or more importantly, how old it was. I threw in a couple of raisins too. And let me tell you, this little creation was delicious. Who knew?

As with most off-the-cuff creations, I never write down the ingredients and then I completely forget the dish altogether. Until something like this shows up…

zucchini

…a lifetime supply of zucchini, courtesy of my CSA farm share.

Something triggered my recipe index and I remembered that curried zucchini/spinach dish from 4 years ago.

This time around I swapped out the spinach for swiss chard (also courtesy of my CSA) and left out the raisins (those are under strict surveillance by my 3 year old).

This is a wonderful side dish to accompany grilled meat or flaky white fish. If you prefer, serve it as the main event with a side of rice.

curried zucchini, swiss chard, plate

What is your favorite off-the-cuff creation?

curried zucchini and swiss chard
 
Author:
Serves: 2 hungry people
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch of swiss chard, or 1 (16 oz) bag of spinach
  • 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2 scallions, white and light green part
  • ¼ tsp. curry powder
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • splash of olive oil
  • a bunch of lemons
  • jasmine rice (optional)
Instructions
  1. Wash and trim your swiss chard. Remove the stems and the large center vein (you can do this by folding the leaf in half and running your knife vertically down the side). Chop into pieces.
  2. Thinly slice your zucchini. A mandoline is best for this.
  3. Thinly slice your scallions.
  4. In a large, wide saute pan heat 1 tbsp. of butter with a splash of olive oil. Medium heat is good.
  5. Add your scallions and saute for 1 minute. Add a large handful of swiss chard and saute in batches. As is starts to wilt, you can add more. Your swiss chard is done when it tastes tender, not tough. This should take about about 5-6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and give it a taste.
  6. Using tongs, remove swiss chard from the pan squeezing out any excess liquid. Set aside on a platter and keep warm.
  7. In the same pan, heat 1 tbsp. of butter with a splash of olive oil. Add the curry powder and warm it through to bring out its flavor, about 1 minute.
  8. Add the zucchini and saute for about 3-5 minutes (the thinner they are, the faster they'll cook). Season with salt and pepper.
  9. Sprinkle the zucchini over your swiss chard and squeeze some lemon over the top.
  10. Serve with extra lemon wedges and jasmine rice if desired.
Notes
* Only the zucchini are sauteed in the curry powder, not the swiss chard. This keeps the curry flavor mild. * Swiss chard wilts down a lot, so double this recipe to serve more people. Pictures make everything seem bigger!

homemade miso dressing

miso dressing, greens

I’m a big fan of homemade salad dressings.

They’re quite simple and inexpensive to make. In my dream fridge, I’d have an array of homemade dressings all lined up in cute little jars waiting to be used at my leisure. In my real fridge (crammed in between the leftovers), I usually have just one dressing; my good old stand by of olive oil, vinegar and dijon mustard.

Then I discovered miso.

miso dressing jar

Miso dressing is a Japanese style concoction made from buttery, white miso paste. It also contains honey, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil which gives it that nutty, salty, sweet taste. Need I say more?

My favorite way to eat it is drizzled over avocados. It’s also great in salads with carrots and cucumbers, and is absolutely delicious over grilled tuna. My 3 year old enjoys it with raw broccoli. Yeah that’s right, raw broccoli.

miso dressing, avocado, greens

 

If you’ve never made your own salad dressing before, this recipe is incredibly easy. Just throw everything in the blender and hit the button. That’s it. It will keep in an air tight jar for about a week (if it even makes it that long). This stuff is highly addictive.

homemade miso dressing
 
Author:
Serves: 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp. white miso*
  • ¼-1/2 garlic clove (depending on how much you like)
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. mirin
  • 2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ cup vegetable or mild olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. water
*To make this gluten-free, be sure to look for brown-rice based white miso. Gluten-free brands include Eden Foods & South River Miso.
Instructions
  1. Blitz everything together in a mini food processor or blender. Add additional water if it seems too thick.
  2. Store dressing in an air tight jar in the fridge. It will keep for about a week.