The Muffin Tin Cookbook

March 13, 2012

My author copies of my new book, The Muffin Tin Cookbook, have just landed on my doorstep and I’m so excited to see and hold the book! It has 200 recipes of every kind of dish imaginable (sides, entrees, breakfast, appetizers, breads, dessert, and more) all made in muffin tins. There are recipes using mini, regular, jumbo and even the new square muffin tins. This book was so fun to write (and taste!).

Muffin tin meals are super kid-friendly AND they are great for portion control for us adults too. Some of my favorite recipes include:

Shrimp Cakes with Cilantro Lime Dipping Sauce

Moroccan Chicken Pot Pie

Potato Parsnip Cups

Mini Ice-Cream Cakes

and there are lots of recipes for mini-pies made in muffin tins (SO easy to make and so cute!). The pub date is listed as mid-April, but it’s in warehouses and will begin shipping sooner than that.

I’m available for guest blog spots and Q&As, so if you have room on your blog, let me know!


Martha Mondays: Lime Bars

March 12, 2012

Thank you Martha for a recipe that was so easy to throw together! This recipe for Lime Bars has only 4 steps, which is unheard of in Martha’s world. I feel as though mine did not make enough filling. I pushed the crust an inch up the side but my filling didn’t even come close to reaching that. I ended up going around the edges, smushing it down so it didn’t look so stupid. And only 15 minutes to bake? What’s up with that?

We liked these. They are almost key lime pie really. Quick and easy and tasty – thumbs up.


Sour Cream Potato Salad

March 7, 2012

I grew up eating my grandmother’s potato salad, which contains potatoes, eggs, celery, onion, and Miracle Whip. It took me a while to get used to potato salad made with mayo, but I learned to like it. This summer when we were in Arizona, I had sour cream potato salad for the first time and enjoyed it. I’ve thought from time to time about replicating it, but never got around to it. The March issue of Cooking Light has a page with 4 potato salads, one of which is made with sour cream so I gave it a try.

Sour Cream Dill Potato Salad

Cut 3/4 lb fingerling potatoes into 1 inch pieces and boil until tender. Drain. Mix with 1/2 cup diced cucumber, 2 tbsp light sour cream, 1 1/2 tbsp Greek yogurt, 1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh dill, salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.

I enjoyed this as a change of pace. I liked the fact that yogurt was an ingredient and you really could not taste it. The dill added a nice fresh taste. I’m not sure about the cucumbers, but I didn’t mind them. I might try making it with eggs, celery and onion to see how that turns out. How do you like your potato salad?


Oil Poached Fish

February 28, 2012

I’ve seen chefs use this technique on TV but never really understood it. It didn’t sound very healthy! There was an article about it in the recent issue of Cook’s Illustrated , so I decided to try it. The article says that this cooking method is not greasy and unhealthy like you might think. The high water content of the fish prevents the oil from absorbing into it. Cooking it at a low temp in the oil keeps it moist and keeps the oil out.

I placed 3/4 cup olive oil in an ovenproof skillet and placed half an onion in the center (the onion helps raise the level of the oil so you don’t need to use as much and also, I think, adds a little flavor). Heat the oil on the stove to 180 degrees (this happens quickly). Place 2 seasoned fillets of white fish (I used halibut, about 6 ounces each) in the pan and spoon oil over the top. Cover the pan and place in a 250 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip the fish. Cover and return to the oven for about 10-14 minutes, until it reaches 130 degrees. Mine was done in 10 minutes.

The recipe in the article involved frying some artichoke hearts and then using some of the oil from the fish to make a vinaigrette. I was out of artichoke hearts (thought I had some, but couldn’t find them- how often does this happen to you?), but I did use some of the oil with a handful of cherry tomatoes, blueberry vinegar, 2 garlic cloves, and a pinch of sugar and salt to make a quick sauce in the food processor.

I’m glad I tried this method, but don’t know if I would do it again. The fish was very moist and held together nicely, however, I missed the flavor you get when you grill, pan-fry, or bake fish in a sauce. It was really just like poaching the fish in water I think. Even with the sauce I made, it was just a bit bland. It was also a pain to be taking the fish in and out of oven.


CSA

February 23, 2012

Photo credit: Simon Howden

We have just signed up for a share in a CSA. For those of you who haven’t heard of this, a CSA is community supported agriculture. You pay a fee up front for a “share” which entitles you to pick up your portion of the farm’s output each week during growing season. I’ve been wanting to do this for years, but had some requirements I was having trouble with:

–  I needed a farm that was reasonably close by. I did not want to drive 45 minutes each way. I found one that is literally 10 minutes away.

– I wanted weekday pick up times. Many farms schedule pick ups on weekends and we spend many weekends at my parents’ lake house.

– The farm had to be organic (not necessarily certified, but meeting standards at least).

I finally found all of this in The Root Down Farm. We’ll be getting a share every week for 22 weeks, from June to November. The farm also has a u-pick section which includes cutting flowers and some veggies you can just help yourself to. I wish they also had fruit, but that’s asking a lot! The cost is $540 for the season (which works out to about $24 a week) for a share that feeds 4 people. That is probably a bit more than I spend each week on produce, but it feels like an investment that will be worthwhile. I think it will force me to use more veggies, and to try veggies I might not be using at this point.

My dad used to have tons and tons of veggies he shared with me, but in recent years, he hasn’t grown as much at all, so I’ve been buying more at the store. I’m also excited to be supporting a local farmer. My grandfather’s family was one of the original farming families in our town, so this feels like going back to my roots.

A local store called Farmers and Artisans sells locally grown produce, dairy and meats, and also has a bakery. They are selling organic milk shares. I toyed with doing this, but ultimately it didn’t make sense. The cost per gallon was at least $1 more than I pay at the grocery store, I would have to drive farther to get it, and the milk does not come in glass bottles. As far as I’m concerned, that is the holy grail I am searching for – milk that is organic and in glass. I can get organic milk in plastic or I can get regular milk in glass.

What has your experience with CSAs been like?


Creamed Onion Soup (or I Made My Kids Cry)

February 15, 2012

Are you sensitive to onions cooking? It doesn’t bother me at all. I can slice and cook onions all day without shedding a tear. I must be a weird genetic mutant, but any time I cook any amount of onion, my kids stagger into the kitchen with tears running down their faces, practically sobbing “Are you cooking onions?!” I turn on the exhaust fan and open the window (yes, even in February) but nothing much seems to help. I tortured them yet again to make this recipe. They will tell their therapist about this when they are older.

There’s a recipe for Onion Bisque in the March issue of Bon Appetit from Le Petite Grocery in New Orleans that I just had to try (even if it made my kids cry). I am a big, huge, giant fan of French onion soup, but I find it hard to eat with the bread and cheese – too complicated. This recipe purees the soup which solves that problem. I’ve adapted it, so here’s my version:

2 tbsp olive oil

3 large sweet onions, peeled and sliced thinly

4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

1 teaspoon dried thyme

3 cups chicken broth

3 cups beef broth

3 slices day old whole wheat bread

3 slices Swiss cheese

Heat the oil in a large wide pot over medium low and add the onions. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and cook another 20 minutes, stirring until onions are a deep golden color. Add the thyme and broths and bring to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off heat. Add the bread and cheese to the pot and let it sit for about 10 minutes until the bread is mushy and the cheese is softened. Use a hand blender and puree the soup. Reheat to just barely boiling and serve. Serves 4-6.

It was fan-friggin-tastic. Creamy and smooth and so deeply flavorful it made me moan. The bread thickens it nicely and you get all the flavor of traditional French onion soup without the stringy cheese mess or trying to hack up the bread with your spoon. I’ll be making it this way from now on (tears be damned).


Martha Mondays: Brie and Ham Sandwich

February 13, 2012

Ana at Sweet Almond Tree chose Brie and Ham Sandwich for this week. It was definitely an easy recipe, that’s for sure. I ended up wrapping mine in parchment and putting them in the oven to heat them up and melt the cheese. I also used a ciabatta baguette, which is a little flatter and softer than the baguettes in my store, which I find nearly impossible to bite into. I thought it was fine, but not up to the complicated standard most of Martha’s recipes reach! I felt like it just cried out for something more. Maybe a slice of tomato or a tiny bit of raspberry preserves, just something to make it interesting and different. Not that I didn’t enjoy it  – I did and so did Mr. MarthaAndMe, who was raised on what his mother calls “hot ham sandwiches.”

We’re taking a break for next week, and I’ll be choosing our project for 2/27 which I will post soon.


Lazy Man’s Guac

February 9, 2012

We always make nachos and guacamole for the Super Bowl and over the years I’ve come up with a really easy recipe that I can put together in a snap.

Place two bags of tortilla chips (I buy whole grain) on 2 baking sheets. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 16 ounce bags of Mexican cheese. Preheat the oven to 400.

While that is preheating, smash two avocados and top with the juice of half a lime and mix. Add one 15 ounce jar of mild salsa and 1 1/4 cups of light sour cream and mix. (I know it doesn’t look bright green, but it does have some green which you can’t see in my photo).

Place the chips in the oven for about 5 minutes until the cheese is completely melted. Serve. This feeds 4-6 people if you aren’t having a lot of other food, more if you’ve got other things on the table. As Ina Garten says, how easy is that?


Giveaway! And Broccoli Pinwheel Recipe

February 7, 2012

My friend Debbie Koenig has a fantastic new cookbook coming out later this month called Parents Need to Eat Too. The concept is that even though you’ve got a baby or toddler, you can still make great food to feed yourself, even if you’re cooking in just quick spurts, or even with one hand. Debbie also has a great web site with lots of recipes there, so be sure to check her out at DebbieKoenig.com.

I’m giving away a copy of this wonderful cookbook to a random commenter on this post, so be sure to leave a comment so you can win!

Debbie’s publisher has sent me a review copy and will send out the winner’s copy. In full disclosure, by running a recipe from her book and posting about it, I’m entered to win a prize from her publisher. Whatever. I don’t really care about the prize, but I do care about the book, which I think is something so many parents are going to need and use often.

I recently made Broccoli and Cheddar Pinwheels, with some substitutions and everyone in my family enjoyed it. Here’s Debbie’s recipe:

1 pound pizza dough

2 1/2 cups finely chopped broccoli or one 10 ounce package of frozen, defrosted and chopped: you can do this in the food processor

1-2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 and grease a baking sheet.

Remove pizza dough from fridge 30-60 minutes before you plan to use it.

Steam the broccoli until just tender (5-6 minutes). Cool slightly then combine with cheese, mustard, salt, and pepper.

Roll or stretch the dough to a 10×14 rectangle on a floured surface. It doesn’t have to be exact.

Spread the broccoli mix on 3/4 of the dough, leaving an uncoated portion at one short side. Begin to roll the dough from the short side covered with the broccoli spread and keep rolling until you’ve got a nice, neat log.

Use a serrated knife or pastry scraper to cut it into 8 equal pinwheels. Carefully lay the pinwheels flat on the prepared baking sheet and bake until crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted, 15-20 minutes.

Debbie’s recipe is fantastic as is. I thought I had a bag of shredded Cheddar but when I opened it, it was moldy, so I ended up using a mix of mozzarella, feta and extra sharp provolone.

It made more sense to me to cook the broccoli first then chop it in the Cuisinart with everything else, so I cooked it then dumped it in with the mustard, cheese, and salt and pepper. I also tossed in 2 leftover pieces of deli ham I had floating around. Those were my only changes. Next time I make this I think I will cut the wheel into more and smaller pieces. They were big, like a big cinnamon roll which was fine for a dinner portion, but I might make them smaller so they would work for snacks and lunches.

I loved this recipe. It really was amazingly easy and I can absolutely see being able to toss this together with a toddler underfoot or a between feedings with a newborn.

You must enter by midnight ET on Monday February 13. I’ll randomly and blindly select the winner by random number drawing (numbers assigned in order of comments here). Sorry, offer limited to U.S. addresses only and entrants age 18 and up only. One entry per person. Winners notified by email given when entering, not responsible for email transmission problems. You are responsible for notifying me of your correct mailing address if you are selected as a winner. Contest closes at midnight Eastern time on 2/13/12. Prize is nontransferable and may not be redeemed for cash. MarthaAndMe reserves the right to announce the name of the winner on the blog. MarthaAndMe not responsible for delivery or nondelivery of prize which will be sent by publisher.


Martha Mondays: Soft Pretzels (and cheese dip)

February 6, 2012

Tiny Skillet chose soft pretzels for our project this week, which worked out well with the Super Bowl. I’ve made soft pretzels before, but these were really good. The pretzels had a fluffy texture that I really, really liked and I think it is because you cut the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter. Genius. I substituted whole wheat pastry flour for half of the flour in this and was fantastic. I put salt on half and cinnamon sugar on the other half (my kids like them this way). I also made cheese dip to go with these:

2 tbsp butter

3 slices American cheese

4 tablespoons skim milk

pinch ground mustard

pinch pepper

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon light cream cheese

I dump it all in a pan and heat over low to medium, stirring until it is completely melted.


%d bloggers like this: