Monday, July 26, 2010

Galettes! Fancy!

If you read this blog with some regularity, you may have noticed that Elspeth tends to post evidence of her very successful adventures in the world of elaborate baked goods, entrees from various parts of the globe, and multi-stepped recipes that she claims aren't so difficult to conquer. I, on the other hand, tend to post evidence of delicious but *truly* simple recipes, and sometimes I begin to feel like I should try something a bit trickier. More of an "Elspeth recipe," if you will. And so, I attempted.... a Zucchini and Ricotta Galette, as found on the Smitten Kitchen blog (which I heartily recommend). I followed the recipe precisely, and when the crust went all smooshy and uncooperative, I read through dozens of comments on their blog until I found confirmation that at least one other person had this problem, and that it still came out edible.

It seems that assembling your crust quickly, so that the ingredients stay cool, is essential. I did not move quickly, and it was a hot and humid day in July. And so - my crust was smooshy. It was also delicious, though, and perhaps that's the beauty of this recipe.

Friday, July 9, 2010


I've lived through a lot of summers, and not until this one did I figure out how to make a smoothie. Ridiculous, I know. I've always suspected that smoothies should involve some combination of dairy, ice, and fruit - but Lord knows that I haven't guessed correctly at proportions in the past.

The newsletter that I receive with some regularity as a result of my membership at the Seward Coop often contains recipes, and this one looked like it was worth trying out:

Frozen Fruit Smoothies - serves 2
1 frozen banana, peeled and sliced
2 cups frozen strawberries, raspberries or cherries
1 cup milk
1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2-3 Tbsp honey, or to taste

Put all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve. Garnish with fresh fruit, if desired.

So the problems I had with this recipe were few but significant: I don't keep orange juice at my house, because I think it's disgusting (see the note about Ballerina Breath to the right of the screen); I hate bananas (which is challenging, because banana flavor is pervasive in purchased smoothies); I had neither plain nor vanilla yogurt on hand; and I didn't need two persons worth of smoothie, because I'm just me.

And so, I made my smoothie like this, and put it in a big summery cup:
1 cup of odds and ends of frozen fruit in my freezer (mixed berry, mostly)
1 overly ripe mango
a handful of nearly-too-ripe blueberries
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup Greek yogurt (honey flavored)
1/4 cup grapefruit juice

and, well, it was amazing.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Blueberry Muffins

Growing up, one of my favorite things in the world to eat was the blueberry muffins my mom would make, with - of course - wild Maine blueberries. If you have only eaten the larger-than-a-pea sized blueberry, you're missing out. Those are good, it is true, but they are just one variety of blueberry - high bush. The low bush ones, which crawl all over hillsides and mountain tops in Maine, are a bit harder to find. They may well grow in the midwest, but I haven't come across them. I can buy something called "Wild Blueberries" in the freezer section of Trader Joe's, and they were the right size and color, but didn't have the same flavor as those I grew up with - but, I digress.

In honor of the long weekend - and of Independence Day, I suppose - I made myself some blueberry muffins on Sunday. I used the Trader Joe's berries, because that's what I had available. Hot out of the oven, split in half with butter melting into the insides... well, that's nearly heaven.

Blueberry Muffins, as made by Mom
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup fresh blueberries - or 3/4 cup frozen blueberries

Beat the egg, stir in the liquids. Mix in remaining ingredients until the flour is moist. Lumpy batter is fine. Bake in greased muffin tin (I prefer the larger muffins, 6 to a tin - I think the liners are called "Texas cupcake liners" or something like that). Bake 15-20 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

(When I don't have blueberries around, I often bake them with jam in the middle.... or mix in 1/2 tsp of almond flavoring and 3/4 cup of dried cranberries! You can also make them with chopped up apples and some cinnamon, or really whatever you think might taste delicious.)