Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Brief Cessation of Blog Antics?!?!

My roomies moved in this week, and we're still sorting the place out. They managed to completely destroy my kitchen order :(.

I will post another entry by Monday, see you then :).

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Half-Wheat Chocolate Chip Mini-Muffins

I made some wonderful fresh home fries for dinner tonight (as opposed to using leftover potatoes) with red, orange and yellow peppers and onions and scallions, cooked in leftover bacon fat, but all in all this is not a new taste sensation. I did venture into butter-making over the past couple of days, and following Melissa Kronenthal's directions over at The Traveler's Lunchbox I made cultured butter. Yummy! I am definitely going to continue making this in the future. A very comprehensive butter-making guide is available here.

After dinner, though, my sweet tooth kicked in, but the only chocolate I have in the house at the moment is my 85% dark- which I love but does not satisfy the need for sugar- and chocolate chips. Generally I'm loathe to use chocolate chips outside of baking, indeed it's why I keep them around, so I thought a little. I made chocolate chip cookies last week, let's make something different...

Then I remembered that I'd never used my bargain mini-muffin pan, and so I saddled up Firefox to find a recipe. Most chocolate chip muffin recipes are not for mini muffins, and as I'm terrible with and mistrustful of baking times I wanted one specifically for minis. I picked the first one I came upon and ran with it, but I altered it substantially to suit my tastes, including the use of some whole wheat flour, turbinado sugar for white sugar, and reducing the sugar content,* although I did sprinkle a little turbinado on top for a nice crunch.

I only have one mini-muffin tray, so I ended up putting that one tray in three times. True to form, I put the first tray in the oven, turned around, and almost ran into the cutting board with the chocolate chips still on it. I quickly pulled the tray out and tossed a few on top of each, and they turned out fine, if a little less blended than planned. The second tray, well, less importantly I forgot the sugar on top, but more importantly I forgot to respray it with oil, making that tray a heap of mini-muffin mush. Heh. Minimuffinmush.

The third tray, though, came out perfectly, as shown above.

They turned out wonderfully, in the end- nice and crisp on the outside but delightfully moist within. The are VERY light and fluffy, so if you want denser muffins perhaps reduce the baking powder and soda content. Say hi to my new favourite muffin recipe- although I think I may prefer them with the chocolate chips on top.

And without further ado, the recipe.

Half-Wheat Chocolate Chip Mini-Muffins

~3 dozen mini-muffins

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. soda
1/3 cup softened butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup turbinado (raw) sugar
1.5 tsp. pure vanilla
2 eggs
1/3 cup + 2 TB buttermilk (milk can substitute in a pinch)
2/3 c. sour cream
1 cup mini or chopped-up chocolate chips

extra turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Set oven to 350 degrees F. Grease muffins tin(s).

Combine butter, sugars, vanilla, eggs, 1/3 cup buttermilk, and sour cream in a large mixing bowl, mixing thoroughly. Mix in baking powder, sugar, and flours until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add extra buttermilk gradually until almost thin enough to pour.

Gently dollop the tins about 3/4 full with dough. Sprinkle with a little bit of turbinado sugar. Bake for 15 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

*I almost always reduce the sugar content of any simple baked item I make before I even try it, because a little goes a very long way. This recipe reflects my reduction.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Beanito? Beanito!

I had friends over today- specifically my sister S and my best friend A. When I asked what they wanted for dinner, A. thinks for a minute and goes, "Didn't you just buy some refried beans? And taco wraps?", all the while looking at me winningly. So I caved, and without much Tex-Mex (or even Mex, for that matter) in the kitchen, I improvised.

Canned refried beans (Ortega, surprisingly, was the only brand at my local grocery store without any hydrogenated fats*) and shredded cheddar cheese baked at 350 degrees F for fifteen minutes, with more cheese sprinkled on them during the last two minutes and dolloped with sour cream before serving. They remind me of the 42-cent burritos I survived on one summer, except I know what went into these ;).

*Some brands had hydrogenated lard! Hydrogenating lard is almost redundant... honestly, what's the point?

Saturday, August 18, 2007


I just made a fabulous burger for dinner- grass-fed organic beef on the best artisanal multigrain I've ever tasted (and I've been friends with the baker and the baker's daughter for years), lightly toasted, with raw-milk Vermont Monterey Jack, fresh sauteed local onions, and a little bit of organic mustard.

Unfortunately, I got to it before the camera did.

Next time, I promise!

My First Experience With Quinoa

I finally made it down to the natural foods store walkable from my dorm, and picked up a whole bunch of fruits and veggies- local and organic carrots, peppers, cucumber, alfalfa sprouts, onions, grapes, strawberries... I love summertime only because even expensive city produce goes for a reasonable price as fresh local produce gluts the market, and this little store is no exception. Now to use it all!

While I was there I picked up some quinoa, which I've heard so much about recently on the food blog rounds. I like it- plain it has a very light, kind of nutty taste, and this morning I made a light quinoa an veggie salad, as pictured above. Unfortunately most of the veggies are hiding in that picture, so here's another one:

See? Veggies!

Here's how I made it, although it's so easy it's barely worth a recipe, and next time I'll increase all of the veggie quantities:

Basic Quinoa Salad


Cooked quinoa measured at 1/2 cup pre-cooking
1 carrot
1/4 cup red bell pepper (colour is up to you, or even a mix)
1/4 cup alfalfa sprouts
3 scallions
2 tb mayonnaise
2 tb whole-fat yoghurt


Chop up all of the vegetables into small pieces- how small is up to you.

Mix veggies, mayo, and yoghurt. Salt to taste.

See, that was really difficult, now wasn't it?


I'm a university student who loves to make food- but college and cooking aren't know to mix well! Watch as I feed my suite-mates and make a mess of this glorious new kitchen-

-which I now call my own.

Being a computer science major, perhaps food and the classroom won't coincide as much as I'd like, but I can always hope. :)