Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bran Muffins

1 cup shortening
2 ¼ cups sugar (or less)
4 eggs
1 quart buttermilk
5 cups sifted flour
4 cups 40% Bran Flakes
2 cups Nabisco All Bran
5 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot water

Cooking Directions:
Pour 1 cup water over cereal and 1st stand until soft. Cream sugar and shortening.
Add 4 eggs, one at a time.
Sift dry ingredients together; add buttermilk to egg and sugar mixture and then add dry ingredients. Mix well and it is ready to bake; store what is left in refrigerate in air tight container, and it will keep as long as any is left. You can put a spoonful right out of the refrigerate in a greased muffin tin and bake 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Zucchini (or Pumpkin) Muffins

I started making these this past fall. Even Simon, the not-muffin-man, likes them! They taste great with either pumpkin or zucchini.

From Gourmet November 2006
Adapted from the American Club

1.5 cups all-purpose flour (I use 1/2 C whole wheat)
1 tsp baking powder
1.5 cups shredded zucchini, about 1 medium zucchini (or a 15oz can of pumpkin)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp pumpkin-pie spice (I "make" my own with a combo of roughly 3/8 t cinnamon, 1/4 t nutmeg, 1/8 t cloves, 1/8 t ginger, and 1/8 t allspice)
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
cinnamon-sugar mixture for top

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350F. Put liners in muffin cups. Whisk together flour and baking powder in a small bowl.
Whisk together zucchini/pumpkin, oil, eggs, pumpkin-pie spice, 1 cup sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until smooth, then fold in flour mixture until just combined.

Divide batter among muffin cups (each should be about 3/4 full), then sprinkle tops with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake until puffed and golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to rack and cool to warm or room temperature.

(Meyer) Lemon Strawberry Muffins

I found this recipe on a blog called "My Baking Addiction". It is amazing! Though it calls for Meyer Lemons, which I am sure would be delicious, I use regular lemons (or lemon juice if I can't get hold of a lemon).

Makes 12 regular sized muffins
adapted from the Joy of Baking

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest and juice of one Meyer Lemon -- I substituted 1/4 C lemon juice
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup *buttermilk
2/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups chopped, fresh strawberries (I chop mine really small so I don't get big, soggy strawberry chunks in the muffin. 2 cups is nearly a 1 pound container of strawberries)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Position rack in center of oven. Butter or spray with a non-stick cooking spray 12 – 2 3/4 x 1 1/2 inch muffin cups. Set aside.
2. In a large measuring cup or bowl whisk together the egg, buttermilk, oil, Meyer Lemon juice and vanilla extract.
3. In another large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest. Gently fold the berries into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are combined. Do not over mix the batter or tough muffins will result.
4. Fill each muffin cup almost full of batter, using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. (For fear of over-filling, I had enough leftover batter to make 6 mini muffins). Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from pan.

*Don’t have buttermilk? Simply place 3/4 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a glass measuring cup and fill with enough milk to equal the 3/4 C needed in the recipe. Stir and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes; use as directed for the recipe.

Cake Mix Muffins/Cupcakes

The recipe that I used says to do the following:
1 cake mix
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup water
Add-ins of your choice

Spoon into muffin pan and bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes.  Makes 24 muffins.

Lately I have been using a whole 15 oz can of pumpkin and then adding water until I think it is moist enough (about 1/2-3/4 cup of water).  I hate using only 1 cup of pumpkin because then I don't know what to do with the left-over bit of pumpkin. 

The cake mix and add-ins I used on the night of Recipe Group were:
Devils Food cake mix
1 tsp almond extract
big handful of dried cherries
~3/4 cup chocolate chips
chopped almonds and melted chocolate chips for garnish on top.

Other combinations could be:
Spice cake mix with nuts and raisins
German chocolate cake mix with pecans and coconut
The possibilities are endless!  Make up your own!  Have fun!

Blueberry Sourcream Muffins

2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 c. sugar
4 T. unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 c. sour cream (10 oz)
1 1/2 c. frozen wild blueberries (I used regular)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tin.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl until combined. Whisk egg in second medium bowl until well-combined and light-colored, about 20 seconds. Add sugar and whisk vigorously until thick and homogenous, about 30 seconds; add melted butter in 2 or 3 additions, whisking to combine after each addition. Add sour cream in 2 additions, whisking just to combine.

Add frozen berries to dry ingredients and gently toss to combine. Add sour cream mixture and fold with rubber spatula until batter comes together and berries are evenly distributed, 25 to 30 seconds. (Small spots of flour may remain and batter will be thick. Do not over mix.)

Use ice cream scoop or large spoon to drop batter into greased muffin tin. Bake until light golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center of muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating pan from front to back halfway through baking time. Invert muffins onto wire rack, stand muffins upright, and cool 5 minutes. Serve as is or with the cinnamon sugar topping below.

Cinnamon Sugar Topping:
While muffins are cooling, mix 1/2 c. sugar and 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon in small bowl and melt 4 T. butter in small saucepan. After baked muffins have cooled 5 minutes, and working one at a time, dip top of each muffin in melted butter and then cinnamon sugar. Set muffins upright on wire rack.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lemon Sponge Pie


  • 1  Recipe  Single-Crust Pie Pastry, see recipe, or 1 rolled refrigerated unbaked piecrust (1/2 of a 15-oz. pkg.)
  • 2    eggs
  • 1/3  cup  butter, softened
  • 1  cup  granulated sugar
  • 2  tsp.  finely shredded lemon peel
  • 1/4  cup  lemon juice
  • 2  Tbsp.  all-purpose flour
  • 1/8  tsp.  salt
  • 1  cup  milk
  • 1  Recipe  Candied Lemon Slices, see blow (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Prepare pastry and line 9-inch pie plate. Line with double thickness of foil. Bake for 8 minutes; remove foil. Bake for 4 to 6 minutes more or until lightly browned. Cool on rack. Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees F.
2. Separate egg yolks from whites; place whites in medium bowl and set aside. In large bowl beat butter with electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in sugar until combined. Beat in egg yolks, lemon peel, lemon juice, flour, and salt until just combined. Add milk; beat until just combined (mixture will be thin and will appear curdled).
3. Thoroughly wash beaters. In the medium bowl beat egg whites with mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Fold egg whites into beaten mixture. Transfer mixture to prebaked crust.
4. Loosely tent top of pie with foil to prevent overbrowning, making sure the foil does not touch the filling. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes more or until set in the center.
5. Cool 1 hour on wire rack. Cover and refrigerate 3 hours. To serve, top with Candied Lemon Slices. Makes 8 servings.
6.Candied Lemon Slices: In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water; bring to boiling. Add 1 lemon, very thinly sliced. Simmer gently, uncovered, for 12 to 15 minutes or until syrupy. Transfer slices to waxed paper. Discard remaining syrup.

Source: Better Homes & Gardens

Best Pumpkin Pie


  • 1 purchased or homemade pastry for single-crust 9-inch pie 
  • 1  15-oz. can  pumpkin
  • 3/4  cup  sugar
  • 1  to 1-1/4 tsp.  ground cinnamon
  • 1/2  to 1 tsp.  ground ginger
  • 1/2  tsp.  salt
  • 1/4  to 1/2 tsp.  ground nutmeg
  • 1/4  to 1/2 tsp.  ground cloves
  • 3    slightly beaten eggs
  • 1-1/4  cups  milk


1. If using purchased pie pastry follow package directions.  If using homemade pastry, follow the directions below. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. For filling, in a large bowl combine pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. Add eggs; beat lightly with a fork until combined. Gradually add milk; stir until combined.
3. Carefully pour filling in pastry shell. To prevent overbrowning, cover edge of pie crust with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil. Bake about 25 to 30 minutes more or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Cover and refrigerate within 2 hours.

Pastry for a Single-Crust Pie: In a medium bowl stir together 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Using a pastry blender cut in 1/3 cup shortening until pieces are pea-size. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cold water over part of the flour mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to side of the bowl. Repeat moistening flour mixture, using 1 tablespoon of cold water at a time (using a total of 4 to 5 tablespoons water), until all flour mixture is moistened. Form dough in ball. On lightly floured surface use hands to slightly flatten dough. Roll dough from center to edges into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. To transfer pastry, wrap it around rolling pin. Unroll pastry into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into plate without stretching it. Trim pastry to 1 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold under extra pastry. Crimp and form a high edge to keep filling from bubbling over. Do not prick pastry. 

Source: Better Homes & Gardens

Gyoza - Japanese Potstickers

My best childhood friend is Japanese, and I fondly remember eating potstickers at her house. This recipe is not from her, but I think it turned out delicious!

Adapted from


1 cup (or more, depending on preference) finely chopped cabbage (excess water removed by sprinkling with salt, letting it sit, then squeezing out excess moisture--don't know if this step is necessary)
2 Tbsp chopped green onion
1/2 lb ground pork
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbsps soy sauce
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp grated fresh ginger--(I didn't have this, so I put in one dash ground ginger to make myself feel like I made some effort)
20 or so gyoza wrappers (I filled 25)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

*For dipping sauce
2:1 ratio of soy sauce and rice vinegar (I didn't have this, so I made it with 2 T soy sauce, 1 tsp white vinegar and 2 tsp water, since white vinegar is stronger than rice vinegar)

Combine all ingredients other than oil in a bowl and mix well by hands. Place a heaping teaspoon-ful of gyoza filling in a gyoza wrapper and put water along the edge of the wrapper by fingers. Make a semicircle, gathering the front side of the wrapper and sealing the top (look online if you want more specific instructions for this). Heat oil in a frying pan. Put gyoza in the pan and fry on high heat until the bottoms become brown. Turn down the heat to low. Add 1/4 cup water in the pan. Cover the pan and steam the gyoza on low heat until the water is gone. Serve gyoza with dipping sauce on the side. For the dipping sauce, mix a 2:1 ratio of soy sauce to rice vinegar. Enjoy!

Swedish Philadelphia Buns

This is the recipe I was planning on making, but there were complications so I made the Danish tea ring instead. This recipe is from my sister who lives in Sweden and it looks really delicious. The Swedish version is below in case you want to feel cultural :)

Swedish Philadelphia Buns (48 pieces)


150 grams butter ~ 10.5 Tbl.

2 cups milk

~2 ½ T yeast

1 egg + for brushing

1/3 cup +1 ½ T (=6.75 T) sugar

½ teaspoon salt

4-5 cups flour


150 grams butter ~ 10.5 Tbl.

~2 tsp vanilla

1 ¼ cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 tsp cardamom

4 oz. cream cheese

Melt butter in a saucepan, then pour in the milk and let it become lukewarm. Add and dissolve yeast. Add the egg, sugar and salt. Add flour a little at a time, working it into the dough, and knead for a while. The dough should be quite loose, almost like a batter. Let dough rise for 30 minutes.

Make the filling.

Place the dough in a greased roasting pan (or cookie sheet), using a little flour on your hands as the dough is very sticky. Make 48 holes (6 × 8) and divide the filling into the holes (about 1 teaspoon per hole). Let rise 15 minutes. Brush with egg, sprinkle with pearl sugar and bake for 15-20 minutes at 390 degrees F (200 C). Cool and cut into 48 pieces.

Philadelphiabullar i långpanna, 48 stycken

150 gram smör
5 dl mjölk
1 paket jäst
1 ägg + till pensling
1 dl socker
½ tsk salt
10-11 dl vetemjöl

150 gram smör
2 msk vaniljsocker
3 dl florsocker
1 msk kanel
1 tsk stött kardemumma
100 gram philadelphiaost

Gör såhär:
Smält smör i en kastrull, häll sedan i mjölken och låt det hela bli fingervarmt. Lös upp jästen i degvätskan. Tillsätt ägg, socker och salt. Ha i vetemjölet lite i taget och arbeta in den i degen, knåda en stund. Degen blir ganska lös, nästan som en smet. Det ska vara så. Låt degen jäsa i 30 minuter. Platta sedan ut degen i en svart smord långpanna. Använd lite mjöl på handflatan och degen är väldigt kletig. Gör 48 hål (6×8) och fördela fyllningen i hålen (drygt 1 tesked i varje hål). Jäs 15 minuter igen. Pensla med ägg, strö över pärlsocker och grädda sedan 15-20 minuter i 200 grader. Skär den avsvalnade plåtbullen i 48 bitar.

Danish Tea Rings

This is a recipe my sister brought back from her mission in the Netherlands.

Danish Tea Rings

½ C warm water

2 1/4 tsp yeast

½ tsp sugar

1 C scalded milk

½ C sugar

½ C softened butter

5 C flour (I used more)

1 tsp salt

3 eggs, beaten (perhaps only two in the dough and one for the top? That could explain why I had to add so much extra flour)

Combine warm water, yeast and 1/2 tsp sugar. Then combine milk, sugar, and butter and add to first mixture. Add eggs, then add flour and salt. Divide into 3 parts after first rising. Roll into rectangles. Spread on filling. Roll. Fold into circle on oiled pan. Cut with scissors every 1 ½ inches, ¾ of the way through. Turn pieces on side. Brush with beaten whole egg and decorate with sliced almonds. Let rise. Bake at 350 F until brown (mine baked for 20-25 min). Glaze.

**I made mine into one huge circle, but looking back, I think the recipe is indicating you are supposed to make three smaller rings, so do whatever appeals to you :)

Filling options (=anything you can think of)

1 C blueberries and peaches
2/3 C sugar
2 T corn starch
1 T cold water
Boil fruit and sugar, mix corn starch and water, add corn starch mixture to the fruit and boil until right consistency.

Cream Cheese
3 oz softened cream cheese
2 T sugar
vanilla, lemon juice/rind, and/or almond extract to taste

1/2 C finely chopped nuts
sprinkling of brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Glaze for the top
1 C powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
milk or water to pouring consistency

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ika Mata (Raw Fish)

This is a traditional "Ceviche Like" Dish served in the Cook Islands, similar to Fiji's Kokoda.

For those of you who are not familiar with Ceviche, it is usually raw fish that is "cooked" in lime or lemon juice. I promise it is not the same as sushi! (The citrus from the lemon really does help cook the fish)

In the Cook Islands Ika Mata is traditionally made with any white fish. I happened to use Monk Fish tonight,  but many people like to use Tuna (sushi grade). Really any white fish that is not too flaky or oily will do.


1 pound of white fish

4-6 lemons or limes (enough juice to cover the fish)

1/2 Tbl Salt

1 can of coconut milk

2 large (or 3-4 small) tomatoes, diced

1 small red onion, finely chopped

(Also, Parsley or Cilantro if you would like...adds good color)

Cut the fish into bite size cubes and place in a non-metal bowl. Add the salt and citrus. Squeeze the lemon or lime juice into the bowl until the juice is covering the fish. Cover, and place in the fridge until fish is "cooked", generally around 3 hours ( the size of the cubes of fish will determine how quickly they will be ready, the smaller the size, the faster it will "cook".) The fish will go from a white color to an opaque color, and that is when you can tell it is done. Or when using tuna it will turn from pink to white.

Meanwhile you can finely chop the onion, and dice the tomatoes *. When the fish is done "cooking", strain the lemon juice from the fish (try to squeeze as much out as you can). Then toss the fish with the coconut milk, onion and tomato. Salt and Pepper to taste.

There you have it!

Serve it on a bed of lettuce, and you have a nice light appetizer, perfect for a hot day!

*(Note: optional vegetables such as cabbage, cucumbers, carrots, capsicums or celery can be used. Also top with fresh coriander (cilantro) for added flavors , plus a dash of Tabasco. Traditionally this is also made with a chili, but I did not add it in because my dad never did?)