Friday, June 17, 2011

Blueberry Banana Flax Muffins

Hi ya'll!

I hope you're having a beautiful day, and are able to avoid the heat- frozen yogurt and lounging by the pool, anyone? I'll be running errands today unfortunately but I'll still be driving around with the windows rolled down and the Top 40 summer hits blaring from my speakers. Since I'll be busy out and about for most of this weekend, I wanted to whip up a batch of muffins to have an easy and healthy snack for when I'm on the go.

I've had an overwhelmingly large pile of bananas sitting on my counter for about a week now, and I just can't stand to eat them 'au naturel' unless they're almost green, so I decided to build this recipe around them. For an extra nutritional boost, I used 1/4 cup flax seed meal along with the wheat flour. At just over 120 calories a pop, one would make a tasty afternoon snack or a great breakfast with two toasted and slathered in peanut butter. Oh the possibilities... :)

Blueberry Banana Flax Muffins

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed, ripe bananas (about 3 small)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup flax seed meal (I used Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries (fresh would be even better!)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla, baking soda and salt.
  2. Add the bananas, honey and eggs, beating until smooth.
  3. Add the flour until just combined, then add the blueberries.
  4. Use a cookie scoop to evenly distribute the batter into 12 muffin cups.
  5. Bake for 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Enjoy!

Happy Baking!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tilapia en Papillote

Hi friends!

I'm back, and baking! I've been back from school for about a week now and I couldn't be happier! My finals went pretty well and my move-out was nearly flawless although we definitely had to improvise to make sure all my stuff fit in the car! Now that I'm back I'm sleeping to my heart's content, catching up on all the Real Housewives drama and running in the sweet sunshine.

Of course I've made a few old faithfuls like my Whole Wheat bread, and of course Veggie Saute's, but tonight I made a new one for the books. After a grocery haul with the madre, I came back with some fresh tilapia on my hands and some organic carrots and mushrooms. Add in some sun-dried tomatoes and basil and I was set to jet!

This was a great summery meal, I only had to leave the oven on for half an hour, the prep was simple, and the fish in parchment paper is not only a healthy way to make fish but also really fancy-looking! I know I will definitely be coming back to this recipe with all sorts of different fish as the summer goes on.

Tilapia en Papillote
Makes 2 portions

  • Parchment paper
  • 2 tilapia fillets, about 6 ounces each
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon basil (I used frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
  • 1.5-2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Tear off two 15-inch sheets of parchment paper, fold each in half and make a crease, then unfold.
  3. Combine chopped sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms in a small bowl.
  4. Put one fillet on one half of each sheet near the crease, and massage in salt, pepper and basil. Top each fillet with half of the vegetables.
  5. Dot half a tablespoon of butter (in small pieces) over each fillet.
  6. Fold half the sheet of parchment over the fish and beginning at the top corner make small overlapping folds down the entire sheet to seal the edges together. To ensure that it stays together throughout the cooking process, I staple the edges a few times.
  7. Place both packets on a baking sheet.
  8. Cut a small X in the top of each packet carefully, to allow some steam to escape.
  9. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until fish is easily flaked with a fork.
  10. Serve with roasted carrots and homemade whole wheat bread!

Roasted Carrots

  • 8 large carrots
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Peel and chop carrots into one-centimeter pieces, roughly all the same size.
  3. Combine carrots with olive oil and salt & pepper.
  4. Place carrots on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden.
I hope this easy summer meal will inspire you to cook at the end of the day despite the heat that is blazing outside!

Happy Cooking!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Mixed Berry Galette

Hi everyone!

This weekend I was lucky to be able to come home for the long weekend to spend some time with the family and take a short break from the end of quarter madness of college. As usual, I baked some delicious challah,

and since we were invited to a potluck dinner party last night I whipped up a few things to bring, most importantly: dessert!

Since fresh berries are definitely hitting their peak right now for vibrant, juicy flavor I knew I needed to incorporate them into this dessert. This galette is light and flavorful, allowing the crust to complement the fresh fruit while keeping the raspberries and blueberries the stars of the dish (although it would be easy to sub in almost any other fruit that is in season).
The crust was easy to put together with the help of my trusty food processor and was refrigerated for about 4 hours before being rolled out for this free-form tart. My recipe yielded two tarts, one slightly smaller and the other slightly larger but I'm sure you could use the dough to make one large-and-in-charge pastry.

If you need an addition to a summer potluck, I hope you'll keep this light and flavorful tart in mind!

Mixed Berry Galette

  • 1/2 recipe Galette Dough , chilled
  • 1-1/2 cups mixed fresh berries (or cut-up peeled fruit)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter

  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Put the dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll it into an 11-inch circle that's about 1/8 inch thick. Since the dough is soft, you'll need to lift it now and then and toss some more flour under it and over the top. Roll up the dough around your rolling pin and transfer it to the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Spread the berries over the dough, leaving a 2- to 3-inch border. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the sugar over the fruit and drizzle on the honey, if you're using it. Cut the butter into slivers and scatter it on top of the fruit. Fold the uncovered border of dough up over the filling, allowing the dough to pleat as you lift it up and work your way around the galette. (Because you're folding a wide edge of dough onto a smaller part of the circle, it will pleat naturally -just go with it.) Dip a pastry brush in water, give the edge of the crust a light coating, and then sprinkle the crust with the remaining teaspoon of sugar.
  4. Bake the galette for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and crisp. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the galette rest on the sheet for 10 minutes. Slip a wide spatula or a small baking sheet under the galette and slide it onto the cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, cutting the tart with a pizza wheel or a sharp knife.
For the dough:

  • 3 tablespoons yogurt
  • 1/3 cup ice water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal (I substituted 1/4 cup flour)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 to 8 pieces
  1. Stir the yogurt and ice water together in a small bowl; set aside. Put the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt in the work bowl of a processor fitted with the metal blade; pulse to combine.
  2. Drop the butter pieces into the bowl and pulse 8 to 10 times, or until the mixture is speckled with pieces of butter that vary in size from bread crumbs to peas. With the machine running, add the yogurt mixture and process just until the dough forms soft, moist curds.
  3. Remove the dough from the processor, divide it in half, and press each half into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 2 hours.
  4. The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for a day or two, or it can be wrapped airtight and frozen for a month. Thaw, still wrapped, in the refrigerator. You'll only need about 20 minutes to defrost a round of dough at room temperature before it can be filled, folded into a galette, and baked.

Happy Baking!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Nutty Vanilla Apricot Granola

I really love being on break, because it gives me a chance to finally get in the kitchen and make some of the delicious recipes I've seen floating around the blog world. Like granola! I think I tend to pass by granola pretty easily because it's usually so sugar-laden and SO expensive! (hello, whole foods??) But I wanted to make something for my friend L, since we had decided to meet in the city for lunch at
Plant Cafe.

I had been deciding between a peanut butter brownie and cinnamon swirl bread, when I remembered she wasn't eating sweets! So after a quick check, I decided granola would be perfect.

I found several recipes I liked but none that sounded perfect to me, so I did what I do best and combined a bunch of ideas into one recipe I hoped would be a success. Luckily for me, and I guess L too, I think it was!

So here's my recipe for Nutty Vanilla Apricot Granola:


• 3 cups old-fashioned oats
• 1 cup chopped raw, unsalted almonds
• ½ cup chopped walnuts
• ½ cup chopped dried apricots
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• ¼ cup safflower oil (canola is okay too)
• ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons honey
• 2 teaspoons cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
2. In a medium bowl, combine oats, nuts and apricots.
3. Add vanilla, oil, honey and cinnamon and mix well so that the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
4. Spread the mixture onto a greased cooking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before storing in an air tight container for up to a week. (If it lasts that long!)

Happy Baking!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Blue Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hi guys!

It's been a while, but I'm finally back in the kitchen! I'm only home for 10 days, but I'm seriously making the most of my kitchen time! The day after I got back I made my favorite Whole Wheat Bread and later two loaves of Challah. Today, I made an old favorite, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread and a new-to-my-readers Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.
This is my trusty recipe for cookies that I've been making since I was old enough to wield a wooden spoon and mixing bowl! The dough isn't overly sweet, but complements the dark chocolate of the cookies perfectly and is my favorite to fall back on.

Blue Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookies

• 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
• ¼ tsp. baking soda
• 1/8 tsp. salt
• ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
• ¼ cup white sugar
• ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
• 1 large egg
• 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
• 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
2. In a medium bowl combine flour, soda, and salt. Mix well with a whisk and set aside.
3. In a large bowl blend sugars. Add butter and mix to form a grainy paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs and vanilla extract, and mix until light and fluffy.
4. Add the flour mixture and chocolate chips and combine until just mixed. Do not over-mix.
5. Drop by tablespoonful onto a parchment-paper lined baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 22-24 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely on parchment paper before storing in an airtight container for up to a week.

Happy Baking!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Raisin Swirl Bread

Happy 2011 everyone!

With the new year off to a (pretty) good start, I realize I have a few recipes I absolutely need to share from my time baking at home. The first is this delicious loaf of sweet bread.
I definitely do not consider myself a cinnamon person, in fact I leave it out of nearly every recipe that makes mention of it, except when absolutely necessary for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies or Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread. However, when I got a hankering for yeast I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and make something new. That's where Dorie Greenspan's Raisin Swirl Bread came in. I had the intention of baking the loaf for my neighbors, but when I pulled it out of the oven I immediately knew it was essential that I perform a taste-teste.

Like any recipe by Dorie, the bread came out perfectly. A soft crumb on the inside with a beautiful golden crust and lovely thick swirl of raisins and cinnamon-cocoa sugar.

As suggested by Dorie, the raisin-cinnamon flavors of the bread are even more delicious once the bread has been cooled, sliced and toasted! So go on and make yourself a fantastic Raisin Swirl Bread, and wake up to a perfect on-the-go breakfast!

Raisin Swirl Bread Recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking, From My Home to Yours

For the Bread

  • 1 pack active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus a pinch
  • 1 1/4 cups just warm to the touch whole milk
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 3/4 to 4 cups flour

For the Swirl 1 tablespoon sugar 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder 1 cup moist, plump raisins (I used golden) 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to a spreadable consistency

To make the bread: Put the yeast in a small bowl, toss in the pinch of sugar, and stir in 1/4 cup of the warm milk. Let rest for 3 minutes, then stir–the yeast may not have dissolved completely and it may not have bubbled, but it should be soft. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the remaining 1 cup milk, the butter and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and mix on low speed for a minute or two. Add the salt, egg and vanilla, if you are using it, as well as the zest and the nutmeg, if you’re using them, and mix for a minute. In all likelihood, the mixture will look unpleasantly curdly (it will look even worse when you add the yeast). Add the yeast mixture and beat on medium-low speed for 1 minute more. Turn the mixer off and add 2 3/4 cups of the flour. Mix on low speed just until you work the flour into the liquids–you’ll have a sticky mix. If you’ve got a dough hook, switch to it now. Add another 1 cup flour, increase the mixer speed to medium, and beat the dough or a couple of minutes. If the dough does not come together and almost clean the sides of the bowl, add up to 1/4 cup more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Keep the mixer speed at a medium and knead the dough for about 3 minutes, or until it is smooth and has a lovely buttery sheen. The dough will be very soft, much too soft to knead by hand. Butter a large bowl, turn the dough into the bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Put the bowl in a warm place and let the dough rise until it is doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Scrape the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap, wrap it and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm enough to be rolled easily. (At this point, you can instead refrigerate the dough overnight if that is more convenient.)

To make the swirl and shape the loaf: Butter a 9-x-5 inch loaf pan. Whisk together the sugar,cinnamon and cocoa, if you’re using it. Check that the raisins are nice and moist; if they’re not, steam them for a minute, then dry them well. Put the dough on a large work surface lightly dusted with flour, lightly dust the top of the dough and roll the dough into a rectangle about 12 x 18 inches. Gently smear 2 tablespoons of the butter over the surface of the dough–this is most easily done with your fingers. Sprinkle over the sugar mixture and scatter over the raisins. Starting from a short side of the dough, roll the dough up jelly-roll fashion, making sure to roll the dough snugly. Fit the dough into the buttered pan, seam side down, and tuck the ends under the loaf. Cover the pan loosely with wax paper and set in a warm place; let the dough rise until it comes just a little above the edge of the pan, about 45 minutes.

Getting Ready to Bake: When the dough has almost fully risen, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butte and brush the top of the loaf with the butter. Put the pan on the baking sheet and bake the bread for about 20 minutes. Cover loosely with a foil tent and bake for another 25 minutes or so, until the bread is golden and sounds hollow when the bottom of the pan is tapped. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes, then unmold. Invert the bread and cool to room temperature right up on the rack.

Happy Baking!