Tales of a muffin tin

MUFFINS! On a Sigma Nu plate, naturally...

Once upon a time, there were gremlins. These gremlins resided in Hayley’s upper digestive tract, mostly in the area of the stomach. Small beings, probably technicolor (likely thanks to large amounts of sprinkles consumed. whoops).

Now. Hayley normally has a very amicable relationship with the gremlins… except sometimes. They. Get. HUNGRY. And when they get hungry… well… more like hangry. Hungry-angry. You don’t want to be around them when they get hangry. Vociferous complaints start emanating from their subterranean hideout. And only a certain amount of vocal placating will suffice before they start rioting.

However, there is one thing that the gremlins love more than anything else.

Can you guess?

SNACKS!

Gremlins LOVE snacks. Especially home-made ones, that don’t come in packaging, and are derived from whole foods (not the store, silly!). What can I say, these gremlins are a bit picky (although  they prefer the word particular, thankyouverymuch). But. If Hayley can placate them with the right kind of snackies, life gets insta-better! No more hangry subterranean grumblings from small technicolor beings, and no awkward pauses in class when the gremlins attempt to loudly voice their dissatisfied opinion on the contents (or lack thereof) of Hayley’s stomach region.

Pause. Reverting to first person. As much as I like describing my gremlins in the context of their relationship to me in third person… Awkward.

Recently, I discovered a handy snackie that appeases the gremlins! MUFFINS! Thanks to Gillian, who gave me the bright idea of making a batch of muffins on the weekend, for snacks during the week. I knooooow all of my classmates are SUPER jealous when I roll into class with a homemade, healthy muffin. Yep, that’s right. Whole foods, non-processed, and a tastily convenient way to deal with all the random items in your fridge. Muffins are extremely forgiving :)

Whole foods+non-processed snackies=happy gremlins! (which in turn yields a happy Hayley, as we are a very symbiotic being…)

Here’s the recipe! I use this as a base, and throw in whatever I happen to have on hand, or whatever sounds good when the mood for muffins strikes. I cut these in half before I leave for class, and swipe some nut butter and jam or honey in the middle! Squash them back together and no one is the wiser ;)

down at muffin level

Muffin Madness, makes 6 (I make half the recipe, so it lasts me about a week)

Adapted from Easy Peasy Organic, here

  • 1 large egg (or flax egg, if you don’t have eggs)
  • 1/8 c olive oil (or whatever)
  • 1/2 c lowfat plain yogurt (milk, soymilk, or anything milkish is fine, I really like them with yogurt)
  • 1/8 c brown sugar (I prefer less sweet, if more sweet appeals to you, that’s fine! Honey also works, as does any sweetener)
  • 1/4 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c oat flour (or whole wheat, I like to use two different kinds)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
**Any add-ins you might want! My favorite combos are:
*mashed banana with cinnamon and vanilla, chocolate chips, and huckleberries
*grated fresh ginger, mashed banana, unsweetened shredded coconut, and chocolate chips
*grated raw sweet potato, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, choc chippies, and coconut
*anything, really. Just make sure you adjust the batter consistency to be not too runny (add flour), and not too thick (add milk/yogurt). It should be thick but not too thick, if you know what I mean… sorry for not being too specific! These are really forgiving. Don’t worry, I’m sure they’ll still appease your gremlins.
Preheat oven to 350, and lightly grease a muffin tin (I usually use coconut oil for this).
Mix the egg, oil, yogurt, sugar, and oats together. Add in whatever other wet add-ins you have (ie banana, vanilla, pumpkin, sweet potato, whatever), and stir to combine.
Mix your dry ingredients in a separate bowl, and then add liquid to dry. Be careful not to over-mix, since that makes for tough muffins! Just barely incorporate all the flour. Check consistency, adjust as needed.
Spoon batter into the jumbo muffin tin you are so justly proud of finding ON SALE at Sur la Table, and pop into the oven. Depending on your add-ins, bake time will vary, but I usually bake mine for about 20 minutes. Just keep an eye on them… I’m sure your gremlins will be happy to do that for you, as it means fresh, hot muffin for them, straight out of the oven! Excellent with earth balance, jam, nut butter, honey, or all of the above.
Enjoy the satisfaction of placating your own gremlins! (Don’t try to deny it, I know you have them too ;)

Professional-looking Pancakes!

Pancakes.

I know, I know. Again, you say? YES. Again. For a number of reasons: a) I make them about once a week, but never the same kind two weeks in a row (so it keeps it interesting), b) they make a FAB dinner, c) Ian was coming over and I thought he might like them (which he did, YAY!), and d) I had a half a can (here we go again…) of coconut milk in the fridge (what a terrible problem, NOT. I LOVE having leftover coconut milk). Oh. and e) I LOVE THEM. Why NOT make them once a week, I ask you? You should try it… designate a day, like “Pancake Tuesday”, and make a new kind every week. Ask Harriet… or Ashley… they know I’m a big proponent of pancake day. Thursday oddly seems to be the day of choice at this point in time…

Wow. I just reread that paragraph and realized how many parenthetical comments I made… I must be a very parenthetical person. Or maybe I think in parentheses. Hmm. Something to think about (parenthetically) (hahah).

ANYway.

These coconut pancakes are perfect. Fluffy, symmetrical, and beeeeautiful. And delicious. Of course, I’m sure their fluffy, symmetrical beauty is largely due to my superior pancake pro abilities… but it also might have a teensy bit to do with the recipe… maybe. Or not… it’s all in the wrist flick. Become one with the spatula!

I love the pancakes because I get a nice coconutty flavor, without it being like BAM, in your FACE coconut! Which is good, in some situations, but I find that pancakes are not one of them (think along the lines of coconut cream pie, if you want BAM). These are light, fluffy, and perfect with bananas (and chocolate, I might add…AND almond butter, of course!). There’s just enough coconut flavor without being overwhelming. They made a lovely Thursday night din din :)

So! Here’s the recipe. It’s really simple… like most of my pancake recipes, I find the simpler, the better.

beeeautiful!

Coconut Pancakes

You know the drill…. mix dry, mix wet, mixy mix mix. Cook! Eat. Here are the particulars.

  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 egg
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil (or canola)
  • 1 c light coconut milk (I was a bit short this time—you can make up the difference with soymilk or milk, whatever you have)

These are really good with sliced bananas and chocolate chips thrown in :)

up close and personal, hehehe

Omgea-3s, for the Win!

artistically arranged foil, NOT.

Hoooooray for (Alaskan, wild caught) salmon! Effectively exploding with essential omega-3 fatty acids (which not only make your skin gorgeous, but also contribute to vital body processes like your clotting time) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (which are good for you, period). I LOVE salmon! Not just because it’s good for me, but because it’s super tasty!

I was admittedly a bit freaked out about cooking fish for the first time… I mean, not exactly the first time, but the first time ALONE. This is a BIG DEAL. Because there are no helpful parental types lurking around who you can pester to see if your fish has achieved the correct doneness. No. Instead you must rely on the power of your own fork-wielding hands and superb optical powers of visionary greatness (ok, 20/15 fighter pilot vision, you have to be good for something!) to determine if your fish is done. Happily, I apparently passed this test, as I’m a) sitting here typing this, and b) my fish passed the flake-test, and was super fab. Hooray!

Which was good. Because after spending 3.5 HOURS on the phone with various types of tech support, attempting to ascertain the problems arising from my computer/internet, I was about ready to either get really violent and start throwing things, or start climbing the walls. Or possibly both.

Which means it was a good thing that my dinner cooperated as planned, or we might have had a full-scale meltdown/wall-climbing/throwing-thing fit. Which is never good. Happily, all tech-type things are hopefully resolved (or at least they seem to be, thank goodness), and I didn’t have to throw anything. And my salmon was good.

I got the idea for this recipe from the bestie Julia, but I didn’t follow her recipe exactly. Instead I looked up one specifically for salmon, and used that. I think I’d make a few modifications if I did it again—I’ll try to note them below.

innards.

Salmon en Papillote (serves 1) Adapted from here

  • enough salmon to feed you!
  • assorted veggies (I used a smallish red bell pepper and 3 large mushrooms)
  • lemon slices
  • fresh herbs, to taste
  • salt, pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450ºF.

Rinse your defrosted salmon with water and pat dry. Place each salmon fillet in the center of a largeish piece of parchment paper (or foil is fine. I used foil, I have no parchment paper at the moment!) and season with salt and pepper. Lay a few slices of lemon over the top of the salmon (I think I used 3).

Arrange sliced bell pepper and button mushrooms around the fish. Top it all with olive oil and 2 tbsp white wine if you have it (if not, water works just as well). The recipe calls for fresh thyme–If you like it, use it, but I’m not a huge fan, so I used fresh basil, which was also good.

Roll and crimp the edges of the foil or parchment to make a sealed packet, and place on a cookie sheet in the heated oven. Bake for about 15 minutes, until your fishy flakes apart or you deem it done. Careful when opening the packets, since the steam is really hot.

I chased mine with some crazy chocolate cake (made with all applesauce, see recipe here!), which of course made the indignity of the last 3.5 hours seem a bit less offensive. And Voyager, which of course makes everything better.

“Dismissed. *pause* That’s a Starfleet expression that means GET OUT.” -Captain Kathryn Janeway to a very buggy Nelix

It’s not easy being green…

that's right. GREEN PANCAKES.

Ok.

I just have to say, in my defense… I don’t normally make green food.

I mean… I EAT green food. You know, like that color produced by chlorophyll. Like plants. Mmmmm, plants. I do love them. Especially the green ones! Like broccoli, bok choy, celery, lettuces. Um. I could go on, but in the interest of holding your attention.. *ahem* Let’s move ahead!

So.

Since I’m currently roomie-less (but NOT FOR LONG, YAYYYY!!!), I’m purchasing and consuming for one stomach (and its resident gremlins). I’m discovering this to be an exceptionally fun challenge, not only to eat all the stuff in the fridge before it goes traveling southward, but also to eat a varied, balanced, and nutritionally sound diet. BUT. This diet also has to be interesting. Why would I EVER eat boring food? Boring food is, well…BORING. Life is too short and my stomach is too small (sadly I’m not a cow with five stomachs, why weren’t humans invented like that, I ask you?!) to eat lame food.

Right. Sorry, that was rather tangential. ANYway. As I was saying, before I so rudely interrupted myself about boring food… In my travels through the recesses of my fridge, I happened upon some spinach. I knew it was in there, of course, but I wasn’t exactly sure how I wanted to use it. I also have three lonely mushrooms, just in case anyone cares. And NO, they are NOT going into pancakes, ewwy ew ew.

As I was staring down the spinach, I had  a BRILLIANT PLAN! (Because anything involving your adorable and tiny *PURPLE* food processor is a brilliant idea) I decided to make spinach puree and… wait… ADD IT TO PANCAKES! Can you say nutritional value, all in one tidy little yummy package? Because I can. And there’s more, ooohhhh yes. They were DELICIOUS! Spinach is so totally going into my pancakes from now on (except with a certain Pancake Friday buddy–you know who you are!)

So. Without any further babble, here is the recipe! You’ve seen it before in other forms, although the base for this is the most basic.

down at pancake level

Spinach-Oat-Buttermilk Pancakes (Serves one with a cow stomach, or one normal human plus leftover breakfast!)

Hugely adapted from Marion Cunningham’s Breakfast Book

Do the pancake shtick! Mix dry:

  • 3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • very scant 1/2 tsp salt

*Tasty add-in: I chucked in about 1/4-1/3 c rolled oats. I highly recommend this! It gives them a bit more body and lovely chewiness.

Mix wet in a separate bowl:

  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • some melted something (I used Earth Balance… the original recipe calls for 3 tbsp, I usually put in a spoonful or so… or not. Sometimes I leave it out. Butter or olive oil are fine too)

*To the wet ingredient bowl: ADD YOUR SPINACH! I’m not sure how much I actually used, probably about 2 c? I had about 2/3 or so of a bag left, and I used mostly all of it. It’s not very exact, but however much you want is probably fine.

You see? Healthy and delicious.
BABY PURPLE FOOD PROCESSOR!!

Mix wet into dry! I threw in a finely chopped banana, as per usual, which I also highly recommend. I may have even added a few frozen huckleberries and choc chippies to one or two but shhhhh don’t tell!

Pour. Cook. Drool. Photograph. Discover, whilst on the phone with a bestie, that you have GREEN SPRINKLES that match your pancakes. Freak out just a little bit and pour them on a wee bit over enthusiastically… then find out that the sprinkles have soaked into the pancakes while photographing, and that you now have sprinkles on your dinner. Secretly do a happy dance for sprinkles.

Watch Voyager. Eat and LOVE your green food. And NO, it did NOT come out of a replicator (though I wish it had!).

“At ease, Ensign Kim, before you sprain something” -Kathryn Janeway.

Do it.

oh. and ps: I just wanted to share this too!! I tested out my personal cake pans (size 6.5″) by making a half batch of Crazy Chocolate cake! It was EXCELLENT. I just made a few changes to the posted recipe, namely brown sugar instead of white or turbinado. Yummy! And sooo cute.

Perfect thirds!

Chiseling mortar off of a 35 foot chimney…

This is what happens when you do labor on Labor day weekend! You make things to eat afterwards, duh!

Thanks to my lovely course schedule and a little national holiday, I had a four day weekend (hoooorayyy!). I decided to take advantage of the lack of work and lack of homework (what thesis??) to take a trip up to Govy to see Carl and Suz! YAY! Little did I know going in that I would, over the course of the weekend: wash 3 cars, watch the Ducks lose to LSU (We’re just going to pretend this didn’t happen, ok? ok… moving ON!), pick a quart of huckleberries, and chisel mortar off of a 35 foot chimney, after climbing said 35 feet of scaffolding to get up there. Can you say BALLER? Yes. I thought so. Anyway, it was a super fun and relaxing (yes, you read right) weekend… ideally I’ll be repeating it in the near future. (Although if there’s snow, the chimney might be a tad out of the question. ha.) Carl and Suz are probs the best people to stay with… and Whomp kitty is suuuuper cute.

Lookin' fierce with my chisel and Carl! Working hard? Or hardly working?

 

Working hard, obvi!

So.

Let me get back to the food, which is undoubtedly the reason you put up with my blather in the first place (and the whole reason for this blog’s existence… right. anyway.)

After all the exertions of the day, I wanted dessert! And food. But I have to prioritize, right?? Suz had a bunch of Hood River peaches (aww yeeee, locovore!) waiting to be sliced and eaten, so we turned them into a rustic peach galette. It was excellent on its own, but even better with a blob of ice cream! Duh. Like when would I EVER recommend that you eat anything WITHOUT ice cream?! I’m an a la mode girl, obvi. And apparently that’s an inherited trait, since my paternal grandfather is perpetually asking for a la mode. See? It’s in the genes, I’d like to see YOU try to alter your genetics! Ha. So there!

I’m not entirely sure where Suz got the recipe, and I’m adapting it loosely here. It’s insanely flexible—use whatever fruit you have on hand that’s seasonal, or I’m sure frozen would be fine too.

Rustic style

Rustic Peach Galette

For the dough:

2.5 c whole wheat flour (in this case NOT ww pastry flour, but it makes little difference which one you use here)

1 c butter (salted)

3 tbsp brown sugar

2/3 c ice water

scant 1/2 tsp salt

Filling:

A lot of peaches. Essentially however many will fit into your tart.

Sliced almonds are nice.

Vanilla extract.

Brown sugar. Flour.

Combine flour, sugar, and butter. Cut the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse sand (I find that your fingers are most effective for this). Add egg and ice water, and mold into a ball. Cover and let sit in the fridge while you go pick huckleberries (or something… not to rub it in, heheh).

Slice lots of peaches. Or other fruit. Or whatever is going in the middle of your tart. Galette. Whatever.

All sprinkled

After dough has chilled a bit, roll/flatten/rustically stretch your dough out so that it’s big enough to contain your filling. I crimped the edges on mine to hold it all in, but you can make a more traditional galette and pull the edges up and over the filling if you like.

Pile your peaches in a tasty-looking heap in the center of the dough, and sprinkle with almonds, brown sugar, vanilla, and a bit of flour. Toss your filling just a bit and then sprinkle the top with more sugar and a few more almonds/vanilla. I’m not giving measurements for these because a) this tart is supposed to be RUSTIC, and b) I actually didn’t measure when Suz and I made these, and c) if I told you how to do everything it would be boring! Anyway. Sprinkle away, to your heart’s content. When you’re done sprinkling…

Place galette (s) on a lightly greased/oiled cookie sheet, and bake until juices are bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Ours were probably somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes (Sorry for the inexactness, I was off doing other fun things and not really paying all that much attention). Still. They’re delicious! Not too sweet, and perfect for breakfast or a late afternoon snack. The flavor of the peaches really comes out, so make sure whatever fruit you use is super fresh and ripe!

Enjoy your rustic galette, in all of its lovely rusticness. It’s so rustic, the recipe is unspecific. Rather nice, don’t you think? Definitely a forgiving recipe—it would be easy to play around with it.

Happy 4 day work week, YAYY!

Pancakes for my new apartment!

 

Woah.

Let’s hope I’m not really this much of a blogging slacker… I’ve been busy! I promise. No more long hiatuses (or would that be hiati-i?) between posts. That means you, thesis. No interrupting when I’m doing something fun!

So.

I have a new apartment! Which means… I HAVE MY OWN KITCHEN that is NOT in a sorority, wheee!! (Of course I do love sharing a kitchen with my Mutti back at home, that’s the best!) This also means I have NO EXCUSE not to blog. Because I have to feed myself, and preferably tastily. Also. Cooking is WAAY more fun than doing theoretical art history readings… (No offense, Ricardo, if you’re reading this: I love your class!!) and thesising. Not that I procrastinate… at all. Psh.

Anyway.

Even though this isn’t my first meal in my own apartment (and I am NOT counting the few days of PB&J that happened whilst moving in), I think it’s the most important. This is MY place now, now that I’ve made and eaten pancakes here, hehe. I do miss my pancake eating buddies though (you know who you are, and you know I LOVE YOU!)…pancakes aren’t quite as good without gossiping whilst eating them. But whatever. I had a lovely night with my instant netflix and my pfankuchen.

This is a recipe adapted-ish from The Breakfast Book (again, psh what else??), and it makes the BEST buttermilk pancakes ever. I wanted something a little different though, so I added cornmeal. It’s up to you, whatever your heart (or tastebuds, I suppose) desires!

Pancakes for the win!

Cornmeal-Buttermilk Pancakes

Serves 2 (or one, with leftovers for breakfast, yessss!)

1/2 c whole wheat pastry or whole wheat flour (either works, I’ve used both)

1/4 c cornmeal

very scant 1/2 tsp of salt (I’ve reduced it to 1/4 tsp and it’s been fine)

1 tsp baking soda

1 egg

1 c buttermilk, well shaken

3 tbsp butter or earth balance, melted (I’ve left this out on occasion or put in less and been fine—I usually use whatever happens to be on hand. This time it was a spoonful of Earth Balance)

MY STOVE! (it's electric, psh. but whatever, I can have a gas one later in life)

These also had fresh blueberry and banana additions… I like fruit in my pancakes! They’re good with chocolate chips, too, if you MUST have chocolate disguised as dinner (and trust me, I’ve been there).

And look at this. I am PRO, clearly because I have a moose on my microwave. Do YOU have a moose? Yeah. I didn't think so!

Do your usual pancake shtick! Mix dry. Mix wet, without getting egg everywhere. Combine. Stir. Grease (coconut oil!). Pour. Dollop. Cook. EAT!

Three-day weekends call for PIE!

Patriotic-ish Pie
Star spangled? hehe.

I’m not exactly one for making a huge deal out of the 4th. However. This is amended if it gives me an excuse to bake. (Despite the fact that it’s around a hundred degrees in the shade, which is a quarter of how hot the oven is. ew.)

Since I get to go skiing this weekend (and go swimming at a high elevation, teehee), thanks to abnormally ridiculous amounts of snow this winter, I thought I should make something slightly patriotic. Or whatever. I really just wanted pie. With peaches, because a) I love them and b) why would I even need another reason? Pie is excellent. Especially for breakfast. Or following a day of summer skiing. With ice cream. Yessss. (I can see you drooling, you know.)

That being said, I don’t make a lot of pies, which is why I’m so proud of this one.  It looks downright professional despite coming from a pie-newbie. Thanks to Mutti for getting in a bicep workout rolling out the dough :) I think I’ll add  pie to my repertoire. It has fruit. Fruit=healthy. Never mind the sugar and butter… It even has a whole wheat crust! See? Healthy. Breakfast.

Peach Pie (For the 4th of July! Ha. It  rhymes. Ewww. sorry.)

Adapted from Annie’s Eats, here: http://annies-eats.net/2007/06/17/a-slice-or-two-of-heaven/

3 cups whole wheat pastry
½ tsp. salt
6 oz. unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks), chilled and diced
5-6 Tbs. cold water  (Mine took more like 8 tbsp to come together)

6 peaches, peeled and pitted, and 2 nectarines
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the butter. Cut the butter into the flour or rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture is crumb-like. Sprinkle 5 tablespoons of water over the mixture. With a fork, toss gently to mix and moisten it. Press the dough into a ball. If it is too dry to form a dough, add the remaining water. Wrap the ball of dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.

To make the filling, place the peaches in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and toss to coat well. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, salt and nutmeg. Add to the peaches and toss to combine.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let warm up a bit. Preheat oven to 425°.

Cut the dough in half. On a floured surface, roll out one half into a 12-inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. Try to keep the dough as round as possible. Transfer the rolled-out pastry to a 9-inch pie dish. Flute the edges by poking the dough outward with your fingers, and prick the bottom of the dough with a fork (to prevent a soggy crust). Roll out the pastry for the top crust and use star shaped (or any shape, really) cookie cutters to cut out bits of dough. Pile the fruit mixture into the pastry-lined pan and dot with bits of butter. Lay the stars over the top in a circular pattern, leaving space for the steam to escape.

 Bake for 25 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake until the juices are bubbling and the top is browned, about 25 minutes more. If the top is browning too fast, make a foil tent to cover it. I covered mine with about 9 minutes to go on the total baking time. Makes one 9-inch pie; serves 8.

Ad astra per aspera!