July 25, 2010

Hush Puppies

-hushin' dem puppies-

every culture seems to have their own catchy name for this deep fried treat / side dish. i've heard name that range from "corn doggers" to "corn fritters" to "mandoca" in venezuela to "yanikeke" in the dominical republic to my favorite "festivals" in jamaica. yep, believe it people places outside of the american bible belt enjoy these miraculously simply and tasty bites. everyone loves deep fried balls of cornmeal dough - everyone. you can vary the sweet to savory ratios and easily move from side dish to dessert - or carnival fare.
now for a bit of american southern history (supposed history - which can describe about 60% of all my "historical" knowledge). evidently history has it that these little guys were usually tossed to the dogs by hunters, soldiers even runaway slaves to "hush the puppies". pretty clever eh? funny because when i do make these - which is rare, but holds as a semi-yearly summer farm tradition - they never make it to anyplace other than the grubby hands of the beer macerated men folk. a puppy would never have a chance of tasting one of these.

-or whatever you call em'-

1c cornmeal
1/2c flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
16 oz cream corn
1/2c finely minced onion
milk if needed
oil for frying

*heat 2"-3" of oil to 350F
*in a large bowl combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt and baking powder
*in a separate bowl combine the cream corn and onions
*add the corn mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine - add a bit of milk if the batter seems too thick. it should be about the constancy of a thick muffin or quick bread batter.
*drop by the tablespoonful into the preheated oil and fry, turning once, until golden. this should take only 2-3 minutes.
*place on a paper towel lined plate and serve with ketchup or my favorite, tartar sauce.

July 23, 2010

Brown Butter Honey Corn Muffins

-mmmm brown butter and honey-

cornmeal - simple and sunny but somehow at the same time cozy. its one of those rare season "crossover" foods; its great in fluffy blueberry muffins, stewed in cream as an early morning poridge or baked into a quick bread and severed up with a steaming bowl of winter warming chili. what can go wrong when you are playing with cornmeal i ask you?! not much in my book. so i continued my love of all things brown butter i decided to try it out in a loaf of cornbread and while i was in an "ode to all things brown" mode i forged forward with brown butter and honey too. don't skip on the buttermilk here it keeps a moist crumb because really, who doesn't love a moist crumb? slather on the jam and you have yourself a breakfast fit for a british queen. slather on honey butter and you have a pre dinner warm-up treat fit for my husband.


1c cornmeal
1c AP flour
1/4c packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1c buttermilk
3oz browned butter
2tbs honey

*preheat oven to 400F, grease your pan
*in a large bowl combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt
*in a smaller bowl whisk together the buttermilk, egg, browned butter and honey
*pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and stir just to combine -- do not over mix!
*pour/ ladle into your prepared pan
*cook for 15-18 minutes, until toothpick is clean - start checking after 15 minutes

July 16, 2010

Lemon Scones

-good morning sunshine!-

so i'll make this quick since we are literally on our way out the door to head down to ole Virginia for the weekend. i made these as a "good mornin' sunshine! - now these get oudda here." breakfast. aaaand they. are. delicious. i made these with my homemade butter and buttermilk, both of which made these guys super moist with a perfect crumb. add in the lemon zest and brown sugar for a hint of summer sweetness. oh and slather these babies with homemade blueberry jam (stay tuned for the next post..) and dudes - you will fall in love with mornings again.


2/3c buttermilk
1 tbs lemon zest
2oz cold butter
2c flour
1tbs baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4c packed brown sugar

*preheat oven to 375F, line your cookie sheet w/ parchment
*in a small bowl combine the buttermilk, egg and lemon zest
*in a larger bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar
*quickly cut in the butter with your fingers or forks until the you have pea sized bits - a very coarse crumbs
*quickly stir in the buttermilk mixture until just combined - do not over stir!
*turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 6-8 times, quickly pat into 1/2" thick round
*place on your prepared sheet, cut into 8 wedges
*bake for 25 minutes until golden brown
*let cool then break into individual wedges

July 13, 2010



just when you thought you've seen me reach the peak of modern kitchen turned old school insanity (that phrase makes sense to me...) i've gone ahead and just lept over the cliff and decided i NEEDED to make my own butter. growing up i can't tell you how many time my mom and dad would mention how good fresh, homemade butter was when they were growing up. my mom raised on warm milk straight from the cow, along with uncountable other mazing farm-house goodies and my father being his father's only-store-in-town stock boy (aka fresh foods everyday) they shared the enjoyment of real food. ahh real food - where can i get some of that? anyways since i began my obsession with homemade, local, small batch dairy butter has been a high priority. it makes totally sense - over the last year i've honed jam skills & fresh bread has been a staple for me for almost a decade now (gasp - i'm old!) all that WAS missing is butter. so butter i made. to be honest its one of the easiest things i've "challenged" myself with. the most important factor is where you get your cream - make sure its fresh, local and from a small batch farmer with healthy cows. don't waste your time (and arm strength) with mass produced, ultra-pasterized, homogonized, hormone and antiboitic laced garbage from wal-mart, you'll just concentrate the lackluster. i adore my local dairy farmer (thanks NYC for rockin out with the greenmarkets) and you should too.
oh and by the way - my mom and dad where absolutely right; real, fresh butter is absolutely amazing - spread it on a fresh slice of bread and top with peach jam and you'll fall in love. i promise. sorry land-o-lakes you taste like wax - dirty wax.

BUTTER (yes butter)

1 1/2c heavy cream
quart glass jar
rested, healthy arms

*make sure your cream is at least 50% fat
*let 1 1/2c of heavy cream come to 60F
*pour into a jar that will allow for some "swishing" room and shake, shake, shake for about 15-20 minutes.
*you will see that first it will get pretty thick, then will start to seperate into a solid and a milky liquid - this is buttermilk
*drain off the buttermilk and save for later
*add cold water to the jar with the butter solids, shake and drain again. continue this process of rinsing until the water runns clear
*place the butter ball in a bowl and "knead" with a spoon or a couple of forks and continue to drain off the excess water.
*add 1/4 tsp or so of sea salt if you like your butter salted or leave it as is and lavish yourself by mixing it with honey. store in frig and enjoy over the next few weeks.

July 11, 2010

Peanut Butter Teff Cookies

-peeeeeeeanutbuttttttter mmmmmmmm-

who ever invented peanutbutter cookie deserve a noble peace prize. seriouslyeverything about peanutbutter cookies says: fun childhood stuff, make love not war - that kind of jargon. just the name makes me happy - how can you go wrong with a cookie made out of creamy lovely goodness, its on the same level as chocolate chocolate cookies, no? but there is something about peanutbutter cookies that is so humble and simple that makes them so perfect. they stand out, just enough, from other cookies; they aren't of the "spiced" variety or the "fill-in-the-blank chunk" variety. nope, they are simple, unassuming and just waiting to be loved. so does anyone know how or why the fork print stamps got on these treats? i suppose it has to do with cooking them evenly??? i don't think anyone really cares. so i'll move on.

so i got some teff flour in hopes that i would be successful in making injera and when that end in a stinky failure i turned the bag over and discovered a simple, and brief, recipe for teff peanutbutter cookies. i made a few changes as per, well just per me and making them heart healthy-er. the earthy-ness of the tiny teff grain paired really well with the peanutty-ness and since teff has no gluten the crumb is pretty close to perfect. whip up a batch and before you throw em in the oven add a tsp of banana jam to the center - oh my god.


1 1/2c teff flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 c coconut oil
1/2 maple syrup
1 tbs vanilla
1c peanut butter (smooth, unsalted)

*preheat oven to 350F
*combine the teff and salt
*in a seperate bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients until completely smooth
*add the teff mixture and stir to completely combine
*drop by tbs full, roll into a ball, place on cookie sheet and flatten a little (with a fork if you please)
*bake for 12-14 minutes

July 2, 2010

Home (quick) Cottage Cheese

- yes you can -
it's proably just me, but it seems like lately store bought cottage cheese has gone completely over board with the salt. if you try the "no salt added" option you're left with a mouth full of rubbery little disks that taste like a combination of elmers and playdoh. and did i mention the cost of organic dairy products? and the exorbitant AGE of processed dairy? yeah its not pretty out there for us penny pinching food lovers. with this in mind along with my recent conversion from a yogurt customer to a yogurt making guru i have set out to tackle all my favorite dairy products. my little kitchen has a new task and this was one was a bit of a kick off. this recipe is ridiculously simple, really all you need to know how to do is turn a burner on, stir, be patient and strain. granted this is a "quick fix", the real deal involves a few more steps and rennet - which i will be getting to in the near future (most likely in the next few days) - but this is a great warm-up to making cheese. a little culinary stretch if you like. oh and the taste - fresh and clean, slightly salty and perfectly creamy. add in a few slices of fresh peach and you will be in heaven, i know i was there yesterday.
8c milk (any kind you wish)
1/4c vinegar
1/4 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
1/2c milk or cream for serving (optional)

*heat the milk to 180 - 185F
*add the vinegar, stir just to combine
*let sit for about 30 minutes, the curds and whey will separate
*line a colander with a fine mesh muslin or flour sack linen which is what i use
*pour into the lined colander and strain the curds - you can discard the whey
*put curds in your bowl and sprinkle in salt
*store in frig and mix in the 1/2c milk if you wish when you are ready to eat - this will make it more "creamy"

June 10, 2010

Blueberry Corn Muffins

-there's basically sunshine rays beaming out of this muffin-

i don't know about you but, breakfast is sacred. there seems to be two kinds of people when it comes to the morning meal. exhibit A: roll out of bed ready to devour the kitchen and all the goodness it has to offer. exhibit B: rolls out of bed, checks emails, hangs around a few hours then scrounges up some lame "meal" of something like box cereal or worse yet a coke paired with a candy bar (my god!). forgive me if i am offending any of you exhibit Bs out there, but really guys? lets get through this together. i understand that yogurt and granola isn't for everyone BUT muffins are. there is not one human being that doesn't enjoy a nice buttery golden blueberry muffin. add in some cornmeal, which not only adds a whole grain, and you have yourself an all around perfect day starter. if you think you can muster it slather on a bit of honey butter and you just elevated yourself to deity. have i convinced you to out that box of trix up yet?


1 1/2c AP flour
1/4 c sugar
1/4c brown sugar (light packed)
1/2c cornmeal
1tbs baking powder
3/4tsp salt
2 tsp lemon zest
3/4c buttermilk
4oz butter, melted
1 egg
1c fresh or frozen (unthawed) blueberries

*line 12 muffin tins with paper cups, preheat oven to 350F
*sift together flours, sugar, salt and baking powder
*in separate bowl combine zest, buttermilk, butter and egg
*quickly combine the wet and dry ingredients
*fold in blueberries
*spoon into prepared pan and cook 20-25 minutes, until toothpick is clean