Peach Streusel Muffins

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I had planned on making a nice yeast-based feta pull apart bread for months now, but time just got the best of me – however, since I love World Bread Day so much, I didn’t want to miss out this year. So my contribution? A quick bread, specifically some Peach Streusel Muffins I made last week with the last of the peaches from the farmers market.

Peach Streusel Muffin Outside

I absolutely loved the topping, but the muffin itself could have been a touch moister and/or more flavorful. Maybe some amaretto in the batter next time around?

Peach Streusel Muffin Inside

Peach Streusel Muffins
recipe The Painted Lady Inn on Broadway (San Antonio, TX)

TOPPING
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

BATTER
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream (or substitute buttermilk + yogurt combined to equal 1 cup)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter melted then cooled to room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup diced peaches (fresh are best, but frozen then thawed can be used)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut large squares of wax paper to use as muffin cups. Stuff wax paper square in muffin cup (I just used liners). Combine struesel topping ingredients into a medium size bowl. Mix with a pastry blender, then crumble with fingers until mixture looks like chopped nuts. Set aside.

To make the muffin batter, sift together all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Break eggs into another bowl. Add sour cream. Mix with a whisk by hand. Mix in vanilla. Whisk in melted butter until blended. Stir in diced peaches.

Pour egg mixture over flour mixture and fold until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not over mix, or muffins will be tough. Fill muffin tins to top of pan with batter. Top each muffin with a generous amount of streusel topping. Lightly pat in.

Bake until tops are golden brown – about 30 minutes for large muffins. Remove from pans and cool on wire rack.

Mostaccioli

presto pasta nights

The discovery of this recipe came about near the end of the summer, when I had a ton of produce and cream in my fridge to use up – not only did it nearly use everything that I needed to use, but it tasted pretty amazing as well. It’s not pretty to look at, but what it lacks in looks it makes up for in flavor. I’m submitting it to this week’s Presto Pasta Nights, hosted this week by Judith of Think On It.

Mostaccioli

Mostaccioli (Baked Pasta with Creamy Sauce and Italian Sausage)
recipe scaled down from original at Recipezaar

1 lb. penne pasta
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 quarts heavy whipping cream
1 cups shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 lb mild Italian sausage
1 red bell peppers
12-15 sliced mushrooms
8 roma tomatoes
fresh basil
diced garlic
olive oil

Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside, but do not rinse.

Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a saucepot. Add minced garlic (more or less if desired). Slowly add heavy whipping cream to melted butter and garlic mixture. Bring sauce to a slow simmer, then add 1 cups shredded Parmesan cheese. Stir until melted. Let sauce simmer on low.

Break apart and brown Italian sausage. Add a thinly sliced peppers to meat mixture.
When both are fully cooked, dump them into the sauce.

Saute sliced mushrooms in 1 Tbsp butter seasoned with salt and pepper. When cooked, add to sauce.

Place tomatoes in a food processor and process until blended with chunks. Add fresh basil to taste (don’t be stingy — a lot is better). Add diced garlic to taste. Add olive oil. Don’t be afraid to start small and add more basil, garlic and oil as you go. This tomato mixture can be made a day early; let set in refrigerator overnight. Add this dish to the sauce.

Bring the huge pot to a boil, let it simmer just a minute or two. Mix sauce with the noodles, and then spread them out evenly in a 9 x 13 inch pan. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Chicken Tetrazzini

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I’m almost embarrased to say that in my 36 years on earth, I’ve never once had Chicken Tetrazzini. I wasn’t even sure what it was, thinking it was an Italian dish that had something to do with noodles. Imagine my surprise when I found out it was an American dish – according to Wikipedia, “The dish is named after the famous Italian-born opera star Luisa Tetrazzini. It is widely believed to have been invented ca. 1908-1910 by Ernest Arbogast, then chef at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California, where Tetrazzini was a long-time resident. However, other sources attribute the origin to at the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York City.”

Either way, it’s absolutely friggin’ delicious, and I’m wondering where it’s been all my life. It encompasses my favorite things – pasta, mushrooms, creamy cheesy wine sauce, chicken – into a hearty, comforting package of yum. I’m embarrassed to say I made this three times last week. So I’m submitting it as my “American” entry into the World Food Day event.

Chicken Tetrazzini

I made it local by using mushrooms from Toby Run, cream from Snowville Creamery, and the fantastic WondeRoast chicken from Broadmoor Market.

Chicken Tetrazzini Closeup

Chicken Tetrazzini
recipe slightly adapted from recipe by Pebbles @ Recipezaar

SERVES 6 -8

8 ounces medium egg noodles or wide egg noodles, cooked
1 1/4 cups heavy cream or half-and-half
4 tablespoons butter
8 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
salt
1/2 cup dry sherry (don’t use cooking sherry)
3 cups shredded cooked chicken breasts
1 tbsp. dried tarragon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 375. Butter a 3 quart oven proof casserole.

In saucepan, melt butter and saute mushrooms until tender, about 10 minutes.
Blend in flour, 3/4 c cheese and chicken broth. Cook until smooth and thick.
Add seasonings, except parsley. Remove from heat and blend in cream and sherry.

Add shredded chicken and cooked noodles. Pour into dish and top with bread crumbs, parsley and remaining cheese. Bake uncovered about 20 minutes. Brown crumbs under broiler if necessary. You may want to adjust the liquids a bit if you prefer a creamier sauce.

Tater Tot Casserole

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Sometimes tasty isn’t pretty. I’ve been trying to cook frugally lately, using ingredients that I already have on hand or ingredients that are carried at discount grocery stores like Aldi. At least until the end of the year, things are going to be a little tight here at Casa Boyer.

I first had this dish at a potluck at my last job, although that time, it was done in the oven rather than in the crockpot. The crockpot version? Not quite as good, and needs a little tweaking to adjust the seasoning and the creaminess. But a good start, nonetheless, and something I’m going to be working on improving. I’m submitting this recipe to this week’s Slow Cooking Thursday event.

Tater Tot Casserole

Tater Tot Casserole
recipe by Faith @ Justmommies Forums

32-oz bag frozen tater tots
1 lb. ground beef browned
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 14 1/2 cans of green beans drained
10 3/4-oz can cream of mushroom soup
1 Tbsp. dried onions
1/4 cup milk

1. Line slow cooker with frozen tator tots (can just dump them in, lol)
2. Combine remaining ingrediants. Pour over potatoes.
3. Cover. Cook on high for 3 hours.

Banana Pudding

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For this week’s edition of Kids Cooking Thursday, I chose a recipe that I’ve loved since I was a kid – this particular recipe is easy enough for kids to prepare, but I think I’ve lost my tolerance for very sweet food – one serving of this nearly sent me into sugar shock. The flavor was amazing, though.

Banana Pudding

Banana Pudding Supreme
recipe by RecipeNut @ Recipezaar

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups milk
1 (6 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding
1 (8 ounce) carton non-dairy whipped topping
4 bananas, sliced
1 (12 ounce) box vanilla wafers

Cream the cheese with milk until smooth. Stir in sweetened condensed milk and pudding mix.
Fold in half of the whipped topping. Layer pudding, cookies and bananas in dish. Top with remaining topping. Chill.

Greek Lamb Burgers

Blazing Hot Wok

There’s a new blogging event called Regional Recipes, hosted over at Blazing Hot Wok, that celebrates food from all over the world – each month a new region is selected – this month the region is Greece and the recipes are supposed to reflect that theme.

I chose to highlight a Greek lamb burger that I made a month or so ago, with mostly local ingredients. All of the vegetable ingredients are local, at least – the tomatoes, the cucumbers, the onions, even the mint and oregano in the burgers.

This summer has been all about making unusual burgers – this one, at least, is a keeper.

Greek Lamb Burger

Greek Lamb Burgers

1 1/2 lb. ground lamb
1 tbsp. fresh mint, finely chopped
1 tbsp. fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 tbsp. Greek seasoning
6 oz. feta cheese crumbles

For assembly:
Black Olive Mayo (recipe below)
Tzatziki Sauce (recipe here)
Sliced Roma tomatoes
Sliced cucumbers
4 hamburger buns
Lettuce leaves
Red onion, sliced

Mix burger ingredients together (including feta), and form into 4 patties. Grill 5 minutes on each side on medium direct heat, and then cook for a couple more minutes until done. Toast your buns on the grill as the burgers cook.

To build your burger, spread the bottom bun with a nice thick dollop of the black olive mayo, and then put the burger, which you then top with lettuce, tzatziki sauce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. Top with burger bun and serve.

Black Olive Mayonnaise
recipe courtesy Epicurious

2/3 c. mayonnaise
2 tbsp. black olive tapenade
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Stir together all ingredients. Chill, covered, 1 hour (for flavors to develop)

The World’s Biggest Potluck?

Not quite. But not for lack of a valiant attempt by a couple hundred people who made 379 different dishes. Definitely short of of the 602 needed to beat the record, but an impressive spread nonetheless. I mean, when is the last time you went to a potluck that had almost 400 different dishes?

The event, which was held this past Sunday the 12th at the Maple Grove United Methodist Church in Worthington, was attended by a huge variety of people – other food bloggers (I saw Jim, Anne, and Bethia there), reporters and photographers, heck, I even saw my former boss there. Go figure. The weather couldn’t have been better – clear and sunny, but the 80-degree heat kept me at least away from any dishes containing mayo (better safe than sorry!)

Here’s just a few dishes that we saw there:

Fruit Salad

4 Bean Salad

Pasta Salad

Chicken Pot Pie

So what did our party make and bring? Well, Joe made a really delicious pork loin that was wrapped in peppered bacon and cooked all night in a low oven. It really disappeared quickly, being one of the few protein items:

Joe's Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin

He also made a really good 32-Bean soup.

Joe's 32 Bean Soup

I made my Puerto Rican Roast Pork (Pernil), and my mom whipped up a batch of her Arroz con Gandules (Rice and Beans), which both seemed to go over well.

Roast Pork (Pernil) and Arroz con Gandules

All in all, it was an enjoyable afternoon. I hope they give it another try next year, because I had a blast.

Review: TipTop Kitchen and Cocktails

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t get downtown nearly as often as I should to dine. As a resident of Columbus’ suburbs, I find it a bit daunting to navigate the downtown streets with its one way streets and parking meters, trying to find parking. So with the goal of forcing myself to get downtown more, I bought a bunch of discounted dining certificates to restaurants all over Columbus, including downtown.

One of the places I bought certificates for was TipTop Kitchen and Cocktails on Gay Street, near Third. I had only been in the TipTop once before, a year prior, for drinks. I had meant to go back, really I had. But by the time I got a hankering to go, it was either the middle of the lunch rush or during dinner time, and I just didn’t feel up to dealing with the logistical issues.

The idea to go to TipTop dawned on my husband and I in mid-afternoon, well after the lunch rush, but way before parking would become an issue. So we headed downtown and promptly found a metered space about half a block away from the restaurant.

It was a beautiful day, clear and in the 70′s, so we decided to eat outside on the cute little patio they’ve got set up there. I think everyone else had the same idea, as no one was inside – everybody was just outside enjoying the cool breeze and probably one of the last nice days we’ll have for a while.

Our waitress was quick, charming and not shy about making suggestions when my husband asked. One of the nice touches I noticed right off the bat was the huge size of the beverages/water that she brought out – no asking for constant refills, that’s for sure!

For an appetizer, we decided on a basket of sweet potato fries ($5), which are served with spicy mayo. These were so absolutely addictive, that I’ll go back if for nothing else but these. Subtle sweet flavor in a nice crispy fry, and they had my heart with the seasoned salt (I’m a sucker for fries sprinkled with seasoned salt). The spicy mayo that they pair it with goes perfectly – my only complaint is that I wish they had just a bit more mayo with it, because even conserving the mayo, I ran out before the basket was gone. Just filling the little Solo cup to the top would make all the difference in the world.

Sweet Potato Fries with Spicy Mayo

We shared a crock of Spicy Vegetarian Corn Chowder ($5), which had a nice kick to the creamy soup that was loaded with huge chunks of potato and other vegetables. I’m a die-hard omnivore, and let me tell you, I didn’t miss the meat at all.

Vegetarian Corn Chowder

I had originally ordered the Tilapia ($10), which is drizzled in adobo sauce and served with chipotle risotto and steamed veggies, for myself. My husband took a couple of bites and insisted that I trade entrees with him right then and there. He was so smitten with the risotto, and the combination of the fish and the risotto, that he wanted it for himself. His entree-lust was so great that he threatened to order a portion of this to-go if I didn’t trade.

The fish was excellent. Nicely sauteed, with the right amount of browning. The risotto? Pretty freaking amazing. I love a good risotto, and I fell in love with this at first bite. Who knew you could find good risotto in a comfort food joint in the middle of downtown?

Tilapia with Chipotle Risotto

So what did I get in trade for my tilapia and risotto? What did my husband pass up for what was behind door #2? A really freaking good Ohio Style Monte Cristo Sandwich ($10), which he had ordered with potato salad on the side because the eggplant fries we wanted haven’t been available for the past few weeks ::sniff:: The sandwich was a properly made Monte Cristo, unlike the last few I’ve had, which were just plain old sandwiches dipped in a disgustingly thick batter. No, this was beautiful – the only thing battered on this puppy was the bread, as it should be. And in between those battered bread slices was some nicely shaved turkey, ham, swiss and a rockin’ honey mustard sauce. With just a little Smuckers strawberry jam spread on it, I didn’t regret my trade at all.

The potato salad was one of the best I’ve had in a restaurant, because it reminded me of mine – not sweet, very creamy, nice big chunks of potato, and extremely flavorful.

tiptop_montecristo

We really wanted to try dessert, but they didn’t have any available, as they had run out over the weekend. If there is any fault to be found with my meal at all, it was the unavailability of certain items, which is a minor logistical issue that is easily overlooked unless it becomes a chronic problem.

So color us pleasantly surprised. We had an idea that it would be good, but we didn’t know that it would be *that* good. So parking issues be damned, I’ll definitely be back.

If you’d like to go: TipTop Kitchen and Cocktails, 73 E. Gay St, Columbus, 614.221.8300

Tip Top on Urbanspoon

Corned Beef Hash

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Another oldie but goodie drug out from the archives for What’s Cooking Wednesday. Wow. I made this back in – March, I think. But the weather is getting right for such a thing. I don’t know about you all – but when I make corned beef, I always have leftovers. Always. One of my favorite things to make with the leftovers is corned beef hash, using onions, par-boiled potato cubes, and with a fried egg over top. There’s nothing else quite like it. The trick is to use point-cut corned beef instead of flat-cut. The fat content is way higher, but the increased fat gives you unrivaled flavor. Isn’t it worth it for a once a year calorie splurge?

Corned Beef Hash

Corned Beef Hash

Leftover corned beef, cubed (as much or as little as you want to use)
1 bag Simply Potatoes (or similar) cubed potatoes
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
1-2 eggs

Heat oil in heavy (preferrably cast iron) pan, and then add onions. Cook until translucent, and then add potatoes. Cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes, turning every 3-4 minutes or so. Potatoes should be nearly browned at this point. Add corned beef and allow to cook an additional 5 minutes until heated through. Meanwhile, fry eggs to your preference. Serve in dish with eggs on top.

Italian Frangipane Plum Tart

I think late summer/early fall is truly the best time ever for baking, because you can get virtually any fruit or veggie available, with the exception of some early summer berries. But there are apples, pears, peaches, winter squash, just to name the few. And then there’s one of my personal favorites – Italian plums.

Italian plums are smaller and tarter than traditional plums, but they’re ideal for baking. I like to make my Oma’s traditional German plum cake, but after that, the sky’s the limit. I decided to branch out a bit by making a tart with some.

The plums are only available for a month or so, and I saw them at the market as of last week, but who knows how much longer they will last? I’m submitting this recipe to the Eating with the Seasons blogging event. :)

Plum Frangipane Tart

Italian Frangipane Plum Tart
recipe courtesy Carole Walter

Ingredients:

1 11-inch Sweet Tart Pastry crust, baked (see recipe below)

NUT FILLING (FRANGIPANE):
2 ounces almond paste (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon unsifted all-purpose flour
1 large egg white
1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted and finely chopped, divided

FRUIT TOPPING:
1 1/2 pounds Italian prune plums or other dark purple plums, pitted and quartered
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

GLAZE:
1/2 cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons water

Procedure:

Place the almond paste, sugar, butter, and lemon zest in a small bowl. (If almond paste is too hard, soften it in the microwave on defrost setting for 30 to 40 seconds). Mash the ingredients together using a pastry blender or fork. Blend in the flour. Add the egg white and mix with a small whisk, making the mixture as smooth as possible.

Reserve 2 tablespoons of the toasted almonds. Stir the remaining nuts into the frangipane. Spread the mixture smoothly over the cooled tart shell.

ASSEMBLE THE TART:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Position oven shelf to the lower third of oven.
Place plum wedges in a large bowl and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Sprinkle the mixture over the plums and shake the bowl to distribute throughout the fruit.

Starting with the outer edge, arrange the plums on top of the frangipane in concentric circles, placing the slices close together. The points of the plums should be wedged high against the side of the tart pan. For the second circle, again position the points of the plums higher, wedging them against, and slightly overlapping, the first row of plums. Fill in the center with the remaining plums.

Place the tart on a jelly roll pan lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until the fruit starts to bubble. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

GLAZE THE TART:

Place the apricot preserves and water in a small, heavy saucepan and bring to a slow boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 minute. Strain and let cool briefly. Using a pastry brush, dab the warm apricot glaze on the fruit. Garnish with the reserved almonds.

Sweet Tart Pastry
recipe courtesy Carole Walter

1 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, firm
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Procedure:

Place the flour, sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 3 to 4 times to blend.

Distribute the butter around the bowl and pulse 6 to 7 times. Then process for 6 to 8 seconds. The crumbs should be about the size of coarse meal.

Empty the crumbs on to a cool surface. Form the mixture into a mound. Make a 4 to 5-inch well in the center of the mound. Combine the egg and vanilla, and pour the mixture into the well.

Using a fork, draw the crumbs into the egg mixture, about 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time. When all of the crumbs are added, toss the mixture a few times with a pastry scraper to form large clumps, then scrape into a mound.

Using the heel of your hand, fresage or push about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the dough at a time, outward in 6 to 8-inch sweeps. This will incorporate the fat and flour together and give the crust a delicate texture. If your hand becomes sticky, flour it as needed. Repeat the process until all of the dough has been worked. Gather the dough into a mound again, then repeat the entire procedure 2 additional times.

After the third fresage, flour your hands and gently knead the dough 5 or 6 times to make it smooth. Shape into a 4 to 5-inch disk. Dust the disk lightly with flour, score with the side of your hand, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes before shaping. Do not let the dough become to hard or it will be difficult to roll. If it does, let the pastry soften at room temperature.