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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pistachio, Blue Cheese and Apricot Canapes

A delicious and super easy little canape recipe that I tried out for the first time on my family last weekend. This was the perfect thing for my kids because my daughter loves blue cheese and pistachios and my son loves apricots, so they pulled them all apart and split things up.

The contrast between the sweet honey and the apricots and the salty pistachios and the blue cheese was just divine. I'll be making these again the next time I have to bring an appetizer somewhere. They were super easy and I imagine they will travel well also.

Pistachio, Blue Cheese and Apricot Canapes

16-20 dried apricots
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 oz salted pistachios, shelled and chopped
1 tsp honey + more for drizzling.

1. In a bowl mix the blue cheese, chopped pistachios and 1 tsp of honey, until it forms a bit of a paste that can be shaped.

2. Use a tsp to form out little round mounds and place on on top of each apricot.

3. Arrange on a serving platter and drizzle with honey.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Peanut Butter, Banana and Cinnamon Muffins

What this blog really really needs (other than a different author/cook) is yet another muffin recipe. I know, I know, I've made promises to myself to stop making muffins until I use up the dozens that are languishing at the bottom of my freezer, but I have a problem, OK? I should probably seek therapy. MUST. MAKE. MUFFINS. I can't stop.

But these are REALLY REALLY good. The only thing that might make these even better is a cup of semi sweet chocolate chips, a stroke of brilliance that didn't occur to me until the muffins were already in the oven. But, unfortunately I won't ever be able to try that, because I am hereby making a solemn promise to myself to stop making muffins! I mean it this time. Really! (Gosh, it's hard to type with your fingers crossed).

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins with Crumb Topping
Makes 15 large muffins (or if you prefer, 12 large and 6 mini muffins)

1 1/2 cups bran flakes cereal
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup banana, mashed
1 egg, beaten
1 cup chopped dates (or nuts, or chocolate chips)

Crumb Topping
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1. Stir together the milk and bran flakes and let stand for a few minutes.

2. In another bowl whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon).

3. Heat peanut butter and butter in microwave for 60 seconds. Pour into flour along with bran flake mixture and the banana, brown sugar and egg. Stir until just combined.

4. Mix in dates and spoon into prepared muffin tin.

5. Mix together all Crumb Topping ingredients until crumbly and divide amongst the muffins.

6. Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes or until the muffins pass the toothpick test.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sourdough Pancakes

A few weeks ago I posted the recipe for my Sourdough Pizza Crust. This was more of an experiment than anything else. An experiment that went very well for a change. I've been working on a little project to develop a sourdough starter for about a month now, and I've baked with it a few times. Enough to know that I have a good starter going. In addition to the sourdough pizza crust, I've made sourdough cornbread, sourdough pancakes, sourdough crumpets, sourdough blueberry muffins, and a sourdough paperweight. All those recipes will be posted in good time - well except the paperweight recipe. Although, if anyone would like the recipe for a really heavy paperweight which can double as a brick to throw at your husband if he makes fun of your flopped bread, please just e-mail me for the recipe at:


Anyway - I digress (as usual) - I thought I would share my sourdough pancake recipe today.

I've experimented with many different pancake recipes over the years. Sour Cream Pancakes, Pancakes with Beaten Egg Whites, Buckwheat Pancakes, Oatmeal Pancakes, Pancakes with all sorts of things added in, Pancakes from boxes, Pancakes from a can...

Until this past Saturday. My days of pancake experimentation are over. I will never ever be able to make pancakes again without making THIS recipe (unless I kill my starter, but that's another story). Before Saturday, my favorite pancake recipe has been one that I found in my Fanny Farmer Cookbook, where you separate the eggs, beat the egg whites and then fold them into the batter to make the pancakes extra fluffy.

But this recipe seriously blows that one away. On two fronts... it is way easier to make and it tastes better.

Here are the reviews of my family on these pancakes when asked which of my pancake recipes they like best:

Marco (6 years old): I don't know, do these ones have money in them? (In reference to the fact that I bake money into the pancakes every year on Shrove Tuesday).

Claire (10 years old): Yes, Mommy I love these ones best, can you buy me a new DS game?

Mario: I don't know, I think I need to try them all side by side to compare properly.(Seriously? OK, now where did I put that sourdough brick?)

Sourdough Pancakes

Before you go to bed:
1/2 cup sourdough starter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/4 cup flour

In the morning:
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1. Before you go to bed, mix together the starter, milk, water and flour. Give it a good stir and let it sit on the counter overnight.

2. In the morning, add in the remaining ingredients. Stir.

3. Cook your pancakes as per usual.

That's it! This recipe made 12 fairly generous size pancakes (using a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop to drop the batter on the frying pan), plus one runt size pancake for the cook to eat on the sly.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mud Pies

I grew up eating mud pies. Yes, actual mud pies, like these ones: here.

My Mom's original mud pie recipe calls for coconut but my husband, Mario, really hates coconut. I've been promising for years to try making him a more palatable version of my classic mud pie. As you can see I promised as much back in October 2007 when I posted the original recipe... better late than never, right?

This version uses peanut butter instead of coconut. I also threw in some chopped peanuts hoping to give them some more "crunch". The peanuts (although really good) didn't add a lot of crunch, and so next time I am going to stir in some Rice Krispies at the end instead...that ought to be in about January of 2013 if you want to check back then...

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mud Pies

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup butter
pinch salt
1 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups oats (quick cooking)
1/2 cup chopped peanuts

1. In a saucepan, mix sugar, milk, butter, cocoa and salt. Bring to a boil, and cook for about one minute (stiring constantly).

2. Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter and vanilla until melted and smooth.

3. Mix in the oats, and then the chopped peanuts. Let sit for about 10 minutes.

4. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, and chill until set. Makes about 60 cookies. (or do like me and eat 12 and tell everyone it makes 4 dozen).