Thursday, July 30, 2015

Zucchini Raisin Muffins

Soon it will be time to start looking for every way under the sun to use zucchini. I don't have a garden myself, but I am usually the happy recipient of gifts of produce, with zucchini being the one most often received! Some of my favorite ways to use this prolific vegetable are cherry zucchini muffins, zucchini fries, lemon zucchini bread and chicken and zucchini pasta.

And now I can add these muffins! I changed up this recipe a bit and love the way it turned out - I think it could be lightened up further with no real effect - the zucchini keeps the muffins moist and tender and the golden raisins add good contrast and sweetness. These were gobbled up quickly at home and at work - the true sign of a great recipe!

Zucchini Raisin Muffins

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
3 cups grated zucchini
1 cup golden raisins

With an electric mixer, in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. reduce speed to medium and beat in the applesauce, then the eggs and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk flours, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Beat until just combined. Fold in the zucchini and raisins.

Spoon the batter into muffin cups lined with paper, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake at 350 until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in the pans on a wire rack. Makes 18-20.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Rachael Ray

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sweet Onion Jam

Don't let the name of this distract you - a jam made from onions?

This is a wonderful "condiment" - although putting it in that class makes it seem less glamorous than it deserves. We first tasted this at a restaurant as a base for fried brussels sprouts and it was AMAZING. My husband talked about it EVERY DAY until we tried to recreate it at home. This version is a bit different than our restaurant experience, but no less delicious.

We loved it on steak, pork tenderloin, chicken

and several vegetables. It adds a wonderful depth of flavor. Because the onions need to cook a while, this dish needs 40 minutes to come together, but it is worth it. It adds a wonderful color to your plate and table and a fantastic taste to your palate!

Sweet Onion Jam

1 Tbsp. butter
2 1/2 cups diced Vidalia onions, (2 medium or 1 large)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup dry red wine
1/3 cup red wine vinegar

Melt the butter in a medium skillet. Add the onions and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until soft and just translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the sugar, wine, vinegar and a pinch of salt. Cook over low heat, stirring, until the liquid thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 35 minutes. Carefully puree the onion mixture to your desired texture. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Food and Wine

Monday, July 20, 2015

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

If there's one thing my family cannot get enough of, it's fun breakfast treats. Toast, no thank you. Muffins, yes please. Cereal, if I have to. Coffee cake, get it on my plate. Seriously. So when I was perusing Kirstin's blog for this month's Secret Recipe Club, I knew I had to pick her recipe for Sour Cream Coffee Cake. Besides that fun breakfasts are always applauded at my house, I also knew I had several tubs of sour cream languishing in the fridge. (We've been eating lots of taco salad this summer!) This recipe was super easy to put together, and it smelled SO good while it was baking.

But the proof is in the pudding, right? I left this coffee cake at home and went to work. When I got home that evening, there was not a crumb left. Technically, this cake serves 12. But if you leave it on the counter and go to work, it might only feed 5. They gobbled it up!! I couldn't even get a picture of a slice. I guess you know it's just that good. Thanks, Kirstin, for making my family's breakfast more exciting on a Thursday.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbsp. butter, melted

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar; add vanilla and eggs. Mix well. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Add flour mixture and sour cream alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter; mix well.

Spread half of batter in a greased and floured 10" tube or bundt pan; sprinkle with half of brown sugar mixture. Repeat with remaining batter and brown sugar mixture.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool upright in pan 15 minutes. Invert onto large plate. Serves 12.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

I love finding new ways to use up ripe bananas. We eat a lot of bananas at our house, but we never seem to eat all of them before they become over ripe. That is never a crisis for me - there are lots of great options including scones, coffeecake, muffins, donuts, bread, pancakes, waffles, bars, cake -- for every link I included, there are probably three more recipes on this blog alone! All hail the overripe banana!

This cake is another great reason to buy 'too many' bananas... a moist banana-bread like cake, topped with creamy peanut butter frosting. It's not too heavy, and it's perfectly sweet for an after dinner, or afternoon, treat.

Find more great stuff at Tasty Tuesday, Full Plate, What's Cooking, Showcase Your Talent, Flashback Friday, Foodie Friday, Friday Flash.

Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the sour cream and vanilla. Mix in the mashed bananas. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until flour disappears. Spread cake batter evenly into a greased 9x13 baking pan.

Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely.

To make the peanut butter frosting, beat the butter and peanut butter on high until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time. Beat on high until powdered sugar is incorporated. Add the milk and vanilla extract. Beat until frosting is smooth and desired consistency.

Frost the banana cake with peanut butter frosting. Store any leftover cake covered on the counter. Serves 20.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Two Peas
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