Marie digs in to some old favorites
It’s been a while since I shared some of my own recipes, and lately I’ve been pulling out some of my old favorites and cooking up a storm.
One of my new favorites, though, is from a delightful cookbook I received for my birthday titled, “What to Cook & How to Cook it: Fresh & Easy,” by Jane Hornby. What is so cool about this cookbook is that every single recipe is accompanied by step-by-step photographs, right down to the equipment needed for each recipe and how it should look each step of the way. The photograph of the muffins in today’s column looks exactly like the photo in the book.
In this recipe, though, I add one of my own suggestions: When you put the piece of cream cheese in the middle of the batter, press it down a bit; otherwise it is too close to the top of the muffin and you get all of the cream cheese in one bite instead of at least two.
If you’re looking for a cookbook for a new cook, this book is perfect! This old cook loves it, too.
Blueberry and Cream Cheese Muffins
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. (Set a rack in the middle of the oven.)
? 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
? 3 tablespoons sunflower or vegetable oil
? 1 cup low-fat plain yogurt, or you can use 1 cup buttermilk
? 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
? 3 eggs
? 3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
? 1 tablespoon baking powder
? 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
? 1 scant cup superfine (caster) sugar
? 6 ounces fresh blueberries
? 4 ounces cream cheese
Method for Blueberry and Cream Cheese Muffins:
Melt the butter in a medium pan. While you wait, line a 12-cup muffin pan with muffin wrappers (cases).
In this order: Whisk the oil, yogurt, vanilla and eggs into the butter.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl; stir in the salt and sugar, then make a well in the middle.
Pour the yogurt mixture into the mixing bowl. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet using a rubber spatula, but take care not to over-stir as this can make the muffins tough. When most of the mixture has come together, but you can still see large ribbons of flour, stop. Pour in the blueberries, then fold them into the batter with the bare minimum of stirring. The mixture will still look lumpy and uneven.
Using 2 dessert spoons, spoon about half of the batter into the prepared pan. Now dot about 1/2 teaspoon of the cheese on top of each half-filled muffin. (Marie’s note: Press the cheese down into the batter a bit or it will be too close to the top of the muffin when they have finished baking.) Top with the rest of the batter (the wrappers will be quite full), then top each one with another 1/2 teaspoon of cheese.
I always try and engineer it so that there are a few berries on the top of the muffin batter so they look really blueberry-ish when they come out of the oven.
Bake the muffins at 400 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes, or until well risen and golden and the blueberries are starting to ooze their purple juices. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Muffins are always best enjoyed on the day they’re made, or kept in an airtight container overnight. Yield: 12 large muffins.
I have a couple of old recipes from Taste of Home magazine that I have used over and over with great success. The Picante Biscuit Bake is not a fancy dish for company, but it’s a great weeknight family meal, and leftovers (if there are any) reheat well. I’ve taken the BLT Macaroni Salad to pot-luck gatherings or served it on a cookout buffet. I always get requests for the recipe.
You can make Picante Biscuit Bake heartier by adding a pound of browned ground beef, or try a pizza variation using pizza sauce, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese. Without meat, this is a good Meatless Monday option.
Picante Biscuit Bake
Recipe from Lanita Anderson, Jacksonville, N.C.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
? 2 tubes (12 ounces each) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
? 1 jar (16 ounces) picante sauce or salsa (I use Chi Chi’s medium-chunky salsa.)
? 1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
? 1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
? 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey jack cheese (sometimes I use half pepper-jack cheese.)
Method for Picante Biscuit Bake:
Quarter the biscuits; place in a greased (I use Pam) 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish. Top with picante sauce, green pepper, onion and olives. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and bake 10 minutes longer or until the cheese is melted. Yield: 6 servings.
BLT Macaroni Salad is full of crispy crumbled bacon, chopped tomatoes, celery and green onion and blended with a tangy mayonnaise and vinegar dressing — always a big hit!
BLT Macaroni Salad
Recipe from Norene Wright, Manilla, Ind.
? 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
? 5 green onions, finely chopped
? 1 large tomato, diced
? 1-1/4 cups diced celery
? 1-1/4 cups mayonnaise
? 5 teaspoons white vinegar
? 1/4 teaspoon salt
? 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
? 1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled; reserve 2 tablespoons for topping salad
Method for BLT Macaroni Salad:
Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water. In a large bowl, combine the macaroni, green onions, tomato and celery. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour over macaroni mixture and toss to coat. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Just before serving, add bacon and mix well. For a lovely presentation, line the salad bowl with large fresh green leaf lettuce leaves before filling it with the salad. Then slice a ripe tomato and fan the slices over the top of the salad and top with the reserved two tablespoons of crisp bacon.
I recently purchased two ham steaks for the price of one and decided to make a Ham & Cheese Quiche. I found this recipe, which I do not remember making previously, tucked into an old file. The quiche was so good that it will now be added to my favorites file. The quiche is super easy to make and tasty enough to serve to guests, accompanied with a fresh fruit or garden salad.
Ham & Cheese Quiche
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
? 1 pre-made pie shell (I use Pillsbury’s, found in the dairy case.)
? 1/4 cup diced onion (I used red onion.)
? 1 cup diced ham (I trimmed off the skin from the purchased ham steak and then diced it.)
? 1 cup freshly shredded Cheddar cheese
? 6 eggs
? 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
? Salt and pepper to taste
Method for Ham and Cheese Quiche:
Spray a small pan with Pam non-stick spray and sauté the onions and ham for approximately five minutes. Pour the onions and ham into the pie shell and top with the shredded cheese. Beat the eggs with the heavy cream until well blended; add salt and pepper. Pour this over the top of the cheese in the pie shell. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes until set. When you remove the quiche from the oven, the middle of the pie should not jiggle.
Regular readers of Marie’s Kitchen know that Penzey’s is my favorite spice company. Their catalog is a delightful mix of spices and recipes from customers just like you and me. A few years ago, they printed recipes specifically from customers living in Alaska. I’ve made this recipe countless times and never tire of it. In fact, just last night I made it using wild mahi-mahi filets, so any firm whitefish will do. Plan ahead: The fish must marinate in white wine for at least one hour, and longer if you have the time.
Sour Cream Halibut
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
? 1 lb. halibut fillet or any firm whitefish
? 1 cup white wine or dry vermouth (I use Sauvignon Blanc wine.)
? 1 teaspoon salt
? 4 tablespoons fine bread crumbs, divided
? 2-4 tablespoons mayonnaise (I use 3 tablespoons.)
? 2 tablespoons sour cream
? 1 tablespoon chopped onions (I use red onions.)
Method for Sour Cream Halibut:
Wash the fish, pat dry. Cut in 2-3 pieces. Mix the wine and salt together; pour over the halibut. Marinate for at least 1 hour; the longer the better. Drain the fish and lightly blot with paper towels. Dip both sides of the fish in one-half of the bread crumbs. Place in a greased baking dish. Mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream and onions. Spread over the fish and sprinkle with the remaining bread crumbs and the paprika. Bake at 500 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, until nicely browned and the juices run clear. Yield: 2-3 servings.
(Editor’s note: If you have recipes to share, or recipes you want, contact Marie Cook, Coastal Point, P.O. Box 1324, Ocean View, DE 19970; or by email at ChefMarieCook@gmail.com. Please include your phone number. Recipes in this column are not tested by the Coastal Point.)