Sep 21, 2007

She: Peanut Butter n Jelly Cupcakes

I saw different parts to this recipe in different places, and just had to put it together. I had a baaaad week, and when I do I bake. I needed a good project. These cupcakes are worth it. They are delicious! The icing alone is sinful.
1 1/4C flour, 1 1/2tsp baking powder, 1/4tsp salt, 1/2C peanut butter, 1/2 stick butter, 1/2C brown sugar, 1 egg, 1/2 tsp vanila, 2/3C milk.
1/2 stick butter, 1/2C peanut butter, 1/2C cream cheese, 2C powder sugar, 1tb milk
Directions: for batter, mix pb, butter and sugar on high til fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Reduce and alternate between the rest of the wet and dry. Fill cupcakes 2/3 full and bake for 18mts @ 350F. While its baking, mix the icing: all the ingredients should be at room temp, blended on high. For the filling, I used smuckers raspberry jam in a piping bag with a long tip and just stuck it into the cupcake and squeezed. I squeezed too much in the first few and had jam volcano erruptions, but I got it right after a few. I just covered the spot with the icing. Tasty!

Sep 17, 2007

She: Home-grown Sunflower Seeds

This is a different kinda post, but I thought it could be educational, so what they heck. First, we have a garden. Not a fabulous one--it is plagued by aphids and spider mites, but we have peaches, lemons, a horde of pepper plants, tomatos, strawberries and a host of herbs. And sunflowers. I bought a different kind of sunflower this year--it looks like a giant mum. The things were huge! 8 feet tall, they had half foot wide heads on them, and the bees loved them. I wanted to save my seeds. So I read up on it, and found that if we had enough we could even have enough for a snack! Well, we didn't quite, but this is the process:

1. Once the sunflower starts to die, the stem and base of the flower will go from green to yellow. At this stage clip it and leave it in a dry place.
2. Once its dried, first pluck all the petals off. There will still be a section of innerpetals that hold and divide the seeds.
3. Now put the flower in a plastic baggie and use your nails to scratch out the seeds from the center. You put it in a baggie so seeds and their inner petals don't get all over the place. After thats done, you can save them to plant for the next year, or roast and eat 'em!

Sep 14, 2007

He: Corn Quiche Crostada

Anyone that knows how to bake will look at the header and wonder what the heck I was thinking and how the freak is this going to work? Well the thought was to try and come up with a crust for a quiche that would be low fat, high fiber, and high in good fats. Enter the crostada crust....slightly modified of course. The other big thing that I was trying to do with this is come up with a quiche that I could use as a meal (getting enough protein in 1 slice for me, makes that slice dowright huge...not so appealing).

6 ea. lg eggs
1/2 pound of lowfat cottage cheese
1 pound of organic tofu
1/2 C. rolled oats (nothing flavored...just plain 'ole oats)
1/2 C. plain raw nuts (I recommend pistachios, hazelnuts, walnuts, or pecans)
2 Tbsp. plain lowfat yogurt
1 tsp. salt
2 ea. ears of corn (roasted and kernels removed from the cob)
a few dashes of hot sauce

1) Add the oats, nuts and yogurt to a cuisinart and pulse to combine (you want the nuts to be broken down, but you don't want the oats to be total flour.
2) Press this mixture into a pie pan until you've reached a consistent thickness
3) Bake at 325 degrees for 8 minutes
4) Blend together the eggs, cottage cheese, tofu, and hot sauce until smooth in a blender.
5) Transfer this mix to a bowl and stir in the corn
6) Transfer the egg mix into the cooled, baked pie shell and place in the oven at 325 degrees until lighly browned on top and the whole mass jiggles just a little when you shake the pan
7) Cool and serve

The beautiful thing about this quiche is that it comes together in just a couple of minutes (minus roasting the corn). Also it satisfies all of my rediculously healthy diet stuff too.

Sep 10, 2007

He: Old Southern style preserved figs

Okay, Brandy has been giving me a lot of crap lately for not putting together any new posts, and she has every right to....I've been neglectful of our little blog. Well no least until I run out of pics and recipes for stuff that needs to be posted.

Let's get to the point of this guys really don't care about the random blatherings of a cooking you?

In a cookbook that I LOVE The Gift of Southern Cooking by Scott Peacock and Edna Lewis I found a recipe for whole preserved figs. I've seen this recipe executed under the tutelage of Scott Peacock a couple of years ago. It really seemed simple at the time...really just a lot of waiting for things to 'do their thing'. How often do you see something like that in a recipe? Anyhow, since Brandy is in love with figs, and since we're in the fig growing capital of the US, and since we hit that great local farm for more figs than anyone can realistically eat before they go bad (believe me I limit seems to be about 10 of them before I just want to yack), I thought that this recipe would be a good idea.

I'm not going to give you tried and true amounts for anything in here...because it's really not essential to getting this to come out. The only pieces that are important are: the amount of time between cookings, the type of figs that you use (black missions will not work), and making sure that once they are canned that they sit for at least 6 weeks. So here's the basic if you need more specific instructions...but really, there aren't any more

1. Sprinkle figs with a couple tablespoons of baking soda and then pour boiling water over all. Let soak for 5 minutes (this step toughens up the skins a little bit so that the figs stay whole).
2. Drain off the water and rinse the figs in a bath of cold water 3 times, so that you can get off all of the baking soda that hasn't combined with the figs.
3. Pour a bunch of sugar over the figs (for 2 pounds of figs, at least 2 cups of sugar). Back the freak off you diabetics...this is important to cure the little suckers! If you're really that concerned with the sugar content....tough....just don't eat so many.
4. Allow to sit in the sugar for at least 2 days.
5. Follow this cycle for the next several days: after 2 days put in a nonreactive pot and bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring to make sure that all of the figs get some time in the sugary mess at the bottom of the pot. transfer back to your holding container and wait 2 more days. do this cycle 3 times.
6. After the 3rd cooking transfer the figs to canning jars (with out transferring much of the liquid). Bring the liquid to a boil and cook until a candy thermometer reads 220 degrees. Pour the resulting syrup over the figs. Can according to manaufacturer's instructions.
7. Store in a cool, dark place for 6 weeks (do not store them in the's not dark in there all the time...and too cold).
8. Eat the delicious figgy goodness when there are no figs available.

Sep 8, 2007

She: Figs and Such

I suck. I'm sorry. But school just began and I've been wrapped up with my classes! Now I'm back, and I'll get to nagging Mark about his fig post. But I'll start here with a preview...We went to this beautiful farm a few weeks ago--Mark wanted to check out where he was buying produce for his business from, and the owner we drove up to Davis and had a peak at the place. First, it was gorgeous. The grew a variety of everything: peaches, nectarines, lavender, wine grapes, tomatos, almonds...we walked around the place and looked at what they had. First, I have to say I was astounded by the almonds. I've never had them fresh before, and it was amazing. Once you get them out of the shells they have a good water content, like coconut. It was and eye opener to have this moist nut instead of the dry stuff you get at the supermarket. They also had fig trees--a few kadotas and some black missions, and we picked and ate the fruit off the tree. They let us take some home, and thats what mark is making preserves out of. They started talking about varieties of fruit and I started to go cross-eyed, so I went out side and took some pictures. They had bunches of flowers around to attract bees, and the whole place was beautiful. My grandparents had a little garden with some veggies and a couple of apple trees, but I've never had the experience of just walking thru acres of fruit you could pick right off the trees. It makes you appreciate food in a new way, and I felt so much more connected to the process. We put the figs to good use, and now that they are canned, mark will be adding up instructions and some of the pitfalls he ran into with the whole process, so stay tuned!