Saturday, April 17, 2010

These are a few...

... Of my favorite things.

In my recent absence of cooking, I've been reminiscing back on projects of the past. There are a few ingredients that continue to resurface over and over in my diet. As such, here are five foods that I can always eat, anytime, anywhere:

1. Semisweet chocolate.

I'm sure this goes without saying, but to omit chocolate from the list would be a bold-faced lie. Chocolate chips, bars, truffles, snow caps... Anything of around 60-65% chocolate sets my heart aflutter.

2. Sweet potatoes/yams.

Mashed, baked, french-fried. Served straight up with simple salt and pepper, ketchup, or even a cinnamon-sugar twist (see cinnamon fries on the right).

The reduction of yams at the farmers' market and loss of sweet potato dishes in restaurants is my largest regret about Spring.

3. Real maple syrup.

Grade B is best. Good for including in Teriyaki stir fry or bringing your own vial to brunch.

4. Ripe fruit.

Any kind, anytime, anywhere. When people say that they hate melon, what I know they really mean is that they hate the dry, melon-rind chunks that always get included in store-bought fruit salad. I can't believe that anyone who's ever had a cold, ripe, juicy honeydew on a hot summer day in Greece would ever stand by that claim. Notable mentions: strawberries and blackberries off the vine, pink grapefruit in winter, satsuma tangerines, Fuji apples with aged white cheddar cheese.

5. Feta cheese. In salads, pasta, turkey burgers, casseroles, soups, anything at all!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Carrot-Coconut Muffins

So how did I finally use up those two bunches of french organic carrots? Easter Brunch!

I adapted a double-batch of Carrot-Coconut Cupcakes from Bon Appetit (November 2003) into sweet breakfast muffins with a full serving of beta carotene. Muffins were served along side eggs with avocado, salsa and fontina/cheddar cheeses; baked ham with honey sauce; sauteed asparagus; and a delicious fruit salad (pictures of the spread are MIA because of how quickly we dug in). So without further delay:


- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cup grated peeled carrots
- 3/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes (If you have unsweetened, soak in 1/4 water or milk and 1/4 cup sugar prior to baking)
- 1/4 to 1/2 chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease muffin tins. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl. In a second bowl, whisk together oil and eggs. Stir the liquid ingredients into the flour mixture, until shortly before all the flour is blended. Fold in the carrots, coconut and pecans.

Spoon batter into muffin tins and bake until tops are golden brown (about 20 minutes for small/regular sized muffins).