Sunday, February 22, 2009

Comfort Dinner and a Surprise Muffin

Just for those of you who salivate easily, here's some of recent kitchen happiness!

Snickerdoodle Muffins - I think these would round out a breakfast with that Candied Bacon from a couple of weeks ago :)
As Jon said (halfway through his 4th muffin this morning) "I think this is a keeper!"

Another recent just-plain-good-food dinner was Robbin's Oven Stew with Embellished Cornbread.

Snickerdoodle Muffins preheat the oven to 350.
Cream 2 sticks butter with 1 c. sugar; add 2 eggs, one at a time and blend well.

In a separate bowl, stir together 2 c. whole wheat flour (you have to get a little nutrition in something like this!), along with 3/4 tsp. each of the following: baking powder, baking soda, and cream of tarter. You can do without the cream of tarter - but it will give a lift to the rise, and a little tanginess-boost to the flavor. I also liked the addition of about 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg - but I know Stella will leave that out as well :)

Add 1/2 the flour mixture to the butter/sugar in the mixing bowl and blend well, then add
1 -1/2c. sour cream (we prefer cultured sour cream - you can also substitute plain yoghert) and mix, and then add the remaining flour-stuff, and mix until it's blended well.

In a cereal bowl, blend about 3/4 cup sugar and alot of cinnamon (maybe 2-3 tbs? we like cinnamon and it's really good for your aterial health!).

Using your (clean) hands and a big spoon, drop globs of your dough into the sugar/cinnamon and roll about - then place the nicely dusted blob into your muffin cups. I have a set of silicon muffin cups - they require no greasing and clean up easily. If you use a muffin tin, you will want to grease the tin before tucking the blobbed dough in to it!

Bake for about 22-25 minutes, and let cool as long as you can (less than 5 minutes at our house), then gobble!!!

And here's the World's Best Oven Stew Method: preheat oven to 325
I've been making some variation of this for over 30 years and any combination is great! It can be dumped into a crockpot and left on low all day, but I find that oven-baking is best - thick and wonderful !

In a 4-5 qt Dutch Oven (we have a few cast iron-enameled ones, but you can do this in an oven-proof ceramic casserole dish with a cover as well) mix the following, and then cover and place in the oven for 3-4 hours and enjoy it's perfume all day long:
Always use this list:
1 - 2 pounds stew meat (we get organically grown Highland Beef here in Montana - and our vegie friends can substitute about a pound of cubed tempeh and larger amounts of mushrooms for a similar texture-flavor combination )
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4-5 juicy carrots, washed and sliced
5-6 stalks of celery, sliced (I think celery makes the stew :))
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes and juice
1 can "cream of"-soup (we get Healthy Valley Organic non-condensed soup for this)
3 tbs Minute Tapioca
-1/2 c. additional liquid - dark beer or red wine add depth, water or broth works in a pinch!

Useful Add-in suggestions:

quartered mushrooms - more is better :) or a can of sliced mushrooms (go ahead and dump in the juice too)
cubed potatoes: white, purple or sweet
about 2 tsp. sugar
a swirl about or two of balsamic vinegar
crushed fresh rosemary or oregano
halved brussels sprouts or roughly sliced green cabbage

Lastly, here's how to Embellish Cornbread : 350 oven for 45 min, 325 oven for 55-60 min.
Start with a 8.5 oz box of cornbread mix (or 2 c. if you are scooping the mix out of a larger bag/box). Add 2 beaten eggs, about 1/2 finely diced onion, 1 c. shredded cheddar or jack cheese, 3/4 c. sour cream or yoghert, a big swirl of olive oil (maybe 1/6 c.?) and 1 can, drained, sweet corn kernels (I have also used frozen kernels with good results). Optional add-ins: small amount finely diced jalapeno pepper or small can of drained chopped green chiles.

This makes an 8 x 8 pan of cornbread - be sure to grease or oil your pan before pouring in the batter :) And, if you are observant, you see that you can put this in the oven with the stew during the last hour!

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