Cornmeal Blueberry Muffin Souffle

Crunchy golden top, meltingly soft inside...mmmmmm

Well, remember those blueberry cornmeal muffins from my earlier post last week? The last time I made those, I made a LOT. More than our guests could decently eat in the time they were with us, and more than we could handle all on our lonesome. My freezer would not allow any more foodstuffs to be stored, most of the nooks and crannies being filled in with quart-sized bags of blueberries and black raspberries that my husband so nicely picked for our later enjoyment. And they were beginning to get a little dry--even a few seconds in the microwave did not perk them up very much. But my inner frugalista could not bear the thought of introducing them to the local compost pile. SO, what could I do with them?   One of the things we really enjoy is a good bread pudding, and that is the first thing that came to mind, but muffins are quite different from the yeast breads we normally use for this purpose. But, since no other ideas came to mind, I thought it was definitely worth the risk. With the help of some milk, a few eggs, a little sugar and spice, the muffins were transformed from slightly dry bits of breadstuffs to a beautifully light, souffle-like custardy dessert which, when topped with a simple blueberry syrup, made a great ending to an otherwise simple meal. I highly recommend making extra muffins just for this purpose!  And I'm thinking some other muffins might work just as well (those bran apple muffins come to mind...).   Cornmeal Blueberry Muffin … {Read on...}

Coffee, tea or cocoa? Name your poison! (A reprisal)

Last February, I asked the readers of the Record-Eagle this vastly important question and most of my responses came from family.  So I'm trying again with my 'Foodie' readers.  Don't get me wrong... I can listen to my family talk food all day and often do.  I just want some perspective.  Are we the only ones obsessed with our hot beverages?  It cannot be so...  I can't wait to hear what you all have to say to this:   Two very devoted coffee drinkers raised me. My Dad said he knew that he liked my then-boyfriend, now-husband the first time they met because Lindy offered to buy my Dad a coffee during the first period break at a hockey game. He did however, have reservations when my husband asked whether he’d like cream and sugar. Dad said, “Why would I want to wreck a perfectly good cup of coffee with that junk?” Dad likes his coffee really strong. In fact, he was banned from making coffee at his office because he was the only one who could drink it. My Mom drinks coffee so strong that it has, quite literally, given panic attacks to guests. Well, actually it only happened once, but I think my point is made. The son of one of her friends had palpitations, sweats and couldn’t sit still after drinking a demi-tasse of Mom’s joe. She occasionally drinks it with half-and-half (probably so that the coffee acids don’t eat through her esophagus and stomach lining…) Mom never measures. She doesn’t need to measure. If she fills the filter it’s probably almost strong … {Read on...}

Slow-cooker Vanilla Bean Tapioca

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In today's Record-Eagle column, I ran a recipe for Slow-Cooker Vanilla Bean Tapioca Pudding.  (I'll link to the full column when I'm back from vacation, but in the meantime the recipe is posted below.) Slow-Cooker Vanilla Bean Tapioca This pudding takes the perennial favorite tapioca pudding and dresses it up. Served warm, it’ll heat you up from the inside out on chilly fall days. Using a real vanilla bean gives the pudding a sumptuous velvet-like texture and flavor. If you don’t have access to vanilla beans, I weep for you, but you can still make a delicious version of the recipe by substituting for the beans with 2 teaspoons of real vanilla extract. Ingredients: ¼ cup fine pearl tapioca (not granulated) ½ cup granulated sugar ½ of one vanilla bean 2 cups milk** 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk, beaten in a medium bowl non-stick cooking spray or butter for greasing the slow-cooker **Low fat milk works fine in this, but it’s silkier and richer if you use whole milk or a combination of whole milk and half&half or even GLORY, GLORY heavy cream. Method: Heat milk in a microwave safe container until very hot. Spray slow cooker crock with nonstick cooking spray or butter generously. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and use the blunt spine of the knife to scrape the ‘seeds’ from the bean pod. Add the vanilla bean and ‘seeds’ into the crock along with the tapioca, sugar, and milk. Stir well, put cover on the slow cooker and cook for 1 1/2 hours on low, … {Read on...}

Blue, Blue, Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins

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  In an earlier post this summer, I raved about The Cornbread Gospels by Crescent Dragonwagon (that name always makes me smile) and the two versions of cornbread salad we had tried out, both receiving enthusiastic reviews. Well, since then, it’s been hard for me to NOT bake and cook without cornmeal. Cornmeal breads, muffins, pancakes, etc. And my latest favorite muffin is her recipe for Blue, Blue Blueberry Muffins.  All the blue is the result of using blue cornmeal  and serving the muffins with a Blueberry-Cream Cheese-Honey Butter. Okay, have I your attention now? Are you hooked? Shall I start reeling you in???   These are unbelievably tender and moist, and the main spice in the recipe, nutmeg, sets off the flavor of the blueberries and the cornmeal beautifully. (I am somewhat biased—most dishes are considered incomplete without at least a little nutmeg thrown in). And when you top the warm muffins with the meltingly delicious blueberry butter—moment of silence, please.   Now, if you are not able to find blue cornmeal, yellow is fine, and you end up with another lovely version, just less blue! Blue cornmeal is not easily accessible up here where I live in northern MI, so I’ve made these frequently with yellow cornmeal, as you can see here—         So if you have stockpiled a good amount of end-of-the-summer blueberries  AND you are a lover of corn AND need some muffins to warm you up on the crisp mornings arriving with the turn of the season, this recipe is … {Read on...}

Let’s play the “Where is Foodie?” game!

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I am on vacation as of... hang on... NOW!    Where am I?  Let me give you some hints.   The view from the driveway     Up over that little ledge in the previous picture     A whole lotta this brown stuff...     And there will most certainly be much of this type of action...     I'll be sitting on this front porch with many, many cups of tea.   So can you guess?  My access to the internet will be severly curtailed this week.  ...And that's just as it should be!   Because I had a backlog of posts to share with you I'll be scheduling them all for the next few days while I'm away.  It'll be like I never left (except that I won't be talking back until I'm home!)     … {Read on...}