Homemade English Muffins


In last Monday's column for the Record-Eagle, I ran a recipe for Speed of Light English Muffins.  Due to the constraints of space, I was unable to go on and on and on about what I do with those English muffins.  Mercifully for my family, the unusal 'beneficiaries' of conversations about my culinary obsessions, I have this blog as an outlet.      English muffins have been one of my favorite bread forms since I can remember.  I like them pure- split with a little butter-, toasted, as a sandwich base, loaded with marmalade or jam, holding a poached egg and some hollandaise sauce, and just about anything else you can think of to do with it.  I've tried making English muffins many times over the years.  They were all decent, but they lacked that je ne sais quois that the perfect English muffin has;  the chewiness, the crust, the holes and 'nooks and crannies' to trap the melting butter and running warm jam.      A couple weeks ago, while gnoshing on bread from yet another successful experiment with the 'Artisan Bread in Five Minutes' dough, my husband tossed out an idea.      "Hey!  You should make English muffins with this dough.  I bet it'd be perfect," quoth he.  I have said before that my hubby is an Evil Genius, but it bears repeating.  His mind works unlike others and he has had brilliant ideas before, but this one was BRILLIANT!  (So brilliant that it requires all-caps and italics.)     I pulled out the muffin rings and the griddle and went to town … {Read on...}

Golden Cornbread Rounds


I'd like us all to observe a moment of silence for the baking ignitor in my oven.  (Silence from me, but not the children.) Yes, that means my oven isn't working.  We've had the most glorious stretch of fall-like summer weather in my memory and I can't bake a loaf of bread in the oven.  But I'm not bitter. Well, alright, maybe I am a little bitter.  But I'm also creative and stubborn.  I wanted fresh bread, dang it, and I was going to make it happen.  My husband, the Evil Genius, recently added a toaster oven and a large electric griddle to our kitchen.  I've not yet 'connected' with the toaster oven.  I have some sort of bias against it.  Maybe some day I'll grow to love it.  But the griddle?  Where has it been all my life?  I can cook enough pancakes for everyone, a full pound of bacon, make French toast for a crowd, or make sausage and eggs for the whole family at the same time!  I decided, after a suggestion from the Evil Genius, that I could make English Muffins on the griddle.  (**This will be the subject of tomorrow's post!  Please come back for the skinny.) The English muffins were so good, so great, that I thought I just might give griddle cornbread- NOT griddle johnnycakes- a whirl. **I now interrupt my already rambling programme with a couple brief observations on cornbread.  It should be moist, and not at all sweet.  It should only be fit for stuffing after one day.  If there is any left after one day.  And most importantly?  My Grandma's cornbread is the … {Read on...}

Enough with the breaking glass already!


You may remember my recurring glass breakage problem this summer.  It strikes again.  Sunday, after making a beautiful batch of cheese from fresh raw goat milk (obtained as a gift from a friend who keeps goats) I was walking back to the countertop with my bowl of cheese in my slippery hands.  To condense the story, I tripped, the bowl fell and shattered into millions of microscopic pieces all around my feet.  My feet that were clad in hole-dotted Crocs.  I had to stay put while one son yelled out the window to his Dad who was on a two-story, fully-extended ladder.  Hubby arrived to save the day, the glass cleanup took over an hour and I spent about another 30 minutes throughout the day removing bits of glass from my feet.  'Cause who knew broken glass might make it's way in through holes in your shoes?   Stylish, no?  Rainbow bright tie-dye socks and black orthopaedic Crocs?  I am on the cutting edge I tell you.       At least I wasn't wearing these!when the bowl shattered into a billion smithereens.  And those feet belong to my devastatingly cute almost 16 year old competitive gymnast sister.  Let's just say you should be thankful she's in the flip flops and I'm in the hiking sock/Croc ensemble. ...And we come to today.  More glass, more shattering, more sweeping and gingerly gathering shards- some big and some tiny- to carefully remove from the area where it can harm feet.  I had an epiphany that I thought I … {Read on...}

Ice Box Nutella and Peanut Butter Graham Cracker Sandwiches


The secret  is this:  Almost everything is improved by the presence of Nutella.  You know the stuff, right?     I was first introduced to the creamy, hazelnutty, chocolately heaven-in-a-bottle way back in the day when I was an exchange student in La Belle France.  There was a bakery where you could actually bring your bread and have them spread it with Nutella for the equivalent of about fifty cents.  I loved France.   My kids, for better or for worse, are growing up with the omnipresent monster-sized jar of Nutella in the house.  Thankfully, our local(ish) warehouse store carries cranium sized jars of my favorite fix-it-all ingredient.    I think Nutella really can fix it all.  Got a cake or bowl of ice cream that needs pizzazz?  Warm a little Nutella up and drizzle over the top.  Oh my yes!  Out of butter, jam or marmalade for your toast?  Do I even need to say it?  Are you going somewhere last minute or having an impromptu play group at your house or having last minute company?    Try this quick frozen dessert that I make around here.  It's not fancy.  It's not polished.  But all that taken into account, I have never had someone refuse one of these.  I've also never had someone fail to nicely ask for seconds and/or eyeball the one their kid was eating and ask several times whether they really wanted to finish it.  Please try these.  I think you might even thank me.     Okie dokie.  The recipe below is for the Nutella Peanut Butter Graham … {Read on...}

Major Kudos for Wegman’s and some semi-good natured haranguing.

I had a golden opportunity yesterday.  My four eldest boys went fishing with my husband and I took the baby -just the baby- to the grocery store.  Since the opportunity for food shopping sans five crazy craving machines comes infrequently I decided to drive to a real grocery store (the Wegman's that is 40 minutes away) to indulge myself during that brief spell of relative freedom.  We stopped at stuffmart and stocked up on canning jars as many of my jars have not resurfaced since our grand and chaotic move last year.    Rowan and I scooted over to Wegman's afterward and enjoyed a leisurely stroll through my favorite grocery store in these parts.  (Not my favorite Wegman's but there are almost no bad Weggies.  My favorite has to be the international one in Pittsford!)  It was in Wegman's that I found something that made me very, very happy.   But first I will interrupt myself with a brief harangue against High Fructose Corn Syrup.  Am I the only one who is getting irritated/freaked out/depressed at the fact that it's nearly impossible to find items without HFCS in them?  Campbell's Tomato Soup, Hunt's Ketchup, Viva Italian Dressing, Dr. Pepper (oh why?  why?), and many others have gone down the HFCS road.  Without getting into the wheres and whyfores of why I avoid HFCS like the plague  (I trust you to google it and make up your own mind on the subject) you'll agree, I'm sure, that once you start watching for it you're shocked at how frequently it pops up on … {Read on...}