Sausage, Cheddar, and Corn Muffins

I have a thing for breakfast muffins, especially when a pork product is involved. I just had to try these, although I did mess about with the recipe a bit. We are little bit past fresh corn season, even for us.* So I purchased frozen white shoepeg corn – one of my favorite things in the entire frozen world. I think I prefer the shoepeg because it is slightly less sweet. I have modifications to the originally recipe and know I will be making more adjustments to this recipe the next time I make it.**dd_1590

2 teaspoons olive oil
16 ounces hot breakfast sausage
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup corn meal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup frozen sweet white corn kernels, let thaw while you make batter
1/2 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese, plus more for sprinkling on muffins
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 12 muffin tin cups with foil liners.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add sausage. Break the sausage into small pieces with a spatula as it cooks. Cook until the sausage is crumbly and cooked through. Remove skillet from heat. Blot up some of the fat with  paper towels leaving about 1 tablespoon. Let mixture cool.

Place flour, corn meal, and baking soda in a mixing bowl. Whisk until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and buttermilk together. Add egg/buttermilk mixture slowly to flour/cornmeal mixture. Add corn kernels, Cheddar cheese, and reserved sausage mixture. Stir in melted butter; mix just until flour is mixed in.***

Divide batter among muffin cups. Top with some extra Cheddar cheese.

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool to warm before serving.

Adapted from Allrecipies … once again.dd_1591

* We have a huge rural farming community around us, but it is October and I’ll just go with frozen corn and pass on the farming left-overs.

** I was missing a little salt in these muffins. I think next time I’ll add a 1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan. I could add salt, but why not make it Parmesan. More cheese and some salty flavor to the mix.

*** I mixed everything up one night and put it in the fridge. Came home the next day and let it sit until room temperature and then baked the muffins and they were great. I am a huge fan of making a recipe to a certain point and then continuing on the next night.  I have to do that since I bake/cook after I get off work.

The original recipe had scallions in it. They might be nice, but I am thinking chives next time would be a great deal better, or maybe even a shallot. Now there’s a thought.

Can you tell I will be making these again pretty soon. One of our students had one and said anytime you add sausage to something, that was a good thing. I completely agree. Any pork is a good thing.

Egg Usage – by month – May 2016

17 May 2016 – 3 eggs – Yukon Gold Potato Salad

21 May 2016 – 3 eggs – Chicken Salad

 

Well, this was not the month for eggs. I had a slight serious thing for toffee and shortbread this month and neither involve eggs. So this month, my egg supply was used on some pretty amazing savory things.

Summer always has me thinking of potato salad. I did the same thing last year. I really need to get to the local farmers’ markets to find some local red new potatoes. The By-Pass Market in Milton is one of my favorite places because they have excellent, local, new red potatoes – and lots of other amazing local produce. I am always tempted to roast new potatoes because they become sweet (like candy) and we just eat them right off the roasting pan. They are so addictive. So they never seem to make it into potato salad.  I know what my future holds – a trip to the By-Pass Market.   Ce weekend.

I am a huge fan of chicken salad. I poach chicken breasts in water which I then save and serve to a totally underserving puppy – chicken water is an excellent thing for a pup. I usually make this simple – celery – peeled of course, shallots, Duke’s mayonnaise, a little Dijon mustard, parsley, and, of course, a few boiled eggs. Simple, but so very good.

Will have to do better in June in both the butter usage and egg usage, but I am not thinking it is going to go well. I am still a little off my game, but I will make up for that.

Yes. Yes, I will. You just have to work through things and to me cooking and baking makes me happy.

Corn Pudding – Thanksgiving review

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Corn Pudding with some cheese – yep

One of my goals this year for Thanksgiving was to add one new recipe, and I had been thinking about something with corn. We have great local corn here in the summer, but this is not the time of year for it now, so how to make something that bridges the gap between late summer and early fall – at least early fall for us – not quite cold-ish yet.

I have never made a corn dish for Thanksgiving, however,  it was on my list – yes, another list. I may not share the rest of my list since I pretty much fell down on most of the others – like “fall” salad. But I did score on apple dessert – thanks to the Boy. I really should have made a better attempt at down-sizing (also on the list) since it was just us – me, the Boy (thankfully), the MotH*, and his amazing Mom.

I really thought about making biscuits, also on this damnable list. I always make sweet potatoes biscuits, but I should have made buttermilk biscuits – not quite traditional, but it could become a tradition in our family. I think it may have to be next year – dang it (I just sound like a bit of a dork, saying dang it), Sigh.

Either way, this corn pudding was pretty good, And the recipe was a mix of a food network recipe and of my other Mom’s recipe. Yep – it is so nice to have another Mom, who happens to be my mother-in-law. She is the best. A girl can only be so lucky – and I am.

There are some vegetable that I love, and corn is probably at the top of my list. It was a favorite when I was a child. When I was in middle school and had a mouth full of braces, I would dutifully cut my corn off the cob during the summers – hated it because eating corn on the cob and have butter dripping down you hands is a summer tradition that is right up there with eating boiled peanuts.

One of my favorite things was to mix rice (yes, we were a rice family, not a potato family) with corn and lots of butter. Still one of my favorite things. Guess the things you love as a kid stay with you. Oh, I love white shoepeg corn – that’s what I used in this recipe – frozen white corn.  It is not too sweet but with rice and, now European salted butter – pretty much amazing. And great for breakfast.

Guess I need to get to the recipe for this bit of stuff now.

4 ozs cream cheese, softened – 1/2 bar
1/2 cup sour cream
small can of creamed corn
1 cup white corn (frozen, but thawed)
1 small onion, diced fine
1/3 cup whole milk
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup grated cheddar, sharp, if you please

Spray 9 x 13″ baking dish with cooking spray. Beat cream cheese in a decent sized bowl until smooth. Add sour cream and mix to combined. Add corns, milk, egg, and cheddar. Mix well. Season with lots of freshly ground pepper and salt.

Spread in the baking dish. Bake at 350 for 45 – 50 minutes until lightly browned. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.

I liked this, but I like corn. It’s rich, but not too much so. May try a different version next time, but this was a damn good first attempt.

* Man of the House

Roasted Roma Tomatoes with garlic, Gorgonzola, and bread crumbs

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Roasted Roma Tomatoes w/bleu cheese & garlic

Another no recipe recipe …

Roma tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
Olive oil
Fresh Garlic, minced
Kosher salt+
Freshly ground black pepper
Plain bread crumbs*
Gorgonzola, crumbled

Okay with this recipe you have to base it on ratios. But the methodology is solid. Roma tomatoes work because they are solid tomatoes that hold up under the heat and get better and sweeter as they roast.

So slice the tomatoes and use a grapefruit spoon to get rid of the insides and especially the seeds. Put them cut side down of several pieces of paper towels to drain for at least 5 minutes.

Put tomatoes in a bowl large enough to hold them. Add enough olive oil to coat. Sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add minced garlic, enough that it makes sense for the number of tomatoes but understand that garlic is a key part of this recipe. Stir everything together until the tomatoes are coated and let marinate for as long as it makes sense.^

In another bowl mix together Gorgonzola and bread crumbs.£ Place marinated tomatoes, cut side up, on lined baking sheet. Fill with Gorgonzola bread crumb mixture. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil. Bake (or should it be roast?) for 20 – 25 minutes until tomatoes are softened and topping is lightly browned.

If you want, top with chopped herbs, parsley is a good idea. I think the best idea.

+I have used my homemade lemon Rosemary Maldon salt for this and it is, in a word, amazing.

*At work we use a lot of catering from Panera and they always bring baguettes with each order. I typically take one home if no one else wants it and have two things I do – make croutons with herbs fine and make plain breadcrumbs. So these are my homemade breadcrumbs.

^For me it takes at least an hour, but I have let them sit overnight too. Works well either way.

£ Figure out, based on ratios how much Gorgonzola you think will work, you can always add more and add just enough breadcrumbs to make the cheese sandy – that makes sense to me but to explain, enough bread crumbs to barely coat the Gorgonzola cheese.

This is one of the last things that my beloved father-in-law had that I made. He asked for seconds and well, even now, that is difficult and it has been several years but it still makes me happy. He was a second father to me and I am glad that I was able to make him happy.

25 May 2009 – Memorial Day. vvg w W/J – Used just enough bread crumbs to make Bleu cheese sandy
20 June 2009 – added a couple Tbs of cream cheese – just because there were fresh local Roma tomatoes
4 July 2009 – @ W/J w/D et al
23 June 2012 – vg
4 October 2015

Stone Fruit Cobbler

When I was a kid, we had a nectarine tree in our back yard. It was in a tight space between a wooden fence and the house so it was rather protected when the little bit of cold weather we had come each January. I remember eating them and loving them. Each summer there was enough fruit from the tree to make a cobbler, so I’ve always just made nectarine cobblers, like my mom did before me.

Peach Cobbler

It’s the right time of year for Peach Cobbler

This year I decided to see if I could tell the difference between a nectarine and a peach. To be honest, once you put it into a cobbler, I don’t think there is a way to tell the difference at that point. Given the option though, I think I will continue to pick nectarines in the future. Just to be different, if for no other reason. That is just me.

I have not been happy with my mom’s biscuits on the cobbler though. They seem too dense. Sorry mom. This is a recipe that I found that followed a different path that seemed good, but I did mix in a couple of my mom’s tricks to make this my own.

Peaches:
8 ripe peaches, peeled, cut into small chunks (catch any juice you can – you will thank me)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg – just do the nutmeg – they last for pretty much ever
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 tsp cornstarch

Biscuits:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbs unsalted butter, chilled and cut into tiny cubes
1/4 cup milk or cream

Topping:
3 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together peaches, and next six ingredients. Place in a 2 quart baking baking dish and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

While you are waiting,  combine dry biscuit ingredients with a whisk. Blend in butter with your fingers or a pastry blender. Add in the milk/cream until combined, but do not over mix it. That makes it tough, not biscuit-y.

Remove baking dish from the oven, and drop the biscuits over the peaches. Then sprinkle with the sugar cinnamon mix. Bake until the top is golden and slightly crunch – sugar you know – about 30 minutes.

Notes: This is a mix of my mom’s recipe and something completely different.  I like it, but I am still going to work on it. That’s just me – I guess.   My friends really liked this one. Hope to make a couple more before the season is over. Still will go with nectarines  – it is just a thing.

14 August 2015 – perfect peach time – but will do this again before the “summer” is over – but with nectarines. Yep.

 

Best (?) Blueberry Cookies

I’m not really sure where to start with this. I have actually (some how hate that word) started this post three times already, but have deleted it each time. So here goes … I so very much wanted this to work because the blueberries this year have been amazing and it will not be too much longer and then they will be done. They may be already. That is sad because then the wait begins again.
So here’s the deal: this recipe, for me, did not work at all. Though the dough did taste great – who does not eat raw cookie dough?? Um, yeah.

I went back, thank goodness I keep up (mostly) where a recipe or inspiration comes from, and looked at the comments for this recipe and scrolled through them. At first I was just depressed because everyone was raving. Then I double checked to make sure I used all the correct ingredients – check. I had chilled dough – check. Then I scrolled further down the comments, and there, exactly, was the problem I was having. Thank goodness, I was not crazy, at least, not on this occasion.
From what I’ve read, it is the baking soda that was the issue or lack of baking powder. Either way! I’m going to get into that science this winter and plan to try again next year because I so want this to work. But please, do not try this until I get a better handle on it.

This is the original recipe. I so hoped it would work. But for me, it did not.

Makes about 30 cookies Note: I’ve had people ask me if you really have to chill cookie dough before baking. [Hello, duh] The answer is that you can get away with skipping it in some recipes, but with these cookies, it is absolutely necessary. The dough will be too soft to bake before a good two hours in the fridge, so plan accordingly. Carrie Vasios

2 cups (10 ounces) all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

16 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 cup blueberries

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, sugar, and melted butter until smooth. Whisk in vanilla extract and eggs until combined. Add flour mixture and whisk until just incorporated. Use a rubber spatula to gently mix in blueberries. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let chill for at least two hours and up to overnight.

Adjust oven racks to middle and upper positions and preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop dough by the rounded tablespoon onto baking sheet. Bake until golden, 13-15 minutes. Let cool 3 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

So do you post a recipe that does not work for you? Is it just a warning? I’m still not sure what to do with this. Ugh.

Red Creamer Potato Salad

The right time of year for really small red creamer potatoes is longer than it used to be since most of the farmers’ markets that carry them get them from our local farms in the area. This is great for me because I love these tiny potatoes. When you roast them they almost become candy-like. And I mean that in the best possible way.

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Roasted Creamer Potato Salad

To me potato salad is an elusive thing. That makes it sound exotic, like an Indian tiger, but that is not really what I mean. But it is elusive. It is one of those things you have in your head, but that doesn’t mean it is easy to execute.

Again, this is a no-recipe, recipe. If that makes any sense at all – likely not. But sometimes you really do just have to wing it in the kitchen. Trust your gut and your taste buds.

So I love these potatoes roasted and as soon as they came out of the oven, I doused them with rice wine vinegar. I think it is important to do when they are hot – they just soak it up. I did not want a traditional mayonnaise-based potato salad. I had tried that the week before and loved it, but wanted to go in a different direction. So vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, Dijon mustard and Italian parsley. I really liked it. It is not your traditional Southern potato salad, but it was really good. Again, just trust your palate. And remember that when you taste hot potatoes, they are going to be different when they are cold. Err on the side of more vinegar while the potatoes are hot. I kid you not. It really works.