Savory Herb Muffins

So another thing that happens when I have buttermilk – I like to have herbs – Italian parsley, chives, basil, dill, etc.  Usually to make homemade ranch**, but in this case, I was really looking for something different. This totally fit the spring-herb bill and with a little home-made pesto and Parmesan to add in the mix. How could I not try this? I am happy to say the MotH really liked these, but the Irish butter sealed the deal. Did for me too. Maybe butter is like bacon. Probably.

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Savory Herb Muffin

1/2 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, minced,  the only parsley I use
1/2 cup chives, minced
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup home-made pesto*
1/4 finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with liners. Rinse parsley, basil*, and chives and wrap in paper towels to dry completely. Mince parsley and chives. Set aside for now.

In a bowl, mix together eggs, salt, and pepper. Add in buttermilk, pesto*, and Parmesan. Over waxed paper, sift together flour and baking powder.

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just incorporated. Do not over mix. It’s a muffin after all. Stir in the parsley and chives.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 25 minutes, rotating half way through until golden and toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Source: slightly modified from: chocolateandzucchini.com/recipes/appetizers/fresh-herb-muffins-recipe/  One of my favorite blogs – http://chocolateandzucchini.com/  Clotilde is just amazing. The first time I heard this name was when the Boy went to Episcopal Day School and Clotilde was a girl in his class that I envied because her mom had a great way with style. One that I do not have. Sigh.

* Pesto – my homemade recipe – a bunch of  basil, freshly washed, 2 decent sized cloves of garlic, a good half cup of walnuts (no  pine nuts for me), a good pinch of kosher salt, and enough olive oil to make it loose, but not too loose. – in your food processor. You have to judge how much olive oil by what recipe the pesto will be involved in.  In this case, I was looking for pesto to go in muffins, not as a pasta sauce. So not too much olive oil. A little bit of fresh lemon juice is always appreciated.

** Homemade ranch – just wing it. It is mayo, and some sour cream if you like it (I do), and any fresh herbs you like – Italian parsley, chives, dill or cilantro if those are things for you. You can do minced garlic, but honestly, garlic or onion powder works because no matter what this mess has to sit in the fridge for a few hours to make it work. There also needs to be fresh lemon juice – or lime (haven’t done it but expect it will be good). And then just enough buttermilk to make it consistency that you want. But, again, it needs to sit in the fridge to make the flavours come together.

Notes: Okay, I made this because it was spring and I liked the ideas of fresh herbs. And making pesto again. And had buttermilk (always full fat – yep). It also reminded me of how much I need to sort out growing my own herbs again instead of buying them. For lord’s sake I grow my own Meyer Lemons – I should totally grow my own herbs like I did in years past.

I do have to say that I’m not a huge fan of the green look of the muffins (did say – mold muffins – just could not help it). That said, they taste great, especially with some my favorite salted Irish butter (Kerrygold) on them. For butter that you are going to put on something (muffins, toast, etc.) Irish butter is always best. I guess they just have amazing cows or something.

Easter Planning

Holy cow. Easter will be here before you know it. Sorry – this year the early food holidays have just stacked up way too much. Super Bowl Sunday smashed into Mardi Gras – literally. I’m not kidding. Two days apart.

I understand that Pi Day will always fall right in line with St. Patrick’s Day.  There is no denying the calendar on that one, but they are fixed points – unlike Mardi Gras and Easter – thank you Hebrew calendar for keeping us on our toes.

I am thinking something with lemon. But that seems to be something I do a lot.  Or Asparagus. Or fresh herbs. I won’t go all crazy and say I’ll make lamb, because I won’t. I at least know myself well enough to know that will not happen. Ham, also, will not be in my future. We’re just not big fans.

What is really strange to me is I do not remember any big food traditions for my family for Easter. I’ll have to ask my dad, but no, I’ve really got nothing.

We always dyed eggs (Paas and vinegar are always linked together in my brain), had great Easter baskets, went to church, did the egg hunt thing. But that is all I remember.

Either way, I am going to have to come up with something for Easter dinner this year

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Carrot Cake is just so tempting for Easter.

. Carrot Cake seems to be a repeating element. But, I think I am going back to my original idea –  lemons. Yep. That is what I’ll do. No surprise really.

Tomorrow is Good Friday, so I best decide.

Fusilli with asparagus and mushrooms

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Fusilli with mushrooms and asparagus

This is a recipe that I’ve been making for several years and was based on a recipe by Giada de Laurentiis. It’s quick, and to me, a very spring kind of pasta. Make it when the asparagus are at their best.

8 ozs. Fusilli
Olive oil
2 Tbs unsalted butter
8 ozs mushrooms, button or cremini, sliced
1 bundle of asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 ozs mascarpone
Parmesan, for serving

Heat a pot of boiling water, add asparagus and cook until bright green and crisp tender – kind of the al dente of asparagus. Remove asparagus from water and set aside. Once the asparagus is finished, add the pasta and cook until al dente.
In a sauté pan, melt butter and add a little olive oil. Add the sliced mushroom and sauté until they’ve released their juices and most of that liquid evaporates. Add garlic and sauté for another minute more.
Add the asparagus to the mushrooms. Then add the container of mascarpone cheese. Stir until it is melted and coats the vegetables. Add a handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and stir again.
Serve with extra Parmesan for serving.