Corn muffins: better than you remember

Corn muffins, in my world, are a breakfast food. Hot from the oven, broken into pieces, butter and some maple syrup on them? They’re a pretty good breakfast food. Bacon is a fine accompaniment, if you want a little protein. They’re also good with chili, if you want them for a non-breakfast meal. Between my husband, my daughter, and myself, a dozen lasts less than 24 hours in our house.

Corn Muffins

7.5oz GF flour (I use ATK’s GF flour)
6.67oz corn meal
1.5t baking powder
1t baking soda
0.5t salt
0.25t xanthan gum
1.33c sour cream (we were short of sour cream, so I substituted plain whole fat greek yogurt – worked like a charm)
5.25oz sugar
0.67c milk
2 large eggs
10T unsalted butter, melted and cooled

  1. Mix dry ingredients (not the sugar, which is a wet ingredient) together in a medium bowl. Mix wet ingredients (but only 8T of melted unsalted butter) in another. Add wet ingredients to dry, mix until no lumps remain. Let rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 500F. Spray muffin tin with vegetable oil spray. Portion batter evenly into muffin tin, brush tops with last 2T of butter. Bake for 7 minutes.
  3. Reduce oven temp to 400F, and bake for 7 more minutes.
  4. Let cool for 10 minutes in pan, and on wire rack for 10 more minutes. Serve warm.

Madeleines are wonderful and delicious

I cannot begin to tell you how thrilled I was to find a madeleine recipe in the second volume of America’s Test Kitchen’s Gluten Free cookbook. I bought a madeleine pan shortly before discovering that not eating gluten made me feel better, so it only got used a few times, mostly for bake sales. It’s hard to cook something you love but can’t eat. It was the first recipe I made out of the book.

Lemon Madelines

2.5oz GF flour (I usually use the ATK GF blend)
0.25t baking powder
0.125t salt
1 large egg + 2 large yolks
2.67oz sugar
4T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1T grated lemon zest
1.5t vanilla

  1. Mix dry ingredients (sugar is a wet ingredient, remember) in a bowl. Mix all other ingredients in a large bowl until well combined and very smooth. Stir in flour mixture with rubber spatula and mix until dough is homogeneous and smooth. Let batter rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 375. Spray pan with vegetable oil spray (I forgot to do this with one of my two batches and getting the cookies out was doable, but it was easier with the spray). Portion batter into molds of madeleine pan, about 2t per cookie. (Seriously, BUY ONE. Madeleines are SO EASY to make and everyone is so impressed when you can do it, but the hardest part is talking yourself into buying a specialized pan.) Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges begin to brown and they spring back when pressed lightly.
  3. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then let them cool completely on a clean dishtowel.

I suspect you can make them without the lemon and they’ll be fine. I also made an orange-cardamom batch (I love cardamom) – you omit the vanilla, swap the lemon zest for orange, and add 0.5t ground cardamom to sugar mixture in step 1. So good.

A near-perfect breakfast food

Because sometimes you just crave pancakes, even when you’re gluten-free. Add maple syrup and bacon (sometimes I substitute raspberry jam for the syrup), and you’re good to go.

Pro tip: if you’re reheating pancakes, the toaster oven is a better choice than the microwave.

Buttermilk Pancakes

10.5oz GF flour (I use the America’s Test Kitchen blend)
1t salt
1t baking powder
0.5t baking soda
2T sugar
1.75 c buttermilk
2 large eggs
4T unsalted butter, melted

  1. Start heating skillet/griddle. Mix all dry ingredients together in bowl and wet ingredients in another. (I use a 4-c measuring cup for the wet ingredients. It works well.)
  2. (Redacted because the ATK GF Cookbook wants you to separate the eggs, and whip the whites separately to make the pancakes lighter and fluffier. I find that this makes the pancakes so tall they don’t cook well – the middle never gets all the way done. So you can whip the egg whites to a froth, but be forewarned.)
  3. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until batter has thickened and there are no lumps. (If you’ve actually done the thing where you whip the egg whites, this is when you fold them into the rest of the batter.)
  4. Use a 0.25c measure to portion batter onto skillet/griddle. Cook pancakes until the tops bubble and bottom is browned. Flip. Cook for a couple minutes longer. Eat immediately.

 

Eat yer veggies


I am a pretty boring lunch person. It’s either leftovers (if I’m feeling lazy) or a salad. Honestly, I prefer the salad. But it’s almost always the *same* salad, the one pictured above.

What’s in it? I’m glad you asked:

  • Quinoa
  • Refried Beans
  • Cheese

I put these three ingredients on a plate or in a bowl and then heat them up in the microwave. Then I add:

  • Corn
  • Cucumber
  • Diced red and green bell peppers
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole

The best part about this salad is that I can make 5 days of it on a Sunday night (two containers, one that gets heated up, the other of cold ingredients) and then I have a good selection of veggies for lunch throughout the week.

Leftover taco meat, if that’s a thing in your house, is a great addition.

Consider this today’s adulting tip.

Homemade chicken stock is easier than you think

This is a terrible photo.

Whilst cleaning out the freezer (still nesting, y’all – not pregnant. Really, really not pregnant. *shudders*), I found a number of stashed leftover chicken backs and wings and necks. I must have saved them to make stock and then forgotten about them.

My go-to chicken stock recipe is easy enough that if I’d remembered they were there, I’d totally have used them. It takes roughly an hour and minimal ingredients for some pretty good broth.

Chicken Stock

a couple of pounds of leftover chicken bits, preferably frozen raw, not already cooked, chopped into 2″ pieces (this is when a meat cleaver comes in handy)
an onion, chopped
some salt
8c boiling water

  1. Heat some oil (1T-ish) in a stock pot on medium heat. Sauté the onion pieces. Once done, move them to a separate bowl.
  2. Add a little more oil. Place about half the chicken pieces in the bottom of the pan. Sauté until they’re no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Move to the bowl with the onions.
  3. Add a little more oil and repeat with the second batch of chicken pieces.
  4. Return the contents of the bowl to the stockpot, cover, and lower heat to low or medium low. Let cook for 20 minutes, until the juices have come out.
  5. Add 8c of boiling water to the pan along with 0.5t of salt. You can add a bay leaf at this point if you want.
  6. Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  7. Voila! Use a strainer to drain the stock into a bowl, separating out the chicken and onion pieces. Let cool, remove fat that accumulates at the top of the bowl.
  8. Store until you’re ready to use it.

This is one of the first things I learned how to cook as a post-college adult. It’s pretty easy, and homemade stock tastes SO MUCH BETTER that the store-bought stuff.

Not Red Velvet Cupcakes

It’s October and maybe kind of starting to get cooler. All I want to do is nest – to organize things, to cook and clean, and get my life in order.

Baked goods are an essential part of nesting. I had all of the ingredients for red velvet cupcakes except the red dye on hand, so I made them without the dye. They still tasted delicious.

Red Velvet Cupcakes (from ATK’s How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook)

6oz gluten-free flour
0.75oz unsweetened cocoa powder
1t baking powder
0.5t salt
0.25t xanthan gum
0.125t baking soda
8.75oz sugar
0.667c sour cream
6T vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1T red food coloring
1.5T vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350, line muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together (note: sugar is a wet ingredient. I don’t really understand why, but it is.)
  3. Mix wet ingredients together (aka, all the rest of the ingredients). Mix wet & dry ingredients together until smooth and well-combined.
  4. Evenly distribute batter evenly into prepared muffin tin. Bake for 20-ish minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

You should let them thoroughly cool before you put frosting on them and eat them. But I never bother with frosting. They’re good plain. Plus, then you can eat them hot.

Soup for all

sunburst soup

 

I’m starting a simple blog post when I don’t feel like writing. I don’t even know what I want to say. I want to talk about soup, about how a potato-leek soup is somehow perfect for this time of year, it being leek season (is it ever not potato season?) and all. (This one adds carrots, which is why it’s orange.) But I’m tired, and so I’ll just give you the recipe, maybe with the added note that this is a good recipe to practice your chopping.

Sunburst Soup

2 medium leeks, split and washed, white and light green parts sliced
1.5lbs carrots, sliced
1.5lbs potatoes, peeled and diced
2T unsalted butter
5c chicken stock
1/2t chopped thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
2c half & half
2T fresh lemon juice
3T chopped fresh dill
1/8t cayenne
1/4t nutmeg

Melt butter, sautée leeks until tender & wilted. Add carrots, potatoes, stock, bring to boil. Add thyme, bay leaf, salt to taste. Simmer for 20-30 min, until vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaf and puree the soup. Stir in lemon juice, half & half, spices. Taste and correct with additional seasonings.

Hungry. Now. Must eat.

 

chili
I’m hungry just looking at it.

I love chili. LOVE. It’s easy to make a huge pot of it, easy to put it in individual portions in the freezer, easy to heat them up into a good, hearty meal. Plus, it just tastes so good.

I got a good recipe a few years ago from This Charming Candy. In fact, the paper I still use as my starting point is in her handwriting.

1-2 lbs ground beef (Her instructions just say “ground meat”, so if you prefer something else, go for it. I bet you could even use tofu cut into chunks if you wanted)
1 large chopped onion

Saute together over medium heat. Then add:

2T chili powder
1t cumin
1-2t salt
0.5t black pepper
1-2 diced jalapeños
1t hot pepper flakes

Saute about a minute, until fragrant, then add

0.5t tobasco
2T worchestershire sauce
2-28oz cans diced tomates (I prefer petit diced, myself)
1 can tomato soup (I’ll substitute tomato sauce sometimes)
45oz kidney beans

Simmer for ~30 minutes.

Like any soup, it’s always better the next day, after the flavors have had more time to meld together.

 

So not authentic. Still tasty.

Fajitas

 

We really do eat a lot of texmex food. Huh.

One of my favorite stories about fajitas is that the name derives from the cut of steak that’s traditionally used. Which makes chicken fajitas a bastardized version of the traditional dish. So I tend not to worry about particular toppings being “authentic.” None of this is authentic. That’s ok. They’re still good.

Chicken Fajitas
2-3 limes, juiced
6T veg oil
3 garlic cloves
1T worcestershire sauce
1.5t brown sugar
1 jalapeño
1.5T chopped fresh cilantro
1 lb chicken breast
2 red onions
2 red bell peppers
2 green peppers
8-12 flour tortillas (I sub corn in for mine because I’m gluten-free.)

  1. In a large bowl, mix lime juice, 4T oil, garlic, worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, jalapeño, and cilantro together. Add 1t salt and 0.75t black pepper. Reserve out 0.25c of mixture, marinate the chicken in the remainder for about 15 minutes.
  2. Chop vegetables and coat with oil.
  3. Heat 2 cast iron skillets (one for the vegetables, one for the chicken) over med-high heat. Cook chicken for ~4-5 min on each side, sauté vegetables until done.
  4. Warm tortillas. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes, then slice.
  5. Pour 2T of reserved marinade over vegetables, pour remainder over the chicken. Serve with warmed tortillas and any toppings you’d like.

We tend to serve our fajitas with salsa, cheese, avocado, and sour cream. Not terribly traditional, but I covered that above.

The stove-top cooking method I use also isn’t traditional – you’re supposed to grill both the vegetables and the chicken. We do that when we make them on the weekend (and they taste better that way), but if you’re looking for a faster weeknight meal or it’s cold or rainy, this  is an acceptable substitute.

A meal + leftovers

enchiladas

 

Enchiladas are so messy. How can anyone make them look good? Regardless of what they look like, they are delicious. This is another weekend recipe, albeit one that makes enough leftovers that they can easily stretch to another meal. Especially when you serve them with a scoop of refried beans.

Enchiladas
(from Cook’s Illustrated #62)

1.5T veg oil
1 med onion, chopped fine
3 med garlic cloves, minced
3T chili powder
2t ground coriander
2t ground cumin
0.5t salt
2t sugar
12oz boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 0.25″ strips
16oz tomato sauce
0.5c chopped cilantro
4oz pickled jalapeños, drained & chopped
11oz shredded sharp cheddar
10 6″ corn tortillas

  1. Heat oil & sauté onion. Add garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, salt, and sugar; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant. Add chicken, stirring constantly, until coated with spices. Add tomato sauce & 0.75c water. Stir to separate chicken slices. Bring to simmer, cook for 8 minutes. Pour mixture through strainer into medium bowl. Transfer chicken to plate to cool. Combine chicken with cilantro, jalapeños, and cheese in medium bowl.
  2. Heat oven to 300F. Heat tortillas for about 4 minutes. Once tortillas are heated, increase oven temp to 400F. Smear bottom of 9×13 pan with 0.75c chili sauce. Fill each tortilla with 1/3c filling. Roll each tortilla tightly, place in baking dish, seam-side down. Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas. Sprinkle an additional 3oz cheese over top.
  3. Cover pan with aluminum foiled, bake for 20 minutes. Uncover & serve immediately, passing lettuce, sour cream, avocado, and lime wedges separately.