Saturday, December 18, 2010

apricot ginger cardamom muffins

When we first moved to Japan I was taking semi-private language lessons with a wonderful lady named Kazuko (who also became like my Japanese mom). In the class with me was a neighbor and friend named Sheena and she brought some yummy apricot pecan muffins with her to class one day.

These are the apricot pecans muffins, minus the pecans and tweaked with some of our spicy favorites. (No kidding, our beans will eat crystallized ginger piece by piece, gulp their milk in between bites and then ask for more ginger.)

Bean 1 and Bean 2 helped me make these, including some their size that they wanted to put candles on while they sang Happy Birthday to Jesus.

You'll need:
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (original recipe called for 1/4 t. nutmeg)
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 2 c. flour (I used all purpose)
  • 1/2 c. golden brown sugar (I used dark brown)
  • 1 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1 t. or more orange peel (I used my microplane grater)
  • 2.5 ounce package of crystallized ginger, chopped, plus more for topping
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 c. milk (plus a splash more if batter seems dry)
  • 125 g (1/4 pound) melted butter
  • sliced almonds for topping
Do this:

Preheat your trusty oven to 190 C/375 F and butter or oil some muffins tins--this made 11 regular-sized muffins and 8 mini ones.

Sift together the cardamom, baking powder, and flour, then stir in the brown sugar and mash with your hands to get the lumps out. Add the apricots, ginger, and orange peel to the dry mixture, and in a separate bowl, mix the egg, milk, and melted butter. Make a well in the dry mixture and add the wet ingredients, stirring just till combined. Add to your muffin tins, sprinkling some sliced almonds and chopped crystallized ginger pieces over the top.

Bake about 12-15 minutes for the mini muffs and 20 or so for the big daddies.

Yum. Spicy yum.

And don't forget the milk...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

my little gingerbread men

More cookie on the boys than the boy rolls out the dough and the other one drives a "snow plow" through the flour...

We used this delicious recipe (the only thing I altered was trading out margarine for butter and substituting pumpkin pie spice for all four spices - all the same spices in one convenient scoop)...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

this and that, and more of that

I've been busy in the kitchen--honestly! I know, I know, nothing's shown up lately on ye olde blog but hey, you're still here, right? (Right?)

So what have I been up to, culinarily speaking?

Here are a few honorable mentions, in no particular order (some are possibly from a couple of months ago, but nobody's telling):
  • Greek lemon yogurt pound cake, with a mixed berry sauce I conjured up from frozen berries, sugar, and a wee dram of white wine (drool over photo above)
  • Greek chickpea stew (revithatha)--lovely for winter (I also added lemon juice and cayenne pepper)
  • Red lentil soup--comfort food found via Small Notebook that originated from Orangette (Seattle-based foodie)
  • Lotsa homemade soup - asparagus, tomato, lentil, leek and potato, chicken and orzo, etc.
  • I've made a couple of meals for families with new babies from my MOPS group--I love! One family was vegan so I made lentil curry, rice, salad, and a vegan-friendly version of the chocolate tofu peanut-butter pie (I changed the choco out for carob and the mommy told me she loved it so much she actually dreamed about it that night after eating it!). I've also made fish pie and cottage pie for some other folks.
  • M-Bean and I made cookies this afternoon--his request was "chocolate-raisin cookies" so I used an old standby chocolate-chip oatmeal cookie recipe and we threw in some mixed dried fruit that included raisins, apples, pears, peaches, and apricots. I chopped some Lindt 50% chocolate to add and it turned out dandy.
  • Guinness brownies, again and again
  • When berries were in season, I dressed up an Everyday Food magazine recipe--a raspberry baked custard became a blackberry-chocolate baked custard. Yum.

  • I've made homemade cranberry sauce twice this holiday season so far--in Japan I used my homemade umeshu (plum wine) in the sauce, but now that we're in the States, I'm adding bottled sangria instead and it lends a nice fruity flavor. The original recipe calls for port but I never have any of that on hand. The cranberry sauce got rave reviews at my friends' home on Thanksgiving! (And if you happen to have any left over, it's great on plain yogurt for a pre-bedtime snack.)
Wanting to make and devour:
  • Julia Child's French bread (I've got her DVD set and she makes it look so fun!)
  • Kim's egg nog (yummy-soh!)
  • Pioneer Woman's leek and potato pizza (in her cookbook that I waited months for at our library)
  • latkes - a friend told me about her Hanukkah party and made me drool!
Better go get some sleep so I have energy to get back in the kitchen tomorrow...