Blueberry Muffins

There are several advantages to living in a rural area. One of them is being able to pick berries in the summertime. For the last several years, we’ve gone to Bozberry Farms in Turtlepoint, Pa., to pick the plumpest, biggest, sweetest blueberries I’ve ever eaten. You gotta trust me on this one because I’ve eaten a lot of blueberries in the past half century. These are amazing.

I always end up picking way too many, in part because picking blueberries is so much easier than picking other fruit. There aren’t any briers to fight with, and there is no bending, unless you really want to get the berries near the bottom.

Once I get back from my annual trip, with my buckets sagging with the weight of these blue beauties and my stomach full of them, I have to get baking. Given the choice, He Who Must Be Fed wanted blueberry muffins first.Blueberries

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups Bisquick mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • Cinnamon, for dusting
  • Sparkling sugar, for sprinkling

Heat your oven to 400°. Line your muffin tins with paper or foil cups. Beat the eggs slightly in a medium bowl. Stir in Bisquick mix, milk, oil and sugar until just moistened. Gently fold in your blueberries.MixingMuffinBatter

Divide your batter evenly among the muffin cups. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sparkling sugar.

MuffinsBeforeOven

Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until light brown and wonderful. Remove from the pan and enjoy. He Who Must Be Fed slathers butter on them, but these are so good you don’t really need the butter. (Wait, what did I just say? Butter is always a welcome addition, at least in my home.  Store in an air-tight container.

MuffinsWithButter

 

If you happen to make it to Bozberry Farm, tell Brenda I said “hi.”

Fresh Corn Salad

This summer I wanted to break away from the typical summer side dishes – macaroni salad and potato salad – and make something different, something delicious, something my eaters will remember for summers to come.

Enter this Fresh Corn Salad from Ina Garten. This salad met my try-a-new-recipe criteria:

  • It was delicious.
  • It was easy and didn’t take long to make.
  • It was pretty.

Ingredients:

  • 5 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1/2 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup julienned fresh basil leaves

CornInIceBathIn a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn for 3 minutes until the starchiness is just gone. Drain and immerse it in ice water to stop the cooking and to set the color. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob.

Toss the kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.ChoppingCorn

The sweetness of the corn was a perfect match for the tartness of the vinegar. And it was such a delightful change from the typical summer salads. Try it. I’m pretty sure you’ll like it.

Full recipe disclosure: I didn’t add the fresh basil even though I have a flourishing pot of it growing on my windowsill. I couldn’t quite imagine basil in this time. Next time.

FinishedCornSalad

Fabulous French Onion Dip

On the list of delicious snacks, potato chips and French onion dip are at or definitely near the top. If you’re like most people, when you have a hankerin’ for chips and dip, you head to the store to get both. However, I found a recipe for French onion dip that is so delicious and easy that you won’t buy a tub of dip at the store ever again. All you need is a little time.

This recipe comes from Guy Fieri from the Food Network.

Ingredients:   

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 Vidalia onions, sliced into 1/4-inch rings (about 4 cups)
  • 2 large shallots, sliced into 1/8-inch rings (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

RawOnionsIn a large sauté pan over low heat, add oil and butter. When butter is melted, add onions and sauté stirring occasionally until golden brown and caramelized, about 35 minutes.

Add shallots and sauté for 15 minutes more until onions and shallots are dark brown. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 to 6 minutes, then chop into 1/4-inch pieces. Set aside to cool to room temperature.CookedOnion

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, celery salt, Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Fold in onion mixture. Chill at least 1 hour or overnight, prior to serving.

DipAndChip

 

Trust me on this. You’re going to want to try this out and share with others. The sweetness of the caramelized onions blend so perfectly with the creaminess of the sour cream and the bite of the Worcestershire sauce. Just be careful you don’t eat too much because that will be easy to do.

 

Pizza with grilled Italian sausage, peppers and onions

Pizza? Who doesn’t love pizza? One of the wondrous things about pizza is how versatile it is. You can have it with tomato sauce, cheese and pepperoni. Olive oil, fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes and fresh basil. Spicy shrimp, pepper jack and cheddar cheeses with sauteed onions and peppers. Pesto, mozzarella, hot peppers and sausage.

Well, I tried a new combination the other day that was out of this world. It was so beloved that He Who Must Be Fed and two of his offspring ate it all up. (They let me have a couple of pieces.) I mean all of it. No leftovers. The recipe  is from Crisco.

Ingredients:

  • Two ready-made pizza crusts
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 pound spicy Italian sausage
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 large red onion, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch thick wedges
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 plum tomatoes, halved, seeded, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions

Heat your oven to 375°. Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic and rosemary. Pour half of the marinade in a small bowl, cover and refrigerate. Spray your grill grate with no-stick cooking spray and heat your grill. Brush your sausage, red pepper and onion with remaining marinade; sprinkle with salt and pepper.BrushingSausage

Grill until sausage is cooked through and peppers and onion are slightly charred and crisp-tender, turning and basting occasionally with marinade to within 5 minutes of being done, about 12 minutes for sausages and 8 minutes for vegetables. Discard any remaining marinade.

Transfer to cutting board and cut sausages into 1/2-inch pieces and peppers into thin strips.

Sprinkle each pizza crust with 1/2 of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Top each with 1/2 of sausage, peppers and onion, then with 1/2 of the goat cheese, tomatoes and green onions. Remove bowl of marinade from refrigerator; drizzle over the pizzas.PizzaBeforeOven

Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until cheeses are melted and crusts are golden brown.

PizzaAfterOvenWhat made this so incredibly delicious was the mix of different flavors that came together so perfectly: the sweetness of the red peppers and onions, the spice of the sausage, the creaminess of the mozzarella, and the tang of the balsamic vinegar.

If you try it, let me know if you loved it, too. I’m betting on it.

Full-recipe disclosure: My man isn’t a fan of goat cheese, so I skipped it and doubled up on the mozzarella.

The Best Barbecue Sauce

Summer is here. Whoo hoo. For those of us in the Northeast, who were battered and bruised after last winter (some mornings were -18°) it’s time to celebrate with some delicious summer food. And that means grilling. And that means barbecue sauce.

Yes, you can buy it at the store. When I’m short on time, I do that too, and no one complains. (Or, they don’t complain in my presence.) However, why buy it when you can make it? Especially when it tastes soooo much better.

This recipe came from chef Wolfgang Puck and is lip-smackin’ delicious on everything, including baby back ribs. That recipe will be coming your way soon.

 Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ medium onion, minced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

BeginningofSauceIn a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the vegetable oil. Sauté the onions, garlic and oregano until translucent, about four to five minutes. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then lower the heat and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes.

Be careful when you stir because this sauce is like bubbling, volcanic lava. It’s hot and sticky. If it gets on your skin, it’s going to burn. To prevent sauce injury, I use a long-handled spoon – the longer the better – to stir with then put a lid on it so it doesn’t bubble up and get me. SauceDone

But, even if I get a little burn, it’s worth it. Trust me. Sometimes you just have to take one for the team.