Vegetables Every Day

Vegetables Every Day
Carrot Tarator with Beets

Monday, March 26, 2007

Muffins and humility

This has been a fun weekend.   My folks were up for a visit, Mom and I went to the LPGA Safeway golf tournament on Saturday, and Sunday I played golf with both Mom and Dad.  The weather (which a week ago threatened to go from winter right into summer) was perfect spring weather after a healthy rain Thursday and Friday (my definition of spring weather: warm enough to wear shorts, but not to hot to be in the sun).
I also showed off a bit in the kitchen.  Friday night  Roy's folks were over too, dinner was a big pot of Mediterranean-style fish soup.  It really came out nice (and one of these days I will get it written down).  On Saturday night, we did a nice herb grilled chicken and asparagus.  Simple, but pretty and very good.  Then, on Sunday morning I made muffins, something we do almost every Sunday morning.  Sometimes I make them, sometimes Roy does, but I have made them enough I practically know the recipe by heart.  This morning, Roy opens the oven, and says my muffins look especially flat.  (Roy's muffins always peak higher than mine therefore, much prettier, so I think he is just kidding me a bit).  The timer goes off, I go look, and not only are they really flat, they are not done yet... the problem was the oven was at 350, not 400.  After another 10 minutes in the oven (everyone, coffee in hand, waiting for breakfast), they were ok (and we managed to eat all of them today).  But know I now why Roy's muffins are prettier:  he makes banana muffins with the same recipe (bananas and raisins instead of apples and cranberries), and doesn't have cold cranberries slowing down the process of rising the muffins. 
Here are the recipes for the muffins and the chicken  (to grill the asparagus, just role the asparagus in little olive oil, maybe some balsamic vinegar, add some pepper and grill along side the chicken).
Grilled Savory Chicken
This chicken always comes out nice and moist -- a good one to fix for company (especially since you have to think ahead a little bit to marinate the chicken).  Of course, you don't have to marinate overnight, 20 minutes works.  It comes out best if you use at least half fresh herbs, OK to not follow below exactly (I often use chives since they are usually plentiful in the garden, and skip the marjoram)
 Serves 4
4 half boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon fresh minced thyme (or 1 teaspoon dry)
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh minced sage (or 1/2 teaspoon dry)
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh minced rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon dry)
3/4 teaspoon fresh minced marjoram (or 1/4 teaspoon dry)
3 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
Fresh ground pepper
Juice from ½ a lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon, cut into wedges (garnish)
Flatten chicken breasts to even out the thickness (best to do between sheets of plastic wrap.  Combine all herbs, spices, lemon rind, and oil.  Rub mixture.  Arrange in shallow dish or Ziploc baggie.  Cover and chill overnight if doing ahead.   Grill for 3-4 minutes on each side.  Serve with lemon wedges.
Apple Cranberry Oatmeal Muffins
1 cup old-fashioned oats (or quick cooking)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (optional)
dash salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup un-packed brown sugar
1 apple, peeled and cut into chunks
3/4 cup buttermilk or milk or soy milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup cranberries (thawed under running water if frozen)
OVEN:  Preheat to 400oF.  Grease muffin cups with Pam.
Mix oats, flour, baking powder, soda, spices, and salt in a large bowl.
In a food processor, mix eggs and brown sugar until smooth. Add apples, and pulse until small chunks. Add milk, oil, and vanilla.  Put in cranberries, and pulse a few times, to barely chop the cranberries.
Pour the batter on the dry ingredients, and fold together.
Scoop batter into muffins cups (put water into any empty cups). Bake 20 minutes or until springy to the touch in the center.  Turn out onto a rack to cool, we like them hot from the oven.
As always - send your feedback if you try the recipes!

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