June 24, 2009

Strawberry Overload

On a recent trip back from The Oregon Gardens, which are amazing and totally worth the short trip and $10, my mom and I stopped at one of the many roadside fruit stands to check it out. We picked a great one and scored an entire flat of strawberries for $14! That is seriously cheap. So now, after giving two pints away and eating them every morning for breakfast, I was faced with what to make/bake with the 4 pints I still had. I decided on Strawberry Cornmeal Muffins and a batch of Strawberry Freezer Jam! And it's no coincidence that these two items go together splendidly, nosiree.

Strawberry Cornmeal Muffins (taken from Eating Out Loud)
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup oil
1 cup milk
1 cup chopped strawberries, plus 1/2 cup for garnish

In a large mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add beaten egg, oil and milk, stirring until just combined. Fold in 1 cup chopped strawberries. I used smaller berries and simply cut them in half. I suggest chopping the berries no larger than 1/2″.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full, then garnish with a few chopped berries. Bake at 400F (200C) for 20-25 minutes or until testing done.

Allow the muffins to cool before removing from the muffin tin. I ran a sharp knife around the edge of each muffin, then popped them out of the tin.

These were freaking fantastic. Moist and delicate, easy and quick, and they made the whole house smell amazing. I wanted to smear them with butter and jam the instant they came out of the oven. The freezer jam, on the other hand, was only slightly successful. I don't remember where I originally pulled the recipe from so I'm not going to post it. Also, I'm unsure of what method we finally went with as Michelle and I were awfully confused on what to do between the recipe I got off the internet and the print out in the box of pectin. Ultimately, my sources (Michelle) tell me that the jam is delicious but still pretty runny. I guess that means we didn't use enough pectin. I'm going to have to try my hand at this again; I'm not going down without a fight, jam! We should have called the JAMLINE number that was listed on the box of pectin but I was too scared I would end up getting lectured by a grandmother in a rocking chair with a serious passion for jam. And now:





June 11, 2009

So Sagey

When my Boyfriends fridge was suddenly filled with mushrooms, I went searching for a good tasty recipe to use them in. I came across a few things that sounded great, and finally narrowed it down to either a Chicken Marsala or a Creamy Sage sauce, both from Barn Appetit. I went with option B!


Chicken with Mushroom Sage Sauce

3 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup chopped shallots (I used 2 whole shallots)
2 garlic cloves (I added this part)
8-10 ounces mushrooms, any sort (I used Crimini sliced and Shiitakes quartered, probably a bit more than 10 oz as I really love mushrooms)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley (Optional, I didn't use any and didn't miss it)
1 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
3 Tbsp chopped fresh sage (Fresh from the yard!)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts (I used 6 little fillets)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

The recipe I used listed a roasted chicken method, but I just cooked my little fillets in a pan with salt and pepper, then set them aside while I made the sauce.

To make the sauce, start by melting the butter in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add shallots and garlic and sauté for one minute. Add mushrooms (and parsley, if using) and sauté for
5-10 more minutes, until the mushrooms have browned. If you are using unsalted butter, sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Add vermouth or white wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up any bits that may be sticking to the bottom of the pan. Stir in the cream. Bring to a simmer and cook the sauce down until it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (about 10 minutes).
While the sauce is reducing, add the chicken breasts/fillets back in to the sauce early enough to just warm them. The last step is to stir the fresh sage into sauce, adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Plate and spoon sauce over chicken to serve.
Garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired.

I served this with minute rice, as that is what I had available, and a side of broccoli. I would have preferred mashed potatoes or a better rice, but I was being lazy and did not realize there were potatoes at my fingertips that I ended up making mashed potatoes with later in the week! Anyway, this sauce was so so so good and so simple, I intend to make it again and again and again. And even though it has the heavy cream, it didn't taste too heavy. I had a hard time putting my fork down and from what I heard from my favorite guy, the leftovers were just as amazing.