Monday, February 23, 2015

Peach upside-down Muffins

Start by making up this basic muffin recipe. Keep in mind, you can not use paper liners for this particular recipe! Spray or grease your muffin tin for best results.
Basic Muffins
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla (or flavored extract to match your muffin creation)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease or line your muffin tin(s). Mix dry ingredients together well in a mixing bowl. Mix egg and milk together well. Add melted butter. (When I make my muffins, I like to mix the wet ingredients together in a quart jar with a tight-fitting lid. Just shake the heck out of everything for a good mix!)
(If you are adding fruit or raisins to your muffins, do it at this point. Mix together well with the dry ingredients.)
Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the liquid. Stir together with broad, sweeping strokes until just blended. (Over-mixed batter makes tough  muffins) Evenly distribute batter into greased or paper-lined muffin tin(s). Bake at 400 degrees 16 - 20 minutes, until golden brown.
Makes 12 muffins.

Now for the upside-down part. Put a generous teaspoon of butter for each muffin in the greased tin. Add a generous teaspoon of brown sugar for each muffin. Then put one or two peach slices (home-canned or fresh are best!) into the bottom of each one of the muffins. Fill each one of them with the batter you just made. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Allow them to rest on a wire rack for about ten minutes, then give each muffin a gentle twist to loosen it from the tin. If they won’t twist, run a paring knife around the edge of the tin, all the way to the bottom. Invert the entire pan onto a wax paper-lined cookie sheet, leaving them upside-down on the pan. They’re ready eat as soon as they are cool enough to pick up…try to make the dozen last for at least an hour if you can!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Pancakes on a Winter Morning

We’ve been enjoying pancakes for breakfast on these cold winter mornings. If you’re going to be working outside when it’s zero or colder, it’s a darn good idea to have some food in your belly that’s a good fuel. And a pancake breakfast is just such a thing!
The first one is our favorite sourdough pancake recipe. It’s a great way to use a little of your sourdough starter so you can keep it fresh and lively. (I have a killer sourdough chocolate cake recipe for this purpose, too. That will be posted here soon!)
Sourdough pancakes tend to be a bit on the thin side (at least mine are) but they are very light. They’re superb with fresh fruit and real maple syrup, fresh fruit and honey or fresh fruit with a little brown sugar/butter sauce. We had some of our frozen strawberries from last spring and a little of the brown sugar/butter sauce and another batch with maple syrup (from the Yellow River Valley down by Luana) and some of the peaches we canned up last summer. Dream up your own toppings…you won’t go wrong!

Sourdough Pancakes
2 cups sourdough starter, room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon warm water

In a large bowl, add sourdough starter, sugar, egg, olive oil, and salt; mix well; set aside.
In a small bowl, dilute 1 teaspoon baking soda in 1 tablespoon of warm water; set aside until ready to bake your pancakes.
Important: Only add the baking soda/water mixture to the pancake batter just before you are ready to cook the pancakes. Make certain everything is ready to go, the griddle hot, so the sourdough can be cooked while the air is still working in the batter. This will produce light sourdough pancakes that melt in your mouth.
When ready to cook your sourdough pancakes, fold the baking soda/water mixture gently into the prepared pancake batter (do not beat). This will cause a gentle foaming and rising action in the batter. Let the mixture bubble and foam a minute or two before using.

Never-fail Fluffy Pancakes
This recipe is one of those easy ones that really exaggerate your culinary skills. Some folks have trouble making light and fluffy pancakes. If they start using this recipe, they’ll be opening up their own pancake house in no time! They are easy and they will amaze family and friends alike!
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted
cooking spray

Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to "sour".
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into "soured" milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Lemon Squares

When life hands you lemons…
That’s exactly what happened today. A box from a friend in Phoenix arrived with some local boutique olive oils and nine fresh-picked lemons! What an excellent midwinter treat and pick-me-up!
This recipe is from the “Belles of Bethel” cookbook from the ladies (submitted by Thelma Schuck) of Bethel Lutheran Church near Parkersburg, Iowa. The book itself dates from 1980, but I have no idea how old the recipe is. I can tell you this much – they are delicious and simple to make.

1 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Butter
1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Fresh-squeezed Lemon Juice

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Measure flour, blend with butter and powdered sugar and mix well using your hands or a pastry cutter (it will look like shortbread dough). Press evenly into 8 x 8 pan. Bake 20 minutes. Beat remaining ingredients together well. Pour mixture over crust and bake 20 – 25 minutes more, until lightly browned on top. Filling puffs while baking, but settles down as it cools. Sprinkle with powdered sugar after you remove it from the oven. Cool and cut into small squares.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Early CSA Sign-ups Save $150.00!

Sign up today and save big bucks! Call us at 563-568-3829, e-mail or send a check in the amount of $500.00 made out to Kitchen Table CSA, 511 Bear Creek Drive – Dorchester, Iowa – 52140.