Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Mixed Berry Muffins

September 4, 2017

muffin

My daughters have come to expect a batch of muffins just about every week to serve as their school day breakfast.  Occasionally instead of muffins I’m asked for stones (scones)  but this week I had a bunch of strawberries and dewberries left over and needed to use them up.  So in a muffin they went.  I had hoped the muffins would be a cheery pinkish purple color and the batter was just so.  I added the jam partially for color’s sake and partially because my berries weren’t terribly sweet.  They baked out to a fairly uniform white shade though so if you’re inclined and not averse a drop or two of pink food coloring wouldn’t go wrong.

These turned out ridiculously tender and buttery with a nice thin crust to the tops.  I set two of them out under a pie safe and the rest go in a gallon baggie in the freezer to be doled out from Monday to Friday.

Makes 15 muffins.

Mixed Berry Muffins
2 cups white flour
3/4 cup white sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2/3 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 2/3 cup fresh mixed berries, chopped
2 tbs blackberry (dewberry) or strawberry jam

Preheat oven to 425. Dice berries and combine with jam.  Add all other ingredients and stir, just to combine.  Portion out into lined muffin tins.  Bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Saltine Toffee

April 29, 2017

Southern cooking relies on ingredients that are a.) Cheap, b.) tasty, and c.) generally pretty terrible for your body.  Saltine Toffee historically  meets all of those criteria.  It’s often a Christmas cookie treat, but it’s one of my go to treats to send along on trips and as a gift.

Start by lining a sheet pan with saltine crackers.  I line with foil for the mess and a sheet of parchment paper to stop the candy from sticking to the foil.  Who wants to eat little bits of foil? (Foil sounds like f-oh-l when I say it, if that helps.)

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In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, bring butter and brown sugar to a boil.  Stir to keep the sugar from burning for 3 minutes.

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Pour the boiled sugar mixture over the crackers (it will plop, more than stream) and spread evenly.
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Bake in the oven at  425 for 5 minutes until the sugar mixture is hot and bubbling, then remove and immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips.  I’m a stickler for fair trade chocolate because imho, child slavery tastes bad.    Cover with foil and let sit for 5 minutes until the chocolate has melted, then spread the chocolate out across the toffee crackers.  I top it with pecans, because Central Texas, but it’s good as is or even with crushed peppermint.
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Refrigerate until cool, peel the candy from the lined pan and break into bite sized pieces.
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Saltine Toffee:
Soda crackers, about 50
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup salted butter
2 cups fair trade semi sweet chocolate chips
3/4 pecans

Preheat oven to 425. Cover a lined baking sheet with soda crackers, leaving as little gap as possible.  Place butter and brown sugar in a heavy sauce pan and bring to a boil for 3 minutes.  Pour boiling sugar mixture over crackers and place the sheet pan in the oven.  Bake for 5 minutes or until bubbling.   Remove from heat and immediately cover with chocolate chips.  Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Spread melted chocolate chips with a rubber spatula and then top with pecans if desired.  Place the sheet pan in the refrigerator for 15 or 20 minutes until cool.  Break into serving pieces.  Best fresh while the crackers are still crisp, but can be stored in an air tight container.

Now I am a Yeti!

August 16, 2016

Not Quite Buckeye Balls

November 15, 2013

I don’t normally talk in such definitive terms but: We’ve all been making Buckeye Balls incorrectly for the entirety of man kind. It’s true. The correct recipe follows.

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1 (6.5oz) container of PB2 with chocolate
1/2 of the same container filled w/ powdered sugar
2 tbs virgin coconut oil
6 tbs dark spiced rum
3 tbs coconut coffee creamer
chocolate bark, melted

In the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment, lightly mix PB2 and powdered sugar. Mix in the coconut oil and blend for about a minute until it’s even distributed through the bowl. Add in the rum, 1 tbs at a time, until the batter has a sufficient rum taste but doesn’t knock you over. Then add the coconut creamer until the mixture just comes together. You might not use all of the creamer. It should look like this:

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Roll the dough into balls worth one or two bites. Refrigerate them for half an hour. Melt chocolate bark by the directions provided (Or make your own using your favorite chocolate and a scoop or two of shortening. I was lazy today.) Cool until you can just touch the chocolate enough to work with. Swirl each dough ball into the chocolate bark, and then set on a lined cookie sheet.

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Refrigerate until set, then serve. Then thank me. Often. I’m freezing them and sending them to Costa Rica, because I want to be that far away from their magnetic wonderfulness.

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Custom beds

July 3, 2013

We’re far far from home right now in Vermont.  Having put our little spot in Dripping Springs on the market, we decided to stay away for 6 months.  The first we spent in a friend’s snow bound cabin in St Adolphe d Howard, about 2 hours from Montreal.  The next 5 months, we’re spending in our preferred rental house in Burlington, Vermont.

The thing about me is that though I love to travel and feel the various textures of the world, I am an inveterate home body.  To me, the best part of any ocean crossing adventure is the pull I feel, constantly, to return to my not so tidy hobbit hole.

Here I am now, 3 months homeless.  I have no permanent address, and my babies are sleeping on crib mattresses on the floor.  The hobbit in me quivers.

If there’s one thing I do better than feather a nest however, it’s plan.  I have lists, databases, and maps of potential next homes.  I have flowcharts in my head of just how our move southward will go.  I also have custom furniture.

My brother in law, Matt Mitchell, it turns out is quite the artist when it comes to woodwork.  He has recently founded a custom furniture business called Austin Joinery.  He’s building a portfolio, and so I managed to commission two very special beds for my girls.  These will be the first feathers laid in my next nest and I find it appropriate that they are for the girls, made by family, and flecked with symbolism.

The frame is of Massaranduba, aka Bullet proof wood. To stand up to my kids and our frenetic life, bullet proof is good:

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The inlays are burled walnut. Burled as in full of knots. Imperfect, just like their mom.

The final touch is a walnut inlay of a personally significant deco rose design:

That design is very similar to one that I have tattooed on my back. It’s a memorial tattoo for my best friend and my father’s father, who died within months of each other in 2001. The grandfather grew beautiful roses. The friend’s memory confronted me repeatedly on a trip I took to Scotland. I first saw a similar design in Glasgow and it reminded me of her and him simultaneously.

As it stands, I have no permanent address.  I have a home, the place I carry with me to where ever Andy and I land.  My nest is only really in my mind just now though, and  these two pieces of furniture built with the aid of a talented craftsman, are the first feathers I have for it.

Banana Nut Muffins

May 12, 2013

Okay. I admit once and for all that I don’t measure anything. Ever. So you’ll have to use your eyeballs when assembling these muffins because they were both the bomb and the diggity. If it looks too wet, add more dry. If it looks too dry, add more wet. We’re grown ups and can handle this, right?

3 horrendously over ripe bananas I’d forgotten on top of the fridge
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce I needed to be rid of
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted  (Yes.  You read that right.)
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 cup maple syrup (I really  just glugged until Andy shouted “HOLY SHIT!”)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup pecans or walnut pieces

Beat the bananas and apple sauce until smooth. Slowly wiz in the melted butter. Add in the rest of the ingredients one at a time except the nuts. Fold those in at the very last minute.

Pour into lined muffin tins, almost filling each cup. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes until just done. Makes about 2 dozen muffins.

Feed them to a baby so hungry, she’s prepared to eat her own foot. Save some for yourself.

2012 in review

December 31, 2012

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

2011 in review

January 1, 2012

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,700 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 45 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

For the love of GOD!

March 3, 2010

Make this right now.  NOW!

Beet Hummus from Simply Recipies

My first recipe as Zoe Skelton.

February 2, 2009

Blast the super bowl and long live chicken noodle soup! Prepared with one hip against the kitchen sink, hopping to and from the fridge. This is just what I wanted.

1 free range, organic vegetarian chicken boiled, boned, chopped
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1-2 large sweet onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ head of celery, chopped leaves and all
4 large carrots, chopped
1 Tecate
1 lrg can of tomatoes (I used fire roasted)
3 cups (ish) chicken stock (free range!)
1 cup (or more) whole wheat egg noodles
zest of 1 lime
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp cumin
kosher salt/ black pepper to taste
½ cup chopped cilantro

Add oil to a large hot pot. Sweat onions in oil.  Add garlic and celery to soften.  Add remaining ingredients except noodles and cilantro. Simmer until the carrots are softened.  Add excess broth if desired to make a looser soup.  Stir in noodles and cook for about 20 minutes.  Just before serving, stir in cilantro.