Saturday, April 27, 2013

Redbud-Herb Muffins

I came across this recipe on the Internet a few years ago and thought I'd try it, but never got around to it. Last Sunday, while coming home from church, I saw a lone Redbud tree growing in 'no man's land' where it didn't look like it belonged to anyone in particular, which meant I could forage the flowers buds without having to get permission. I took my 4 cup measure cup with me, drove to the area, got out of the vehicle and went over and picked my buds till I had 2 cups. It only took a few minutes.
Just take a branch in your hand and run your finger and thumb along the branch and the flower buds will fall off into your container.They strip off very easily.
Redbud flowers are high in vitamin C and edible, with a slightly nutty flavor. They can be added to pancakes, muffins, fritters or used as an attractive garnish on salads. Or you can use them to make a unique pickle relish or as a replacement for capers.  If you want to eat Redbud flowers, remember, as with the gathering of any wild edible, don't take all that you find. Leave plenty for the tree to produce seeds, for the insects to get nectar and pollen, and for people to enjoy for their beauty. The tree also makes seed pods which are edible.
These were very easy to make. I did change a lot of things as I made them the way I wanted to, and with what ingredients I had on hand. I did not add the sage or rosemary as I wanted a sweet muffin, not a savory one, and I really am not over fond of either herb for 'snacking'. I may try this recipe with the herbs at some point, but I just left them out. I actually think lemon balm would be perfect to add to these muffins as they have a lovely lemon taste which would compliment the lemon juice and rind.
I only had a 6 oz container of raspberry yogurt and used that instead of plain yogurt. I also added about 1-2 Tbls of sour cream to make 8 oz (or about 1/2 cup) of yogurt.
I did grate the lemon rind off of the lemon I was juicing. Just make sure you wash your lemons well.
I used cane sugar, but I am sure you could use coconut sugar, rapadura, succanat, or even honey.
These turned out really well, but tasted even better the next day after they'd sat overnight. If I make these again (which I am sure I will!), then I will let them sit 8 hours or overnight before eating them as the flavors develop and the muffins firm more and come out of the paper easier.
This is a fun way to forage for foods and teach your kids to forage, too.

Redbud-Herb Muffins
                                                Preheat oven to 375°
2 cups Redbuds
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage or rosemary leaves
½ cup sugar or sweetener of your choice.
Minced zest of 1 lemon
1 ½ cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon Real sea salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup yogurt
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly reamed lemon juice

1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon    
Fill 18 muffin tins with paper muffin cups; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine redbuds, herb, sugar, zest. Let sit 30 minutes.
In a small bowl, sift flour, powder, baking soda, salt large bowl.
In 2 cup measuring cup or small bowl, combine egg, yogurt, milk, oil, lemon juice.
Combine the flour mixture in with the flower mixture, toss to combine.
Add wet ingredients, stirring just dry ingredients are moistened. Do not over mix.
Fill your muffin tins 3/4 full.
Combine sugar cinnamon the topping sprinkle some each muffin Bake for 25 minutes, or until tops spring back when lightly touched.
Remove form muffin pan and cool on a wire rack. Makes about 18.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Lori's Gingerbread Cake


I remember getting this recipe out of the Columbus Dispatch food section in 1975. I thought it sounded good and wrote it out on a lined 3"x5" recipe card to add to my recipe collection.
In the fall of 1975, we belonged to a card club that met once a month at someone's house, and that October was our month to host. Since it was cool outside, I thought this would be the perfect dessert to serve at our card party. I made it up without the raisins or nuts, but dusted it with the powdered sugar and served it with whipped cream. My then mother-in-law was delighted to have such an 'old fashioned' dessert as she loved gingerbread. It was quite the hit of the party.
This cake comes together quickly and can be served anytime you want or need a quick dessert that will please most people. Though it is a wonderful fall dessert, it also works well other times of the year. This is a denser cake that is very similar in texture to a quick bread. It will become a favorite in your kitchen, just as it has been a favorite in my kitchen.

Lori's Gingerbread Cake

1/2 cup shortening or butter*
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup molasses
1 cup boiling water
2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)
Real whipped cream (optional)

Cream together the shortening and sugar; add eggs, mix.
Combine molasses and boiling water.
Sift together all the dry ingredients into a bowl.
Add dry ingredients alternately with the molasses mixture to the creamed mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients to prevent curdling.
Fold in raisins and nuts, if using.
Pour batter into a greased and floured 13"x9" pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, till cake tests done.
When cool, sprinkle on some powdered sugar and serve with dollops of real whipped cream, if desired.

*Use palm shortening or lard, if not using butter.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Lori's No-Bake Oatmeal Cookies


These are delicious and easy and way different than other more popular recipes out there. There is no butter in this recipe, yet they are fudge-like and delicious.
I got this recipe from my 7th grade Home-Ec class as these are the cookies that the lunch ladies from Eastmoor Jr High school (Columbus, Ohio) used to make for dessert several times a month. They made a lot of homemade items for lunch, and this was one of them.
I love my grandma's no-bake cookies (posted on here), but I also love these and have been making them since I was 12 years old. These are the no-bakes my kids grew up eating.
These are not healthy. These are an indulgence that one would make on occasion. And these will quickly become a favorite of yours.

Lori's No-Bake Oatmeal Cookies

3 cups quick cook oats
6 Tbls unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 - 2/3 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla

In a bowl, combine oats and cocoa; stir to combine, then set aside.
In a 3 quart saucepan, combine sugar, milk, and vanilla; bring to a rolling boil and boil 1 minute. Add peanut butter (amount depends on how much you like peanut butter!).
Add oats and cocoa, stir well to combine.
Working quickly, drop by tsp or Tbls onto waxed or parchment paper.
Cool one hour before eating (if you can wait that long!).
Makes 32-40 cookies, depending on size.
*You must work quickly when dropping these onto waxed paper as they will set up hard in pan.

Honey-Wheat Bread


This is a delicious bread that is very easy to make. I originally got this off the back of a bag of King Arthur Whole Wheat flour, but I have been unable to find this exact recipe on their website, in their cook book, or on the backs of their bags of flour. I don't know why as it is a really good recipe.
I used to make this sometimes and keep one loaf plain as is, and to the other loaf I would add some dried fruit (look at tips below), and this made it especially good as a breakfast bread as it made excellent toast. Any kind of dried fruit would work, but I used Sun Maid Fruit Bits as they are just the right size and texture. Many people avoid sulphur added to dried fruits, but I don't eat these often enough that I worry about it.
If you love a good wheat bread, then you will love this recipe.

Honey-Wheat Bread
 Makes 2 loaves

1 cup water
1 cup milk*
2 Tbls active dry yeast
1/2 cup honey
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 large egg, beaten
2 tsp real sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil
3-4 1/2 cups unbleached white flour*

Heat water and milk to warm (105-115 degrees). Pour into a glass bowl. Add 1 tsp honey, yeast, and 3 cups whole wheat flour. Mix; cover and let rest 20 minutes (or all day~ but the dough will sour and take on a sourdough flavor).
Mix in honey, egg, salt, oil, and 3 cups unbleached white flour, till well-incorporated.
Knead dough and add more flour, as needed.
Knead 8-10 minutes, till soft and elastic.
Divide into two equal pieces.
Roll out and shape into loaves.
Place in two greased 9"x5"x2" pans.
Grease top of bread with lard or a bit of olive oil, if desired..
Cover; let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees about 10 minutes before bread is ready.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until bread tests done by sounding 'hollow' when thumped.
Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool.
You can rub with some butter if you did not grease tops prior to baking.
Eat warm, or let cool and eat. This makes good toast.
Makes two loaves.
If you wrap very well you can freeze one loaf for future use.

*Use whole milk for a richer loaf.
*You can use all whole wheat flour, if you want, but the bread will be heavier and denser.
*I sometimes add 1/2 - 3/4 cup dried fruits to one loaf and use this as a breakfast bread. Make sure
  these fruits are cut in small pieces.