Archive for June, 2009

Clipping recipes

June 7th, 2009

Despite a whole bookshelf of cookbooks and millions of recipes a Google search away, when a recipe in a magazine or the newspaper intrigues me, I cut it out. (San Jose Mercury news, for all its cutbacks, still has a wonderful Food section.)

Last night, I went through a couple hundred of these. I also pulled out the gems that I have tried, and the ones I want to try soon. Favorite categories: muffins, quick breads, and brownies. What is the perfect recipe for banana bread or blueberry muffins? It would be hard to top the Perfect Brownies recipe, though.

BWC 060709 peach muffins

Since we had two ripe peaches, this muffin recipe from Working Mother magazine seemed like a natural recipe to try.

Stonewall Harvest Peach Muffins

1 1/2 cup flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large fresh peaches, peeled and diced

Preheat oven to 400F. Fill 12-muffin tin with paper liners. Whisk together flour and baking powder in a small bowl. Set aside. Whisk together sugar, milk, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in melted butter, then fold in peaches. Gently fold in flour mixture until just blended. Do not overmix. Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool on rack 5–10 minutes before removing from pan.

Adapted from Working Mother magazine (July 1, 2005)

My take: It feels like these muffins should have cinnamon, like the peach cake recipe passed down from my grandma to my mom to me. (I’ll bake and share it another day.) The original recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, but even with a scant cup, the muffins were a too sweet, so I cut the amount of sugar. I also upped the vanilla, which was confusingly 1/4 teaspoon in the original. Why bother?

Carter wanted frosting, but settled for red and purple sprinkles on his “mupcake,” Jeff’s apt designation. They’re good—five disappeared among the three of us within 15 minutes.


Pancake breakfast

June 6th, 2009

When I grew up, we always made pancakes from a mix, so I assumed that that was the way everyone made pancakes. However, some years back, I figured out that they’re just as easy to make from scratch. I’ve tried probably a half dozen different recipes, but the simplest, a variation on an Epicurious recipe  has become my de facto choice.

Simplest Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour 

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat griddle over medium heat. Meanwhile, whisk dry ingredients in medium-size bowl. In a separate small bowl (we use a two-cup Pyrex measuring cup), blend together the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla extract. Whisk wet ingredients into dry until smooth (do not overmix). Ladle onto griddle. Turn when edges are dry and bubbles appear in the middle.


—There is no sugar or other sweetener in the pancakes themselves. I find that maple syrup adds enough sweetness. Carter eats pancake sandwiches with jelly between two pancakes.

—I use a nonstick griddle and don’t put any butter or oil on it.

—Lesson I’ve learned: The hardest and most important part is controlling the griddle heat. For ideal browning, the griddle must preheated and hot enough. Always test: a few drops of water should immediately sizzle and skitter.

This morning, I got out the ingredients and provided measuring guidance. Otherwise, Carter is darn near making the batter himself. He knows to scoop flour and now is leveling it, too. For the first time, he poured and measured the buttermilk.

Carter’s favorite part: sprinkling water on the griddle by flinging it off a spoon (from a safe distant) to see if sizzles. 

My favorite part today: It’s Carter’s job to set the table. He arranged raspberries and blackberries as a flower on Daddy’s plate, a smiley face on mine, and (no surprise) an airplane on his own.