May 26, 2013

Summer Potato Salad

It's almost Memorial Day, which means lots of barbecues and cookouts for the next three months. Burgers and steaks and hot dogs are delicious, but they need some sides. You can always cook off some corn or slice some watermelon, but what about potato salad? There's always the creamy, mayonnaise-slathered classic potato salad, but I wanted something a little lighter and fresher. This potato salad is full of fresh summer produce like corn and tomatoes tossed in a light and lemony dressing, all complemented by bright, fresh basil. It's really easy to make and will surely be the perfect accompaniment to your main course. And when you're done with the savory dishes, try some Yogurt Berry PieStrawberry White Chocolate Mousse Tart, or Ginger Peach Smoothies.

Most of the salad is raw, but you need to cook the potatoes and corn. I leave the potatoes whole when I boil them so that they don't get overcooked and fall apart when I add them to the salad (but be gentle even if they are still somewhat firm; they will smush or flake). I fish them out of the water with a slotted spoon and leave the water boiling for the corn. Cooking the corn in the potato water doesn't have too much of an effect, but it improves the texture and gives it a slight saltiness from when I salted the water before. I toss everything together except the potatoes so that I break up the corn kernels (which tend to stick together when I cut them) and the onions; everything is also nicely coated with the dressing. I add the potatoes last so that they retain their shape and don't get in the way of everything else, since they are a little bigger.

1 lb Red Fingerling Potatoes
5 Ears Yellow Corn (3 lbs)
1 Pint Grape Tomatoes, Halved
2/3 Cup Diced Red Onion (1 Small)
1/2 Cup Lightly Packed Chiffonaded Basil
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
Juice of 2 Lemons

Place the potatoes in a pot of salted water and boil until fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Scoop out and place in a bowl of ice water.

Cut each ear of corn in half and place in the boiling water from the potatoes. Boil for 5 minutes or until tender. Scoop out and place in the bowl with the potatoes.

Cube the potatoes. Cut the kernels off the corn. Whisk the oil and lemon juice together. Toss the corn, tomatoes, onion, basil, and dressing together. Gently fold in the potatoes and season with salt and pepper.

Serves 12
Recipe Adapted from Dave Lieberman

May 20, 2013

Peach Muffins

It's finally starting to get hot here, and that makes me want to take advantage of all the delicious summer produce. One of my favorites is peaches; they are so colorful and fresh and sweet, and I love to pair them with almonds. Muffins are a great way to use both peaches and almonds, and the cakey muffins go perfectly with tender peaches and crunchy almonds. The recipe is really easy to make, so make a few batches and freeze what you don't eat. All you have to do is make the streusel, mix the dry ingredients, mix the wet ingredients, and combine everything. If you find that the peaches sink to the bottom, just toss them in a spoonful of flour or cornstarch. I love muffins because they are ready quickly and it's like eating cake for breakfast. Adding peaches makes them healthier, and the muffins just seem like the ideal summer treat.

2 1/2 Cups Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
2 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1 1/4 Cups Light Brown Sugar
3/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/8 tsp Allspice
1 Egg
1/4 Cup Oil
3/4 Cup Buttermilk
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/4 tsp Almond Extract
1 1/2 Cups Diced Peaches
3 T Butter, Chilled
1/3 Cup Sliced Almonds

Combine 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Cut in the butter, then fold in the almonds. Chill.

Heat oven to 400F and line a muffin tin with paper cups.

Combine the remaining flour, salt, baking powder, remaining brown sugar, remaining cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Combine the egg, oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and almond extract, then fold into the flour mixture. Add the peaches.

Scoop the dough into the cups and sprinkle with streusel. Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Makes 12
Recipe Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod

May 8, 2013

Blueberry Muffins

I've posted a lot of brunch recipes lately, from Chocolate Raspberry Coffee Cake to Blackberry Buns. Now it's time for some blueberries, and I want something fast to make for Mother's Day. If you want to make something else, try my Sticky Buns or visit the Recipe Index for other recipes. These muffins are ready extremely quickly, so I can sleep in and still have time to make my mom something special.

These aren't your average blueberry muffins, however; they have fresh blueberries plus a swirl of homemade blueberry sauce. There's also crunchy, sweet streusel sprinkled on top. The muffin batter is fluffy and sweet with a hint of vanilla, the perfect canvas for lots of blueberries and slightly cinnamon-y streusel. I like to make them in standard muffin/cupcake tins, but you can play around with mini ones as bite-size snacks or huge ones like you find in bakeries. You can't go wrong with these muffins, and they are perfect for any morning, not just for Mother's Day.

2 Cups Blueberries
1 Cup + 8 T + 1 tsp Sugar
3 T Dark Brown Sugar
3 Cups + 3 T Flour
2 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp + Pinch Salt
2 Eggs
9 T Butter, Melted & Cooled
1/4 Cup Oil
1 Cup Buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla

Heat oven to 425F. Line a muffin tin with paper cups.

Combine 3T sugar, brown sugar, pinch salt, and 1/2 cup + 3T flour. Drizzle with 5T butter and stir to combine. Chill.

Combine 1 cup blueberries and 1 tsp sugar in a small saucpean over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook, mashing and stirring frequently, until thickened and reduced to 1/4 cup, about 6 minutes. Cool.

Combine the remaining flour, baking powder, and remaining salt. Combine the remaining sugar and eggs. Whisk in the butter and oil, then stir in the buttermilk and vanilla. Toss the blueberries in the flour mixture and fold into the wet ingredients.

Scoop the batter into the prepared tins. Spoon in a bit of the cooked blueberries and swirl. Top with the streusel topping. Bake until golden and cooked through, 15-20 minutes.

Makes 16
Recipe Adapted from Cook's Illustrated