As all ladies can tell you, muffin tops are not attractive and the hardest to loose. However, actual muffin tops though…. they are everything to love. Who doesn’t love the tops of the muffins when they eat one. Actually, I know of a persoon – Pat. He likes the bottom more than the top and eats a muffin bottom up. Weirdo. My favorite is actually devouring into the muffin and hunting those blueberries🙂
Please, whatever you do, don’t use paper liners for these babies. Paper liners are meant for cupcakes, not muffins! If you lube your pan enough, the goodies will slip right off effortlessly.
The recipe will look like it has a lot of batter but that’s the point- to stuff each muffin hole so full that it will expand and go over the top. These muffins are not sweet, crunchy outside and moist on the inside which is a gazillion times better than pre-mix boxes or any grocery store muffins!
Alton’s Blueberry Muffin
Yields: 13 muffins
Prep Time : 10 mins
Cook Time: 25 to 30 mins
- 22 ounces all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 ounces sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 16 ounces plain whole fat/ greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 12 ounces fresh blueberries
- 2 tablespoons demerera sugar ( I skipped the sugar)
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees F and coat a standard 12-cup muffin pan (and one small oven safe ramekin) with non-stick spray.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. In second bowl whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs, yolks, yogurt and orange zest until smooth.
- Make a crater in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into it. Stir with a rubber spatula until just barely combined. Resist the urge to over-mix – there should be a some lumps of flour in the batter
- Fold in the blueberries, mixing just to combine.
- Drop slightly less than cup of batter in each of the muffin tin’s wells. Whatever’s left over can be dropped into the prepared ramekin. The cups should be quite full to the top. ( I find just using my hands to guesstimate the portion easier. Just ensure that all portions looks roughly the same and each muffin cup is full to the top)
- Sprinkle the muffins with the demerera sugar and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the bottom of a muffin comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and turn out, upside down, onto a clean tea towel to cool completely. This step is so that the bottom will not be soggy.
- Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days( they usually don’t last longer than that).
Recipe by Alton Brown
Do you face the same problems I do? You have a main, typically a protein like ribs or salmon or roast chicken and you scratch your head what to do for sides. You can’t pair a salad with things like ribs. Imagine getting your fingers all sauced up from digging into the ribs and having to pick up a fork to stab into the salad. NO! that defeats the purpose of getting messy.
Typically, I usually olive oil , salt + pepper my veg or potatoes to roast. Same goes for my sweet potatoes to peppers to pretty much everything and it can get quite boring. This is perfect as the herbs are not that strong and the bonus will be the bite of roasted garlic that comes once a while. The next time, I am just going to town on the garlic!
Garlic Parmesan Roasted Potatoes
Yield: 2-3 portions
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook time : 30 mins
- 1.5 pounds baby/nugget potatoes, halved
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves
- Crank oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
- In a small bowl, combine garlic, thyme, oregano, basil and cheese along with some salt and pepper. set side.
- In a large bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil. then followed by the cheese seasoning. Use your hands and toss so the potatoes are evenly coated.
- Dump and spread the potatoes onto the baking tray so that its in a single layer,skin side down.
- Bake for 30 mins or until its soft when pierced with a fork.
- Remove from oven and toss with butter. Add more salt and pepper if required.
- Garnish with parsley and serve!
Recipe from DamnDelicious
I once walked into M&M Meat Shop to purchase some pre-cooked meat like ribs and pull pork for weekday dinners. This was when before I was more confident in the kitchen and didn’t dare to venture much. I remember paying $20+ for a packet of frozen BBQ pull pork only to be disappointed that it contained so little meat. Yes, I was paying for convenience but I felt so ripped off. Worst of all, it was dry like a desert even though it was drowned in BBQ sauce.
Guess what, now for $20. I can make pull pork which last me at least 3 meals for 2 people. Actually 5 meals for any other regular people because pat’s appetite = 2 pax. LOL. Your electricity bill won’t thank you either but you can stack that meat on your sandy as high as you want. This is also perfect for parties, you can feed 10 people easily!
Long cooking meals like Roast or Pull Pork are perfect to be reserved on Sundays where the leftovers can be used throughout the week in different meals. It’s a little labour intensive but it is so worth it cause this method is fool-proof moist! So, excuse me while I go rest my tired cuff muscles after shredding all that pork. Oh, sorry about the picture too. I almost finished my pull pork sandwich before I remembered to snap a picture. HA!
Multi Meal: Pull Pork
Yield: 5-6 meals worth for 2 pax
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 2 -4 hours
- 4 pound boneless pork shoulder, 5lb for bone-in.
- ½ tablespoon salt
- ½ tablespoon ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoon of dry rub ( I use my Beer Can Chicken Rub)
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 2 carrot, cut into big chunks (optional)
- 1 medium yellow onion, quartered (optional)
- 2 stalks of celery, cut into large chunks (optional)
- 4 cloves of garlic, smashed (optional)
- 1½ cups of liquid ( any kind – broth, light beer, white wine or mix of several kinds. )
- Crank your oven to 325F/165C. Adjust your lower oven rack or the second lowest position. Make sure there is enough space for your dutch oven to go in with the lid on.
- Prep everything! I cannot stress doing this step before you start working on the pork. Cut your veg, gather your dry rub, place your dutch oven on the stove. Have everything ready to go so you don’t have your porky hands everywhere!
- Trim the pork from any excess fat from the outside but leave the interior fat. Eyeball the pork and the dutch oven. If the whole piece won’t fit into it, break the meat down into several large pieces. I would wear gloves for this.
- Warm olive oil in the dutch oven under medium heat. Once hot, sear all sides of the pork for all pieces. This will help to deepen the flavour.
- Once all the meat is seared, add your vegetables into the pot. I usually stuff them between the gaps of the meat.
- Add your liquid over the top of your pork. The pork should be partially submerged, with some of it remaining above the surface of the liquid.
- Bring the liquid to a simmer. Once simmering, cover the dutch oven and transfer the whole pot to the oven.
- Cook for a minimum of 2 hours, until fork tender. It is done when the meat can be easily pierced with a fork or it falls apart from the bone with little pressure. If you are not sure, cover and cook for an additional ½ hour. It is pretty impossible to overcook the meat when you use this moist method.
- Transfer the pork into a large bowl and allow it to cool.
- Meanwhile, if you would like to mix some vegetable with your pork, remove the vegetable and chop them up.
- Strain the liquid into a medium bowl and skim off the oil layer.
- Shred the pork into pieces and remove any fat. I usually do this with gloved hands cause it can get very greasy.
- Moisten the pork with cooking liquid. Quantity will depend on how you like to take your pull pork. You don’t need a lot.
- Alternatively, you can add some BBQ sauce to it.
- Use it for a sandwich, grill cheese sandwich or even by itself for a meal!
- To freeze: Portion the pork in ziplock bags with a little liquid to keep it moist in the freezer up to 3 months or a week in the fridge.
If you’re wondering about the size of dutch oven, I will suggest 3 quart is the smallest to use . For me , I have a 3 quart dutch oven.
So my proportions are typically:
- A 4-5 pound bone-in pork shoulder
- 2 carrot, 2 yellow onion, 4 cloves garlic
- 1 can of light beer is perfect for my 1½ cups of liquid
- 2½ hours of cooking time
Just adjust the quantity of ingredients, depending on the size of the dutch oven in use.
Recipe by The Kitchn
I’m terribly sorry for disappearing from this site for such a long time. Spent majority of Jan and Feb travelling in India and Vancouver. Teehee. Since returning home, I admit that I got lazy and my drive to try something new pretty much dried up like a prune. Even my Christmas Sock deco hanging on the window is….still there.
Anyway, I thought since St Patrick Day round the corner. Why not try a Guinness recipe from TheBakerChick? This brownie uses stout but you can’t really taste it plus it is so fudgey. TheBakerChick recipe also makes a glaze but i had no luck with making caramel EVER so I skipped it all together.
The recipe requires quite a bit of patience so read and plan ahead!
Fudgey Brownie Guinness Brownies
Yield: 1 8 x8 ” size
Cook Time: 1 hour + 50 min standind time
Prep time: 20 mins
- 1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
- 12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1½ cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 350°C. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2″ overhang. Set aside.
- Bring stout to a boil in a small sauce pan; cook until reduced to about ⅓ cup, about 12 minutes. Let cool.
- Stir chocolate and butter in a medium heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth or use a double boiler if desired.
- Whisk sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in chocolate mixture, then ¼ cup stout from pan. Fold in flour and salt. Pour batter into prepared pan.
- Bake brownies until surface begins to crack and a tester inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 45-60 minutes. Mine took about 50 mins.
- Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool for at least 20 minutes. Using parchment overhang, lift brownie from pan and let cool completely.
- Chill in the fridge for 30 mins. Cut intro bars and serve.
Recipe by TheBakerChick
There’s has always a certain uncertainty with what Asian Dishes I can try to make at home for dinner without scaring Pat away. So far from experience, true blue Asian is a no-no but Asian inspired or western Asian dishes are fair game. It’s like a science experiment every time I try a recipe where I won’t know the result till
my test rat pat provides some feedback. That’s the thing about a bi-racial relationship, loads of trial and error.
There’s a site called DamnDelicious where her webpage mainly focuses on quick easy meals where you can put it together on weekdays, typically in half hour. It is so awesome when you run out of ideas of what to cook and this one is no exception. Especially with the current economy and rising food prices, this is relatively cheap to put together.
This dish calls for what you usually already have in your pantry and frankly speaking, there’s no need for protein cause it’s that good and easy. You can use whatever greens you have in your fridge too. Better than any take out and a bonus if you are a garlic lover.
Try it and I am pretty sure it will get introduce into your meal rotation immediately!
Asian Garlic Noodles
Yield: 3 generous servings
Prep time: 15 mins
Cooktime: 15 mins
- 10 oz spaghetti noodles
- 12 oz medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 package of snap peas ( approx 3 oz)
- 2 tablespoon of fresh parsley or cliantro, chopped
- Sauce, divided
- 1/4 cup soy sauce or 1/3 cup if you’re using reduced sodium
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon sambal oelek (ground chili paste; the bottle can be found usually with siracha)
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced (or more to your liking)
- Combine sauce ingredients into a measuring cup for easy mixing and pouring. Stir well to ensure sugar is dissolved.
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook spaghetti noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add shrimp and 2 tablespoon of sauce. Cook till shrimp is just pink. Set aside.
- Add vegetables into the skillet and stir fry till vegetables are tender.
- Stir in spaghetti,shrimp and sauce. Stir for a minute or 2 till well combined
- Serve immediately, garnish with parsley if desired.
Recipe inspired by DamnDelicious
There’s something about Italians and their ability to make awesome pasta even if they are not cooking it from their motherland.
During my first year of university, a bunch of Singapore exchange students and I befriended 3 Italians during a international student exchange session. They invited us over to their place for dinner and they made the most amazing carbonara ever.
I know, I say anything here is amazing but it’s true and I actually forgot that I ate Italian made carbonara till I made this. Big joke if you ask me.
I think that the dish was so amazing is 1. it’s cook by true blue Italians, ha! 2. the cheese and Pancetta makes the whole difference.
I remember vaguely going grocery shopping with them and they spent hour and the deli and cheese section scouring through the selection available. Not only that the block of cheese they bought cost a whopping $30 for a tiny block. Big regret why I didn’t start having interest in cooking way earlier.
Anyhow, please don’t cheap yourself out on the cheese and pancetta. I go to the local farmers market where there’s a cheese shop and butcher. This quick to put together meal is perfect for a weeknight!
Before someone points it out, It’s linguine in my picture cause I was trying to finish up leftovers in my pantry.
Weekday Spaghetti Carbonara
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 Servings
- 8 ounces spaghetti
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 300g of pancetta , diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste ( I use quite a lot)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; reserve 1 cup water and drain well.
- In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and Parmesan; set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add pancetta and cook until brown and majority of fat has been rendered.
- Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low.
- Working quickly, stir in pasta and egg mixture, and gently toss to combine; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add reserved pasta water if too dry, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
- Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.
Recipe from DamnDelicious
Hope all of you had a splendid time over the holidays with family and friends. I had the best time with Pat’s family in Ontario and could not ask for anything more. It’s like going back home but only it’s away from home. A very comforting feeling for me especially since I don’t have much family here since moving.
Anyway, sorry for the slight distraction cause just take a look at that sexy loaf… Isn’t it very pretty?
You may be thinking that I spent quite a bit of time and worked my kitchen aid on it, right?
Well the truth is that…I spent a total of 5 mins max putting the ingredients together. That’s it. Time did the rest of the work and it’s especially good to do this on weekdays and want to put something together without much effort like Chili/ Stew + Bread.
Make it the night before you go to bed and bake it when you get home while you make the main dish. The secret to it is the dutch oven. The lid helps to seal in the steam while it bakes.
True, you can just go to the store and buy a loaf but why do that when you can make this and make yourself feel like you’re a god damn good chef when it comes out looking like that.
I would suggest that you allow a couple hours (like 2) for it to cool down till its warm before cutting. I did it once right after it came out and trust me, the steam from the bread isn’t very kind to your skin.
Also, be careful of the hot dutch oven. I have held onto the hot lid by mistake more than once and still haven’t learn my lesson.
No Knead Artisan Bread
Yield: 1 Loaf
Prep Time: 5 minutes (no kidding)
Stand time: 18.5 hours
Cook Time: 45 minutes
- 3 cups of all purpose flour
- 1½ cups luke-warm water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- Combine all dry ingredients into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them evenly.
- Using a wooden spoon, slowly add water and mix until a shaggy dough is formed. Don’t worry about getting it evenly mixed.
- Cover with cling wrap and leave on the counter overnight. The dough will rise and bubble.
- When you are ready to bake. put the empty dutch oven into the oven and set it to 450F. ( my dutch oven is 3 quart/2.9L in size)
- Dump out the dough on a heavily floured surface and form it into a ball shape. It will be sticky so flour your surface accordingly.
- Cover with cling wrap and let it rest for half hour.
- After half hour, carefully remove dutch oven and place the dough in the dutch oven. ( I usually slide out the oven rack and ‘drop’ the dough cause I am too short and its easier that way)
- Cover dutch oven with lid and let it bake for 30 mins. ( Can’t stress enough to WEAR OVEN MITTS!)
- Then remove the lid and let the bread brown for 15 mins.
- Remove dutch oven from the oven.
- With oven mitts, carefully dump out the bread and transfer to cooling rack till warm to touch.
Recipe from TheBakerChick