Thursday, September 26, 2013

Toaster Oven Cinnamon Apple and Walnut Muffins with Almond Flour and Maple Syrup

I rely mostly on my toaster oven for convenience, speed, energy efficiency, and most importantly - it makes me feel like I'm a kid using my Easy-Bake Oven.  Another benefit for making baked goods in the toaster oven is having a small batch without the temptation of compulsively pigging out.  I wanted to make some apple-jam-packed muffins with toasted walnuts, lots of cinnamon, a touch of maple syrup, almond flour, and a touch of flaxmeal.  These muffins turned out moist, flavorful, not too sweet, and apple-y as all get out.  Any apple will work.  Use your favorite.  I recommend using cupcake papers.  I thought I was being wise by not using them, and it was a mess to get them out of the tiny toaster oven pan.  Cupcake papers also help providing the best shape and rise for the muffins while baking.  Next time....

walnuts, chopped - 1/2 cup (65g)
almond flour - 1/2 cup (70g)
flaxmeal - 1/4 cup (30g) (I used golden)
maple syrup - 1/4 cup (83g)
apple sauce, natural - 1/4 cup (64g)
coconut oil, melted - 1/4 cup (45g)
egg, large (50g)
cinnamon - 1 tablespoon (5g)
salt - 1 teaspoon (5g)
baking soda - 1 tablespoon (5g)
apple, small, chopped small

Have all ingredients at room temperature.  Toast the chopped walnuts in the toaster over for about 4 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool.  In a medium bowl, weigh out the almond flour and flaxmeal into the bowl - stir until combined.  Add in the maple syrup, apple sauce, coconut oil, egg, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda.  Mix until homogeneous.  Lastly, add in the chopped walnuts and apples.

Now, preheat the toaster oven to 350F.  Place 6 cupcake papers into the muffin tin.  Fill the paper cups almost to full.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until when a toothpick is inserted, comes out clean.  Remove from oven.  Allow to cool slightly, remove muffins and place on cooling rack.  Allow to cool and enjoy.  These muffins are also great right out of the fridge for breakfast, as I did this morning.

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure

This is part of Food Network's Fall Fest. Check out The FN Dish.  The summer produce we're focusing on here are apples.  On twitter, we're tagging #FallFest. Here are other delicious apple recipes to try out: 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Salt Encrusted New Potatoes with Mustard-Mayo Dip

Have I told you how incredible of a cook my step-father was?  He took me to farmer's markets long before it was cool.  We would usually spend the day preparing what had bought.  His style of cooking was one with simplicity and robust flavors.  One of my favorite simple dishes he made was this dish.  Red potatoes work the best with their natural sweetness.  He would boil the potatoes whole in a saturated solution of salt water, so much salt in the water that would did not dissolve.  Then upon draining them, sprinkle some more salt on them while still hot; this crystallized the salt crust on the outside.  Then allow them to cool.  He would accompany these little gems with a creamy mayonnaise dip with mustard flour in it for a kick.  If you want the dip a little more cream, try using a bit of Greek yogurt in place of the mayo - say one-quarter substitution.  This is perfect snacking food.

small red potatoes
salt, lots of it, maybe 1 cup
1 teaspoon Colman's mustard flour/powder (yes, it's GF)
1/2 cup of mayonnaise (& Greek yogurt, optional)

Wash the potatoes without affecting the skins.  In a medium/large sauce pan, combine water and salt.  Stir, if all the salt dissolves - add more.  Add in the potatoes.  Boil over medium heat until fork tender, about 20-30 minutes depending on size.  Drain into a spacious colander.  Immediately sprinkle more salt on potatoes while tossing to dry and coat the potatoes evenly with salt.  Allow to dry and cool.

In a small bowl, place the mustard.  Add in only about 1 tablespoon of the mayo and mix well.  This ensures the mustard flour/powder gets evenly distributed and does not clump up with unfortunate (for someone) "hot spots" of mustard.  All the remaining mayo and/or yogurt to taste.  As you can see, this recipe to perfect for small or large crowds.  Scale accordingly and enjoy!

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure

This is part of Food Network's Summer Fest. Check out The FN Dish.  The summer produce we're focusing on here are potatoes.  On twitter, we're tagging #SummerFest. Here are other delicious potato recipes to try out:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Green Grapes, Drunken Goat Cheese, and Jalapenos on a Toothpick

Trust me.  Really.  I know, I know this sounds totally bizarre....  These perfect little green gems are super easy to make, crisp and refreshing, and pack a little bit of heat.  (Biggest chemist secret: how to clean your hands properly after cutting a jalapeno....  Rub you hands with any kind of oil, followed by a good lathered wash with soap.  It works!  It removes all the capsicum that is oil soluble (like dissolves like) and that could burn your eyes when you inadvertently rub your eyes with hot pepper fingers.  Ouch.)  These make the perfect unexpected appetizer everyone is amazed that they like.  Give it a go! 

green grapes
drunken goat cheese
jalapeno peppers

Wash and dry the grapes.  Cut the rind off of the drunken goat cheese and cut into uniform small cubes, slightly small than the grapes.  Prepare the jalapeno by cutting the top off, cutting in half lengthwise, coring out the seeds and ribs, and cutting into uniform square pieces to match the cheese.  Remember the trick of rubbing your hands and fingers with oil before washing up to remove all the heat after handling peppers.

Now it's a matter of assembling.  On each toothpick, put on one grape, cube of cheese, followed by the square of jalapeno pepper.  Place on a platter for serving.  These apps keep well in the fridge, covered under plastic wrap for a couple of days.  You pick how much or how little you want to make.

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure

This is part of Food Network's Summer Fest. Check out The FN Dish.  The summer produce we're focusing on here are grapes.  On twitter, we're tagging #SummerFest. Here are other delicious grape recipes to try out: