Monday, September 26, 2016

Spicy Chicken Salad Muffins #MuffinMonday

Sure you could make plain ol’ chicken salad sandwiches but why not make spicy chicken salad muffins instead? Cooked chicken breast, mayonnaise, mustard, green onions - with red chili pepper for a spicy kick - all baked in a tender savory muffin. 


Happy Muffin Monday, lovely people! It’s that time of the month again when my Muffin Monday bakers put on their thinking caps and bring you all manner of simple-to-bake deliciousness.

My inspiration often comes from ingredients languishing in my refrigerator or in season/on sale at my local supermarket. This month it’s the former. You see, I am incapable of buying just one rotisserie chicken. Because the wings are my favorite part and, unfortunately my husband feels the same. One wing is just not satisfying so when I buy roasted chickens, I have to buy two at a time. For the extra wings, you know. (If only they would just roast a tray of wings! Pipe dreams.)

Anyhoo, I’ve used the two chickens in a variety meals but ended up with just one breast left. And muffins to bake for Muffin Monday. So I took a leap of faith and put Spicy Chicken Salad Muffins in our group thread, without a single idea of how I would accomplish said muffin.

Then the next day, suddenly, a thought came to me. Have you ever heard of cakes baked with mayonnaise? Apparently they were quite the thing during the 1930s, popularized by Hellmann's. If there are cakes made with mayo, surely there are muffins too, right? A quick peruse through The Google affirmed my guess. There were SO MANY. And my way to spicy chicken salad muffins became clear. Self high-fives all round.

Ingredients
2 cups or 250g all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup or 150g chopped cooked chicken breast
Small handful spring onions, chopped, plus extra for garnish, if desired
1 small red chili, minced
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup or 125g mayonnaise
1 egg
Optional: 1 teaspoon olive oil for greasing muffin pan

Method
Preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan or line it with paper liners.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, mustard powder and a few good grinds of fresh black pepper in a large mixing bowl.


In another smaller mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, mayonnaise and egg. Add the chopped chicken, spring onions and chili pepper to the mayo bowl and stir well.


Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just mixed.


Spoon into your greased or lined muffin pan. Top with a few bits of green onion, if desired.



Bake in your preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. I took mine out at about 18 minutes.


Remove from the oven and cool slightly on a wire rack. Serve them warm.


Enjoy!

Check out all the other lovely muffins the Muffin Monday bakers have mixed up for you today! 



#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Cheesy Cauliflower Cake #SundaySupper

As delicious as it is pretty, this cheesy cauliflower cake makes a beautiful addition to your Sunday Supper table. Vegetarians and omnivores alike are going to love it!


For my birthday last year dear friends gave me a digital subscription to delicious. magazine, published in the UK. Every single issue had me making a shopping list and jumping in the car within minutes of reading through its gorgeous (virtual) pages. Many of the recipes are original to the magazine but sometimes they are tied to a cookbook review. This cheesy cauliflower cake is adapted from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More. <Amazon affiliate link

Why did Ottolenghi call something so obviously savory a cake? Who’s to know? But I love that he stretches my imagination with both the possibilities of cake and creative vegetarian recipes. All too often, vegetarians have to make do with just side dishes at a dinner party, which is a shame. I believe we can do better than that and today Sunday Supper is out to prove me right.

The first time I made this cheesy cauliflower cake, I didn’t have purple onion so, while it was pretty and ever so tasty, my photos didn’t match the shots in delicious. magazine. I baked it again when I was visiting my vegetarian daughters and their mostly vegetarian crowd of friends, making sure to use the right onions. The photos still aren’t spectacular, as you can see, because I was in a borrowed kitchen. But, never mind. The cake is fabulous. Perfect for World Vegetarian Day on October 1st or any Sunday Supper or dinner party, especially when you have vegetarian guests.

Ingredients
5 tablespoons or 75 ml olive oil, plus extra for oiling the baking pan
1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
1 small cauliflower, outer leaves removed, cut into 1 1/4-inch/3-cm florets (Mine weighed 1 lb or 450g)
1 medium red onion, peeled
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
6 eggs
1 tablespoon basil leaves, chopped
1 cup or 125g flour, sifted
5 oz or 150g coarsely grated Parmesan
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Salt and black pepper

Method
Preheat the oven to 375°F or 190°C and prepare a 9 1/2-inch/24-cm spring-form cake pan by greasing it lightly.

Cut a circle of baking parchment to fit the bottom of the pan and press it in there. Cut a strip of baking parchment the circumference of the interior of your pan and press it in against the oiled sides. If it doesn’t stick very well, use some clothes pegs to hold it in place.

Brush the parchment on the sides with the melted butter and, holding the pan sideways, sprinkle on the sesame seeds so they stick to the parchment. Set your pan aside.

Can you skip this step and still have a delightful cheesy cauliflower cake? Absolutely. But look at how pretty it makes the sides turn out. Also, the sesame seeds give each outside bite a lovely crunch.



Place the cauliflower florets in a steaming basket in a pot with a couple of inches of water.  Steam, covered, over a medium heat until the florets are tender and will break if pushed with a spoon, about 10-12 minutes. Uncover the pot and lift the steaming basket out. Set aside to cool and dry.



Cut four round slices, each about 1/4 inch or 5 mm thick, off one end of the onion and set aside. We’ll use these for decorating the top before baking.

Coarsely chop the rest of the onion and place in a small pan with the oil and rosemary. Sauté for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time, until the onion is soft. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.



Transfer the cooled onion to a large bowl, add the eggs and basil and whisk well.



Then add the flour, Parmesan, baking powder, turmeric, 1 teaspoon salt, and plenty of freshly ground pepper. Whisk until smooth before adding the cauliflower.  Stir gently, trying not to break up the florets too much.



Spoon the cauliflower mixture into the pan, spreading it evenly, and arrange the reserved onion rings on top. Once the thick batter is holding the parchment in place, you can remove the clothes pegs.

As previously mentioned, do try to use the purple onions. So much prettier - see photo below. 

Place in the center of your preheated oven and bake for about 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and set; a knife inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean.



Remove from the oven and leave for at least 20 minutes before serving. Your cheesy cauliflower cake is best served warm but not hot.



Enjoy!

Are you looking for some tasty vegetarian recipes to celebrate World Vegetarian Day and Vegetarian Awareness Month the whole of October? Sunday Supper's got you covered! Many thanks to our event manager, Renee of Renee's Kitchen Adventures and our host this week, Susan of The Wimpy Vegetarian for all of their hard work!

Appetizers

Entrees

Sides

Desserts

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter every Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat.

 To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

And don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get great recipes delivered right to your inbox every Thursday!

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Brown Sugar Bacon Cookies #CreativeCookieExchange

A perfect blend of savory and sweet, the hint of smoky saltiness in these brown Sugar Bacon Cookie complements the dark rich flavor of the brown sugar. But make no mistake, Brown Sugar Bacon Cookies are totally drop sugar cookies, baked to be enjoyed with a cold glass of milk.



If you’ve heard me say it once, you’ve heard me say it a thousand times. I love bacon. Also, I’m not much of a sweet eater. That doesn’t stop me making sweet recipes, of course. I have a core group of tasters that are always ready and willing to eat whatever I bring round or send to the office with my husband. If the goods get eaten, I’m happy.

I did bring some of these cookies out for a test run and I got a few skeptical looks when I said brown sugar AND bacon. It was a mixed crowd of thumbs up and down. But, you know what? I truly didn’t mind. I have since eaten the balance of that dozen singlehandedly. I think they are amazing.

Ingredients - for 3 dozen cookies
3 cups or 375g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup or 170g unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup or 60g strained bacon fat (see instructions below)
1 1/2 cups packed or 300g dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon bourbon
15 slices thin cut bacon, fried till crispy, then drained - 3/4 cup chopped bacon or 75g

To strain bacon fat, pull a paper towel apart so you have only one-ply.
Line a metal strainer with the paper towel and place the strainer into the top of a funnel, with the funnel in a sealable jar. You will need to prop the strainer handle up on something sturdy to get it balance securely.
Pour your warm (not hot!) bacon grease into the paper-lined strainer a little at a time, scraping your frying pan to get every bit of grease out. Leave to drain completely.
All of the browned bits stay in the paper towel and the bacon grease in the jar is clean, almost white.
This bacon fat keeps in the refrigerator, covered, for months. This works with beef or lamb drippings too, if you want to make your own tallow.

Method
With beaters or with your stand mixer, beat the butter, bacon fat and brown sugar together until fluffy.

Butter on the left. Strained bacon fat on the right.


Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions.


Add in the bourbon and mix again.



Turn the mixer off and sift the flour, soda and salt together into the bowl. Turn the mixer on sloooooowly to mix in the dry ingredients. Keep mixing until all is incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl down once or twice.

Reserve about 1/3 of the bacon pieces for poking into the top of each cookie, and stir the rest into the cookie dough.



Cover the bowl with cling film and chill the dough for 30 minutes.



Before you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350°F or 180° and line your cookie sheet with baking parchment or a silicone liner.

Use a tablespoon or a cookie scoop to drop small balls of cookie dough a good distance apart to allow room for spreading.

Top each scoop with a couple of pieces of bacon and use a fork to just flatten the balls.



Bake in your preheated oven for 12-14 minutes or until the cookies are slightly browned around the edges. If your oven heats unevenly, you might want to turn the pan around halfway through.



Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Repeat until all the brown sugar bacon cookies are baked.

Enjoy!



This month my Creative Cookie Exchange group is making drop cookies, which are exactly what they sound like. Drop cookies are made by dropping the dough on to a baking pan with a spoon or scoop and they are probably one of the easiest types of cookie to make. No fancy rolling or forming or slicing necessary. Drop cookies are usually pretty rustic looking too, especially if you are using a tablespoon.

Many thanks to our Creative Cookie Exchange member Holly from A Baker's House who handled our behind the scenes work this month. Check out all the lovely drop cookies we’ve been baking!




Creative Cookie Exchange is hosted by Laura of The Spiced Life. We get together once a month to bake cookies with a common theme or ingredient so Creative Cookie Exchange is a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts at The Spiced Life. We post the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!

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