Monday, January 28, 2019

Cheddar Ham Chive Muffins #MuffinMonday

Loads of extra mature sharp cheddar cheese, smoked ham and chives make these cheddar ham chive muffins the perfect accompaniment to your favorite soup, or as a stand alone treat for breakfast and snack time.

Food Lust People Love: Loads of extra mature sharp cheddar cheese, smoked ham and chives make these cheddar ham chive muffins the perfect accompaniment to your favorite soup, or as a stand alone treat for breakfast and snack time.


This past week I had the absolute pleasure of visiting a dear friend in Northern Wales. The weather flip-flopped from cold and clear to cold and snowy and back again with just a little rain and tiny hail from time to time to make things interesting. It was an ideal time to turn the oven on and bake!

Since Jane and I have similar tastes - salty over sweet every time - I decided that savory muffins were the way to go. As a bonus, Jane's parents were kind enough to let me use their back garden to take the muffin photos since it was rather dark inside. Check out the gorgeous sea view they enjoy! I could have looked at it all day if the temperatures hadn't been so cold! Yes, that is still SNOW on the ground.

The Irish Sea


Of course, I shared the muffins with them as well. They said they'd never had a savory muffin so I was pleased to be the baker and bearer of a first for them.

I had a similar experience when I baked Brie and Bacon Muffins for Scottish friends we were visiting in Paris. Despite my saying that the muffins were made with Brie and bacon, there were surprised faces at the breakfast table when they bit into (what??!!) savory muffins. What part of Brie and bacon made you think they would be sweet muffins! I exclaimed.

Cheddar Ham Chive Muffins

Use whatever cheese you have on hand for these wonderful muffins. I prefer an extra mature sharp cheddar but seriously, any semi-hard or hard cheese would do.

Ingredients
5 1/3 oz or 150g thick cut smoked ham
7 oz or 200g extra sharp mature cheddar cheese
2 chives or green onions (about 20g)
2 cups or 250g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional but highly recommended)
1 cup or 240ml milk
1/4 cup or 60ml vegetable oil
2 eggs

Method
Preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C and generously grease your muffin pan or use silicone muffin cups.  If you don't have silicone liners, I would suggest putting the batter into a greased pan rather than paper muffin cups because the cheese in these makes them bake up lovely and browned and crunchy all over. It would stick to a paper liner.

Cut your ham into small squares. Grate half of the cheese with a large hole grater and cut the other half into small cubes. Finely chop the chives.



Separate out just a little of each to top the muffins before baking.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cayenne, if using. Stir in the grated cheddar cheese and the ham.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, and oil together. Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients and stir with a spoon or rubber spatula until  they are just combined.



Gently fold in the cheddar cubes. 



Spoon the batter into your very well greased muffin pan or silicone liners. Top each filled cup of batter with the reserved ham, grated cheese and chopped chives.

Food Lust People Love: Loads of extra mature sharp cheddar cheese, smoked ham and chives make these cheddar ham chive muffins the perfect accompaniment to your favorite soup, or as a stand alone treat for breakfast and snack time.


Bake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until they are looking browned and crispy and delicious and you can't wait another second to eat them.

Food Lust People Love: Loads of extra mature sharp cheddar cheese, smoked ham and chives make these cheddar ham chive muffins the perfect accompaniment to your favorite soup, or as a stand alone treat for breakfast and snack time.

Allow the muffins to cool for a few minutes then use a non-pointy knife to loosen/remove them and the melted cheese from the muffin pan. You don't want to scratch your pan!

Enjoy!

Food Lust People Love: Loads of extra mature sharp cheddar cheese, smoked ham and chives make these cheddar ham chive muffins the perfect accompaniment to your favorite soup, or as a stand alone treat for breakfast and snack time.


Check out all the other lovely muffins my Muffin Monday bakers are sharing today:

Muffin Monday
#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.


Pin these Cheddar Ham Chive Muffins!

Food Lust People Love: Loads of extra mature sharp cheddar cheese, smoked ham and chives make these cheddar ham chive muffins the perfect accompaniment to your favorite soup, or as a stand alone treat for breakfast and snack time.
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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Chocolate Chip Orange Oatmeal Cookies #CreativeCookieExchange

These chocolate chip orange oatmeal cookies are my favorite chocolate chip cookies, bumped up a few notches with the simple but effect addition of fresh orange zest.



When the Creative Cookie Exchange group first started baking together several years ago, the first theme was “back to school” cookies. I didn’t even hesitate because there was only one cookie recipe that I made over and over and over again when my girls were still living at home.

Originally shared with me by a good friend almost 30 years ago, those Joy of Cooking chocolate chip oatmeal cookies were my go-to for after school snack time, weekends, sleepovers and anytime chewy cookies were needed. (Pretty much always.)

Just a few weeks ago, a reader named Cindy C. left a comment on that post telling me that the Joy of Cooking recipe was her family’s favorite as well. She said it was because they always added the suggested optional orange zest; that’s what made the cookies special. Well. That gave me pause. I had never added the orange zest. I responded that I certainly would next time.

So here we are. Creative Cookie Exchange doyenne Laura from The Spiced Life is hosting today’s event with a theme of “favorite cookies” or for those of us who have already shared our favorite, add a twist. I've added the orange zest.

Chocolate Chip Orange Oatmeal Cookies

A classic from Joy of Cooking, this oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe makes the best chewy cookies around, with an added flavor hit of orange. I'm not sure if they are better than the original but they are certainly delicious. The orange zest and semi-sweet chocolate make a great combination.

Ingredients
1/2 cup (firmly packed) or 100g brown sugar
1/2 cup or 115g caster sugar
1/2 cup or 115g butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup or 125g all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
1/2 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup or 95g uncooked quick rolled oats
3/4 cup or 125g semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

Method
Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C and grease a cookie sheet or line it with a silicone mat. Cream your butter with the two sugars. Add in the egg, vanilla and milk. Beat till smooth.





Add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and beat again until smooth.



Add in the oats, chocolate chips and orange zest. Beat until well mixed.



Drop spoonfuls 2 inches apart on well-greased cookie sheet. I like to use my 2-tablespoon cookie scoop so every cookie is even.

The little flecks of orange aren't as obvious in the baked cookies. 

Bake 8-10 minutes, or until light brown. For chewy cookies, do not over bake!


Leave to cool for a few minutes on the baking pan then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. 

This batch will make about 2 1/2 - 3 dozen two-inch cookies though I highly recommend making a double batch of dough and freezing the balance. Find complete instructions for freezing then baking here.




Enjoy!


Check out all the favorite cookies we are sharing today! Many thanks to our host Laura from The Spice Life.



You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links.


Pin these Chocolate Chip Orange Oatmeal Cookies! 

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Friday, January 18, 2019

Parmesan Grouper Potato Casserole #FishFridayFoodies

A sort of upside down fish pie, this Parmesan Grouper Potato Casserole starts with sliced potatoes on the bottom.  It is topped with tasty grouper then with a cheesy, creamy sauce that sort of melts down to the potatoes while simultaneously clinging in golden crunchiness to the top of the fish. Divine!

Food Lust People Love: A sort of upside down fish pie, this Parmesan Grouper Potato Casserole starts with sliced potatoes on the bottom.  It is topped with tasty grouper then with a cheesy, creamy sauce that sort of melts down to the potatoes while simultaneously clinging in golden crunchiness to the top of the fish. Divine!
One of our favorite dishes, real comfort food for a cold night, is fish pie. That is, fish and often other seafood cooked in a b├ęchamel or white sauce, sometimes with a little cheese, then baked with mashed potatoes on top. I don’t make it very often though because it is time consuming.

This casserole, on the other hand, gives us all the same sort of tastes and textures without 1. making white sauce, 2. cooking mashed potatoes and 3. having three pots/pans to wash up afterwards. Honestly, I think I like it even more than fish pie.

Parmesan Grouper Potato Casserole

This recipe was adapted from one on Sea Eagle Market.com. I made it several times before it occurred to me to add potatoes below the fish instead of as a side dish. The fish and sauce add so much flavor to the potatoes. Now I can't imagine why I was so slow. We live, we learn.

Ingredients  - serves 4
3 medium potatoes (approximately 550g before peeling)
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra to grease casserole dish
1 1/2 lbs or 575g fresh boneless, skinless grouper
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup or 37g butter, softened
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4-1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
2/3 cup or 66g grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup, packed, or 30g fresh bread crumbs

Optional for garnish:
chopped parsley and/or green onion tops

Method
Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and brush a medium-sized casserole dish with olive oil.

Peel the potatoes and sliced them. Fan them out to cover the bottom of your greased casserole dish and drizzle with the tablespoon olive oil. Season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper.



Cover the casserole with foil and make the potatoes in the preheated oven until fork tender, about 20-25 minutes. (You can also do this step in the microwave, if you prefer, assuming your casserole dish is both microwave and oven ready. Mine is not.)

In a small bowl, stir together the softened butter, mayonnaise and hot pepper sauce. Add the Parmesan in by good handfuls.



Mix well. Keep going until all the cheese is mixed in. Set aside.




Meanwhile, brush the grouper with the lemon juice.


When the potatoes are done, remove the pan and turn the oven off. Turn your broiler or grill on high.



Place the grouper pieces on top of the potatoes. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Broil them for about 8 to 14 minutes or until they can be flaked with a fork. Thick pieces will naturally take longer.  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve made this and the time does vary wildly from 8 minutes for thin fillets to 14 when the fish is really thick.

Remove the casserole dish from the oven and spread the cheese mixture on top of the fish.

Sprinkle on the fresh breadcrumbs, patting them down gently so they stick.



Return the dish to under the broiler for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the topping is browned and bubbly. Keep a close eye on it! When it starts to brown, it darkens quickly.

Food Lust People Love: A sort of upside down fish pie, this Parmesan Grouper Potato Casserole starts with sliced potatoes on the bottom.  It is topped with tasty grouper then with a cheesy, creamy sauce that sort of melts down to the potatoes while simultaneously clinging in golden crunchiness to the top of the fish. Divine!


Sprinkle on some chopped parsley or green onion tops, if desired. Enjoy!

Food Lust People Love: A sort of upside down fish pie, this Parmesan Grouper Potato Casserole starts with sliced potatoes on the bottom.  It is topped with tasty grouper then with a cheesy, creamy sauce that sort of melts down to the potatoes while simultaneously clinging in golden crunchiness to the top of the fish. Divine!


This month my Fish Friday Foodie friends are all sharing dishes that can be made in the oven. Many thanks to our host Caroline from Caroline’s Cooking! Check out the list of tasty recipes below.



Pin this  Parmesan Grouper Potato Casserole!

Food Lust People Love: A sort of upside down fish pie, this Parmesan Grouper Potato Casserole starts with sliced potatoes on the bottom.  It is topped with tasty grouper then with a cheesy, creamy sauce that sort of melts down to the potatoes while simultaneously clinging in golden crunchiness to the top of the fish. Divine!
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