Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry muffins are a staple in this house. Every one of us really loves blueberries, and they’re an easy, quick breakfast component.

Our CSA partners with a farm in Hammonton – the home of the domesticated blueberry, incidentally – to do bulk orders of blueberries every July. They come in 10 pound boxes, so I freeze a lot of blueberries to use throughout the year.

My all time favorite blueberry muffin recipe is Double Blueberry Muffins. They do require a fair amount of effort and time, though, in the grand scheme of muffins. (WORTH IT if you have motivation and time, incidentally.)

I’ve tried several recipes for quicker muffins and been disappointed. The most recent surprising disappointment was the recipe in Taste of Home’s “Five Star Recipes” cookbook. They’re pretty widely beloved, if the copy is to believed, but I found them to be far too dense.

These blueberry muffins, in contrast, are fabulous. They are the ideal mix of moist and crumbly. They are ridiculously easy and quick to make, to boot.

Stromboli

Stromboli is pretty straightforward, but I was so proud of the ones I made a few days ago. One was more traditional – I used slicing pepperoni (from Wrong Direction Farm!) and portabello mushrooms. For the other, I used more mushrooms… and swiss chard. Each had 3 cheeses inside (mozzarella, cheddar, and parmesan) and was made with multi-grain dough. It was ridiculously satisfying, and disappeared quickly.

The lesson? Spinach doesn’t have a monopoly on stromboli stuffing.

The CSA Cookbook

OK, so it’s been quite clear so far in my blogging journey that Thug Kitchen is my favorite cookbook, and quite frankly, my default place to turn when I’m not sure what to do with my vegetables. Now we’ll get our first (of hopefully many) chance to see that I do, in fact, have some variety and range in my sources.

Linda Ly’s cookbook couldn’t have a more straightforward name if it tried – The CSA Cookbook. Subtitled: No-waste recipes for cooking your way through a community supported agriculture box, farmers’ market, or backyard bounty.

Well, then. Amazon impulse purchase back in the spring? Yes, ma’am!

I’ve only scraped the surface of what Ms. Ly shares in this book, but what has impressed me so far is how truly she does provide ways to use what would otherwise be waste, and today I’m focusing on herbs.

No matter how vigilant you are, at some point in the season, you can pretty much guarantee your basil plant is going to “bolt.” It’ll send up flowers that, while pretty and apparently a huge favorite of the bees that hang out in my yard, are kind of awkward to do anything with. When I snap them off, I historically have just used them to stuff a chicken, or added them to my stock bag.

Then I discovered Ms. Ly’s recipe for infused vinegar. My first batch is still steeping – it takes 2 weeks, minimum – but I’m optimistic for it! The vinegar (in my case, white vinegar, though she suggested that one might try champagne vinegar to be fancy – perhaps a future batch. steeps with the basil flowers and orange peel.

We’re already big fans in this household of another of her steeping suggestions: feta cheese with herbs. She gives instructions for using up all the ends of the bundles of herbs that you have sitting in your freezer. Some of her suggestions end up as salad dressings, but this has become a favorite appetizer in our house. My current batch is steeping with garlic chives from the share this week.

Long story short, if you find yourself at a loss for how to handle odds and ends of your share, and you want a cookbook that shepherds you through making the most of the season, this cookbook is right for you. There’s definite truth in advertising with her title.

Eating From the Farm(s)

I’ve been flipping through my pictures as I’m queuing up some posts for the week ahead, and I had to just post this appreciation. There’s nothing quite as satisfying for me as looking at a beautiful plate full of homemade, locally-sourced food. This was dinner last night.

Honey-balsamic Pork Tenderloin

Homemade applesauce

Mashed potatoes with garlic chives

Crazy salad

The vast majority of the ingredients came from the farms – the apples from Tree-Licious, the pork from Wrong Direction, the veggies in the salad and the potatoes and chives from Circle Brook.

Eating local is where it’s at.

Sausage Crustless Mini-quiches

Of course, when any of us hears “CSA,” the vegetables are the first thing that come to mind. I can’t speak for every CSA out there, but in the case of mine, there are also shares available in fruit, poultry, eggs, and individual orders of meats and one-off crops, like blueberries. I’m ambitious (and have ample freezer space), so I get a dozen eggs, a package of apple chicken sausage, 2 lb of ground turkey, and a whole broiler chicken on alternate weeks. Today’s breakfast (made last night) showcases this side of my share. I made muffin-tin chicken sausage crustless mini-quiches. That’s a mouthful.

First, the prep. I cut up some red onion and red potato into small pieces. What’s pictured ended up being way too much – the remainder of the onion went into last night’s salad, and the potatoes went into the freezer to be hash browns on some winter morning. I also chopped up the greens from the radishes we got this week, and a few cloves of German White garlic, still hanging around from the garlic festival.

I squeezed the sausage out of its casings into a hot pan with a turn of olive oil. As it browned, I crumbled up the pieces.

When the sausage was mostly done, but not quite, I added the onions and potatoes. I let that cook for a couple of minutes, then added the garlic. Again, a pause for a couple of minutes, and then the greens, which I allowed to wilt and then I turned off the heat. Along the way, I chose to add some smoked paprika, but you could really season it any way you prefer.

 

This mixture got equally divided among 12 muffin tins.

I scrambled some eggs with some milk and parmesan cheese. I estimated six eggs (what I usually use for a fritatta), but ended up needing to add a seventh. I poured the scrambled egg mixture into each of the cups, fillingĀ  each most of the way. Next time, I plan to scramble the eggs in my big glass measuring cup – pouring out of the bowl into the small targets was tougher than I expected.

I baked them at 375 for somewhere around half an hour. The trick is to keep an eye on them and test them when they start to brown on top. If you can stick a knife into the center of the center-most quiche and it comes out clean, then they’re done.

These were a delicious and filling breakfast this morning, along with some applesauce and toast. Even my toddler cleared his plate!