Saturday, November 20, 2010

Brown Butter Cranberry Lime Muffins

Cranberries are a major commercial crop of New Jersey, which means that I can buy them fresh by the pound at the market — you may not find this to be exciting, but I really do.

Around this time of year I try to find at least 14 (give or take a few) ways use cranberries, and here's a distinctly fabulous (and interesting) muffin recipe that I adapted from Joy the Baker's lovely site.

This muffin isn't overly sweet thanks to the tartness of the cranberries — a tartness I very much appreciate. Then you have the browned butter, which creates a different flavor than you may be used to in an average muffin. And finally the scent of lime emanating from the container these were stored in — heavenly! I added some turbinado (raw, natural) sugar to the top for a sweet crunch.

Updated! Lemon Rosemary Roasted Chicken

Growing up, a staple in my mom's dinner repertoire for school/work nights was roasted chicken — and it also happened to be my best friend Jen's favorite night to come over for dinner! Even though it's a simple meal to put together, it looks and tastes impressive! And it's a healthy dinner option.

If you have about 15 minutes to put it together and about an hour to let it cook, you're in for a great dinner!

This post isn't so much a recipe but a concept. You can choose from a variety of herbs (I used rosemary and thyme, but you can also use tarragon) and citrus fruits (lemon is my favorite, but oranges give a more delicate citrus flavor and pair nicely with rosemary). Experiment and see what your favorite combination is! Here's my attempt at putting this "concept" into a recipe format.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ode to PW

I've been so busy lately that I haven't been doing much blogging. Even though it seems like I make an effort each night to sit down and post something, I never end up clicking the "Publish" button.

I've been browsing my favorite blogs for a suitable cranberry sauce recipe to make for Thanksgiving, and I stumbled across The Pioneer Woman. Now, I've enjoyed her website in the past, but I had never really spent a lot of time there beyond reading a recipe or two. Today I decided to poke around a little more, and I realize that I definitely have a blog crush on PW. There, I said it.

One part of her website really spoke to me today. On the Ten Important Things I’ve Learned About Blogging page, #2 really resonated with me. PW says:
Blog often.
Whether you write a sixteen-paragraph essay about the cosmic implications of a free market system, a one-paragraph description of what happens to your soul when you walk into your godforsaken laundry room, or a simple photo and caption, consider your blog a precious bloom that requires daily nurturing.
And watering.
If you water a plant once every two weeks, it will shrivel.
Unless that plant is a cactus, and then it would thrive.
And to tell you the truth, I really can’t figure out how a cactus fits into this analogy, so forget I brought it up.

I loved it. And felt a little guilty for neglecting my beloved blog! So, PW, thank you for the tip and for inspiring me to post anything — even this:

It's a blurry photograph (wrong lens setting on the old camera) of me and my questionable Sunday morning hair holding a giant red pepper in RTM last weekend. The produce place there had a whole bin of them — they were practically the size of my head!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Best Coconut Macaroons

My apologies if I've been a little M.I.A. these days. Brad and I are in the process of planning a wedding and buying a home, which means that a lot of my free time has been spent between and faxing financial documents to the mortgage lender. Fun times!

While I've been cooking dinner in the evenings after work, I haven't been trying too many new recipes or baking much lately. But somewhere along the way I volunteered to deliver baked goods for a fundraiser that my friend Shannon was hosting on Saturday night. I wanted to bring a variety of bite-sized items, so I ended up making Chocolate Chocolate (Chocolate) Chip Cookies, White Chocolate Walnut Toffee Blondies (I used the recipe on my blog as the base and switched up the add-ins — and yes, they taste as phenomenal as they sound!), and Coconut Macaroons.

I've tried several recipes over the years for coconut macaroons and have never been too wowed. Ina Garten's recipe, however, is the best I've tried — they are light, airy, sweet, and coconutty (is that even a word?). And the recipe is super easy, especially if you're using a stand mixer for the egg whites!

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