butterscotchblastoff

Kick start your day with a good breakfast

Kicking off the Leftover Season

Thanksgiving deserves its own moment and attention, and Chuck and I did it up big this year: 23-pound turkey with all the trimmings. Now… onto the leftovers!

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The breakfast of champions.

Martina McBride’s bacon-cheddar biscuits with Chuck’s homemade cranberry sauce! I need to be more generous with the cheddar next time; there’s plenty of bacon!

Martina

Oxmoore House $30 hardcover October 2018

Martina’s new cookbook is as pretty and warm as her gorgeous voice.

Martha Stewart’s cheddar-sage biscuit has been my go-to biscuit for a long time—long enough to need a rest, but so delicious nobody wants me to stray too far. Martina’s Cheddar Biscuits With Bacon do the trick. ‘The original recipe didn’t call for bacon,’ she says. ‘(That was my idea. You’re welcome!)’ Thank you, Martina, for your magical music and your culinary magic!

Cheddar Biscuits With Bacon

Serves 6         Hands On 30 Minutes          Total 45 Minutes

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cubed

1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

6 pieces smoked bacon, cooked and chopped

1 cup buttermilk

1 large egg, beaten

  1. Preheat oven to 450˚
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly coat with vegetable oil.
  3. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender, or use two knives, until butter is the size of peas; stir in the cheese and bacon.
  4. Combine the buttermilk and egg in a small bowl. Add to the flour mixture just until incorporated. Turn the dough out onto a lightly flour surface, and pat or roll dough into ¾-inch thickness; cut with a 3-inch round cutter, and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown.

If you’re in a rush, these work great as drop biscuits. Using an ice cream scoop or ¼-cup measuring cup, drop the batter on the prepared pan.—(c) 2018 Martina McBride

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Sweet Potatoes for Breakfast?!

Hell, yeah! Darshana Thacker, the author of Forks Over Knives Flavor!, convinced me with her Sweet Potato Cornmeal Pancakes.

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Obviously those are squashes, not sweet potatoes, but are they photogenic, or what?! 

Redolent of cinnamon and allspice, sweetened by applesauce, crunchy with cornmeal… these are going to set you up for a productive morning. The recipe below made 10 pancakes, so I froze some. This morning, I heated up a couple and, instead of maple syrup and blueberries, I spread a little creamy peanut butter on one and strawberry jam on the other… even better!

One caution: unless you’ve got a big griddle or pan, this doesn’t go quickly. Oh, how I wish I had a fancy stove top with a griddle built in, but I made these two-by-two in a small frying pan and that’s a rather tedious exercise. That’s why making extra to freeze is great; re-heating takes no time at all and, boom!, you’re off to the races!

“These delicious, satisfying pancakes…have the same spices that you find in all-American pumpkin pie; in fact, you can substitute pumpkin purée for the puréed sweet potatoes….

Makes 6 to 8 pancakes                                                                       Ready in 30 minutes

¾ cup cornmeal (or whole wheat flour)

¾ cup oat flour (or whole wheat flour)

2 TBSP cashew flour (or almond flour)

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground allspice

¼ tsp sea salt

1 (15-ounce) can sweet potato purée (about 1 ½ cups)

1 cup unsweetened, unflavored plant milk (or water)

½ cup applesauce

Pure maple syrup

Blueberries or sliced bananas, for serving

  1. Combine the cornmeal, oat flour, cashew flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together to distribute the ingredients.
  2. Whisk the sweet potato, milk, and applesauce together in a medium bowl. Add to the bowl with dry ingredients until no flour is visible.
  3. Heat a non-stick sauté pan or non-stick griddle over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, until it’s hot. Use a 1/3-cup measuring cup to scoop the batter and pour it onto the sauté pan or griddle. Cook for about 2 ½ minutes, until the tops of the pancakes appear dry. Use a spatula to gently lift and flip the pancakes. Cook for another 2 ½ minutes, and remove to a warmed serving plate. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  4. Serve the pancakes hot, with the maple syrup and fruit.”–from Forks Over Knives Flavor! Copyright (c) 2018 by Forks Over Knives LLC
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Harper Wave October 2018 $29.99 hardcover

 

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Heads up!

7 Sundays

Howard Books; $26 hardcover

On December 4, Alec Penix’s Seven Sundays: A Faith, Fitness and Food Plan for Lasting Spiritual and Physical Change hits bookstore shelves. I’m giving it a test drive and it is terrific!

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Alec Penix, celebrity trainer 

I’m on Day 11 of 43, so Alec and I are still in the honeymoon period (and I’ve already demurred a lot on the exercise part, though the Worship Walks are no problem for this long-time New Yorker who can do a mile in less than 20 minutes).

Every day, he and his co-author Myatt Murphy ask the reader to work on Alec’s Pillars of Promise, to “concede,” “honor,” “offer,” “sleep,” and “exercise.” That stands for CHOSEN. You do have to surrender to God in this program, but as I transition from my lifelong–so far–Catholic faith to Presbyterianism, I’m happy to think more about that relationship.

There are no recipes in this book, though there is a lot on nutrition and a whole process by which you toss out the processed junk foods in your diet and slowly but surely substitute them with whole foods.

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Wholly delicious! 

This recipe from Reader’s Digest’s Foods That Harm Foods That Heal certainly fits into the Seven Sundays plan! Bake. Share. Repeat! 

Carrot Ginger Yogurt Muffins

Makes 12

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes plus cooling

Healing Foods: flour, ginger, chia, oats, carrots, apples, yogurt

Ailments It Heals: arthritis, blood pressure, hives, interstitial cystitis

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp ground ginger

1 ½ tsp baking soda

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup chia seeds or flaxseed

½ cup rolled oats, plus extra to sprinkle

2 packed cups finely grated carrots (2 medium carrots)

1 packed cup grated apple (1 medium apple)

1 egg

½ cup low-fat plain yogurt

½ tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚ Coat 12 standard-size muffin cups with cooking spray or insert paper liners.
  2. In large bowl, sift flour, ginger and baking soda. Add sugar, chia seeds, and oats. Mix to combine, then mix in carrots and apples. Make a well in center of mixture.
  3. In small bowl, whisk together egg and yogurt. Stir in vanilla. Add to well in large bowl and stir together until mixture is just combined (do not overstir).
  4. Spoon evenly into muffin tin. Sprinkle each with extra oats.
  5. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.

Per muffin: 118 calories, 4 g protein, 22 g carbohydrates, 3g  fiber, 2 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 16 mg cholesterol, 186 mg sodium

From the book FOODS THAT HARM FOODS THAT HEAL, reprinted with permission by Trusted Media Brands, Inc., Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.

I’m sharing this recipe with my friends in the New York Walkers Club, a group of about 50 men and women of all ages who race-walk under the direction of an inspiring, funny, friendly, dedicated professional athlete named Lon Wilson:

“Baking is what I do on weekend mornings when I’m not race-walking around Central Park. It took me years to learn the patience successful baking requires, but now that I’m better than I was (I’m always impatient to taste the results)… Wow! What a contemplative, sensual experience it is. Using whole foods, enjoying how the kitchen smells as they come together In the oven, and best of all sharing the treats with friends and family make baking a healthy way to spend quality time.”

 

 

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So grateful!

 

 

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Bounty from Halsey Farm and Nursery, Southampton, New York

As a kid in the ’60s, I thought Brussels sprouts were absolutely heinous. When I encountered them, boiled and gray and sour, at my friend Nonni’s house (no offense intended–that was the way everybody cooked them in those days), I vowed never to touch one again. (Thank God my mother didn’t have the foggiest idea what to do with them, so we were spared at home.) Now of course, having discovered they can be just amazing, simply roasted in olive oil with salt and pepper, I’ve got immense plans!

That’s a honey nut kabocha up there on the right in front of that gorgeous cauliflower and between the green beans and the acorn squash. Can’t wait to try that! Any ideas?

I took two small butternut squashes tonight and made soup: so easy! I can’t peel and chop those things, so I cut them in half, took out the seeds, and roasted them in the oven at 400 degrees for an hour. I sauteed one chopped onion in butter, added the softened, peeled squash with 4 cups of chicken broth, and pureed the mixture until smooth. A dash of salt, pepper, and nutmeg and it was like the whole history of New England was playing itself out in my mouth.

 

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I’m sure this is not new to most of you, but for a kid who thought the Jolly Green Giant crossed his arms and, like Samantha on “Bewitched,” produced frozen vegetables with the blink of an eye, this is all so new and thrilling!

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Frozen, 1960s style

 

 

 

 

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Spinach and Sun-dried Tomato Scones

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I missed Columbus Day by a few, but these savory scones from Ivy Manning’s Easy Soups From Scratch With Quick Breads to Match would be perfect for any Italian feast. They are so light and yet so filling. One was perfect and should be savored; I had to stop myself from gobbling it down in three bites. Buttermilk gives it more depth. Tastes like there’s Parmesan cheese in here, even though there isn’t. Perfect as is, but I’d recommend eating them fresh from the oven. Believe me, they’ll be gone in a flash if you have four or more people at the table any time of the day.

The prep work is simple and satisfying: chopping sun-dried tomatoes and baby spinach; measuring flour and cutting in butter–Ivy promises easy and she delivers! 20 minutes in a 400° oven and they’re done–second promise delivered!

There is a lot in this Chronicle cookbook adapted from Ivy’s popular cooking class:

  • Egg and Lemon Soup With Toasted Orzo and Kale with Zucchini, Feta, and Dill Muffins
  • Lighter Broccoli and Cheese Soup with Beer and Cheese Bread (next up for me!)
  • Black Bean Soup With Roasted Red Pepper Cream which she recommends with these savory scones

And as always with Chronicle cookbooks, there’s some delightful design element.

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Two sewn-in grosgrain bookmarks!

If you can’t make your way to Portland for Ivy’s classes (or catch her on Facebook Live), this book will turn you into a top-of-the-class comfort food provider.

 

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Guten Abend!

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On the route du vin, Alsace 

Nostalgia time! Chuck and I took a marvelous trip to Brussels, Alsace, and Germany many years ago. Oh, the raclette, the riesling, the saucissons, the wursts, the potatoes, the ham!

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Cochem, Germany 

The scenery! I would go back in an instant. We have a friend in Hamburg… it’s a dream of mine to someday pay her a visit.

Tonight, we’ll just have to make do with a choucroute. Chuck got wursts, sauerkraut, and pickled beets from Schaller & Weber which, with the Heidelberg restaurant, is the last vestige of the old Yorkville, what was once Manhattan’s thriving German neighborhood. It was still there when I first came to NYC in the late ’70s: the Bremen House, Cafe Konditorei, Cafe Geiger, the Elk Candy Company…. all gone.

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I use this Simple French Cooking book for quiche, shortcut pastry, tuiles, choucroute, chicken and tarragon… it does the job when you have a little time and a big yen for the flavors of France.  Or in this case, that disputed territory that changed hands more often than the Globetrotters pass a basketball.

Sauerkraut’s the ingredient of the moment, what with its fermented probiotic benefits. Straight out of the jar, it’s pretty overpowering. But it turns so sweet when its flavor melds with a tart apple, apple juice, onion, a bay leaf, thyme, bacon, and the wurst. It makes you realize that time and warmth will soften just about anything!

 

 

 

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What We Need Right Now–Grit(s)

Grit will get you through anything: keep your head, focus on your work, and “illegitimi non carborundum.”

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Grits will get your through the day. At work, a colleague brought us a lovely basket of goodies from Charleston’s Own®, a specialty store in South Carolina. The Pecan Pralines went like the wind, the Cheese Zingers disappeared in a second, but the grits were left like an old stray hound at the shelter. Really?! I thought after a day or two and snagged them.

Does it get any better than a fresh bowl of hot stone-ground grits with cheese, ham, and spicy peppers? What’s the matter with people that they don’t have the time to stir a pot of this awesomeness for a half-hour or less (2 cups of water, a half-cup of grits, 1/4 tsp of salt and 1 TBSP of butter took 20 minutes).

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They were heavenly. I’m ready for whatever this day brings me!

 

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Happy Oktoberfest!

Finally! The air is almost wrung out of all the humidity of late summer. The sunlight has taken on a softer golden glow and the leaves are drifting down from the trees. Turning on the oven to bake is not the torture it is in Manhattan in August/September. And with Oktoberfest upon us, pumpernickel is the flavor of the day.

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Made fresh this morning, these are easy and delicious. I made the batter last night; it rests in the fridge overnight. You pop the muffin tin into a cold oven, turn it on to 350 degrees and, in 20 minutes, you’re enjoying the hot, savory taste of pumpernickel.

The dark rye flour, molasses, and caraway seeds supply the traditional slightly sour flavor. The yeast (which rises as the oven warms) gives the crumb a texture more like bread than a muffin. Raisins and toasted walnuts give it even more savor. This goes into my rotation, for sure.\

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Heidi Gibson; Chronicle Books; $19.95 hardcover

 

Thank you, Heidi Gibson, for a healthy kick-start to this beautiful early-fall day. Next up from this charming cookbook, Cheddar-Bacon Biscuits!

 

 

 

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Betty & Nick’s, Seaside Park

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Betty & Nick’s Bait & Tackle, Seaside Park, New Jersey

Believe me, this classic diner was the bright spot in a week of gray skies and a fierce, gnarly ocean. As a kid, my husband, the Yankee fan, came regularly to this “family destination” (not to be confused with Seaside Heights, the location of the reality TV show “Jersey Shore” starring “Snooki” Polizzi about a mile down the boardwalk)  We started coming as a “family” (Mom, Dad, and corgi Grace) about 10 years ago.

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Barnegat Bay

After Labor Day, it’s always been serene, clear, and sunny. This year? Not so much.

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Thank God for Beth, Tammy, and their servers at this beloved SSP institution on Central Avenue. Friendly and cheerful, they are terrific cooks, serving up innovative items with classic New Jersey roots, like this breakfast burger with pork roll (among other caloric delights). The side of scrapple is gilding the lily, but we can’t find this spicy pork loaf anywhere near where we live.

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If you’re “down the shore,” give Betty & Nick’s a try–they’re eager to meet you from 5 AM to 3PM year ’round.

 

 

 

 

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Buenas Noches

This is a site for healthy, fast, homemade breakfasts, but I have to show off last night’s paella. Cook’s Illustrated tackled this complex recipe and boy, did they help us nail it!

paella

Family lives on the Jersey shore, with access to spectacular seafood at The Lusty Lobster, so the scallops, mussels, shrimp, and clams were right out of the ocean. I stopped in at Kalustyan’s for  pimentón and Spanish saffron. The rest (chorizo, chicken thighs, chicken broth, clam juice, dry sherry, arborio rice, onion, roasted red peppers, frozen peas) are all available at any good supermarket.

The secret? A roasting pan on the grill. All that surface area allows the rice to get its lovely, crunchy crust while the meats and shellfish cook quickly. A keeper!

¡Delicioso!

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