Tag Archives: mint

Strawberry Mint Muffins

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Muffins are the perfect breakfast item.  I will bake up a batch on a Sunday morning to be enjoyed over lazy cups of coffee all morning long.  Leftovers can be reheated and eaten on the go for busy weekday mornings.  Just about anything can be added to a basic muffin recipe.  Fruits, nuts, chocolate; the possibilities are endless.  I like to use buttermilk as the liquid in this recipe since I think it adds a slight tang to the muffin but you could easily substitute plain yogurt or even sour cream.  Depending upon the add-ins, I’ve also used good quality unsweetened flavored yogurt with fantastic results.

This time of year I like to use fresh fruit.  Fresh seasonal fruits are a perfect foil to the sweet, crumbly cake but if fresh fruits aren’t in season, frozen makes an absolutely acceptable substitution.  With fresh strawberries in abundance I had been thinking about baking up a batch of strawberry muffins all week.  When I discovered mint growing in my garden I decided to turn these muffins into the ultimate spring treat.  The mint adds a fresh contrast to the sweet berries and the combination is amazing. Do eat these muffins warm.  If you can’t eat them fresh from the oven reheat them in the microwave for a few seconds. You won’t be disappointed.

STRAWBERRY MINT MUFFINS

3 cups flour plus 1 Tablespoon

1 cup white sugar

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 Teaspoon baking soda

1/2 Teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

1 1/4 cups sliced strawberries

1 heaping Tablespoon fresh minced mint

1 Teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Granulated sugar (if desired)

  • Preheat an oven to 375 degrees.  Generously grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
  • Combine 3 cups of flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in the mint and lemon zest.  Set aside.
  • In a medium-sized bowl whisk the eggs until blended.  Add in the buttermilk and stir to combine.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg-buttermilk mixture.  Gently stir until just combined.
  • Add in the butter and mix until incorporated.
  • In a small bowl toss the strawberries with 1 tablespoon of flour.  Mix into the batter being careful not to crush the berries.
  • Using a large ice cream scoop or spoon divide the muffin batter evenly between twelve muffin cups.
  • Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with granulated sugar if desired.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until browned and a tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tins.
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Spice Rubbed Steak w/ Avocado-Grapefruit Salsa

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

This meal lets you dress up an ordinary steak with a bit of spice and seasonal fruit.  I love the marbling in rib eye steaks but you can use whichever cut of meat you prefer.  The spice rub give the meat a little extra kick while the grapefruit and avocado put a new spin on a typical salsa.  Serve alongside a baked potato and you have a complete meal in less than half an hour.  Now that is the perfect way to end your work week.

SPICE RUBBED STEAK W/ AVOCADO-GRAPEFRUIT SALSA

2 rib eye steaks

For the steak rub:

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon coriander

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Evenly divide the spice rub amongst both sides of the two steaks.  Use your fingers to massage the spice into the meat.
  • Allow to sit for 10 minutes before grilling.
  • Lightly grease a grill with cooking spray.  Pre-heat the grill to medium-high heat.
  • Place the steaks in the center of the grill and cook for approximately 9 minutes (for medium-rare) to desired level of doneness flipping every two to three minutes.  The amount of grilling time will depend upon the thickness of the meat and your personal preferences.

For the salsa:

1 red grapefruit, peeled and sectioned with membranes removed, cut into bite sized pieces

1 ripe Haas avocado, peeled and cut into bite sized chunks

1 chili pepper, seeded and minced

2 tablespoons minced red onion

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

1 tablespoon minced fresh mint

Juice of 1 lime

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
  • Serve along side the grilled steak.

Serves 2

Strawberry Mint Muffins

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Muffins are the perfect breakfast item.  I will bake up a batch on a Sunday morning to be enjoyed over lazy cups of coffee all morning long.  Leftovers can be reheated and eaten on the go for busy weekday mornings.  Just about anything can be added to a basic muffin recipe.  Fruits, nuts, chocolate; the possibilities are endless.  I like to use buttermilk as the liquid in this recipe since I think it adds a slight tang to the muffin but you could easily substitute plain yogurt or even sour cream.  Depending upon the add-ins, I’ve also used good quality unsweetened flavored yogurt with fantastic results.

This time of year I like to use fresh fruit.  Fresh seasonal fruits are a perfect foil to the sweet, crumbly cake but if fresh fruits aren’t in season, frozen makes an absolutely acceptable substitution.  With fresh strawberries in abundance I had been thinking about baking up a batch of strawberry muffins all week.  When I discovered mint growing in my garden I decided to turn these muffins into the ultimate spring treat.  The mint adds a fresh contrast to the sweet berries and the combination is amazing. Do eat these muffins warm.  If you can’t eat them fresh from the oven reheat them in the microwave for a few seconds. You won’t be disappointed.

STRAWBERRY MINT MUFFINS

3 cups flour plus 1 Tablespoon

1 cup white sugar

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 Teaspoon baking soda

1/2 Teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

1 1/4 cups sliced strawberries

1 heaping Tablespoon fresh minced mint

1 Teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Granulated sugar (if desired)

  • Preheat an oven to 375 degrees.  Generously grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
  • Combine 3 cups of flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in the mint and lemon zest.  Set aside.
  • In a medium-sized bowl whisk the eggs until blended.  Add in the buttermilk and stir to combine.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg-buttermilk mixture.  Gently stir until just combined.
  • Add in the butter and mix until incorporated.
  • In a small bowl toss the strawberries with 1 tablespoon of flour.  Mix into the batter being careful not to crush the berries.
  • Using a large ice cream scoop or spoon divide the muffin batter evenly between twelve muffin cups.
  • Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with granulated sugar if desired.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until browned and a tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tins.

 

Peaches w/ Prosciutto & Mint

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Its been unseasonably hot here in Belgium recently. With record breaking heat and houses that lack air conditioning, the last thing anyone wants to do is turn on the oven to cook. The same goes for grilling since, yes it is simply that hot. But, you’ve still got to eat. My solution when the temperatures soar is to go simple, light, and if possible, not turn on a single appliance.

These peaches wrapped in prosciutto from William Sonoma are meant to be an appetizer, and they do make a very tasty addition to dinner, but on a hot night, they are dinner. Peaches are in season right now so it is easy to find a perfectly ripe peach. When wrapped in a slice of salty prosciutto the combination is out of this world. If you like, serve them alongside crusty French bread and wash it all down with a chilled prosecco. And dinner is served.

PEACHES w/PROSCIUTTO & MINT

3 white peaches

8 thin prosciutto slices

24 fresh mint leaves

  • Slice wach peach in half and remove the pit.
  • Cut each peach half into four equal slices.
  • Cut each prosciutto slice lengthwise into three strips.
  • Place a mint leaf on each peach slice and wrap it with a strip of prosciutto.

Makes 24

 

Summer Squash Pasta w/ Frizzled Prosciutto

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A fun, easy and delicious family friendly meal? Yes, that is what you have with the fun pasta dish courtesy of Cuisine at Home. There is really something for everyone in this dish. Kids loved the “frizzled” prosciutto which is essentially strip of prosciutto that have been cooked until they are crispy. A healthy dose of both yellow squash and zucchini ensure that there are vegetables in every bite while the mild white wine and cream sauce disguises the squashes from vegetable adverse dinners. But for me the best part is the combination of the fresh basil, mint and lemon zest that tops the entire dish. There are truly so many flavors in one bowl that everyone is sure to leave the table happy.

SUMMER SQUASH PASTA w/ FRIZZLED PROSCIUTTO

8 ounces small dried pasta

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 ounces prosciutto, sliced into 1/2 inch strips

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 medium zucchini, chopped

1 medium yellow squash, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced

1/4 cup fresh mint, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon lemon zest

Salt & pepper to taste

  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of water according to package instructions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Set aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the prosciutto and cook until crisp. Transfer to a paper lined plate to drain.
  • Add the remaining oil to the skillet. Add the onion, zucchini and yellow squash. Cook until the onion softens, about 6 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the wine and cook until it is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the cream and pasta, tossing to coat. Cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Off the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese, basil, mint, lemon zest and prosciutto.
  • Add the reserved pasta water if necessary to thin the sauce.
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Pea & Mint Puree w/ Lemon

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A pureed soup is my favorite starter for a formal dinner.  It can be made ahead of time and the recipe can easily be doubled or even tripled to serve a crowd.  With the arrival of spring my mind has been turning to fresher and lighter ingredients and peas and mint are the ultimate spring ingredients.  Courtesy of Williams-Sonoma’s Soup of the Day, this soup has become my go-to recipe for spring entertaining.  The bright green color makes for a beautiful presentation with the mint adding a pleasant surprise for guests.  Served with Lemon-Parmesan Madeleines this is the perfect starter for a larger meal but can also stand alone with a green salad and some crusty French bread for a light lunch.

PEA & MINT PUREE WITH LEMON

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

2 shallots, minced

3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

3 cups fresh or frozen peas, plus more for garnishing

1/2 cup chopped mint, plus small leaves for garnishing

1 Tablespoon sour cream

Grated zest of one lemon

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Olive oil for drizzling

  • In a large, heavy stock pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  
  • Add the shallots and cook until soft, 5 minutes.  
  • Add the broth and bring to a boil.  
  • Add the peas, reserving a few for the garnish and cook until tender, 3-5 minutes.  
  • Stir in the chopped mint.  Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
  • Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender, food processor, or use a stick blender.  
  • Return to the pot, stir in the sour cream and warm over medium heat.  
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon zest.  
  • Season with salt and pepper an serve, garnish with the mint leaves, peas, and drizzled with the olive oil.

 

Caramelized Salmon w/ Cherry-Mango Salsa

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Here is a fast and fresh dinner idea adapted from The Daily Meal. I am a huge fan of fruit salsas and love to serve them over grilled meats and fish. And with fresh cherries beginning to appear in the Belgian markets, now is the time to start making cherry based dishes. (And it is a great excuse to use my cherry pitter). The combination of cherries and mangos, with a surprise touch of mint and chile peppers, makes this salsa flavorful and the perfect complement to the salmon. And since the salsa doesn’t need to sit you can make it while the salmon is grilling. (The salsa would also be good served alongside grilled chicken or pork).

So fire up the grill and enjoy some of the best flavors of the season.

 CARAMELIZED SALMON w/ CHERRY-MANGO SALSA

1 1/2 pounds skin-on salmon filets (fresh is preferable)

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon finely grated orange peel

1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 ripe mango, peeled and chopped

1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and halved

2 tablespoons fresh mint, minced

2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, orange peel and pepper.
  • Place the fish, skin side down, in a shallow pan and rub the sugar mixture over the fish. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • When ready to cook, pre-heat a grill to medium heat.
  • Remove the fish from the pan and drain off any juices. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the grill. Do not turn the fish but grill until the fish flakes easily, about 20 to 25 minutes depending on your grill.
  • Meanwhile, toss together the mango, cherries, mint, vinegar and red chile pepper flakes.
  • Spoon the fruit salsa over the warm fish and serve immediately.
Serves 4

 

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