Friday, August 31, 2012

curry mushroom samosas

Today, I was in the mood for some appetizers. I was just at home, trying to perfect the art of doing nothing before school rolls around. At lunchtime, as I stared into my everyday, refrigerated quinoa salad... something inside of me was yearning for some deep-fried-one-bite-fancy-little-finger-foods. Behold the samosa. 


I enhanced the mushroom flavor with some luxurious truffle salt.
 Samosa is a stuffed pastry that is popular in Southern Asia. It is a fried, triangular pastry with a savory filling; such as potatoes, onions, curry, lentils, or ground meat. Today, I filled my samosas with diced mushrooms and onions sprinkled in curry powder. Mushrooms are the perfect filling for vegetarian samosas if you don't want to sacrifice the meaty taste.

I fried up six of these for lunch -- just for me. Since the recipe makes a lot, I folded all of the other samosas, put them on a plate in the fridge, and fried them up for dinner. If possible, these really must be eaten right out of the fryer. These would be perfect for a dinner party, or any occasion where hors d'oeuvres are needed -- such one of the last lazy afternoons of summer.

With love,
Erica




Ingredients
Ready to use spring roll wrappers.
1 1/2 cups mushrooms, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp curry powder
Ground Salt and pepper to taste.



Sautee the mushrooms, onions and olive oil in a pan until soft -- sprinkle with curry powder, salt, and pepper.


Cut the spring roll wrappers into 3 inch wide rectangles (I cut each of mine in half the long way). Cover it with a damp cloth while working with it so it doesn’t dry out.

Holding the rectangular pastry at the middle, take the bottom left corner and fold it towards the right into a triangle. Then take the bottom corner of the triangle you just formed and pull it upwards towards the left into another triangle to form a cone. (There is a better explanation of this here)

Fill about 1 tbsp of filling into the triangle and pressing it down with your finger.

Once you fill the cone, take the bottom left corner up towards the right side. Dip your finger in water and press to seal.

It’s important that the samosa is completely sealed so oil doesn’t seep into the filling while frying. If you see any openings close it with more water.

Heat oil in a wok and drop the triangles in it.

They are done when light golden brown.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

cinnamon crumble banana bread

I believe some people are born banana bread lovers, and others aren't. For better or worse, I was born in the former category. I asked my dad to "taste test" a bit of banana and tell me which one he liked better. He has the ability to simply take a bite out of each slice, and put it back on the plate. When it comes to banana bread, I do not have the ability to simply "take a bite". After he left, I finished both of his slices. In the past few hours, I have devoured almost half of each loaf. I'm telling you, its not me -- its the banana bread.


I also made Orangette's dark chocolate ginger banana bread -- which I devoured quite quickly due to its unique flavor combination. However, of the two banana breads, this one was the winner. I might be a bit biased due to my slightly insane love of cinnamon, but either way, this loaf disappeared the fastest.

It's a bit like a cross between a banana bread and a coffee cake. With a crisp, cinnamon crumble topping that makes it stand out from the rest. It has sweet honey and cinnamon stirred into the batter and the cinnamon streusel bakes into crunchy, caramelized bliss. Perfection.


With love, 
Erica




Banana Bread with Cinnamon Crumble Topping
Adapted from Bakesale Betty and Bon App├ętit, September 2008

For bread:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 3 medium bananas)
2 large eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup honey
¼ cup water

For topping:
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 ½ Tbsp. packed dark brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter and flour a 9- x 5-inch metal loaf pan. (Alternatively, you can spray the pan lightly with cooking spray and then line it with parchment paper, letting the excess hang over the sides. That’s what I did, and it made it very easy to remove the finished bread from the pan; I just grabbed the parchment and lifted. Also, because I don’t have a 9- x 5-inch pan - and because an 8 ½- x 4 ½-inch is a little too small - I used a 10- x 3-inch pan that I found once at a flea market.)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the banana, eggs, oil, honey, and water. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir well. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

In a small bowl, mix together the topping ingredients. Sprinkle them evenly over the batter.

Bake the bread until a tester inserted into its center comes out clean, about 1 hour, give or take a little. Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Then carefully remove the bread from the pan, taking care not to dislodge the topping. Cool completely before slicing.

Yield: 1 loaf

banana bread with dark chocolate and ginger

I know the combination sounds weird, but that's why I love this banana bread.
You take the first bite, expecting to taste sweet walnuts, or milky chocolate. Instead, you bite into sharp, spicy, crystallized ginger, mellowed by the sweet bananas and bittersweet chocolate. It is an amazing sensation.
As banana breads go, this is a nice, dense loaf with a fine crumb -- and (dare I say), it would be delicious even without the filling. {but please add the ginger and chocolate! You will not regret it!}

I told myself I would wait for the bananas in the kitchen to get all brown and splotchy before making this banana bread (the uglier the bananas, the better the bread). But those bananas must have have been eternally yellow -- I couldn't stand to wait any longer! Here is a trick for all of you impatient ones like me who want splotchy-banana-banana-bread without splotchy bananas.

  1. Peel the bananas and put them in a microwave safe bowl
  2. Microwave for 2-3 minutes
  3. Take out of the microwave and mash
  4. When you pour them in the batter, be sure to also pour in the liquidy stuff that they leave behind -- that is the best part! (I got this trick from Katie, it is also delicious over oatmeal or yogurt)

As Molly suggested in A Homemade Life, I popped mine in the freezer. Since, I have stood up from my desk about a dozen times, cutting off little slivers. Personally, I like it even better straight from the freezer than fresh from the oven, when it is cold it literally melts in my mouth. I now leave a knife in the freezer for easy access. I think more than half of the loaf is gone already.

With love,
Erica



From “A Homemade Life” p. 26 by Molly Wizenberg

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or a chopped up bar)
1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup well-stirred whole-milk plain yogurt (I used peach, because that is all I had)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Set a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 350F. Grease a 9 by 5 loaf pan with cooking spray or butter.
In a small bowl, microwave the butter until just melted. (Be careful and do this over medium power in short burst because it can explode or splatter and that is a big mess.) Or melt it in the preheating oven. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate chips and crystallized ginger and whisk well to combine. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Add the mashed banana, yogurt, melted butter, and vanilla and stir to mix well. Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients, and stir gently with a rubber spatula, scraping down the sides as needed, until just combined. Do not overmix. The batter with be thick and somewhat lumpy, just make sure all the flour has been incorporated. Scrape the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top.
Bake into the loaf is a deep shade of golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 mins to an hour. If the loaf seems to be browning too quickly, tent with foil.
Cool the loaf in the pan on a wire rack for 5 mins. Then tip out onto the rack, and let it cool completely before slicing (if you can wait that long).
The loaf freezes well wrapped in plastic wrap and again in foil to protect from freezer burn. Try it cold, sliced fresh out of the freezer.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

everyday vita: back to school

1) For breakfast, I have been loving blueberry coconut chia pudding. The combination of blueberries and fresh ginger is so refreshing. I think I will be making this when school starts up again, because its easy to prepare the night before. In the morning all I have to do is shake the tupperware and eat.  I would do a blog post on it, but I cannot possibly make it look as pretty as Cara does. Check out her recipe here.


2) I can be indecisive sometimes. Especially when it comes to dessert. I really wanted to make Orangette's Dark Chocolate Ginger Banana Bread. Then I realized she also has a recipe for Cinnamon Sugar Banana Bread (you know cinnamon is my weakness). Instead of killing brain cells trying to choose one -- I decided to make both, in little mini loaf pans. They are in the oven as I type, and I will be doing a post on both of them (and I will tell you which one I like better).

3) School is starting up again in about a week. I have been slowly getting my things together for it -- putting together my binders and such. I am going to do a post on how I organize my binders for school soon. Lots of washi tape has been used in the process.

4) With the theme of back to school, clothes shopping always comes up. I have not done any extensive clothing hauls for the occasion, but I have a few pieces from my trip to the Southwest that I cannot wait to wear. And I am secretly a bit excited to trade my flip-flops in for my favorite school shoes.

5) My dad bought peaches. Lots of peaches. $50 worth of peaches. If you know of any good peachy recipes, I would love it if you e-mailed them my way.





Sunday, August 26, 2012

olive oil french toast

As much as I love smoothies, muesli, cereal and toast, Sunday mornings are the perfect time to really enjoy a hot breakfast.  One of my favorite warm breakfast treats is french toast. For some reason, it always reminds me of vacation (which is a much needed reminder now that school is about to start!). It’s a bit fancy, special, and quicker than pancakes.

As I was reading Orangette's book A Homemade Life, her dad's french toast recipe stuck out to me. It's just regular french toast: eggs, milk, a dash of vanilla. But it's cooked in a generous glug of oil -- not butter. Call me crazy, but this is the one time that I believe that oil works better. It doesn't burn in the pan like butter does -- and lightly fries the bread to a crispy, golden-brown crust. *no soggy french toast here!
soaking in eggy goodness

In addition to the technique, I believe that really good French toast starts with really good bread. I made mine with a day old loaf of my Sweet Hawaiian Bread, which added a subtle, sweet mango flavor to the dish.
getting nice and crispy!

What's your favorite special breakfast?
With love,
Erica

P.S. This post was featured on the Huffington Post website as one of the top 20 recipes for French toast!
delicious with some maple syrup, bananas, and berries

Ingredients
1 cup milk
4 large eggs
1 Tbs sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
1/4 tsp allspice
light-tasting olive oil
6 slices bread (I used my Hawaiian loaf -- but French, brioche, or challah would work well), about ¾ to 1 inch thick
Pure maple syrup, for serving


Whisk together the first six ingredients in a wide, shallow bowl.

Place a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over low to medium heat, and add a few glugs of oil to cover the bottom of the skillet (about 1/8 inch thick).

Two or three at a time, add the bread slices to the egg mixture in the bowl, allowing them to rest for a minute or two on each side. They should feel heavy and thoroughly saturated, but they should not be falling apart. When the oil is hot, place the slices in the skillet. They should sizzle a bit, and the oil should bubble lightly around the edges of the bread. Cook until the underside of each slice is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Turn the bread, and cook another 2 minutes or so. Remove the bread from the skillet to a plate lined with a paper towel, allow to rest for 30 seconds or so, and serve immediately.

Adapted from A Homemade Life




sweet hawaiian bread

This is an extremely easy recipe for sweet, Hawaiian bread. It is quite similar to the King’s Hawaiian Sweet Bread rolls at the grocery store. This bread is extremely easy to make in the bread machine. Nothing beats homemade bread -- and the bread machine makes it so easy. This bread is sweet, sunny, and fruity, just like the Hawaiian Islands. It also makes amazing french toast!

 Ingredients

3/4 cup juice (I always use Nantucket Nectar's Orange Mango, but any mango, pineapple or orange juice will work)
1 egg 
2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
2 1/2 tablespoons honey 
 3/4 teaspoon salt 
3 cups bread flour 
2 tablespoons dry milk 
2 teaspoons fast rising yeast or 2 teaspoons quick-rising yeast
Place ingredients in bread machine in order directed by manufacturer. 
Cycle: white, sweet, no timer. 
Setting: light.

brown butter peach shortbread bars

This morning at the farmer's market, my dad bought $50 dollars worth of peaches.
$50 dollars worth of peaches. 
These were not "designer" or expensive peaches -- about $3 a pound... you can do the math.
I was going to make another crunchy and custardy tart, because the last one was so good. But I decided to be adventurous and make these peach shortbread bars instead.

These bars are elevated to the next level with the addition of brown butter. I am obsessed with the stuff.  With that deep, nutty, salty aroma calling my name; I may or may not have eaten some with a spoon...

(Erica, did you really just admit to eating butter with a spoon? Yes.)


I got the ingenious idea of freezing the brown butter from Deb of Smitten Kitchen. It may seem like extra work (butter is butter right? WRONG), but you can really taste the sweet, nutty flavor in the crust and crumb topping.

Simple, buttery bars with the flavors of perfect summer peaches and nutty brown butter -- what more could you ask for? If you can't get your hands on fresh peaches, they would be just fine with any other type of fruit or even some jam. These are the perfect thing to munch on alongside a big glass of iced tea.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon allspice
pinch of salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
1 large egg
1 peach, sliced thin (about 1/8-1/4 inch thick)

Brown your butter: Melt butter in a small/medium saucepan over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Don't take your eyes off of the pot! It burns almost immediatly after it foams. Set it in the freezer until solid (about 30 minutes).

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 8x8 inch pan with nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, baking powder, flour, salt and spices with a whisk. Using your fingertips, blend the solidified brown butter and egg into the flour mixture. It will be crumbly. Pat 3/4 of the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing firmly. Tile peach slices over crumb base in a single layer. Scatter remaining crumbs evenly over peaches and bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until top is slightly brown and you can see a little color around the edges. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.



Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Saturday, August 25, 2012

lemon blueberry sunshine cake


This cake was sitting pretty in the freezer for about a week, and I finally decided to cut myself a piece. OH MY GOD. It was like eating sunshine in the form of a cake. I am now obsessed with the lemon-blueberry combination. These bright flavors are the perfect way to celebrate as the summer season comes to a close.

This is a supremely moist cake due to the sour cream. It has a sweet, puckery lemon flavor and is bursting with bright, juicy blueberries. I iced it with my favorite, simple buttercream, but it would also be delicious with some luscious cream cheese frosting.
This cake freezes beautifully -- as a matter of fact, I enjoy my cakes best after they have been in the freezer for a day or two (or even a week!).
With love,

Erica

Ingredients

 For the cake:

2 cups plus 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs

For the filling:

1/2 cup blueberry jam  (or lemon curd)

For the frosting:
2 sticks butter, room temperature
4-6 cups confectioner's sugar 
1/4 cup milk 
1 teaspoon lemon extract
 
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease 3, 8" cake pans. Sift dry ingredients into medium bowl. Transfer 1 tablespoon flour mixture to larger bowl. Add fresh blueberries and toss to coat them with flour. Set remaining flour mixture and blueberries aside.
Stir whole milk, sour cream, vanilla extract, lemon extract and lemon zest in small bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar, until pale yellow and very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, until well combined. Mix in flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, starting and ending with flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Gently fold in blueberries. Divide batter equally among 8″ round pans.
Bake cakes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks for about 10 minutes, then invert onto racks until completely cool.

Once cakes are cool, spread blueberry jam and sandwich it between the layers.

Frost with lemon buttercream (recipe follows)

Lemon Buttercream

Beat butter in stand mixer until pale and fluffy. Slowly add the 4 cups of confectioner's sugar. Add the milk and lemon extract. Add more confectioner's sugar until desired consistency is achieved.

adapted from Sweetapolita

Friday, August 24, 2012

cream scones


I had half a carton of heavy cream in the fridge. Although I was tempted just to pour it over cereal, I decided to bake it into something. I'm glad I did, I'd choose these scones over cereal any day.


These scones are all over the internet -- and I can see why. They are moist, tender, and a cinch to make.


For the longest time, I did not like scones. I thought they were quite boring compared to fluffy muffins and buttery pastries. Coffee shop scones often resemble heavy, dry hockey pucks. These scones are different. And although they are simple, there is nothing borning about them.

Because this recipe uses heavy cream instead of butter, there is no need to whip out the food processor, or crumble butter with your fingers. With a quick stir of a fork, the scones are nearly done. They go into the oven looking like sad, little bricks, yet emerge as lofty scones with a sweet, golden crust.

Hot from the oven, these scones melt in your mouth. I left mine plain, simply brushing them with melted butter. They would be wonderful sprinkled with raw sugar for some added crunch, or with dried fruits, nuts, or chocolate mixed into the dough. My family is not a fan of the traditional raisins and currents, but I think that dried blueberries or apricots would be a hit.


Of course, these go wonderfully with your favorite jam or honey -- and they reheat beautifully.

What do you like in your scones?

With love,
Erica


Makes 12 scones (recipe halves nicely)

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. sugar1
1 1/4 c. heavy cream (perhaps a bit more)
optional: 3/4 c. dried fruit, nuts, or chocolate chips

Glaze
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 Tbsp. sugar
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Use an ungreased baking sheet.
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a bowl, stirring with a fork to mix well. Add the dried fruit. Still using a fork, stir in the cream and mix until the dough holds together in a rough mass (the dough will be quite sticky; drizzle in a bit more cream if it seems too dry).
Lightly flour a board and transfer the dough to it. Knead the dough eight or nine times. Pat into a circle about 10 inches round. For the glaze, spread the butter over the top and sides of the circle of dough and sprinkle the sugar on top. Cut the circle into 12 wedges and place each piece on the baking sheet, allowing about an inch between pieces.
Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.


Adapted from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham

Thursday, August 23, 2012

dorie's crunchy and custardy peach tart

Lately, the farmer's market has been overflowing with ripe peaches. My mom and I picked up around a dozen on Sunday. My dad was returning from Newport, and picked up another full bag on his way home. Since we had so many peaches rolling around the kitchen counter, I decided to make one of the many peachy recipes that I had saved. I cannot tell you how glad I am that I did.


All of the elements and textures of this tart come together so harmoniously.
Fruity sweetness from fresh peaches.
Satiny richness from the custard
Crunchy flavor from the streusel. 



The streusel topping really gives this tart an extra layer of nutty, buttery, crunchy goodness. The custard filling bathes the peaches in a voluptous, sweet, creamy mixture. And what really makes this tart so stellar are the fresh, aromatic summer peaches.

My mom especially loved this tart, proclaiming that it was the best dessert I have baked yet (even better than my morning buns!). Please, do yourself a favor and whip this up while we still have such a plethora of perfect, summer peaches.

What is your favorite peachy dessert?
With love,

Erica

Ingredients
*note I baked mine in an 8" tart pan

1 pie crust of your choice (if you are making your own, sweet tart dough with nuts is perfect!), partially baked and cooled

For the streusel
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped almonds
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces


For the filling
1 or 2 very large peaches, sliced thin
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar 
  
To make the streusel: Working with your fingertips, blend all the ingredients together in a small bowl until evenly combined. Cover the streusel tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate it until needed. (Wrapped well, the streusel can be refrigerated for up to 2 days)
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. 

To make the tart: Slice the peaches thinly and arrange them in a spiral pattern in your prepared pie crust. Set aside while you make the creamy filling.

Whisk the cream, egg, sugar and almond extract together in a small bowl. When blended, rap the bowl on the counter to knock out the air bubbles, and pour the filling over and around the peaches.

Bake the tart for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees F, and bake the tart tor another 20 minutes, at which point you should add the streusel.

Remove the streusel from the refrigerator and, using your fingers, break it up into small bits. Carefully pull the baking sheet to the front of the oven and sprinkle the streusel evenly over the creamy parts of the tart.

Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes (total baking time is 50 to 55 minutes), or until the filling is set and the streusel is golden. Remove the tart from the oven and transfer t he pan to a rack to cool until barely warm or at room temperature.

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

raisin bran muffins

I am a bit obsessed with breakfast -- and you guys are used to me whipping up dishes like cinnamon cloudcakes swimming in pools of melted butter, and french toast casserole oozing with blueberry syrup.

But let's talk muffins. I pinned this recipe a few months ago, and it got overlooked in lieu of more exciting dishe such as nutella swirl cookies filled with coconut mascarpone. However, I was getting tired with my daily bowl of Quaker Oats, and this was just the thing. 

aren't these muffin cups cute?
 These aren't your streusel-topped, butter-laden, monster muffins (a.k.a breakfast cupcakes). These are just simple, wholesome, and delicious muffins. They allow me to start my day on a good, energized note.  
so yummy warm -- with a big smear of cream cheese

I love to eat one of these on a weekday morning alongside a big cup of milky coffee, or with a little pot of strawberry yogurt. Another way I love to enjoy these is crumbled on top of one of my "smoothie bowls" instead of granola.

What is your favorite make-ahead weekday breakfast?


With love,
Erica

Adapted from Pastries from La Brea Bakery by Nancy Silverton

2 cup (125g) wheat bran
1 cup, plus 1/2 cup (190g total) dark raisins
1 cup, plus 1/2 (370ml total) cup water
1/2 cup (120g) buttermilk or plain low- or non-fat yogurt
a few swipes of fresh orange zest (unsprayed)
1/2 cup (105g) packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (125ml) vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/2 cup (65g) flour
1/4 cup (35g) whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Line a 12-cup muffin tin (with 1/2-cup indentations) with paper liners.
2. Spread the wheat bran on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for six to eight minutes, stirring a few times so it cooks evenly. Let cool.
3. While the bran is toasting, heat 1 cup (135g) of the raisins with 1/2 cup (120ml) of the water. Simmer for ten minutes, or until the water is all absorbed. Puree the raisins in a food processor or blender until smooth.
4. In a large bowl, mix together the toasted bran, buttermilk or yogurt, 1 cup (250ml) water, then mix in the raisin puree, orange zest, and brown sugar.
5. Stir in the oil, egg and egg white.
6. Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and sift directly into the wet ingredients. Stir until the ingredients are just combined, then mix in the remaining 1/2 cup (55g) raisins.
7. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, making sure the batter is mounded slightly in each one. Because muffin tins can very in size, if your tins are larger, make fewer muffins.
8. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the muffins feel set in the center.

avocado salmon toast


Sometimes, the best lunches are the simple ones that happen on a slice of bread. Today, I am going to share a recipe that's less of a recipe and more of a guide to one of my favorite lunches.  This is a summery take on one of my all time breakfast favorites: lox and cream cheese on a bagel. The avocado melts into the toast like some sort of magical green butter. Top that off with some thin, salty slices of lox and some briny capers, and you have one of the simplest delicacies of life.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients 
  • slices of your favorite bread
  • avocado
  • lox
  • capers
  • freshly ground pepper
  • mixed greens
  • olive oil
Toast your favorite bread until nice and warm. Spread the avocado (I usually do about 1/4 avocado per person) onto the bread. Top with thin slices of lox. Sprinkle with capers and freshly ground pepper. Toss greens and about a tablespoon of olive oil and serve on the side.

DIY: organize your recipes

a magical berry cobbler i clipped from Living
Whenever I thumb through the latest issue of Living, or Bon Appetit, I say to myself in my head:
"Ohhhhh I'll make that, and this, oh, and that, and YUM that too, and that would go perfectly with mom's broiled salmon..."
But in reality, I end up going on Pinterest and printing out most of the recipes I make.
This was largely because whenever I tore out a recipe from a magazine, or snagged a take-out menu from a restaurant, it would end up in a big, expandable folder -- never to be seen again.
Yesterday, I took on the task of organizing my daunting pile of recipe clippings, and it turned out to be fun. No, really. I used some of the techniques that I learned at an Art Journaling Workshop about a month ago.
Think more "arts-and-crafts" rather than "organization."

healthy snacks and dips
You need:
  •  A large notebook (I used a graphing notebook leftover from my trigonometry class this year)
  • A pile of magazine clippings or scans of cookbooks
  • some magazines or odds-and-ends to decorate with
  • tape or glue
  • markers
  1. Gather together all of your recipe clippings, as well as some old, pretty magazines to use for decoration. I also photocopied some recipes that I have wanted to try from some of my cookbooks. 
  2. Sort the recipes into categories such as "tacos" or "healthy snacks"
  3. Start pasting/taping away! There is no wrong way to do this :)
i have a page devoted entirely to tacos