Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Spiced Pear Muffins

I am back in Seattle and enjoying the rain which I rarely see at home.  I am probably one of those odd people who absolutely loves the rain.  I love to listen to it and watch it....snuggle up in a chair with a good book and bake!  Guess that could be boring but, it is not to me!  I think the baking part goes back to when I was a child.  My mom always baked on the days that it rained.  It is something that I love to do, also.  Needless to say there has been a whole lot of baking going on this week.  There has not been a lack of rain!

My daughter gets a CSA fruit box each week.  There are lots of apples and pears in the fruit basket....lots....and lots!  So, when she sent me the link to this recipe, we agreed that these had to happen!

The muffins are not really sweet which is nice.  The sweetness and the moistness comes from the pears.  We liked them but Sabine preferred to eat the pears and leave the much for the opinion of a four year old!

Spiced Pear Muffins
adapted from The Kitchn

Yield 12 muffins

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, softened 
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
2 tsps baking powder
2 tsps ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
2-2 1/2 cups pears, unpeeled, cored, and diced small
Optional ingredients:
1/4 cup candied ginger
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling on top of the muffins

Preheat oven:  425° F.

Spray the muffin tin with baking spray or use muffin liners.

Place the sugars and the softened butter into the mixer bowl.  Cream on high speed until the mixture resembles a fluffy frosting.  Mix in the eggs, one at a time, beating after each.  Mix in the vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking powder and salt.  On low speed, alternately mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture and 1/3 of the milk.  Continue until all of the flour and milk have been incorporated.  Do not over mix.

Scrape the sides of the bowl and gently stir.  Gently fold in the diced pears.

Divide the batter between the muffin cups.  The batter will fill the cups and be slightly mounded. Sprinkle the tops with cinnamon and sugar.

Place the muffin tin in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 400° F.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.

The muffins are done when the tester is inserted and comes out clean.  The tops of the muffins with appear cracked and toasted when they are done.

Let the muffins cool and when they can be handled, transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Note:  Leftover muffins can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.  They may also be frozen for up to 3 months.  Frozen muffins should be reheated in an oven at 300° F. or for a few minutes in the microwave.


These were a super breakfast treat...snack...or for no reason other than you want one!

I am sharing today at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Shrimp Burritos Con Queso!

You know how sometimes things just click.  That is I the way I felt when I received a weekly menu planning email from Lea Ann at Cooking on the Ranch.  I was immediately motivated to hit the kitchen.  That said I was also still trying to kick the bug that descended when we came home from Spain.  But, planning and list making I could do!  The cooking would come....

The first recipe I settled on was the Shrimp Burritos Con Queso.  Who doesn't love a burrito now and then?  And, these burritos were stuffed with shrimp in a bit of creamy cheese sauce packed with red pepper, onion, Hatch green chile, tomatillo....well, you get the idea....and then baked with a a bit more cheese sauce on top.  These were totally heaven!!  As Lea Ann says, "Don't let the long list of ingredients scare you away."  These are so worth it!!

If you have never taken time to visit Lea Ann, put it on your to do list!  Lea Ann has some amazing recipes...I love perusing her blog!

Shrimp Burritos Con Queso
adapted from Cooking on the Ranch

Yield:  6 - 8 servings

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup sweet onion, chopped
  • ½ cup Hatch green chile, roasted, peeled, chopped
  • 1 tomatillo diced
  • ½ cup unpeeled zucchini, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3/4 tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 sup Monterey Jack cheese, grated and divided
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
  • ¾ cup green onions, chopped and divided
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped and divided
  • 6  8-inch flour tortillas

Garnish:  Avocado slices, cilantro leaves

Preheat oven:  350° F.

Spray a 9 X 9 baking dish with PAM.

In a saucepan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the red bell pepper, onion, chile peppers, tomatillo, zucchini, and oregano.  Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.  Add the salt, pepper and cayenne.

In a small bowl, combine the flour and water whisking to blend.  Add this to the bell pepper mixture. Stir.  Stir in the milk until well blended.  Reduce the heat and simmer until slightly thickened.  This should take about 3 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup of the grated jack cheese and stir until it has melted. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sour cream.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the shrimp and 1/2 cup green onions.  Stir until the shrimp just turn pink, about 2 minutes.  

Add half of the cheesy bell pepper mixture and half of the tomatoes to the skillet.  Stir to mix. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Lay out the flour tortillas and fill with equally with the shrimp mixture.  Roll the burritos tightly and place them seam side down in the prepared baking dish.  Spoon the remaining cheesy bell pepper mixture over the top of the burritos.

Cover with foil.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until heated through.  Remove from the oven and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of jack cheese, 1/4 cup green onions and the remaining tomatoes.
Serve immediately with fresh avocado slices and a sprinkling of cilantro leaves, if desired.

I am sharing today at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Mudslide - SRC

Time!  Time!  Time!

I arrived home, after an eighteen day trip of Spain and Portugal, on Monday at 11:00 PM.  I got to bed about 12:30 AM.
Of course I woke up at 3:30 AM.  Oh how I hate jet lag!

Tuesday afternoon the bug that we brought home with us appeared.  Terry at least was able to get out of bed.  I am not certain if I hit the bed because of the cold or jet lag.  Along came the fever.  I was anchored to the bed until Friday.  I was still getting up at least three times during the night...erratic sleep patterns are the pits.  The wee small hours of the morning are for sleeping not being wide awake!

Today I was able to pull myself out of bed.  When I read my emails I found the note that there was a post due for The Secret Recipe Club.  This is a fun group where each blogger is randomly assigned a blog belonging to another group member.  Our challenge is to find a recipe that we will enjoy, prepare it, and share the recipe as well as info about the blog.

I wanted to make a recipe that would soothe my throat so I went to my assigned blog, 2 Cookin' Mamas, and searched through smoothies and beverages........and cocktails, why not?  I considered the Chocolate Almond Smoothie and the Hawaiian Hazelnut Mocha Smoothie but would have had to go to the store....nope, can't happen.   Then, I looked at the cocktails.  I did have a stocked liquor cabinet.

I settled on the Frozen Mudslide!  We did enjoy this thick, frozen treat.  It certainly cooled the throat and maybe froze it a time or two also!  I did have to make a change...I only had half and half so I substituted it for the cream and I topped it with a drizzle of chocolate and chocolate covered coffee beans!  Perfect!

slightly adapted from 2 Cookin' Mamas

Yield:  2 servings

2 ounces Irish Cream liqueur
2 ounces coffee liqueur
2 ounces vodka
2 ounces cream or half and half
2 cups ice

Garnish:  Chocolate Syrup and Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans

Pour all of the ingredients, except the garnishes, into the blender.  Blend until smooth and thick.

Prepare two glasses by drizzling chocolate syrup around the inside top portion of the glass.  Divide the frozen mixture between the glasses.

Add the garnishes as desired.

Note:  If you prefer to serve the drink over, add ice cubes to the glasses, drizzle each with syrup and divide the liquid between the two glasses.


I had fully intended to make the Crockpot Cuban Pork with Cilantro-Lime Rice before leaving on vacation but time slipped away too quickly and I became busy trying to use up most everything in the refrigerator so I wouldn't have to toss it!  I do plan to try the Cuban Pork dish as it sounds really great.

We are very fortunate to have a lovely next door neighbors who brought us homemade chicken soup for dinner one evening and lamb kabob sandwiches on another.  Bless them.  It was much appreciated!!

2 Cookin' Mamas is a mother-daughter team who love to cook and use the blog to share their culinary expertise and knowledge of nutrition.  Their blog has quite a variety of healthy and easy recipes and is well worth perusing thoroughly!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Crawfish and Shrimp Etouffee

Our neighbors held their annual crawfish boil this summer and I am so delayed in posting that I am just now getting to share with you.  It is such a fun event....great food, fine wine and beer, wonderful neighbors, great conversation and lots of laughter!  I am blessed to have so many great neighbors.

The crawfish is shipped in from Louisiana each year and even though this happens in the heat of our summer, the cooking crew hits the patio outdoors with huge pots and paddles to prepare the crawfish, shrimp, sausages, potatoes and corn for the feast!

The meal was delicious!  The next day my neighbor came over with a large zip lock filled with crawfish and shrimp.  I immediately knew what our dinner was going to be!

Crawfish and Shrimp Etouffee
adapted slightly from Emeril Lagasse

1 stick unsalted butter
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 pound peeled crawfish tails
10-12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tsp minced garlic
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup water
1 tsp Kosher salt
Pinch of cayenne
2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
3 Tbsp chopped green onion

Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium high heat.  Add the onions, celery and bell pepper and saute until the vegetables are wilted, about 10 -12 minutes.

Add the crawfish, shrimp, garlic, and bay leaves to the vegetable mixture.  Reduce the heat to medium.  Cook the mixture for another 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Dissolve the flour in the water.  Stir it into the crawfish mixture along with the salt and cayenne. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens, about 4-5 minutes.  Stir in the parsley and green onions. (Reserve a few teaspoons of parsley and green onion to use as garnish.)  Cook for an additional 2 minutes.  Remove the bay leaves.

Serve the etouffee over steamed rice.


I am sharing at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Chili-Lime Chicken Fajita Salad

Sometimes, simple is best.  I was reminded of that the evening I served this colorful, salad topped with tender and juicy chunks of chicken breast, perfectly grilled peppers and onions, and creamy ripe avocado slices!

It was a light and refreshing meal. Which was what we were looking for.  Terry didn't have much of an appetite so I thought he might be enticed to eat when he saw this colorful salad....and he was!

You will love this chili lime marinade that also doubles as a dressing.  It was so tasty that I can see it appearing frequently!

Chili Lime Chicken Fajita Salad
adapted from CafeDelights

Yield:  Serves 3-4 dinner portions

Chili Lime Marinade and Dressing
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp Kosher salt

1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided, for frying
2 chicken breasts, cut into chunky slices
1/2 red bell pepper, seeds and veins removed, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeds and veins removed, thinly sliced
1/2 medium onion, sliced (Slices cut in half)
5 cups Romaine lettuce, chopped
1-2 avocados, sliced

Garnish: Cilantro leaves and sour cream, if desired.

Combine the marinade/dressing ingredients by whisking briskly.  The mixture will be divided into two parts.  Pour half of the mixture into a small jar. Refrigerate to use later as the salad dressing. Pour the second half of the marinade into a zip lock bag.  It will be used as the marinade.

Place the chunky chicken slices into the zip lock bag with the marinade.  Allow the chicken to marinate for at least two hours

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet.  Add the chicken pieces and cook over medium high heat. Grill the chicken until golden brown, crispy and cooked through.  Grill in batches to prevent steaming the chicken.  Remove the chicken to a small plate to rest.

Quickly wipe the pan with a paper towel.  Add about 2 teaspoons of oil to the skillet.  Quick-fry the onion and pepper strips to desired doneness.

Cut the chicken chunks into small slices, if desired.

Place chopped romaine into each serving bowl.  Top with chicken slices, pepper and onion mixture, and sliced avocado.  Remove the dressing from the refrigerator.  Shake the jar to mix.  Drizzle the dressing over the top.  Serve garnished with cilantro and sour cream, if desired.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pacific Coast Clam Chowder

Everybody has their preference when it comes to clam chowder. I don't mean in regard to red vs. white. I mean to say that all bowls of Pacific Coast (white) Clam Chowder, are not created equal.  At our house the clam chowder must be thick.  It must have lots of clams, potatoes and bacon along with some celery, onion and thyme.  When reading a recipe that's pretty much what I look for.

On this day, I was going through some of my pins and spied Cathy's recipe and decided to give it a try.  Cathy is the chef par excellence at Wives with Knives.  Her recipes are spot on and always tasty. And, while her recipe didn't call for thyme, that was easily remedied.

This chowder bowl was absolutely amazing...delicious....wonderful....  I guess you can tell that we loved it!  You really must give this a try.

Pacific Coast Clam Chowder
adapted slightly from Wives with Knives

1/4 pound thick sliced bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
3/4 cup celery, diced
3 cups unpeeled baby white potatoes, washed, chopped (Russets may be used but they should be peeled.)
3-4 cans minced clams, drained (retain the juice in a measuring cup)
1 1/2 cups clam juice or chicken stock
2-3 cups half and half
1bay leaf
1 1/2 tsp thyme leaves
1/4 cup butter
2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup half and half
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Garnish:  Chopped bacon and/or oyster crackers

Fry the bacon in a soup pot until crisp.  Removed the bacon and drain on a paper towel.  Remove all but about 3 tablespoons bacon fat and saute the onion and celery until translucent.

Add the potato and 1 1/2 cups of the retained clam juice or use 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, if preferred. Add the bay leaf and the thyme.  Simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes.

When the potatoes are tender, add 2 or 3 cups of half and half, your preference.  Heat until the soup is barely simmering.

Melt 1/4 cup butter in a medium saucepan.  Stir in 3 tablespoons flour and blend well.  Cook the mixture for 2 minutes, then gradually whisk in 1 cup of half and half.  Stir constantly until the sauce is creamy and thick.

Add this mixture slowly to the simmering soup until it is the consistency that you like.  Add in the reserved bacon.  Keep a few pieces for garnish, if desired.  Simmer the soup for 5-10 minutes.

Serve garnished with a sprinkle of chopped parsley, some of the reserved bacon and oyster crackers.

Note:  If you prefer, fresh clams may be used.  You will need one cup or more fresh clams, shucked and diced.  Prior to adding them to the soup, they should be simmered in a little salted water for 5-10 minutes, until firm.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Just a Basic Peach Cobbler!

What is a basic peach cobbler?  For me it is one that is easy and the peaches and their syrup are spread on top of the batter.  It is the way that I have made cobbler for quite a few years.  It is not like my mom's.  It is not like my mother-in-law's.  Both of those ladies had the corner on the market for making cobblers.  But, I did what I usually do...make the batter and spread the fruit on top.

That said, this time, Terry said that he didn't like cobbler prepared that way. only took forty years for him to tell me. He likes a more crisp time.  He must have been thinking about his mom's delicious very yummy!  The crust had a crispness on the top but underneath it was gooey and wonderful.  I liked her cobbler too.  (She didn't use a I know what she did?  Nope, not the slightest idea.)

Just a Basic Peach Cobbler

Yield:  8 Servings
Preheat oven:  375° F.

5 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 cup half and half
4 cups peeled and sliced fresh peaches
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla

Place butter in a baking dish (9 X 13 inches) and melt in the oven.

While the butter is melting, whisk the flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder and salt together in a medium  bowl.  While continuing to whisk, gradually add the half and half.  Whisk until smooth.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, toss the peaches with the brown sugar, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla until combined.  Set aside.

Remove the baking dish from the oven and pour the batter over the batter.  Do not stir.

Pour the peach mixture over the batter and gently spread with a spatula.

Bake 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.  Top with vanilla ice cream, if desired.


This recipe is a little bit different from my go-to recipe.  I have no idea where the recipe came from.  It was one that I had tucked away in a cookbook.

From my perspective, enjoying peach cobbler is one of the finer moments to be had during the summer!