Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond Muffins

Cooked up on July 21, 2014 Filed under: baking, breakfast, brunch, chocolate, dessert, Uncategorized
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This recipe started out as a vegan recipe. Or at least, I was looking at a vegan muffin recipe Sunday morning when I decided that I wanted to do something similar, except not vegan.

Nothing against veganism – it’s just that there is no good reason to leave an egg out of baked goods if you are not vegan. Eggs are possibly the most important ingredient in baking, ever. They provide structure and in many cases, they help them rise as well. After I mixed up the initial recipe, I knew that the sad, runny batter I was looking at would need help with both.

So, I set to work, adding some flour for heft, the aforementioned egg, some baking powder and a splash of vinegar for the baking soda to react with.

Boom.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond Muffins | PDXfoodlove

What came out of the oven are possibly my favorite muffins ever. They’re soft and spongy, and they rose sky high in the pan, decorated with chocolate chunks, almonds and cherries. I could not be more proud.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond Muffins | PDXfoodlove

So, lesson of the day: Just say no to eggless baked goods recipes (unless you are a vegan).

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Banana Oat Streusel Muffins

Cooked up on July 13, 2014 Filed under: baking, bread, brunch, under 1 hour
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Dave and I were heading off on an adventure this weekend, so we knew we’d need to start it out with a nice breakfast at home. A few lingering bananas were just begging to be baked with, so Saturday morning, after a very busy week, we enjoyed a restful breakfast together with a French press full of coffee.

Banana Oat Streusel Muffins | PDXfoodlove

I loved getting the chance to bake even though later in the day it would be baking outside. We haven’t been turning the oven on a lot lately.

Banana Oat Streusel Muffins | PDXfoodlove

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Apricot Jam

Annnnd we’re back! It’s been a very busy week; the kind of week that means blog activities may have to take a backseat. Now I’ve been home for a couple days, slept a couple of 10-hour nights complete with afternoon naps to tack on a little extra, and I’m approaching productivity mode again. Thank goodness it’s a long weekend!

I hope everyone out there is having a fun holiday weekend. I think we have some new neighbors this year… close neighbors who enjoy shooting off some of the bigger fireworks, the kind that are probably not legal. It was a loud night, but we could see some pretty nice shows from our upstairs windows.

If you follow me on Instagram or have been reading this blog this summer, you’ll know how obsessed I am with fresh apricots. I can’t get over them; they came much earlier than peaches, and they’re so tart and tiny and TEMPTING. They are great in a dessert or in a salad with burrata.

Apricot Jam | PDXfoodlove

That’s why last weekend, I had to pick up a few more pounds of apricots, even though I wouldn’t be in town the following week. I don’t know how long these will be in season and I can’t stand the thought of them being gone, so I wanted to preserve some. I’m envisioning myself popping one open in January… it’s going to be so lovely to have a little bit of summer when it’s rainy out.

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Raspberry Chocolate Donuts with Lavender

I seem to have caught a case of the Old. Last night I was dying for sleep at 9:30. Tonight I played 90 minutes of rec soccer and feel like I got hit by a truck. I’m going to chalk it up to not being quite back in soccer shape yet. 90 minutes is a long time to run! But it’s so nice to be playing again.

Before we headed out to the game tonight, I picked a ton of raspberries and strawberries from the yard. I love seeing our urban lot producing so much good food – we have so many strawberries! We planted them last year and they didn’t fruit, which I hear is common for the first year. Well, not anymore.

The raspberries, though, have never given us occasion for doubt. I think their little patch would take over the property given the right opportunity. In the meantime, I’ll keep finding uses for their crazy bounty like these sweet and seasonal breakfast treats:

Raspberry Chocolate Donuts with Lavender | PDXfoodlove

Not only are there fresh raspberries in the glaze, but there are chunks of fresh raspberries baked into the donut, which is my favorite part of this recipe.

Raspberry Chocolate Donuts with Lavender | PDXfoodlove

Also, they kind of remind me of Kwik E Mart donuts. Which is also a huge plus.

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Baked Eggs with Asparagus & Goat Cheese

What a day. I am emotionally exhausted after the US World Cup game. I’m sure it’s my emotions and not the beer that totally drained me. I think. It’s 9:45 and I am fighting to stay awake and finish up this blog post.

Once upon a time I went to bed between 1 and 2 on the regular. It’s crazy to think about that now. I can’t give up sleep like that anymore! And definitely not if I like being a productive citizen who arrives at work on time.

We had a busy and very fun weekend – that might also have something to do with the fact that we’re both dead tired tonight. We saw lots of friends and even made it to yoga class on Sunday. One of these days I swear I will get some weeds pulled in the back yard. But right now we have too much fun stuff going on.

If we hadn’t had such a good breakfast, in fact, I think we’d be in a lot worse shape. Dave had the idea to do a baked egg dish with some asparagus I picked up at the farmers market.

Baked Eggs with Asparagus and Goat Cheese

Even though the baked eggs made this seem totally decadent, it’s actually pretty low-calorie! Not to mention delicious. I think we’ll definitely be doing more seasonal veggie + baked egg combos in the future. This was too good not to repeat.

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Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes with Homemade Blueberry Syrup

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned our trip out to Sauvie Island from last weekend or not. It’s just a 20-minute-ish drive from our house, and yet we totally escape the city. It’s a little island north of town that’s full of farms where you can “U-pick” just about anything. We’ve done apples, peaches and more, and we go several times a year. It’s something I always look forward to – especially when it’s the middle of the rainy season.

We had our first trip of the summer out there this weekend. Dave and I drove up on Saturday morning and picked about 8 pounds combined of strawberries, blueberries, regular raspberries and golden raspberries. The strawberries were very ripe and went straight into jam. But not before we got a good breakfast in.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup | PDXfoodlove

I remember loving blueberry pancake syrup when I was little. I’m still not really a maple syrup girl, but this blueberry syrup I will eat with a spoon.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup | PDXfoodlove

And while we’ve made blueberry pancakes before on the blog, we haven’t made them whole wheat. I love the depth of flavor whole wheat flour brings to any application it’s used in, but especially pancakes and waffles. These pancakes manage to be quite light despite using only whole wheat, as opposed to a combination with AP.

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Bacon and Chicken Sausage Breakfast Sandwich

Remember when we had to boil water a few weeks ago? For those of you not in Portland, you might have seen it on the news (our family members in the Midwest said they did!) We were supposed to be boiling all the water we drank, cooked with, used for brushing teeth and rinsed clean dishes with. It lasted about 24 hours. Dave and I didn’t have a ton of groceries that morning, so we decided to make something that didn’t require water or create a lot of dishes that we’d have to wash and then rinse in pre-boiled water. (Like many 1920s Portland bungalows, we don’t have a dishwasher.)

Chicken Sausage Breakfast Sandwich | PDXfoodlove

Well, once we got to New Seasons and were on a roll making what is basically the ultimate breakfast sandwich, I think we might have lost sight of the goal to keep the dish count low. Lucky for us, the boil water order was lifted a couple of hours later – and we hadn’t done the dishes left. But even if we had used all of our pre-boiled water washing dishes, I think it would have been worth it.

Sometimes a recipe is more like an idea – and this is one of those recipes. There’s not a lot of special techniques or ingredients, but there’s a delightful sandwich combination that we really enjoyed. The timing is a little weird, so I definitely recommend keeping the items you are finished with warm in a 200 degree oven.

Here’s what you need for one sandwich:
- Two large slices of artisan bread
- olive oil
- 1 chicken sausage (we used a chicken apple variety this time)
- 2 slices of bacon
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- Cream cheese
- 1 egg (from a local farmer if possible)
- 2 Tbsp. white vinegar
- 1 tsp. kosher salt

Chicken Sausage Breakfast Sandwich | PDXfoodlove

Preheat the oven to 350.

Toast up the bread and when it gets to the correct amount of toastiness, keep it warm in a toaster oven or low oven.

When the oven is heated, wrap the chicken sausage in foil and bake for ten minutes. Remove from the oven and slice lengthwise. Finish cooking in a hot skillet with a little olive oil. Set aside – you may want to keep it warm in a low oven also. Cook the bacon in the pan next, followed by the spinach (you will need to add a little olive oil for the spinach)

Finally, poach the egg. Crack the egg into a cup or ramekin. Bring 1 inch of water to a simmer with the vinegar and salt. When it’s at a simmer, stir for 30 seconds to create a whirlpool. Pour the egg into the swirling water. Cover the pan, turn off the heat and allow to sit undisturbed for 5 minutes. I sliced my egg in half and put one on each plank of bread (at the end of assembly).

Finally: assemble. Spread cream cheese on both sides of the bread. Top with the spinach, followed by the bacon, followed by the sausage and finally the egg. Apply salt, pepper and hot sauce liberally.

Yeasted Donut Holes

Cooked up on May 22, 2014 Filed under: breakfast, brunch, chocolate, dessert, fun
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Man, I don’t know what it was this week but I am tired. But you guys, FRIDAY IS UPON US. Which means it’s time to start planning weekend decadence.

Yeasted Donut Holes | PDXfoodlove

We make baked donuts all the time, but we don’t often make yeasted, frying ones. Which might be about to change, after we gave Alton Brown’s recipe a go.

I don’t know about you guys, but the term “deep frying” always makes me a little nervous. First of all, it sounds like you need one of those enormous, expensive countertop machines. Second of all, it sounds dangerous. So we don’t do it that often. But you know what? We’ve practiced a couple of times making homemade chips, and we tried it for this delicious donut recipe. And yes, we did make the round part of the donuts too, but they weren’t as pretty as the donut holes :)

The first thing that’s important to learn about it is when they say “deep frying,” “deep” is a relative term. It’s relative to the amount of oil you put in a skillet. All you need to fry something small is a pot with tall sides, a thermometer and a couple of inches of oil. A slotted spoon, spider or pair of tongs is a really good idea, too. There’s no need for fancy oil here, in fact, it’s best to use plain old vegetable oil since it has a high smoke point. You can also use peanut or sunflower oil, but they will be a little more expensive.

And you know what? It’s not that tough to do. Keep the temperature stable. Have a safe landing place for post-oil confections to land. I recommend reading this guide to frying from Lifehacker before getting started.

Here’s what you need:

1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus a pinch
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
1 cup milk
2 eggs
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 3/4 cups AP flour, more for countertop
Cooking spray
Vegetable oil, for frying

Yeasted Donut Holes | PDXfoodlove

Put warm water, pinch of sugar and yeast into the bowl of your stand mixer and stir gently. Allow to stand for ten minutes.

Next, whisk the sugar, milk, eggs, melted butter, lemon zest, salt and vanilla extract together, then whisk into the yeast mixture in the bowl of the mixer. With the dough hook attachment, start mixing on medium-low speed and slowly add in the flour. Mix until the dough comes together on the hook. Then remove from the bowl, give it a quick spray with nonstick cooking spray and replace the dough. Cover and allow to rise for 60-90 minutes.

Next, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about a half inch. Cut out donuts and holes, and arrange on a baking sheet greased with a little nonstick spray. Cover with a clean towel and allow to rise for another 30 minutes.

In a heavy pot, heat 2 inches of vegetable oil to 340 degrees Fahrenheit. When it comes to temperature (and not before), lower 1-2 donuts into the pot using a slotted spoon or spider. The donuts should not touch each other while in the pan, so keep that in mind when you decide how many to cook at a time.

Yeasted Donut Holes | PDXfoodlove

Fry until each side is golden brown, 1:30-2 minutes each for donuts and 1 minute each for donut holes. Then remove the donuts to a heat safe landing area lined with paper towels (suggested: wire rack over paper towel-lined cookie sheet). Each time you remove a batch of donuts from the pot, wait for the oil to come back up to temperature before starting again. Allow to cool before eating or glazing.

For the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
2-4 Tbsp. milk

In a bowl wide enough to dip donuts in, mix the powdered sugar and cocoa together. Add 1 Tbsp. milk to start, and combine completely before adding more. You’ll be surprised how much powdered sugar the milk can absorb. Add milk 1/2 teaspoon at a time after that, thinning out to your desired consistency. Dip the donuts in the glaze when they are most of the way cool. PS, this is Alton Brown’s recipe. It is perfect just the way it is.

Lavender Lemon Scones

Cooked up on May 20, 2014 Filed under: baking, breakfast, brunch, dessert, fun, spring, under 1 hour, vegetarian
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A while back someone asked me what all I grow in my yard, food-wise. I didn’t realize quite how long the list had become. On our standard City of Portland plot, we’ve got blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, a couple types of lettuce, carrots, radishes, tomatoes, peppers and lavender going right now. Then there’s the stuff that needs to go in the ground yet: basil, thyme, parsley and rosemary. Not bad for 100 feet by 50 feet.

I was contemplating that list as I made these scones for my friend Fabiola’s blogger bake sale a few weeks back. I don’t cook with the lavender often enough. Especially considering that there are 4 or 5 bushes around the yard.

Lavender Lemon Scones | PDXfoodlove

This was a really fun way to start to remedy that. These soft and sweet scones made a great breakfast! I gave most of them to the bake sale, which means that I have to make them again soon.

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Savory Cheesy Chipotle Cornbread Waffles

Ok, that’s a mouthful, but I couldn’t decide which component was lesser and should be left off the title.

Savory waffles: how have we not tried these before? Allow me to expound for a second: A) there’s cornbread involved. I can’t imagine a situation in which I would not want some cornbread. B) cheese. Enough said. C) Chipotle hot sauce. Easily in my top three hot sauces. So much the better when I can sneak it into breakfast. I can tell you right now that these will be on the regular rotation now.

Savory, Cheesy Chipotle Cornbread Waffles | PDXfoodlove

We made them this past weekend, and later we used them in a really fun dinner application. More on that later.

These were so fun on their own with some butter and bacon. It might be fun in the future to use these in a fried chicken and waffles application as my friend Callie suggested. But alas, this time we had no fried chicken handy. Next time!

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