December 30, 2008
My darlings! I'm sorry about my long absence. I didn't even realize it had been so long. One moment I was throwing up my hands and giving up half-way through NaBloPoMo and then next thing I knew I was sitting on my parents couch with my boyfriend and family surrounded by piles of wrapping paper and shiny bows. Just like that it went from mid-November to a couple days before New Years. Funny, huh?
I hope Christmas was good to you. Or if you don't celebrate Christmas then I hope you at least enjoyed a few days off work and maybe even got to snag a slice or two of that yummy cake they were passing out at work the other day.
Santa was very good to me. He brought me a gorgeous new set of red KitchenAid pots and pans , a beautiful new spice rack, and a long-lusted for trio of Wusthof Le Cordon Bleu knives (it seems Santa shops at Williams Sonoma). Santa and my boyfriend conspired and brought me this INCREDIBLE squooshy chef's mat for my kitchen floor. If you don't have one, I highly recommend it if like me you spend hours in the kitchen barefoot. I always used to end the day curled up in pain from my aching lower back, but not anymore. Also (bonus!) anything that falls on it seems to bounce. I've already inadvertently tested this with a wine glass, an egg, a glass measuring cup, and one porcelain ramekin. You might have to try it out to believe it, but the difference really is amazing. I would even recommend it for hair stylists or doormen or restaurant hostesses. Basically anyone that has to stand in one spot for loooong periods of time.
I also got an assortment of whisks and pinch bowls and a cookbook, and my brother signed my boyfriend and me up for a Wine of the Month club membership that will deliver two tasty wines a month to our apartment for the next six months. Anyway, I think we made out like bandits.
New kitchen toys plus free time equals lots of fun new recipes that I'm excited to share. First on deck are these ridiculously easy and tasty savory muffins, which I've stuffed with chunks of fresh chevre, sauteed red onions, and sprigs of rosemary. I made these for our Christmas party this year. The theme was "breakfast at night," and I served an array of breakfast-themed canapes including little omelettes, potato and zucchini latkes, and mini waffles with different toppings.
The savory muffins were a snap to make and they replaced the usual bread and crackers. They're perfect to serve alongside a cheese plate to keep your guests entertained while you finish up dinner (or your makeup). They also freeze well and can be made well ahead of time. Serve them warm straight from the oven or at room temp. Also yummy with eggs the next morning!
If you're not a goat cheese (or rosemary or onion) fan, these are really easy to modify. Try a version with roasted garlic and cream cheese or fontina and roasted red peppers. The combinations really are endless. Let me know what you come up with!
Savory Rosemary & Chevre Muffins
Ingredients1 small red onion, minced
1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering tins
1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder2 large eggs1 cup whole milk2 tablespoons sour cream or plain yogurt1 teaspoon kosher salt2/3 cup fresh chevre goat cheese (plain or herbed), broken into small 1/2" chunks4 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, plus 24 small sprigs for garnishing (garnish optional)
Begin by melting the butter in a small saucepan and sauteing the onion in it for about 5 - 8 minutes, or until soft and just slightly caramelized. Allow onions to cool.Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Grease your mini muffin pan well with oil or pan spray, or line with mini muffin liners.Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Beat one egg, then whisk it together with the milk and sour cream or yogurt. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir gently just until combined (don’t mind if there are a few small lumps).Gently fold in the cooked onion, goat cheese, and chopped rosemary into the muffin batter. (Reserve the sprigs).Spoon the mixture straight into greased mini muffin tins until it just about reaches the top (you can also use mini muffin tin liners, if you'd like).Beat the second egg with a tablespoon of water and brush each of the muffin surfaces, then insert a small sprig of rosemary in the center of each one. (this step is totally optional; sometimes I skip it)Bake about 20 minutes or until risen and just slightly golden and a tester inserted into the largest muffin comes out clean (a bit of melted goat cheese may stick to the tester, but no batter)Let cool for two minutes before gently removing to a rack to continue cooling.Serve warm or room temperature. If you want to store, freeze the muffins and then let defrost at room temperature for two hours before serving. You may also reheat briefly in a 350 degree oven.