This weekend was such beautiful weather…until Sunday, which was pretty overcast. It proved to be a great day to stay in and do a lot of cooking.
The day began with fresh baked apple muffins. I saw the recipe on smittenkitchen.com when I was searching for a “healthier” muffin recipe. This did not disappoint. Initially I thought there would be too many apples and not enough muffin, but when you take your first bite it just all works together so well. The apple cooks enough that it is tender, yet not mushy. This was also another hit with Sophie, which makes me so happy. Sometimes I feel like she is my biggest critic. Loves something one minute, and LITERALLY hates it 3 minutes later. So when she eats it from start to finish, I feel victorious!
We attempted to go to the farmer’s market to get some local, organic vegetables, but when we arrived we found very few vendors. I guess it’s not quite the season for all of the farmers to come out. So, we took our chances at Earthfare. One thing I desperately wanted was watermelon radishes. I saw a very simple salad recipe on Cannelle et Vanille’s website and desperately wanted that for lunch. But the only radishes I found were the regular ones so I gave up that dream for now. I don’t know even know if I’ll be able to find those around here anyway. We’ll see once Spring comes! Another hope was to find fresh peas, but no luck there either.
So, lunch was an interesting, yet delicious mix of treats. I made a quinoa salad with goat cheese and grilled asparagus. This is something I have made up along the way and is one of my favorites now. Mark made a white bean “mash” with truffle oil on toasted whole grain bread. Really satisfying and flavorful.
You’d think after all the cooking at baking in the early part of the day that we would simplify dinner…no, not us! Mark wanted us to try to go vegetarian until we go to Paris and London next month. So he bought this great modern vegetarian cookbook where he got the white bean mash recipe out of…and this is where he also found our dinner idea…more on that soon…
For the recipes of the muffins and quinoa, see below.
Whole Wheat Apple Muffins
From smittenkitchen.com…who adapted it from King Arthur Flour
Note: I used 1 granny smith and 1 pink lady apple to get the combo of tarte and sweet, but you can use all granny smith, yellow, pink lady…or any other you like. Also, I didn’t have buttermilk so I used yogurt.
Yield: They said 12, I got 18
1 cup (4 ounces) whole wheat flour
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed, divided
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk or yogurt
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease and flour 18 muffin cups and set aside.
Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and add the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.Mix in the buttermilk gently. (If you over-mix, the buttermilk will cause the mixture to curdle.) Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the apple chunks.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar on top. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 400°F, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 bunch asparagus
2 oz goat cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
Toast quinoa in a heavy bottom pot for 1-2 minutes. Add broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low-medium, and cook for about 20 minutes.
In the meantime, trim the asparagus and then toss in a bowl with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Grill either on outside grill or inside on a grill pan for about 5 minutes (depending on the thickness of the asparagus). Don’t overcook it, it should still have a slight bite to it. Once done, cut into bite-sized pieces and place in a large glass/ceramic bowl.
Once the quinoa is finished, let it cool slightly and then add to the bowl with the asparagus. Add in lemon juice. Then add olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste and mix. Now crumble in the goat cheese, add the parsley, mix together, and enjoy!
This will make about 4 servings. It’s really good cold, out of the fridge the next day.