Spaghetti Squash with Sausage

September 27, 2018 by andrea | Comments Off on Spaghetti Squash with Sausage | Filed in Italian, Main Dish, Quick Cooking, Vegetable

I’m always looking for creative ways to eat veggies, so this Italian-inspired recipe for Spaghetti Squash with Sausage is a great find! The dish is tasty and quick enough for an easy weeknight meal. Plus, spaghetti squash is good for you and a great alternative to pasta.

The recipe calls for microwaving the halved squash but you can roast it if you prefer (roasting will take longer, though).

I used hot Italian sausage as called for in the recipe but you could easily substitute mild Italian sausage instead…or make both kinds if you want. I don’t have a grill pan so I just cooked them in a skillet. Cooking them on a gas grill would work great, too.

Garnish each serving of squash/onion/pepper mixture with a drizzle of olive oil if you like and a healthy dose of freshly grated parmesan cheese. The meal is perfect as is or you could add a tossed green salad and some good bread. Enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash With Sausage
-Recipe from Food Network Magazine

1 small spaghetti squash (about 2 pounds)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
8 links hot Italian sausage (pork, chicken or turkey; 1 1/2 pounds)
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Freshly grated parmesan cheese, for topping

Halve the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Put the squash, cut-side up, in a large microwave-safe bowl and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon water. Season with salt and pepper. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave until tender, about 20 minutes. Scoop out the flesh into a colander (use a towel to hold the squash) and shred with 2 forks.

Meanwhile, heat a grill pan over medium heat. Grill the sausages, turning, until cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper, onion and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until the vegetables begin to brown, about 4 more minutes. Toss in the squash and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the sausages and sprinkle with parmesan.


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Fresh Corn Salad

September 12, 2018 by andrea | Comments Off on Fresh Corn Salad | Filed in Quick Cooking, Recipes, Salad, Side Dish, Summer, Vegetable, Vegetarian

Fresh summer corn is definitely one of life’s simple, old-fashioned pleasures. I will drive way out of my way to a local farm stand to buy farm fresh corn in the summer. This simple summer salad  is easy to make but full of fresh seasonal flavor: sweet, crisp-tender corn, fresh basil, plus a little zing from red onions and a tangy dressing made of cider vinegar and olive oil. This dish would be great for entertaining, and could easily be multiplied to feed a crowd.

The most time-consuming part of this dish is prepping the corn, so I prepared the corn the day before I made the salad (blanching, cooling in an ice water bath, and cutting the kernels off the cob). I then stored the cut kernels in a container in the fridge until the next day. When it was time to make the salad, I diced the onions and finished assembling the rest of ingredients. Basil bruises easily so I julienned it right before I served the salad. This way it looked as fresh and pretty as possible.

I served the corn salad with grilled chicken, smoked sausage and a few other summery sides. Enjoy!

Fresh Corn Salad
-recipe from Ina Garten: The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

For a particularly beautiful salad, you can mix white and yellow corn. Don’t substitute frozen corn; it doesn’t have the texture or flavor you want in a fresh salad.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

5 ears of corn, shucked
1/2 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup julienned fresh basil leaves

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn for 3 minutes until the starchiness is just gone. Drain and immerse it in ice water to stop the cooking and to set the color. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob.

Toss the kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.

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Grilled Garlic Bread

August 15, 2018 by andrea | Comments Off on Grilled Garlic Bread | Filed in Appetizer, Bread, Grilling/BBQ, Quick Cooking, Recipes, Side Dish

Grilling bread is such an easy way to take good artisan bread to the next level! And it can be used to make a variety of appetizers (like bruschetta) or simply be a compliment to a meal. Even a novice cook can tackle this recipe with confidence!!

First you need to start with a good loaf of rustic bread. In Portland we have many good local bakeries that make delicious artisan breads. A few of my favorite breads are made from Grand Central Bakery and Ken’s Artisan Bakery and can be purchased in upscale markets around the metro area. The next key is in how thick you slice the bread. Too thin and it becomes too crisp when grilled; too thick and it’s difficult to eat. The perfect thickness is about 3/4″ to 1″ thick slices. And you can’t have the grill too hot or the bread will burn — you don’t want to serve Grilled Garlic Briquettes! Keep the grill on medium-low and stay nearby. Remove the bread from the grill when it’s golden brown with some toasty grill marks.

Finish the grilled bread by lightly rubbing with a cut piece of garlic and serve. Enjoy!

Grilled Garlic Bread
-recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine

Servings: Eight.

Eight 3/4- to 1-inch-thick slices crusty, artisan-style bread, like ciabatta
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
1 to 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and halved
Sea salt or kosher salt

Prepare a medium-low charcoal or gas grill fire. Brush both sides of the bread with the oil and grill, covered, turning once, until golden and marked on both sides, 1 to 3 min. per side. Off the heat but while the bread is still hot, lightly rub one side of each bread slice with the cut sides of the garlic—heat and friction from the bread will cause the garlic to “melt” into the bread. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

Getting grilled bread just right:
-Choose artisan or rustic country breads like ciabatta, sourdough or French boule
-Slice the bread 3/4″ to 1″ thick
-Make sure the cooking grates are clean and heated
-Grill bread, covered, over direct medium-low heat
-Have a pair of tongs handy to turn the bread and remove it from the grill
-Patience is the key to great grilled bread. Don’t be tempted to use higher heat, or the bread will burn

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Summer Bean Confetti Salad with Pickled Red Onion Vinaigrette

July 10, 2018 by andrea | Comments Off on Summer Bean Confetti Salad with Pickled Red Onion Vinaigrette | Filed in Fresh Produce, Recipes, Salad, Side Dish, Summer, Vegetable, Vegetarian

This recipe for Summer Bean Confetti Salad with Pickled Red Onion Vinaigrette is a great example of simple summertime cooking: it’s fresh, it’s easy to make, and it tastes good! The recipe would also be really easy to double or triple if you needed more than four servings.

The only type of beans I could find were traditional green beans (no yellow or purple beans were to be found). The salad would be more visually appealing if you used several different types of beans but don’t sweat it if you only use the regular ol’ green ones. We were given a jar of toasted pine nuts as a gift and they worked great here — slightly toasty and crunchy. I added a little more vinegar to the vinaigrette because I wanted more tang. I garnished the salad with a sprinkling of good French sheep’s milk feta cheese that I had in the fridge. Enjoy!

Summer Bean Confetti Salad with Pickled Red Onion Vinaigrette
-recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine

Use a selection of beans for this salad. The colors, shapes, and textures will make it interesting and delicious. Servings: four.

Kosher salt
3/4 lb. beans, assorted sizes and varieties, trimmed and cut into 1- to 2-inch lengths (3 cups)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp. granulated sugar
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup loosely packed torn fresh basil
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (optional)

Freshly ground black pepper

Bring a medium pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook the beans in the water until crisp-tender (cooking times of different  types of beans will vary, so cook each variety separately). Drain and run under cold water to cool. Drain well and put the beans in a serving bowl.

In a small, non-reactive saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, and 1 tsp. salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, return to a boil, and immediately pour the mixture into a nonreactive bowl to cool, about 15 minutes. Drain the onion and reserve the vinegar.

Toss the onion with the beans, add 1 Tbs. of the vinegar and the olive oil. Add the basil and pine nuts (if using), season to taste with salt and pepper and toss again. Add more of the vinegar if you’d like a little more tang.

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Smoky Corn Quesadilla

June 24, 2018 by andrea | Comments Off on Smoky Corn Quesadilla | Filed in Mexican, Quick Cooking, Recipes, Southwestern

The boys and I got stuck in late-afternoon traffic on Friday so I had to come up with a different dinner then what I had originally planned on making that evening. Since I’d had enough stress sitting in traffic with my learning-to-drive teenager at the wheel, I wanted to make something easy with ingredients I already had on hand. A quick search on the Fine Cooking website led me to this recipe for Smoky Corn Quesadillas. Perfect!

I loved the combination of smooth and creamy Jack cheese, slightly crunchy fresh corn off the cob, smoked paprika, and chopped cilantro! Really simple ingredients that work great together. The recipe called for adding 1/8 teaspoon of kosher salt to the cheese/corn mixture but I don’t think it’s needed so I omitted it. I used soft taco tortillas that were a little over 8″ in size. Fresh corn is best for this but you could use thawed frozen corn if good fresh corn isn’t available (Trader Joe’s sells frozen Roasted Corn that would make a nice substitute and add more smoky flavor).

The recipe states that it serves 2 but I think that’s assuming you’re serving the quesadillas with a side dish like a black bean salad or Mixed Greens with Southwestern Vinaigrette. One hungry person could easily eat both quesadillas so take that into consideration and multiply the recipe to make more if needed. Enjoy!

Smoky Corn Quesadillas
-recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine

There’s no need to precook the corn kernels for these simple, satisfying quesadillas. As long as you use fresh corn, the raw kernels will lend a bit of juicy sweetness and a crisp crunch. The smoky flavor comes from smoked paprika. Servings: 2

1/4 cup fresh corn kernels (from half a medium ear)
1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack
2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
2 7- to 8-inch flour tortillas
2 tsp. vegetable oil
Lime wedges and sour cream, for serving
In a medium bowl, combine the corn, Monterey Jack, cilantro, paprika, and 1/8 tsp. salt. Divide the mixture between the tortillas, scattering it over half of each; fold the tortillas in half.
Heat the oil in a heavy-duty 10-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the quesadillas and cook until browned and crisp on the bottom, about 1 minute. Flip and continue to cook until browned and crisp on the other side, 1 minute more. Let cool slightly, cut into wedges, and serve with lime wedges and sour cream.

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Joe’s Special

June 21, 2018 by andrea | Comments Off on Joe’s Special | Filed in Beef, Breakfast, Eggs, Recipes

I love scrambles! Just add a few ingredients to humble scrambled eggs and, presto! Now you’ve got a more exciting meal! Joe’s Special is one of my favorite scrambles. It features ground beef and spinach in addition to the eggs. I usually order it when I see it on a restaurant breakfast menu, and sometimes make it at home when I have extra ground beef to use up. I’ve enjoyed this unassuming combination since I was a kid.

I use fresh spinach because I usually have it on hand and I don’t bother chopping it. I just throw it in the pan and let it wilt. I serve the scramble with Portland French Bakery’s City Sourdough Wheat Bread. Enjoy!

Joe’s Special
-recipe from A Real American Breakfast by Cheryl Alters Jamison & Bill Jamison

The people who count such things say that scrambles now outrank all other egg preparations in America’s affections. This San Francisco creation — claimed by almost every Joe who’s owned a restaurant in the Bay area — helps to explain the popularity. With the addition of ingredients as basic but as unlikely as ground beef and spinach, the namesake cook (probably Italian-American) turned straightforward scrambled eggs into a distinctive treasure of tastes. For a full sense of place, serve the eggs with good sourdough toast. Makes 4 servings.

6 large eggs
Splash or two of Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried basil or oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper or more to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 pound lean freshly ground beef, preferably chili grind (a bit coarser than hamburger grind)
3/4 to 1 pound fresh spinach, preferably the crinkly savoy variety, trimmed of stems and chopped, or one 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

Crack the eggs into a small bowl and add the Tabasco, salt, basil, and pepper. Whisk just enough to combine; you should still see large bubbles. Set aside.

Warm the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat until the butter melts. Add the onion and sauté until soft but not beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the ground beef and continue cooking until uniformly brown, breaking the meat into small pieces as it cooks. Cover with the spinach, place a lid over the mixture, and cook for about 3 minutes, just until the spinach wilts. (If using frozen spinach, cook, covered, for 1 minute, just to take off its raw edge.)
Stir the spinach into the meat, cooking briefly to eliminate excess liquid if the mixture seems watery. Pour the egg mixture over all, stirring with a spatula from the bottom until the eggs begin to set. Remove from the heat and stir a few more times, as the eggs cook through from the residual heat. Serve immediately.

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Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

March 3, 2018 by andrea | Comments Off on Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake | Filed in Baking, Breakfast, Cakes, Comfort Food, Dessert, Recipes

It’s a rare person who can resist a piece of freshly made coffee cake, especially when it’s spiced with a cinnamon ripple filling and sprinkled with a streusel topping. Paired with a cup of hot coffee — mmm, heaven!

The directions give you the choice of baking in a 9×13 pan or two 9″ round cake pans. I chose the 9×13 pan option because I wanted to cut it in squares instead of slices. The cake took 15-20 minutes longer to bake, but I’m not sure if that’s an issue with the recipe directions or my oven. Just be warned that yours might take a bit longer to bake. Check it at 55-60 minutes, then let it bake longer if it’s still wet or doughy in the middle when doing the toothpick check.

I added about a 1/2 cup sliced almonds to the streusel topping, which turned out to be a nice addition. Chopped pecans would also work if you wanted to add those.

This is a large cake so it’s perfect for feeding a crowd. Enjoy!

Cinnamon-Streusel Coffeecake
-recipe from

Looking for everyone’s favorite comfort-food coffeecake? This is it. Soft and moist, nicely cinnamon-y, this is the quintessential breakfast coffeecake.

Note: For those of you looking for a cake with less filling, one where the golden cake itself is the main attraction, reduce the amount of brown sugar in the filling to 1/3 cup, keeping the remaining ingredients the same.

Our guarantee: This golden cake is tender and moist, with a middle layer of dark cinnamon filling and a crumbly streusel topping.

Streusel topping
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
• 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
• 6 tablespoons butter, melted

• 1 cup brown sugar, light or dark
• 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

• 3/4 cup butter
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
• 1/3 cup brown sugar
• 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 3 large eggs
• 3/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
• 1 1/4 cups milk (anything from skim to whole)
• 3 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

• Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan, or two 9″ round cake pans.
• Make the topping by whisking together the sugar, salt, flour, and cinnamon. Add the melted butter, stirring until well combined. Set the topping aside.
• Make the filling by mixing together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powder. Note that the cocoa powder is used strictly for color, not flavor; leave it out if you like. Set it aside.
• To make the cake: In a large bowl, beat together the butter, salt, sugars, baking powder, and vanilla until well combined and smooth.
• Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
• In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream or yogurt and milk till well combined. You don’t need to whisk out all the lumps.
• Add the flour to the butter mixture alternately with the milk/sour cream mixture, beating gently to combine.
• Pour/spread half the batter (a scant 3 cups) into the prepared pan(s), spreading all the way to the edges. If you’re using two 9″ round pans, spread 1 1/3 cups batter in each pan.
• Sprinkle the filling evenly on the batter.
• Spread the remaining batter atop the filling. Use a table knife to gently swirl the filling into the batter, as though you were making a marble cake. Don’t combine filling and batter thoroughly; just swirl the filling through the batter.
• Sprinkle the topping over the batter in the pan.
• Bake the cake until it’s a dark golden brown around the edges; medium-golden with no light patches showing on top, and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 to 60 minutes for the 9″ x 13″ pan, 50 to 55 minutes for the 9″ round pans. When pressed gently in the middle, the cake should spring back. (My 9×13 cake took longer than 60 minutes to bake — about 15-20 minutes longer)
• Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for 20 minutes before cutting and serving. Serve cake right from the pan.

Tips from King Arthur Flour bakers
• Since butter and sour cream are both key ingredients in this cake, we encourage you to use the best quality you can get. We highly recommend Cabot, a superb Vermont brand available nationally.
• It’s easy to spread half the batter in the pan when you know how much it weighs. If you have a kitchen scale, half the batter weighs about 28 ounces.
• Want to prepare this coffeecake the night before, then bake in the morning? It’s easy; simply cover the unbaked cake with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. Next morning, bake the cake as directed. Start testing for doneness at the end of the suggested baking time; you’ll probably have to add 5 minutes or so to the total time, to account for the batter being chilled.
• Dress it up for guests: Make a glaze with ½ cup confectioners’ or glazing sugar and 1 tablespoon milk; drizzle glaze over the cooled coffeecake.

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Butternut Squash Soup

October 9, 2017 by andrea | Comments Off on Butternut Squash Soup | Filed in Autumn, Soup/Stew, Thanksgiving, Winter

October here in Portland can be a mixed bag of weather changes. One day the sun is out and we’re blessed with Indian summer warmth. The next day may bring overcast skies and rain showers. Some days we even get to experience a potpourri of all that: sun, clouds, rain, fog. Yes, the weather here is fickle…some might even say it’s goofy.

When the days are cool and crisp, I crave soups and stews like this recipe for Butternut Squash Soup. Not only is it healthy, but it’s easy to make and delicious. Some butternut squash soups add ingredients like apple or pear, and tend to be on the sweet side. This one, however, is savory. It would be a great first course for Thanksgiving or other Fall and Winter entertaining (you could make it a day ahead and reheat before serving).

Remember to let the hot soup cool a bit before processing it in a blender. Also hold the lid down firmly with a towel when pureeing the soup so it doesn’t explode all over you and your kitchen. I’ve done that before and it’s not fun. An immersion blender simplifies this process, but may not get the puree as smooth.

We like to garnish the hot butternut squash soup with homemade croutons or freshly grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Soup
-recipe from Food Network

Yield: 6 (1-cup) servings

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 fresh sage leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 medium canned plum tomatoes
1 medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, halved, seeded, and diced
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, optional

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, sage, 1 teaspoon of the salt and season with pepper, to taste. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 15 minutes. Raise heat to medium-high, add the tomatoes, and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the tomatoes break up and the onions brown slightly, about 7 minutes. Add the squash and the remaining teaspoon salt, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, about 12 minutes. Add the broth, bring to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, until the vegetables tender, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender, or with an immersion blender. Return the soup to the pot and reheat over medium heat. Stir in the vinegar. Serve the soup in warm bowls with a touch of parmesan cheese if desired.

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Chocolate Zucchini & Raspberry Muffins

September 29, 2017 by andrea | Comments Off on Chocolate Zucchini & Raspberry Muffins | Filed in Baking, Bread, Breakfast, Cakes, Chocolate, Dessert, Kid-friendly, Muffins, Recipes, Snack, Summer


It’s not every day that you find a recipe that combines fruit, a veggie AND two kinds of chocolate into a delicious breakfast treat. Did I mention two kinds of chocolate? These muffins are super moist, chocolatey, not overly sweet, and pretty as a picture. I made them for a friend for her birthday breakfast gathering. Consequently, one friend liked them so much she ate three of them!

I thought the texture of the muffins was best the day they were baked, although they were still very good the day after (the muffin tops were just softer).

Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Zucchini and Raspberry Muffins
-recipe from Fresh From The Farm by Susie Middleton

At last — the perfect place for that one zucchini you can’t get rid of. It’s a bit sneaky, I know, hiding it in a chocolate muffin, but why not? Add fresh raspberries, too, and you have a seasonal snack that doubles as dessert or the perfect picnic take along. The flavor of these moist muffins improves overnight, so make them ahead, wrap in plastic, and store at room temp or freeze.

Makes 12 muffins.

Unsalted butter, softened, for the pan (or baking spray or muffin cups)
1 2/3 cups (7 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (about 1 ounce total), sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon instant espresso granules, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup sour cream
1 cup finely grated zucchini (ends trimmed, unpeeled, about 1 medium 6- to 7-ounce zucchini)
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 ounces fresh raspberries
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

Heat the oven to 350°F. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Butter and flour a 12-cup nonstick muffin tin. (Or use baking spray or muffin cup liners.)

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl), beat the eggs and both sugars together on medium speed until smooth, lightened, and somewhat increased in volume, about 1 minute. Add the reconstituted espresso, the vanilla, oil, and sour cream and mix again for 1 minute. With the mixer running on very low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet, beating just until combined and stopping to scrape down the sides of the mixer when necessary. Add the zucchini and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and raspberries. Pour or spoon the batter (a 1/3-cup measure works well) into the muffin cups. (They will be quite full.)

Bake until the muffins are fully risen in the middle and a wooden pick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar if desired (and only if serving right away). Wrap any extras in plastic and store at room temperature or in the freezer.


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Blackberry Moscow Mule

August 30, 2017 by andrea | Comments Off on Blackberry Moscow Mule | Filed in Beverages, Cocktails, Recipes, Summer

A few days ago I decided to meander down the nature trail behind our house to pick some blackberries to add to a Moscow Mule, a cocktail made with vodka, fresh lime juice, and ginger beer. My blackberry search, however, was almost a bust. Being vertically challenged (I’m almost 5’2″), most of the purple-y ripe fruit was out of my reach so I was only able to forage about one cup of ripe berries — just enough for one really great cocktail and a few berries for eating on the way home! The Blackberry Moscow Mule was summery, tangy, and very refreshing!

The cocktail starts by muddling blackberries. It sounds sort of violent but really it’s just smashing blackberries in a glass. If you don’t have a muddler (the tool used for muddling), just use a long fork or spoon to do said smashing.

We like Ketel One Vodka. Use the brand you like.

There are lots of ginger beer brands out there, but we like the Cock’n Bull brand. Ginger beer is different than ginger ale, so be sure to specifically buy ginger beer. It has a stronger, more gingery kick than ginger ale.

I also like to add a splash of triple sec to my Moscow Mule. Husband likes his more lime-y so he usually skips the triple sec. Go by what tastes good to you. If you want your mule sweeter, add more ginger beer or triple sec. More tangy? Add more lime and/or less ginger beer. You can also use less vodka if you prefer. The quantities are really just a starting point to figure out what you like.

While the copper mug is the traditional way of serving a Moscow Mule AND helps keep the drink ice-cold AND looks like you take your mule making seriously, the cocktail can also be served in a highball glass (yawn). You can freeze your copper mug or glass until frosty but we usually don’t bother with that. Serve the mule over ice and garnish with a lime wedge, mint, blackberries and those little sippy cocktail straws. Enjoy!

Blackberry Moscow Mule

1/3 cup of fresh blackberries, plus a few for garnish
4 to 6 ounces of ginger beer (not ginger ale)
2 ounces of vodka
1 to 1/2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
Splash of triple sec (optional)
Sprig of mint and lime wedge for garnish

Muddle the blackberries in your copper mug or glass. Add the ginger beer, vodka and lime juice, and stir gently. Fill mug or glass with ice cubes and garnish with more blackberries, mint sprig and lime wedge. Makes 1 cocktail.




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