Saturday, April 26, 2008

Fruity Cream Cheese Muffins


1 1/4 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 C. sugar
4 oz. cream cheese -- cut into 1/2-inch squares
1 egg
1/3 C. vegetable oil
1/2 C. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 C. frozen fruit (unthawed)


In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add sugar and mix well. Add cream cheese squares; coat well with flour mix. In another medium bowl, combine egg, oil, milk and vanilla. Add reserved dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Fold in frozen fruit. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill greased muffin pans half full. Bake in preheated oven 20 to 25 minutes or until they test done.

Makes 10 to 12 muffins.

Sour Cream Muffins


1 C. sour cream
1 1/3 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbs. sugar
1 egg yolk, beaten
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg white, beaten


Mix cream, sugar and salt. Add egg yolk and blend together. Sift flour, measure and then add soda and baking powder. Sift again. Add to creamed mixture and fold in egg white.

Bake in lined muffin tins at 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes.

Yields 12 muffins.

Banana Bread Muffins

These simple muffins are a great breakfast treat or an easy snack.

Make sure your bananas are super ripe: the blacker the better!


3 or 4 ripe bananas
1/3 C. melted butter
1 C. sugar
Raisins and/or nuts (optional)
1 egg beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 C. flour


In a large bowl, smash bananas. Mix all the ingredients in, adding the flour last. Mix together with a fork. Pour mixture into a greased 4x8 loaf pan (muffin pan will do as well).

Cook at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until desired color.

Something that I love to do with muffins and/or banana bread . . . ice them with cream cheese frosting . . . yum, try it some time . . . I posted the recipe that I use last week, check my blog labels for the post

Country Morning Muffins

Muffins are one of my favorite things! In the past week I have been searching for something that hits the spot since it seemed like everything was boring me . . . and muffins won. Now that I am in a muffin-obsessed mood, I'm on a quest for muffin recipes that I have not tried and will also post some of my favorite muffin recipes.

Here is one that you can vary by changing the type of fruit or add nuts, raisins, dried fruit . . . I like to make a basic batch of muffin batter, divide it up and make variations from one batch.


1 C. fresh or frozen fruit
2 C. all-purpose flour
4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 C. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/2 C. butter, melted
1 C. milk
1/4 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon


Cut fruit in small pieces. Combine flour, baking powder, 3/4 C. sugar, and salt into a mixing bowl. Stir in fruit until well blended. In a small bowl, beat eggs; add butter and milk. Stir into the flour mixture just to blend. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Sprinkle with 1/4 C. sugar and cinnamon.

Bake in 400-degree oven about 15 minutes.

Yield: 1 dozen muffins

Monday, April 21, 2008

Hush Puppies

This recipe comes from the Food Network website . . . from an episode of Emeril's show that I saw the other night and now I'm not going to be happy until I make some fried fish with these hush puppies.

Vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons Essence
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1 large onion, grated
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced

Preheat a deep-fryer fill with oil to about 3/4 of the way full to a temperature of 375 degrees F.

While the oil is heating, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, Essence, baking powder, baking soda and black pepper in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine. In a second mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, grated onion, green onions and jalapenos. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until a batter comes together. Be careful not to overmix.

When the oil is hot, drop 1 1/2 tablespoons of the batter into the hot oil and fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown on all sides and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove using a slotted spoon and let rest on a paper lined plate briefly before serving hot. Repeat with remaining batter.

Yield: About 2 1/2 dozen hush puppies

Emeril's "Essence" Creole Seasoning

BAM . . . kick anything up a notch

(also referred to as Bayou Blast)

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 2/3 cup

Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch
Published by William Morrow, 1993.

Pan Fried Fish

This recipe is from the Food Network website for pan fried catfish . . . I saw this episode of Emeril's show the other night and was particularly interested in the crispness of the fish and wanted to try out this technique/recipe for coating the fish.

Personally, I coat the fish with a light dusting of corn meal, garlic powder, red pepper and dill to pan fry my fish, but I thought I would try kicking it up a notch and using Emeril's recipe . . . will include my comments after I have tested it on Tilapia, my favorite fish.

1 1/2 pounds catfish fillets, cut on the diagonal into 1-inch strips
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons Creole mustard
1 tablespoon Essence, recipe follows
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons red hot sauce
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup flour
2/3 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon salt

Place the catfish in a non-reactive bowl. In a second bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, mustard, Essence, garlic and hot sauce and pour over the fish. Stir to thoroughly coat, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat 3/4-inch of oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy cast iron skillet to a temperature of 350 degrees F.

Remove the fish from the refrigerator. Combine the flour, cornmeal, and salt in a re-sealable plastic food storage bag and shake to blend. Using a fork, remove the fish fingers, a few pieces at a time, from the marinade, allowing excess marinade to fall from the fish. Transfer the fish to the flour-cornmeal mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining fish.

Fry the fish, in batches if necessary, turning to promote even browning, until golden brown, crispy, and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-lined plate to rest briefly before serving.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Paula Deen's Crab Cakes

In my quest for the perfect crab cake recipe, I could not leave out Paula Deen's recipe. As I've mentioned with my other entries, I'll comment on each one as I test them out . . . and I will, crab cakes is one of my favorite things!

1 pound crabmeat, picked free of shells
1/3 cup crushed crackers (recommended: Ritz)
3 green onions (green and white parts), finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 egg
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
Dash cayenne pepper
Flour, for dusting
1/2 cup peanut oil

Favorite dipping sauce, for serving

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients, except for the flour and peanut oil. Shape into patties and dust with flour. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, carefully place crab cakes, in batches, in pan and fry until browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip crab cakes and fry on other side until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Serve warm with preferred sauce.

New Orleans Crab Cakes

This recipe was featured on Tyler Florence's show from the Food Network on crab cakes . . . part of my series of crab cake recipes . . . as I try these recipes, I'll add my comments.

1 1/2 stalks celery heart, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 bunches of scallion, green part only, finely chopped
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
Freshly ground black and white pepper
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 cup parsley leaves, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 egg whites, beaten to stiff peaks
1/2 cup smoked salmon
1 cup whipped cream
1/2 lemon, juiced
Hot sauce (recommended: Crystal's)
1 pound jumbo lump crab
3 cups seasoned bread crumbs
5 tablespoons corn or vegetable oil, for frying
2 tablespoons butter, for frying

Serving suggestion: Remoulade

In a big heavy bottomed frying pan saute celery, peppers, onions, scallions in butter and oil. Add oregano, basil and thyme, salt and white pepper. Lastly add parsley and garlic and cook until soft. Leave to cool.

Finely chop smoked salmon, then flatten it, using the blade of a kitchen knife. Add the salmon to the whipped cream in a large mixing bowl. Add dill and season with salt and white pepper. Add 1/2 of the lemon juice and blend gently with spoon. Add 1 tablespoon of the sauteed vegetables and herbs to the mousse. Fold egg whites into mousse.

Check the crabmeat for pieces of shell and put in a large clean bowl.

Season with a handful of bread crumbs, salt, pepper, hot sauce and remaining lemon juice.

Fold in mousse, taking care not to over mix it. Fold in the rest of the vegetables and herbs and a handful of bread crumbs. Blend it together very carefully with your hands taking care not to break up any of the crabmeat and overwork the mousse.

Gently work into little cakes and bread them with more bread crumbs. Set aside.

Heat the butter and oil in a large heavy-bottomed frying pan. Fry the crab cakes until golden brown on each side. Only turn them once after the bottom side is browned.

Blonde Remoulade:

1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 tablespoons green onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons Creole mustard
1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning
1 teaspoon capers, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended Crystal's)
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Chop all vegetable ingredients. Place in bowl and add remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly then refrigerate.

*Cook's Note: It's best if you can make it the day before, using a food processor will make your sauce watery.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

The Ultimate Crab Cakes with Remoulade Sauce

OMG I made the mistake of watching Tyler Florence's show on the Food Network the other day . . . all about crab cakes. It got my mouth watering for one of my favorite things . . . and although I have a personal recipe that I will also post, I have not found that perfect crab cake recipe that totally hits the spot for me.

So . . . in celebration of that fabulous show on crab cakes and finding the perfect recipe, this entry is the first in a series of crab cake entries . . .

2 pounds russet potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup whole milk
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 bunch fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 pound fresh jumbo lump crabmeat
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 bunch fresh chives, finely chopped
3 cups bread crumbs
5 tablespoons vegetable oil, for frying
Lemon slices, for garnish
Green salad, as accompaniment

Remoulade, recipe follows

Put potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add salt and bring to the boil, uncovered. Simmer for about 20 minutes until there is no resistance when a fork is inserted.

Drain the potatoes and make sure they are dry. Mash them in a large bowl until all there are no lumps.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat the milk, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Do not let it boil. Using a sieve, strain the milk and herbs into the potatoes and mix thoroughly. Add the chopped chives and season with salt and pepper.

Check crabmeat for pieces of shell. Cover with cling-film and leave in the refrigerator until ready to use. Remove and fold carefully into the potatoes. Using your hands shape the mixture into medium sized patties, taking care to flatten out the centers and smooth out the top.

Roll them in bread crumbs and shake off excess.

Coat a large non-stick skillet with a 1/4-inch of oil and heat over a medium heat until it begins to smoke slightly. Pan-fry the crab cakes until brown, about 5 minutes on each side, turning carefully with a spatula. 
Remove from pan and serve on a large flat dish with Remoulade.

Garnish with slices of lemon and serve with a green salad.


2 cups mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons cornichons or sour gherkins, minced
3 tablespoons capers, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon leaves
1 1/2 anchovies, minced

Several dashes hot pepper sauce
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

Yield: 6 servings

Friday, April 18, 2008

Butter Cream Frosting


2 Tbs. flour
1/2 C. milk
1/4 lb. butter
1/2 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla


Mix flour and milk. Cook over low flame until thickened. Let cool. Cream butter and sugar. Beat for 5 min. Add cooled paste and add vanilla. Beat another 6 minutes.

This covers a larger cake, but I would double it for a layer or bundt cake.

Butter Frosting


1/4 C. butter
3 1/2 C. sifted powdered sugar
2 Tbs. rum (or 1/4 tsp. rum flavoring plus 2 Tbs. milk)


In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Gradually add 2 C. of the powdered sugar, beating well. Slowly beat in the rum or rum flavoring and 2 Tbs. milk. Slowly beat in remaining powdered sugar. Beat an additional milk, if needed to reach piping or spreading consistence.

Yield about 1 2/3 cups

Bakers Fudge Frosting


4 (1 oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate, cut into pieces
1/2 C. cold milk

2 egg yolks, well beaten
1 1/2 C. sugar
1 Tbs. butter
1 tsp. vanilla


Cook chocolate and milk over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and blended. Beat egg yolks with 3 Tbs. of the sugar. Add remaining sugar to chocolate mixture and cook, stirring, until smooth. Whisk in egg mixture and butter and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Beat until thick and creamy.

This makes enough frosting to fill and frost two layers.

Cream Cheese Frosting


1 lb. confectioners’ sugar
1/2 C. butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 Tbs. genuine vanilla extract


To make frosting, beat butter and cream cheese together until smooth; beat in vanilla until well-mixed. Gradually add confectioner's sugar until it is all incorporated. Frost cake.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Corn Casserole

1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (8-ounce) package corn muffin mix (recommended: Jiffy)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, stir together the 2 cans of corn, corn muffin mix, sour
cream, and melted butter. Pour into a greased 9 by 13-inch casserole dish.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and top with Cheddar.

Return to oven for 5 to10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Let stand for at least 5 minutes and then serve warm.

In my opinion, a whole stick of butter is not necessary,
half is enough . . .

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