Olive Oil Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

You all know I am a fan of farmers’ markets and I try to go to one every weekend.  It is always my mission to find fresh seasonal produce and to support our local growers.   During one of my recent visits I purchased one of the early crops of zucchini.  I don’t think any of them measured over 5 inches in length.  I brought them home and had the “now what am I going to make with these?” moments.   I also wanted to incorporate one of my favorite olive oils that I have blogged about previously, Spartan Oil.  You can tell in this photo this is a well-loved bottle of Spartan Oil that has seen many refills.  I am a fan of using olive oil in place of many cooking oils.  For this recipe, the combination of the oil, zucchini and chocolate are divine.  I was off to my neighbors delivering muffins that afternoon after my first taste and realized these are truly delicious.  Check out the second photo – my dear neighbor posted about the muffins on Facebook; a truly delightful post.

It’s National Doughnut Day! Orange Glazed Doughnut Holes

I posted this recipe two year’s ago and it has been one of my most viewed recipes.  I thought it would be worth a repost today.  Just as good today as it was two years ago.

 

Did you know that tomorrow, June 5th is National Doughnut Day?  National Doughnut Day is traditionally celebrated the first Friday of June, which this year falls on June 5. The celebration was first established by the Chicago Salvation Army  to honor women who served doughnuts to soldiers during World War I and II. The organization’s “doughgirls” once delivered doughnuts to the “doughboys,” and in 1938 it was made an official thing.   What a great tradition to continue.  I know that all of the large doughnut chains are hyping the day and having doughnut specials.  Why not make doughnut holes at home?  This recipe will have you celebrating National Doughnut Day each year!

Here is one more piece of information worth noting.

The dictionary-approved spelling for the ring-shaped cake made of dough and fried in fat is doughnut. The shortened donut has been around since the late 1800s, but it wasn’t popularized until the late 20th century, when the successful American doughnut chain Dunkin’ Donuts made it ubiquitous. Today, writers outside the U.S. still favor doughnut by a wide margin. Donut appears about a third of the time in published American writing.

 

 orange glazed doughnut holes

 

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Interesting Find – Farmer’s Daughter Jams and Preserves and Whole Wheat Biscuit Recipe

I am always on the search for interesting food items to incorporate into my cooking and my blog.  When I saw Farmer’s Daughter Jams and Preserves this past weekend, I just have to buy a few jars.  The cute jars and catchy batch names such as Blackberry Julep Jam and Strawberry Honeysuckle Preserves were calling my name.  I spend of bit of time researching the company and found they are headquartered in Hillsborough, NC.  After checking their website (http://www.farmersdaughterbrand.com/index.htm) I found the following information that tells their story:

Farmer’s Daughter is a farm-driven artisan food business celebrating the flavors of the South and the soils of the North Carolina Piedmont while gaining inspiration from authentic food cultures worldwide.  It was founded in 2007 by April McGreger, who learned the art of preserving at the elbows of her mother and grandmother amidst a rural farming community in Mississippi.  Farmer’s Daughter seeks to promote the value of sustainable, small-scale agriculture as well as traditional, handmade methods of preserving.

I am always impressed with those that continue the traditions set by their mothers and grandmothers.  We tried both of the above varieties, they are wonderful and especially delicious on my whole wheat biscuits- YUM!

These biscuits are incredibly easy to prepare and the results are always great.  I rolled my dough approximately 3/4 inch thick, if you want event taller biscuits, you can roll the dough up to 1 inch thick.  You will have fewer biscuits, but very impressive when over the top in height!

 

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Whole Wheat Biscuits

Servings 12

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened and diced
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

    In a large mixing bowl. combine the flours, baking powder, sugar, salt and cream of tartar.  Add butter and using a pastry blender, cut butter into mixture until the butter is the size of small peas.  Make a well in the center, add egg and milk and combine with a fork until all of the dry ingredients are moist.  Turn dough onto a well floured surface and knead until all is smooth and all dry ingredients are incorporated.  Roll dough to 3/4 inch thick, cut with three inch cutter.  Place biscuits on parchment lined baking sheet, 1/4 inch apart.  Bake 12 minutes or until golden brown.   

 

 

 

 

Sugar Crusted Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Did you know that blueberries are one of the few fruits native to America?  Our early settlers in Plymouth, MA were exposed to blueberries by the Native Americans and now they are grown in many regions of the US and Canada.  Springtime always seems to bring the blueberries, strawberries and raspberries to center stage in any produce department.  I couldn’t pass by the blueberries, perfect for my Sugar Crusted Lemon Blueberry Muffins.  I top these with coarse grain sugar for that extra crunch.  

One more note, you can make these the night before and bake in the morning – what a wonderful way to start the day!

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Sugar Crusted Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup blueberries, washed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons lemon rind, grated
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix the flour with 1/2 cup sugar, the baking powder, and salt.  Make a well in the center.  Combine the egg, oil, and milk.  Add to the dry ingredients, stir until moistened.  Toss the blueberries with 2 tablespoons of sugar and the lemon rind.  Fold into the batter.  Fill muffin pans lined or greased 2/3 full.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

    While the muffins are cooking, melt the butter and stir in the lemon juice.  Dip the warm muffin tops in the butter and sprinkle with sugar.  You can use coarse sugar or granulated sugar for the tops.

    Make ahead - you can prepare the batter and fill the muffin cups, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Just bake, dip and serve.


 

Italian Rolls

One of our favorite local Italian restaurants serves the most delicious rolls, always hot out of the oven and served with an olive oil dipping sauce.  The last time we were there I was convinced I was going to try to duplicate those rolls.  I think this recipe is as close as I can get.  Since I make yeast breads frequently, I tweaked one of my existing recipes. .  Not a fan of making yeast breads?  Try this one – 4 ingredients in this recipe and your bread skills will go from zero to hero!  Give them a try – you will not be disappointed.  Next time I make these, grilled Italian sausages and peppers are going along with these rolls!  

 

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Italian Rolls

Ingredients

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 1 /4 cups warm water
  • 3 3/4 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • olive oil for brushing on top of rolls

Instructions

  1. If using a food processor - stir the yeast into the water and let stand for 10 minutes.  Put flour and salt in processor bowl, turn processor on and slowly add the water, if the dough is too dry, add a bit more water until it forms a ball.  Let processor knead the dough for approx. 4 minutes. 

    If using a mixer - repeat the steps above using the paddle attachment, once incorporated use the dough hook and knead for approx. 4 minutes

    If by hand - stir the yeast into the water and let stand for 10 minutes in a large bowl.  Stir in flour, one cup at a time - add the salt.  Using your hands; incorporate all of the flour, turn out on to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic - 8 - 10 minutes.

    Place dough in a greased bowl, let rise until double, approx. 1 hour.  Turn dough onto a floured board, divide dough into 10 equal portions, make each roll into a ball. Brush each dough ball with olive oil.  Cover the dough balls and let rest for 10 minutes.  Flour a baking sheet.  Make a deep indentation with the side of your hand in each roll down the middle, place the roll indentation side down on floured baking sheet, repeat with all of the rolls.  Cover rolls and let rise for another hour.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Oil another baking sheet, after they have risen, place rolls indentation side up on this sheet,   Bake rolls for 15 - 18 minutes or until golden brown.  To make a crisp crust, spray water three times into the oven during the first 10 minutes of baking.

 

 

Crusty Pepperoni Bread

Most quick bread recipes you see are for sweet breads, this is a savory quick bread.  Another recipe gem from a family friend.  Perfect to serve along side a bowl of soup, as an appetizer (slice thin and add to any cheese tray), or dipped in your favorite marinara sauce.  Quick, easy and exceptionally good.

pepperoni bread1

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Cranberry Nut Bread

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I was thumbing through my recipes and I came across another family favorite.  I remember always having Cranberry Nut Bread during the holidays.  I think my favorite memory of this bread was on skiing trips.  I grew up very close to a ski resort and every Saturday and Sunday would spend the day skiing with my friends.  My mom always packed goodies for me to eat and one of my favorites was cranberry bread slathered with cream cheese and put together as a sandwich.  These were highly sought after as my friends were always hoping she would pack extras (and she typically did).  Always great with coffee, tea or my favorite; sandiwiched with cream cheese.  Perfect to bake one for now and freeze one for later.

cranberry-nut-bread

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Harvest Bread

After a beautiful weekend exploring the Virginia countryside, I came home and decided it was time to pull out my mom’s recipe box and find a fall recipe.  This bread features fall’s best – pumpkin, walnuts, chocolate chips and topped with a spiced glaze.  I have to add, the aroma in your kitchen while it is baking is sensational.  It embraces the best of fall, crisp weather, turning leaves, apples, pumpkins and fall spices – what more can I say – I just love the change of seasons!

harvest-bread

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Tomato Toast

I cannot walk past a display of farm fresh ripe tomatoes this time of year.  I am such a huge tomato fan, my husband is convinced that I could eat them everyday for every meal.  He is pretty much on target with that comment.  Tomato Toast is my latest tomato creation.  Crispy grilled bread, cheese filling, topped with tomato slices – perfect for an appetizer or side dish.  

tomato toast

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Poppyseed Orange Blueberry Bread

In my previous posts I mention our love for poppy seed bread.  Specifically because that is what I made for a picnic on the day I met my husband.  I am always trying new things with poppyseed bread.  The addition of blueberries and orange was a sweet success. 

poppyseed orange

 

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