Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

I recently saw a recipe in Saveur for banana oatmeal muffins and felt inspired to do a more Fall-flavored take on the recipe. I also tried to make the recipe healthier and bump up the protein – so these may not be the most moist (hate that word) or intensely flavorful muffins you’ve ever had, but I still like them and I hope you do too EDIT: they are moist and flavorful if you don’t overbake them like I overbaked the first batch! When they look done, poke them a bit and if they’re spongy but firm take them out! Don’t let them overbake! The picture below is how they should look – if they are darker they are probs over done.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

*Note – this recipe made 45 mini muffins. This cook time is based on using a mini muffin tin. Sorry…

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder (each scoop roughly 3 tbsp)
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease up a (mini) muffin tin.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together (all ingredients through sugar)
  3. Mix all the wet ingredients together (everything after sugar – even the oats yes)
  4. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and stir to combine.
  5. Plop spoonful of mixture into muffin tin. Bake for around 16 minutes (or until the tops are a bit browned.

DEVOUR.

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Chile Relleno with Zucchini and Mexican Rice

In the Mexico edition of Saveur, Diana Kennedy was described as being the “Julia Child of Mexico.” I received two of her cookbooks from my dad last Christmas, and finally decided to open them.

First I felt the need to make chiles rellenos (literally “stuffed chiles”). I decided to make a vegetarian chile relleno because I had zucchini and squash leftover in my fridge. They were delicious – spicy chiles filled with tender squash, salty cheese, and tangy onions.

And after reading Diana’s recipe for Mexican rice, I realized I was wrong on my previous Mexican rice blog post. While my made up version of Mexican rice is delicious, it’s not the traditional Mexican rice (which I have since realized is made with tomatoes). I must say, though, I am quite happy that I’ve realized the error of my ways. This rice is WAY better.

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If you’re afraid of butter, use cream…

As I’ve alluded to recently, I started a new job. My dream job. I’m the PR & Marketing Assistant for the Barbara Lynch Gruppo.  Barbara Lynch owns numerous restaurants and companies in Boston, including No. 9 Park, Menton, Sportello, Drink, B&G Oysters, The Butcher Shop, 9 at Home, and Stir. Needless to say, I have been eating well lately (as has Andrew).

Last night I had the privilege of attending one of the most special, moving events I’ve been to in my life – a birthday celebration for Julia Child at Menton, who would have been 100 years old yesterday.

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Back in Action

In the wise words of Rihanna: Where have you been all my life?

Well, I have been:

  • Moving
  • Starting a new job
  • Taking care of a friend’s cats
  • Cleaning my new apartment
  • Figuring out my new routine
  • Training for a half marathon
  • Cooking up a storm

But – now I’m back, and you will all see recipes and hear about trials and tribulations in the near future. I just wanted to check in to let you know that I am alive. I hope you’re alive too.

Border Grill

It’s been almost a month since I last posted, and let me tell you – life has been crazy. Work has been hectic, I went back home to California on vacation, and I recently put in two-weeks notice so I can start the job of my dreams in a few weeks. Life could not be more exciting, but also could not be busier.

Seeing as to how I was back in California, I obviously had to get my fill of Mexican cuisine. It’s been a while since I’ve done a restaurant review, but there are a couple of places definitely worthy of reviews. First and foremost: Border Grill

cocktail napkin at border grill

I went to Border Grill (Downtown LA location) because I see Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken all over TV – on Bravo, on Food Network, everywhere. I love their personalities and I’ve seen their food, but I just had to try for myself.

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Mexican Rice

I’ve really had a desire to cook more authentic Mexican food lately. I don’t know if I’m longing for my days in Southern California, or if it’s just one-quarter of my heritage calling (I’m one-quarter Mexican), but I’ve really been wanting to cook Mexican food and to cook it right. I did some research on Mexican herbs and spices so I could put together dishes with more authentic flavor profiles. I bought Mexican oregano (surprisingly different from Italian oregano), epazote, achiote/annatto seeds, among others. I’m ashamed to say that they’ve just been sitting sadly in my pantry – until tonight.

I decided I wanted to put my new spices to use tonight no matter how long it took, so I poked around for some Mexican rice recipes. I know many recipes say that Mexican rice is red because of a tomato base, but I also know that achiote/annatto seeds are used for both flavoring and coloring food. I decided to go with the achiote/annatto seeds over the tomatoes.  Some recipes were complicated with lots of ingredients that I didn’t have and didn’t feel like buying tonight, so I winged it. The only change I’d make moving forward is using more annatto seeds (which I reflected in the recipe below). This rice tasted great as the annatto seeds really brought a lightly nutty, lightly peppery taste to the rice. The flavor is really quite difficult to describe, other than saying it tastes like the flavor infused into the oil by the annatto seeds. You’ll have to just make it and see for yourself.

Mexican Rice

  • 2 cups long grain white rice, uncooked
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1.5 tbsp annatto/achiote seeds
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • kosher salt
  1. Heat oil in bottom of large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Once hot, add whole annatto seeds.
  3. Allow annatto seeds to cook in oil for 2-3 minutes, swirling the pan constantly to keep the seeds moving. You should see your oil turning a very dark red.
  4. After 2-3 minutes, strain by pouring oil through a strainer into a small bowl, with the strainer catching the annatto seeds. You don’t want the seeds in your rice.
  5. Put oil back into the saucepan and heat again over medium-high heat.
  6. Add onions to the oil. Cook until they just begin to get soft, around 2 minutes.
  7. Add garlic and dry rice to the oil/onions in the pan. Mix until everything is bright red.
  8. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add vegetable broth.
  9. Turn heat up to high. Bring to a rapid, rolling boil.
  10. Once boiling, cover pan and turn heat down to medium-low (closer to the low side)
  11. Cook, covered, for about 15 or 20 minutes, until the rice is cooked through when you taste it. If the rice is cooked but there is extra liquid, cook with lid off for a few minutes until the extra liquid has evaporated. Taste, and add salt as needed.
  12. Serve piping hot with ground beef, chorizo, tacos, fajitas, anything you want!

onions, after being mixed into annatto oil

rice, onions, and garlic after being mixed into annatto oil

final product, half eaten. i couldn’t help myself.

Mother’s Day Quiches

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and although I couldn’t spend it with my own Mom (sad), I was able to spend it with Andrew’s Mom and family. One of our Mother’s Day gifts to Andrew’s Mom was making her brunch. Andrew offered for us to make half the brunch, which basically meant that I was making half of the brunch by myself (which I was more than happy to do). I ended up making two different types of quiche as my contribution. Dare I call them, a Duet of Quiche? I made up these recipes on a whim and they turned out great.

Each quiche requires the same basic steps: cook up the ingredients you want in them, add them to a base of eggs and cream, pour into a pie crust, and bake.

Asparagus, Shallot, and Shiitake Mushroom Quiche

asparagus, shallot, mushroom quiche

  • 1 small bunch asparagus, chopped into medium-sized pieces
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 package shiitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 4 oz shredded Jarlsberg cheese
  • 3 oz shredded Mozzarella
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 frozen pie crust in tin, defrosted
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Melt butter in pan over medium-high heat. Add asparagus, shallots, and mushrooms. Saute until shallots are translucent and asparagus is a deep green. Turn off heat. Pour mixture onto plate and spread into a thin layer to allow to cool. This step is VERY important. If you add the mixture to the eggs and it’s too hot, it will start to cook the eggs. Not good.
  3. Scramble eggs in a bowl. Add cream. Add cheese. Add COOLED mixture from saucepan.
  4. Pour everything into pie crust.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until eggs are set. Cover the crust alone with tin foil if it begins to burn during cooking.

Bacon, Cheddar, and Spinach Quiche

bacon, cheddar, spinach quiche

  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • 6 oz cheddar cheese (whatever kind you like)
  • 1 package baby spinach
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 frozen pie crust in tin, defrosted
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Heat saucepan on medium-high heat. Cook bacon in saucepan until crispy. Remove from pan, dry off, chop, set aside.
  3. Melt butter in saucepan over medium high heat. Add spinach. Cook spinach down until very dark green and wilty. It won’t look like much, but it’ll be enough. Lay out spinach in thin layer on a plate, and cool thoroughly. Same as above quiche.
  4. Scramble eggs in a bowl. Add cream. Add cheese. Add COOLED mixture from saucepan.
  5. Pour everything into pie crust.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes or until eggs are set. Cover the crust alone with tin foil if it begins to burn during cooking.