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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Great Way to Start the Day

With the US Thanksgiving holiday this upcoming weekend, I thought this might be a great recipe for a breakfast treat for those of you who are hosting overnight guests this holiday.

One of the things I really like to do when I host is to bake for my guests. It makes for a memorable experience to rouse your guests from their slumber with the smell of freshly baked muffins wafting throughout the house. These blueberry muffins are perfect for that surprise - they are delicious and rather simple to throw to together.

While these muffins are not super sugary with a large muffin top, they are rich with blueberry flavour, moist on the inside, with a nice crumb and a crisp muffin top. Served fresh from the oven with a pat of butter melting blissfully on top, it is perfect for breakfast.

For this recipe, I used wild blueberries which I think are superior to the regular kind. They are small but packed with great flavour. The fresh blueberries we find in the market these days are impressive indigo-hued marbles but really impart no fruit flavour to the muffin. The season for wild blueberries is rather short (August for us) but the wide availability of frozen wild blueberries make these little jewels available all year long.

Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins

2 c all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c white sugar
1 large egg
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted (slightly cooled)
1 c buttermilk
2 c frozen wild blueberries (keep in freezer pre-measured until ready to use)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Insert muffin liners into a 12 c muffin tin.
2. Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
3. In another bowl, whisk egg and sugar together until pale yellow. Slowly whisk in melted butter, then whisk in buttermilk until incorporated.
4. Remove blueberries from the freezer and toss with the dry ingredients.
5. Add wet ingredients to dry and with a spatula, gently fold mixture together. Do not overmix otherwise the muffins will be tough. You will have some dry spots in your batter, this is okay.
6. Scoop batter with a large spoon into the prepared muffin tins.
7. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes until the tops are golden brown.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends!
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Crab Spaghettini with Chili

This has been an extremely busy week at our house.

We had a baby on Wednesday morning. Yes, you read that right. We had a baby. Wednesday. Our darling, Jack, arrived safely on his actual due date after a rather brief but arduous delivery. While my husband and I braced ourselves (mentally) for the long sleepless nights and the crying fits, nothing could have prepared us for the intense euphoria and joy of meeting your child for the first time. While it is tiring, it is certainly not without its rewards. Ah parenthood...

Now onto the business at hand...

As frazzled and tired as we are, we have still managed to cobble a couple of meals together. At times it can be a challenge, but I think the key is a well-stocked kitchen and a couple of "go to" recipes that you can quickly put together.

One of our classic standbys is this simple pasta dish. If you have time to boil water, you have time to make this delicious dish. While crab can be a little spendy, if you think about it balanced against one night of ordering in, it's still a pretty cost effective meal and makes an everyday meal slightly special.

Crab Spaghettini with Chili

1 lb pasta - long thinish noodles like spaghettini, spaghetti or linguine

4 tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves, minced finely
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1/2 c grape or cherry tomatoes
1 lb crab meat*
1 large lemon, zested & juiced
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill

parmesan reggiano

1. Boil water & prepare pasta according to package's instructions.
2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large sauce pan. Once bubbly, saute garlic and chili flakes until garlic is softened. Do not brown. Add tomatoes until softened then add crab meat. Break up crab into loose chunks
3. Once the pasta is al dente, drain immediately and add to a large pasta serving bowl. Set aside at least 1 c of pasta water.
4. Add prepared crab mixture on top of pasta and toss with lemon juice, zest and dill until well coated. Add additional pasta water to loosen if required. Add salt & pepper to taste. Finely grate parmesan on top and serve immediately.

*you can prepare your own crabs, but honestly, I buy the refrigerated picked crab meat. It's delicious and saved me alot of time...

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