Friday, May 24, 2013

As Seen On TV: Soy Locos Por Los Corn Muffins
followed by
and yes that is Richard Simmons

It's the final countdown...Arrested Development is coming out from hiding in the attic in less than 2 days (at least from this post). This has inspired me to make some Arrested Development styled recipes. First up: Honey-Rosemary Corn Muffins.

In Season 1, Episode 2, we, the audience, are introduced to George Bluth Sr.'s failed Cornballer. The Cornballer has a nasty habit of burning the user every damn time. This is a consistent joke throughout the entire series (and hopefully still within the new episodes).

My corn muffins do not burn you (although I did slightly burn myself in the coincidental). The underlying honey flavor plays nicely with the savory fresh rosemary. And I know typically there is no actual corn in corn muffins or bread, but I break all the rules. I sliced fresh kernels from 3 cobs of sweet corn and added them to the batter uncooked. The kernels added a crunch to an otherwise fluffy muffin and a ka-pow of sweet to the savory side.

The original recipe I strayed away from like a lost puppy is from The Neelys (literally who is stated as the author) from the Food Network.

Honey - Rosemary Corn Muffins

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1/3 cup honey
3 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
3 cobs of sweet corn

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 - 25 minutes
Yield 24 muffins

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line two pans (12 muffins each pan) with muffin liners.
Mix cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
Whisk milk, eggs, butter, and honey in a separate medium bowl.
Combine kernels into dry ingredients until all kernels are well covered. Add fresh rosemary into dry and kernel mixture.
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredient/kernel mixture until well combined.
Divide mixture evenly among 24 muffin liners. Should fill each liner about 1/2 to 3/4 up. Any further and it will spill over.
Cook muffins until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Check center of a muffin to see if fully cooked through by inserting a toothpick. Toothpick should come out clean. Let muffins cool before conquering and devouring.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I Wanna See Your Pecan (Pear-Blueberry Coffee Cake)

Well, the title is a stretch on a Katy Perry song, but it makes sense to me. So for your listening pleasure,

"Come on baby let me see what you're hiding underneath." No, this lyric doesn't just apply to Katy Perry's curiosity, but what's underneath the pecans in my first post-graduate baked item: Pecan Pear-Blueberry Coffee Cake.

Throughout 4 years of college, several things have changed. No, I'm not any taller and my shoe size hasn't changed, but I've developed a dangerous addiction to coffee. If you would have told me when I started college that I would've been a daily coffee drinker, I would have said "well, I guess anything is possible" because I'm still indifferent. But either way, this coffee cake is coffee's missing lover. And at last, they can be joined in a loving brunch union. Forever and ever.

This coffee cake has the sweet tangy-ness of spring/summer time fruit and the savory crunch from the pecan topping. The lemon zest enhances the sweetness of the cake. Be careful with the amount of fruit added into the batter because the higher the water content, the musher the cake is going to become and the longer it may take to cook. Also, be careful with the amount of pecans in the topping because if they start stacking on top of each other, they may burn (eww...not good).

I found the original recipe in the June 2013 issue of Eating Well. Of course, I'm naturally defiant in almost every aspect of my life so why would I follow this recipe as it tells me to?

Pecan Pear-Blueberry Coffee Cake


Coffee Cake
1 cup all-purpose flour (plus extra for fruit)
3 Tbsp cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp butter, softened
3 Tbsp canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup low-fat milk
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup chopped bosc pear, peeled

2 Tbsp butter, cold
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup sliced pecans

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 to 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 1/2 hours

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.
Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Beat softened butter and oil in a large bowl until well combined. Add sugar and beat until mixture is smooth. Add eggs, milk, lemon zest, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Slowly, add flour mixture into wet ingredients until well combined.
Place chopped pear and blueberries in a separate bowel and lightly dust in extra flour. Carefully fold fruit into pan. Set aside.
Combine cold butter and sugar in a bowl by using a pastry blender or two knives until butter becomes small pieces. Toss pecans in to butter and sugar mixture. Sprinkle on top of the cake.
Bake cake until top is golden brown, about 50 to 55 minutes. To test if center of the cake is complete, either place a tooth pick in the center of the cake and wait for it to pop out or at the end of baking stick a butter knife into the center to see if it is finished. No batter should appear on the knife. If there is batter, the cake needs to continue cooking. Try using 5 minute increments to determine when to check again.

Let The Great Experiment Begin!

Lots of things are ending: my college career (from graduating, not from wheeling shopping carts around dorm buildings), Jeff Winger's Greendale experience, the Office will be soon (congrats to Dwight and Angela!), and the season finale of Parks and Recreation was a whole two weeks ago (needless to say, I've been quite lonely without Lesley Knope), and last night was the season finale of the Mindy Project. And, yes, I do measure my life in the television shows I frequently watch. And, yes, I could continue with listing the ends of things measured in television because the season finale of Grey's Anatomy is Thursday (stupid Arizona, let Meredith's baby be okay, and Alex and Jo just be together already!). Okay, that's it, I promise. And with the end of college comes the end of cable (for me, not the world), which means...

I get to say hello to some new beginnings of my life: hello to actually blogging to satisfy my biggest fans (hi Grandma Jane), hello to Netflix and HuluPlus, hello to whatever television series may satisfy my never-ending need for visual story telling, hello to not studying (what? Is this real life? I forgot what 8 hours of sleep a night felt like...I think I'm actually a superhero but lack of sleep caused my powers to diminish slightly), and a huge hello to the return of Arrested Development (catch up - They've unmade a huge mistake.

So what does all of this television consumption have to do with my continuing journey into the cooking world? Everything. Along with my usual trial and extremely probably error and failure, I am going to start a new experiment (...get it now) where I make the foods and dishes of my favorite television characters. Waffles for Lesley Knope, beets for Dwight, and of course frozen bananas for the Bluths. But not squirrel for Daryl from the Walking Dead. Definitely not that.

Please follow me on this television-inspired post-college graduate cooking and baking experience. Hopefully, I can inspire you to take on a food challenge of your own...or at least start watching some more television like yours truly.