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Showing posts with label the local pig. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the local pig. Show all posts

Monday, September 19, 2016

Butternut Squash Muffins

Want more pictures? Follow me on Instagram @WannaBGourmande!
Fall is here and my inner Basic Bitch is going bananas. (Follow my favorite tag #basicbitchesunite on instagram) Pumpkin Spice is King during these fabulous months, and his lovely Queen Apple Cider reigns benevolently at his side. That being said, there are more than enough fruits and vegetables to go around during this time of year that you can consume to maintain your seasonal lifestyle.

Things that are in season, in America, this Fall:

  • Apples
  • Beets
  • Cabbage and Brussels Sprouts
  • Cranberries
  • Pears
  • Persimmons
    • Here in Kansas City, you can find the wild ones!
  • Pomegranates 
    • Persephone Returns to her Husband, Hades!
  • Squash of all varieties
  • Pawpaws
    • True American Fruit!
  • Chinese long beans
    • These are AMAZING on the grill!
  • Okra
  • Green beans
  • Quince
    • Important: Cook these for jams and jellies...they are inedible while raw!
  • Sweet potatoes
I personally have found everything except for the pomegranates at my local farmers market. Since I work at a farmer's market, too, I often get the pick of the litter in exchange for cookies or a loaf of bread. Bartering between market stall owners is honestly the main way I get groceries nowadays. I, of course, shop at wholesale stores for my bakery, Pistachio Bakehouse, but I barely go to the grocery store every other week for myself, mostly for toiletries and dog food. Otherwise, I barter with my farmers for produce and I go to The Local Pig(famously local butcher in Kansas City) for my meats and eggs. 

Cooking and eating seasonally is a challenge, and I'd be a jerk to say otherwise. I'm fortunate enough to live in the Midwest, where everything grows. I won't be so lucky in the winter, so I'll have to find alternative methods of finding food, but until then I'm sure I can find a way.

There's been a plethora of butternut squash around me as of late, and I just adore it. Squash is a fabulous food full of potassium and high amounts of fiber, making it a great choice for your heart and bones. You can roast it in chunks, but I find that it's much more versatile in the puree form, especially because this is how you use it for pies, cakes, muffins, etc. Here's how to roast it for puree:

We got these from a local farmer, since mine didn't turn out so great this year...
 Cut your squash in half using a big fukken knife and score in hatch marks using a smaller knife. Scoop out the seeds and, if you're a gardener, too, set aside to wash them free from the pulp and let dry for planting next season. (This does take some work, but it's an investment of time now to pay off later in spades.) I had about ten squash to work with, but simply use this formula:

Per 1 Medium Squash:

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 oz(4 Tbsp) butter, really really soft
  • Two or three nice sage leaves from the garden
Rub the sage leaves a few times between your palms to release the oils. Rub the butter all over the fleshy side of the squash, then rub in the sage and salt. Roast first at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes. Turn the heat down to 325 and then continue roasting for another 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and then cover with aluminum foil. Let set for about 15 minutes, or until cool enough to handle with your hands. 
dat color tho

Scoop out the squash from its skin and pop it in a blender/food processor, and puree until smooth. You can pop this mixture into mason jars and can it for later use, or you can use some now for muffins! This is makes and exceptionally delicious spice cake and it's just lovely with a hot tea or a cold morning. 


Butternut Squash Spice Muffins
Adapted from Quick Breads by Liz Franklin

Cake:

  • 320 g Cake flour
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 200 g brown sugar
  • 100 ml Maple syrup
  • 50 g coconut oil
  • 50 g olive oil
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp Rum extract(optional, but yummy!)
  • 150 g butternut squash puree
  • Strusel topping, if desired
Strusel Topping
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, soft
Make your strusel first by combining all ingredients in the bowl of your standing mixer and blending with the dough hook until it all comes together when you take a handful and squeeze it in your fist. You can set this aside in a separate container, in the refrigerator, for up to a month. Make sure you write the date using a piece of tape and a sharpie! Organization will set you free...

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. 

Combine your dry ingredients (flour, spices, baking soda, salt, brown sugar) in the bowl of the standing mixer and mix to combine with the paddle attachment. Add in your fat and stir for about a minute, until the mixture is sort of crumbly-looking. Add in your liquid ingredients(maple syrup, extract, eggs, and squash) all at once and stir until everything comes together, but do not over-mix. It's 10000000% okay if the mixture is lumpy, just be sure to scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl once more before popping it in your mold.

This recipe makes a very nice loaf cake for your eating pleasure, but I much prefer to have them in individual muffins, lined with paper. The reason I don't just spray the bejeezus out of a muffin tin and pop in my batter? Well, there are a few...

This recipe is what is known as a quickbread, and therefore "rises quickly." In order for it to get a nice top, the batter has to be able to climb the sides and stick to them so it expands as it bakes. If I were to spray the pan, my batter would release easily from the sides after baked, sure, but they'd be sadly short and muffin-top-less. If I have a loaf pan, I'll simply spray and then flour, so that it'll both be easy to release but the batter will have something to cling on to as it rises, resulting in lovely, even bubbles and a light, fluffy muffin. 

Here's a little naughty Chef's trick: After I've panned my batter(put it in the pans), I let it sit for about 5 minutes while the oven gets up to temperature. Quickbreads are meant to be quick, yes, but baking soda is activated by both moisture and acid. Since this is a fairly low-acid recipe, you have a little leeway to let those flour granules soak up some of that lovely moisture from the eggs and squash. Sugar is also highly hygroscopic, so the high amount in this recipe helps you keep this muffin moist anyway....but why go halfway when you could go all the way by letting it rest?

Once my batter is panned and rested, and my oven heated, then go ahead and sprinkle on that yummy strusel topping, if you're using it, and bake. Set your timer for 25 minutes and then check them with a toothpick. If you're super-precise like me, you should temp your cakes/breads/quickbreads at about 200 degrees F with a thermometer. Mine took about 27 minutes in my oven at home, but your oven will likely behave differently.

Allow the quickbread to cool for about 15 minutes before removing from the pan, and then cool completely before cutting into it. Enjoy it with some warm apple cider and an infinity scarf while you drag your boyfriend Jeremy to the apple orchard.



Sunday, May 24, 2015

Tannin Wine Bar & Kitchen - An Ode to Urban Romanticism


I went to Tannin for dinner last night. It seemed the perfect thing to do after a successful showing at the Gathering of Pagan Souls for Witchcraft and Wellness, for whom I am the official Kitchen Witch! Here, you can read all about it! But more on that later...

It seemed wrong to go to Tannin without ordering wine, so I opted for a sweet gewurtztraminer(say that five times fast), even though I seldom drink. I had definitely heard great things about this little place in the Crossroads, so when B suggested it for dinner on a rainy Saturday evening, I just couldn't say no.

The decor was nice, intimate without being too dark or cramped. We sat by the big bay window and watched as the rain fell down around us. It was like being in a 40s Noir film, and felt very sexy and romantic. When I was little, I would imagine how fabulous I would be as a gorgeous grown-up girl, with my hair long, wearing a pretty dress, sitting romantically across from the man I loved at a perfect little bistro as the rain fell down around us. These feelings were magically conjured up as B and I held hands over our table at Tannin.

The wait staff was attentive without being overbearing, and the tables were small without feeling, well, small. The wine list was, obviously, quite extensive so I can't imagine there would be something there that couldn't work for a person. I am not a wine aficionado, of course; I'm more of a food person. Onto the food.

Sausage. Potato salad. What else do you need?

On the appetizer menu, we decided to split "the Local Pig sausage" while we decided on an entree. It came sort of 'shielding' a really tasty potato salad hidden underneath! The sausages from The Local Pig are always great, and seeing businesses that support them so vehemently are nice. Kansas City truly is the biggest small town out there!

Now, THAT, is how you sauce a dish. 

When it came time for entrees, I opted for the chicken, and B got the short ribs. The short ribs came with yummy, garlic-y mashed potatoes and green beans. It was fall-apart tender, but still kept its shape nicely, which is hard to do. It was seasoned perfectly, and he ate the whole thing before I was halfway done with my chicken.

The chicken, though beautifully seasoned, was sadly a little dry. It was flavorful, but it was dry, and swimming in a pan-sauce that really needed to be reduced. It was just a crap-ton of liquid on a plate, albeit tasty liquid, that begged for some bread to sop it up. I actually kind of regret not asking for some....

Though gorgeous, the chicken was(tragically) a hair dry.


The chicken came with brussel sprouts and oyster mushrooms, which are my absolute favorite mushrooms ever. There were plenty of brussel sprouts, all yummy and hard-seared, but I really wished that the mushrooms were more aptly presented and not just tossed in. But then B said something:

"Not everyone likes mushrooms as violently as you do."

Damn, he's right.

I love mushrooms! I love them grilled, and I could just eat nothing but mushrooms of varying kinds for a whole meal. I just wanted a big fukken wedge of mushrooms, just grilled, and on a plate......but not everyone likes mushrooms like that. Some people like them just as an accent piece. Some people don't like them at all, so it actually makes sense for the people of Tannin to make it a more accessible dish for people who don't want their mushrooms loud and proud like I do. I almost felt like the mushrooms were hiding in the sauce/broth/stuff, but it was probably perfect to a person who wasn't a total mycophile.

The rain was coming down really hard by the time we finished up with our entrees, and we, like idiots, didn't bring the umbrella. This was my excuse for ordering coffee and dessert, and boy am I glad I did!

*heavy breathing*


What you see before you is easily the best dessert I've had in a long time. It's French toast, made with challah bread, and served with whipped cream. Dear God, was it delicious. I can't even begin to describe how moist yet crispy, soft yet textured this thing was. I just wanted to shrink myself down and crawl onto the bread and snuggle up into a sleepy, sugar-coated slumber on it, and then eat it. The coffee was good, too, I guess. I got a few neat pictures of it. I was trying to get a solid, clear picture of the milk swirling in the hot coffee, but a lot of my photos ended up a little blurry. Oh well.


When the rain finally let up, we had just finished scraping the dessert off the plate and were able to pay the check. We didn't have to sprint to the car, which is good, because I was really full, but I did not leave wanting to run away from this place. Rather, I would like to run TO this place. It was a great little bar, perfect for unwinding, meeting friends, having a date night.... I cannot think of a single thing wrong with that place. Even if the chicken was a touch dry, I'll be back. I will be back for the sausage, the French toast, the wine list, the atmosphere...I might just go there tonight, just for the heck of it! Big thumbs up for Tannin Wine Bar & Kitchen!  Great job!


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