red beet and ricotta lunch muffins

I realize that homemade chocolate chunk fudge rounds are far more desired baked goods than muffins made from mashed up pickled beets. You probably either detest pickled beets or devour them (like I do). I am spoiled by the fact that every summer my grandma cans several batches of homemade pickled beets grown by local Amish farmers. She stores them in her cellar and will often give them as gifts to neighbors and relatives. My packed lunches often include a short stack of these beets alongside cottage cheese. The tangy pickled flavor is cut by the creamy curds, with a pinch of ground black pepper to round it out (I also think it is fun to watch the cottage cheese turn a glowing rosy scarlet color as the two mingle).

If you have made it this far, then you will probably be interested in the recipe that I came up with that was inspired by these flavors.

Red Beet and Ricotta Lunch Muffins

Makes 12

Preheat oven 350-degrees.

2 C self rising flour
1 t cloves
2 eggs @ room temp
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 T unsalted butter, melted
1/2 C ricotta cheese + more for serving
1/2 C mashed beets*

Sift together flour and cloves (or cinnamon, depending on your taste). Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk eggs together and add the sugar in several steps. Whisk in melted butter. Add ricotta cheese and mashed beets alternately until combined.

Fold flour mixture into batter just until incorporated. Scoop out into muffin tins.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until toothpick test comes out clean.

Serve with ricotta cheese.

*I used pickled beets. They were quite tangy! I imagine straight roasted beets to be more mild and probably more appropriate with cinnamon.

pasta & pancakes over the campfire

It’s probably not a surprise that one of my favorite parts of camping is eating food made over the fire. Pinot Basil Pasta and Pecan Pancakes with Fruit Compote were two such meals enjoyed this weekend at Van Buren State Park with a dear old friend of mine. We chopped goodness from her garden and began cooking the thickest and hardest veggies first in a bit of olive oil.  Afterwhile we added the softer veggies to the skillet along with some basil and Pinot Grigio. Once the wine reduces, everything is ready to mix in with the pasta and be consumed!  The pancake combo was another winner from Backpacker Magazine. These pancakes did not miss usual syrup.  The woodsy cinnamon and smoky dark cherry was my favorite flavor combination, but since I cannot resist a toasted marshmallow at any given opportunity, I topped off my pancakes with one goldened from the embers.  Corn syrup made it on the pancakes after all.

stochastic summer

Not much to say, just sifting through some photos from the season. The temperature got down to the 6o’s last night, and I am giddy for the weekend and the fall season, my favorite. Wishing you random happiness.

sunday night sweet biscuitscape

It just takes a few sweet potatoes (or one whopper sweet potato) and spoonful of cinnamon to transform a biscuit into a stand-alone sweet treat.  Don’t get me wrong, I love all kinds of biscuits, but these are my new favorite.  I use this recipe from Paula Deen, a food mill as my sweet potato sieve, add 1 t cream of tartar and 2 T cinnamon.  My mom gave me these square biscuit cutters at Easter, and the little ones make adorable bite-sized biscuits!  Kind of like monkey bread, only less sticky and somewhat healthier.  And lucky for me, I found some gingerbread ale in my cupboard that accompanied nicely.

you are one nutty noodle

I have always appreciated the heartiness and speedy cooktime of the soba noodle and have been enjoying them in a new way (to me) since discovering this recipe.  I most like this dish chilled, with extra avocado and jalapeño.  The dressing is a simple reduction, easy to save and also works with ginger paste.  Now that the days are longer, it sure has been nice to come home and eat dinner in the daylight.