“Keep Maine Alive” Blueberry Muffins

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A good friend of mine sent me this picture as we were emailing each other about cooking wizardry and creativity.  It immediately locked into my heart, I’m not sure why.  Finally today I got around to looking onto the “explodingdog” site, and there’s something about Sam’s work that I find so poignant, ridiculous, funny, sad and also happy.  If that makes sense.  You should check it out.

In the meantime, my current magical endeavor has been “keeping Maine alive” in our house.  What that means is serving up culinary reminders of our summers in Maine while my husband, whose favorite place on Earth is Maine, slogs away at the last long and overbooked hours of his job before the summer break.  For more info on our Maine trips, see here.

Beautiful Bowdoin Track, Brunswick, Maine

Beautiful Bowdoin Track, Brunswick, Maine

For Maine blueberry muffins, see below!  These are based on Zoe Nathan Loeb’s (Huckleberry, Milo & Olive, Rustic Canyon) recipe for Blueberry Bran Muffins.  They are maple-ey, almost sticky and pudding-like, not cakey at all.  Be sure to buy good blueberries.
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Ingredients:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup brown sugar, plus more for topping
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup wheat germ, lightly toasted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup plain full-fat yogurt
2 cups blueberries

Directions:
1) Preheat the oven to 350(F).
2) Place cupcake liners in a 12 cup muffin pan.
3) In a large bowl, whisk by hand the butter, brown sugar and salt. Add the egg and whisk to combine.
4) Add the maple syrup, honey and canola oil. Whisk until emulsified.
5) Add the flour, wheat germ, baking soda and yogurt. Whisk together just until combined.
6) Fill the muffin cups about three-quarters full. Top with lots of fresh berries. Crumble a little brown sugar on top of the fruit.
7) Bake in the oven until the cake springs back and the tops are golden brown (About 25 – 30 minutes).

 

Got a Grad?

How awesome are these cupcakes from In Katrina’s Kitchen???  If you have a grad in your life, head over to my article for Foodlander to see more ideas to mark this special occasion.

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Photo: Katrina Bahl

5 Star Notebook Dinners (Fried Chicken)

This fried chicken was so good my husband said, “Sue, this is just sooo good, you need to write this dinner down and keep it in a notebook . . . . otherwise I’m afraid you’ll forget to make it again.  And put the pork cheek ravioli in there too.”  So I’m keeping certain dinner recipes in a “notebook” page on this blog.  They’ll be recipes that won taste buds in my house over in a major way, ones to make again and again.  First up:  Fried Chicken.

Today I visited the Jimenez Farms stall at our Farmers Market and asked for some chicken breasts.  Since my husband doesn’t like bones or skin, I requested boneless and skinless breasts.  You’ll never believe what I got:  1 whole boneless, skinless breast weighing in at over 2 lbs!!!!  Normally when frying chicken I like to make more of a milanese (pounded breast or cutlet) so that the coating doesn’t burn while the inside is cooking.  If the chicken piece is very thick, chances are my coating will burn in order to get the meat fully cooked.  In order to avoid this catastrophe, I poached the ginormous breasts first for 7 minutes, cooled, then coated for frying.  When the coating was browned, I finished the breasts in the oven to make sure they were indeed fully cooked.  Worked like a charm.

Here’s the Recipe:

1.  Soak the chicken in 2 cups of buttermilk for 8 hours and up to overnight in the refrigerator.  I added a dried red chopped jalapeño.  Why not?

IMG_08612.  Poach the breasts in enough water or chicken broth to cover, for 7 minutes.

3.  In one bowl place two eggs.  I added a couple of drops of siracha and coconut aminoes (or use soy sauce).  In another bowl place a cup of flour mixed with salt, pepper, and 1 tsp. baking soda.

4.  After chicken has cooled, dip in flour, egg mixture, then flour again.  Let sit on a wire rack for a few minutes.

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5.  Heat up fat of choice (I used good old lard, about 1/4 cup) in a cast iron skillet over high heat.  Before adding breasts, lower to medium heat.  Add chicken and cook until nicely browned on both sides, approximately 2-3 minutes per side.

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6.  Transfer chicken on wire rack to a cookie sheet and place in a 375 degree oven until done, approximately 20 minutes for gigantic breasts, and probably about 10-15 for regular sized breasts.  I always reserve one breast for testing and cut into it during the cooking to gage doneness.

7.  I like to fry up some herbs and scatter on top of the chicken when finished.

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Serve with Pickles. Yes, pickles.

 

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