Friday, May 22, 2009

Ginger Poppy Seed Scones

so i found an unopened bottle of poppy seeds in our freezer last night and got a bee in my bonnet to make muffins. the recipe below was for Lemon Poppy Seed muffins, but alas and alack, we have no lemons and they turned out really to be much more scones than muffins. fine with us, i've never made scones before and it was very easy. so here ya go:

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

From Food Network Kitchens

Prep Time:
20 min
Inactive Prep Time:
0 min
Cook Time:
25 min


12 muffins


* 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
* 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
* 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
* 2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus up to 1 tablespoon for topping the muffins, if desired
* 2 large eggs, at room temperature
* 4 teaspoons poppy seeds
* 1/2 cup milk


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly brush a 12-cup muffin tin with butter and set aside. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with an electric hand-held mixer in a large bowl, cream the butter, zest, and 2/3 cup sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Stir in the poppy seeds.

Fold the flour in 3 parts into the butter mixture, alternating with the milk in 2 parts, until just combined. Take care not to overmix the batter. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tin and sprinkle the tops with sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool muffins in the pan on a rack. Serve warm.

Cook's Note: Poppy seeds can go rancid easily and should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

* Copyright 2001 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved

Jocelyn's Note: I changed the lemon zest to the same amount of grated ginger, which was nearly imperceptable as a flavor to me, but i'm sure it added something to the overall flavor. i would use lemon zest if i had it. I also used much more sugar on the tops, a large three-finer pinch-full.

Photo Credit: Elise Bauer's Simply Recipes website

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

baking soda and vinegar, just about everything you need

in my ongoing quest to never buy another commercial cleaner for my house, i looked up "natural drain cleaner" online and found something quite like what i expected:

From Put a tablespoon of baking soda into the kitchen drain about once a week, then slowly pour in 1/4 cup of vinegar or lemon juice and let it stand for 30 minutes. Next run run hot water through the drain to eliminate minor buildups and odors.

they recommend this same procedure for clogs but with different amounts: Alternatively, consider a natural drain cleaner even for blockages. Remove any standing water then pour 1/2 c. baking soda into your drain. Follow this with 1/2 c. white vinegar. The baking soda is basic and the vinegar is acidic, so they will react with a churning action should break up the blockage without using any chemicals.

viola! i'm going to go see how it works on my studio sink drain.

image courtesy

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Coconut Noodles

so i made dinner the other night, and bratton was over (that would be brian bratton, steve's biz partner) and couldn't stop raving about the dinner. now, for some people that would mean they liked it and wanted to show their appreciation to the chef. but bratton and i are way beyond the politics of good manners and gracious host/hostess behavior. besides that, bratton is a great cook himself and quite the saucier - in fact, if he doesn't bring a sauce (salsa, rub, dipping, basting, marinating or otherwise) to my house when he comes over, then, as the friend, not the hostess, i am offended. but bratton raving about my food happens about as often as a blue moon, which, i discovered the other day is actually a real phenomenon, as defined originally by the Farmer's Almanac as the fourth full moon in any given season. a season being defined by the equinoxes beginning around the 20th/21st of march, june, september and december. so, you start counting at the first full moon closest to the equinox of the season, let's choose june 20, since it's the next one coming up. the full moon is july 7, so that would be the early summer moon. the next full moon, on august 6, is the midsummer moon (i totally, unabashedly, love the idea of a midsummer's moon, and to think i didn't discover its existence until the other day!). the next full moon, on september 4, is the late summer moon. how utterly fabulous and wonderful is that? so, if there happens to be an extra full moon, between the mid and late moons, that's the blue moon. it happens every 2.7154 years and we'll get our next one on november 21 of 2010.

i get easily distracted by the moon, but my real point here was bratton's love of my thai recipe and the fact that i promised him and others that i would post the recipe and my changes/additions to it.

so here ya go:

PREP TIME: 10 MIN. TOTAL TIME 30 MIN. (i have no idea who prepped or timed this, but i'm thinkin' prep is about 20 min., cook time anywhere from 15 min. to 45 min.

Sea salt
1 package (8 ounces) dried rice noodles
1 can (14 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
1 3/4 C homemade (or low-sodium store bought) chicken stock
1 C loosely packed fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
1/2 C loosely packed fresh basil, plus more for garnish
4 garlic cloves
1 piece (2 inches) peeled fresh ginger, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
2 small fresh red chiles, halved, stems removed
2 Tbs. Asian fish sauce
1 fresh lemongrass stalk, bottom 4 inches only, crushed
1 Tbs. sugar
1-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt. Cook noodles until al dente, about 2 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water. Set aside.

Bring coconut milk and checken stock to a gentle simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. meanwhile, precess cilantro, basil, garlic, ginger and 1 chile ina food processor until coarsley chopped, 5 seconds. Add cilantro mixture, fish sauce, lemongrass, and sugar to broth. Simmer 6 minutes. Discard lemongrass.

Add noodles, cook until just heated through, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. STir in lime juice. Finely chop remaining chile. Divide noodles among bowls, top with cilantro, basil and chile.


I usually use rice instead of noodles and if I'm using rice, I make this more of a sauce than a soup. I either add more coconut milk, or leave out or reduce the chicken stock, depending on how many people and/or how I'm feeling. The soup is also delicious, I just want soup less often here in the tropics.

I always use homemade stock.

I generally add chicken and/or big chunks of carrot, bell pepper and onion.

I double the cilantro and the basil.

I triple the lemongrass, and chop it up finely, leaving one stalk whole. I add all of this to the coconut milk when I add the cilantro mixture, only removing the single whole stalk of lemongrass.

I usually let the whole thing simmer for about 20 minutes or so, it helps boil it down and thicken it for a sauce rather than soup.