Are you in the mood for a batch of fresh-baked muffins? Maybe you are a fan of blueberry muffins but are always disappointed by the berries that sink to the bottom of each one. You want that burst of berry goodness in every bite from top to bottom.
There is one ingredient that can help keep the blueberries suspended in the batter as they bake up with perfectly browned domes sitting in each well of the muffin tin.
This ingredient can be picked up at the market and added to your next batch of blueberry muffins. You will see the difference on the inside and it will add a hint of flavor to the mix.
Warm blueberry muffins with a cup of tea makes for a quiet afternoon snack. The kids will want an extra one with a cold glass of milk.
Most people looking for a little luck of the Irish on March 17th just can’t get behind St. Paddy’s without a green beer in hand. If you’re one of them, but never really considered how to make green beer at home, be ready with this one simple ingredient and you can keep the green spirit flowing all day long.
A light beer like Bud Light or Natural Light is a good choice for picking up the color of the green food coloring. Craft beers of a pale shade like a lager, pilsner or kölsch will also work well to get the results you want. What won’t work are unfiltered beers and darker beers like ales or IPAs, porters or stouts.
Get ready to toast with a green beer this St. Patrick’s Day—Sláinte!
Alice Knisley Matthias is a mom of two boys who love to trade weird-but-true facts. She writes about food, family, education and garden. She loves to cook, grow fresh herbs, and believes in an organic lifestyle for her family in the kitchen and the garden. She has a book about healthy snacks for kids published by Scholastic in summer 2020. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Eating Well, Highlights for Children, Boys’ Life, Kids Discover, Chicken Soup for the Soul, What to Expect, Cook n’ Scribble and an America’s Test Kitchen Cook’s Country Cookbook. She is the author of herbinkitchen.com.
September is here. We’ve made it through many complicated obstacles and tried to solve problems we never thought about before. Zoom calls, frozen screens and mute buttons are part of our kids’ lives as well as ours now. There is no parent guidebook for these times. Are you in need of dinner ideas for back-to-school schedules? Keep checking in here for recipe inspiration when you feel like you’re running out of culinary gas.
First up is a fast and easy pasta dish the whole family will enjoy. It uses a few ingredients and comes together quickly for a weeknight dinner.
Pasta with Pancetta and Creamy Tomato Sauce
Extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot bulb
1 clove garlic
1 package Citterio Pancetta cubes
29 oz can Hunt’s tomato sauce
De Cecco penne rigate
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 or 4 scallion stalks
Start to boil a pot of water for pasta. Do not add salt until the water is boiling.
Pour 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil in a cold pan with shallot and garlic. Leave the shallot and garlic in the peel. They will flavor the oil as it heats up in the pan. Heat the shallot and garlic in oil for about 4 to 5 minutes until the oil starts to shimmer.
Remove the shallot and garlic clove from the pan and add the cubes of pancetta. Stir and cook for 7 to 8 minutes until the pieces are browned.
Add the can of tomato sauce. Stir to combine.
Do not rinse tomato can. Fill about halfway with water and add to the pan. This will thin the tomato sauce a bit. Stir and allow to simmer for 10-12 minutes.
Place pasta in boiling water with a generous pinch or two of Kosher salt.
When the pasta is nearing the end of cooking time, take a half cup of the cooking water out and save.
Drain pasta when done and place back in the pot. Add tomato sauce and the reserved cooking water. The starch in the water helps the sauce coat the pasta.
Add heavy cream and stir.
Have the kids snip bits of scallions with scissors and toss with pasta.
Find more recipe ideas from my regular posts over at the Food and Drink section at Parade.
There is no vacation visiting our favorite gardens for the summer of 2020. Being at home means we are cooking more and some people feel themselves running out of ideas for what to make for dinner.
Take advantage of outdoor cooking and dining by getting outside and using the reliable grill. You can make cheeseburgers, grilled chicken and even dessert by grilling squares of pound cake and topping with the season’s berry options like blueberries or strawberries.
When making cheeseburgers, try and use a different cheese to melt on top of the charred burgers to switch things up. Muenster cheese, or a mix of sharp and mild cheddar, can be a welcome change to your dinner menu.
We also like an herb goat cheese to spread on the burgers as soon as they come off the hot grill. Top with a slightly toasted bun for a burger with the tang of goat cheese and a mild herb flavor.
Let’s continue to share ideas for future menus. Have you made pizza on the grill? Maybe that’s the next conversation.
These have been strange times for sure. The plan is to get herbinkitchen going again here. There is no “new normal” because there is nothing normal about these days. Kids home with remote learning and no proms, graduations in person, dance recitals, concerts, sports or theatre. What is summer looking like for them these days? How about you?
Let’s talk food and recipes. Cocktails and conversations. What herbs or vegetables do you like to grow? My piece for The New York Times Kids section ran in May about repurposing food scraps. Stick around. Nothing goes to waste!
It’s in the air! Spring is slowly starting to reveal some crocuses, daffodils and early tulips to tell us the season is ready to arrive.
It wasn’t a particularly bad winter, but it just feels like it is time to yield to longer days of sunshine and preparing for a riot of color to start appearing in our flowering trees. The garden is slowly waking up and sending new growth through the thawing soil.
The garden season is right around the corner and the farmers’ markets will be opening soon.
Here’s a post that went up today over at Parade about this year’s list of the Dirty Dozen. Don’t know what that is? Be sure and read for healthy eating.