Doughnut Muffins

Back at the Big Summer Potluck, there was one dish that caught everyone’s attention. That’s not a small feat among a group of food bloggers. But one morsel was the belle of the ball.  And they may very well be my undoing.  Because nothing tastes as good as mini muffins that have the texture of a doughnut and a buttery, spiced sugary coating.  I purposely redid the recipe to make them bite sized because I know firsthand that making them full size is no guarantee that I won’t just keep eating them.  I’ve joked with Jen of How To: Simplify, to whom we all pledged our allegiance for bringing these into our lives, that the secret ingredient in the recipe is crack because these morsels are utterly and completely addictive.

And as if the original isn’t enough, now I see that Tracy of Sugarcrafter, another Potluck alum, went and made a Caramel Apple version for fall.  I sent them both a passive/aggressive tweet saying that I will hold them personally responsible when I can no longer fit into my jeans.

But there’s a little part of me that says that if I have to go up a pants size, these muffins are a pretty damn good reason. And please, hold your judgment until you have experienced the ecstasy that is the mini doughnut muffin.

Doughnut Mini Muffins

Adapted from Jenn at How To: Simplify

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 stick of butter, melted and cooled
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees and spray two mini muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a medium bowl.

Combine the oil, sugar, egg, and milk in a large bowl.  Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix just until combined.  Fill each muffin cup approximately 3/4 full of batter and bake for about 10 to 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

While the muffins are baking, combine the 2/3 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons cinnamon in a small bowl and make sure your butter is melted.  When you remove the muffins from the oven, immediately remove them from the pan, dip them in the melted butter, and then coat them in the spiced sugar.

{printable recipe}

Stuffed Portobellos

I don’t often choose meatless meals.  If I’m presented with the opportunity to choose a dish, I’m usually inclined to go with something that at one time roamed the earth.  Chicken, beef, fish, and seafood?  These are all good things to me.  I would make a terrible vegetarian because I like my bacon and steak too much to give them up.  So while I appreciate the value others put on being meatless, I appreciate even more that they don’t try and convert the world to that lifestyle.  That lack of pressure makes my occasional (mostly) meatless discovery all the more enjoyable.

Stuffed portobellos, how exciting could they be?  I’d say they are exciting enough to prompt one of my friends to ask when she could get a dinner invitation after seeing that picture on my flickr.  If it weren’t for the fact that she lives in Boston and I’m in Baltimore, I imagine she might have jumped in the car and come over looking for some leftovers.  Here’s what I told her:  each bite is a different set of flavors – smooth and creamy from the cheese, smokey from the bacon, sweet from the tomato, earthy from the mushrooms, and sharp from the balsamic.  I don’t know about anyone else but that description makes me wish I had a stuffed portobello right now.

You could make this a completely meatless dish.  You could.  Me, I like it with bacon.  Like I said, presented with a choice, I’m going to choose bacon each and every time.  And I’m ok with that.

Stuffed Portobellos

Adapted from Jen @ How To: Simplify

BAH Note: You’ll want to serve this in a shallow bowl.  Once you cut into the mushrooms, the juices mix with the cheesy filling to make a rich broth in your bowl.  I recommend you use some french bread to soak it all up.  As you start eating the the dish, it will look like a train wreck on your plate.  But it will be delicious.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 large portobello mushroom caps, stems removed
  • 3 shallots, diced
  • 1/4 cup chevre or other soft goat cheese
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced (1 generous cup)
  • 1/2 pound ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 pound bacon

Heat your oven to 350 degrees and line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.  Place the mushrooms on the sheet pan.

Whisk together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl.  Using a pastry brush, brush the tops and bottoms of the mushrooms with the vinegar and oil.  Place the pan in the oven and cook the mushrooms for five minutes, flip the caps over so that the gill side is facing up and cook for ten more minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large frying pan until it is crisp.  Let the bacon cool and then crumble it into a medium bowl.  Drain the bacon grease from the pan into a small bowl.  Wipe out the inside of the frying pan and return one tablespoon of the reserved bacon grease to the frying pan.  Add the shallots and cook over medium heat until they just start to soften, approximately three minutes.  Add the zucchini and cook until they are tender and begin to become translucent.  Transfer the shallot/zucchini mixture to the bowl with the bacon.

Add the diced tomatoes and cheese to the bowl with the bacon and vegetables and gently stir until the cheese has completely melted.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and then scoop the vegetable/cheese mixture into the mushroom caps.  Return to the oven for 5 minutes to heat through.  Serve immediately.

{printable recipe}

Big Summer Potluck

I’m not a gambler by nature. The risks I take are calculated, not reckless.  However, there are moments when I throw caution to the wind, say what the hell, and let the chips fall where they may.  These moments are few and far between, but they do happen.  My most recent spontaneous, caution thrown to the wind decision involved me, one untested cookie recipe, a set of Mapquest directions, six hours of driving, 39 food bloggers, several food professionals, and three deer.

The destination was called the Big Summer Potluck.  Organized by women who know food, blogging, and photography – Maggy Keet and Sharon Anderson of Three Many Cooks and Erika Pineda of Ivory Hut – this was a day to come together with other food bloggers to talk about the challenges we all face. It was an opportunity to build our food blogging community, to support and encourage one another, to learn more about our craft, and to eat some amazing food.

These ladies pulled out all the stops.  On the agenda:

Pam Anderson (food columnist, cookbook author, Three Many Cooks food blogger, and former executive editor of Cook’s Illustrated) shared her thoughts on recipe development and recipe writing, in addition to graciously hosting us at her home.

Abby Dodge (food writer and instructor, cookbook author, and contributing editor to Fine Cooking magazine) demoed a dessert from her upcoming Desserts 4 Today cookbook (brilliant concept y’all…a cookbook full of desserts that utilize four ingredients), and shared some of her tips and tricks (stabilize whipped cream by replacing half the heavy cream with marscapone…yum).

Melissa DeMayo (food stylist extraordinaire) shared her food styling expertise and tips (texture, height, ingredient shots), demoed building the picture perfect sandwich, and told us the best way to do {fill in the blank with your question of choice} is whatever results in the prettiest shot.

Erika Pineda (photojournalist, sports photographer, and Ivory Hut blogger) spoke about the Holy Trinity of photography (Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO), point and shoot vs. dslr, and processing.

We had a lively discussion about video content and media campaigns with Auritt Communications.

And then there was Alice.  Alice Currah of Savory Sweet Life and Everyday Alice.  Alice Currah who was named one of Forbes.com’s “Eight of The Very Best Food Bloggers” and Saveur’s food photography “Cover Contest” winner. Maybe you’ve heard of her?  She’s the bomb.  Alice spoke to us about the importance of being authentic in our craft, speaking (and blogging) from the heart and from what we know, carving our own niche out of the blogosphere while also supporting and encouraging and honoring other food bloggers.

I go on and on about The Universe this and The Universe that and it may sound trite but hear me out.  I was originally supposed to be in New York city for BlogHer this summer.  My plans changed and I didn’t have the opportunity to attend and to finally meet in person some of the people that I have grown to think of as part of my extended family.  And I was disappointed about that.  But The Universe more than made up for it by getting me to Big Summer Potluck.  BlogHer is mega big. It’s huge.  Which for my socially awkward self is completely overwhelming.  Big Summer Potluck was intimate.  It was warm and welcoming.  It was a conversation among old friends who may have just met each other that morning.  It was exactly where I needed to be.

Remember my post You Might Be A Food Blogger If… That’s how Big Summer Potluck made me feel.  I was anxious about walking into a room with an untested recipe (and we know I have strict rules about untested recipes) where I didn’t know a soul.  My lack of navigational skills resulted in me getting lost in rural Pennsylvania and being the very last person to arrive 30 minutes late.  Hello, I consider showing up on time being late.  And yet, once I set foot in the door all of that melted away.  I was embraced by these people.  I was part of their tribe.  I belonged.  And isn’t that what we all want?  To be accepted.  To be validated.  To be inspired.

There was laughter.  Warm sun, clear skies, and cool breezes.  Amazing products supplied from KitchenAid, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New West Knifeworks, The Spice House, Fine Cooking, Green Valley Organics, Green Mountain Coffee, Cypress Grove Chevre, Naturally Nora, and Lindsay Olives.   And incredible food.  Because you have to know that at a food blogger get together we’re going to nosh on good eats.  To see people who know and make good food eat my potluck contribution and have their faces light up was priceless.  In my head, I sounded like an insecure adolescent saying OMG, Alice Currah is eating my cookie and she LIKES it!!!  There may have also been jazz hands and the Peanuts dance going on in my head as well.  I was too excited in the moment to accurately recall now.

So I’ve been quietly sending my thanks back to The Universe for giving me the opportunity to be part of Big Summer Potluck.  For the people who made it all possible and the people whose presence made it what it was.

I’ve also been thanking The Universe for allowing me to come to a complete stop on that winding back road in time not to hit the deer that decided to pop out of nowhere and lazily cross the road.  I don’t know if there is any symbolic meaning to seeing three massive bucks other than the obvious – slow down.  But that is one of the small moments from the weekend I hope to hang on to.  Yes Universe, sometimes I hear what you’re trying to tell me loud and clear.

Hungry for more Big Summer Potluck?  Check out:

Bread and Putter

Wenderly

Sugarcrafter

Smells Like Home

Tickled Red

Add A Pinch

The Sensitive Pantry

Three Many Cooks

Fine Cooking

The Dinky Kitchen

Dine & Dish

The Coquettish Cook

What’s Kookin’ In Kara’s Kitchen

How To Simplify

My Kitchen Addiction

Four Chickens

Modern Wench

The Ivory Hut

Smith Bites

Souffle Bombay

The Peche

She Wears Many Hats

Bluebonnets & Brownies

Abby Dodge

Do you wonder what a Big Summer Potluck looks like?  Check out Erika’s lovely photos of the day.

And stay tuned for the Peanut Butterfinger cookie recipe that I took a gamble on being Big Summer Potluck worthy.