The Fall Harvest Series – Apple Lemon Poppy Seed Teatime Muffins!

1 Comment

Happy Friday everyone!  I am so excited to officially start the Fall Harvest series and I can’t wait to show you all the photos and posts I have planned for the next week or so.  I’m starting the series off with some homemade baked goods because I really think it epitomizes what fall comfort is all about: the warmth and love of homemade food, chilly mornings warmed up by some yummy baked goods, and lots of fall harvest fruits and colours.  Introducing my beloved apple lemon poppy seed teatime muffins! 😀  They’re so perfect for breakfast, an afternoon tea, or just for a midday snack to tide you over until dinner.  Stuffed with juicy chunks of apple, they show off one of fall’s best loved fruits.  As well, it just so happens that our Jewish friends are currently celebrating Rosh Hashanah (Jewish new year) and apples are one of the several foodie symbols of sweetness and prosperity for the new year, so this recipe  nicely performs double duty!

I know I’ve been on a cookie baking kick for months (check out the Cookie Jar!), happily baking my way through Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen foodie murder mystery novels.  I thought it would be fitting to do muffins though and I’m so glad I did.  The muffins turned out even better than I expected because they’re so fragrant, so moist, and just bursting with flavour, and they taste even more amazing the day after they’re baked and even a few days after that!  The flavour just seems to intensify and they’re wonderfully yummy.  The lemon makes these muffins smell and taste divine, the apple gives the muffins its interior juiciness, and the poppy seeds give the muffins a great texture and appearance.  They come out with lovely golden brown tops and there’s a special ingredient in the recipe that I think really heightens the flavour and moistness: yogurt! 

I tweaked the recipe a bit to suit what I had on hand though so there are some differences between mine and the one in the recipe and book.  It actually includes a recipe for mint syrup to drizzle over top of the muffins, but I wasn’t feeling it so I didn’t make it.  You’ll see why I think mine are even better than the ones in the book based on the changes I made 😉  And the book in question is my beloved apple cookbook!  I bought this at the Blue Banana market in Kensington Market and I love it because it helps me, as a person with apple and fruit allergies, learn how to cook and do different things with apples other than biting into them raw.  Yay for baked apple goods!

Recipe for Apple Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins (yields 18 tea muffins if apples are cut into chunks, 12 if apples are finely chopped)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (1 stick)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (*Deb’s note: I didn’t have any plain yogurt so I used a small container of vanilla and a small container of vanilla cinnamon, and just eyeballed it to make the total amount 1 cup or 250 ml.  Because I was using vanilla flavoured yogurt though, I only used half the amount of vanilla extract the recipe called for).
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped (*Deb’s note: I didn’t have any Granny Smith apples, so I used two small Red Delicious apples instead).

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.  Line a 12-cup muffin or cupcake pan with paper liners (*Deb’s note: I had to line 18 spaces when I realized I had more batter because of the larger cuts of apple I had).
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, poppy seeds, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  • In a separate medium bowl, beat butter and sugar until smooth and creamy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions.  Add lemon zest, yogurt, and vanilla extract, beating until well combined.
  • Stir in flour mixture, mixing until just combined.  Fold in apple.  Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each cup 3/4 full. 
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean (*Deb’s note: Mine baked for 20 minutes because my oven at home runs a little hot).
  • When muffins are ready, transfer to a wire rack and let stand 10 minutes before taking muffins out.  Let cool and enjoy!

*****

Recipe adapted and taken from Sarina Jackson’s Apples.  New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2010.  Photographs taken by me.  The recipe can be found on page 46.

Advertisements

From the Television Screen to My Kitchen Table: Lemon and Green Onion Rice from Best Recipes Ever

1 Comment

I thank my lucky stars for television cooking shows.  I don’t remember how many times I’ve mentioned this on the blog (or if I’ve mentioned it at all), but I adore Food Network on Channel 52 and I love Best Recipes Ever by Canadian Living with Kary Osmond on CBC, Channel 6.  I watch them both religiously.  I watch it on weekdays, weekends, while I’m scrapbooking, and after my soap operas.  When I’m home during the day, my television lineup from 3pm-5pm is as follows: Best Recipes Ever on CBC, Michael Smith’s Chef at Home on Food Network, Ricardo & Friends, and Giada at Home.  And don’t even get me started on Iron Chef, Best Thing I Ever Ate, and Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.  I avoid the reality tv type shows like the plague, but the ones I just listed?  LOVE.  I’d say 70% of my television consumption is dedicated to Food Network and food and cooking related shows (the other 30% is comprised of sports,  soap operas, and the occasional prime time show such as Big Bang Theory which I love to pieces) and I’m telling you, I’ve learned so much from watching others cook.

My mum and I have Best Recipes to thank for this new dinner dish of ours.  It’s SO simple that it makes me feel somewhat embarrassed that I didn’t think to do it like this before.  My family and I eat rice on a pretty regular basis and one of my favourite home cooked meals is this minced pork fried rice my mum makes (which I will be blogging about soon) with minced pork, garlic, and lots of green onions.  What we didn’t think to do was to flavour our rice with lemon zest to make a simple lemon rice.  I KNOW.  Lightbulb “duh” moment, right?  So thanks to Best Recipes, we snatched a new dinner dish to put on our kitchen table and we absolutely love it.

Cooked rice (we used white Jasmine rice, but any rice will do) with the zest of one lemon (there are 4 people in my house, so if you’re cooking for yourself or for two people, half a lemon should be good enough), and as many chopped green onions/scallions as your heart desires.  I love green onions so I dumped a bucket-full on my serving.  If you wish you can mix in a little garlic and olive oil, but I left mine plain the first time around with just the lemon zest and green onions and I have to tell you, this rice is now going to be a staple in our home.  Thank you television, I love you.