Pumpkin Spiced Muffins

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Winter is the season for baking, and well, I’m not the best baker out there. Half the time when I make bread, it’s more or less a disaster, and my biscuits could use some work too. But when I tried baking these muffins, I couldn’t believe how deliciously moist and fluffy these came out. Plus, they made my apartment smell like the holidays!

Pumpkin spiced muffins

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Put oven in middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a muffin tin lightly with vegetable oil.

2. Whisk together flour, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until combined. In another bowl, whisk together pumpkin, remaining oil, and eggs, until smooth, then whisk in flour mixture until just combined.

3. Stir together remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon and remaining 1 teaspoon sugar in another bowl and set aside.

4. Divide batter among muffin cups, then sprinkle tops with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake until puffed and golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

Fereni

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I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I make an exception with a lot of Iranian desserts like bakhlava and zoolbiya. Still, my favorites tend to veer towards the lighter sweets, like faloodeh. So when I tried fereni, a rosewater-inflected rice pudding for the first time a few months ago, I was pleasantly surprised at how refreshing and light its taste was. I tried making it at home recently and loved the results. Go easy on the rosewater – a little goes a long way.

Fereni

Ingredients:

1/4 cup rice flour
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups milk
2 tablespoons rosewater

1. Pour milk in a large saucepan over medium heat and add rice flour, stirring to dissolve. Add rosewater and sugar.

2. Stir constantly over heat until mixture comes to a slow boil and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

3. Remove from heat and transfer to individual serving bowls, and let cool. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Black Sticky Rice Pudding

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After a whirlwind of a week, I can finally sit down again and post. Summer is over, but I made this black sticky rice pudding during warmer weather when all I was craving was something slightly sweet.

Black sticky rice pudding

Ingredients:

2 cups black sticky rice
3 cups water
2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup brown sugar sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 mango, sliced or chopped

1. Rinse rice a couple of times to remove any impurities until the water clears. Place the rice and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Let boil and stir frequently for 5 minutes, then cover, lower heat to medium-low, and cook for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to low and let cook, covered, for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, place the coconut milk, sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until dissolved. Add the coconut milk to the rice and stir well, then remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature and top with mango slices.

Crepes with Carmelized Apples, Rum Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream

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i don’t make desserts often, partially because i don’t have much of a sweet tooth and partially because i usually second guess my method if i’m baking. but every once in a while, i stumble across a recipe that instantly becomes a favorite, one of those i know i’ll turn back to time and time again. crepes with carmelized apples, rum sauce, and vanilla ice cream is one of those:

also:

spaghetti with scallops, white wine and chile-butter sauce


steamed asparagus with anchovy butter


calamari, papaya and cashew salad

here’s the recipe for the crepes:

3 eggs
1 cup milk
5 T dark rum
6 T butter
1 T sugar
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
1 c flour
3 lbs medium golden delicious apples, peeled, quartered, each quarter cut into 3 wedges
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup apple juice
2 T lemon juice
1 t grated lemon peel
vanilla ice cream

1. mix eggs, milk, 2 tablespoons of the rum, 2 tablespoons of the butter, sugar, salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon in a blender until smooth. add flour in 2 additions, blending until smooth after each and scraping down sides of the container. let batter stand at room temperature for an hour.

2. heat nonstick skillet with 7-inch diameter bottom over medium-high heat. brush with melted butter. pour in 3 tablespoonfuls of crepe batter, rotating and shaking pan so batter covers bottom evenly. cook crepe until golden on bottom, about 45 seconds. turn crepe over and cook until light brown in spots, about 30 seconds. turn crepe out onto paper towel. repeat with remaining batter, brushing pan with butter before making each crepe.

3. melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in large skillet over high heat. add apples, saute until deep golden and tender, tossing often, about 15 minutes. add sugar, apple juice, lemon juice, lemon peel, and remaining 1 teaspoon cinamon. simmer until juices thicken and apples are very tender, turning with spatula, about 3 minutes. remove from heat.

4. butter large ovenproof rimmed platter. arrange crepes on work surface and spoon apples into center of crepes, dividing equally and leaving sauce in skillet. fold 1 side of crepes over filling; roll up, enclosing filling. arrange on platter, seam side down. stir ru into sauce in skillet. bring to boil, stirring.

5. preheat oven to 350F. spoon sauce over crepes. bake until warm, about 10 minutes. serve with ice cream.

Nutella Bundt Cake

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i don’t know why this is, but i’ll often not go to the cinema for months and then i’ll suddenly begin going at least once a week for a stint of time before i stop paying attention again. i saw babel on saturday (not enough gael garcia bernal methinks) and marriage, iranian style on sunday (hilarious, and dom was a good sport about the buffooning american character).

and of course i’ve been cooking, but i’m beginning to realize i hardly take pictures of anything aside from food anymore. i’m going to try and change that. until then:

not quite as flavorful as i'd hoped
herb and cheese filled chicken thighs

a good accompaniment to the chicken
saffron couscous

i didn't really know what to expect in making this
philadelphia clam pie

delicious, and i don't even like cake!
nutella bundt cake

here’s the recipe for the cake:

cooking spray
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 stick butter, softened
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1 16 oz carton low-fat sour cream
2 1/2 cups flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/4 cup toasted walnuts or hazelnuts, toasted
3 T nutella
1 t powdered sugar

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a bundt pan with cooking spray.

2. place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. add vanilla and sour cream; beat lightly until blended.

3. combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, stiring until well combined. add flour mixture to sugar mixture, stirring just until combined.

4. spoon half of batter into bundt pan; sprinkle with nuts. drop small spoonfuls of nutella over nuts. spoon remaining batter over nutella; swirl batter using the tip of a knife. bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes. cool in pan for 15 minutes; remove cake from pan. cool completely and sprinkle cake with powdered sugar.