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New recipe review for March . . .

11 years ago

Well I hope this isn't a cross post. I looked for one but didn't see anything. I haven't been cooking much, too busy with work, but towards the end of this month I did have two awesome new recipe experiences that I'd like to share.

#1 - Pumpkin cheesecake muffins. Something to use up the cream cheese in the fridge that BF bought to make cheesecake with, about six months ago!! It is very unlikely that pumpkin cheesecake will get made in this house, but these muffins, yes!!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins from the"Sugar Cooking" blog by Sarah in State College PA

Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins
Muffin and Topping adapted from: Annies Eats
Makes: About 45 mini muffins (12 regular)

For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
1 tbls flour
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
For the muffins:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tbsp. plus 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup + 2 tbls vegetable oil
For the topping:

1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tbsp. flour
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese, egg, flour and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth. Set aside.

To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.

To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.
To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin about 2/3 full with batter. Add a dollop of filling on top. (I would say I used about a tablespoon of batter and a heaping teaspoon of filling. They were pretty full going into the oven.) Sprinkle with topping. Bake or 14 minutes. Cool. Eat. Smile.

My notes: I used 3/4 cup sugar in both the filling and muffins because I am not a sugar fan. Next time I could easily see using 2/3 cup but maybe adding some fresh lemon peel and a little vanilla to the cream cheese filling. (and using neufchatel instead). Also I used less spices, only 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice and 1/4 tsp. of the cloves instead of 1/2 since I am not a clove fan, plus 1/2 tsp. ginger because we love ginger. I also used brown sugar for the topping, and a handful of pumpkin seeds. Also used whole wheat pastry flour which I always use for baking. These were out of this world! I ended up with way over 12 muffins and I really filled the cups too full. I would say this makes 14-16 muffins.

And I've finally found a recipe for Quinoa that I like, yay! The wine and tomato and all the unami tastes cover up the grassy flavor of quinoa. The recipe came from the back of the Inca Red Quinoa box.

Marsala Braised Quinoa with Crimini Mushrooms in Roasted Tomato (4 servings)

1 cup red quinoa
2 cups (or slightly less) of water
Pinch sea salt
2 TBLSP olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1 tsp. dried basil
1/4 cup marsala wine (I used red wine, I think it was zinfandel, just as good)
2 TBLSP tamari
1/2 lb. crimini mushrooms (could never find these, so I used baby bellas)
1/2 tsp. whole fennel seed, crushed (did not have this so I used a couple of stalks of chopped celery plus the leaves)
1/4 fresh cilantro for garnish (I used parsley because that's what I had)
4 roasted tomatoes (I used dried reconstituted tomatoes and changed the recipe)

Originally this recipe says to carve out the tomatoes guts, massage them with olive oil and then roast them at 450 until the skin is slightly soft. I did not do this because I refuse to buy big tomatoes off season. The dish was just as good, if not better IMHO using reconstituted dried roasted tomatoes, since they are very rich flavored. You could probably also add a small can of roasted tomatoes to the pilaf too.

For the pilaf:
Cook quinoa according to the package directions (which is basically to bring the water and salt to a boil, add the quinoa and simmer until the water is absorbed, which takes maybe 20+ min.)

Meanwhile, sautee the shallot and sliced mushrooms, (and celery if you're using) in the olive oil until soft. When the quinoa is done, add it to the pan and sautee it until it is almost dry. Then add the marsala and the tamari. Then the recipe says to add a generous amount of fresh herbs but I used dried basil and fresh parsley. Then stuff into tomatoes and heat slightly under a broiler. But that's not what I did, I added chopped reconstituted dried tomatoes, which had been soaking all day in warm water. I also added the soaking water in with the wine, and cooked the pilaf until the liquid had been absorbed. Then I served it with a dash of parmesean cheese. Yummo!

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