I have an absolute love-and-hate relationship with corn muffins, or corn bread, anything baked that uses corn. I absolutely love corn, on its own. And I’m absolutely madly in love with these corn fritters, so much that I risked looking like a dork wearing my safety glasses while frying them. I try to put corns in my soups. Almost four years ago, my husband and I ate grilled corns on the side of the roads during our Balinese trip, because that was the thing for everyone there on Saturday nights: couples went out in their motorbikes and stopped for grilled corns on the side of the roads, enjoying them under the starry nights. Therefore I decided that I did too, sweats running down my temples, fighting off nausea that came with the first trimester joy of my first pregnancy.
So I love corns. And I love muffins, and quick breads. The two combined…hmm, I couldn’t get myself to say that I love them, which just really pains me. Because the thought of having a fantastic savory muffin recipe was so tantalizing for me. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could have a recipe I could quickly whip and throw in at the last minute for companion of soups? So I finally decided to give these a try, well, several tries. One thing that I discovered was that I really like tinkering recipes to what I like, and apparently, I like my corn muffins cheesy, but also sweet. I want them to be pretty cakey too, which this does that thanks to the generous amount of buttermilk. My hubby likes them toasted with butter, and I like mine dunked into hot soups.
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, I thought that I’d post a recipe that has a little Irish nod to it – but done in a slow cooker. I hope you don’t hate me yet with two slow-cooker recipes. I swear that I didn’t really even consider using slow-cooker until I had a child. I mean, I had time to cook then. My husband has a reddish/orange hair with bright green eyes with a middle name of Patrick, so it wasn’t a huge coincidence that he was the one who requested this dish. I tried suggesting maybe some sort of stout-chocolate cupcakes with some sort of chocolate buttercream, I mean that’d be perfect to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day right? Naah, who would want those cupcakes? Therefore, shepherd’s pie it is – and the meat and potatoes lovers in your life will rejoice by this recipe.
I can remember the only one time that I had a shepherd pie, it wasn’t actually even a dish that I had ordered. A group of co-workers and friends went out to an Irish pub after work, and one of the guys in the group ordered a shepherd pie for dinner. Yeah, this was when I had dinner at 7 in the evening. I remember thinking, it didn’t look good. But he encouraged me to try it, so I did. It was good, it was a bunch of meat mixed in with vegetables, topped with mashed potatoes. But it was definitely not something that I would even consider making at home.
Since we’re all still defrosting from the meanest winter of the century, I had reluctantly agreed to try this recipe. He even promised that he’d eat the whole thing himself if I didn’t like it. Sounds familiar? This dish is that perfect, hearty casserole that checks on all of the categories of comfort food: meat, potatoes, veggies, and lots of meaty flavor and richness. If you’re still looking for Irish-themed recipes, this soda bread would be perfect to dunk into your shepherd pie, and check here for all the dessert recipes you need. Finally, this Slow Cooker-Guinness Beef Stew is still probably one of the top viewed recipe on this blog. If have two slow-cooker, that’s another one that’s worth trying as well. Have a great week everyone!
This week has taken kind of a different toll on me as I was given a new temporary assignment at work, with almost no notice. I was given the details of my new role around noon on Monday, and I was to start my new role on Tuesday morning, whoa! While I was totally psyched about this new role, here’s the kicker, there is no cafeteria in my new building, which means that I had no choice but to pack my entire week’s worth of breakfast and lunches. And guess what, that’s really tough. Packing lunch was actually one of the things that I had decided to “drop-off” from my to-do list after my son was born, which means that I would pack lunch if I had time, but I wouldn’t beat myself up if I didn’t.
Luckily, thanks to the impossibly cold weather, I had actually managed to cook for the week last Sunday. The wind chill was hovering in the negative range, and I didn’t want to take the kids out running around, so I decided to cook instead. I was so glad that we started off the week with several things available to eat for dinner with enough leftover for lunches. If I didn’t have anything at all, we wouldn’t have been scrambling for dinners, and ended up getting take-outs for most nights. I have been relying on a relatively simple and quick recipe like this to be the backbone of our menu rotation for the month. We’re not snobs when it comes to leftovers, as matter of fact, we love leftovers. But at the same time, I can only eat probably the same thing three days in the row.
This recipe is so nice that while chili actually can be done relatively “quick” on the stovetop, it is really awesome in the crock-pot. The meat really has time to simmer with all of the spices, allow for all of the flavors to meld together. This is a stick-to your ribs, good winter meal, that’s really hard to not love. A few notes regarding substitutions:
- I have successfully used wheat sandwich bread instead of white sandwich bread as written below, all I did different was adding a few extra tablespoons of milk.
- I also have used both whole and skim milk (because that’s what I normally have around the house), and it didn’t make a big difference. I think I added extra two tablespoons of the skim milk to make sure that there’s enough liquid to mash the bread.
- If you don’t have any sausages, and want to use two pounds of ground beef – no worries, I have done that before, and it’s not an issue.
- I love extra veggies in my chili, so I included generous amount of chopped peppers. If you want to just stick with onions, you can just use 3 onions and completely skip the peppers.
- The recipe calls for 1/4 of chili powder, while it sounds like A LOT of chili, trust me, after about 6-8 hours of cooking, you will need the entire amount to even have any chili flavor left. Don’t skimp.
- If you have little ones who don’t like spicy food, skip the chipotle chile.
- Last but not least, leftovers can be refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for up to two months.
Have a great week everyone!
Eeek… I’m sure that I’m not the only one who’s ready for this winter to be over. I think it is pretty sad that whenever I see the temperature in the 10′s and 20′s (of Fahrenheit!), I actually feel like it has “warmed up”. The temperature swings have been pretty crazy, and the snow… the wind, ooh… I am waiting for the spring to be here. To make the matter worse, my router was burnt out a few days ago – so we didn’t have any internet for a couple of days (gasp!). It’s like I didn’t have air :) Enough with my rant… There is one thing that I am grateful for this winter, and every winter for that matter, and that’s simply because that it is actually the citrus season!! I love seeing the gorgeous lemons, limes, oranges, everything! Their citrusy flavor always lifts up my gloomy winter spirit.
I absolutely love anything lemon, so lemon bars, yogurt cake, cupcakes or even in my spaghetti (if you cringe by the sound of it, try it! You’d be surprised!) always show up in my kitchen. I love having bits of lemon zest as well as lemony flavor in my food. I have not, however, tried my hand in making my own homemade pound cake. As much as I would say that I love pound cake, I couldn’t decide whether I truly like it or not. Traditionally prepared with a pound of sugar, butter, and flour… hence, the name pound cake comes from, tends to be dense. Now, some people like their cake dense, but I definitely prefer my cake light and fluffy. This recipe promised a lighter pound cake, thanks to the technique of creaming the sugar, and then beating the eggs separately to make it well… light and fluffy. I think this is how I would eat my pound-cake from now on… its texture is glorious: just a tad dense to make it feel like pound cake, but it had a nice rise and tenderness to my liking. I actually didn’t get to finish this in three days – and it was still fantastic after a week. I also didn’t have a 9×5-inch pan, so I had to use a little larger pan. But it still turned out great! Have a great rest of the weekend everyone!
If you have never tried these, or if you’re looking for a new breakfast recipe to make at home, make these now. Actually, run to the kitchen and whip these babies up now. Because you’d be come back to thank me later (after you gobble the entire batch on your own). That’s right: these coins are so light, sweet, tangy and tender in the inside, and crunchy on the outside. They’re so addictive and perfect for breakfast, snacks, brunch, or dare I even say dessert?
So you’re probably thinking, what the heck are these heavenly tots? I would categorize them under pancakes, even though, they’re definitely “pancakes with a little bit extra”, so I would call them “half-pancake-half-crepes”. All of the greatness of a regular pancakes (tender and fluffy), but also the very thing we all love about crepes (their crispiness)… all in one! Their pancakes are made so light thanks to the small amount of flour in proportion to sour-cream, which makes them tangy and a little sugar to add some sweetness to it. I know the superpower that sour cream has on pancakes, and I have been eyeing another recipe for a while – so I’m glad that I finally put these to test, and regret that I didn’t try making these sooner. They’re so perfect on its own, with a little bit (or a lot!) of powdered sugar, or even maple syrup – although I really don’t think that they needed them. Give them a try and let me know.