Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What "Spring" tastes like

Oh, I so wish I could take credit for this (insanely simple) dish... and I guess I could, but I don't want to risk the wrath of the Karmic Food Police.


My grandma, Karol, lived in Westport, Washington for about three or four years while I was growing up... something that, even while short in duration, I still look back on as one of the best memories of my childhood. Grandma had a good-sized garden plot in her backyard, somewhere between her barn-turned-house (really!) and the horse ring, that had everything from tomatoes to sugar snap peas and more... but, honestly, my brain kind of stalls out after the sugar snap peas. I remember sitting on the back steps with my sister and processing a giant bucket of the verdant, crisp bites of nature.

... peel, open, skim 'em out.
... peel, open, skim 'em out.

We would usually discard the pods, so I was more than welcome to help myself to what I considered the best part.

Here's a recipe from Simply Recipes that I absolutely recommend that you make. Tonight. Or now.

Seared Sugar Snap Peas Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
Almost all the prep time in this recipe is taking the strings off the sugar peas. Once you have that done, the rest is easy.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound sugar snap peas, strings removed
  • 3-4 scallions or green onions, sliced on the diagonal
  • Salt
  • A pinch of sugar
  • Zest of a lemon
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Lemon juice to taste


1 Heat a large sauté pan on high heat for 1 minute. Add the olive oil to the hot pan and heat it until it shimmers, about 1-2 minutes. Add the sugar peas and toss to coat with the oil. Sprinkle salt over them and toss again. Allow to cook, undisturbed, for 1 minute.
2 Add the green onions and sprinkle with a pinch of sugar. Toss to combine. Let cook for 1 minute. Toss and cook untouched again, this time leaving everything undisturbed for 2 minutes.
3 Turn off the heat, mix in the lemon zest and mint, then add black pepper and lemon juice to taste. Serve at once.
Yield: Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Joys of Jiffy

Sometimes, you just need carbs.

Oh, I know we may claim to be over the KILLALLTHECARBS fad of the late '90s/early 2000's, but you and I both know that there is still a hefty side of guilt served up with every portion of carb-heavy food we nosh on.

Well, last night I was faced with the Working Mommy's Dilemma. After an eternity in the office, a killer commute home, and two little boys who thought "sleep" was more of a suggestion than a requirement, I found myself head-tilting at the clock on the oven as it blinked "9:27". My stomach growled. Man-Mate's stomach growled.

... and I was out of ideas.

Luckily, I always (and I do, truly, mean always) keep boxes - plural - of Jiffy Corn Muffin mix in my pantry.
Oh, the joy...
Just seeing its cute, Americana packaging made me smile... and made my stomach growl, again, prompting me to hurry it up, already! as into the refrigerator I peered. Below is the resulting recipe - I hope you'll try it the next time you have an exhaustion/carb attack!

Smokey Cheddar & Cracked Pepper Corn Muffins


Two (2) packages of Jiffy Corn Muffin mix
Two (2) eggs
2/3 cup  - milk
1/2 TS - liquid smoke
1 1/2 cup - sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Black pepper grinder (no measurement here, do it to taste)
Kosher salt, to taste


  • Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  • Grease or paper-line a 12-count muffin tin
  • In a medium mixing bowl, add the corn muffin mix, eggs, milk, liquid smoke, and 1/2 cup of cheese
  • Stir to combine
    • **Don't over-mix - you don't want glue. Some lumps are okay.
  • Let the dough rest 3 - 4 minutes, then stir one more time
  • Spoon in the dough to about halfway in each muffin cup
  • Sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese equally over each portion
  • Grind black pepper over each portion, to taste
    • **I like to, you know, actually taste the black pepper, so I set it to a medium-grind and do about 3-4 turns per portion... probably coming out to 1/4 tsp. 
  • Spoon remaining dough over each portion
  • Sprinkle each with a pinch of kosher salt
  • Bake at 400 F for 15 - 18 minutes, or until golden brown