Chocolate Pomegranate Muffins

plated chocolate pomegranate muffins

As I mentioned in this week’s ‘5 Things I Love’, pomegranates are awesome. They’re a pain to peel, but if you love them then it’s kind of like the unboxing experience some hardcore Apple fans have taped and will watch. These muffins are based on Carol Yarde’s Breakfast Muffin recipe from AllRecipes.com.

Chocolate Pomegranate Muffins

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tbs flaxseed
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 oz grated semi-sweet baking chocolate
1/2 tsp clove
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups fresh pomegranate seeds

Set oven to 400 and prep your muffin pans.

In a large bowl mix together your flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, clove and most of your grated semi-sweet chocolate. Save just enough of the chocolate to sprinkle on top of the muffins before cooking. You could also substitute chocolate chips. Mine were earmarked for another recipe.

ingredients for chocolate pomegranate muffins

Once the dry ingredients are mixed add in the milk, egg, butter and vanilla until combined.

partially mixed muffin batter

Fold in your pomegranate seeds and sprinkle each muffin with grated chocolate before placing in the oven. Bake approx. 10 minutes for mini-muffins (like mine) or 20 minutes for full sized muffins.

Makes 36 mini-muffins or 12 full sized muffins.

baked mini-muffins on cooling rack

Falling in Love with Fried Green Tomatoes

I didn’t grow up eating green tomatoes. In fact – to be perfectly honest – my brother convinced me that I hated all tomatoes at a young age and it took an herb class in high school plus a few more years of exposure before I came to actually liking them. The concept of fried green tomatoes was completely foreign until I was introduced through the classic 1991 film of the same name.

Even before I had that tomato-liking revelation I was drawn to the idea of green tomatoes. What did they taste like? Were they better than red tomatoes? Was there a particular way such interesting produce was prepared? When I actually ran into these fascinating specimens last year at farmer’s market (conveniently in the parking lot across from my apartment) I had to pick up a pint.

Of course, the only context I had for the fruit was fried so I pulled a pack of tempura mix out of my cabinet and a frying pan from my rack. A mess later I fell in love. I’m salivating just thinking about it. For the uninitiated, green tomatoes are tarter and firmer than red tomatoes with a more intense flavor. You do have to use them fairly quickly because they will turn red on you and fried red tomatoes just aren’t the same. They’re also a whole lot mushier and messier.

Tempura Fried Green Tomatoes

2-3 green tomatoes (the fresher the better)

1 egg

1 cup flour

1 cup ice cold water

Frying oil

1)Prepare a place for your tomatoes once they are cooked whether that be paper towel on a plate or under a drying rack you’ll need something to absorb any excess oil

2) Put your oil on to heat. I don’t own a fry daddy or anything like that so I use best blend canola oil and a large frying pan over medium heat.

3) Slice your tomatoes. About a 1/4 inch or a little thinner is good.

4) Mix your tempura batter, preferably in something you can also use to dip the tomatoes. Beat the egg then add the ice cold water and mix the flour in lightly. Keep your fork, spoon, mixing utensil of choice at hand as you’ll want to do a light mix occasionally so that it doesn’t settle.

5) Check you oil. Put just a drop of batter in and if it begins to sizzle and look more solid you should be good. If you’ve never fried before this may take a little experimenting to get right. Just be patient.

6) If your oil is ready, dip your first tomato slice into the batter making sure it is totally coated and drop it in the oil. Repeat until pan has one single layer across it. Once the edges start to look a bit brown flip. Check to make sure the other side is brown, remove and repeat the process until all of your tomatoes are cooked.

These are best consumed fresh, but being single I’ve tried several techniques for leftovers. The best results thus far have been from cooling them on a rack and then wrapping them in paper towel. The paper towel absorbed a lot of excess moisture so they reheated nicely in my toaster oven.

An Abundance of Bread Pudding

At the close of Odd Couple I found myself in possession of an entire loaf of white bread and since I’m a whole wheat, multi-grain kind of girl this left me with a bit of a conundrum. The obvious conclusion quickly revealed itself – bread pudding. Is there really a better use available?

Now, I never really looked at recipe for bread pudding prior to this particular experiment. My first attempt actually came from saving some soggy french toast. Anyway, working off this previous experience and a quick glance at Fannie Farmer’s Cookbook; this is the recipe I concocted.

Odd Couple Bread Pudding

Odd Couple Bread Pudding

12 slices of white bread

5 eggs

5 cups of milk

3 oz spiced rum

4 tbl butter

8 tsp sugar

2 cups blueberries

1 tbsp vanilla

1 tsp cloves

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Mix the eggs, rum, milk and spices then tear up the bread into chunks into the mix. Add sugar, blueberries and chopped up butter. Cook at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until the top is browned. It will rise as it bakes and settle once cool.

Obviously this makes a decent amount. I ended up splitting it up between a pie pan and small baking dish.

Also, this dish has been co-worker approved.

Bread Pudding 2

A Variation: Baked French Toast

Still having some bread left and a little obsession with lemon curd recently, I decided to try out a healthier variation on the bread pudding that is based more closely upon the french toast recipe that started it all.

Baked French Toast

8 slices of bread

4 eggs

2 1/2 cups milk

1 cup blueberries

2 tbsp slivered butter

lemon curd

1 tsp cinnamon

dash of cloves

powdered sugar (optional)

Grease a 9×9 baking dish. Mix the eggs, milk, spices and butter. Set aside. Spread lemon curd on four pieces of bread and place in the bottom of the dish lemon side up. Some tearing to accommodate may be necessary. Add the blueberries spreading them across in a single layer. Pour 1/2 of your egg mixture over this layer. Spread lemon curd on the other four pieces of bread and place these face down over the first layer. Pour the remaining egg mixture evenly over the bread. I used a slatted spatula to make sure my surface was flat and egg soaked.

Let sit for 5-10 minutes then bake at 400 for approx. 45 minutes or until browned. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Baked French Toast 2

Enjoy.

Both recipes reheat well as well :)