Happy weekend, foodies!
This weekend’s challenge is a “Chopped” challenge. In our baskets this weekend, we have:
The challenge is a brunch challenge, so we have to make brunch with these four ingredients. I was totally worried at first. I’ve never cooked with popcorn before. And I certainly never would have thought to put these flavours together.
I decided to go with one of my favourite brunch/breakfast/snack items – muffins. I can’t get enough muffins. Especially if they’ve got a crumb topping.
I give you – Apricot Filled Butternut Squash Muffins with Caramel Corn Crumb Topping.
Roast a small squash (you’re only going to need a cup of mashed squash). Once it’s roasted, spoon out the inside and smash it up. Set aside.
For the caramel corn:
3 quarts popcorn (pop 1/3 C kernels in 1T coconut oil)
1/2C coconut oil (measured solid)
1C brown sugar
1/4C dark corn syrup
1/4tsp baking soda
melt coconut oil in sauce pan. Add brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once it’s at a boil, let it boil 5 minutes without stirring. Take off heat, add baking soda and vanilla.
Pour over popcorn, mix well. Spread popcorn over a baking pan. Bake at 250* for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the muffins:
1/2C your favourite vegan shortening
1/2C non-dairy milk
1C mashed butternut squash
a 2 inch sprig of rosemary
3tsp baking powder
3T apricot preserves
Take leaves off rosemary stems and smash them up really well in a mortar. Add to squash.
Cream the shortening and sugar. Add non-dairy milk. Add squash/rosemary mixture.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to sugar/squash mixture.
Fill greased large muffin pan halfway. Add 1/2 tsp apricot preserves to each muffin. Top with remaining dough.
Bake at 375* for 30 minutes. Top with chopped caramel corn, and bake another 5 minutes to melt the caramel onto the muffins.
Makes 6 giant muffins, or 12 regular sized muffins.
Okay, so I was going to take a weekend break from Vegan MoFo blogging, as I’m running out the door to go camping. However, when I saw that beets are the secret ingredient, I couldn’t just leave it alone. One of my favourite pickled foods is beets. They’re even better if you pickle them with radishes. They’re great on sandwiches, veggie burgers, salads, and all alone. Make these.
Roasted Pickled Beets and Radishes
You’re gonna need:
6 pint jars
10 beets (about 3lbs)
4 cups radishes
1T canning salt
2 3/4 C vinegar
2 1/2 C water
Roast beets in foil for 45 minutes. Let cool, then peel. Once peeled, cut into wedges.
Cut radhishes into wedges.
Prepare your canning equipment.
In a large-ish pot, combine sugar, salt, vinegar, and water. Bring to a boil. Let it boil for about a minute. Add beets and radishes and let it all simmer until heated through. Remove from heat. Use a slotted spoon to tightly pack the beets and radishes into the jars – you’ll want to leave about an inch of headspace. Once packed, pour liquid in jars – you’ll want to leave about a half inch of headspace. After removing air bubbles, add more liquid if necessary. Place lids and rings on jars
Place jars in pot and return to a boil. Process for about 30 minutes. Once finished, let the jars sit in water for about 5 minutes. Transfer jars to a cooling rack and let sit for 24 hours. Refrigerate (and enjoy) any jars that don’t seal.
Wooooo! I’m doing a happy spring dance as I type.
I mostly started my plants from seed. Most of the seeds I got from Cubits on Etsy. She’s great. I’ve ordered seeds from her for two years now. Check her out if you’re even remotely interested in starting plants from seed.
So far, I’ve planted:
Patti Pan Squash
Black Beauty Zucchini
Amish Paste Tomatoes
Cherokee Purple Tomatoes
Italian Noir Tomatoes
Bush Delicata Squash
Early Tall Top Beets
Mini Red Bell Peppers
Random Colored Bell Peppers (yellow, white, purple, red, and orange)
From Prior Years, I have:
Mystery Lettuce (It didn’t germinate last year, but it came up full-force this spring)
Strawberries (My dad keeps threatening to pull his mess of strawberries out, so I stole some for myself – they produce *amazing* berries)
Oregano (it’s out of control, personally, I think we should just pull it)
Next to plant:
Little Finger Eggplant
Rosa Bianca Eggplant
I’m not growing any really big squash or melons this year, as we had a pretty dry winter, and I’m not honestly sure if we’ll have enough water for what I’ve planted.
The real fun began after I bought little 2″ terracotta pots and made some adorable plant markers:
These were super easy. I just used tiny terracotta pots (super cheap at craft stores), used tiny alphabet stamps to stamp the type of plant onto it (I used Patio Paint), and Modge-Podged ladybugs and butterflies onto a couple of pots. Recycle your old wire coat-hangers – straighten them out, cut them in half, then curl them into shepherd’s hooks, and hang the pots off them.
Do you garden? What do you use to label your plants?