Attempted Muffin-Tin Biscuit Pizzas and the Tin-less Recipe

Thanks to Pinterest and the array of cooking blogs that I follow, I can safely say that I’ve hopped on the muffin tin bandwagon. What’s that, you ask? Well, there exists a whole subculture of people (okay, everyone on Pinterest..) who like to cook things in muffin tins. They’re individual sized, good for portion control, and well let’s face it they just scream precious. There are muffin tin lasagnas, muffin tin quiche, and even baked quinoa bites made in muffin tins.

There’s only one problem with the Pinduced muffin tin craze. As blogs like Pintester make abudantly clear, not everything that looks good on Pinterest works well in real life. Case in point: muffin tin biscuit pizzas.

Three flavors and a whole lot of biscuit

I saw these babies in a couple of different places, and thought, “Muffin tins? Canned biscuit dough? Everything I’ve ever wanted.” Since I always have cheese and marinara sauce on hand I figured it’d be a super easy recipe. And in order to class it up, I did different toppings on mine, with a set of plain cheese pizzas, a set of broccoli & ham, and a set with caramelized onion, spinach and goat cheese.

Don’t get me wrong, these were tasty. But they didn’t need to be made in muffin tins. In fact, they would’ve been about a million times better without the muffin tins. Just a baking sheet, biscuits, and pizza-y goodness.

 

The toppings I chose, however, were fabulous and without fault. If you’re a pizza traditionalist I’d say go for just marinara, cheese and some pepperoni for good measure (though without meat they make a great Meatless Monday option). If you’re feelin fancy like me, the caramelized onion and goat cheese pizzas were amazing, although I’d recommend chopping up the onions so that you don’t pull them all off in one bite. Then broccoli and ham? Fail-proof.

Enjoy my awkward reflection in the plate

Instructions? Well they’re sketchy, but they are as follows.

Impromptu Tin-less Biscuit Pizzas

  • 1 can biscuits
  • Pizza sauce
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese (or cheese of your choosing)
  • Toppings as desired. Options: pepperoni, broccoli, ham, green peppers, onions, goat cheese, spinach

Oven heated according to the instructions on your biscuits.

Pull apart each biscuit into two, unless you want a crazy thick crust that tastes mostly like biscuit with a tiny bit of cheese. There should be a clear dividing point on the biscuit, at least if you use the Grands biscuits. Put the half biscuits on a baking sheet and bake them for about half the time listed on the biscuits (e.g. if they should be baked for 10 minutes, put them in for 5 here).

Take them out, top them with whatever sauce, cheese and toppings you’re going to use, and pop them back in for the rest of the baking time.

If you make them this way you’ll get a lot less of the intense biscuit taste and bit more of a pizza balance. A fabulously easy snack or lunch for when you’re lazy and hungry.

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A Sleepy Friday’s Weekend Essentials

The combination of rain, a very painful (but much-needed) massage and a sleepless night has left me way too tired to write much. But lest I end the week without posting at all, I’ve rounded up some weekend essentials.

Read:

Trendwatching.com reports on it’s July/August trend: “Newism.” What do you think: is there anything all that new about the need for faster and newer?

Also, a bit of shameless self-promotion: a post I wrote on a separate blog was Freshly Pressed, so if you’re interested check it out.

Eat:

Hungry Hannah’s Honey Lime Baked Chicken. I had my eye on the recipe and finally made it the other night when I needed a no-fuss recipe that was still reasonably healthy. It’s so easy to make and still winds up incredibly flavorful and moist. The cayenne adds a real kick, and it’s easy to adjust the heat level to your liking.

Fast, good dinner

Watch:

The Olympics closing ceremonies on Sunday! Apparently the Spice Girls will be making an appearance, and if that doesn’t get your pulse up than you clearly aren’t a girl born between 1987 and 1991 (and also aren’t my friend).

Listen:

If you’re a fan of the xx you have to listen to their newest single, Chained. I absolutely loved Angels, and from the sound of their first few singles Coexist is going to be a good, although not revolutionary or fresh, CD.

The album cover for Coexist

Laugh:

Check out SceeneShoes’s hilarious assortment of hand-painted bras on Etsy. For the gamer in you, there’s the xbox 360 controller bra, but I’m partial to the Ninja Turtle motif. The Ninja Turtles and I go all the way back to my first hand-me-down TMNT bike, so they have a soft spot in my heart.

Carry Donatello wherever you go

(Image Sources: Coexist Cover, TMNT Bra)

Blackberry Buttermilk Crumble Muffins

Over the weekend I decided it had been too long since I’d baked something, so naturally I set out to find the perfect recipe. Since last time I made a cake and it took quite a while for my small family to finish, I decided on something more manageable this time: muffins. I found this delicious looking recipe for Buttermilk Blackberry Crumble Muffins on Scarletta Bakes.

The tasty muffins fresh from the oven

I mostly followed the directions, although I’d recommend a few tweaks to the recipe which I’ve included below. They were just a little sweet for my taste, but the blackberries in them were fabulous. And they only got better as they cooled, which isn’t something I find to be the case with most baked treats.

I’m also slightly addicted to cooking with blackberries now since they give the batter the stellar purple color you don’t get from any other food.

Second time in a month I’ve had baked Barney-colored food

The crumble gave them a nice crunchy top..

Crunchy

…while the insides were gooey and moist from the fruit.

Baked goods are the only things that are better when described as gooey and moist

Buttermilk Blackberry Crumble Muffins (adapted slightly from Scarletta Bakes)

For the muffins:
3/4 c. white sugar, granulated
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened*
3/4 c. buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 3/4c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2.5 c. blackberries, roughly chopped

For the crumble topping:
1/2 c. dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. Nilla wafers or plain vanilla cookies
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

*I used 3 tbsp unsweetened butter and 3 tbsp butter to cut calories, and it can help to make this very dense recipe a little less dense

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line muffin tins (14-16) with liners.

Crush the vanilla cookies, leaving in some larger chunks to ensure some crunch to the topping. Combine the dark brown sugar, vanilla cookies and melted butter for the crumble toppings. Set aside.

For the batter, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Then add the flour and baking powder, alternating with the buttermilk (3 flour additions, 2 buttermilk additions). Mix until the ingredients are just integrated, being careful not to over-mix. Fold in the blackberries (this is where the batter turns that stellar purple!). Fill each muffin space (what on earth do you call the individual muffin openings on a tin??) 2/3 full and top with a generous amount of crumble. Bake 18-22 minutes. They are done when a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Bibimbap-ing Back to Real Life

I never cease to be amazed at how quickly the summer months can fly by. It’s August now which means the end to my month of travel and a return to the real world (or whatever you want to call my strange life in limbo). I had such a good month spending time with friends, catching up with family, exploring new places and eating my face off. However, after a month that included 4 flights, 2 train rides, 2 bus rides and a 6 hour drive to and from the wedding I must say it feels nice to just sit still for a bit. I got home after a red eye flight and bus ride back to Providence and immediately collapsed into my bed.

The only downside to all my travels? I was in vacation mentality, which meant I was in vacation eating mentality, which obviously meant I ate more than my fair share of tacos and wedding cake and pastries and cheese and everything delicious I encountered, not to mention all the airport food. I was bad to my body. When I woke up from my nap/sleep hybrid I realized my body was screaming for vegetables and water.

My goal: to incorporate as many vegetables as possible into my meal while still forcing myself to be adventurous. Which is how I came to make bibimbap for dinner. Bibimbap, for those who don’t know, is a Korean dish that literally means “mixed rice.” It consists of rice, vegetables and protein in the form of meat and an egg. The nice thing is you can use any vegetables you want, even if it makes the dish a bit less authentic. Traditionally it’s often made to use up leftovers since the vegetables are ones often served as sides with other things.

It took me a while to make because I didn’t have any leftovers, having just returned home, and hot damn is it hard to julienne a baby carrot. I also had to marinate the meat, cook the rice and prepare a few different vegetables. Let’s just say I didn’t plan my time very well (I was almost done with everything else when I realized I hadn’t made any rice).

Damn that girl can julienne a carrot

In the end though it turned out wonderfully, and it had the simple, clean flavors that my body was begging me for. For vegetables I used cucumbers, carrots, spinach and bell peppers, with some baby bok choy on the side. The only real seasonings to the veggies came from a little sesame oil, garlic and sesame seeds, along with a bit of salt at the end. I also used kimchi, which-fun fact-is supposed to be amazing for digestion and health. I wanted some meat too so I used sirloin steak marinated in a bit of soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and agave nectar.

When I put it all together it looked so tasty. And I got my rice on my plate in such a nice round shape. …If I sound proud it’s because plating is never my strong point.

Bibimbap in the making

My supermarket didn’t have gochujang, the chili pepper paste traditionally served with bibimbap, so I improvised with some sriracha mixed with a dash of honey, soy sauce and sesame oil (a trick I found on this blog).

Because everything’s better with sriracha

And finally I topped it all off with a sunny side up egg. I’m much more of an over-easy girl myself, so on my first attempt I broke the oh-so-delicate yolk all over the pan. My second attempt, however, resulted in a perfectly sunny-side-up egg to top off my masterpiece with.

My finished bibimbap

As anyone who has eaten bibimbap knows, part of the fun of this dish is that it looks so well composed when you serve it, but then you immediately mix it all together when you eat it. That runny yolk gets mixed in with the beef and rice and veggies and it all comes together into one delicious messy dish.

Eaten with chopsticks whilst getting my Olympic pride on watching gymnastics

There’s really not much to it since the steps are: rice, veggies, meat, egg. If you want a little more direction than that (including which vegetables are most traditional), this post on Living and Eating takes you through the steps.

In the end, I’d call my foray into bibimbap a resounding success. It was more food than I needed (I didn’t finish everything on the plate), left me full for hours, and eased me back into a world of vegetables and simple food.

Date Night Looks

Pardon me while I give a lengthy introduction to my fashion-based post. Last night when the boy got back from a few days at a retreat we got to spend a good chunk of time together. Naturally, I cooked. It’s so much more fun to cook for someone else, especially when that someone has the appetite of a small blue whale (krill on krill on krill). Wanting to try something I hadn’t made before, I searched for some homemade gnocchi recipes. I was pretty focused on not majorly effing anything up, so I didn’t take many pictures, but all in all I’d say it wasn’t a total failure. I made ricotta gnocchi in a sage brown butter sauce and turkey meatballs. Maybe not the most cohesive meal ever but I didn’t get a lot of complaints.

For the gnocchi I loosely followed two recipes from The Kitchn and Italian Food Forever. Making ricotta gnocchi was much easier than potato gnocchi, but still requires some precision. I’d say next time (and there will be a next time when it comes to me and gnocchi) I’d be more judicious in my flour use and try to find an even more flavorful sauce. If you’re pressed for time though the brown butter sage sauce was delicious and easy. After boiling the gnocchi I quickly sauteed them in the sauce so they’d soak up all that flavor. I also left a few plain so that Patrick could opt out of the buttery goodness in favor of red sauce.

The meatballs were made from this Turkey Ricotta Meatballs recipe originally found in Cooking Light. Patrick’s only complaint was that they could use some more seasoning, and I agree. I’d definitely say add more basil, salt & pepper than you think you need, or incorporate whichever seasonings you like in your meatballs.

I did manage to get this picture of the aftermath..

So while our “date night” involved food and curling up for a few episodes of Breaking Bad, a more adventurous date night (i.e. ones in which you leave the house) might require more of a cute look. I thought I’d post a few cute outfits I’ve been eyeing. As always, the images link through to where you can buy them.

Looking for a cute, simple dress? I  love the way this Elizabeth and James dress fancies up a simple silhouette with a metallic shimmer. This would be perfect for a nice dinner and then going out after, perhaps dancing if you’re lucky enough to date someone who dances.

Elizabeth and James Tank Dress

Looking for a little more pizazz? I love this Free People beaded dress. The beading makes it feel very twenties, but the tie dye makes it feel a little more low key. And the hemline and bit of mesh let you show a little skin without feeling like you’re too on display.

Free People Beaded Dress

Of course if you’re like me and jeans are a pretty major staple in your wardrobe, or if you’re going somewhere a little more laid back, pair your jeans and heels with a cute jacket. I’m absolutely in love with this Rebecca Minkoff jacket, and it would be perfect once the summer starts to cool down. Or if you’re in San Francisco like me, perfect all summer. Yes.. I’m going to continue to gripe about the weird San Francisco weather for a long time.

Rebecca Minkoff Becky Printed Jacket

As for jewelry? I’ve recently been on a gold kick, lusting after all sorts of pretty gold jewelry. Strange, since I’ve almost always been a strictly silver girl. Try a big gold bracelet, or maybe go fashion functional with a gorgeous watch.

Jules Smith Bracelet

Sarah Designs All Chain Wrap Watch

And if you’re like me and choose to stay in and cook, there’s always the “sassy apron” route.

The Joy of Ex Foundation’s Kitchen Dancing Apron

So, do you have any good date night looks? I’m always in the mood for a little hypothetical date night shopping with my imaginary money.

Berries and Cream Cake

This is later than I usually post, but I’ve been a little all over the place today, so bear with me. I spent America’s birthday in Florida enjoying the sun and getting myself a nice little sunburn across my whole back. It was great to get away from Providence for a little bit, spend time with Patrick, and do as few real life tasks as possible.

Soaking up that Florida sun

In true Molly fashion, I came back and immediately got into my own head: too many things I should be doing, people I should be talking to, to-do items I want to draw a line through. After a few strange dreams about people I used to know and things I’ve never done, I decided I needed to do something to chill out a bit: bake

While traveling I spent a lot of time on Food Gawker and came across this recipe for Blackberries and Cream Cake. I was sold, I knew I had to try making this cake. I altered it a little bit, using raspberries as well as blackberries, although I suspect you could use any kind of berries and it would be great.

Barney threw up and I made it into a cake

The batter was this awesome color of purple; I can’t remember the last time my kitchen was this colorful.

Colorful mess

The biggest issue I ran into was with the frosting. I tried the recipe from The Cake Merchant post but I found that it never came to stiff peaks. I whipped and whipped the frosting but only ever got it to soft peaks, so it wasn’t really firm enough for me to frost with. I was disappointed, because it tasted amazing. I still managed to use it in between the layers, and I was glad I did because it added to the moistness of the cake and wasn’t as sweet as other frosting. In the end I had to settle for a tub of Duncan Hines Cream Cheese frosting.

I cheated, and it tasted so good

I’m certainly not a master decorator and have no time or patience to do a crumb coat when I frost. That said, my cake didn’t turn out too shabby. I wish I’d saved fresh berries to put around the edges but I used mine all in the cake, and it was so delicious I wouldn’t change a thing.

The frosted cake

Digging in for a slice

I’d recommend this recipe to anyone looking for a super easy summer cake. It turned out absolutely delicious. I’ll keep experimenting with the frosting, because in theory I liked that it was light and not excessively sweet. I also think I’d try a frosting with a bit of citrus.

Berries and Cream Cake (adapted from The Cake Merchant)

  • 1 package white cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
  • 1/2 3 oz package blackberry gelatin (you can do a full package of one or the other, but I combined the two)
  • 1/2 3 oz package raspberry gelatin
  • 1 container blackberries
  • 1 container raspberries
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Flour, grease and parchment line two 8-inch cake pans.

Puree the blackberries and raspberries. If you don’t want seeds in your cake, strain the puree.

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix on low until all ingredients are just incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and beat for an additional 1 1/2 minutes.

Divide the cake batter between the two pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool, run a knife along the edges and invert the cakes onto wire racks.

The frosting is up to you, but I can wholeheartedly endorse my boy Duncan–he will not fail you. For better frosting and assemblage directions than I can give, check out the Cake Merchant original post.

Noms

Anyone got any other great summer cakes or desserts I can try?