All Hail Asparagus, Spring is just around the corner

  So I walk into the produce section of my favorite green grocer and what do I spy? Why asparagus at .99 a pound. Are they kidding me? .99 a pound? Sign me up and shut the door, I’m all in for this special. As if in a daze my cart magically makes its way over to the stand and I find myself loading bundle after bundle of that sweet stalk of green goodness into my cart.

By the time I get out of my chlorophyll induced stupor I’m in my kitchen, the proud owner of 10 pounds of the stuff and no real plan on how to use it up before it starts to wilt. My plan, take a deep breath, do a little recipe research and cook up a storm.

Asparagus is one of Mother Nature’s finest gifts and is a sure sign that spring has sprung. It’s a part of the lily family and is sort of a first cousin to onions, leeks and garlic. Loaded with vitamins A, B and C it’s also a great source for folic acid, it’s at its best from May through June so now is the best time to stock up and chow down. It is a very versatile vegetable that can be prepared by steaming, roasting, grilling or even stir frying it. The spears should be firm and green with tightly closed firm tips. Choose thin or thick stalks is just a matter of personal preference, I don’t really taste a difference between the two. Pass up asparagus with thick woody looking stalks.  I don’t peel the stalks but I do cut off about 1/2 inch of the ends before cooking.

If you’d like a little variety in your life look for white or purple asparagus. They’re the same as the green variety they’ve just been grown differently; the white is grown like some mushrooms, without light so it doesn’t produce chlorophyll. You will find that the white asparagus is a tad bit sweeter but so is the price point. The purple is pretty but it does loose most of its purple color when cooked.

I’ve started cooking and don’t plan on stopping until the last stalk is devoured and invite you to do the same with these terrific recipes



1lb. asparagus, cut into 1/3’s and grilled slightly

1/4 cup butter or margarine

4 to 5 portabella mushrooms chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 cup bread crumbs

3 tablespoon parmesan cheese, divided

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cups shredded Munster or pepper jack cheese

1/2 lb mock crab shredded or chopped

8 ounces vegetable cream cheese

4 eggs

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 13×9-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. In a skillet melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently for about 6 or 7 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and garlic from the heat and add the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and pepper.  Mix to combine and then press mushroom mixture evenly in bottom and up side of greased pan. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the mushroom crust. Place the asparagus and mock crab on top of the cheese. In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the cream cheese, eggs and 1 tablespoon of the parsley. Beat to combine and so that there are no lumps. Pour the egg mixture over the asparagus and crabmeat. Sprinkle the top with the 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes then serve. Serves 8.

Modified from



1 lb fresh asparagus ends cut off, steamed till just crisp tender

1 package puff pastry dough (2 sheets), defrosted

1 cup shredded pepper jack or Swiss cheese

1/4 lb lox, cut into bite size pieces

1/4 cup green onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 400. Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Open puff pastry dough and cut each sheet into 1/3’s. Then cut each strip into 1/3’s. Roll each section out slightly so they form rectangles. On each section, lengthwise, place a few stalks of cooked asparagus on one edge, sprinkle some cheese, lox and green onions on top of the asparagus and then roll them up. Place the rolls, seam side down on the cookie sheet. Brush the top of each roll with the melted butter and sprinkle the top with a few sesame seeds. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until roll ups are golden browned. Remove from the oven and let cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Cut each roll in half and serve. Serves 6 to 8.


1 lb asparagus

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup milk

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 pinch sugar

3 ounces gruyere cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 425. In a medium saucepan, add 2 inched of salted water; bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water, then pat dry with paper towels. Cut the spears crosswise into thirds. In a medium cast-iron skillet, add the butter. Place the skillet in the oven to melt the butter. In a medium bowl, microwave the milk on high for 30 seconds. Whisk in the eggs, then the flour, salt, pepper, and sugar. Add the asparagus pieces to the hot cast-iron skillet and pour the batter on top. Sprinkle with half of the cheese and bake until puffed and golden-brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Top with the remaining cheese. Recipe makes 24 pieces

From the May 2008 issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray


1 lb asparagus cut into bite size pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 lb smoked white fish, broken into bite size pieces

12 oz gruyere cheese, sliced

1 loaf French bread, sliced in to 1/2-inch slices

1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil

kosher salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Saute the asparagus in the olive oil until it’s just soft and set it aside. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. With a pastry brush, lightly brush the top of the slices of French bread with olive oil. Place the oiled pieces, oil side up on the parchment paper, season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 5 to 7 minutes until golden. Place a small piece of white fish on top of the toasted French bread, then put two to three pieces of asparagus, and top with one small slice of gruyere, Grind a little pepper on top, return to the oven for 2 minutes or just until the cheese melts. Serve immediately. Makes 12 to 14 pieces.


You can vary the amount of cheese according to your taste

1 to 1 1/2 lbs. fresh asparagus, cut into bite size pieces

2 carrots shredded

1 to 2 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

6 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup flour

3 cups milk or 1/2 and 1/2

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (for sauce)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

Salt and pepper

6 large par boiled lasagna noodles

1 to 1 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

3/4 to 1 cup grated Romano cheese

1/3 to 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425. Place the asparagus and shredded carrots on a cookie sheet with sides and toss them with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes until they just begin to soften. Cool slightly and set them aside. In a large saucepan melt the butter and add the flour and whisk briskly and constantly until it’s combined. Cook for about 2 minutes whisking constantly. Add the milk and continue whisking and cooking until the sauce is thickened. Reduce the heat and add the nutmeg, 3/4 cup parmesan cheese and garlic. Stir until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove sauce from the heat. In a 9 X 13 pan, spread a few tablespoons of the sauce on the bottom. Top with 3 noodles then top with 1/3 of the roasted asparagus and carrot mixture. Sprinkle a little parmesan Romano and mozzarella cheese over the top of the asparagus. Spoon 1/3 of the sauce over the cheese. Top with a layer of 3 lasagna noodles. Repeat the layers asparagus, cheese, sauce. Top the sauce on the top of the strata with the remaining cheeses. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden and the sides are bubbly. Let the cool for about 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Serves 8.

Submitted by Corrine Rasterty, Finley NJ




1 lb of fresh asparagus, cut into bite size pieces

1 large onion, chopped into bite size pieces

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3 tablespoons of butter, divided

2 tablespoons of flour

1 cup of milk

1/2 cup cream cheese

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon of salt

pepper to taste

1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese, shredded.

1 cup of panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 2 quart baking dish. In a skillet melt 1 tablespoon of butter and saute the asparagus, garlic and onion until just slightly wilted. Put the mixture into the greased pan. In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter, add the flour and stir until smooth. Add the milk and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture is thickened and smooth. Add the cream cheese, chili powder, salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the asparagus and onion mixture. Mix to combine. Sprinkle the top with the cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese is melted. Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish.


1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper


2 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat oven to 450. Line the cookie sheet with foil. Place the asparagus spears on a rimmed cookie sheet. Drizzle the olive oil and maple syrup over the top. Toss to make sure all the spears are coated. Lightly sprinkle the asparagus with the paprika, salt and pepper. Roast the asparagus for 8 to 10 minutes then turn it over and cook for another 2 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.


6 to 8 slices Morning Star Farm ® fake bacon, cut into bite size pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 red pepper chopped

1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced

1 1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut on a long diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices

1 lb. bow tie pasta, cooked according to the package directions, save 1 cup of the water used in cooking

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Parmesan for serving

Cook the Morning Star Farm ® fake bacon in 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a fry pan until it’s crispy and brown. Drain on paper towels and but keep the oil in the pan. Saute the onion, mushrooms and red pepper in the skillet for about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the drained pasta and 1/2 cup of the water to the vegetable mixture. Mix to combine, scraping the bottom to remove the cooked on bits of vegetable. Cook for 1 minute and add the remaining water and 1/2 cup parmesan. Mix to combine and cook for 2 more minutes. Place the pasta mixture in a serving bowl, add the cooked Morning Star Farm® fake bacon and toss to combine. Serve with additional parmesan. Serves 6 to 8

Modified from an old Gourmet Magazine recipe


Enter the Banana /Recipes for the fruit minded

    I am, by nature, someone that loves to entertain and have company stay for the weekend. I’m talking LOTS and LOTS of company. My husband, not quite so much as me. So, for the most part, we compromise and have lots of company. When I first start to plan the menus for the weekends one of the first things I have to determine is whether or not said company falls into or out of the banana category.

Ok, you ask, what heck is the banana category? Well, the banana category is where the guests I have to feed like to snack on fruit and if that fruit is likely to be bananas. Inclusion in this category determines the amount of bananas to be purchased and approximately how much time it will take for any left over bananas (and trust me, there’s always left over bananas) to get mushy after the company leaves.

There truly is a reason for this somewhat bizarre banana thought process. Bananas are actually one of the few foods for which I don’t have a lot of recipes. Not because I don’t like them but rather, because both my children and husband are highly allergic to them in the raw state. I eat them with pleasure when we have company and cook them for the family after the company leaves leave. I have always tried to make really different and exciting recipes because I never know when the next banana company will arrive. The following recipes are all utterly delicious and have come to me from a variety of sources.



2 1/2 cup chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoons cinnamon
5 tablespoons melted butter

1/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoons allspice
4 bananas — peeled and sliced

Pastry Cream:
3 cup half and half
1 vanilla bean — split in half lengthwise
8 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark rum
3 tablespoons cornstarch

Grease a 10-inch spring form pan. To prepare crust, in a medium bowl,
combine cookie crumbs, sugar and cinnamon and mix well. Stir in
melted butter. Press mixture into prepared pan on the bottom and up
the sides of the pan about 21/2 inches and place it in the refrigerator
to chill. To prepare the filling, put the butter and brown sugar in a
large saute pan over high heat and heat until bubbling, about 2
minutes. Add cinnamon, ginger, allspice and bananas and saute until
tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the crust from the refrigerator and
spoon the bananas evenly over the bottom of the crust. Set aside.

To prepare the pastry cream, put the half and half in a saucepan with the vanilla bean and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, remove and discard vanilla bean. In a medium bowl, place egg yolks, sugar, dark rum and cornstarch and whisk together. Whisk about 1 cup of half and half mixture into the egg mixture to temper it. Add the egg mixture to the remaining half and half and place the pan over medium heat, stirring frequently until thick, 3-5 minutes. Pour the mixture over the roasted bananas in the crust and refrigerate for 2-3 hours
or until well chilled. To serve, carefully remove the outer ring of the pan, cut the pie into slices, and top each slice with whipped cream and several mint leaves. Serves 12


Submitted by Cheryl Cerdanadski Warsaw IN


1 can (8 oz.) unsweetened crushed pineapple, well drained, reserve
1 pkg. (14 oz.)  banana quick bread and muffin mix
2 eggs
2 tablespoons oil
1/3 cup Maraschino cherries, chopped
1/3-1/2 cup semi-sweet miniature chocolate chips
1/3 cup pecans, chopped

1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons semi-sweet miniature chocolate chips, melted
4 teaspoons milk

Preheat oven to 375 . Grease and flour bottom only of a (9×5 inch)
loaf pan. Add water to reserved pineapple liquid to make 3/4 cup In a
large bowl, combine all bread ingredients. Stir 50-75 times with
wooden spoon until mix is moistened (don’t over mix!). Pour batter
into prepared pan. Bake 55-65 minutes or until toothpick placed in the
center comes out clean. Cool in a pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
Remove from pan to cool for 45 minutes or until completely cooled. In a
small bowl, combine glaze ingredients. Stir until well blended. Pour
over loaf. For gift giving you can use (3×5 inch) pans and bake 35-40
minutes. Store in refrigerator to slice when chilled. Serves 6 to 8



3 extra ripe, peeled medium bananas
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine, softened
3 eggs
3 tablespoons almond liqueur OR 2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted, ground


Banana Chocolate Glaze
1 pureed, extra ripe small banana
1 ounce melted semisweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 10 inch bunt pan.  In a bowl mash the bananas and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the sugar and margarine and beat until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, liqueur and vanilla. Beat to combine. In another bowl combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Mix the dry ingredients to combine.  Stir the almonds into the flour mixture. With the electric mixer running, alternately add the flour mixture with bananas to the sugar mixture. Beat well. Turn batter into greased pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out nearly clean and cake pulls away from sides of pan. Cool 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan to wire rack to cool completely. Glaze: Combine the pureed banana with the melted chocolate and whisk together. Pour glaze over the top of the cooled cake and let it drip down the sides of the cake. Serves 12 to 14



2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups mashed ripe bananas
1 1/2 cup chopped Butterfinger® bars

2/3 cup whipping cream
7 tablespoons butter, cut into large pieces
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
14 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 teaspoons rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup chopped Butterfinger® bars

Position rack in top third of oven; preheat to 350. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1-1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottoms with waxed paper rounds. Butter and flour paper.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add sugar and beat 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in dark rum and vanilla extract. Combine sour cream and baking soda in medium bowl. Add mashed bananas to sour cream mixture and stir until well blended. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture alternately with banana mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Stir in chopped Butterfinger® bars.

Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until center of cake feels firm and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in pans on rack 10 minutes. Run small knife around sides of cakes to loosen. Turn out cakes onto racks and cook. Peel off waxed paper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Wrap cakes tightly and store at room temperature.)

FOR GLAZE: Combine cream, butter and corn syrup in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring until butter melts. Remove from heat; add chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Stir in rum and vanilla. Pour glaze into small bowl. Cover and refrigerate just until cool and thick, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes.

Transfer 1 cake layer to platter. Slide waxed paper strips under edges of cake. Stir glaze until smooth. Spread 1 cup glaze evenly over top of cake layer. Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining glaze over top and sides of cake. Cover top and sides of cake with chopped Butterfinger® bars. Remove paper strips. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover cake and store at room temperature.)






3 large bananas, peeled, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted, divided
3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar, divided
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups self-rising flour
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs

Additional melted butter


Cut 2 bananas into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Combine 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup water in heavy large skillet. Boil over medium-high heat until mixture thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla extract and sliced bananas. Remove syrup from heat.


Whisk flour and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in large bowl. Mash remaining banana in medium bowl, then whisk in buttermilk and eggs. Stir banana mixture into dry ingredients (some lumps will remain). Mix in remaining 1/4 cup melted butter.

Preheat oven to 200. Heat griddle over medium heat; brush with additional melted butter. Working in batches, pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto griddle. Cook pancakes until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer pancakes to baking sheet; place in oven to keep warm. Serve pancakes with caramel-banana syrup. Makes 4 servings.


Bon Appétit, November 2005



1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips (about 8 ounces)
2/3 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 1/3 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 large)
3 tablespoons buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan. Stir chocolate chips, brown sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon in small bowl until well blended; set streusel aside. Sift all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, room temperature butter, and egg in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in mashed bananas and buttermilk. Add dry ingredients and blend well.


Spread half of batter (about 2 cups) in prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with half of streusel. Repeat with remaining batter and streusel. Bake coffee cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool coffee cake in pan on rack. Makes 12 servings.



4 (17- by 12-inch) phyllo sheets, covered with 2 overlapping pieces plastic wrap and then a damp kitchen towel
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 firm-ripe bananas
2 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped
1 large egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Confectioners sugar for dusting

Accompaniment: lightly sweetened whipped cream

Preheat oven to 425. Arrange 1 phyllo sheet on a work surface with a short side of phyllo nearest you, keeping remaining sheets covered, and brush with some butter. Top phyllo with 3 more sheets of phyllo, brushing each with butter. Arrange bananas one above the other, horizontally, on lower third of phyllo, leaving a 1-inch border on both sides (trim bananas if too long). Sprinkle chocolate over bananas, then fold sides of phyllo toward middle (over ends of bananas). Fold bottom edge of phyllo over bananas and roll up bananas in phyllo.


Transfer strudel, seam side down, to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or to a buttered baking sheet, then brush strudel with beaten egg. Cut 4 (1/2-inch-long) steam vents diagonally along top of strudel with a sharp knife. Bake in middle of oven until golden, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool slightly on a rack, and then dust with confectioner’s sugar. Makes 6 servings.


Gourmet October 2001


1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
6 firm-ripe bananas
1/4 cup apricot preserves

Preheat oven to 350. Blend crumbs, butter, 1/3 cup sugar, and salt in a food processor until mixture begins to hold together and pat onto bottom and up side of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake in middle of oven until side of crust is firm to the touch, 14 to 18 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate chips into hot crust and let stand 5 minutes to soften. Spread evenly over bottom of crust. Beat cream with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar and rum until it holds soft peaks. Cut bananas into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Whisk preserves and add bananas, tossing to coat. Spoon banana mixture into crust and top with whipped cream.
Serves 8.

Gourmet January 2000


1/2 cup pure maple syrup (not the fake stuff)
1/4 cup pecans, toasted lightly and chopped coarse
2 teaspoons orange juice or fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 ripe medium banana
1/3 cup water
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
vegetable oil for brushing waffle iron

Preheat oven to 200. In a small saucepan bring maple syrup and pecans to a boil and stir in juice. Remove syrup from heat and keep warm, covered. In a bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Quarter banana and in a blender purée with water. Transfer purée to another bowl and whisk in eggs and melted butter. Add flour mixture and stir until combined well.

Heat a well-seasoned or non-stick waffle iron until hot and brush lightly with oil. Pour half of batter into iron and cook waffle according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer waffle to a baking sheet and keep warm, uncovered, in oven. Make another waffle with remaining batter in same manner.

Serve waffles with syrup. Serves 2.





1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons beaten egg

1/4 cup oil

2 tablespoons milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 medium)

1/3 cup unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained


In a small bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In another bowl, whisk the egg, oil, milk and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in bananas and pineapple.
Coat muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray or use paper liners; fill three-fourths full with batter. Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm. Makes 6 muffins.

Cupcake VS Muffins You Choose the Winner

It isn’t often in this trouble filled world that a difference of opinion is solved in an amiable manor. The dispute over what or what is not a cupcake (as opposed to a muffin) and be solved in either a simplistic, cupcakes have frosting, muffins do not answer or with a semi scientific response where a basic recipe for both require about 2 cups flour, 2 to 4 tablespoons sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1
egg, 1/4 cup oil, shortening or butter and 1 cup milk. To turn the basic muffin recipe into a cupcake it to double the shortening, sugar and egg ingredients and voila, the muffin becomes a cupcake.

Seeing that is was about 2 o’clock in the morning when this craving came upon me I of course came up with a few less politically
correct answers for the question “What is the difference between cupcake and muffins?”

1. A muffin is a confused cupcake or vice versa depending on which you like more.

2. If you throw a cupcake against a wall you a gentle “whomp” sound and lots of crumbs as it explodes and falls on the

3. If you throw a muffin against a wall you get a
“thud” noise and it puts a dent or hole in the wall.

4. Cupcakes are made of cake silly, whereas muffins
typically a quick bread.

5. Muffins are unattractive cupcakes and cupcakes are
pretty muffins.

6. In a cupcake you cream the butter and sugar together
before adding the other ingredient. With a muffin you dump everything in the
bowl at once and hope it doesn’t explode.

7. Most cake recipes can be utilized to make cupcakes
where as you can’t really make a cake out of a muffin recipe.

8. Muffins typically cook at a higher temperature than

9. While you can/do grease the muffin/cupcake pans before
cooking you rarely use a paper liner for a muffin

10 Who cares, they’re both delicious.


Make no mistake; this is an equal opportunity cup cake
and muffin column. It came about when I decided I couldn’t go one more day
without a muffin, or was that a cup cake. I went through my recipe files and
came up with two almost identical recipes but one was called a cup cake and the
other a muffin. Being the curious soul I am, I ended up researching and the
following recipes that could be either muffins or cupcakes are the happy
result. You decide.





1/4 cup packed light brown sugar, divided

1 can (10 ounces) pineapple slices, drained cut in thirds




1 1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup oatmeal (not the quick kind)

1 tablespoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1/4 cup oil

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple with juice

1 cup shredded carrots

3/4 cup raisins


Preheat oven to 400. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan.


Make the topping: Sprinkle 1 teaspoon brown sugar into
each prepared muffin cup. Place 2 pieces of pineapple in each muffin cup. Set
the pan aside.


Muffins: In a large bowl combine the flour, oats,
cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix to combine and set it aside.
In another bowl combine the brown sugar and eggs and mix well. Whisk the oil,
orange juice and vanilla into the egg mixture and mix until combined. Add the
crushed pineapple, mix to combine and then add the egg mixture to the flour mixture
and stir until just blended. Gently mix in the carrots and raisins. Divide
batter equally among prepared muffin cups. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until tops
are golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Immediately
run a knife around edges of cups and turn muffins out onto a baking sheet.
Reposition any stray pineapple pieces. Let cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve
upside down, warm or at room temperature.


Adapted from 750 Best Muffin
Recipes by Camilla Saulbury


Leftovers are the key to this


1 cup mashed sweet potatoes

2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup oil

1/4 cup water

1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon orange zest

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup cranberry sauce


Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 12 cup muffin pan. In a
large bowl combine the sweet potatoes, eggs, sugar, oil, water, orange zest,
and vanilla. Mix to combine and set aside. In another bowl combine the flour,
salt, baking powder, and baking soda, then add to the sweet potato mixture. Mix
to just combine. Add the cranberry sauce and mix to just combine. Fill the
prepared pan so that the batter fills each muffin cup 2/3’s full. Bake for 25
to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool the muffins in pan on
a rack for about 5 minutes then remove to cool on a rack. Makes 12.




2 1/4 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup blackberry, blueberry, raspberry or cherry

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1 tablespoon granulated sugar



Preheat oven to 400. Grease 12 muffin cups with cooking
spray and set it aside. In a bowl combine the jam and almond extract and mix to
combine. Set it aside. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda
and salt. In another bowl combine the eggs and brown sugar. Mix until combined
and then add the buttermilk, orange juice, oil and vanilla. Mix to combine. Add
to the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix until JUST combine. Do not over
mix. Fill each of the 12 muffin cups ½ full of the batter. Drop a generous
teaspoonful of the jam into the center of each muffin and then top with the
remaining batter, filling each muffin cup ¾ full. Sprinkle the almonds on the
top and then sprinkle the sugar over the almonds. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or
until the tops are golden brown and spring back when touched. Loosen edges with
a knife and remove them from the pan after about 5 minutes. Cool on a rack.
Makes 12


Tip: You can substitute 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1
cup milk for the buttermilk.


Modified from





1 cup corn meal

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 cup milk

1/2 cup salsa

1/4 cup vegetable oil or butter

2 teaspoon honey

1 egg

1/2 cup cream style corn

1/3 to 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper


Preheat oven to 375. Grease 12 muffin cups and set them
aside. In a large bowl combine the corn meal, flour, baking powder and salt. In
another bowl combine the milk, lemon juice, oil, honey, and egg. Mix to combine
and then add the milk mixture to the flour mixture. Mix to just combine and
then add the corn and peppers. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown on
top. Makes 12.




Great with butter or jam they can also be frosted


2/3 cup (2 ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa

1 3/4 cups (7 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached
All-Purpose Flour

1 1/4 cups (9 3/8 ounces) light brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon espresso powder, optional

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips

2 eggs

1 cup (8 ounces) milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 teaspoons vinegar

1/2 cup (4 ounces, 1 stick) butter, melted

coarse pearl sugar, for topping (optional)


Preheat the oven to 400. Line a standard muffin pan with
paper or silicone muffin cups, and grease the cups.


In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour,
sugar, baking powder, espresso powder, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips. Set


In a large measuring cup or medium-sized mixing bowl,
whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla and vinegar. Add the wet ingredients,
along with the melted butter, to the dry ingredients, stirring to blend;
there’s no need to beat these muffins, just make sure everything is


Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin; the cups
will be heaped with batter, and the muffin will bake into a
“mushroom” shape. Sprinkle with pearl sugar, if desired.


Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake
tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove the muffins
from the oven, and after 5 minutes remove them from the pan, allowing them to
cool for about 15 minutes on a rack before peeling off the muffin papers or
silicone cups. Yield: 12 muffins.


From the King Arthur Flour website.



Using a mix makes this super easy


1 box devil’s food cake mix

1 cup water

1/3 cup oil

4 eggs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use Combine all ingredients
into a bowl and mix well. Pour into cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3
full. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until tooth pick inserted into
center comes out clean. Cool completely.


Make the filling

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 cup powdered sugar


In a glass microwavable bowl combine the butter and
peanut… Microwave for 30 to 45 seconds or until the butter is melted. Stir to
combine and add the graham cracker crumbs and powdered sugar. Mix to combine,
but don’t worry, it will be thick. Refrigerate the peanut butter mixture for 30
minutes to firm. Once cupcakes have cooled completely, use a small paring knife
remove a hole in the center of the cupcake making sure not to go all the way to
the bottom. Make it shallow and wide as opposed to deep. Roll just over a
tablespoon of filling into a small ball and place into center of the whole and
set them aside. (you may have extra filling, it makes a great buckeye candy if
you dip it in chocolate).



Peanut Butter Frosting:

1 cup butter, room temperature

2 teaspoon vanilla

1 to 1 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

4 cups powdered sugar

3 tablespoon milk


In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and
vanilla and mix to combine. Add the peanut butter and mix until combined. On a
low speed slowly add the powdered sugar in one cup at a time and then add the
milk to give the frosting its desired consistency. Frost the filled cupcakes
being careful as you cover the peanut butter filling. Makes 12. .


Submitted by Rhonda Trilalon Detroit MI, modified

Egg-actly what you need

Into every life know that there will be eggs involved.  Some will get broken, others will be incorporated into myriads of “family favorite” recipes and others, those special few that are chosen, will be hard cooked.

According to the American Egg Board, the terms “hard-boiled” is a misnomer because you really don’t want to boil your eggs (it them tough and rubbery). Instead, these eggs should be “hard-cooked” in hot water.

What, you ask is the @#$@%$#$% difference? Well, let me tell you. When you cook the egg at a constant boiling temperature the continual heat overcooks the proteins in the egg, leaving the white tough and rubbery. Overcooking can also cause a greenish black icky looking film to form between the yolk and the white. Bringing the water the eggs are cooking in to a boil and then letting then, removing the pan with the eggs in it from the heat and letting them sit in the hot water for 20 minutes allows them to cook slowly and consistently. The Egg Board has great instructions which I have taken the liberty of modifying:


First, don’t add salt to water. The salt raises the boiling point of the water. Use room temperature eggs, they’re much less likely to crack in the hot water and the temperature of the egg at the start of the cooking process affects the cooking time. An egg that is at room temperature at the start of cooking  requires approx. 1 minute less time to cook and then eggs plucked from refrigerator and placed right into the pan.


Place your eggs in a saucepan, making sure that you don’t over crowd them or layer the, (stacking them is a no no). Cover them with COLD water (about an inch over the top of the eggs). Bring the water to a boil, let boil for approx. 1 minute and then remove them from the heat. Cover the pan with a lid and then let the eggs stand in the water for approx 12 minutes for medium sized eggs; 15 minutes for large eggs; 18 minutes for extra large and extra large eggs. Drain the water and then submerge them in ice cold water for a few minutes. Peel immediately if you need them or keep them refrigerated for up to 5 days. The timing for the sitting in the water begins once the eggs are removed from the heat.

            Hard-cooked eggs are easiest to peel right after cooling. Cooling causes the egg to contract slightly in the shell. You can make hard cooked eggs up to a week before you want to use them. Store them in their original carton; this prevents them from absorbing odors from the fridge. Once you peel them, however, they should be eaten as soon as possible.


Know this, eggs have gotten bad press in the past, but the truth is they are not the enemy. Eating too many of them is what gets you into trouble. The following deviled egg recipes are great to serve for either upcoming holiday and I’ve even included a recipe of sorts for dyeing your eggs if you’re looking for a special look to go a long with your special meal.


Safety Note: Never EVER microwave eggs in their shells. Steam builds up too quickly inside the shell and trust me, they will explode and you will have to clean it up.




2 large shallots or 8 green onions, sliced thin
4 hard cooked eggs, peeled, cut in half

3-4 tablespoons oil
chopped cilantro or parsley for garnish (optional)

For dipping sauce:
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce

Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Taste and adjust flavors to your liking (use any sweet/tangy dipping sauce).

Over a medium heat saute the shallots until golden; drain them on paper towel.
Place the eggs cut side down in the hot oil and cook for approx 1 minute. Place 2 halves in a bowl and top with onions and cilantro or parsley. Serve with dipping sauce. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

Adapted from Authentic Recipes from Thailand




6 hard cooked eggs, peeled and cut lengthwise

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon dry ground mustard

1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Paprika for garnish


Cut the eggs in half lengthwise. Remove the egg yolks from the egg and place them in a bowl. Mash them with a fork. Add the mayonnaise, mustard powder, vinegar, salt and pepper and mix to combine. Taste and adjust to your preference. Using a teaspoon or pastry bag fill the empty egg white shell and sprinkle with paprika. 


These can be made up to 2 days before you want to serve Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.




12 hard cooked eggs, peeled

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 tablespoons minced green onion

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard – or your favorite mustard

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

Several drops of your favorite hot sauce

salt and pepper to taste

paprika (optional)


Cut the eggs in half lengthwise. Remove the egg yolks from the egg and place them in a bowl. Mash them with a fork. Add the mayonnaise, cumin, mustard, green onion, jalapeno, and hot sauce. Mix well and salt and pepper to taste. Using a teaspoon or pastry bag fill the empty egg white shell and sprinkle with paprika.  Cover and refrigerate at least one hour before serving.




12 hard cooked eggs, peeled, cut in half.

2 ripe avocados, mashed

2 tablespoons minced onion

1 minced jalapeno

2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice

1 roma tomato, seeded and finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste


Cut the eggs in half lengthwise. Remove the egg yolks and place them in a bowl.  Mash the yolks and then add the avocados, onion, jalapeno, lemon or lime juice, tomato, salt and pepper. Mix well. Using a teaspoon or pastry bag fill the empty egg white shell

Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.




6 hard cooked eggs

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon prepared mustard

1 can (2 1/2 oz.) deviled ham

3 green onions, chopped (include some tops)

4 sprigs parsley, finely chopped

salt and pepper




1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

2 cup milk

2 teaspoon chopped chives or green onions

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1/4 cup bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut eggs in half lengthwise. Remove egg yolks and set aside. In small bowl, combine yolks, melted butter, Worcestershire sauce and mustard and mash until smooth. Stir in deviled ham, green onions, parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Evenly spoon some mixture into each egg white. Arrange in 9 inch square buttered casserole.


TO MAKE SAUCE: Melt butter and stir in flour with whisk until smooth. Continue stirring, gradually pouring in the milk. Add chives, salt and pepper. Cook for five minutes, stirring constantly. Pour over eggs. Sprinkle with cheese. Top with crumbs. Bake 35 to 40 minutes.


Modified from Submitted by Carla Cardiosi Chicago, IL




8 hard boiled eggs, peeled, chilled and cut in half

1 cup green onions, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced onion

1tablesppon mince fresh ginger

3 tablespoons oil

2 teaspoons sesame oil

salt and pepper to taste


Heat the oil in a small pot over high heat. When the oil is shimmery and hot, add the green onions, garlic, shallot, and ginger. Be careful, the water content will cause the oil to bubble. Cook for about 1 minute and then remove the pot from the heat and stir in the sesame oil. Salt to taste.


Remove the yolks from the eggs and place in a bowl. Mash with a fork until the yolks are crumbly. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the green onion oil. Stir and taste. You may need to add more green onion oil to get the desired consistency. Using a teaspoon or pastry bag fill the empty egg white shell

Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.


Modified from


Journal Gazette Column Christmas Morning Breakfast