Wednesday, September 19, 2012

One Last Taste of the Summer

Despite the fact that my fall baking adventures are in full swing, the summer is technically not over until this weekend. I do love my fall and holiday treats, but there is just something so refreshing when it comes to summer cooking and baking. I think it's still acceptable to grab that one last taste of summer while you still can.
One of my all time favorite summer treats does not come in dessert form, rather as a salsa. Yes, I have only posted desserts on here, but I think it's time to branch out a bit and share some other recipes as well. I may or may not have scraped every last bit of this salsa from its serving dish on numerous occasions, so trust me--- its quite dangerous. But on the bright side, it's much better for the waistline than scraping every remnant of my Oreo truffles from the bowl after mixing the cookies with cream cheese...and for that, I am more than guilty!

Be warned, however--- if you put this salsa out at a party or gathering, make sure you have another bowl of it set aside somewhere because it will probably be gone before you even have the chance to blink. I've put this out at a few family gatherings and it was gone by the time I went to get myself a drink. It's refreshing, flavorful, and just absolutely irresistible. And with all those characteristics, you have to be thinking that it MUST be bad for you. Luckily, you can eat this last taste of summer guilt free.
So hurry and round up that last bit of summer corn and those avocados, because you definitely don't want to be waiting a whole year to try this. I've made a few minor changes from the original recipe from The Pioneer Woman---she calls it "Fresh Corn and Avocado Salsa" and she just cooks up her corn, versus roasting it like I like to do. She also keeps her avocado cubed, but I prefer incorporating mine a little more. Whichever way you prefer, it is absolutely delicious. Serve it with tortilla chips or use it to top anything from eggs, an omelet, or even grilled chicken. Or, if you're like me, just a spoon will suffice! 

Roasted Corn & Avocado Salsa
adapted from The Pioneer Woman's Fresh Corn & Avocado Salsa

4 ears of sweet corn, cooked or roasted
1/2 red onion, diced (I didn't have any red onion on hand at the time, but it definitely adds some nice color!)
2 large, avocados, diced (you'll want to get them on the firmer side if you're planning on keeping them cubed)
2 jalape├▒os, seeded and finely diced 
Juice of 1 lime
Plenty of chopped cilantro
Salt, to taste
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp sugar
Slice the kernels off the corn after cooking or roasting. Combine with the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate. Repeat process after you've devoured the entire bowl by yourself (have no shame, I could totally do it!). 

all photos © Bunhead in the Kitchen, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Apples, Coffee, and Betty Crocker

Dear Bunhead, I miss you. Just like the last time I went on an involuntary blogging hiatus, here I am again---months of abandoning the kitchen for real life and now, I'm eagerly attempting my return. The fall is here and I just could not resist. 

My dad's birthday happens to fall in September and I had my first opportunity to get back in the kitchen. My first thought was to start with apples, since my dad can't get enough of my mom's famous apple pie. Since my mom was a little busy planning the dinner we'd be making him, I volunteered to make the birthday dessert.
So obviously, my dad likes apples. And cinnamon, of course. And instead of attempting to recreate my mom's pie without her assistance in executing her secrets, I immediately remembered a cake I had made in my initial post-college baking extravaganza--- the Apple Upside Down Streusel Coffee Cake. No combination of words have ever sounded better together. My dad and I also share a love of coffee, so I knew any kind of treat that would marry perfectly with our caffeine addiction would be the perfect choice. 

This cake is unbelievable. The combination of streusel and the baked apples (that have bathed in butter and brown sugar, might I add) puts the average coffee cake to shame. And its a classic---I found this recipe a few years ago in my mom's Betty Crocker Cookbook from 1987 (5th Edition). I couldn't pass it up when I first came across the recipe and I knew it would be perfect for this occasion, especially with my coffee the next morning!
Apple Upside Down Streusel Coffee Cake  
adapted from Betty Crocker 

Streussel
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 3 tbsp firm butter
Mix all ingredients until crumbly. Set aside. 

Apples
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar 
  • 2 medium apples, thinly sliced 
Heat oven to 350 degrees. While preheating, heat butter in 9x9x2 in pan until melted. Sprinkle with brown sugar and arrange apples in pan. Make sure the sides of the pan are greased.

Coffee Cake 
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 3 tsp baking powder (omit if using self rising flour)
  • 1 tsp salt (omit if using self rising flour)
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup milk (I used vanilla soy milk for some extra flavor)
Make sure oven is heated to 350 degrees and that streusel and apples are prepared. Beat remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl, or stand mixer, low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed, scraping the bowl occasionally, for 2 minutes. Spread half of the batter in the pan on top of the apples, sprinkle with half of the streusel, top with remaining batter and sprinkle with remaining streusel. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Immediately invert the pan on a heat proof serving plate. Let pan remain a minute for drizzle from the apples. Eat with coffee or tea, or by itself, & enjoy! 

all photos © Bunhead in the Kitchen, 2012