Friday, April 26, 2013


To celebrate their upcoming food truck tour*, Friendship Dairies is giving away to one lucky reader the following: 

-Branded Friendship cloth grocery bag ($15 value)

-$15 iTunes gift card (to create a mix for your workouts)

-Brita Filtered water bottle ($10 value)

-Rocco DiSpirito’s new cookbook: “Now Eat This! Italian: Favorite Dishes from the Real Mamas of Italy--All Under 350 Calories” ($26.99 retail)

-two Coupons for FREE Friendship Dairies products ($8 value) 


This contest is limited to US entries only, including Alaska and Hawaii residents, and deadline to enter is Midnight, Tuesday, April 30.  

For complete information on how to enter (don't worryit's easy), go to my main blog, Judy's Kitchen.

*Friendship Dairies will be having a food truck tour with celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito that will be passing through the New York Metro area this May.  The mobile mixer truck will be serving free 5-ounce Friendship Fit to Go™ 1% Low Fat, 1% Low Fat Pineapple, and 4% Regular cottage cheese samples with innovative mix-in options.  Check out the Friendship Dairies website to find where you can purchase their products in your area, to follow the food truck and to get recipes.  (Friendship Dairies products are predominantly distributed along the East Coast of the US with limited distribution in other states.) 

Thursday, April 25, 2013


These muffins are loaded.   Delicious buttery pecans, oatmeal and maple syrup will provide a great way to start your day or a perfect afternoon snack.   To get a more intense maple flavor, though, you have to use Grade B syrup in addition to maple flavoring.  Grade B syrup is available at Harris Teeter in the maple syrup section, on the top shelf.  

Since brands of maple flavoring vary in intensity, it would be best to start with less flavoring and adjust to taste.  I used Boyajian maple flavoring, purchased online per King Arthur Flour Company's recommendation, but I was very disappointed.  It tastes more like coffee flavor than maple flavor.  The company did not respond to my email questions concerning their product ingredients.  The good news:  even though the maple flavoring didn't taste like maple flavoring, the muffins tasted great.  Coffee and maple syrup, it seems, are great flavor partners.

Set out all your ingredients first and be sure they're room temperature before you start. If you want morning muffins but don't want to get up early to make them, just make them the day before and give them a quick zap in the microwave to warm them in the morning.  You won't need any butter on these -- they're perfect as is.  (But I would suggest a slice or two of bacon for a great accompaniment.)

Maple-Glazed Oatmeal-Maple-Pecan Muffins with Maple-Pecan Streusel
Rating:  9.5 out of 10

1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans + 1/2 cup
2 Tbsp. quick oats + 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp.
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup + 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup, Grade B preferred
1/4 tsp. maple flavor + 1 tsp. + 1/4 tsp.
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted + 2 tsp.
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
scant 1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar

In small bowl, combine whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup pecans, 2 Tbsp. oats, 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar, 1 Tbsp. maple syrup, 1/4 tsp. maple flavor  and 1 Tbsp. melted butter.  Set aside.

In large bowl, whisk together 1 cup all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. quick oats, 1/2 cup pecans, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, 1/2 cup maple syrup, 1 tsp. maple flavor, oil and egg.  Add liquids to dry ingredients all at once, stirring lightly with spoon or spatula till just barely combined.  Let batter rest 20-30 minutes before filling greased muffin tins with about 1/4 cup batter and 1/2 Tbsp. streusel.  While batter is resting, heat oven to 350F.  Bake 17-19 minutes, or till a toothpick inserted near center returns with just a few crumbs.  Cool muffins in tins 5 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to finish cooling.

While muffins are cooling, combine confectioner's sugar, 2 tsp. melted butter, 1/4 cup maple syrup and 1/4 tsp. maple flavor in small bowl, stirring with spoon or fork till smooth.  Drizzle warm muffins with glaze.  Yield 12 standard-size muffins

Thursday, April 18, 2013


In East Carolina, summer weather can extend from May through October, and the hot Carolina sun can be brutal.  It doesn't make much sense to use the oven, not only because you're counteracting the air conditioning, but also because New Bern's electric rates are even more ridiculously high during summer months.  But some foods need to be baked -- take, for instance,  Spanokopita.  It's a great accompaniment to a salad, and we have salads for dinner often in the summer.  Topped with a piece of fish or chicken, the salad becomes an entree and the Spanokopita serves as a delicious bread.

Since gas grills nowadays have separate burners and thermostatic controls, I found through experimentation that just spraying a piece of tinfoil with nonstick cooking spray and placing the Spanokopita on the foil on the turned-off burner and cooking with lid closed for about 20-25 minutes on 350-375F, yields the same results as placing it in a conventional oven.  (Be sure to preheat the grill first.)  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Hummingbird cake – a banana-pineapple spice cake -- has been a southern tradition since the mid 19th century and is especially popular at Christmas.  The first known publication of the recipe was in the February 1978 Southern Living magazine.  It was elected the magazine's favorite recipe in 1990, and won the Favorite Cake Award at the 1978 Kentucky State Fair.  The cake typically has two or three layers with pecans, mashed bananas, crushed pineapple and cream cheese frosting.  I call it banana cake on steroids.

Last December, I made Food Network's version of Hummingbird cake to rave reviews.  Today's cupcakes are an adapted smaller version of Southern Living's enormously popular recipe, and I made them to celebrate the arrival of Spring.  These are very sweet with a moist, tender, almost velvety texture and everyone, but everyone, loves them.  (If you eliminate the cream cheese frosting and just sprinkle with powdered sugar, Hummingbird cupcakes are dairy free.)  

Hummingbird Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Southern Living
Rating:  9.5 out of 10


1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda, scant
1/2 tsp. salt, scant
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 large egg, room temperature
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup mashed bananas
4 oz. crushed pineapple, undrained*
1/3 cup chopped toasted pecans 

Heat oven to 350F.  Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.  In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, sugar and cinnamon.  In medium bowl, whisk egg, oil, vanilla, bananas, pineapple and pecans till well combined.  Stir into dry ingredients, mixing just till barely moistened.  Fill muffin cups 2/3 full, using about 3-1/2 Tbsp. for each cup.  Bake 15-18 minutes, or till a toothpick inserted near center returns with just a few crumbs. Cool on wire rack.  Frost with cream cheese frosting when thoroughly cool.  Yield:  12 cupcakes

*You can use fresh pineapple, finely chopped, in place of the canned crushed pineapple, if desired.


4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
4 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed of mixer till fluffy and smooth.  Gradually add sugar, beating till smooth after each addition.  Add vanilla and beat on high till fluffy.

TIP:  Believe it or not, these actually taste better as they age, making them a perfect make-ahead dessert.  Store in fridge, of course, for up to one week.  They also freeze beautifully -- thaw at room temperature for one hour before serving.