then & now {concord grape muffins, revisited}

Sometimes even my most favorite recipes get lost in the shuffle. It’s a hazard of the job, let’s just say. I develop on average 200 recipes a year, so it’s no surprise some get buried at the bottom of the pile (or my subconscious). The great thing about sharing some of them here are comments that continue to flow in, reminding me of these forgotten treasures. I’m in awe that these waffles have been pinned more than 24,000 times.

A couple of weeks ago new comments popped up on my recipe for Concord Grape Muffins. The memory of my first taste five years ago is still vivid, pockets of jam bursting with each bite. I decided to give them a little makeover since I’ve been on this dairy-free, whole grain, no refined sugars project. Okay, so maybe it’s not such a little makeover. For starters, there’s no butter, and that changes the technique. The old recipe is what I called my biscuit-making muffin approach. You rub cold bits of butter into the flour mixture with your fingers. This results in a very light crumb, and not what you normally think of when muffins come to mind. Continue reading »

collecting dots vs. connecting dots {honey spice cake}

The day is beginning to wake. The sky a chameleon, slowly morphing from deep navy to soft blue. I love watching this transformation. Years ago, I used to go out running at this early hour. The world went from still and quiet, to the squeaking wheels of trucks making their deliveries for the day. Commuters shuffling about, still wiping the sleep from their eyes, some clutching a canister of coffee for a life raft.

That old life feels so far from reality as I sit on my sofa in Maryland right now. We’ve been in the thick of adjusting to new schools, again. Virginia attends a tiny Montessori school, and hit the ground running. She’s always been my shadow, and while she’d much rather stay home with mama all day, she seems very content in her school environment. Continue reading »

cherry crapshoot dessert {or mixed berry crisp}

I began a post on my Montreal favorites just after my last trip there in April, and it seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle. Or did I indeed post it, and have forgotten? It seems to be the story of my life these days, you know things being within reach in my mind, but misplaced in reality. Much as I enjoy escaping the routine of school, summer descends and most of my life goes on hold as I become Mommy McPhee. I’m itching a bit to jump into September to get familiar with our new routines, and life. Continue reading »

strawberries, finally!

Watching everything come alive these last few weeks has been incredible after the long, cold, and snowy winter. Last week local strawberries finally made their debut up here. They were a sight for sore, fruit deprived eyes, after months of nothing but apples (the closest we get to local fruit during the winter months since they can be put into cold storage). Luckily I had exact change, as the farm stand had just an honor box, and no way to make change, to pay for the two quarts I bought.

We splurged a little this winter, and bought strawberries in season and shipped from Florida and California, but it just isn’t the same as the taste when your berries haven’t traveled thousands of miles. I might’ve moaned a little with that first juicy bite. Before the kids could devour them I made a pie to bring to my girlfriend’s house in Brooklyn, and then a batch of hand pies for a sleepover Isabella had at her friend’s this weekend. Continue reading »

perfect chocolate chip cookies

The reality of moving finally hit me. You’d think the boxes around the house would’ve made it feel real, but when I started packing the move was three weeks away. Now we’re in the final countdown. Seven days to go (maybe less by time I press the publish button and you read this). For the first time in my four decades on this earth I won’t be a New York resident. Moving upstate at least kept me within arm’s reach of my beloved city. My city and zip code may have changed on my return address, but I was still a New Yorker. I know…once a New Yorker, always a New Yorker. And as the saying goes, you can take the girl out of Brooklyn, but you can’t take Brooklyn out of the girl. Continue reading »

the best cornbread recipe, ever

I’ve attempted cornbread and corn muffins many times over the last couple of decades. None have wowed me enough to make them a second time. The thing is, I love corn muffins. Back in 1994, just before I met Mikey, I had a job as a bank teller at Manufacters Hanover Trust on 14th street. It was a good part-time gig while I was in college. I would go across the street to a diner on Sixth Avenue, and have a bowl of chicken soup and a toasted corn muffin with butter for lunch. I know, a meal fit for an 80 year old, and I was all of 20, but it was pretty cheap, comforting, and most importantly good. Continue reading »

irish soda bread

It’s been a while, I know. Life has been quite busy, and I didn’t mean to stay away for this long. As usual, there are a ton of recipes I want to share with you, all in various stages of being tested, written, and edited. There’s also the matter of deciding which ones to share here, save for the magazine, for the cookbook proposal, and for future projects.

How to make Traditional Irish Soda Bread | www.injennieskitchen

Alas, my visit here will be very brief today. I worked on a recipe for traditional Irish soda bread recently, and realized if I didn’t share it with you all today, then it would have to wait until next year. It would be like sharing a recipe for chocolate truffles the day after Valentine’s Day, right? I suppose a proper cooling off time, say a few weeks, and a recipe for soda bread popping up here would’ve been fine. But with it being St. Patrick’s Day, and all, I didn’t want to wait. So, here I am, bread (recipe) in hand, clicking away at the keyboard while lunch heats up in the oven in preparation for getting the kids out to school.

How to make Traditional Irish Soda Bread | www.injennieskitchen

In my search for a traditional Irish soda bread recipe (remember I made this oat soda bread a few years ago), I came upon this site called The Preservation for Irish Soda Bread Society. After delving in a bit, I knew I had to stay somewhat true to tradition. You’ll notice my recipe below isn’t the sweet teacake kind being sold in most bakeries at this very moment. My recipe is more of an everyday bread that you can enjoy lightly toasted, with a smear of butter, and jam, if you like. It still isn’t quite a sandwich bread. I imagine my kids would blow a gasket if I tried to tuck a few slices of turkey between it. Still, it’s a nice counterpart to the fruit and egg enriched recipes out there. Hope you enjoy it as much as I’ve been. Now time to go pack those lunches, and get the kiddos out the door. Have a great day everyone!


How to make Traditional Irish Soda Bread | www.injennieskitchen

Irish Soda Bread

Traditional Irish soda bread is made without any sweetener. The versions we’re accustomed to, flecked with raisins or currants, and enriched with eggs and a touch of sugar, are considered a teacake. I love that kind of bread, but decided to develop a recipe that harkened back to its roots. Of course, I still took a couple of liberties, one by using whole-wheat pastry flour, and the other in including a smidge of honey. It’s just enough to enhance the flavor of the bread without it being noticeable. Feel free to swap in all-purpose flour (it’s an equal weight), and omit the honey, or swap in agave to make it vegan. I’ve not tested it with gluten-free flour blends, though, but do let me know the results if you give it a try, as I’m curious.

Makes one 8-inch round loaf

1 2/3 cups (240) grams whole-wheat pastry flour, plus more for kneading & shaping

1 1/4 teaspoons (6 grams) baking soda

1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) sea salt

1 cup (237 ml / 214 grams) plus 1 tablespoon (15 ml) buttermilk, well shaken

1 tablespoon (20 grams) honey

1. Arrange the rack to the upper middle position of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400F.

2. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt to a deep bowl. Whisk to combine.

3. Pour one cup of the buttermilk into the bowl. Drizzle the honey over the top of the flour mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir just until it comes together into a rough dough (it will look more like a very thick batter at first).

4. Dust a counter or cutting board with a bit of flour. Scrape the dough onto the counter. Sprinkle a little more flour on top. Knead 30 to 60 seconds until it forms a somewhat smooth ball (it will have dimples, but shouldn’t be sticky).

5. Generously sprinkle flour on a rimmed baking sheet. Place the shaped dough onto the tray. Brush the top and sides with the remaining buttermilk. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour on top. Using a very sharp knife, make two cuts into the top to form an “X”, taking care not to cut all the way through to the bottom (you want a deep slash in the dough, not to separate the pieces).

6. Bake for 25 to 27 minutes, until the loaf is a deep golden color, and sounds hollow when tapped with your knuckle. Let the bread cool completely before slicing, about an hour.

chewy fudge brownies {dairy-free}

In Dorie Greenspan’s new bi-monthly column in The Washington Post she said “you’d have to be a card-carrying curmudgeon to hate Valentine’s Day”. While there’s something to be said for showing your love every moment you can, rather than cramming it all into one day (and paying way too much for red roses), some days we all just need a little extra boost. Those moments when your mind is too heavy, or perhaps your eyes just too tired from lack of sleep (two things that happened to be ailing me yesterday). Maybe that’s how we should look at Valentine’s Day. A bonus love day, of sorts.

It’s surreal being in love again, and I find myself stopping to take deeper breaths. Trying to appreciate the moments, rather than worry about it all going away. I remember talking to my friend David before I moved, wondering if I’d ever be loved again. He told me to stop thinking about it, and it’d happen when I least expected. Well, he was certainly right about the latter. And in a way, I had stopped thinking about. I’d resolved myself to possibly meeting someone who I could have interesting conversations with, and didn’t mind my kids (plus a cat AND a dog). But really, I thought about settling into some corner of the world once the kids were off to college. A small flat was all I needed, along with a little kitchen and a wi-fi connection. I could live out a peaceful, perhaps even happy existence in a bubble of my own making. Continue reading »

gingerbread crispy treats

Last week when I told Isabella I wondered what gingerbread rice crispy treats would taste like, she rolled her eyes and said “oh here we go…gingerbread this, and gingerbread that”. It was a page right out of the Michael Perillo playbook. He would’ve teased me incessantly about the tear I’ve been on the last two weeks. I just.can’t.stop.

I won’t stop.

But, I think we covered that with my last post, you know the one where I made a NO-BAKE GINGERBREAD CREAM PIE. Sorry, but that one got me really excited—I had to get that out, and only all caps would do. Can you tell I’m feeling punchy tonight? I’m just feeling a groove I haven’t felt in quite some time, and truth be told—it’s nice to be my own muse, of sorts. I’ve nothing more witty to say about this recipe, just that it’s so easy, and the perfect thing to make when you’re short on time (and who isn’t this week?). Provided you have the ingredients on hand, these treats are ready to eat in about 45 minutes, from start to finish. You can make a tray, wrap it in a cloth, and bring it as a hostess gift (the gingerbread twist ups the ante, making them worthy in my opinion). Last minute class party? It’s great for those, too. Continue reading »

gingerbread chess pie

You know those days, the ones where you do seemingly nothing, and yet you walk away feeling so fulfilled? That was today. It was a snow day, sans the snow. I’m sure any of you watching the weather saw news of a Nor’easter. There was talk of snow, a lot of it, too. There was also talk that the air mass could change temperatures and directions, and maybe we’d just get rain. Well, it was the latter, but combined with below freezing temperatures, it made for icy, slick conditions this morning. The delayed start email came at 5:55am, and I was thankful for the extra couple of hours of sleep. Less than two hours later, a follow up email came that school was cancelled. Continue reading »