Muffin Mondays: Jessie Bea’s Vegan Apple Muffins

Hello, fresh cracked pepper readers! Jen sweetly asked me to write a post for her new series, Muffin Mondays. I’m Jessie Bea from Jessie Bea Eats, and here’s my contribution:

Autumn in upstate New York is one of the biggest reasons why I’ve lived here for most of my life. Sure, Syracuse winters are pretty tough, but I like snow, outdoor winter activities, and hot cocoa, so it really isn’t a problem for me. And sure, we might get 30 °F weather in October sometimes, but the leaves are pretty, the apples ripe for picking, and hot mulled cider is one of the best things in the world, if you ask me. It all evens out.

That being said, I have many pounds of handpicked apples from Beak & Skiff Apple Orchard in Lafayette, N.Y. to use up. This recipe for Autumn Apple Muffins is a great way to have a quick, seasonal and healthy breakfast treat. The recipe makes 6 muffins, which is perfect for those of us living alone. I hate wasting baked goods when I make too much! Another bonus of making this recipe is that most 6 cup muffin tins fit inside my toaster oven, which makes these take even less time.

Jessie from Jessie Bea Eats

Jessie from Jessie Bea Eats

Autumn Apple Muffins

makes 6 muffins

Preheat (toaster or regular) oven to 375 degrees.

Dry Ingredients:
¾ cup flour (either all purpose or whole wheat pastry, or a combination of both)
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt

Wet Ingredients:
½ cup apple cider or apple juice
3 Tbsp canola oil
½ capful vanilla extract
¾ cup apple, finely diced (I used Jonagold)
sliced almonds (optional)

Directions:

Stir together dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Combine wet ingredients, except for the apple, in a measuring cup. Add wet to dry and mix until just combined. Fold in apples.

Divide batter evenly between 6 muffin cups (either greased, or with muffin liners), top with a few sliced almonds. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Let cool slightly, then enjoy!

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Review: Hazelnut Kitchen

I am a spoiled child. Mark’s parents arrived on Wednesday, and as per our usual custom with them, food and wine co-starred in our little four-person show. They leave tomorrow, and I can confidently say that we’ve sipped, nibbled, and chomped our way through a good deal of the Syracuse area.

From kale and pasture-raised chicken in Trumansburg (the post you’re reading) to slow-smoked ribs at Dinosaur BBQ, our tastebuds have not been left wanting.

First I must share this incredible nook in the nearby town of Trumansburg (15 minutes North of Ithaca) that our good friend Jennifer suggested. We’d spent a long day wine touring on Seneca Lake, and by the time 7 o’clock rolled around, we were hungry for something more substantial than wine-tasting crackers.

Enter the Hazelnut Kitchen, where eating local simply means eating well. Buzzing with life on a warm Friday evening, we could tell immediately that it was a popular place.

With pinots and rieslings still dancing in our heads, we chose cheese as a further amuse bouche. The cheese selections (along with nightly specials and desserts), were etched in chalk on the wall next to us — urban flair meets rural comfort.

The selections had changed but the time ours came, and they were all superb. My favorites were the Point Reyes blue and another soft type whose name I can’t recall, but that was perfectly tinged with lavender. A pat of balsamic strawberry jam sat in the middle, and the plate was drizzled with honey from a local apiary.

Choosing a main was difficult, but thanks to their realistic  menu, not as stressful as it is in places with too many choices. I ended up with pasture-raised chicken wrapped in bacon with a green peppercorn jus. It was served over warm bread salad (a Tuscan thing, I think), and crispy-roasted local ramps and asparagus.

I’ve been known to exaggerate once in awhile when it comes to food, but it’s Sunday and I’m still thinking about that food. I haven’t had a meal out this good since .

Mark ordered an unusual cut of beef called a hanger steak. Beef is not something I usually eat, but he entreated me to try it. Two small bites of velvety rareness were enough to satisfy the next half a year of cravings. It came with fries and a house made aioli that I could’ve spooned directly into my mouth until my arteries complained.

I also got to try my mother-in-law’s meal, which would’ve been my second choice: a porcini and mushroom and kale raab phyllo streudel, served over French lentils swimming in a thick green curry cream.  Green curry usually makes me think of bottled Thai marinades at grocery stores, but this one surprised me with its lemony subtlety and gentle heat.

As my blog’s tag proclaims, I eat for many reasons, place among them. It delights me to find nooks like this, tucked away in the small towns of America, their staff toiling away at representing their neighbors and their land.

With clean white tablecloths, mis-matched antique cutlery, and warmth that radiates from its open kitchen, Hazelnut Kitchen excells at kitschy-class.  Their peasant-inspired fare is fit for royalty; the company I shared it with this past Friday definitely fit (as well as footed!) the bill.

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Entrees: $13-$25, varied wine list with local favorites, good beer selection, and homemade desserts.

Hazelnut Kitchen

53 Main Street

Trumansburg, NY

607.387.4433