Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cranberry pomegranate muffins

Not too long ago, I came home to find a surprise package on my doorstep. A box of cranberry pomegranate juice. Apparently it is a new product from POM and it's not even yet available for purchase.

I liked the juice as I like all the POM juice varieties. Normally I'm not a big fan of cranberry juice, but blended with the pomegranate, I didn't taste the aftertaste that I don't like with cranberry juice. Also for those who find pomegranate juice on its own too tart, the cranberry juice dilutes it so it's not so tart.

After drinking some of the juice, I decided to bake with it. Of course when thinking of cranberries my mind immediately popped to cranberry muffins or cranberry bread. It's not quite the season for fresh cranberries yet, so I decided to make a recipe with dried cranberries. It's also not the season yet for fresh pomegranates, so I didn't have any of those around to put in my muffins.

When it is the season, I'll definitely be adding some pomegranate seeds and fresh cranberries to give these babies some more color. I also might try an eggless version next time. Once I poured the cranberry juice in, it was initially red, but then the batter turned a brown color after mixing with the egg yolks.

While these didn't come out as beautifully as I wanted, they tasted quite delicious. Sweet, slightly tangy from the pomegranate cranberry juice. It's usually hard to convince my siblings to eat the fruit flavored desserts, but they liked these muffins. They're also very soft and moist.

I browsed the internet for cranberry orange muffin recipes, so that I could replace orange juice with cranberry pomegranate juice. I chose a recipe from Good Food, Good Wine and a Bad Girl and made some modifications to fit what I was attempting to make.

A lot of times when I try to come up with my own recipes or alter previous recipes to create my own they end up coming out a complete disaster. I still am a novice when it comes to baking. But these, to my relief, came out delicious. I just wish I had some fresh cranberries and pomegranate seeds to put in the batter.

Cranberry pomegranate muffins (adapted from this recipe base)


2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
2/3 cup cranberry pomegranate juice
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup dried cranberries


1. Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly butter a 12-cup muffin tin, or line with paper liners.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

2. In a separate bowl, cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat until smooth. Stir in the  juice, milk and vanilla extract. Add in the dry ingredients, along with the dried cranberries, and stir until just barely combined.

3. Distribute batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until tops are puffed and golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Phil’s BBQ

Phil's BBQ
3750 Sports Arena Blvd
San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 226-6333

I had a serious craving for bbq ribs after watching something on a tv show where they were going on and on about bbq.  So I decided to make a late dinner stop at Phil's.  Despite the late hour, the place was still busy. Luckily, we had phoned in our order for take out so we didn't have to wait too long.

I was in a hurry to eat, so the pictures don't look that great. BF and I ordered a full rib dinner to share, along with our favorite sides: potato salad and macaroni salad.  The ribs were as good as always. The sweet, tangy, spicy bbq sauce smothering the cooked pork that easily falls off the bone.

Btw, if you didn't already know, Phil's now sells their famous bbq sauce at Costco.

Not too long ago, I read a post about Phil's where the blogger raved about the beef ribs. In all the times I've been to Phil's, I've never tried the beef ribs. I've seen them- they are gigantic compared to the pork ribs but that is because the beef bones are so much bigger. So we decided to place a half order, which is 3 bones.

I thought the beef ribs were just as tender as the pork, but both BF and I preferred the pork. I thought the beef ones had a bit more fat pieces.

Not too long ago, we also tried the onion rings, which are humongous. Some of the biggest onion rings I've had. I took a picture, but accidentally deleted them. You can read my previous post on Phil's here.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Chocolate bread rolls

After making my chocolate bread loaf, I had some leftover dough which I stored in the fridge. According to Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, the bread dough can be stored up to 5 days in the fridge or four weeks in the freezer.

My remaining amount was not enough to make a loaf, so I thought I’d make some chocolate bread rolls.  The instructions called for an eggwash finish but I was out of eggs. It’s too bad because I think I the shiny finish would have made these rolls better looking.

The chocolate bread has gotten mixed reviews by my family. Some people like it, some people complain that it is too in-between (not sweet enough to be dessert, but not plain enough to function as regular bread).

You can find the recipe with instructions here.  The only difference is that instead of making it into a loaf, you shape them into balls about the size of a small peach, let the balls rise for 1 hour and 40 minutes, and then paint with egg wash before baking. Baking time was about 20 minutes for me.

I think these rolls make nice dinner rolls or perhaps breakfast rolls. They are even cuter than the loaf.