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Portland, Oregon food blog with many years worth of recipes, restaurant features, and food photos.

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Easy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins for Fall

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Let’s celebrate the season with the satisfying autumnal combination of pumpkin, spices, and chocolate–specifically dark chocolate. These delightful muffins have all three, in addition to toasted pecans and plenty of dark brown sugar. I use an equal mix of all purpose and spelt flours, but you can also substitute the spelt flour with whole wheat pastry flour or just as easily use all regular, all purpose flour. That’s how these muffins roll. They’re easy like that.

Now, let’s talk about chocolate chips. Here are my favorites for baking and/or eating directly out of the bag: Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips and Guittard Extra Dark Chocolate Chips. The chocolate makes all the difference in these muffins. You want the good stuff here.

The muffins will keep fine for a couple of days, but after that, store in the fridge for up to a week (or freeze). You can’t go wrong with reheating a muffin up in the microwave for about 30 seconds before eating.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Makes about 6 jumbo muffins or 12 regular-size muffins *
1 cup AP flour
1 cup spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk (you can also use soured milk)
1 cup bittersweet or dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup toasted pecans (optional)
Coarse sparkling sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a jumbo six-cup muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Also, be prepared to use a ramekin or two (or a mini-loaf pan) for any leftover batter.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.

In a large bowl (or a stand mixer), whisk the sugar, oil and eggs until combined. Stir in the pumpkin and vanilla.

Alternate adding the flour and milk into the pumpkin mixture in two batches. Add the chocolate chips and pecans (if using). Mix until just combined.

Equally divide the batter into the prepared muffin pan, using ramekins for any extra batter. Tap the pan on the counter a few times – this will remove any pesky air bubbles. Sprinkle the tops with the coarse sugar if using (about a 1/2 teaspoon per muffin).

Bake for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of 1 of the muffins comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the muffins to loosen them and carefully unmold. Cool completely on the rack and then nom-nom-nom.

* If you are making 12 normal-size muffins, check for doneness after 20 minutes.

Exploring Washington’s Lopez Island and Ursa Minor

Lopez Island, Washington

Last month, we traveled to Lopez Island, Washington which involves a ferry ride from Anacortes and a sense of adventure. Or at least a willingness to wait in a line of cars, drive onto a Washington State Ferry, and then enjoy the breezes off the Salish Sea as the ferry makes fairly good speed on its way to the sleepiest island in the San Juans.

Lopez Island may have earned its nickname (Slowpez Island) by being a little too laid-back and relaxed, but if you are on vacation, isn’t that what you want? . . . → Read More: Exploring Washington’s Lopez Island and Ursa Minor

Tandoori-Spiced Salmon w/ Pickled Cucumber

Tandoori-Spiced Salmon

Hands down, this has become my most favorite salmon recipe. I came across it in Saveur Magazine and combined a lot of the steps and played around with the spices a little bit to better match what I had in my spice cabinet and ended up with this winner. This recipe does not use a completely traditional Tandoori spice mix, but I like to think it’s close enough in spirit? (My main spice swap is substituting smoked paprika for chili powder, but I think the smokiness adds an interesting note. If you don’t have smoked . . . → Read More: Tandoori-Spiced Salmon w/ Pickled Cucumber

Winter Cooking: Kale and Black Bean Mole Enchiladas

Kale and Black Bean Mole Enchiladas
Cold wintery weather calls for something with melted cheese and bubbling sauce, right? Yeah, that’s what I thought too. And it’s really hard to go wrong with Mole Enchiladas. And when you make them a little lighter with kale and black beans instead of chicken, it’s a dinner that’ll find its way into your rotation on a regular basis–maybe even for a Meatless Monday!

For this recipe, I specify an amount of mole sauce to use. Because here’s a confession–the handful of times I’ve made mole from scratch, it’s been um, . . . → Read More: Winter Cooking: Kale and Black Bean Mole Enchiladas

Winter Cooking: Chicken Goulash with Sour Cream Dumplings

Chicken Goulash with Sour Cream Dumplings

This is the blog post where I announce a triumphant return to blogging on the regular.

Really. This time I mean it. And what better way to start mid-January 2018, than with a recipe for a smoky and delicious chicken goulash? This dish originally comes from Food and Wine Magazine but I’ve played around with it a bit and finally landed on this version. It’s a meal I make at least three or four times throughout the fall and winter. I think it’s best if you can make the goulash earlier . . . → Read More: Winter Cooking: Chicken Goulash with Sour Cream Dumplings