I have about a million things I want to share with you. Recipes, photos, ideas. I’ve been working on Thanksgiving and summer at the same time, and a million other things. I’ve been making jam, and getting ready for pickles … Continue reading
What happens when you take a bowl full of raspberries, a big drizzle of honey, and some greek yogurt and mix them together? You should get some delicious popsicles, if you know what you’re doing. Which apparently–some days–I don’t. I … Continue reading
You know how when the sun comes out in the middle of winter it’s like you’ve never seen it before? Even if it was out the day before? (But especially if like here in Seattle it was raining cats and dogs?)
You know also, how when you actually get to go outside and let your totally bundled up self absorb some of that sunlight it makes you feel really warm and happy and want to skip around in a meadow somewhere.
Yeah me neither. Not at all.
Recently I made muffins that pretty much served to encapsulate that breath of sun in a slightly sweetened fluffy goodness. They had apricots. Lots and lots of them. Frozen at the peak of summer but then folded into a muffin batter hearty enough to sustain you on even the coldest winter day.
The bad news about these muffins is that you probably don’t have several gallon sized freezer bags full of apricots with which to make them over and over, like I have. The good news about them is that you really could use just about any type of fruit in them. They could have frozen berries, or peeled and chopped apples or pears, or even frozen peaches.
Oh, I thought of some more good news about these muffins. They are pretty healthy, since they’re whole wheat and oat and have a whole mess of protein rich ingredients alongside that pile of fruit. They are a great breakfast or snack for this time of year, when most people are trying to eat a little bit lighter. Even more good news is that they are great slathered in butter, in case eating light isn’t a priority.
Sun is Shining Good News Muffins
makes 12 regular sized little cups of joy
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup oat flour
- 1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour
- 1/4 cup ground flax
- 1/2 cup bran flakes
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt (I like to use greek, it’s tangy!)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup chopped almonds
- 1 1/2 cups frozen berries or chopped fruit, loosely measured
Preheat your oven to 500°F. This will make the muffins rise up a lot and have a nice domed top. Don’t worry, you’re going to turn it down when you actually put the muffins in.
Beat the liquid ingredients together until well combined, then add the bran flakes and stir till they’re mixed in all the way. Let it sit while you whisk together the dry ingredients and prepare your muffin tin.
Whisk together all the dry ingredients, including the flax, in a large bowl. Then add the fruit and nuts and stir around to coat all the pieces in flour. This helps to keep them all from sinking to the bottom when the muffins bake.
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, and combine just until you don’t see any large streaks of flour left. It’s ok if the batter doesn’t look completely smooth.
Fill the cups of your tin about three-quarters full, maybe a little more. Place muffins in the oven and immediately drop temperature to 400°F. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until muffins test done with a toothpick.
I am happy to report that not a single earwig made it home with me from blueberry picking today.
|In the trunk, having a pre-picking snack.|
Then we had a picnic, which was absolutely nothing special other than for the fact that we got to eat it outside.
There was no one else there today, with the exception of Pat, the owner and farmer. He was a very sweet old guy. It was so nice to have the place all to ourselves–the kids could wander around and eat as many blueberries as they could find, without bothering other pickers or us worrying that they were getting into other people’s stuff.
Plus, it was a rather cool day, temperature wise. No sticky sweat to make you wish you could go home, and not too many bugs either. I wish all berry picking experiences could be so pleasant.
Now I have 4 pounds of blueberries in my freezer, almost 2 lbs more left untouched (I’ll save them for tomorrow, I’m blueberried out for today) and plans to return to the small farm I discovered in a couple of weeks for more blueberries, sweet corn and green beans, plus cucumbers and dill for pickles.
But what to do with all those blueberries that I now have sitting pretty in a bowl on the table? Perhaps muffins, perhaps pancakes, perhaps just let Lilli stuff herself silly for the next couple of days. Maybe all three. I’m also thinking some blueberry crumb bars might be just the thing, because I am supposed to be bringing cookies to several different events this weekend. And since I have some red currants sitting around, I think I’ll add those in as well. I’ll probably use this recipe, as I do adore pretty much any recipe from Smitten Kitchen.
I encourage you to find a berry field, and for an hour or two, or the whole day if you think you’re tough enough, hang out and pick berries. Eat your fill, laugh with a friend, and bring enough home to put some in the freezer. When you pull them out in the middle of winter, you will thank yourself for the joy of that summer day, and the memories that each berry has attached to it.
Last Wednesday I had a few glasses of wine with some friends I don’t see enough of. We decided that no matter the weather on Saturday, we were going to BBQ. I promptly forgot all about it, especially that I had offered to host.
Joe kindly took Lilli with him and the boys to the park down the street so I could focus on making dinner without having to stop every 5 minutes and play a game. In the hour until he brought her home, I was able to defrost 1 1/2 lbs of leftover salmon and then make the cakes, and put together a lemon mayo sauce to go with; roast 3 lbs. of small delicious potatoes and some garlic for the potato salad; slice a loaf of bread to grill; rinse and trim a bunch of asparagus; and probably something else that I am forgetting, like do the dishes. This is about when I realized that not only did the salmon have créme fraîche, but also the potato salad was going to be dressed with the stuff. I’ve been trying unsuccessfully for weeks to make it from scratch and it has yet to turn out as thick as it should be but it still tastes good. I plan on getting it right, but for now I’m content with trying.
This potato salad recipe is very simple. It’s plain but in a good way. Sprinkling the vinegar on the potatoes while they are still hot allows them to really absorb that flavor. The tang from the créme fraîche really works well with the rich flavor of a well roasted potato. It doesn’t keep as well as mayonaise based salads, but you won’t have to worry about that because there won’t be any left. I wasn’t even able to take a picture because it was gone too fast!
2 lbs potatoes (I used a mix of yukon, red and purple)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra
salt and fresh ground black pepper
6 cloves garlic, peel on
2 Tbsp champagne vinegar
3/4 cup créme fraîche
2 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
Preheat oven to 450ºF. The original recipe calls for you to peel the potatoes, but I prefer to leave the skin on. Cut the potatoes into spears and let dry a bit. Toss in the olive oil in an ovenproof skillet or onto a baking sheet. Salt and pepper to taste. Wrap the garlic in foil with a little drizzle of olive oil and put them in with the potatoes. Roast for about 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until the potatoes have gotten nice and golden and crusty. The garlic will be done also.
While the potatoes are still hot, cut them into smaller, bite sized pieces. Jeremy Jackson recommends a serrated knife. In a good sized bowl, toss the potatoes with the vinegar. Press the softened garlic out of the skins and mush it into a paste. Add it to the potatoes and toss the whole thing again. Taste for salt and pepper.
Let the whole thing cool a bit, and then spread the créme fraîche on top, sprinkling the pine nuts over last.