Muffin/Quick Bread Archive

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

double coconut muffins

I hadn’t meant to disappear on you, and what’s worse, I have a terrible excuse: I took a nap. In the same week that I conquered my cooking Mount Everest — a lasagna I’d only dreamed about for the better part of six years, one that still took me many tries in the kitchen to get right and more than a week just to write — I was going back and forth with my publisher over the page designs for my cookbook, and (no doubt) giving some poor book designer some gray hairs. One day, I’ll remind my editor about that time I said that I didn’t care how the book looked, “just make it pretty!” and she’ll snort coffee out her nose. It will probably be a while. Nevertheless, the day after I posted the lasagna recipe, we finally found something that made everyone happy and now they’re designing the remaining hundreds of pages and that night, I think I slept a million hours. I did the same thing the next night and on the third night, when I yawned at 9 p.m. and said I was thinking about calling it a night my husband — who is the one who typically has a bottomless capacity for sleep and I’m the one who pops up at 7:30 even when it’s my turn to sleep in — looked at me like I had two heads. I… just had a lot of catching up to do.

coconut oil
really thick batter (yours won't be)

We’re also officially in the part of the year I affectionately call The Dregs of Winter. It’s not spring yet, in fact, it will at least a month before anything tasty or green emerges from the earth and another month after that before they will be good enough to eat. It’s not actually snowy and pretty enough out there to bliss out in a New York Winter Wonderland; in fact, it’s just cold and a little dull. Typically, the way I get through the blahs of winter is not to sleep through them but to begin plotting an escape. I start pining for someplace tropical, please, where the deep blue ocean meets the bright blue sky at a horizon so far away, it’s almost unfathomable to this city dweller, whose current vista is little more than the building across the street. And so I think about it, think long and hard about it, a book open on my lap, my fingers wrapped around a frosty, fruity cocktail with an umbrella and then I fly home a few days later, my usual ghost-like complexion faintly less so and my brain cleared of thoughts that don’t include “Is it time to reapply?” and “Are we too old to go on the water slide that leads to a swim-up bar?” You know, weighty matters.

batter in, when you don't have papers

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

cinnamon brown butter breakfast puffs

left to cool and set

I took a Home Economics class in the 7th grade. I probably don’t need to tell you how stoked I was about this (especially after nearly flunking Wood Shop the semester before with the saddest “toolbox” ever) although I am fairly certain they failed at whatever household management skills they’d hoped to impress on my 12-year-old self. I’m currently staring down a particularly fetid sinkful of dishes, willing them to wash themselves, while deep creases form in a towering basket of clean laundry that has yet to be folded, though perhaps there’s a glimmer of hope for the next generation. Nevertheless, the one class I remember perfectly was the one in which we made a puffy muffin embodiment of butter-slathered, sugar broiled cinnamon toast. It could be whipped up in no time, presumably along with a stack of bacon while wearing a gown-like robe and fuzzy slippers to the delight of sleepy-eyed children tumbling down the stairs. (Sorry, my housewife archetype is firmly etched in the Brady Bunch era.)

freshly grated nutmeg
batter

These pastries are, amusingly, called French Breakfast Puffs, I presume they are “French” in the way that French Toast and French Fries are, or that I convince myself I am every time I order Lillet, which is to say, dubiously. Their origin, however — the Betty Crocker Test Kitchens– isn’t half as interesting as their flavor, which is a little bit snickerdoodle, a little bit butter cake and a lot of addictiveness. My first thought upon eating one in class that day was “It’s like a doughnut hole!” and my second was “Why hasn’t my mother ever made these for me? I thought she said she loved us!” and then I pouted for the remainder of the hour. What? I said I was 12.

filling the tins -- you fill it less, okay?

Continued after the jump »

Saturday, July 30, 2011

corn, buttermilk and chive popovers

buttermilk popovers with corn and chives

I hope you didn’t think I forgot about you this week, or actually hopped on a plane to Mexico, as repeatedly threatened during last week’s taco fest. The truth of where I’ve been is far less interesting and could be roughly summarized as: man, am I a terrible cook this week. However, the week started out promisingly; I nailed a cookbook chicken dish on the first try (that I’d been certain would be no good at all) and brimming with confidence — maybe I should trust all of my cooking instincts! maybe I am good at this? — I decided to make a dish of slow-roasted vegetables that turn out should never have been slow-roasted, unless vegetable leather is your thing. Oops.

buttermilk, flour, eggs and corn
more corn

I gritted my teeth and decided to move on, as I had on my agenda to prove that my recent acquisition of a popover pan — yes, a pan that makes one thing, and one thing only, purchased by the person who used to insist that you buy no single-use items for a kitchen, unless your kitchen has cabinets by the dozen, in which case, can I borrow one? because I can’t fit this pan anywhere — had not been a late-night impulse purchase but a justified step in bringing us my idea of summery popover nirvana. Or something.

splattery batter

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

rhubarb streusel muffins

whole wheat rhubarb streusel muffin

Today I’m conquering some frequently unanswered frequently asked questions.* In short, no, my cookbook isn’t done yet. “But Deb,” I’m sure you’re thinking, “How can it not be done yet? Bloggers always finish their books in 6 to 9 months! And didn’t you start it over a year ago?” At first I thought it was because I had grossly, dramatically and almost hilariously (but in that ha-ha-ow kind of way) underestimated the number of hours I’d need to work a week to get it done. Then I blamed the toddler, depriving his elders of much needed sleep, leaving me bleary eyed and ineffective when I was supposed to be drafting my masterpiece. But neither of them are as true of this: It’s the breakfast section. I can’t put it to rest.

rhubarb, diced

It started small and tidy, about 8 recipes. But I kept adding to it. I kept tweaking what was just fine to begin with. It became an obsession. I starting thinking about muffins while pushing swings at the playground, getting wound up about fritattas while lumbering back from yoga and jotting down notes about French toast while in places that were neither French nor toasty. Ostensibly, I handed the breakfast batch into my editor January but Monday still found me still pulling pancakes out of the oven that I couldn’t bear not to include in the lineup. It had to stop. “No more!” I told myself in the same tone I use to keep the toddler from his curious habit of removing things from his dresser and putting them in mine. (“A burp cloth where my pants should be? You shouldn’t have!”) But it didn’t work (never does, really) as even yesterday I found myself making a list of breakfast recipes I’d add to the section if I hadn’t cut myself off.

batter + brown sugar streusel

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, April 28, 2011

sour cream cornbread with aleppo

sour cream cornbread with aleppo

Despite living in New York City, a place where one could theoretically go to some fabulous new restaurant every night and not run out of places to eat for some time, we’re not big new-hot-thing chasers. When we go out to eat, we want to experience new tastes but also disappear for a couple hours, not ooh and aah over the celebrity at the next table while feeling bad about our clothes. But. Every so often a restaurant gets talked up so much that we’re unable to resist its magnetism and have to go as soon as humanly possible. This happened a few weekends ago and I’m so glad that it did.

wet, dry
aleppo

Of course, the Red Rooster isn’t just any old restaurant. First, it’s neither below 14th Street or in Brooklyn, which alone makes it unlike the other 100 restaurants there’s been buzz about in recent years. Mostly, though, the food tastes different. The chef, Marcus Samuelsson, was born in Ethiopia, raised in Sweden and moved to New York where he fell in love with soul food and manages to blend these influences together into food like we’ve never tasted before. I’ll spare you the point-by-point on the menu, the web is full of gasping Yard Bird and Uptown Steak Frites reviews. I’ll only admit that we ordered too much, which we always do when the menu looks so good it is impossible to make decisions. Also, there was cornbread.

lumpy batter

Continued after the jump »