Friday, February 11, 2011

Some Food Love

I recently learned some hard news to hear: a friend of mine is going through a hard time in her life. Her news hit me a little close to home, and i felt the strong need to show her a little extra love: in the form of food. I tend to think of myself as kind of curmudgeonly. I don't love humanity as a whole. I'm not overly effusive with praise or smiles or frivolous niceties. But i'm proud to know that when those close to me are hurting i step up to the plate: Extra hugs for my grandmother when she lost her husband. Increased willingness to help with chores when my mother was dealing with problems in her life.
I'm not singing praises for myself: i'm still a curmudgeon. But the least i can do is reach out with a little extra kindness to someone who has touched my own life in a positive way. I'm good at food, so I made her some muffins.

My lemon tree is not dealing with this long freeze very well, and i accidentally left all the fruit on the stem during one of our coldest nights. All the fruits froze solid! Fortunately, they still juiced fine. Unfortunately, the zest was not too keen to jump off (so i made some candied peels too, yum!). I made some DELICIOUS lemon/poppyseed bread/cake the other night with a recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I was going to turn that into muffins, but doubted my accuracy in changing the temps and times from bread to muffins. So, i adapted this recipe from Arctic Garden Studios. They turned out very moist and delicious, best eaten warm, not too sweet, and very fluffy! I added a little cornmeal for different texture, as well as poppyseeds to half the batter. I also doubled it to make 2 dozen:

Meyer Lemon Muffins
adapted from Arctic Garden Studios, adapted from Not So Humble Pie

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour including about 1/2 a cup of cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Meyer Lemon Zest - i used all i could scrape off of 8 curmudgeonly lemons
  • 1 1/4 cup homemade yogurt
  • 2 freshly laid eggs
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (since i doubled i used 8 T butter and 2 T Coconut Oil)
  • 1/4 cup  Meyer Lemon juice
  • Lemon peel infused simple syrup from making candied lemon peels
  • Tablespoon or 2 poppyseeds

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Spray your tins or use fancy nonstick ones.
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest and combine thoroughly. In the center of the dry ingredients and add the yogurt, eggs, butter, and juice.
  2. Mix together until the batter is combined, but don't overmix. Makes a nice, lumpy batter fizzing with activity. Add the poppyseeds last.
  3. Fill muffin wells 3/4 full.
  4. Bake for 18 minutes or until the muffins are light golden brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean. Don't over bake.
  5. Cool in the tins for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and glaze with simple syrup.

These are way yummier warm (or frozen) with plenty of steam pouring out of their light, fluffy selves.

I can't make my friend's life less difficult. We all have our personal struggles to deal with from time to time: such is life. What i can do is give her moral support and maybe fatten her up a little bit. It's hard to feel too sad with such a bright happy taste dancing on your tongue. Make muffins out of joy and bring joy to others. I think that's a pretty good motto ;)

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