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 Pane de casa, fettuccine with peas, lamb stock and butter- under braised lamb shank. Really happy to be home with my delicious boy. Home-food rocks!  Dinner tonight; rack of lamb, roast potatoes and sautéed sugar snap peas. The last two nights, I've had dinner at home alone-jon has had to travel. I'm telling you this because even when by oneself, we ALL still want and should feel able to eat well, at home. We're worth it!!!
 Strategic cooking that began three days ago: since, after making the shrimp scampi pizza, I knew I still has one half of one pizza dough in the fridge, and because I also knew that the following day, I wanted to use the ovens retained heat to braise lamb shanks, using residual heat (no flame and oven door shut) to serve the following night for Jon's welcome home dinner, making pizza (which requires intense heat) helped. Here is the process: marinate lamb shanks in full bottle of red wine- overnight in the fridge.). I used a Barolo-(bought the same bottle to drink with the lamb tonight!) with the wine, in the marinade, are chopped onions, celery, carrots, thyme and rosemary. (Turn shanks once while marinating). The next day, reconstitute some dried porcinis- set aside in hot liquid. take shanks out of marinade (reserve this) and pat dry. Season with salt-pepper and brown severely in thin layer of olive oil. Take shanks out of pan and dump out hot fat. Add to pan 1stick butter or mix olive oil and butter- add to fat, chopped onions, garlic, celery, carrots, mushrooms -sauté until liquid evaporates. Add a couple of tablespoons tomato paste- stir and cook till mixture starts to grab the bottom of the pan-stir in a few tablespoons flour and cook a couple of minutes-stirring- add all of marinade with veg and herbs, lamb stock (use chicken stock as sub) and porcini liquid. Bring to full bubble. Season with salt and pepper. Chop porcinis and add now. Add browned shanks to simmering sauce (meat should be just covered) and simmer till very tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. (3 hours on my wood oven). Remove from oven. Allow to cool and remove fat. Reheat now or refrigerate-I code the latter. More to come.  Dinner last night: mussels in a rustic and spicy red sauce and broccolini and toasted garlic pizza.

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Blueberry Muffin Recipe: These Muffins are Loaded with Blueberries!

These muffins are extremely light, tender and not too sweet! And when baked within insulating paper liners and wrapped individually in pliable plastic wrap, they stay soft and tender for days after baking. To enjoy these blueberry muffins throughout the year, flash-freeze fresh blueberries at the end of July and beginning of August when they are most abundant and voluptuous–some are so large, they resemble grapes! And because there’s nothing like the taste of a freshly baked blueberry muffin first thing in the morning, follow my Timing Tips and provide yourself and family with a delectable (and aromatic) way to start your day! Oh, and if using frozen blueberries, don’t thaw them first. You will need to bake the muffins a bit longer to account for the colder temperature of the batter when entering the oven.

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

Special Equipment

  • 12-cup standard-sized muffin tin, preferably nonstick
  • Paper muffin liners (optional)
  • Nutmeg grater (optional)
  • Batter whisk or wide blending fork

For the muffin batter:

  • Melted butter or nonstick vegetable spray, for muffin tin (use vegetable spray if setting your tin up the night before baking)
  • 3 ½ cups bleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
  • 1 1/4 cups cultured buttermilk
  • 2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup flavorless vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups plump fresh blueberries or unthawed frozen berries
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar or vanilla sugar, for topping

1) To set up: Preheat the oven to 400o F. If not using paper liners, brush with melted butter or spray the interior of a 12-cup nonstick muffin tin. Even if using paper liners butter or spray the tops of the tin, in between each muffin cup.

2) To assemble batter: Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl and combine thoroughly using a whisk. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs, vegetable oil, brown and white sugars and vanilla. Mix well, making sure that there are no lumps of brown sugar). Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and, using either a batter whisk or a wide blending fork, combine the mixture gently but thoroughly. Gently, fold in the blueberries using a rubber spatula and take care not to overwork the batter or rupture the berries.

3) To bake: Spoon batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each cup and mounding the top (using all of it). Sprinkle tops generously with some granulated sugar. Place the tin into the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 325F and bake for 5 to 7 minutes more or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center and the tops are golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and place the tin on a wire rack. Cut in between each muffin (where the edges merged during baking), carefully lift out the muffins and stand them on a rack to cool. Allow muffins to settle for 10 minutes before enjoying warm.

4) To store: Muffins to be served on the day of baking should be placed on a tray and, once cool, covered with aluminum foil. Those to be stored for the next day should be wrapped individually in pliable plastic. Either way, they should be stored at room temperature.

Freshly Baked Muffins for Breakfast

The night before, combine all of the wet ingredients, cover well and refrigerate. Whisk together all dry ingredients and leave at room temperature. Line tins with paper liners and spray tops of tins.

In the morning, preheat oven, re-mix the wet ingredients and then gently combine this with the dry ingredients and then fold in berries. Fill tin, pop into the oven and set your timer for 20 minutes.


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At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

For the muffin batter :

Ingredients

  • Melted butter or nonstick vegetable spray, for muffin tin (use vegetable spray if setting your tin up the night before baking)
  • 3 ½ cups bleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
  • 1 1/4 cups cultured buttermilk
  • 2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup flavorless vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups plump fresh blueberries or unthawed frozen berries
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar or vanilla sugar, for topping

From the refrigerated section

  • Extra-large eggs

From the dairy case

  • Buttermilk
  • Butter (if not using vegetable spray to spray the tops of the tin)

From the produce aisle

  • 1 dry pint, plus ½ pint fresh blueberries

From the supermarket shelf

  • Vegetable spray
  • Paper muffin liners
  • Bleached, all-purpose flour
  • Double-acting baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Table salt
  • Light brown sugar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Flavorless vegetable oil

From the spice section

  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg (preferably whole, to be ground by you)

From the frozen food section

  • Frozen blueberries (only if fresh is unavailable), you’ll use these straight from the freezer. Secure the bag shut and store any unused berries in the freezer.

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Comments (4)

4 Comments »

  1. I once read that if you put fresh, washed, dried blueberries into the freezer for a little while before using in a blueberry muffin it helps keep them from dropping to the bottom of the muffin. Is that true?

    Comment by Sharon — May 14, 2010 @ 1:17 pm

  2. Hi, Sharon. Thanks for your question. No, it’s not true that freezing berries will help them stay suspended in a batter. The best way is to work with a batter that’s thick enough to hold the berries in suspension. Some batters are too thin–and so the berries have a tendency to sink. I have not had this problem with my blueberry muffin batter so I hope it will be as successful for you. Please let me know!
    Lauren

    Comment by Lauren — May 14, 2010 @ 1:55 pm

  3. […] gravies that cling without being gloppy, tarts that celebrate the crust as much as the fruit and muffins that are so good that you eat the whole thing–not just the […]

    Pingback by A meatball story. « Lauren Groveman: Strengthening Lives through Cooking and Life Coaching — June 17, 2010 @ 10:24 pm

  4. […] you my cooking and baking journey– from times both “then” and now (like these muffins below that I used both “then (for the slew of brokers that came for our open house) and also […]

    Pingback by When a cook crumbles. « Lauren Groveman: Strengthening Lives through Cooking and Life Coaching — May 15, 2013 @ 6:18 pm

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