Thursday, August 13, 2015

And that's the way it is Wednesday - Maybe Muffins

What a week.

Monday, psychiatrist. Tuesday, therapist. Wednesday, phone conference hearing on employment. Thursday, gastroenterologist. Friday, hearing specialist (I'm going to accompany the spouse).  

Today was the day I was dreading - the employment hearing. It had the virtue of being short.  I was capable of speaking coherently. It was reasonably cordial.  I should be getting a written decision within a week, at which point that part of my life will be over.  

I went out early this morning to pull some weeds from a very small patch of garden I had not gotten to before.  Probably a bad idea.  I also tried evening out some of the top soil, using my new claw-on-a-stick (cultivator) and that was a worse idea; I had to stop in the middle of that project. I have to trim some unruly herbs, but that is definitely going to have to wait. I have to stake the aubergine (eggplant) plants, but there is no way that is going to happen. My back is letting me know, in no uncertain terms, that I acted stupidly. I am going to pay for this little spurt of domesticity, starting now.  Crap, but I hurt.

So I made this soup yesterday, and it closely resembles a minestrone, and the boys each had a nice big cup for lunch today, but it doesn't appeal to me, so for now I am lunchless.  At least they like it.  And it's good, don't get me wrong, but it's full of stuff - vegetables and herbs and some pasta - and I can't imagine swallowing that right now.

What I want to do is try baking those Buttermilk Spice Muffins, like I used to order at Mimi's Cafe, before some genius closed the local Mimi's and left us all muffin-less.  The good news is I will be able to use some more of the buttermilk that is lingering in the refrigerator.  The bad news is I overdid this morning, my lower back is giving me a "what-for", and standing up to prepare the muffins may not be in my best interest.  For now my best interests are served by sitting in this chair with my feet up and a small, lovable dog tucked in right next to me. Cuddled, she has. Snuggled, she is. My little sweetheart.

Of course I had to try to eat a "real" lunch - all-beef corn dog, pretty tasty.  Ha ha, that was almost as bad an idea as the gardening! Won't I ever learn? Apparently not, as I went back outside for a brief time and trimmed back the herbs.  Didn't have enough energy to bag them up, so if anyone is walking by the side of the house and sees the piles of herb branches, help yourself.  There's Thai basil, sweet basil, tarragon, oregano, and parsley.  Oh yeah, there's mint and lemon balm.  I'll be inside, screaming in pain.

I can't leave the muffin thing alone. I got an idea for a bread pudding muffin that comes from a cute little muffin cookbook I picked up over 25 years ago, plus something I saw Robert Irvine do on "Dinner: Impossible" some years ago.  If this works, I will have used up the buttermilk, and most of those Little Debbie cakes that have been taking up room in my refrigerator.

These came out good!  The only downside is that I used 3 separate mixing bowls, a measuring cup, and a glass custard cup in preparing them.  The original recipe, Appalachian Bread Pudding Muffins, is from an adorable little book called The Joy of Muffins by Genevieve Farrow and Diane Dreher.

Bread Pudding Muffins

4 individual Little Debbie Streusel Cakes (I used 2 cinnamon and 2 cream cheese, you could use any combination or just one of them) cut into 12 cubes each
1 cup  buttermilk
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup cherry-infused dried cranberries
1/2 cup sweetened coconut (Baker's Angel Flake)
1/4 cup pecan meal
2 eggs
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla
nutmeg (freshly grated, if available)

If you have a little time, let the cake cubes sit out and dry somewhat. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Soak the cake cubes in the buttermilk; set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and baking soda.  Stir in the cranberries, coconut, and pecan meal. Whisk the eggs and vanilla together, then whisk in the melted, cooled butter. Add this to the buttermilk mixture.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients, folding just enough to combine.  Do not over mix, you will have - gasp! - tough muffins.  Ick and Feh! Grease a muffin tin with butter, or (my preference) spray it, spray it good with Pam Butter Flavor No-Stick Spray. With a scoop, divide the batter evenly (they will be almost filled to the top) and sprinkle the tops with some nutmeg.  Bake for 20 minutes; allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes, then remove to a metal cooling rack.

And now ...

Serve these with orange marmalade butter: let 4 tablespoons of butter soften at room temperature, then mix in 2 tablespoons of orange marmalade.

Nice.  Not tough.  Tender, like me when I'm on my meds.

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