Friday, May 07, 2010

A doughnut AND a muffin

Doughnut Muffin Recipe
The butter has thawed and as promised, I made these doughnut muffins for you on this rainy spring day. They were worth the wait. The recipe has been floating around the food blog circuit for some time now — each tempting me a little bit more. I went with the Lottie & Doof version since he cuts it down to a reasonable 12 muffins. So without further ado…

Doughnut Muffin RecipeDoughnut Muffin Recipe

Doughnut Muffins

Makes 10 to 12.
12 Tb unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup buttermilk

4 Tb unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 Tb cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a standard-size muffin tin.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar — or cream with a wooden spoon by swiping sugar into butter against the side of the bowl. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until just mixed in.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Combine the milk and buttermilk. With a wooden spoon, mix a quarter of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Next mix in a third of the milk mixture. Continue mixing in the remaining dry and wet ingredients alternately, ending with the dry. Mix until well combined and smooth, but don’t overmix.

Scoop enough batter into each tin so that the top of the batter is even with the rim of the cup, about 1/2 cup. If you don't have enough batter for twelve muffins — I only had ten — fill empty holes in the pan halfway wth water before baking. This will ensure that it all bakes evenly.

Bake the muffins until firm to the touch, 30-35 minutes.

For the topping: Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. When the muffins are just cool enough to handle, remove them from the tin, brush them all over with melted butter and roll them in the cinnamon sugar.

Doughnut Muffin Recipe
Enjoy hot from the oven!

Happy Friday — have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

I wanted to give you donuts, but all I have are …

Whoa is me, the butter is frozen.

I've barely been able to get a full meal on the table this week and haven't shared a single recipe with you yet. I said I would. All morning long I was stewing about it and finally I knew just what I would make for you: doughnut muffins. I haven't had many recipes jumping out at me, begging to be made lately. But this one was softly, quietly calling my name. Doughnut muffins. I knew the ingredients are mostly basics that I would have on hand and felt I owed it to you to bake up a batch. I raced home this afternoon to make them just for you, lickety-split. But…

The butter — all 12 tablespoons of it — is frozen.

And so I give you … peas.

Inspired by Jen of Indie Fixx's post over at Craft, I put together a makeshift trellis for our snap peas last night. You can find full instructions here. I used some twigs I found around the yard and tied it all to our balcony. Voila! Instant trellis.

So just know that I have been thinking of you and, tomorrow, for you: doughnut muffins. It'll be Friday and it will be worth it!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Naturally inspired

Yesterday I had a chance to visit the Museum of Natural History at the University of Michigan. I was looking for some inspiration and happily found it. I especially loved the second floor's displays of Michigan wildlife — they feel somehow quaint yet really beautiful. They also have some bizarrely cool, yet somewhat disturbing displays on taxidermy as well as lots of rattlesnake heads and mice floating in jars. I'll spare you those, though I was fascinated. Here are some of the other highlights:

The requisite dinosaur.

The cabinet of curiosities. (Yes, really.)

A very solid looking armadillo.

Eerily lifelike snowshoe bunny.

Check out the patterning on this fossil.

Signage: "These mice are important to humans as a
host of the tick that transmits Lyme disease."

I'm not sure "important" is the word I'd use.

And — to top it all off, so to speak — the ceiling in
the rotunda when you enter is stunning.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Now I Can Say I've Tried It: Fiddleheads

fiddlehead fernsfiddlehead ferns
These swirly green beauties are fiddlehead ferns. Harvested low to the ground before they unfurl to become full-grown ferns, fiddleheads are a brief seasonal wonder. Apparently they are a traditional spring dish in New England — particularly Maine — though I had never heard about them until moving to Michigan. Last spring I was convinced I could find some to harvest on my own, but never did. (Sadly no morels either — one day!) This year, I went the easy route and snagged some yesterday at the coop in town.

fiddlehead ferns
I poked around a little on the interwebs and ended up doing a simple saute with butter, garlic and red pepper flakes. Then, poking around a little more this morning found that there are some crazy toxins in fiddleheads. They (the infamous they) recommend boiling for at least ten minutes or steaming for twenty. Oops. So please, if the blog goes quiet for more than two days this week, please call the authorities to recover my body!

sauteed fiddlehead ferns
Anyway, despite the toxins, the fiddleheads were quite tasty. Mild, almost asparagus-y but with a little nuttiness. Here's my revised, non-toxic recipe:

Sauteed Fiddlehead Ferns
2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1/2 pound fiddlehead ferns
1 Tb. butter
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)

Trim any brown ends or mushy parts. Fill a large bowl and add fiddleheads. Stir well to remove any grit. Drain and repeat.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and fiddleheads. Cook 1-2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.

In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add fiddleheads. Cook, stirring, until they start to brown, about 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, if using, and cook, stirring, until garlic is fragrant and just starting to color, about 1 minute. Salt to taste. Serve immediately.