Friday, October 26, 2012

Corndog Muffins > Other Muffins

It's no secret that I love muffins.  They're a pretty great option for the single cook, because they are pre-portioned, easily freezable, and fit into all of my tupperware.  It's an affair that can't be broken up.

I'm fairly experienced in the muffin world, but I had certainly never had a corndog muffin before.  I've been sick and sleepy all week, and everything in me screamed for carbs and meat.  What better way to solve that with some delicious muffins that pack a meaty punch?

After scouring the web.  Well, Pinterest, actually, I found A Sweet Simple Life who had a recipe for such muffiny goodness.  I adapted it a little, so keep reading to find a cheesy, filling, meaty muffin that can make YOU renounce any other muffin for good.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Making New

I grew up in a family with a strong culinary tradition.  We ate real food, lovingly prepared by my mom.  We sat at our old, dented kitchen table every single night to plates of warm casserole, savory pie, chicken, rice, spaghetti, lasagnas, piping hot bread, soup, and perfect baked potatoes.  We'd tell stories over desserts of cake and ice cream and cookies of every imaginable kind.  My mom made the simplest of dishes seem elegant.  Every one of them was special because she made it.  She didn't just go through the motions to get food on the table.  Homemaking was and is my mother's job, and she did and does it (like she did and does everything) eminently well.

I started keeping a cookbook in middle school.  I created a huge collection of photos and memories that I planned to carry with me my whole life, my culinary heritage if you will.  I carefully documented each experiment, each hand-scooped cookie, each soup.  I rated and noted and described every dish.  I soaked up every cooking lesson as I watched my mom crimp piecrusts and frost cakes and brown meat.  I made those recipes my own until my hands deftly mixed fat into flour and dabbed ricotta into lasagna noodles and picked every last scrap of meat off of roasted chickens.  I added my own notes to the margins.  I dreamed of a long future making cheeseburger for my college friends, coming back to my first apartment at the end of a long day to chicken divan, and someday making fried chicken for my kids.

I know now that that's not going to happen.  As the holidays come up, I'm realizing more and more just what I'm missing.  My relationship with my mom is strengthened by food and the love and care and joy that we've shared over loaves of bread and cookies and delicious piping-hot pies.  I miss that more than I ever could have anticipated.

So I'm suddenly in a position I was never prepared for.  It's daunting and strange and filled with crumbling piecrusts and overly dry muffins and rubbery eggplant lasagna.  It doesn't taste or smell or look like my childhood.  It's full of ingredients and flavors and cooking tricks that my mother has never used.  Wallowing isn't going to solve it, though.  I'm researching new Christmas cookies.  I'm making new flour blends.  I'm learning to roast my own chicken and to remember to buy xanthan gum.  I'm creating my own culinary history from scratch, and I think it's going to be ok.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Bad Blogger Award AND Smitten Kitchen Goes Gluten Free

Senior year: 1, Blogging: 0 is how it's going so far.  Everything is pretty much a giant vortex of time-sucking-ness from homework (how did I manage to pick ALL intense classes in the one semester I'm taking all 100 and 200 level courses meant for freshmen and sophomores??!!) to debate, to just about everything.  But I miss blogging, and I miss baking and cooking.  There's not a lot of that happening either.  I'm pulling the cookbooks out again, because there's only so many rice chex a girl can eat.

So today I made these:

What are those?  Well first of all, they're da bomb.  But more specifically, they are banana blueberry muffins adapted from Smitten Kitchen, one of the prettiest food blogs on the block.  My love affair with baking and blueberries is probably almost as great at SK's love affair with butter.  But I digress.

...and done digressing.

Her Crackly Banana Bread intrigued me for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, because I've never thought to put uncooked millet in anything (millet is, frankly, pretty gross-tasting) and secondly, because the bananas and maple syrup provided all but a teeny bit of the sweetness.  I'm all for natural low-sugar stuff, so I dove in.

I ended up not putting any whole millet in because I both didn't have any, and as adventurous as I am, it doesn't extend to raw millet.  But I compromised a little, 'cause I'm a compromiser, and  added some millet flour to the mix.  There will be a little gluten-free flour breakdown below with some more info as to why I chose what I chose.

But first, the recipe for banana muffin goodness with some notes.  Thanks Smitten Kitchen (I <3 youuuuu!)