Last week, in the kitchen, I ..
:: found great solace amidst the social distancing
:: read this piece while eating an egg sandwich for breakfast – permission to not be “in a groove” or super productive right now (thanks, New York Times)
:: discovered that a little bit of baking soda, when mixed with a finely chopped onion, causes the onion to soften quickly that it nearly melts into the sauce. And Cook's Illustrated has one of the best recipes for Sloppy Joes
:: listened to our next Book Club selection while organizing the pantry. A timeless love story is always good for the soul
:: made big bowls of popcorn for movie nights. We've been watching lots of old movies; classics like Alfred Hitchcock and Casablanca. Speaking of, CBS is bringing back Sunday night movies + HBO is making a bunch of their original shows free to watch
:: asked myself the two self-care questions I have on repeat. “What do I need at this moment?” and “What sounds good to me today?”
:: played endless games of chase the ice cube with the kitties
:: called my kids to tell them Dolly Parton, one of my favorite people, is reading bedtime stories
:: studied Mark Bittman's 6-day meal plan from the 20th Anniversary Edition of How to Cook Everything. I think I'm going to follow it next week. The good news is he's made it available to everyone for free.
:: rescued a lost puzzle piece from under the oven. Related, for puzzle lovers – a look at how they're made and a comparison of puzzle brands based on several different criteria (piece fit, image quality, presence of puzzle dust)
:: put a pot roast in the oven on Monday after learning I'd be switching jobs (in two days?!)
:: taped the Serenity Prayer to the refrigerator
:: listened to church bells. There are a handful of beautiful old churches within a few blocks of where we live. While they aren't open to large gatherings, they are open for prayer and meditation. I've been going as often as I can.
:: smiled at the pudgy pigeon outside the window
:: opened our first arrival from the Parnassus Signed First Edition Club. Have you heard of it? A signed first edition of a really great book arrives in your mailbox once a month. Other subscription services that look fun? These from Falkner Books and Powell's
:: watched animal cams over lunches of tomato soup and grilled cheese – the falcons at 55 water, baby eaglets in Decorah, Iowa, and gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Animals who are simply living their lives; at this moment, this alone feels like a miracle to witness
:: remembering that if you miss your people, sometimes it helps to send them a hug from a distance. Or, make them a muffin.
A muffin recipe I've had on repeat. A terribly happy union of oats and apples; a balm against even the worst case of four o’clock doldrums.
The ingredients are pretty straight forward and hopefully things you'll have on hand – oats, yogurt, apples, etc. The lovely thing about these hearty muffins is that you could use apples, pears, stone fruit or berries and make them yours. Throw in whatever you’re in the mood for.
If the day calls for the rest of the bag of chocolate chips, there's no shame in that either.
The most important thing is to pop them out of the pan as soon as you're able. Let them cool outside the pan on a baking rack. In the pan, they will steam, and it will make a difference in the texture
I hope you like them
A few notes:
If you need it to be gluten-free, replace the flour with a 1:1 GF All-Purpose like Bob's Red Mill or Cup for Cup.
The recipe will make 10-12 jumbo or 18-24 standard size muffins, depending on how much you fill each cup. Err on the side of more-is-more for a classic muffin top.
~ Adapted from Food52
Oat Muffins With Apples
- 3 ½ cups rolled oats
- 1 ¼ cups Greek yogurt
- 1 cup milk (any nut milk will also work well)
- ½ cup butter
- ⅔ cup dark brown sugar
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs (large or XL)
- 1 ¼ cups white whole-wheat flour (or all-purpose)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 medium apples, peeled and diced (~ ½")
- 3 Tbsp turbinado sugar
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- In a large bowl, add the oats, yogurt, and milk. Stir to combine and set aside
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the butter. Warm, stirring frequently, until the butter has browned and smells nutty (~ 5-10 minutes).
- Pour into a heat-proof bowl. Add a tablespoon of water to the saucepan. Swirl it around to deglaze the browned bits at the bottom, before adding it to the mixing bowl
- Add the sugars to the browned butter and whisk until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each.
- Add all the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and ginger, and mix until most of the dry streaks are gone. Combine with the soaked oats mix before folding in the apple chunks
- Cover and transfer the batter to the fridge for at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours. (This gives the flour a chance to hydrate.)
- Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside
- When you’re ready to bake, heat the oven to 350°F.
- Spray, grease, or line the muffin pans. Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cups. Sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar topping
- If baking jumbo sized muffins, bake for about 40 minutes. If baking standard sized muffins, bake for about 25-30 minutes. In either case, rotate halfway through. (You'll know they're done, when the tops are bouncy to the touch and a cake tester or small, sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean)
- Transfer from the pans to a wire rack and allow to cool