Saturday, March 13, 2010

The ingredients of a perfect weekend morning

I tend to be an early riser on weekends, up normally by 7 or 7:30. Today I was up before 6:30.

It's not because I'm one of those up-at-the-buttcrack-of-dawn people, either. Beaker was in the coop screeching to be let out at 6:24.

Ahh, chickens.

I think tomorrow's "spring forward" will be the first time I'll be glad to lose the hour because it will mean that Beaker and crew will start up at 7:20 instead of 6:20. At least for a little while. Last summer we were up at 5:30 some days.

Since I was already up I decided to make one of my favorite breakfasts: blueberry muffins. It's a recipe from Cooking Light's "Complete Cookbook" published in 2000. It's my go-to cookbook for ideas, tips, methods, and even recipes.

I'll post the recipe at the bottom.

What I love about this recipe, besides the fact that it's a cinch to make and the end result isn't cake-sweet, is that it's really flexible.

Don't have yogurt? Use sour cream!

If you haven't got any orange juice, increase the sugar and use lemon juice instead.

Heck, if you don't have a citrus juice OR a creamy dairy thing of some kind, make your own buttermilk and use that instead of both ingredients. You just need something acidic to activate the baking powder and soda.

Believe me, this is a very forgiving recipe.

Measure all your dry ingredients into a bowl and stir around with a fork to mix. My baking powder was lumpy so I broke it up between my fingers.

Save the fork. You'll use it again in a second.

My kitchen rules: don't dirty more dishes than you have to, and clean as you go.
Anyway, the recipe calls for a carton of yogurt - that's 1 cup.

Use whatever creamy dairy thing you happen to have in the fridge and want to use up, like ricotta or sour cream. I suppose you could thin some mascarpone with milk and use that, too.

I make yogurt a half gallon at a time, so you can imagine that I'm glad to find recipes that call for this much yogurt.
I would draw the line, however, at using tofu or ranch dressing. Gross.

Since I can't be bothered with getting another bowl dirty, I just combined the rest of the wet ingredients in the measuring cup and mixed it with the fork I had used to mix the dry ingredients.

Dump all of the wet ingredients on top of the dry ones and mix until it looks like you need to stir it 5-6 more times.

But don't.

The batter will look lumpy and will feel sponge-y (that's the baking powder and baking soda creating bubbles).

This is perfect. If you overmix the dough, you'll get lop-sided muffins with tunnel-like bubbles in them.

As Alton Brown would say, "that's not Good Eats". [...moment of nostalgia for cable...]

Gently fold in your blueberries, being careful not to squish them.

Spoon the batter into muffin tins coated with cooking spray, place in a pre-heated oven, and cook for 18 mins.

While the muffins are cooking, make yourself a pot of tea. I prefer a basic black English breakfast tea, myself.

Grab a muffin, a spot o' tea, and the newspaper and head for your favorite spot in the house.

This is my kitchen nook and the window looks into a giant French lilac.

You can barely make out the bird feed that's mounted about 12 inches outside the window. We call it kitty porn.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a date with a very handsome boy.


2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 t baking powder

1 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

1/4 c orange juice (or lemon juice, or buttermilk)

2 T vegetable oil

1 t vanilla extract

1 cup or an 8-oz carton of yogurt (or a creamy dairy thing or some sort)

1 large egg

1 cup fresh or frozen bluberries

Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix with a fork.

3. Combine all wet ingredients in a measuring cup and mix with a fork.

4. Dump wet into dry and stir until just barely incorporate. Do not overmix.

5. Fold in blueberries.

6. Spoon batter into muffin tins.

7. Bake for 18 mins or until wooden pick comes out clean.

8. Remove muffins immediately & cool on a rack.

9. Enjoy muffins with tea, a newspaper, and the company of a cat.


LOCAL ingredients: yogurt, egg, blueberries


  1. I'm going to try this recipe someday. I'm so bad for baking at our place. It's usually plain items like chocolate chip cookies. Also I should add photos into my own blog. If I can figure it out. :)

  2. i am a shameless subber and i have found mayo (slightly thinned) if you are truly in a pinch. Okay, sometimes i start cooking and don't get all the ingredients first....

  3. This is my #1 fav blueberry recipe. Enjoy it!

    Last weekend I had orange & chocolate chip muffins at Corina Barkery in downtown Tacoma. Maybe I'll experiment with this recipe to make a new addiction.