Sunday Morning Blueberry Banana Muffins

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I am home for the weekend. It is snowing. I was hungry.

Solution? These Banana Blueberry Muffins with a Demerara sugar crunch topping. A one-bowl, dangerously good muffin, perfect for a last minute brunch or snow-day treat.

Adapted from Serious Eats, I used dark brown sugar for a deeper molasses flavor and added a half teaspoon of vanilla extract because…uh…everything is better with vanilla. I also sprinkled these muffins with a hefty topping of a Demerara sugar and cinnamon mixture. And unlike the original recipe’s yield of a dozen muffins, my batch perfectly made sixteen muffins.

Blueberry Banana Muffins

Adapted from Serious Eats

Makes 16 muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 eggs

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3 ripe bananas, mashed

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tin with butter or cooking spray. 

In medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Add eggs to mixture, then sugar–beat well to combine. Stir in vanilla, bananas, and oil. Gently fold in blueberries.

Pour batter into greased muffin tin, filling cups 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. 

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A Food Tour of Portland

First stop? Vervacious. This adorable shop was created by a couple who spent their work sabbaticals sailing the world. They ended up quitting their day jobs in order to start a travel inspired food business. Try the Espresso Balsamic Drizzle and Sahara Harissa Rub. Adding a bit of Spicy Chili Finishing Salt to freshly cut pineapple is mind-blowing.

We then wandered over to the Harbor Fish Market, which is a wholesale warehouse of fresh fish. I knew this place would be good the minute I saw two chefs walk into the slimy, gritty but definitely genuine fish market.

We tasted smoked mussels (check for them in the refrigerators on the right!) and learned about the laws regulating lobster trapping. Each fisherman must carry a metal measuring tool, which looks like a wrench. If a lobster’s claw is larger or smaller than the piece of metal, it must be thrown back into the water. The big lobsters are particularly important to keep in the water, as they are the ones that reproduce the most. Go figure.

Next up: Dean’s Sweets. Another husband and wife team, Dean’s Sweets offers unique truffle flavors such as Stout (which also happens to be vegan), Blueberry, and even Tequila Lime. Perhaps most creative is their version of the “Needham.” A “Needham” is a classic Maine treat composed of chocolate, mashed potato and coconut. Sound weird? Well, Dean’s Sweets takes it up a notch. Instead of using mashed potatoes, they use a potato derived ingredient: vodka.

To continue the sweets trend, we devoured blueberry ice cream samples at Captain Sam’s Ice Cream. The high butter fat count is what makes this ice cream so divine. I have eaten a lot of ice cream in my life and this surpassed most scoops. One word: wow.

Going full steam ahead with the new trend of blueberry, we stopped by Stonewall Kitchen. I’m familiar with Stonewall Kitchen’s products since it is a New England company, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying a free sample of blueberry jam.

A fascinating place to visit is the Public Market House, and in particular, K. Horton Specialty Foods. The market is a co-op that gives chefs and entrepreneurs with little investment money a place to start their businesses. I enjoyed a sample of a freshly boiled bagel, as well as two delicious cheeses. One cheese, City of Ships, made from cows milk, has won many accolades.

And last, but definitely not least was beer tasting at Gritty McDuff’s. We had the pleasure of getting a behind-the-scenes look at this microbrewery, which brews beer only for the pub, not for wholesale. This was the perfect way to end our day of culinary, and caloric, wonders.

Blueberry Corn Salad

Before I knew much about food, I figured the category “Fruits and Vegetables” should be two categories, “Fruit” and “Vegetables.” But after tasting salads such as arugula and watermelon or even mango salsa, I have realized that fruits and vegetables complement each other. Maybe you are saying “Duh” or maybe you have not ventured into this world of fruit/vegetable hybridity, but nonetheless I can’t wait to continue experimenting. A good rule of thumb is that if the fruit or vegetable grows at the same time of the year, the produce will likely go well together. Think: tomatoes and cucumbers (drizzle with olive oil and vinegar). Simple, but delicious, flavors.

In the case of this Blueberry Corn Salad, evidently blueberries and corn are showcased. The spice of the jalapenos, which stung my hands for twenty-four hours, and the sweetness of corn, plus the tang of blueberries is fantastic. I used a white onion, despite the recipe calling for a red onion. Other than that, I followed this recipe.

Blueberry Peach Muffins

I love peach crumble: buttery, cinnamon-sugary, fruity bites. Add blueberries to that, put the batter in a muffin tin and sprinkle with a little more cinnamon-sugar and these babies are born. I added a simple streusel topping (combine 1/4 cup of brown sugar with 1 tablespoon of soft butter and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon), which is added on top of the muffin batter right before baking.

Blueberry Peach Muffins


3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 tbs baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)

1/2 cup peaches, fresh or frozen (thawed) and chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix milk and lemon in a small bowl. 

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and sugar.

Add egg and oil to milk mixture. Mix well. Gently fold this mixture into the flour mixture. Fold in fruit.

Bake in greased or lined tin for 22-24 minutes.

Poolville Country Store, NY

As mentioned many times before, going to school in upstate New York leaves much to be desired in terms of culinary experiences. On the one hand, I save a considerable amount of money. On the other hand, it’s easy to see how students can subsist on Ramen noodles.

However, I got a chance to visit the Poolville Country Store, a bed and breakfast that serves way more than just breakfast. As a birthday treat, my parents came to visit and took me to this quaint spot for lunch. They specialize in locally-sourced foods, and most of the menu items were vegetarian or pescetarian, both plusses in my book. (Although, it does make one wonder how you get fresh “local” seafood when you are hundreds of miles from the ocean.)

We were first served a few squares of blueberry crumb cake. Buttery, rich goodness.

Unsure of whether or not it was lunch time or breakfast time, I settled on savory tastes despite my two cups of coffee and this blueberry treat. We ordered polenta fries, smothered in gorgonzola cheese on a bed of mixed greens. Salty but so fabulous, this dish makes me want to experiment more with polenta. The shrimp and vegetable rolls were also fabulous, with a smattering of wasabi aioli that was flavorful. My only complaint was that the menu spelled “shrimp” incorrectly.My caesar salad was standard, though the (single) anchovy on top was appreciated. It’s unfortunate there weren’t more anchovies to really bring out the flavor. I had a large bowlful of lobster bisque which was delicious, though salty. Lastly, a taste of this crab cake made our meal complete. Moist, tasty rounds of crab served with lemon aioli were fantastic. All in all, a pleasant, filling, delicious experience…particularly for upstate New York.

 

Back to School, Blueberry Lemon Bread

I have moved back to the land of college life, and at least this time around I have black beans, peanut butter and bagged lettuce. Upstate New York is diametrically opposite Sydney, Australia.

Before I headed back to school, I savored my last moments in a clean, uncrowded, fully-supplied kitchen. My cat decided to help out:

The other, much wiser cat just slept.

I sent my boyfriend a loaf of Lemon Blueberry Bread. You can find the recipe here. I didn’t get to taste this one, since the recipe only yielded one loaf (and it would be strange to send a loaf with a slice cut off, right?). But I particularly liked how this “bread” had a lemon glaze poured on top. Heavenly. I used frozen blueberries, since the current supply of fresh blueberries in New England come from Chile.