Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Blueberry Muffins with Smoked Cheese

The summer evening found me stuffing twenty dollars in my pocket. I loaded up the punks and headed to the local blueberry farm for the evening. The plan was to get the kids out of the house, break the monotony of the day. We would pick blueberries until the first meltdown. I estimated that would be about thirty minutes.

We arrived and were assigned buckets and a row of our own to pick. Frick and Frack were ecstatic. They had been black raspberry picking with my mom and I heard her exclamations coming out of their mouths. "Jackpot! Look at those berries! Bonanza!"   My mom used to drag us along berry picking when we were young. I remembered my mom's excitement over finding an abundance of berries in a good spot. We spent hours capping wild strawberries until there was not much left of the berry but a tiny spot of mush. My mom would make freezer jam, cakes, pies out of those berries. It was misery to me until in the middle of January when she would pull out a container of jam for toast. I didn't appreciate the work then, but I do now. I expected the punks to be in the same misery I used to be in I when picking with my mom at that age. 

However, she had prepared them for me. They were eager pickers. Because you pay by the pound, twenty minutes in, I began to worry abut the quantity of berries piling up in their buckets. Trying to calculate the heft of the bucket around my neck, I began to worry I hadn't brought enough money to cover the cost of what we were picking. I gently suggested that it was time to go. They ignored me and told me they couldn't leave all those berries there. They were racing to see who could get the most berries in their buckets. I had to bribe them with Dairy Queen to get them to leave. They continued to pick their way out of the row. I was sweating the thought of how much the berries would cost. I hadn't even brought the checkbook. 

The scale revealed my suspicions. Thirty minutes of picking - a little over ten pounds. The cost $18.92. We had cut it close. We were able to put twenty-two cups of blueberries in the freezer for winter consumption. My mom would be proud. 

You will be proud of this blueberry muffin recipe. They truly are the best muffin ever. Just a good, simple, solid muffin with a sweet crusty top.

To Die For Blueberry Muffins
from All Recipes

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 egg
1 c. fresh blueberries
Crumb Topping
1/2 c. white sugar
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. butter, cubed
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Line muffin tins with liners.  Combine the 1 1/2 c. flour, 3/4 c. sugar, salt, and baking powder.  Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup;  add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup.  Mix this with the flour mixture.  Fold in blueberries.  Fill muffin cups right to the top and sprinkle with crumb topping.  To make the crumb topping, mix together 1/2 c. sugar, 1/3 c. flour, butter and cinnamon.  Mix with fork and sprinkle over muffins before baking.  Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes.  Makes about a dozen regular-sized muffins.

For the Smoked Cheese Flavoring (Not Recommended)

Bake a cheap frozen pizza for lunch the day before, placing the pizza directly on the oven racks.  Allow cheese to drip off into the oven.  Forget about scorched cheese.  Bake muffins.  15 minutes in, remember the scorched cheese from the day before.  Worry that muffins will taste like smoked cheese.  Win a small prize for your correct guess.  Muffins with have absorbed the toasty taste.



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