Blueberry Muffins

Blueberries and lemon. The flavor combination that should be up there with the popular kids. The peanut butter-jelly and strawberry-chocolate crowds. Somehow, though, blueberries and lemon don’t get the recognition they deserve and it’s just a shame. The tartness of the lemon and sweet burst of blueberry; oh it makes my heart sing. I hope it has the same effect on you, too.

These muffins are made up of a sour cream/mascarpone cake that is full of plump, delicious blueberries and then sprinkled with a fresh lemon sugar. It’s a perfect treat for a weekend brunch or tasty breakfast on the car ride to work while you daydream you are sitting in a quaint cafe reading the newspaper and discussing last night’s Glee episode with your fictional friend, Franz. You know- that old chestnut.

Whatever you are daydreaming about, add these blueberry muffins to your baking repertoire. You won’t be disappointed. :)

Blueberry Muffins

Yield: 18 muffins (recipe reported 12)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) sour cream (I substituted half mascarpone cheese because I didn’t have enough sour cream)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and adjust a rack to the middle position. Grease 2 12-cup muffin tins and set aside.

2. Combine the lemon zest and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.

3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a second medium bowl, whisk the egg until pale yellow, about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and whisk until thick and smooth, another 30 seconds. Slowly add in the butter in 2 additions, mixing well each time. Add in the sour cream in 2 additions and mix until just combined.

4. Place the berries in the flour mixture and gently toss until evenly coated. Carefully add the sour cream mixture to the flour mixture and fold until just-combined (don’t overmix- a few smearsĀ  of flour in the batter are okay).

5. Using a large spoon or ice cream scoop, divide the batter evenly into the muffin tins. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of the lemon sugar on top of the batter. Bake until muffins are lightly golden, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool about 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

Source: Barely adapted from Baking Illustrated

Selby’s 30th Birthday Cake

Today is my sister, Selby’s, 30th birthday. It’s the beginning of a new era in her life as she closes the chapter on her twenties and embarks on the exciting adventure that her thirties will bring. Although she has been dreading this new number, her future looks very bright. She has an adorable 16 month old boy and her husband, Kevin, is over half-way done with his anesthesia residency.

To ring in this big milestone, we celebrated a few weeks early when my sister and her family were in town at the beginning of the month. My sister is a serious lemon-lover and she requested the same cake I made her last year: lemon curd cake with lemon Swiss meringue buttercream frosting.

The only difference from this year compared to last is that I made my own lemon curd for the cake batter and to sandwich between the layers this time around. I followed this helpful YouTube video and the resulting curd was scrumptiously tart and addictive.

The cake didn’t make it through the weekend and the birthday girl gave it great reviews.

Happy 30th birthday, Selby. I love you!

Selby’s beautiful family

I can’t believe how big this boy has gotten compared to this photo from one year ago…

Corn and Crab Chowder

I’ve been on a bit of a blogging summer break. I could go on and on about how it has been a jam-packed summer for us, but I know it’s the same for everyone. Life is busy. That’s just the way that it is. I keep thinking it will calm down soon; but I think my friend Jess summed it up when she told me, “you know, you’re not going to get any less busy, right?”

Sometimes, I catch myself thinking, “I will do x, y, and z as soon as I have more time.” The truth is that I can’t keep putting things off until then, because it will never come. This is how life is and I will never do the things I want unless I make them more of a priority. This is living, my friends.

This crab and corn chowder is a wonderful summer meal, especially with Ohio sweet corn being positively scrumptious right now. Despite the seemingly long list of ingredients in this, it really comes together quickly and it’s a great alternative to the more traditional corn chowder we enjoyed last year.

Go get yourself some corn, and whip this up for a tasty weeknight meal. Happy Monday, everyone!

Corn and Crab Chowder

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 serrano pepper, minced
  • 4 ears raw corn, kernels removed and cobs reserved
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over to remove shell pieces
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add in the onion, garlic, Serrano pepper, and corn kernels. Stir to combine and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.

2. Add in cumin, chili powder, cayenne, and paprika and stir to coat the vegetables evenly. Mix in the chicken broth, milk, and water.

3. Add in the corn cobs and cook over medium heat for 12-15 minutes.

4. Remove the corn cobs and transfer 2 cups of the soup mixture into a blender (with a tightly-secured lid) and blend until smooth. Add the puree back into the pot and stir to combine.

5. Reduce the heat to low and add in the cilantro, crab meat, lime juice, and salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. Remove from heat and serve hot.
Source: Adapted from The Fresh 20