Be gentle, people. I’m easing back into my daily routine after…not really a vacation, more like a break from posting after a good visit with my aunt and uncle (hey!), more time trying out new restaurants/brew pubs and celebrating my year at the dabble as of last Friday. I didn’t document these times. Guilt did ensue. However, I needed space to gather my thoughts without my camera, notepad and laptop tagging along. I didn’t cook much at all and it felt good, too good, but I missed my kitchen, the site and you readers.
There were good times and bad in the last week while being absent from the site, more good than bad. Now, for the sake of getting back into the swing of things, I can’t go into detail about what happened. I’m moving forward, kicking recipe ass and taking names. Besides, dwelling would make me melancholy. I hope you understand. What have you been up to?
That said, we did make it to the pubs Stub & Herbs in Minneapolis and the Muddy Pig in St. Paul. Sampling a few of the available beers made Greg and I wish we lived closer. The atmosphere was great and their selections were a breath of fresh air.
I can’t recall the name of one beer that I sampled, recommended by the server, but it was one of the best I’ve ever had and will be the thing that makes me keep my promise to come back soon. Big thanks to reader Kris for recommending that and for giving me the idea at her old mspbeer blog. Lucky her, she is in the state that we wish to relocate-Oregon- and has a new blog to boot. I’m a fan.
We did find time to pick green beans (a lot of green beans with more to come), blackberries and raspberries at a friend’s place. Those precious golden raspberries were devoured and I even found time to make ice cream with the few that didn’t meet my mouth. (I’ll share later.) With berry season in full force, I had to make one of my favorite breakfasts/snacks/desserts ever-berry muffins.
At the old grocery store, near my hometown in Indiana, there was a cart full of fresh muffins. It was here that I would stop and stare in awe of the many varieties up for grabs literally (anyone else have a problem with that word?). The berry, if I would allow myself one of these giant sweets, would be my choice. My ultimate muffin has a streusel topping with large flakes of sugar sprinkled over the top and a moist, fluffy center. These were my own perfect version, inspired by numerous other recipes, adjusted to make my muffin day.
Blackberry and Raspberry Muffins with Streusel Topping
Makes 12 to 14 large muffins
¾ cup sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon zest
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice mixed with a cup of milk)
¾ cup fresh blackberries
¾ cup fresh raspberries (or 1 ½ cups of berries of your choice)
1/3 cup brown sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup oats
¼ cup butter, melted
turbinado sugar for sprinkling tops-optional
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line muffin cups with liners or butter the muffin cups. In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking soda and salt together. In another bowl, beat the egg, sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla and lemon zest. Add these ingredients to the dry and stir in the buttermilk until just combined. Fold in the berries, not overly mixing or the batter will be purple and/or red form the berry stains.
For the topping, in a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, flour, oats and butter together until crumbly. Fill the muffin cups three fourths full and sprinkle topping evenly over each muffin. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the top and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.