Today was a day that had a few options for celebration. It was Rainier Cherry Day and because I have not yet truly enjoyed the joy of the summer cherry harvest, the thought of sitting with a bowl of cherries and enjoying their sweet, juicy flavor delighted me. I could work my way through a whole bowl without batting an eye. Maybe Lola and I could have a cherry pit spitting contest. She likes when I make games out of the ordinary events in our life and that would be fun. Plus Lola, a Tomboy at heart, would love being able to be the pit-spitting champion. She’d take it seriously, like Focker from Meet the Parents. Today was also National Mojito Day and I love getting behind a good cocktail. I am a fan of mojitos too. I have liked them since I first tried them at a Cuban restaurant in Mexico. They made them there to order with tons of fresh mint and raw sugar cane as well. The bartenders would muddle the mint like I’ve never seen, so practiced in their skill that it looked effortless. I could try to create that at home. I had rum, I had simple syrup. I just needed mint. I felt like I just made this drink though along this quest? Hadn’t I? Maybe that was Mint Julep Day? This is becoming a blur.
The other day that was being celebrated today was National Blueberry Muffin Day and although I enjoy a good blueberry muffin, I didn’t think I’d have time to do anything special for it. I could grab one at Dunkin Donuts on my way to work or even from another coffee shop along the way – there’s no shortage of blueberry muffin providers between Portsmouth and Warwick. But would that a true celebration? Do you really want to hear about how I scarfed down a blueberry muffin in my car waiting at a traffic light? Would you need to see the crumbs that would scatter across the front of my shirt? There was no pizzazz to that celebration so I was kind of pushing the idea aside. Then something happened. Today was my delivery day for my Veggie Box from FarmFreshRI – my bi-weekly delivery of fresh fruits and vegetables from the bounty of local farmers. I was expecting the box to be full of leafy greens and hardy root vegetables, which it was, but after digging through, there was also a pint container of freshly harvested blueberries. That seemed too serendipitous to ignore. I was gifted fresh local blueberries on National Blueberry Muffin Day. The gods had spoken and they wanted me to make muffins.
I found a recipe for Blueberry Muffins on Sally’s Baking Addiction website. Sally is usually a go-to baker/blogger for me and has easy recipes. She of course had one for blueberry muffins and as luck would have it, I had everything I needed in house to make them. The only thing I was missing was blueberries, and the gods had been good and took care of that for me. Now I just needed time. I got home from work around 6 pm and sat down with Lola to discuss our days. It was another long day for us. I’ve been leaving a few hints here and there, but the truth is that Lola and I are going through some stuff with banks and insurance companies and all those fun kinds of people. Because I’m at work, Lola gets stuck with the brunt of the work which means phone calls, emails, copying and all that other fun work that appeases the bureaucracy gods. That stuff gets pretty draining especially once you get caught in a circle of ignorance on the other end of the line. When I get home, we needed some time to decompress and talk things through. Today was a tough one. I suppose the highlight was the 20 minutes Lola spent on the phone with the person who on the other end of the line was fumbling through paperwork looking for the file on Lauren Miller (which if you didn’t know, is not Lola). That’s the efficiency we are dealing with in a nutshell. In any case, we needed time to talk things out, which led us into some time to eat dinner together, which then led us into time to escape in an episode of Game of Thrones. The next thing I knew, it was 8:30 and I had no muffins.
Lola tried to get me to keep going on Game of Thrones but I said I had to make the muffins. I was feeling like the old Dunkin Donuts guy – time to make the muffins. Thankfully, it was a pretty easy recipe to throw together. The bad part was it was still hot and humid out and turning our oven to 425 degrees was not ideal. But these are the sacrifices we make for the quest. It really was quick to make and I had the batter ready just as the oven preheated. Now I just had to load it into the muffin pan which is never easy, especially with a batter that’s on the thicker side. I used a scoop which was just shy of the amount I needed so then I had to go back and add more to each cup with a spoon to fill the tins up to the top. The recipe was supposed to give you muffins that heaped over the top and part of that meant filling them to the very brim. I did that and then just sprinkled some sugar on top as the final sparkly touch. They went in the oven for five minutes, then I turned down the heat and cooked for another twenty-five. When I pulled them out, they looked done and were puffed up over the pan.
According to the recipe, I had to wait about ten minutes to try one and that wasn’t too hard. Lola had gone up to bed and I texted her to see if she wanted one. She did, with butter, so I sliced one in half, slabbed on some butter which started to melt on the warm inside of the muffin and then delivered it to Lola in bed. I thought this would be one of those recipes Lola would love because it was similar to the popovers I have made for her, and she loved those. However, she wasn’t blown away. She said they had a bit of a banana bread texture to them, and she was right. The muffin was heavier, not like the cake-like dough of a Dunkins’ muffin. It was still tasty, but it wasn’t an instant classic. She took a few more bites and she started to like it more and more. Once you got used to what kind of muffin it was, it got better. It even got good. The star was the crunchy top which had lots of sugar crystals to add sweetness to it and of course, the fresh local blueberries. Those were abundant and sweet. I may have cooked the muffins a tad too long, although I cooked them to the exact recipe. They were a tad dry which made me think they cooked too much, probably a product of the hot kitchen. Still, I will eat them gladly with my morning coffee throughout the week and beyond. Lola will too, so they won’t go to waste.
This night baking is new to me. It requires a change in mindset. You have to dig down and find a second wind to get the energy. It’s not too hard. Cooking at night is a bit cooler than cooking in the daylight. There’s not as many interruptions either. The bad part is you get tired and then you lose that desire to eat what you made. You lose the thrill of eating a fresh made baked good simply because you are too tired to care. Still, I was able to celebrate today. The blueberry muffin is a great tribute to the sweet delight of fresh blueberries. They pair well with the sweet batter and once they are baked, the berries start to break down inside the muffin giving every bite a fresh burst of fruit. It’s a pretty great little pastry and thanks to a random gift from the gods (or from my Veggie Box), my night baking ended up being a nice way to celebrate them. Even Lauren Miller would agree with that. Now let me just put you hold while I find her paperwork.
Next up: National Pecan Pie Day