Saturday, May 31, 2014

This Apron Speaks the Truth

Time once again to showcase one of my favorite aprons. This pink and white striped number was a gift a few Christmases ago, given to me by the older lady whose house I clean every few weeks. She's also a church friend, and one of The Girls with whom I go thrifting  once in a while. Obviously, she knows me quite well:

This apron speaks the truth! More or less, anyway. I do love shoes and I do love to cook. I suppose if the guys at Trade Home Shoes offered to pay me in Danskos and Born footwear, I'd happily cook all the stew and biscuits they could handle! Shoot, I'd even bake cookies and cakes for them.

At first, I wasn't going to wear this apron while cooking, because obviously I use aprons as intended - as a splatter shield, hand towel, pot holder, handkerchief, dust cloth - and stain them up plenty. However, what better way to appreciate a friend's gift than by actually using it? She spent her money to buy something she knew I would enjoy, and enjoy it I shall! This apron makes me smile every time I wear it, and the stains are badges of baking honor.

One day as I was doing whatever it was that needed doing around the house, I happened to walk by the tv just as Lidia's Italy started up on PBS. I paused to see what she'd be cooking up on the show that day, and as she highlighted her recipes, she was wearing this exact same apron!!! Someone had given it to her as a gift, as well, and she loved it so much she wanted to show it off on her program. How awesome is that?! I have the same apron as a famous person! (By the way, I have no idea now what recipes Lidia made that day. The apron thing kind of took over that space in my memory!)

Thankfully, I took photos of the stuff I baked the day I wore my famous apron for this post, or I'd never remember what it was so I could share the recipe with you today.

Oh yes, Blueberry Streusel Muffins! Straight out of the Betty Crocker cookbook, with a few tweaks to personalize them, of course. Recipes are springboards, after all. Kind of like fashion rules. They give you something to start with, but it's perfectly fine, and in fact better, if you improvise a bit. Or a lot.

I've had my Betty Crocker cookbook for quite a long time. My mom had one in her kitchen, so when I got married, I wanted a copy for my own kitchen. Mom actually gave me her old one, which I still have on my bookshelf, although I rarely use it because it's falling apart. My BC cookbook is binder-style, which is really nice because it lays flat when open. It's actually my second one; the first book got ruined when the scrap bucket leaked icky ooze all over the counter one night when we forgot to take it out to the compost pile. All of my cookbooks got wet and stinky, so they had to be replaced. Some of the pages from that first BC book were salvageable, so I punched holes in them and inserted them in my new one. It's not new anymore, of course, but it has held up well for over 20 years.

As you can see, this recipe was designated a favorite by one of my kids when they were little. In case you find it difficult to read in the photo, I'll type out the recipe for you, with my personalizations.

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Streusel topping (below)
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used sunflower oil)
1/2 tsp vanilla (or a small glug)
1 egg (duck, of course)
2 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour, something I have enjoyed experimenting with lately. I'ts great stuff!)
1/3 cup sugar (I used turbinado sugar - seemed to work just fine)
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup fresh or drained canned blueberries,
  or 3/4 cup frozen blueberries, thawed and well drained (I'm not messing with all that! I used a heaping cup of frozen un-thawed blueberries, not drained one whit.)

Heat oven to 400°F. Prepare Streusel Topping. Grease bottoms only of 12 medium muffin cups, 2½ x 1¼ inches, or line with paper baking cups. (Baking cups! Way easier to pop those babies out of the pan with paper liners.) Beat milk, oil, vanilla and egg. Stir in flour, sugar, baking powder and salt all at once just until flour is moistened (batter will be lumpy). (She's Lump, She's Lump, she's in my head....and that's actually playing on my stereo right this very minute! How weird is THAT?!) Fold in blueberries. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. (If you have a Pampered Chef large cookie scoop, it holds the perfect amount of muffin batter if you scoop it heaping.) Sprinkle each with about 2 teaspoons Streusel Topping. (Why would you bother measuring streusel topping? Just dump it on!) Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan.

Streusel Topping:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour again)
2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar (I used turbinado sugar instead)
2 Tablespoons firm margarine or butter (margarine isn't allowed in my house)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (Not enough! I used at least a full teaspoon, maybe more. I didn't measure it. Of course.)
Mix all ingredients until crumbly. (Use a pastry blender or a fork.)

These muffins baked up beautifully! And tasted yummy! They are long gone by now. As I recall, the whole wheat pastry flour made them light and fluffy, instead of heavy and dense like whole grain flour tends to do. Using turbinado sugar instead of refined white sugar didn't seem to have any effect on the recipe at all, and in fact, it made the Streusel Topping even better, nice and crunchy just the way I like it! The frozen, un-thawed, un-drained blueberries made things a bit juicy and drippy, as you can see above, but since when are juicy blueberries a problem? When I serve you my muffins, you get a napkin with your plate.

Yes, if you're ever in the neighborhood, feeling hungry, you may stop by my house and I will feed you whatever thing it is I have recently baked up. I love to feed hungry people! Especially hungry teenage boys...they love just about anything I make and it disappears in a heartbeat. That reminds me...I promised to make doughnuts for the church youth group one of these days....

1 comment:

lantabmom said...

I love that apron too, how cool that a cook on tv has it too! The muffins look so yummy, wishing I had one this morning for my breakfast. :)