rare occasions

cook's illustrated back covers

Dan and I used to take real pleasure in cooking together. It started back in college, when we, off our meal plans for the first time, were finding our way around the kitchen, discovering appliances beyond the microwave, looking up what to do with artichokes and beets. (This was the year of the vegetable parties and the year Dan bought me knives for my birthday. What a dream.)

The routine migrated with us to seminary, where, newly married, we were so busy with schoolwork that making meals became our time together. We’d set aside our books and laptops for an hour or so and crack open a cookbook and challenge ourselves to try something new, or to make it better than the last time.

yellow napkin

We had a rhythm in the kitchen. You should have seen us make beef and broccoli. Or pizza—we had that down to a science: I’d knead the dough, he’d cook the sausage, I’d grate the cheese, he’d stir the sauce. We could have a pizza in the oven in no time.

These days, though, it’s a little trickier to cook together. These days, it’s more like: I feed the baby, he chops, he cooks, he stirs, he grates, he bakes, he plates. On very rare occasions, if she’s not hungry but insists on being held, he’ll take her and I’ll do the cooking, which is what led to these muffins. It’s good to be back in the kitchen.

corn flour muffins

Corn Muffins with Scallions and Cheddar

Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction and inspired by Good to the Grain

Like half of what I bake, I deviated from the recipe to accommodate my own cupboards. (Or, frankly, because I was halfway through pouring in the corn flour before I realized the recipe called for cornmeal, which we had run out of the week before.) I got the basic recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction, but Kim Boyce assured me that I could manage with corn flour, and she inspired the scallion/cheddar combo. As I’m typing this, I’m imagining how delicious these would be with the addition of a cup of corn, too!

1 cup (120g) corn flour
1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup (67g) packed dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp honey
1 large egg, at room temperature if you remember
1 cup buttermilk (or my trusty hack: 1 tsp lemon juice + milk enough to make a cup)
handful of scallions, chopped (to make about 1/2 cup)
2 cups grated cheddar

Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease a 12-count muffin tin.

Whisk together the corn flour (or cornmeal!), flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cheddar in a large bowl. Set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together the cooled melted butter, oil, brown sugar, and honey until completely smooth. Whisk in the egg until combined and then the buttermilk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until combined. Fold in the scallions.

Spoon batter into the muffin tin, filling each cup all the way to the top. Bake for 5 minutes 425°F, then, keeping the oven door closed, reduce heat to 350°F and continue baking for another 15 to 18 minutes, until puffed and golden.

These are best fresh with a hearty knob of butter, by they manage to taste pretty good on day two, too, reheated just barely.

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10 thoughts on “rare occasions

  1. Hi Grace, It is wonderful to hear from you again. You sound busy and happy!!! Your corn muffins sound delicious.

  2. We both had muffins on our mind this week! I had lots of zucchinis and carrots that I wanted to eat up without actually having to taste zucchinis and carrots… Thus. Muffins.

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