Banana Nut Muffins

I still don’t understand the difference between a muffin and a cupcake. Is it the icing? What about cupcakes that don’t have icing? Are muffins just a word we made up to disguise a cupcake that way we can convince ourselves it’s okay to eat dessert for breakfast?? I read somewhere that the difference has to do with the density. Muffins are “breadier” (new word?) or something like that. But then why is there an array of different textures of cookies – chewy, soft, crunchy, and they’re all still called cookies? It’s a conspiracy! I’m onto you (us)!

So I made some banana nut cupca…I mean muffins.

Banana Nut Muffins
adapted from caitsplate …with commentary!

Muffins:
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c bread flour (I only used bread flour because I ran out of regular. They didn’t turn out tough or chewy, so win!)
2/3 c packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 c mashed banana (2 bananas were perfect. I used a fork to mush them up)
3/4 c coconut milk (It was all I had, and didn’t make anything taste coconuty which I worried about)
3 TBS vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg (recipe says large…so..large I guess. Who buys medium eggs??)
1/4 c walnut halves (I crumbled them with my hands until they were nice little bite-sized pieces for the muffins)

Streusel:
6 TBS regular oats
5 TBS flour (I used bread flour)
2 TBS brown sugar
2 TBS butter, softened
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375.
For muffins, in a large bowl combine flours (make sure when you’re measuring you’re lightly spooning and leveling w/ a knife, not packing it in the measuring cups like a crazy person), brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Make a well in the center of the mixture.
In another bowl, combine the banana, milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and egg. Stir well.
Add to the flour mixture, stirring until just moistened. (Too much stirring will make the texture tough) Fold in the walnuts. (unlike cupcakes, the batter seemed very thick to me. I was worried there wasn’t enough liquid or too much flour or something else I measured wrong. Good news…it was supposed to look like that)
Place liners in muffin cups. Spoon in batter. You should have enough for 12 regular muffins.

For the streusel, combine the five ingredients in a small bowl. (I found it easy to mix by lightly crumbling it in my hands until everything was moistened and sticking together from the softened (not melted!) butter.

Bake at 375 for 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Mine took 19 minutes.

Advertisements

Pickled Jalapeño Watermelon Rinds

Don’t ask me why I decided to pickle watermelon rinds.

Ok, I’ll tell you.  I bought a watermelon the other day and as I was cutting it, I got to thinking how wasteful it seemed to throw away all of that white part of the watermelon.  It was practically edible, if not a little flavorless, bitter and hard….

So I googled.  Apparently pickled watermelon rinds is totally a thing.  Actually…pickled anything is a thing.  People pickle some of the strangest things.  Pickled chicken feet.  It’s real.  Don’t look it up.  Anywho…anyone who knows me, knows I love pickles.  LOOOVE pickles.  I could marry pickles.  So pickled watermelon rinds certainly piqued my interest.

Then I remembered I had a slightly-old-slightly-wrinkled-forgotten-about-sad-and-pitiful jalapeño in the fridge just begging to be used and thought why not, we’ll throw that in too.

So here’s the recipe, with commentary!

 

Pickled Jalapeño Watermelon Rinds

  • 1 c water
  • 1 c unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 c plus 1.5 TBS white sugar
  • 1 TBS salt (It doesn’t matter if it’s table. We’re not putting on airs with that fancy kosher stuff)
  • 1 lb watermelon rind, green skin removed (a peeler works great, cut in 1 inch cubes sliced thin. I didn’t slice mine thin enough. Think the thickness of hmm…pork roll or Canadian bacon.  That’s the first thing that comes to mind)
  • 1 large jalapeño, sliced in rounds (next time I’ll use two more, casually seeded, for more jalapeño pickled goodness without the addition of too much molten lava spiciness)

In a small saucepan, bring the water, vinegar, sugar, & salt to a boil, and simmer until the sugar is dissolved, stirring ever so often to keep the liquid from getting angry.  (Just a minute or two)

Layer the watermelon rinds and jalapeño in a 1-quart glass jar.  (I like Mason jars because that’s what they have at the store)

Let stand at room temperature for 3 hours. (Keep a vigilant watch for fruit flies/gnats. Those crafty bastards love vinegar)

Cover with that handy dandy Mason jar provided lid and refrigerate for 12 hours.

Pickles should last for about 2 weeks in the fridge, without getting too funky.  Sadly, I don’t have a photo of my results…mainly because I keep forgetting and the fridge is so far away.

These might make a nice 4th of July party snack addition too, if your guests are brave enough.

 

I don’t think Lou approves of the watermelon rind pickles.  His face was full of confusion when he tried them.  Sweet, spicy, bitter.  He’s crazy!  They kind of remind me a little of radish kimchi.  The texture and the spiciness.  But just kind of.

 

 

Bourbon BBQ Sauce

For father’s day, I decided I wanted to make my dad some homemade BBQ sauce.  He’s so difficult to buy things for, so I’m usually safe making him food.  I remember in high school a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies would be completely acceptable for any gift-giving opportunity.

 

I decided on a recipe using bourbon, because well…bourbon is awesome.  And all that extra bourbon leftover to make Manhattans wasn’t bad.

 

Here is the recipe I used, adapted from Fork Knife Swoon, plus commentary

  • 1 medium sweet onion, minced (apparently Google says a medium onion is 1 cup. I hate when recipes call for a sm/md/lg of a vegetable. How am I supposed to know what you consider a small tomato or potato?)
  • 1.5 TBS garlic, minced
  • 2 TBS olive oil (or just swirl it around in your pot like a man, no measuring)
  • 6 oz. tomato paste (one of those tiny baby cans that feels weird opening with a can opener because it’s so small)
  • 1/4 c honey (I was so excited to use this local honey I bought a couple of weeks ago!  It was Wildflower honey from here)
  • 1/2 c molasses
  • 1/2 c apple cider vinegar (plus a little glug more)
  • 1/2 c light brown sugar (I used a little less since I didn’t want my BBQ sauce to be too sweet. Also, not packed, don’t forget that.  You don’t want the diabetes)
  • 1/4 c worcestershire sauce (plus a tablespoon or so more because I love that friggin stuff)
  • 1/2 c good bourbon whiskey (I used Bulleit brand because it’s one of my favorites and it comes in an awesome looking bottle with a cute little cork top at a reasonable price)

Sweat the onions and garlic in olive oil in a big pot over medium heat until onions are translucent.  Add some salt and pepper because you’re fancy.

Add the tomato paste and stir to combine and warm.

Throw in the rest of the ingredients in a mad dash before your onions burn and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat to med-low and continue to simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring every now and then to keep things nice and unburnt.  (The original recipe says you can simmer up to an hour, but I didn’t go past 30 minutes.  I felt like the liquid was evaporating too much, and 30 minutes made a good, slightly thick consistency for me).

Optional: After time’s up, use an immersion stick, food processor or blender to make the consistency a little smoother. (I used my food processor and it sort of worked.  I think it was more trouble than it’s worth.  An immersion stick would probably work better, and with less annoying clean up.)

Then I bottled the sauce in mason jars.  The smaller ones.  16 oz, I think?  This recipe makes a bit more than one jar’s worth, which I wish I’d known ahead of time, as the plan was to make two jars.  So I had to make the recipe a second time.  One jar for my dad and one jar for Lou’s dad!

To finish it all up, I tied a new basting brush to the jar.  That was a pain in the A.  Tape was the only saving grace to keep the brush from spinning around like a propeller.  The ribbon and rawhide ties are just for looks.  Of course, I forgot to take a picture.  So just imagine two mason jars with teal blue silicone basting brushes, awkwardly taped and tied off with blue ribbon and rawhide bows.  Then gingerly placed in red gift bags with tissue paper, cuz ain’t nobody got time for wrapping paper.