shop: a frolic
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In college, my roommate knew the sure-fire way to turn my frown upside down was to administer an immediate cream puff.  I am harder to please in this way now, having developed a few objections to eating a cream puff the size of my head, but there is another activity that approximates this level of joy for me. I speak, of course, of the grocery safari.  Holiday shopping fills me with dread and alarm; most shopping, in fact, rapidly loses its luster once it moves from the theoretical to the overheated, over-soundtracked reality.  But give me a cross-cultural food outing any day of the week and I am a happy girl.

Last week, on a junket to the Asian grocery that I like in Albany, I tacked on a side trip to an Indian grocery I discovered with my mad Google skills.  This gem happened (cue harps!) to be both a block away from the Asian grocery and in possession of a lunch counter.  When we (I always take a buddy, in case joy overwhelms me and I need to be calmed) entered the store, the produce hit me right between the eyes and I was momentarily stunned.

karela
karela

My pal, who is less interested in the grocery end of the food experience, scampered off to suss out the lunch possibilities.  She came back as breathless and overstimulated as me.  "It's like...." she said, placing a hand on her chest to calm herself, "it's like your granny was from India and she decided to serve lunch out of her kitchen."

We had a really nice lunch.  Here is a picture of half of it--see how the dosa is not only too large for the plate, but overhangs the tray by several inches?

dosa
dosa

We did some shopping, laying in new supplies of lentils and other staples, and generally gawked around.

psyllium
psyllium
dusttea
dusttea

And then we moved on to the Asian grocery, where staples (noodles, noodles, and more noodles) were amassed, as well as more eye candy:

broad valor
broad valor
coconut
coconut

Which brings us, abruptly, to muffins.

muffin
muffin

Muffins have nothing at all to do with my little outing.  But they are what I have for you today.

I have been looking for an everyday muffin for a while, a muffin that requires no sifters, pastry blenders, electric mixers or other fuss, and bears up under the strain of whim.  A weekday muffin, one that could be tucked with nutritional confidence into the lunchboxes and bellies of the people around me.  When I came across this one, I had a feeling I was on the right road.  I fiddled around with it enough to satisfy myself that you can do that too, and notes on the fiddling are below.

seasoned berries
seasoned berries

everyday muffins/adapted from the kitchn

Heat your oven to 375 and prepare a 12-cup muffin pan with spray, light buttering or paper liners.

Prepare:

  • 1 c chopped fruit (pears, apples, cranberries) or frozen berries, or a mixture

by stirring them in a small bowl with

  • up to 1 T finely grated fresh ginger or lemon or orange zest or both
  • 2T of sweetener (coconut sugar, brown sugar, white sugar, sucanat, etc)

Whisk together in a medium bowl:

  • 2 c whole wheat flour (I have used whole wheat, white whole wheat, and a mixture of the two, and subbed in up to half a cup of things like almond flour & flax meal, all to good effect)
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt

Whisk together in a small bowl or measuring cup:

  • 1 1/4 c whole milk yogurt
  • 2T maple syrup, honey or other sweetener
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c oil (any mild oil will do, including coconut)
  • 1/2 t vanilla

Dump the wet ingredients into the dry and combine lightly; add the prepared fruit and stir to combine.

Divide among the prepared muffin cups.  You can sprinkle the tops with maple sugar crystals, or granola (press it in lightly), or leave them alone.  All works.  Bake about 15 minutes.