Tuesday, January 13, 2009
twd: savory corn and pepper muffins
gorgeous muffins, weird lighting. i'm still learning my new camera!
I come from a family that loves food, and can be rather high maintenance about what we eat, where we eat it, and how we eat. Consider my Grandpa C and his peppers: he will tuck a jalapeno pepper into his shirt pocket when going to a restaurant or even to someone else's house for dinner. He will unceremoniously produce the pepper from his pocket and enjoy it alongside his meal, adding a little extra crunch and zing to whatever delicious dishes happen to appear on his plate.
(Tangent: Back in college, I would bring my own salad dressing to the cafeteria. Now, I cook at home more often than not because, well, I like food they way I like it, and my corner of the world is most decidedly not a mecca of vegetarian food.)
So, as I selected a single jalapeno for this week's recipe, I thought of my Grandpa and how much he would enjoy these muffins, with their subtle heat and their delicious spice melding with a cornbread base--another staple on my Mom's side of the family. Of course, our cornbread eschews sugar because of our Southern roots, but I made an exception and tossed it as Dorie required.
As I seeded, deveined and chopped my jalapeno, I continuously thought don't touch your face! don't touch your eyes! capsaicin! capsaicin! danger! I psyched myself out, and only added half of the pepper to the batter rather than the whole pepper that Dorie recommends. As I chopped and tasted the dough, I could feel the tiny fissures in my dry, winter skin as the pepper's powerful potion lingered on my hands.
I made a few adjustments to the recipe besides halving the jalapeno: I used 3 TBS butter and 3 TBS canola oil instead of 1 stick/8 TBS butter to lower the overall fat profile. I also used part ground chipotle powder instead of all chili powder for a hint of smoke.
I love these muffins, though they're more labor intensive to make than my usual cornbread, which I can whip together in 5 minutes. The chopping and dicing adds an extra 5-10 minutes total, but results in a delicious, hearty muffin that is perfect paired with a hot bubbling soup on these insanely, criminally cold winter nights. Many TWD members enjoyed their muffins with chili--my soup du jour included navy beans, carrots, potatoes, fire roasted tomatoes, and a hint of chipotle. The perfect winter meal, and now I have extras for lunch!
Thanks to Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake, a delightfully entertaining blog, for choosing these muffins! Check out the other talented TWD bakers for their gorgeous photos and delightful stories of muffin making.