Lemon Poppy Seed Blueberry Muffins

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As I’ve gotten old and settled down (watch out for any Back-In-My-Day diatribes, kids), I’ve come to appreciate Sundays. They’re days that we clean our apartment, plan our meals for the week ahead, go grocery shopping, and tackle any big cooking projects. Sunday is also the day most likely to see a fancy breakfast coming out of our kitchen. Sundays are quiet days, they’re productive days, and, in some ways, they’re my favorite day of the week (assuming I can hold at bay the thoughts about the weekend ending and all of that).

This Sunday I decided to make lemon poppy seed blueberry muffins. I’ve made (and love) lemon poppy seed muffins before, and adding some sweet blueberries to the tangy batter seemed like a risk worth taking. It was.

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Recipe adapted from BrownEyedBaker:

Yield: 12 muffins

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Bake Time: 18 to 20 minutes

Ingredients:

2/3 cup sugar
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
6 ounces of blueberries

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups.

2. In a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and the fragrance of lemon strong. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and melted butter together until well blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don’t worry about being thorough – a few lumps are better than over mixing the batter. Fold in the poppy seeds and blueberries. Divide the batter evenly among the muffins cups.

3. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

The muffins are dense and not too sweet. Perfect for a grey Sunday or weekday-morning treat, and a great way to use the blueberries you might have overpurchased in a fit of Spring! Now! ecstasy.

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Veggie-Pot-Pi-Day-Dinner

I took the day off yesterday, and about 3/4 of the way through our day of leisurely adventuring, I looked at my work email and saw several different office-wide emails alerting people to the existence of different pies in the kitchen for Pi Day. In my head, I still think it’s basically March 1st (SERIOUSLY, THOUGH, HOW IS IT THE 15TH?!), so I sort of, kind of, totally, absolutely forgot about Pi Day. But really? Who doesn’t like an excuse to eat pie? Cyborgs and zombies, that’s who.

So, we decided to try our hand at making a vegetarian pot pie for dinner. We’ve done several versions of vegetarian shepherd’s and pot pies, usually with lackluster results. I’ve found it’s pretty tricky to vegetarian-ize standard, classic, meaty favorites, like pot pie or meatloaf, but we figured there was no better day to give it another shot. A quick Google search turned up this recipe, which we used with some adaptations.

We used a 9 inch pie plate instead of an 11 x 7 dish, so we sort of guessed at how much to reduce quantities of all the ingredients to fit our pie. Because it was a last-minute idea and we still had to go hang out in the beer garden for a while before we wanted to cook dinner (priorities!), we took a bunch of shortcuts: namely, store-bought crust, and a box each of frozen mixed veggies (corn, green beans, lima beans, peas, carrots) and of cauliflower florets. We also added more garlic than the recipe calls for, because we like to ward off vampires and coworkers just by emitting garlic through our skin.

Other modifications made based on the comments on the recipe. We only used a cup and a half of vegetable broth, and we used 4 tablespoons of cornstarch instead of 2. Probably could have stood to increase the broth or cut the cornstarch a bit, but it was moist and delicious without making the crust soggy. I was skeptical of the soy sauce, but I have to say that this was the best vegetarian pot pie I’ve had. It definitely satisfied the craving for pot pie without using any fake meat or such things.

So, ultimately, our last-minute Pi Day celebration was a success! And now I need to go wrap up the leftovers before we slowly pick away at the remaining pie until it’s gone…