Blue, Blue, Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins

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  In an earlier post this summer, I raved about The Cornbread Gospels by Crescent Dragonwagon (that name always makes me smile) and the two versions of cornbread salad we had tried out, both receiving enthusiastic reviews. Well, since then, it’s been hard for me to NOT bake and cook without cornmeal. Cornmeal breads, muffins, pancakes, etc. And my latest favorite muffin is her recipe for Blue, Blue Blueberry Muffins.  All the blue is the result of using blue cornmeal  and serving the muffins with a Blueberry-Cream Cheese-Honey Butter. Okay, have I your attention now? Are you hooked? Shall I start reeling you in???   These are unbelievably tender and moist, and the main spice in the recipe, nutmeg, sets off the flavor of the blueberries and the cornmeal beautifully. (I am somewhat biased—most dishes are considered incomplete without at least a little nutmeg thrown in). And when you top the warm muffins with the meltingly delicious blueberry butter—moment of silence, please.   Now, if you are not able to find blue cornmeal, yellow is fine, and you end up with another lovely version, just less blue! Blue cornmeal is not easily accessible up here where I live in northern MI, so I’ve made these frequently with yellow cornmeal, as you can see here—         So if you have stockpiled a good amount of end-of-the-summer blueberries  AND you are a lover of corn AND need some muffins to warm you up on the crisp mornings arriving with the turn of the season, this recipe is … {Read on...}

Let’s play the “Where is Foodie?” game!

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I am on vacation as of... hang on... NOW!    Where am I?  Let me give you some hints.   The view from the driveway     Up over that little ledge in the previous picture     A whole lotta this brown stuff...     And there will most certainly be much of this type of action...     I'll be sitting on this front porch with many, many cups of tea.   So can you guess?  My access to the internet will be severly curtailed this week.  ...And that's just as it should be!   Because I had a backlog of posts to share with you I'll be scheduling them all for the next few days while I'm away.  It'll be like I never left (except that I won't be talking back until I'm home!)     … {Read on...}

Mango Custard

Gets nice and caramel-y on top...

Mangoes...I love them...just have a hard time finding a good one at times.   The first time I ate a mango, it was somewhat underripe, and actually cutting the mango up was a little bit frustrating, due to the monster pit waiting inside that lovely yellow flesh. But even under-ripe, the fruit was delicious, and that bit of piney undertone to the flavor was addicting.   Finally encountering a ripe mango, I was completely transported--I had no idea that fruit could send you to another dimension. Well, perhaps I exaggerate, but it was darn good. My problem over the years has been finding mangoes at that peak of perfection. I've discovered the color on the outside does not seem to be a good indicator, but the touch test is helpful--if the fruit yields to gentle pressure, you may be in for some good eating. If the fruit yields to the point of being able to touch the pit, it's been around a little too long. If it is rock hard, it may ripen for you, but may actually begin spoiling before it is ripe enough to enjoy.   If you are lucky enough to find good ripe mangoes, cutting them up is actually easy, if messy. Starting at the top of the fruit, with stem down, and with the narrow side facing you, bring the blade of your chef's knife down across the top and slice down through the fruit slightly off center; when you encounter some resistance, curve the knife out away from the pit a bit, and use the pit as a guide for your knife as you finish slicing through the bottom. … {Read on...}

What goes in a foodie’s vacation suitcase?

We are going on a long anticipated vacation in a couple days.  The place we're staying has a semi-equipped kitchen; dishes, flatware, assorted pans, working stove and fridge, etc...  When I say the kitchen is semi-equipped I mean it is not constantly inhabited by an obsessive-compulsive, gadget-loving foodie like myself.  I have found myself wondering how little clothing I can possibly pack for a family of seven in order to preserve room in the van for my knives, mandoline, whisk, large cutting board, dough bucket, organic ketchup, natural peanut butter, homemade pickles, homemade jam, spices, huge cooler filled with pantry staples such as pesto marinated bocconcini and fresh herbs, tomatoes and zucchini from our garden, etc...   Is there any possible way I can pack my stand mixer?  It is like another child to me.  One which I am very glad not to have birthed.   I am contemplating whether to pack butter in the cooler.  I mean really, what if butter's price is astronomic there?  How would I make cinnamon rolls?  Or toast?    **At this point I would very much like to be able to say 'just kidding!' except that would be lying and I've repeatedly mentioned that my moral compass is set to 'honest'.    I've settled on taking my knives and steel  *There is, in a kitchen, nothing worse than someone else's dull ginsu, the large cooler and whatever will fit in it  *I refuse to leave behind that fresh jar of lovely basil/garlicky  fresh goat milk mozzarella, a whisk  … {Read on...}

The telemarketer actually called me ‘honey’. Foodie needs to vent.

I received a call this morning from a telemarketer.  Interestingly, we're on the do-not-call registry, but evidently these folks have found a way around the law.  Would this have irritated anyone else or am I crazy?  And in case you're wondering why I didn't hang up immediately it's because I couldn't believe this guy said what he did.  Really.   I'll reproduce our conversation below.  My thoughts will be in italics. Picking up the phone...   Me:  Hello?   Telemarketer Neanderthal (henceforth TN, speaking in a very smarmy tone of voice):  Hi.  Can I speak to the man of the house?   Me:  He's not in.  I'm his wife.  May I help you?  Aw geez.  How long is this going to take?   TN:  No, I'm calling to speak to the man of the house about something that's really important but would probably bore you.   Me:  Wow.  Where'd they dig this guy up?  Why don't you try me?  I'm pretty smart.   TN:  Well, *honey*, it's about sealing your basement walls and I'm pretty sure I'd better speak to the man of the house.  I don't think you would understand.   Me:  Well, I think you might be underestimating me.  More importantly, the man of the house wouldn't really like to speak with someone who talks to his wife like that.  Now kindly note that we're on the do-not-call registry and take us off your list permanently.   Hanging up enthusiastically with steam shooting out of ears.      Am I nuts? … {Read on...}