Monday, 19 May 2008

One -- or Two -- for the Road

I mentioned in an earlier post about taking food to eat after a run. (One of which I need to do more, the other, less.)

I love the universal recipes from the Tightwad Gazette because they let me use what I have on hand rather than having to buy specific ingredients. I've made the sweet version of these muffins for years. When fresh fruit looks like it's going to go off before it gets eaten, I throw it in the freezer to puree later for a batch of muffins.

More recently I've been experimenting with the savory (non-sweet) version, using spices like chili powder and tumeric to liven them up. I tend to use 2 cups of added ingredients, steaming the veg in advance to make sure it's cooked properly. Two muffins are all either of us can eat, they are so filling.

Universal Muffin Recipe from the Tightwad Gazette

To make muffins, combine dry ingredients, and then mix in wet ingredients until just combined. The batter should be lumpy. Grease muffin tin and fill cups 2/3 full. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees (about 200 C) for 20 minutes (+ or – 5 minutes).

The following ingredients are required:

GRAIN: use 2 to 2 ½ cups of white flour. Or substitute oatmeal (porridge oats), cornmeal (polenta), whole-wheat flour (wholemeal), rye flour or flake cereal for 1 cup of the white flour. Or substitute 1 cup leftover cooked oatmeal, rice or cornmeal for ½ cup of the white flour and decrease liquid to ½ cup.

MILK: use 1 cup. Or substitute buttermilk or sour milk (add a tablespoon of vinegar to 1 cup milk). Or substitute fruit juice for part or all of the milk.

FAT: use ¼ cup of vegetable oil or 4 TBS of melted butter or margarine. Or substitute crunchy or regular peanut butter for part or all of the fat. The fat can be reduced or omitted with fair results if using a “wet addition”.

EGG: Use 1 egg. Or substitute 1 heaping TBS of soy flour and 1 TBS of water. If using a cooked grain, separate egg, add yolk to batter, beat white until stiff and fold into batter.

SWEETENER: Use between 2 TBS and ½ cup sugar. Or substitute up to ¾ cup brown sugar. Or substitute up to ½ cup honey or molasses and decrease milk to ¾ cup.

BAKING POWDER: use 2 tsp. If using whole or cooked grains or more than one cup of additions, increase to 3 tsp. If using buttermilk or sour milk, decrease to 1 tsp and add ½ tsp baking soda.

SALT: Use ½ tsp or omit if you have a salt-restricted diet.

The following ingredients are optional. “Additions” can be used in any combination, up to 1 ½ cups total. If using more than 1 cup of wet additions, decrease the milk to ½ cup:

DRY ADDITIONS: Nuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, coconut, etc.

MOIST ADDITIONS: Blueberries, chopped apple, freshly schredded zucchini (courgette), shredded carrot, etc.

WET ADDITIONS: Pumpkin puree; applesauce, mashed, cooked sweet potato, mashed banana, mashed cooked carrot, etc. If using ½ cup drained, canned fruit or thawed shredded zucchini, substitute the syrup or zucchini liquid for all or part of the milk.

SPICES: Use spices which complement the additions, eg 1 tsp cinnamon with ¼ tsp nutmeg or cloves. Try 2 tsp orange or lemon peel.

JAMS: Fill cups half-full with a plain batter. Add 1 tsp jam and top with 2 more TBS batter.

TOPPING: Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar on the batter in the tins.

NON-SWEET COMBINATIONS: Use only 2 TBS sugar and no fruit. Add combinations of the following: ½ cup shredded cheese, 3 strips fried & crumbled bacon, 2 TBS grated onion, ½ cup shredded zucchini, 2 TBS Parmesan cheese. Spices could include a tsp of parsley and a pinch of marjoram.

The new silicone bakeware is completely amazing. No more need to buy paper inserts or to grease each cup on the tray. We bought individual silicone muffin cups at a shop in Sydney. They wash up easily. The only downside is that you need to have a cookie sheet underneath silicone bakeware to facilitate handling.

Happy baking!

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