Monday, August 9, 2010
I was a very stubborn 13-year-old.
You know the type- you say one thing and they do the opposite. Searching anywhere (anywhere!) for originality. Determined to see the truth, and be the first to do so. Convinced that no one else understands. When everyone else lived for New Kids on the Block, I scorned those boys and became the first in my class to have the Nirvana album. As time went on to tell, I was right.
Being only five and a half years away from having a 13-year-old of my own, I can only say that remembering how I was at that point strikes the tiniest bit of fear in my heart. Tiny now. I'm sure it will grow in the coming years.
To be fair, I wasn't all bad. I was mature, maybe overly responsible and independent. I could carry on a conversation with anyone of any age about anything. But through it all, I was, well, to put it mildly, an eye roller.
That part of me has been a little hard to shake. I know that often popularity is a sign of quality, but still, I'm dubious. I'm trying to get better about this.
All Spring I kept reading about Kim Boyce's Good to the Grain. Maybe it's the moody rhubarb tart cover or maybe it's the editor who we all know and love-- this book has been a hit. I held off on taking a look for a while, and then finally a few months back, I was in my friend Paige's kitchen.
"Okay, lend me the book."
And despite the slight roll of my eyes it was in my hands. And man oh man. This is a beautiful book. Simple, with a lot of class, and photos all taken on concrete counter tops on a rainy day. Everything in mason jars and regular old measuring cups.
Despite it's beauty, I didn't cook from it. I looked at it all the time. This book is so stunning- It made me hungry and lusty after the Pacific Northwest. But every time I went to think about a recipe, I never had all of the ingredients or it just didn't quite happen.
Today, I made ginger peach muffins.
I'd been thinking about these muffins for days. I'd been guarding the not quite ripe peaches on the counter from the little ladies around here who love peaches. "Hands off those peaches! I have a plan for those beauties."
It turns out these muffins might be just the muffins for me. They are Nirvana muffins. Not New Kids on the Block muffins. They are a little grainy, a little spicy, and they puff like crazy. I grumbled a bit as I stirred and sifted--they take ages to make, and twice as many pots as your basic muffin recipe.
I know- I'm really selling them, right? But the thing is, I'd say I had you at the title of this post or I didn't. I think that ginger peach muffins either made you say yes! or eh. Am I right?
These muffins make such huge tops that you can only fill every other muffin cup. I messed with the recipe a bit, lessening the ginger a touch and adding buttermilk, because I had it. And the recipe only makes nine muffins. And you better have a really big nob of ginger.
Okay, okay, I like the book. Make the muffins.
Ginger Peach Muffins
adapted from Kim Boyce, Good to the Grain
2 tablespoons grated ginger
2 peaches, firm but ripe, halved and in 1-inch slices
1 stick butter
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup oats, blended in a food processor or blender
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup buttermilk (she calls for whole milk)
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter 9 cups of two muffin tins, so that only every other cup is buttered. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium skillet. Add the honey and a teaspoon of grated ginger. When the sauce starts to bubble, add the peaches. Remove from heat, and coat peaches thoroughly in sauce.
Sift all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl, pouring any grain left in the sifter into the bowl as well. Melt the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter, and mix with the buttermilk, sour cream, egg, and crystallized ginger. Add the whole mixture to the dry ingredients, and then stir in the rest of the grated ginger. Stir just to combine.
Fill each muffin cup so that it is slightly rounded over the top. Put two or three peaches on each muffin, pushing them into the center of each muffin as well. Bake for 25 minutes, rotating the pans half way through baking. Cool in the pans for five minutes before turning them upside down to remove muffins.