Sunday, November 1, 2009

Food: November 2009: A Brunch For Eight.

Ugh, if you are nursing the post-candy hangover of the morning after Halloween, you are not alone.  What better way to survive the morning then to have like-exhausted parents and grumpy kids over to join in the misery, run off the sugar, ring in November and eat brunch.  There are so many reasons that brunch is my favorite way to entertain family or friends.  Bacon, enough said.  However, there are other reasons - at this time of year, when the outdoor moments are dwindling, its a great way to bring things inside mid-morning to eat warm treats.  It tends to be a great time of day for kids as it is before nap time and unlike dinner, it's not at melt-down time.  In a world of really picky eaters, there tends to be something for everyone at brunch.  In the month of November, I will be featuring three parts to a brunch menu that will include blueberry muffins for everyone, scones that are great for all but especially for kids with allergies, a frittata for the adults and a yogurt with "fairy dust," for the kids, that I serve with fruit salad.  

When you wake up in the morning, step one is definitely having a cup of coffee and pausing 'till you can see straight.  Step two is making the blueberry muffins, as they take about 45 minutes from soup to nuts and make the biggest mess in the kitchen.  

Part 1: Blueberry Muffins
Every food girl remembers a blueberry muffin.  The one that changed how you feel about muffins, blueberries and life in general.  (Okay, maybe its just me.)  Mine, not surprisingly was in Maine.  We ate breakfast on the porch at the Grey Havens Inn, Georgetown Maine (see below photo).  Since that moment, every blueberry muffin I have made has been with the goal of recreating that cozy carb moment.  I have not reached that goal, but this recipe does make me hear the crash of the rocky surf even for a moment.  My kids love to help on this one so I like to give them the task of buttering and flouring the pan, and tossing the blueberries in flour.  

The Porch
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 containers Stonyfield Farms Yobaby Vanilla Yogurt (12 oz.) 
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup raw/ turbandino sugar - (leaves a carmel flavor)
1 cups fresh blueberries tossed in flour

2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Combine flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl and whisk together.  Using an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth, slowly add sugars and mix for three minutes on medium.  Add the eggs, one at a time and beat through until the mixture is fluffy - about 3  minutes.  You can do all of this by hand, but double the times of mixing.  
Then add the dry ingredients and yogurt by mixing in each a little at a time, alternating between the flour mix and yogurt. Toss the fresh blueberries in a light dust of flour and add to the muffin mix.  

Taking out a muffin pan (dozen), you should have enough batter to make twelve large muffins.  Using the butter wrappers that you have from the above, spread them all over the top of pan and in the pocket.  Dust the whole pan with flour and move around until coated.  I find the best way to get uniform sized muffins is by using an ice cream scoop - there is exactly enough for one level old fashioned ice cream scoop in each muffin pocket.  

Before placing in the hot oven, I lightly brush each muffin with milk and sprinkle with a pinch of brown sugar.  I helps the muffins brown nicely and have a pretty sweet gloss on the top out of the oven.  Bake for 22-27 minutes and take out of the  oven when the tops are nicely browned and the muffin is still a little soft. (Slightly undercooked.) Keep the muffins in the pan out of the oven to finish slowly cooking the muffins in the pan for another ten minutes.  Take out and serve.  Barefoot Contessa serves her muffins with an orange honey butter which is divine, but I also like Stonewall Kitchen's Bellini Jam.  

Coming: Scones: Egg Free/ Dairy Free Recipe for Kids with Allergies

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