Sunday, October 2, 2011

oatmeal muffins

Let's recap. I wake up on Saturday morning. I have an oral exam-- to prove that I actually have a dissertation field to begin writing in-- in three hours. I've been preparing for something like three months. I have slept for three hours. Half of a chorizo burrito is somewhere between my stomach and my throat. It doesn't feel good. I check my email. I have negative three hundred dollars in my bank account. Somehow, I guess, for the first time in ten years of automated finances and cash only, I LOST TRACK. Another hundred dollars in overdraft fees. I cry and cry and cry and sit on the floor and cry again.

Getting a Ph.D. is hard, you guys.

Some coffee, a wire transfer, a drive up the coast and a few hours later-- I passed. And while I am still all nerves and, nervously, broker than broke, good things are happening. Good cheap things: swinging on swings, walking around the block, picking apples, watching Mad Men, finally getting a good night's sleep, looking forward.

Because I couldn't go to the store to get bagels for the faculty-- apparently, this is some kind of tradition/bribe-- I made muffins. Because I was pressed for time, I did something I rarely do-- I followed a recipe. And these muffins were really good. They are "supposedly" "healthy" (food studies scare quotes!) but most importantly, not too sweet and not too whole-wheaty either. And with a well-stocked pantry, they are FREE.

(from Bon Appetit, from Epicurious)

* 2 1/3 cups quick-cooking oats
* 1 cup whole wheat flour
* 1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 2 tablespoons oat or wheat bran (I had wheat bran. You can get it at stores with bulk sections. It's cheap. And delicious in yogurt.)
* 2 tablespoons wheat germ if you have it, I didn't.
* Half a cup of chopped nuts, if that's your thing. Obviously, this did not feature in my muffins.
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup buttermilk (milk with a T of vingar in it, you know the drill)
* 1/2 cup canola oil
* 1 large egg
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/3 cup boiling water
* 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen berries. I had blackberries.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Plop those cute little liners in your muffin tin. If you have a normal sized muffin tin, this makes 18 muffins, which is to say, a second-day SIX MUFFIN BONUS. The batter keeps fine overnight and eating freshly baked muffins two mornings in a row will ease almost any pain, if this weekend is any indication.

Mix oats and all the dry stuff in large bowl. Blend in the buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla. Stir in 1/3 cup boiling water and let stand 5 minutes. Fold in blueberries. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups.

Bake muffins until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes for standard muffins. Cool for about ten minutes, serve.