Wednesday, January 21, 2015

There and Back Again

It's been a while. I have been there and back again. And sick with endless cold/sinus thing. And slammed with work. I've barely had a moment to stop and find the headspace to just write, which is sad, because it feels like I have eaten all the food over past month or so. In Chicago, I discovered possibly the best coffee I have ever tasted from a small little company called Dark Matter coffee. It was a revelation. In New York, I had the best lamb chop I have ever had in my life, and learned the smoky tang of a cranberry marshmallow at Pardes, only the best kosher restaurant ever. But these are not important.

This is what is important: a meal eaten on a fold out table in my parent's room as my mom recovers from knee surgery. Talking with old friends-on the couch, in a car, on the subway, for five minutes, outside of a store. Sitting in the back of minivan, listening to my nieces argue over Harry Potter. It's coming back to my grandmother's house, cold and tired and full and sitting down to a hot cup of tea and cocosh. That's what's important. The moments in between. The just being together.

 I made these muffins for my mom, because she asked for muffins and I couldn't resist the fresh cranberries when I saw them at Trader Joe's. I've since made them again using rhubarb instead of cranberries, thinking they would impart a similar tartness, but to be honest, it's better with the cranberries. Cranberries are always better. I take these muffins to work with me now. I eat them blearily in the early morning. I think of my mother. I wonder if she is still eating the ones I left in her freezer. It's a way of being together, sharing a quiet moment, even when we're not.

Cranberry-Orange Muffins

Lightly adapted from Williams Sonoma

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest of one orange
1 egg
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup of pecans, chopped.

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a muffin tin with muffin liners. Whisk together the flour, sugars, baking powder salt and orange zest.  In another bowl, mix the egg, oil, milk and orange juice. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix until just combined. Fold in the cranberries and the nuts. Spoon batter into the tin (I find that an ice cream scoop works well for this).

2. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool. Eat.