I was making macaroni and cheese the other night and my youngest pulled out her recipe book and took notes. Notes are about the best my kids can hope for because I'll confess, I'm not a recipe follower. That's not to say I don't like recipes. I so do! I have a growing collection of cookbooks and love to browse through them. But most of the time, I don't follow the recipes precisely.
For instance, I had some ripe bananas a few years back. I thought about making banana bread, but it didn't really thrill me, so I played with a banana bread recipe and came up with a banana/blueberry, whole grain muffin. I added lots of cinnamon and walnuts. They've become a family favorite.
I bought a wonderful cookbook, Artisan Breads in Five Minutes or Less. Again, I loved it. But frequently, a whole loaf was a bit too much for a meal. I found a cast iron biscuit pan at a house sale. It was brand new and had never been used. I seasoned it, and tried dropping the basic dough from the book in and making rolls. Perfect! I could make anywhere from two to more than a dozen. (I bought a second pan because I liked the first one so much!)
I'll confess,a less-than following the recipe form of cooking has its good days and it's not so great days. But I really do love experimenting, and when something turns out good, it turns out real good! I'll confess, sometimes, experiments fail, but that's why there's cereal in the cupboard!
So, here's my banana/blueberry muffin recipe. I started with the banana bread recipe in Whole Foods for the Whole Family and then I tweaked it. And here's what I came up with.
1 3/4 C whole wheat flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 t cinnamon
1/3 C oil
1 C brown sugar
1 C mashed banana
1/4 C hot water
1/2 C walnuts
1 C blueberries (frozen, fresh or dried)
Mix wet ingredients, add dry and mix. Add solids (nuts, berries).
350 for about 15-20 minutes.
A Valley Ridge Wedding: You Are Invited... Mattie, known to her family as Waltzing Mathilda (yes, I sang the song a lot as I worked), is working at Park Perks, the local coffee shop. She adds a bakery section and these muffins are a hit. She's someone who doesn't always follow the rules. It's a little thing, but I love that some of her independent spirit comes out in her cooking at the coffee shop.
Mattie's spent years wandering the US, but when the chips are down, she throws her own life aside and hurries home to help a friend. I imagine Mattie's someone who doesn't follow a recipe exactly. Frankly, I'm pretty sure she considers them a loose guideline...rather like me! Go figure! LOL
Now, if you look at this recipe and think the muffins look good except for the ____ (nuts, berries, bananas...) then switch it up and try out some variation of the recipe. If you do, let me know how it turns out.
Happy Cooking...and Reading!