November 10, 2009
Sharing is good. Despite what people always claim about only children, my mother contends that I was always eager to share. Perhaps because I was so accustomed to playing alone, except when I conscripted one of my parents to take part in my favorite game—restaurant. Prescient, no?
In any case, I fancy myself a sharer. I like to share books and music and hugs (but not half-hugs) and food and information, of which I sometimes share too much. I’m going to grow up to become one of those old women who sidle up to you with a Southern accent and over-share treacherous details about their medical problems, aren’t I? And then proceeds to the buffet, where she shoves rolls into her giant handbag for later?
In the meantime, allow me to share with you two new websites I’m mildly obsessed with slash grateful for the existence of:
1001 Rules for my Unborn Son
Spot-on, modern gentlemanly voice offering advice that my fourteen-year-old male students (who are a tough crowd to please) respect. Author Walker Lamond has recently published a book of all one thousand and one rules, but the website counts up from #1 and is currently at #406.
402. If you aren’t hungry enough to eat an apple, you’re not hungry.
383. Framing a poster does not make it valuable.
318. Don’t gloat. A good friend will do it for you.
241. Keep a well-stocked bar. (This last one works for daughters, too!)
The unborn son to whom the title refers is actually no longer unborn, as he came into the world shortly after the completion of the book. Go spend your lunch break perusing this site; you’ll be touched and amused, I think.
And the Pursuit of Happiness
Artist and journalist Maira Kalman is proving that the internet can, in fact, be used tell beautiful stories. Using mixed media for each entry, she narrates her personal exploration of an issue that, by the end, becomes magically relevant to us all.
Kalman manages to strike just the right tone, making herself into an Everyman, even though her talent clearly says otherwise. Each time I experience her work, I learn something and I come away more hopeful than I arrived.
Of course, I’d like to share a recipe with you, too. I tweeted about these muffins a few weeks ago and one of my followers (angeltread) requested that I post the recipe. Since I was winging it the first time, I did a second run, got Sonya to take some pictures, and actually wrote down what went in them. It helps, I know.
Given the deliciousness of apples at this time, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to make these. They give your kitchen that warm, fuzzy, happy autumn smell, too. And have a streusel topping—did I mention that?
I know ya’ll have good stuff to share, too. Other great website recommendations? Exciting news? Book suggestions? Celebrity gossip? Dancing baby videos?
APPLE-SOUR CREAM MUFFINS
makes 12-16 muffins
I know, you’re thinking, sour cream, whaaaat? Trust me, though. Keeps things nice and moist but also prevents the muffins from being too sweet. It’s a muffin, not a cupcake. There should be a difference!
For the version pictured here, I used Empire apples, which I love and had on hand, but I think this recipe would work equally well with Jonagold, Cortlandt, or Golden Delicious apples.
1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ground allspice
½ tsp. nutmeg (freshly grated, if possible)
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup sour cream
½ stick unsalted butter, melted
2 small apples, peeled & diced
1 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted & chopped
2 T brown sugar
1 ½ T unsalted butter, softened a bit
1 T flour
¼ tsp. each cinnamon, allspice, & nutmeg
pan: lined or well-greased muffin tin
Preheat oven. Stir together dry ingredients and set aside.
Whisk the eggs and brown sugar together before adding the butter. Stir in the sour cream. Fold in the dry ingredients, then stir in apple pieces & nuts. Be careful not to over-mix!
Spoon the batter into the muffin cups so that each cup is three-quarters full. Combine the streusel ingredients in a small bowl, mixing with your fingers to break up the butter into small bits.
Sprinkle a generous amount of streusel on top of each muffin before baking, 18-20 minutes. Cool on a rack before removing the muffins. Enjoy warm or store in an airtight container (though I’d recommend refrigerating these after a day).