Matthew: As the rhubarb at the market gets bigger and more green each week, I decided that this week would be my last hurrah with rhubarb for the season. I’ve done unconventional things thus far, so I thought I would try something more familiar. I saw this recipe for rhubarb streusel muffins on Smitten Kitchen and thought it sounded good. These muffins are sort of like rhubarb crisp in muffin form. They were really quick to make and turned out very moist with the addition of sour cream. I used 1:2 ratio of whole wheat to regular flour and that seemed to work out well.
Ok, so I guess my last use of rhubarb wasn’t entirely traditional. In addition to making the muffins, I extracted some juice from the rhubarb and used it to make a really fantastic rhubarb margarita. Juicing rhubarb is a little strange, but all you need is a blender and some cheesecloth or a sieve. I followed the instructions for juicing here. For the margarita, I used approximately 3 oz of rhubarb juice, 2 oz of tequila, juice from 1/2 a lime, and 2 oz plus more to taste of triple sec. I have to say, this was the perfect summer drink! Below is a photo of the juice before I made it into the margarita.
Katie: I like baking and freezing muffins to have available for a quick, sweet snack. Muffins are also easy to experiment with, so each time I bake them, I like to try out a different recipe. While considering what to make this time, the parsnips in my refrigerator caught my attention. I decided if zucchinis and carrots work in muffins, then maybe parsnips would too. I actually wasn’t the first one to come up with this idea. I discovered this recipe on the Eating Well website. I followed it as written, except for using brown sugar instead of white, chunky applesauce instead of apple butter, soaking the raisins in hot water to make them moister, and skipping the nuts. I was a little skeptical about using a whole tablespoon of cinnamon and vanilla extract, but the amounts were just right. The chunky applesauce helped make these really moist, without being too chewy. They are similar to carrot muffins, but have a distinct flavor from the parsnips. If you’re not a fan of parsnips, you probably wouldn’t like them. But if you’re looking to try something different or have some parsnips to use up, you might want to give these a try!
Katie: I wanted to make a healthy but sweet snack, so I was happy to find this recipe for Banana Date Bread. I decided to make muffins instead of bread. I followed the recipe except I substituted some leftover pureed sweet potato for one of the bananas. So I guess that makes these Banana Sweet Potato Apple Date Muffins! They were really delicious. They were good plain, with cream cheese, or with this Sirop de Liege, an all-natural Belgian condiment made of pears, apples, and dates.
Matthew: I had some leftover buttermilk from making Irish Soda Bread, so I decided to use it in the Basic Reduced-Fat Muffin recipe from The Joy of Cooking. To make them more interesting, I used brown sugar and added chopped dates, slivered almonds, and flax seeds. They turned out really well and didn’t take long to make (~20 minutes). You could pretty much substitute any nuts or dried fruit and maybe add some grains. Also, if you didn’t have buttermilk, yogurt would work well too. Here’s the recipe:
Whisk together 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. In another bowl, whisk together 1 egg, 3 tablespoons oil or melted butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 cup buttermilk or yogurt. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and add fruits and nuts (I used a handful of each). Stir until just combined. Put in muffin pan and bake at 400 degrees F for ~12 minutes. Cool on a rack.
Bill: Flori’s Peanut Butter Bars got me hungry for dessert. When I was checking out his recipe, I found a link for Pumpkin-Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Muffins. Since I had some pumpkin left over after making the Spiced Pumpkin Waffles, I decided to give this recipe a try. As the recipe noted, the muffins came out soft, fluffy and very tasty.