Saturday, June 4, 2011

Strawberry streusel muffins

After enduring a long, dreary, grey, and exceedingly wet winter, today's high is expected to be in the mid- to high 70s.  It will be the warmest day since last October. 

It's one of those glorious days in the Pacific Northwest that will showcase the quirkiness of the people here.  Out will come the shorts, tank tops, and glaringly white skin, a shade of which can only be cultivated in this climate.  Gene and I will go for a drive in our convertible in typical Washington style: top down, heat on.  Fair weather gardeners will wither by mid-day in the heat, then succumb to dreadful sunburns.  Our facebook feeds will be clogged with posts from jubilant friends about how gorgeous the weather is.

As for me, I started the morning coughing and hacking.  I'm slowly recovering from a cold that's had me in its grips for about a week.  It got so bad yesterday that I actually went to the doctor, where I paid a $30 co-pay to be told that I have a cold but can't take anything for it since I'm pregnant.  Clearly that was money well spent. 

A good friend gave me excellent advice for next time: go to a pharmacy and ask the pharmacist for what I can safely take to soothe what ails me.  In the meantime, it's the neti pot and cough drops for me.  The consulting nurse told me to make a saline solution, snort it up my nose, and spit it out my mouth to help alleviate post-nasal drip.  I tried it and believe me - it's DIY water boarding.

When I let the girls out of the coop this morning I realized that the temp is perfect for a breakfast al fresco, something I haven't enjoyed since last summer.  With a fridge we're trying to empty prior to going to New England next week, I realized that the languishing strawberries needed to be used.  I vaguely remembered a strawberry muffin recipe from a blog - but arg, which one??  I spent the next half-hour tracking it down.

I finally remembered that I'd seen it on (a very good cooking blog, by the way).  Her strawberry muffins are made with ricotta, of which I had none, so I replaced it with Greek yogurt and omitted the lemon juice.  I wanted the muffins to be streusel-like - hey, I'm pregnant so bear with me - and decided to adapt the topping from Smitten Kitchen's Big Crumb Coffee Cake, which I made last weekend.

Frankly, I'm disappointed with these muffins.  In fact, I've yet to find a strawberry muffin that really blew my skirt up.  The strawberries sank to the bottom, meaning that the batter was too thin to suspend the berries.  If I ever make them again (not likely), I'd replace some of the flour with whole wheat flour to give them more body. 

The batter also made 16 muffins instead of 12.  I really should have made 18 because they rose and spread across the top of the muffin tin, making them very hard to get out of the tins cleanly.

Criticisms aside, they were tasty.  They're not going to last long with the now gooey berries inside of them, and will have to go into the fridge for storage.  They'll be very good with some of the lime curd I made tucked inside.  I enjoyed mine with some yogurt and a pot of tea in the backyard.  The chickens were out, the dog dozed at my feet in the sun, and even the geriatric cats made an appearance for a while.  It was very peaceful.

Do you have a good strawberry muffin recipe?  This morning's attempt reminded me of why I rarely bake with strawberries.  I think they're far better raw anyway.  We're leaving for New England in a week and I'm hoping that we don't miss the local berry season while we're gone.


  1. I think you should get your money back when you go to the doctor and they can't help you. :)

  2. The first two paragraphs made me laugh, especially about the FB posts. The sun makes everyone delirious. Sorry about your cold, though. I know what you mean about the neti pot; it always feels to me like getting dunked in the pool. Not pleasant.

  3. Well, one small consolation to potentially missing strawberry season there, is that, due to the long cold spring, strawberries are quite this year late in New England and just about to begin here in eastern Mass. My favorite organic farm says they should have berries starting sometime later this week. Perhaps - depending on where you'll be in NE - you can at least eat your fill when you're here!