Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Rip-Off Muffins.

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I don't mean they were a rip-off in terms of deliciousness - I mean I totally ripped them off from Ivonne and Jeff. Well, you can call it adapted, if you want to get all fancy, but I really just flat out stole it. And boy are they good! (*pats self on back*)

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I even took pictures, with our shitty little point and shoot camera. I don't know why we spent all that money on a digital rebel when I've never figured out how to work the thing and the memory card is ALWAYS full. So....maybe they look disgusting, I don't know. But they're not.

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So I took Ivonne's amazing buttermilk and fruit muffin recipe and put it together with Jeff's Tropical Banana Cream Muffins and came up with this. (And hell yes, I'm going to enter it in Rachel's Coconut and Lime Birthday Contest!!)

1 tbs cold butter
⅓ cup packed brown sugar
½ tsp cardamom
½ cup finely chopped walnuts
1/8 cup grated coconut

½ cup peanut oil
1⅓ cups packed brown sugar
1½ tbs grated lime zest
3 tbs lime juice
2 drops lime oil (I used Boyajian)
1 egg
1/2-1 tsp coconut extract
1 cup buttermilk
2½ cups ap flour (plus more if needed)
¼ tsp salt
2½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1¾ cups mashed bananas
1/4 cup grated coconut

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and prepare a muffin tin. I have a new giant jumbo cup teflon (I know, I know) muffin tin, so I didn't do anything to it at all, and they slid out beautifully. This makes 6 super-giant coffee shop sized muffins, or 12 normal-person sized muffins.

Mix together the dry ingredients in one bowl and set aside.
In another bowl, combine the oil, brown sugar, lime zest, juice, and lime oil, and egg. Once combined, stir in the buttermilk, coconut extract, and mashed banana.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. The batter should not be extremely thin; if it is add a couple more tablespoons of flour.

Pour the batter into the muffin cups (fill them completely. None of this 2/3 full crap for us; we got a great crown on them!) Top each muffin with its due portion of streusel.

Bake for 15 minutes at 400, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 18-23 minutes (for jumbo muffins; for normal ones, do about 13.)

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

I'm going to have to post my cruddy pictures tomorrow, b/c I'm too lazy to get up and download them from the camera right now.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

"Gifted?" Stop it.

I see this new coinage everywhere. He "gifted" her with diamond studs after the birth of their baby. They "gifted" me a set of tupperware at the grocery store.

Monstrosity. Just say gave.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Cry for Help

I'm having a small Mother's Day cookout on Sunday and I can't think of what to make with my main stuff. I'm making those PIneapple Upside-Down Jerk Burgers (I posted that recipe a long time ago here, and can't be arsed to link it right now, so just search or something!) and I don't know what to make on the side!


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

April Book Fool.

I'm not EVEN going to apologize for not updating. You don't care, and I don't either!

Here are the things I read in the cruelest month. Literally, not one was for fun. Although some of them were fun.

Frank Norris, Vandover and the Brute
Incredibly depressing and sad. Possibly the most depressing book I've ever read. I don't know how in the world Norris does it, but by the end of the book he has you feeling tender pity for the horrible, horrible main character.
Harold Frederic, The Damnation of Theron Ware
Also depressing. What is WITH these 19th century American literary naturalists?
Pauline Hopkins, Of One Blood
Not depressing in the least. In fact, hilarious. Like a combination of a Gothic tale with a Rider Haggard novel. There's mesmerism! And incest! And miscegenation! And hidden civilizations! Really very interesting from a critical point of view as well as a popular one.
Henry James, In the Cage
Story of a telegraph operator who meddles with the affairs of her clients and marries an ambitious grocer. (But, as always with HJ, it's really about FAR, FAR more than that - it's about discontent, and perception and imagination, and social class, and about a million other things.)
Henry James, The Jolly Corner
I'd never read this before. I heart Henry James. Creepy tale of a doppelganger (imaginary? No way to know with HJ!) Exploration of identity and roads not taken.

And a bunch of articles on these works (I'm not going to synopsize them because I can't imagine that anybody else really gives a shit.)
John Nickel, “Eugenics and the Fiction of Pauline Hopkins”
Thomas Otten, “Pauline Hopkins and the Hidden Self of Race”
Laura Briggs, “The Race of Hysteria: ‘Overcivilization and the ‘Savage’ Woman in Late Nineteenth-Century Obstetrics and Gynecology”
Richard Menke, "Telegraphic Realism: Henry James's In the Cage"
Pamela Thurschwell, “In the Cage, at the Ouija Board,” from Literature, Technology, and Magical Thinking, 1880-1920
Semir Zeki, “Neural Concept Formation and Art: Dante, Michelangelo, Wagner,” from Neurology of the Arts: Painting, Music, Literature

Gillian Beers, Open Fields: Science in Cultural Encounter
Started about 3 days ago. FASCINATING study of how science and culture interact in the 19th century. Beers is a fabulous close reader and extremely erudite (I think she's actually Dame Gillian now, in fact.) Highly recommended to those who are at all interested in the 19th century or in the interplay between science and culture. Not too abstruse; I think it could be read for pleasure by somebody only relatively geeky.
Robert Loewenberg, "Darwinism Comes to America" and "The Reaction of American Scientists to Darwinism"
Bob Richardson, William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism
Started and have been treating myself to a few pages a night. Bob Richardson is a fantastic writer who really makes his subjects come alive. He's married to Annie Dillard, also a writer of lovely and luminous prose, and he's written the definitive intellectual biographies of Emerson and Thoreau. I believe that this will become the definitive intellectual biography of James. Could absolutely be read for pleasure by any non-geek at all (and in fact was intended for a lay audience; he even refrains from excessive footnoting!) I took a class from him and he's simply amazing.
Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony, Solidarity
Started, didn't finish, only because I ran out of time before class. I will finish this eventually (along with all the OTHER books I didn't get to finish.)
Richard Rorty, "Postmodernist Bourgeois Liberalism," "Ethics without Principles" (from Philosophy and Social Hope), "Dewey Between Hegel and Darwin," "The Consequences of Pragmatism for Literary Study," and "Pragmatism as Romantic Polytheism"
Rorty's an entertaining polemicist with a vivid writing style. He pisses a lot of people off, and I like that in a philosopher. He's not super rigorous philosophically, which I'm actually fine with. Actually a pretty fun read.
John McGowan, book on liberalism in America (no final title as of yet.)
Another professor's book. Really, really concise and interesting treatment of liberalism in America. He creates a genealogy of liberalism going all the way back, and then brings it to the present-day crisis of liberalism. He marks out a pragmatic vision of what a democratic society can be. Very, very good (and John's a very, very interesting thinker/teacher as well as a lucid writer.) Any avid reader of the New York Times political editorials would love this book; it's written for a lay audience. Highly recommended. Coming out from UNC Press (I think) in 2008. Look for it!

There's my list. Isn't it the ultimate irony that one goes to graduate school in English literature because one likes to read, and then is not able to read for pleasure again for at least 7 years? :( But most of these books were pretty awesome, actually.