Friday, April 11, 2008

I Have a Muffin Top...and I'm Proud

Baking, as you all know, is my culinary Achilles' Heel. Or should I say, HAS BEEN my Achilles' Heel.

Yes, friends, I successfully baked (!).

While working [read: perusing Smitten Kitchen] one afternoon, I came across this delicious recipe. It actually looked manageable. No completely random ingredients, no 1/8 tsp. measurements (SO annoying), no creaming together of butter and sugar. In fact, the recipe called for no butter at all, and the Smitten Kitchen post suggested subbing olive oil for the vegetable oil, which is exactly what I did.

Olive oil, yogurt, lemon, and blueberries are among my most favorite foods in all the world, so I thought this cake was most certainly for me. I opted for the whole-milk Greek yogurt (YIKES - it's really high in saturated fat, as I discovered when I got home and read the label - next time I'll definitely use 2%. I don't think it will compromise the moistness of the cake).

The cake (or, as I repurposed it, muffins) was super-easy, and came out incredibly moist. In fact, the strained yogurt actually made the muffins heavy - they felt like a large apple in my hand, yet retained that crucial spongey cake-ness.

I was quite proud of myself, and the muffins were a hit (I brought them to work after eating three in one sitting, vowing that those muffin tops wouldn't lead to a very different, but related, kind of muffin top (check out this great commercial about Muffin Tops from none other than my very own agency).

In other news, I'm reading an amazing food-centric book, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. It focuses on where exactly our food comes from (and makes the great point that it's a shame that the answer to that question needs an investigative journalist at all). I'm halfway through, but the book runs the gamut from an examination (expose?) of the corn industry, Big Organic (to my utter horrow, organic food turns out to be little more than a marketing tool), and industrial farming. If you've ever wondered about the origins of what's on your plate, this book is for you.

Check out the official website.

And finally, it's Bloody Mary season! Well, for me anyway, it's always Bloody Mary season, but there's something about the first few sunny days of Spring that make you want to go celebrate Suday brunch on a breezy patio, and sip a perfectly executed drink. Last weekend at Deleece, they had a Bloody Mary on special, made with cucumber-infused vodak, which I took to mean a flavored vodka (something like Absolut Citron, but with Cucumbers).

Turns out, cucumber-infused vodka hasn't been invented yet, at least pre-bottle, but I did find this great recipe if you're inclined to make vodka infusions at home (which, by the way, I think would make a fabulously chic hostess/party gift). The drink was amazing - and I finally learned how to use the close-up feature on my camera (hence the mouthwatering detail in the photos).

More soon, and thanks for reading!

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