Monday, September 11, 2006

Lemon Blueberry Crumble Muffins and So Many Recipes, So Little Time!

Now that the weather's cooled down a bit, I've decided to put my apron back on and roll up my sleeves in the kitchen again. I feel a bit guilty about not really having made much in the last couple of months and I just miss cooking in general.

I knew I wanted to make something for my coworkers and, after seeing an episode of Barefoot Contessa in which she makes a giant batch of blueberry muffins, felt inspired to do the same. I searched several cookbooks and finally settled on Martha Stewart's Blueberry Muffin recipe, which I tweaked by using buttermilk instead of milk, adding a bunch of lemon zest and capping each muffin with a strudel topping. Spending a couple of hours in my kitchen surrounded by the sweet smell of blueberries and lemons made me feel whole again. As J sat in the living room watching football, I thought about how the end of summer is right around the corner. After all, what signals the coming of Autumn than NFL games on TV and something sweet baking in the oven?

When I was trying to figure out what to make, I ended up going through many of my cookbooks that I hadn't looked at in awhile. There are so many recipes- in magazines, books and now all over the internet- sometimes I feel overwhelmed by it all. So many recipes, so little time. I wonder if my fellow cooks out there feel the same? I love nothing more than to sit on my sofa on a Sunday and flip through cookbooks daydreaming about creating the gorgeously photographed meals.....but once again- which ones to make first? Do I have all of the ingredients necessary or am I going to drop $50 just to purchase the six spices I don't happen to have in my already overflowing spice cabinet? Does any of this make sense?! I don't mean to sound like crazy woman but for some reason it struck me yesterday. Even if a recipe turns out extremely successfully, I probably won't make it again for over a year (if at all!) since I'm always tempted by the glossy photos in this months Gourmet and have a long list of recipes I've yet to try. And who can forget all of the fabulous recipes posted by various bloggers? I admire food bloggers like Joe who not only make something new each day but actually document each and every meal. The Wednesday Chef is a wonderful account of someone who cooks everything from a NY Times or LA Times Food Section recipe. I wish I could be as organized!

I don't know why I feel so anxious thinking about when to make what and will I ever have enough time to make gyoza with homemade skins or get around to buying cannele molds so that I can try and create the amazing little cakes that are a favorite of mine. I guess I should simply do what my dad does- ask myself, "What do I want to eat?" It's quite easy, isn't it? We'd have smothered chicken or lasagna if he was feeling comfort food, chicken stir fry with cilantro and cashews if he was feeling Chinese....I suppose if you have the ability to cook well, then you can certainly cook to please whatever taste you may be having at a particular moment. Of course pouring over cookbooks is a great education- there are foods out there that you'd love to eat that you didn't even know existed until you saw it in a book. However, the easiest way to figure out which recipe to try or what to whip upis to just ask yourself what you want to eat, and go from there....which I'm going to make a concentrated effort on doing from now on.


J said...

hi, i know exactly what you mean about feeling overwhelmed by it many recipes, so little time. nonetheless, these muffins look totally divine!

Nguyen Le said...

Those muffins look really good! I want one now haha.

Luisa said...

I understand being overwhelmed by recipes galore. I don't cook every recipe in the food sections, just the ones that appeal to me, otherwise I'd be going nuts! As it is, my apartment is drowning in clippings... ;) Your muffins sound fantastic. Were your coworkers thrilled?

Tokyoastrogirl said...

J: Your cooking totally inspires me- I hope one day to make your gyoza wrappers.

Nguyen: thanks, and welcome!

Luisa: One of my goals before the year is over is to start a binder full of recipes that I find online and elsewhere. The muffins were a hit- especially the crunchy tops! Thanks for being the unofficial newspaper recipe tester- I'm sure you've saved many from frustration!