Friday, September 30, 2011

Fresh Corn Muffins

The cooler temperatures of fall and winter call for soups, stews, and chilis, and when I have soup, stew, or chili I require some sort of bread product for dipping, be it crusty bread or rolls, crackers, or even a grilled cheese. When I made Three Sisters Stew, my thoughts immediately turned to cornbread, which I'd been craving for weeks. While even the simplest corn muffins make from Jiffy mix are delicious, I like to put extras into my corn muffins, like fresh corn, peppers, cheese, or bacon (or any combination of those ingredients). This corn muffin recipe is a great basic recipe, with just a bit of sweet fresh corn and spicy jalapeno pepper to punch up the flavor. The whole wheat pastry flour keeps the muffin light and airy and contributes just a touch of nutty flavor, instead of the traditional all-purpose flour that disappears completely behind the flavor of the cornmeal. These muffins take just a few minutes to whip up and any extras can be frozen and reheated quite successfully, so keep a batch in the freezer to make even a meager meal of canned soup a little bit special.

Fresh Corn Muffins
adapted from Food and Wine
makes 12 muffins

6 tablespoons canola oil 
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (from 1 ear)
2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped 
1 cup yellow cornmeal 
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour 
1/4 cup sugar 
1 tablespoon baking powder 
1 cup buttermilk 
1 large egg, lightly beaten 

1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a medium skillet. Add the corn and jalapeños, season with salt and cook over moderately high heat until crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape onto a plate to cool slightly.

2. In a bowl, whisk the cornmeal with the flour, sugar, baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add the buttermilk, egg and the remaining oil and stir until blended. Quickly stir in the corn mixture and pour the batter into the muffin cups.

3. Bake the muffins for about 16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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