The hardest part of writing this blog is probably not what you’d think. It’s not the cooking or the writing — I love both of those things. It seems like I have a continual backlog of recipes I can’t wait to share, and an equally long list of things I want to try. And last winter, I got a few of my students to update my website, so now even the technical stuff isn’t too bad.
But taking pictures where stuff actually looks edible, much less tasty? Turns out food photography is the bane of my blogging existence. Take these blueberry muffins. In the first pictures I shot of them, they looked green. And unlike Sam-I-Am, I remain unconvinced about green breakfast food.
Other than the actual food, there are the background issues: Are my surfaces relatively clean? Are the cabinets closed? Are the people in the background fully clothed? (See also, Zoom meetings).
When I read online articles, other food bloggers rave about their natural light. So I tried that last week with a batch of cupcakes. It looked like I was inexplicably taking the cupcake on an adventure into the jungle.
But then I remember the real reason behind this blog isn’t about the pictures. It’s primarily about storing all of my favorite recipes, old and new, in a place that is easily accessible by friends, family, and me! When thumbing through my old website, of course I cringe at the bad lighting and the hideous yellow bathroom tile and the complete and utter lack of cabinetry in that kitchen… but the snapshot in time of my little boys? Priceless.
(This recipe is a combo platter of Ina Garten, Smitten Kitchen, and yours truly. Despite the questionable photos, these were really tasty).
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks or 170 grams) butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature (you can hurry this along by placing them in a cup of warm water)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 pint fresh blueberries, stems removed (I used a bag we had frozen from last summer)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the muffin cups.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted witht he paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until fluffy, another 1-2 minutes. Add the vanilla, lemon zest, and buttermilk.
- Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt). Mix until just combined (do not overmix).
- Remove the paddle attachment and fold in the blueberries with a spatula.
- Scoop the batter into the muffin pans, filling each cup just over the top, and bake for 23-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center cupcake comes out clean.
Enjoy for breakfast, or any time of day!
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