As much as I love cooking this time of year — produce tastes so good you don't need to do much — it can also leave me feeling a bit scattered. If I go to the grocery store with a meal plan in mind, I'm immediately pulled in a dozen other directions. I mean, look at the baskets of peaches stacked provocatively by the door. Hmmm… maybe pie? Those heirloom tomatoes are kind of speaking to me, too. I've never loved gazpacho but maybe if I made it myself… Hey, check out the cherries! Shouldn't I be making a clafouti with local cherries rather than writing this post?
So, sometimes other considerations must rule. On a recent audit of our overflowing cupboards we realized we are corn meal millionaires. Plus we still had a few ears of fresh corn left over from our week out in Prince Edward County. When I saw this recipe in the summer special of Martha Stewart's Everyday Cooking (a keeper, for sure) that calls for both corn meal and fresh corn, ding, ding, ding, I knew I had a winner. These would be great to bring to a barbecue or picnic but also make a nice snack (they don't all need to be sweet, right?). Although they're the epitome of summer, they'd also be great in the fall along with a pot of chili. The recipe suggests serving them with a schmear of soft goat cheese and it's an excellent combination but I also loved them plain. Julian liked these muffins, Esme not so much. She told me she'd like them better if they were chocolate (okay, so for her the answer to that earlier question is "yes"). I switched the recipes call for chili flakes to chili powder — I didn't want these to be shot down because someone bit into a hot flake and burst into tears. I only used a bit but you could definitely taste it. Feel free to add a bit more if you and your crew like heat.
This recipe is super fast to make. It came together in about 10 minutes before going in the oven. Which meant I had time to give that peach pie a whirl… stay tuned!
photos by Maya Visnyei
Fresh Corn and Basil Muffins
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (plus a bit unmelted for the muffin tin)
2 cups flour (plus a sprinkle for the muffin tin)
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup corn kernels (I used two cobs)
1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour your muffin tin.
In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking sods, salt, sugar and chili. In another bowl, whisk buttermilk, egg and melted butter. Mix together the dry and wet ingredients. Gently fold in corn and basil, making sure there are bit or yellow and green all through the batter.
Use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop batter into your prepared tins. Pop in the hot oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the muffins are golden. Allow the muffins to cool in the tin for a few minutes before popping them out of the tin.