Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cases of Strawberries

Princeton: I shouldn't be spending my parents' money on beer.
Bad Idea Bear 1: Oh, okay.
Bad Idea Bear 2: That makes me sad, thinking about you not having any fun. I'm gonna cry.
Princeton: Maybe I could afford a six-pack.
Bad Idea Bear 1: What about a case?
Princeton: A case of beer? No, no. I can't get a case.
Bad Idea Bear 2: But you're on a budget!
Bad Idea Bear 1: You're wasting money in the long run if you don't buy in bulk!

— Avenue Q

Oh, opulence. Does having too many of something ever get old?

I mentioned last time that having too many pears has been an epidemic of late. This time, it's having too many strawberries. And this time, it's not even that we grew too many. We BOUGHT them. (@^$&!)

It all starts when G and I go to my nephew's 4th birthday party. We drive down with my parents, who are charged with bringing fruit salad to the après-fête. "Let's get the nice strawberries that they have at the fruit stands down there," says my mother. It sounds like an innocuous suggestion. Even a good one. The strawberries are delicious and fresh, and put those large mutant things in the supermarket to shame. But then it hits. The giant tray of strawberries. "They're so good," my mother says. "And it was a good deal."

You got a case of strawberries? Were you wasting money in the long run if you didn't buy in bulk?!

This is some of my least favorite reasoning in the whole world, mostly because it's frequently employed by G in ridiculous situations. You know, dear, it's not a good deal when you don't want or can't use all those underwater basket weaving kits. Right?

"BUT IT'S A GOOD DEAL!" *whine*

So now it's up to me to use up each and every one of those strawberries. I ate so many yesterday that I made myself sick. I actually love strawberries, but berries are worse than other fruits when it comes to going bad. I've come to the conclusion that τ½ berries << τ½ everything else except maybe π0. (The mean life of a neutral pion is a little less than 10-16 seconds.)

So what does a girl do with that many strawberries? Strawberry shortcake? A strawberry tart? So many possibilities, but only so many options before the strawberries go bad. So I opted for something new (and, as it turns out, delicious): strawberry muffins. It was definitely a success. G refused to try them on the grounds that "muffins are gross", but I got a 4/4 and a 3.9/4 (points lost for being messy) from those who did.

Strawberry Crumble Muffins
3 tablespoons sour cream
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon skim milk
½ cup plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 egg
200 grams strawberries, chopped (not too small)
Zest of one medium-sized orange
275 grams plain flour
25 grams pastry flour
100 grams superfine sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
Shy ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

60 grams plain flour
90 grams of raw cane sugar
40 grams walnuts, broken into pieces
25 grams butter, melted (as much as needed to make topping stick together)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line muffin tins with 12 paper cups. Combine sour cream, milk, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla in large mixing bowl. Whisk the dry ingredients together in another bowl. Have the chopped strawberries with orange zest ready.

Whisk the liquid ingredients lightly; add dry ingredients. Mix together with large, light strokes. Stir in the strawberries and zest, remembering not to overmix. It should be lumpy but with no dry pockets of flour.

Stir together the crumble ingredients. Spoon batter evenly into the lined muffin tins and cover generously with the crumble topping. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes then move to a wire rack. Eat warm. Best eaten on the day they are baked but you can store them in an airtight container and reheat the next day.

These may be frozen in freezer bags when they have cooled completely.

Makes 12 regular muffins.


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