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I’m finally in possession of Peter Reinhart’s Crust and Crumb. After spending an entire day off browsing used book stores and much thanks to Toronto’s BMV, I’ve come out on top. Reinhart’s Crust and Crumb and Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential: both for less than $15. The latter (which was actually a gift for someone else) came at a steal of four bucks. This used book store chain is my new favourite thing. If you can’t find that special out-of-print something at your neighbourhood behemoth Chapters: rest assured you’ll find several copies at BMV, and at a fraction of the retail price. Brilliant. I scored both of those items at a 65% savings, and both in great condition. Sorry Tony: I promise I’ve already paid full price on other occasions for your reads, and I am indeed a true fan.

I swear.

Today’s share is Reinhart’s Muffins of a Thousand Faces recipe. I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect muffin: not too sweet, not too cakey. I hate feeling like I just celebrated a birthday with Dairy Queen after I’ve eaten my breakfast. I found this recipe was just sweet enough without going overboard. Berries are always a promising addition to any muffin since their acidity cuts through the sweetness. First recipe officially tried from Crust and Crumb: success.

Peter Reinhart’s basic muffin batter, with flavourings of my own.

The Recipe:

(yield: 2 large loaves or 1 dozen muffins)

3.5 cups all purpose flour, sifted

1.5 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted but not hot

1.5 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

1.25 cups buttermilk

vanilla to taste

blackberries, orange zest, diced apple (whichever quantities you prefer)

pinch of each: cinnamon, ground ginger, black pepper.

The Method:

-Preheat your oven to 350F.

-Sift together all your dry ingredients, then stir the brown sugar, spices, and orange zest into this dry mixture.

-In a large mixing bowl whisk together your buttermilk, eggs, and liquid butter.

-Add your diced apple and blackberries to your wet ingredients, and stir until coated and even.

-Sprinkle your dry ingredients over your liquid ingredients and lightly fold into the liquid with a spatula until just combined. It’s very easy to overmix a small batch of batter, and this will make the muffins/loaves tough. Just stir lightly until there are no more pockets of dry flour.

-Pour into greased loaf pans or muffin tins lined with paper, top with streusel, oats, granola, or whatever toppings you prefer, and bake until the centres bounce back to the touch (or a wooden skewer comes out clean from the middle).

-Allow to rest 5 mins, then remove from pans/tins, and cool on a wire rack until room temperature.

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Being a chef I naturally became a fan of Bourdain’s long ago, but it’s only this week I’ve realized he writes a Tumblr Blog (and actually keeps it regularly updated, go figure!). His most recent addition to the reality TV world is Parts Unknown on CNN. I highly recommend catching an episode, and I promise you’ll be addicted. The new seasons premiers tomorrow night, and I have to admit: I’ve cancelled cable TV in my home. Since January actually. This is one of the best things I’ve ever done. 5 years ago you wouldn’t have caught me dead without cable, the boob tube flickering away in the background.

With this miracle thing called the internet and my learning how to actually get the most educational use out of it- I haven’t missed that damn cable for a millisecond. True story. I’ve actually been able to pick and choose what I absorb rather than wasting countless minutes with advertising drivel and all the other trashy nonsense that’s over-saturated the television market.

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INTENT:
n.
1. Something that is intended; an aim or purpose. See Synonyms at intention.
2. Law The state of one’s mind at the time one carries out an action.
3. Meaning; purport.
adj.
1. Firmly fixed; concentrated: an intent gaze.
2. Having the attention applied; engrossed: The students, intent upon their books, did not hear me enter the room.
3. Having the mind and will focused on a specific purpose: was intent on leaving within the hour; are intent upon being recognized.
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I’m astounded by the quality of some of the material out there in the web. We live in an age where you can literally learn anything about anything in five seconds flat, provided you happen to have your cell phone on you. This makes it hard for me to understand why most people still just want to sit in front of their TVs watching mind numbing, substance-devoid, bullshit, constantly interrupted by brain washing, IQ-shriveling, advertisements.
Wasted hours. So many.
So there you have it. Some quality reading and watching if you’re interested, and of course… some baking as usual.
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Until next time…
Happy ‘Educational-Material-Choosing’!
Posted by:Ashley

2 replies on “Blackberry Apple Bread With Citrus + Black Pepper

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