I have avoided mentioning the state of the world for the past several weeks because I just can't find the words. In the beginning, I stared at the wall marveling at how surreal this all is. It was all I was capable of. Nowadays, I've concluded that I simply cannot watch the news. It's not good for my mental health. So I get up and try to be productive.
My focus is almost completely gone. I can't focus enough to watch a show or read a book. My hands are raw from cleaning (I tend to clean when I get stressed). Some days I don't feel like cooking. Some days I do. Then I worry that there are no groceries in the stores and there hasn't been for days. Should I be trying to really stretch every single ingredient I have in my house?
Trust me, I'm stocked up. We have plenty for now, but I worry. I don't want to go to the stores. It seems like there's nothing there anyway and I don't want to catch the virus. So I stay home and take stock and order food online. I've become a full-time quartermaster, doing inventory and staggering deliveries.
One thing I'm thankful for is my weekly Misfits Market box. I've mentioned it before, but I will mention it again because Misfits delivers organic fruits and veggies to your door each and every week. After your first week, you can choose from a list of things and even add some add-ons to your order. They are keeping me stocked with the most delicious organic fruits and veggies regularly! Yes, occasionally something is misshapen or has a mark, but I'm fine with that on a regular day, so I'm definitely fine with that in these uncertain times. I urge you all to find a similar source for fresh produce. Unfortunately, I think things will be like this for a while.
This week I was able to add on two packs of the most beautiful organic blueberries. They arrived in perfect condition. Not one single blueberry was bad. I debated at length on what to make with them. Did I want to make blueberry syrup for pancakes, which would really make my blueberries stretch OR did I want to make some blueberry muffins like my mom used to make all the time?
Since I've been thinking about my mom a lot lately I opted for Ruth Reichl's Blueberry Muffins with Streusel and I'm so glad I did!
With two full cartons of blueberries, these muffins are definitely blueberry forward...AND I LOVE THAT! The batter is light and tender and so is the streusel topping, which allows the blueberry to be the shining star. These are the blueberriest blueberry muffins I've ever had and I think it may very well be my all-time favorite blueberry muffin recipe!
I added a little vanilla glaze to the tops, simply because I had some on hand, but these are absolutely perfect either way. I know, without a doubt, my mom would love them. I take a bite and think of her. I know she would be in disbelief at the world around us, as I am. I know she would feel the uncertainty. I know she would tell me to put on a smile and do what I can to help, so I mail cards to my students to tell them how much I miss them. I set candy on their porch early in the morning. We organize a teacher parade around our school neighborhood and I paint messages for the kids on my car. I give pep talks. I say prayers. I cook and I bake. I feel the overwhelming sense of grief in the pit of my stomach. We do what we can and we keep going.
I hope you and your loved ones are well. Please take care.
Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook
by Ruth Reichl
Makes 12 muffins
6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups (12 ounces) blueberries
3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3-1/2 tablespoons sugar
Make the batter: Put a rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 375F. Generously butter muffin cups. Melt butter in a small saucepan over moderately low heat; remove from heat. Whisk in milk, egg, yolk, and vanilla until well combined.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add milk mixture and stir until just combined. Gently but thoroughly fold in blueberries. Divide batter among muffin cups and spread evenly.
Make the topping and bake: Combine all topping ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over batter in cups. Bake until golden and crisp and a wooden pick or skewer inserted into center of muffin comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes, then run a knife around edges of muffin tops and carefully remove from cups. Serve warm or at room temperature.