Monday, March 19, 2012

Blood Orange and Blueberry Jam and Mom's Muffins

Saturday was a miserably rainy and windy day.  My husband was away for work and my boys and I were stuck in the house all day together.  The boys were doing just fine for the morning, playing on the Wii and running around the house playing superheroes.  But you know that can only last so long, right?  As the morning turned to afternoon fights began to break out.  Who was going to be the hero and who was going to be the bad guy?  Which Wii game do they play?  How much noise can we make until we torture Mom into insanity?  Oh, sorry, I guess that last one was just how I felt every time I had to stop what I was doing to play referee.  Let's just say it was a very long day.

At one point in the day, the house turned quiet.  I had gotten the little one down for a nap, my oldest was playing quietly by himself, and I was finished the vacuuming and laundry I had hoped to get done.  Time for a little break and few moments for myself.  I put the kettle on for a cup of tea, grabbed a couple of my favorite muffins of all time (my Mom's recipe, of course) and my new favorite jam, and sat down with my Kindle to brush up on The Hunger Games before the movie comes out.

We all need a little time to ourselves like that.  So in case you're looking for a new favorite muffin and jam, I thought I'd share my recipes with you.  The blood oranges are so bright and tangy they will make you forget that it's a rainy and miserable day and the muffins are perfect for any occasion, especially a little Mommy time out.

Mom's Muffins 
Makes 12 standard sized muffins
These are the muffins my mom has been making for years, one of several recipes that's listed in my notebook as "Mom's".  I left out the usual blueberries because I wasn't in the mood.  If you would like to add the blueberries, add 1 1/2 to 2 cups to the batter after mixing in the wet ingredients.  The muffins are light and moist and come together in a snap.

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
cinnamon sugar for sprinkling the tops of the muffins

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Line the wells of a standard muffin tin with liners or butter or spray the pan with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add the oil, milk, eggs and vanilla and stir to combine.  Distribute the batter evenly into the muffin cups.  Sprinkle the tops with a light dusting of cinnamon sugar.  Bake for 15 minutes, until the tops are lightly browned.  Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then remove them and cool completely on a wire rack.  The muffins will keep for only 2 or 3 days in an airtight container before they get too dry.

Blood Orange and Blueberry Jam
Makes 1 pint jam.  Adapted from SP Cookie Queen.

This jam is a real treat.  It started out with just the oranges and I couldn't quite get the sweetness level how I wanted it.  I didn't want to add more sugar so I tossed in the handful (literally) of blueberries I had hanging out in the fridge.  They did the trick perfectly and also gave the jam its slight purplish hue that is so gorgeous and jewel-like.  I have enjoyed the jam several ways- on biscuits with soft goat cheese, smeared on warm muffins, in a PB and J and, just yesterday, over buttermilk waffles.  My little one likes it best licked straight from the bowl.

10 blood oranges
1/3 cup lemon juice (preferably Meyer lemons)
3/4 cup sugar
handful blueberries (about 1/3 cup)
2 tsp low-sugar pectin

Zest three of the oranges and place the zest into a medium saucepan.  Add the lemon juice, sugar, blueberries and pectin to the pan.  Stir, but do not place on the stove yet.

Cut the top and bottom off of an orange.  Standing the orange on its bottom, cut down and around the orange to remove only the skin and white pith from the orange.  Holding the orange above the saucepan, use a paring knife to cut the segments of orange apart from each other and drop them into the pan.  Do this by carefully cutting along one side of the membrane between two segments until you reach the center of the orange.  Cut along the other side of the segment in the same way to release it from the rest of the orange.  When all of the segments have been cut away, squeeze any juice from the membranes left in your hand and discard the membranes.  Repeat this process for each of the oranges.

Stir the contents of the pan and then place over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer, turn the heat to medium-low and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened.  Stir ever few minutes and turn the heat down if it seems to be bubbling to rapidly- you don't want it to burn.  Spoon the jam into a clean pint jar and refrigerate.  The jam will keep for several weeks.

1 comment:

  1. Both recipes look like keepers, they are pinned for future reference.