Thursday, July 14, 2005

Like a saturday morning scone except your target audience might just consider it inedible. 

Savory cheese-herb muffins

1-1/2 c. flour

1/2 c. coarse yellow polenta meal

1 Tbs. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. basil

1/4 tsp. oregano

1/4 tsp. thyme

1/4 cup melted butter

1 large egg

1 cup milk

1-1/4 cup (approx.) shredded jack cheese

2 to 2-1/2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven 425 degrees F. Grease twelve muffin cups.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, the cornmeal, baking powder, salt and the herbs. Mix togther and add the cheese.

In another bowl, mix the melted butter, the lightly beaten egg and the milk. Add this to the flour mixture until all is moistened. Do not overmix! Batter will be lumpy!

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the tops are golden and an inserted knife comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes on a rack. Quite tasty warm. It has that nice chewy texture of a baked good made with a lot of butter and cheese.

This recipe is an attempt to replicate the Zingerman's cheddar-herb scone and is ripped off from an on-line recipe I found somewhere via google, with a few modifications. Whenever I mention that I've made a few modifications to a recipe I feel little as though I am sailing under false colors and passing myself off as someone comfortable with improvisation. Really, I'm just comfortable with being a slacker in the homemaker department.

My usual m.o. with wholesale substitution owes more to my impulsive nature (and my inability to keep a shopping list) than to any real adventuresome streak. But as is the case with being an impulsive type (like me or my resident three-year-old), you can't always count on having ingredients like cheddar to hand when the mood strikes. Perhaps the zenith of my baked good substitution jones came a number of years back when one Sunday evening I was siezed with the impulse to try my sister-in-law's recipe for biscotti, a recipe calling for anise and merlot and perhaps almonds.

And which ended up being made with caraway seed, vermouth and pistachios.

It wasn't half bad. But it wasn't exactly like what Nona used to make.

The other risks you run with substitution (see the use of goat cheese in these muffins, above) is that while you may consider the substitution a success, your resident suspicious preschool taster may very well take a look at her biscuit and ask, "What's that white stuff?"

Trust me: there is no answer to that question which will satisfy her.

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