Wednesday, March 30, 2011

When Life Gives You Tangelos, Make Muffins

I haven't been posting very regularly because there's been a lot of life going on. Some good, some bad, and some complicated. Whichever it is, though, it just needs to be dealt with.

Sometimes my refrigerator is kind of like my life. There are random things lurking in there that need to be dealt with. Various plastic tombs of forgotten bits of frosting, egg whites, and leftovers. Some have gone beyond the point of redemption. Those are pretty easy to deal with - if it's oozy, furry, or a different color from when it went into the refrigerator, I pitch it.

What's troubling are the things that I know are perfectly good, well, somewhat good, and I can't bear to throw them out. Then I have the conundrum of whether to leave it in the refrigerator until it fits the above criteria, or to get creative and figure out a way to use it up.

A recent purge of the fridge brought to light 2 half-used bags of cranberries. I know I bought the cranberries at Thanksgiving time, and it's gross that I still have them in March, but that's life. There were plenty of good berries in there among the shriveled, manky ones, so I couldn't just thrown them away, right?

I found a muffin recipe that calls for cranberries. Perfect! Except it also calls for an orange. I didn't have an orange, I had a tangelo. So that's what I used, figuring that in a muffin no one could tell the difference. Except my husband. He took a bite and asked, "What did you put in this? It tastes different." I explained the orange/tangelo paradigm, leveled him a look and said, "Deal with it." He quietly ate another bite and said, "It's good!" Smart man.

Tangelo Cranberry Muffins
- adapted from Muffins and Other Morning Bakes by Linda Collister

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
grated rind of 1 tangelo (or 1/2 an orange)
1 large egg
1-1/4 cups milk
2 tsp freshly squeezed tangelo (or orange) juice
1/4 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
1-2/3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (picked over, yucky ones removed)

1- Preheat the oven to 425 deg. F. with a rack in the center of the oven. Grease a deep 12-cup muffin pan.

2- Sift the flours and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar, pecans, and grated citrus rind.

3- In another bowl, lightly beat the egg with the milk, orange juice, and melted butter or vegetable oil. Add to the dry ingredients, stirring quickly with a wooden spoon until just mixed. It's OK if there are still traces of flour.

4- Add the cranberries and stir briefly, using as few strokes as possible. Do not overmix or your muffins will be tough.

5- Spoon into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch. Let cool in the pan for 1 minute, then turn out onto a wire rack. Eat warm or preferably within 24 hours. When cooled all the way, the muffins can be wrapped and frozen for up to 1 month.


hobby baker Kelly said...

Gotta love those smart men, eh? My fridge and yours could get along pretty well I think. As a matter of fact I just pulled out a half bag of unfortunately not salvageable cranberries myself from the back of the fridge not two weeks ago. So you're not alone in hidden, furry and forgotten relics in unlabeled sundry plastics lurking in the icebox. ☺

kickpleat said...

Muffins always help smooth the rough patches and I think you've made a fine choice. I prefer tangelos over most oranges because they're nicely tart and I love that in most fruits :)

Lisa said...

With such beautiful fruit as that your muffins must have been out of this world good. I have a sweet treat linky party every weekend on my blog and I'd like to invite you to stop by then and link your muffins up.

We Are Not Martha said...

These look like the perfect morning muffins with a nice cup of tea! They could definitely brighten a gloomy day like today :)


Unknown said...

Yum! I love the combo of orange (or tangelo!) and cranberry. It is the perfect melding of flavors.

grace said...

oranges? get in the backseat--tangelos are taking over! great cranberry save, lynn, and i'm happy to hear you've trained your husband so well. :)

Anonymous said...

I just thought of a way to 'dessert' these muffins up! Tangelo and chocolate chunk muffins! MMMM. :)

Barbara said...

Those muffins look so good, I'd BUY the ingredients to make them! Fortunately, I have some cranberries in the freezer. :) Don't have any tangelos, though. An orange will have to do.

Elle said...

Sounds like my fridge...including some post-holidays cranberries. Great recipe!

Homemade Heaven said...

Since my son has been at boarding school, I have found my fridge does not get emptied as easily as when he's home. I try very hard not to leave things, but there always seems to be a stray carrot, which is growing roots, a half jar of pesto or fish paste that has hosting a colony of mould.
Cranberries are not really available fresh in South Africa, much to my sadness.