It started with a dry wall screw in my tire.
Actually let me back up. This recipe really started with me getting in my car the other day to go grocery shopping then seeing a light on the dashboard I hadn’t seen before. Some weird symbol I had to flip through my owner’s manual to figure out – which turned out to mean low tire pressure. And even though my car is computer enough to tell me that salient fact, it isn’t clever enough to tell me which tire. So I drove to the grocery store via our favorite garage – Fisher’s. They were able to figure out which tire it was, and my mechanic Jeff was able to take care of it right away, but he needed 20-30 minutes.
So I trotted across the street to Jerry’s Place, another South Deerfield institution and ordered a grilled blueberry muffin. They split a blueberry muffin in half, slather it with butter, grill it till it’s crispy golden, then top off with more butter and pop it on a plate. You can watch the butter melt into the hot muffin and know, just know, that it will be delicious. Which it was. However as I sat there nibbling bites of my muffin I thought of how I could ramp up this concept. Add a little more tooth to it.
Which is when Davis Bates came to mind. Bates is a brilliant storyteller who the kids and I would often go to see at various events, most often libraries, where he was performing. We bought his cassette tape to listen to on car rides (and what trip isn’t a car ride when you live in Whately?) and we listened and listened and listened to that tape so much and so often we finally wore it out. His stories are wonderful; and Russell, Isabelle and I could, and probably still can, speak his monologues right along with him. So what I recalled as I sat there munching on my blueberry muffin was Davis & Gramp Bates eating corn muffins up in Maine.
“I liked going for walks with my grandfather. Sometimes we’d get up early in the morning, before my parents were awake, and we’d walk down to Gilbert Brother’s Wharf and have some muffins. Corn muffins or bran muffins. Gramp would have a cup of coffee. Then we’d come back and have breakfast.”
I thought to myself, what if you took a corn muffin, added some blueberries, which have just come into season here in Massachusetts, to the batter, then split and grilled it like they do at Jerry’s Place? Heaven, it would have to be like heaven. So I added cornmeal and blueberries to my shopping list and this is the result. All because of a screw in my tire.
Blueberry Corn Muffins
3/4 cup flour (white or whole wheat)
1 1/4 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup yogurt
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2-5 Tablespoons honey
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries plus a handful more for sprinkling on top
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line your muffin tins with paper liners or grease (liberally).
Mix the dry ingredients together, then gently toss in the blueberries (if you are using fresh). In a separate bowl mix the eggs, yogurt, milk, oil, melted butter and honey together. I like my cornbread less sweet, since I usually drizzle it with honey right before eating, which is why I’ve given a broad range of sweetness in the honey amount. Once the blueberries have a light coating of flour/cornmeal fold the wet ingredients in with the dry. You’ll have to be gentle in order to not smoosh the blueberries.
If you’re using frozen blueberries you will want to mix dry, then wet ingredients and gently combine the two. Last off sprinkle in the frozen blueberries and fold to combine. There will be blue streaks, it can’t be helped. Still the same delicious taste.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin tins and top (if you’d like) with a few more blueberries. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick stuck into a muffin comes out dry.
These muffins are great to eat straight out of the oven, or you can wait a bit, then split and grill them in butter or margarine. Maybe even drizzle on some honey.