cold comfort, alpacas, and the ultimate muffin
After a few dates, a friend of mine was totally smitten with an opera singer/rock climber/brilliant/radiant/intelligent/beautiful girl, and then understandably deflated when she upped and moved to China or something. Because I was full of shmushy love stuffs at the time, I told him, thems the breaks, but hey, take heart, at least you know the unicorns, those perfect somebodies for you, are out there.
Of course, now I’m grumpily trying to take my own advice as my own rock climbing, superhumanly smart, out-of-my-league attractive, incredibly sweet, equal parts Ludacris/Tim McGraw listening, urban woodsman with boy-band dance moves, unceremoniously dropped me so he has one less thing to think about as he preps to move to…China.
Even on a bad day, I don’t begrudge his decision, given ALL THE THINGS, it makes sense. I’m just, well, sad. I thought I had finally lassoed my own unicorn.
I was coming to terms with the disappointment. Then LivingSocial sent me this:
It’s an email promo for this place: http://www.bellaalpacas.com/, a romantic B&B with, wait for it…prize-winning ALPACAS!!!
It’s bad enough I had to go to a wedding at the most romantic resort in all of Mexico by myself, or that I routinely have to sidestep blissful hipster couples in full on pre-brunch make-out sessions as they wait for fair trade coffees and gluten free pancakes on my way to artesinal eggs benedict where for the umpteenth time I’m the odd numbered chair, (lies, sometimes my third wheel status is balanced by a high chair), but then LivingSocial has to taunt me with ALPACAS!?!? Alpacas I’ll never get to go wine tasting in the countryside with because when I roll over in bed and say, “honey, check this out”, the only thing listening is my dying laptop I fell asleep in front of while watching Mad Men?! Because there is no one obligated to hang out with me on a basis of similar interests and pheromones?! Because the guy who would tolerate my SQUEE! love of ALPACAS! to demonstrate the same respect, caring and devotion I afford him has to move LITERALLY half way around the world?!
This is hands down the worst part about not having a boyfriend. THE WORST!
I’m not gonna lie. I cried a little. Okay, a lot. Okay, I’m crying right now. I’m half kidding, (except, really, I’m crying right now), but I am totally serious when I say this made me realize how NOT READY I am to get back out there, and how I can be understanding and supportive of his decisions, and pissed off at the universe at the same time for ending our story before I got to the last page.
So I made my unicorn the unicorn of muffins to say “you’re worth the effort of figuring out how to put a soft boiled egg inside a muffin, and I hope you miss this girl who cared about you enough to figure out how to put a soft boiled egg inside a muffin, because it’s the only way I know how to tell you how I feel.”
And ummy, if someone wants to take me to that alpaca farm, I wouldn’t say no.
Based on The Rebel Within from San Francisco’s Craftsman and Wolves.
I would highly suggest making the eggs the night before. They need to chill out in the fridge for a few hours anyway, and this way if you break an egg, you have time to boil another one. if you want meat flavored muffins, omit the olive oil and instead dice up about a cup of bacon, fry until crispy, set aside the bacon bits to be stirred into the batter with the peppers and whatnot, and sauté the veggies in bacon fat.
makes 6 jumbo muffins
- Extra-soft boiled eggs
- 6 large eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- large bowl filled with ice cubes
Bring your eggs up to room temperature. Line an egg carton with plastic wrap.
Fill a pot with enough water to more than cover the eggs. When water comes to a boil, add salt and gently lower eggs into the water, setting a timer for 4 minutes and 30 seconds. Pour some ice cold water over that bowl of ice cubes. Remove eggs when the timer goes off and transfer immediately to the ice bath. Gently GENTLY tap the eggs all around to peel them. Its harder than peeling a hard boiled egg and the yolks are still a little runny so careful not to break the whites. Holding them under cold running water helps. Place peeled eggs in plastic lined carton and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
- 1 cup grated parmesan, divided
- 1 cup extra sharp cheddar, divided
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- ½ cup diced onions
- ½ diced red pepper
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbs baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- ½ jalepeno, seeds removed, finely diced
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
- ½ cup (8 Tbs) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- ⅓ cup diced chives
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Generously grease a jumbo muffin pan and dust with flour. Set aside.
In a fry pan, heat oil over medium heat. add onions, red peppers and jalapeño and sauté until fragrant and lightly caramelized. remove from heat and allow to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, ground pepper, baking powder, baking soda. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix buttermilk, eggs and melted butter until well combined. Pour wet ingredients into bowl of dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Add ¾ cups parmesan, ¾ cups cheddar, chives, bacon (if using), and onion/pepper mixture. Stir until combined.
Place about 2 Tbs of batter into each muffin tin and make a small depression in the center of each. Place one egg, upright, in each depression. Place remaining batter in a pastry bag or ziplock with a hole big enough to let all of the veggie/goodness through and pipe around the eggs to cover. Batter will sit above the top of the muffin pan. Once eggs are covered with batter, sprinkle with remaining cheeses.
Bake for 17 minutes, rotating halfway through. Tops of muffins should be golden brown and cheese melted. Don’t test it with a skewer or knife because you may poke and break the egg. (sad!)
Allow muffins to cool 10-15 minutes before removing from pan. If not eaten immediately, refrigerate and microwave for 30 seconds before serving.
But what do I do at 5000 ft?!
oh goodness…..decrease the amount of baking powder or soda by 15% to 25% (one-eighth to one quarter teaspoon per teaspoon specified in the recipe, these are dense so I’d err on the side of 15%), raise the oven temperature by 20° or so, and slightly shorten the cooking time.
Flour tends to be drier at high elevation, so increase the amount of liquid in the recipe by 2 to 3 tablespoons for each cup of flour called for. Often you will want to decrease the amount of sugar in a recipe by 1 to 3 tablespoons for each cup of sugar called for in the recipe.
As far as boiling eggs, the rule is usually +1 minute per 1,000 feet, but you may want to experiment to find a soft boiled egg with a runny yolk….
oh, and “Pie In The Sky”, by S. Purdy is a good altitude baking resource!
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