On the menu: Blood Orange Blueberry Olive Oil Muffins
This, friends, was once a collapsed cake. It is now reincarnated and fully redeemed. We went snowshoeing on the coast on Saturday. We got up that morning to make preparations for the trip, and I decided to make muffins. These muffins. I remembered the taste and texture of the blood orange olive oil cake, and I knew that such bright, bold flavor would make an excellent accompaniment to a day in the wild white winter we’ve been experiencing as of late. Also, we were almost at the end of one of our 10 lb. boxes of blueberries from the farm–it was time to make some freezer space.
My mental image may have been a bit fantastical: there was maybe 3 inches of snow on the ground, which of course was icy, so our snowshoes made a lot of noise and for the most part, just seemed silly. But there were still sunshiny muffins. The golden flecks of zest in the verdant crumb and the pockets of complementary-colored fruit made for an aesthetically-pleasing treat; the sweet berries, tart orange, and bitter olive oil pleased the palate as well.
I’ve been back in the kitchen a lot more these days than I was in the fall. Since Kevin, while preparing to defend his Master’s thesis, took the culinary helm as I established myself as a doctoral student, I owe him. I really, really owe him. He’s gotten crazy busy lately trying to wrap up loose ends of his Master’s program and get started on his PhD work. My workload has shifted a bit; it’s not any lighter, and I actually feel more pressure make serious progress on my research, but I can’t ignore how important is for me to spend time away from the computer and in the kitchen. Being in the kitchen, no matter how much work I need to do, is almost always relieving. It’s also rewarding, especially when an idea pops into my head and I execute it in under an hour.
I knew that I was going to remake this cake someday. Cross that off my ever-growing to-do list.
makes 16 muffins
3 blood oranges
1 cup sugar
scant 1/2 cup milk
3 large eggs
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup frozen wild blueberries
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 2 muffin pans with paper liners and set aside. Grate zest from 2 of the oranges and place in a bowl with the sugar. Using your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar until it is evenly distributed.
Supreme an orange: Cut off bottom and top so fruit is exposed and orange can stand upright on a cutting board. Cut away peel and pith, following curve of fruit with your knife. Cut orange segments out of their connective membranes and let them fall into a bowl. Repeat with another orange. Break up segments with your fingers to about 1/4-inch pieces. Halve remaining orange and squeeze juice into a measuring cup; you should have about a 1/4 cup of juice. Add enough milk to the juice until you have 2/3 cup liquid altogether. Pour mixture into bowl with sugar and whisk well. Whisk in eggs and olive oil.
In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently stir dry ingredients into wet ones. Fold in pieces of orange segments and blueberries. Pour batter into prepared muffin tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out of pan and cool completely before serving. Store airtight at room temperature for 3-4 days.