About 2 weeks ago I went Internet-free. This wasn't entirely of my own volition. I mean, I did choose to move away from Los Angeles and my very secure high speed connection; however, I had expected to be wired but quick once I landed at the intended destination (a.k.a. My New Home) on June 1st. I was wrong. =( These interim Dark Days of No Net afforded me plenty of time to think up clever-cute-cheerful ways to announce my return to the culinary blogosphere. In the end, though, the desire to merely write "Hey, I'm back!" was greater than the desire to draft some well-articulated piece. Basically, as soon as I unpacked, I wanted to resume posting.
Hey, I'm back!
More importantly, I moved! To Portland!
This journey involved multiple steps and adventures and the breaking of many fingernails, and spanned from March/April until early June.
Moving on up: Around April I made a firm decision to move from Los Angeles to Portland during the coming summer. Without getting neck high in specifics, I'll just say that I'd been wanting to move out of Los Angeles since my freshman year of college. Normally I'm pretty decent about adhering to goals, but I'll be the first to admit that I repeatedly let the ball drop on the whole move out of state thing for a number of years. After repeatedly visiting places like Boston and New York City and Northern California, I settled on Portland after my 7th visit to the city in February of 2009. Newsweek's declaration that Portland is the most depressed city in the nation be damned, I actually don't mind overcast skies: it's the sun I hate. With a burning fiery passion. With graduate school out of the way, and California's economy tanking by the day, I had very little reason not to leave.
Wherein I play the waiting game: That same month I packed up the contents of my 2 bedroom house in Burbank, gave away most of my furniture except for the bare necessities (e.g., bed, and favoritest of all bookcases), and oh so carefully transported my remaining effects plus 5 boxes of kitchen equipment to my mother's house near LAX. With everything carefully stored in the garage, I then spent the next several weeks in house limbo, residing at either my mother's or my brother's respective residences.
A wild card is thrown my way: On April 30th I ended up joining my boss and a few co-workers down in San Diego to start work on a research study. The nature of the work meant we had to live in the city during the work week, go home on Friday afternoons, and make the trek back down south on Sunday evenings. So from the end of April until the end of May, I basically lived out of a suitcase.
The Big Day arrives: Finally! The real moving day! Not moving within the boundaries of Los Angeles County. Not temporarily living in another part of Southern California. Today I left California. On this Sunday I crammed a rented red Dodge Grand Caravan full of all that could fit (which included my mom, who rode shotgun) and made my way north to the Rose City. I couldn't see out the back of the van, and I dared not open any of the doors to inspect things during the pit stops we made during the 15 hour journey. Sadly, a few bowls and plates did not survive the trip (technically I have no way of knowing if they were crushed during the first move from Burbank to Los Angeles, during one of the 4 earthquakes that struck the city during the months of April and May, or if the long haul up I-5 really was responsible for their demise). Everything else was A-OK.
Now I'm in Portland. Until this past Saturday, I hadn't set foot in a kitchen other than to steal cookies from my brother's pantry on the weekends when I was home. Not being able to so much as even make a salad in my hotel room in San Diego made me all out of sorts. But those days are past; now I get to look forward to carving a culinary niche of my own in one of the most beautiful cities in the union.
Enough about me, though. Happy (Belated) Muffin Day! I chose to make a Strawberry Streusel Muffin for Wednesday because the paragon of berries lie within Oregon's borders. It's true. Really. You should come up here and pick some for yourself.
Strawberry Streusel Muffins:
For Muffins: 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 3/4 cup granulated white sugar 2 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp baking soda 1/4 tsp salt 1 large egg, lightly beaten 3/4 cup buttermilk 2/3 cup melted, cooled butter 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 2 cups fresh strawberries, quartered.
For Streusel Topping: 4 tbsp oats 4 tbsp flour 4 tbsp brown sugar 4 tbsp butter
Preheat oven to 375° F. Position rack in center of oven. Butter and flour one 6 jumbo muffin pan, or one 12 medium muffin tin.
In a large measuring cup or bowl whisk together the egg, buttermilk, butter, and vanilla extract.
In another large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gently fold in the berries. With a rubber spatula fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are combined (about 15 strokes). Do not over mix the batter or tough muffins will result.
Fill each muffin cup almost full of batter, using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. In a small bowl, mix together the streusel topping oats, flour, and brown sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle topping over unbaked muffins. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from pan.
It’s called Serious Business Pastries because baking is serious stuff. It’s a science and an art form, and it demands a lot of care and attention. But baking also allows for a lot of fun and whimsy, too. They’re the veritable frosting and sprinkles on top of a delicious, well-made cupcake. If you try our pastries you’ll see that we’re serious about quality and craftsmanship, but fun and funky when it comes to flavors and creativity.