Something occurred to me today as I was whipping up a batch of muffins using refrigerator scraps. I often tell people that cooking is not hard. Given all the ingredients and a well-written recipe, almost anyone can cook a delicious tasting dish. Taking the next step towards being a "good" cook involves creating your own recipes, juggling multiple dishes in one meal, and menu planning. And, to a large extent, being a good home cook means finding creative and tasty ways to use up everything in your refrigerator. Especially in this economy, being able to follow a recipe doesn't much if you're throwing out all the odds and ends you have left over once you've finished some complicated dish.
So in the spirit of thriftiness, I whipped up some yogurt blueberry muffins today. I had a lot of plain yogurt to use up, but realized I'm all out of eggs. Instead of going out and buying a dozen eggs that I don't need right away, I looked up an easy substitute. According to cooks with egg allergies, 1 tablespoon water + 1 tablespoon white vinegar + 1 teaspoon baking powder is a suitable recipe for 1 large egg in most cake recipes! So for about 15 cupcakes or 12 larger muffins, I did the following:
- 12 ounces all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 1/2 cup blueberries (I used frozen wild blueberries from Trader Joe's)
- 12-15 pecans
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift together all the dry ingredients, then take a tablespoon of the mixture and use it to coat the blueberries. This will keep the blueberries from bleeding their color all over the inside of your muffins.
Whisk together all your wet ingredients in a large bowl. Pour in half of the dry ingredients, fold a few times, then pour in the rest and fold a few more times. This is the time to be gentle. Use a spatula and make large folding motions, scraping your spatula along the bottom of the bowl and folding the moistened batter over the parts that are still dry. After about 10 folds, pour in your blueberries and fold no more than five more times. Fill your cupcake tins with the batter, then press a pecan into the top of each cupcake. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating once halfway through, then take out and dump onto a rack to cool.
I won't lie: not having eggs takes something away from the flavor of this muffin. However, it's still a light and fluffy end product, and better than most storebought. I'm waiting to see if anyone even notices there's something "off" about them. And best of all, I used up all my leftover yogurt and didn't need to go out for eggs. Mission accomplished.