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Cheddar Jalapeno Corn Muffins

October 7, 2011

Ina Garten is my hero.  Did you know that in the 70’s she was working a boring job for the White House?  Yea, she did that.  Then, she on a whim, but a specialty food store in the Hamptons.  And BOOM.  The Barefoot Contessa was born.  She started writing cookbooks, got her own Food Network show, and if you didn’t know any better, you’d never realize that 30 years ago she was working as a budget analyst assigned to writing the nuclear energy budget.

As an amateur chef, what I respect most about Ina is that she has no formal culinary education.  She simply studied cookbooks of masters like Julia Child, and held weekly dinner parties for her friends.  Over the years, her culinary prowess became known and she became The Barefoot Contessa.  

Now I doubt I’ll ever have such a cool name as The Barefoot Contessa, but I like to think that my hosting friends for dinner and baking up goodies for boys will allow my skills to grow to Ina Garten proportions.  So last night, in the spirit of Ina, I had a friend over for dinner, and made a Barefoot Contessa recipe.

I feel sort of guilty calling it her recipe, since I didn’t really follow her recipe strictly.  You see….her recipe called for TWO STICKS of butter.  TWO STICKS!!!! That seemed crazy.  And while butter doesn’t scare me, I only had 4 T of butter in my fridge and I wasn’t about to head to the store to buy more to clog my arteries.  After a little google-ing, I found that plenty of corn bread recipes out there use vegetable oil instead of butter, so I made a few swaps.  And I have to say– these muffins, while not perfect, turned out pretty darn good.  They are soft and crumbly.  My grocery store didn’t have any fresh jalapeno peppers, so I used the jarred kind.  This was a mistake.  The muffins were not nearly spicy enough.  Below is Ina’s original recipe, for bread not muffins.  Putting the batter into muffin tins though, makes for easy portioning and easy freezing when you live alone and can’t let yourself eat 15 cheddar jalapeno corn muffins alone.

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups milk
3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease the pan (I used 4 T butter and 1/4 cup vegetable oil)
8 ounces aged extra-sharp Cheddar, grated, divided
1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts, plus extra for garnish, 3 scallions
3 tablespoons seeded and minced fresh jalapeno peppers

Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter. With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved. Don’t overmix! Mix in 2 cups of the grated cheddar, the scallions and jalapenos, and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking pan or muffins tins.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the remaining grated Cheddar and extra chopped scallions. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Muffins should cook for 25-30 mins. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Natasha permalink
    October 12, 2011 12:27 am

    I am confident that your culinary skills will lead to great things one day! Now if only you had some lifestyle/entertainment PR connections …

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