So– say you’ve been sick for a while– a never-ending cold that dragged on for a month, your cyclical spring depression and a brief, scary manic burst of irrational rage, various family things going on, etc., and you’ve also got to work and get up every day and at least pretend to the outside world that you’re functioning like a complete human being.
In the midst of this, let us suppose you are so lucky as to have befriended some awesome online people who not only leave you wonderful comments and call you even when you don’t call them back and send you encouraging emails, but one of them happens to be someone who lives rather nearby and is someone with whom you’ve been lucky enough to break bread and share in-person laughter.
Further suppose that such person, knowing how miserably sick you have been, embarks on a cheering-up project of epic proportions.
Imagine if, every day for a month, you got a postcard with silly messages she knew would cheer you immensely.
I baked bacon muffins of love. A whole dozen (though two did not survive transit for various quality testing-type purposes. QT is IMPORTANT.) Today I got to bring them to this friend who I’m blessed to have just met and gotten to know, especially since I have other in-person and blog friends I’ve been rotten to and/or just ignored during this wallow I’ve been in, and to whom I also owe similar baked goods of love– my therapist and I both agree. Verbal expressions are not my forte, and you can’t really fold up a blog and mail it to someone.
This is what they look like on the inside. (I had to quality test, to make sure they were an adequate expression of my feelings of extreme affection and gratitude.)
I believe the correct phrase is OM NOM NOM NOM. They are sweet, salty, rich, filling. Just like the best friendships can be.
So. I can’t make you these muffins and bring them to you in person — but I can give you the recipe, and assure you that each time you make it, I’m thinking of how awesome you are.
1 c. medium ground cornmeal
6 tbsps. sugar
2 1/2 tsps. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
three strokes freshly ground nutmeg over your grater or microplane zester
1 c. buttermilk or whole-milk plain yogurt (I use yogurt, usually Greek, most often, since I rarely have buttermilk, but buttermilk does freeze)
3 tbsps. salted butter, melted and cooled
3 tbsps. corn or other neutral oil (I used safflower oil, I don’t keep corn oil around)
1 lg. egg
1 lg. egg yolk
1 to 1 1/3 c corn kernels (your choice how much) fresh, frozen or canned, room temp.
1 c. shredded extra-dry cheddar (I like Cabot’s hunter’s style, Grafton Village is another good brand)
4 slices bacon, fried until crisp, dried on brown paper, chopped small.
Center your rack in your oven, preheat to 400F. Butter/spray muffin tin cups or line with paper– or use a silicone muffin pan (my preference, these things are fantabulous.)
In a large bowl, blend the dry ingredients together. In another large bowl or large glass measuring cup, whisk the buttermilk/yogurt, melted butter, oil, egg and yolk all together until they are blended.
Pour the liquid into the dry, then blend with a whisk or a spatula until they are blended, never minding about too many lumps. Add in the corn, herbs, bacon and cheese. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups.
Bake 15-18 minutes (I baked for 17 with the extra ingredients) until the tops are gold and the edges light brown. A knife in the middle of the muffins should come out clean. Cool five minutes on a cooling rack before removing the muffins from the pan to cool further.