Trust me on this: These blueberry volcanoes taste a lot better than they look (never bake before caffeine).
They also contain something that already made a forgiving friend wonder about my sanity this morning, but that's not as bad as it sounds. I just am really tired of bringing home $2.50-a-quart organic milk and having it turn on me the very next day; I don't know if it's a sign of tight times that the stuff is not turning over fast enough in stores, or if the sell-by dates are ridiculously optimistic, or if I'm just hyper-aware of milk being right on the edge (I seem to be the only person I know who can tell instantly when nuts have gone rancid). Usually I've bought it someplace that would entail a round-trip subway ride to return, which means I wind up dumping it out and feeling as if I'm watching quarters flood down the drain. So I was quite taken by a recipe I came across in a newish Alaska cookbook for rhubarb muffins made with sour milk, a perfectly acceptable ingredient not just on "the last frontier" but in any baking. I had blueberries in their sunset hours and a peach ready to expire and figured I could substitute both and kill three birds with one batch.
The bad news is that for once I was short on on-the-edge milk and had to add a little fresh to the measuring cup and "turn" it with a squeeze of lemon juice. The blueberries were also busting out all over, discoloring my butcher block counter and then exploding in the oven. And while the texture was great, the muffins were good, not great, probably because I skipped the last step of dusting each with sugar and cinnamon before sliding them into the oven. But I have this supreme sense of accomplishment in eking four breakfasts out of three things I once would have thrown out. Plus the cookbook has solutions for the jar of smoked salmon a neighbor recently brought me from Alaska for feeding her cats. Note to my queasy friend: It may be in either the hot artichoke dip or the cardamom spread at our next party . . . .
Regina Schrambling is best known for her acerbic Web site, gastropoda.com, and blog, gastriques.blogspot.com, but proudest of being a two-time refugee from The New York Times. She left the national desk in 1983 to enroll in the New York Restaurant School and was lured back as deputy editor of the Dining section, from which she resigned in 2002 to become a contract writer for the Los Angeles Times food section. She writes for magazines including Metropolitan Home, New York, Real Food, and Edible Brooklyn, as well as Slate and Salon.
MORE FROM EPICURIOUS.COM:
Recipes & Menus
Epicurious.com's portfolio of dishes for all seasons, cuisines and occasions
The Epicurious Editors' Blog
Food News and Views From All Over
Delicious menu guides for the busy work week
Epicurious Technique Videos
See better approaches to preparing your meals
Assorted galleries featuring pictures and recipes from Epicurious.com