Saturday, March 1, 2008

Random Ramblings

1. First, we have muffins.

The night before last, I was all set to make a lovely batch of pumpkin black bean soup, when I opened up my can of pumpkin puree and realized that I had mistakenly bought pumpkin pie filling instead of pumpkin puree. This was not a major tragedy: I used a third of a cup of pumpkin pie filling instead of a whole cup of pumpkin puree, because I didn't want my soup to be sweet. The soup turned out ok, although it definitely isn't as pumpkin-y as it's supposed to be.

But that is not why I'm posting. I'm posting because I used the rest of the pumpkin pie filling to make these delicious muffins, and I thought I'd post the recipe. It's adapted from the one on the back of the label. I made two big changes. First of all, because I didn't have "baking mix," I substituted flour, baking powder, and oil for the "baking mix" in the original recipe. Second, I left off the crumble topping. I think I'm going to frost them with cream cheese icing later on today. However, they're perfectly yummy as is, and if you leave off the crumble topping and don't frost them, I think they're parev. And I know you're thinking "if you're Jewish enough to care about such things, Em, then you shouldn't be posting on shabbat." The thing is, I'm not observant enough to care, but my friend M reads this blog, and her father keeps kosher. So that little observation is for M.

Ok, anyway, here's the recipe.

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup plus 4 teaspoons sugar
3 cups flour
2/3 cups oatmeal (not instant, but quick-cooking is fine.)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 30 oz. can Libby's easy pumpkin pie mix
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 400. Grease or line cupcake tins.

Combine the dry ingredients (that is to say, everything up to the cinnamon) in one bowl. Combine everything else in another. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just moistened. Stick 'em in the muffin tins, stick the tins in the oven, bake 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, and eat them. Because they are yummy.

The original recipe calls for optional raisins. I don't really like raisins, but next time I might throw in some dried cranberries or chopped dried apricots.

Mine was slightly different from this, because I had used 1/3 cup of the pumpkin pie filling for my soup. I chucked out a bit of the dry ingredients mix to compensate. It's possible that you'd want to use a bit less oil than I did if you were using the whole can of pumpkin pie filling, but I doubt it would make much difference. I suspect this recipe is going to be pretty forgiving of minor variations.

2. Last night I watched 28 Up, the fourth installment in Michael Apted's series of documentaries in which he meets up with a bunch of British folks every seven years and interviews them about their lives. And as I have been for the past two installments, I was struck by the fact that Michael Apted is actually a bit of a schmuck. He's kind of an asshole to the upper-class guys, at least one of whom makes it easy by being a complete stereotype of the oblivious reactionary upper-class twit. He's a lot more interested in exposing their privilege, which is blindingly obvious and kind of boring, than in exploring who they actually are as people. But where his jerkitude really shines through is in his treatment of most of the working-class men, the one downwardly-mobile, mentally-ill middle-class guy, and all of the women. On the one hand, he has obvious disdain for all of their lives, constantly implying that they ought to be disappointed that they haven't done anything "better." On the other hand, when one of the participant's wives expresses an interest in having a career even after she has children, he has obvious disdain for her, too, suggesting that she's difficult and that her husband, an academic, must find her a handful. This is supposed to be a neutral documentary, but it's clear that Apted doesn't have much respect for certain life paths. And that seems to include almost any female life path. Women are equally shitty if they marry and stay home with children or if they think they're worthy of having a career. Men, on the other hand, are only shitty if they don't have fulfilling jobs. It's all just patronizing and irritating, and it distracts from my enjoyment of what is otherwise a fascinating series of documentaries.

3. The Central Park Hoodie progresses. I'm almost done with the left front, and I think I'll finish it and block it today. After that, I need to take a brief break from knitting to sit down with some swatches and practice seaming. I've never done woven seams before, and they scare me. I will post about my results when there are results to post about.

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