I’ve had the same schedule at work for almost three years now.
Working in retail means that having both Saturday and Sunday off isn’t really an option, but I do get Sundays off so I still (sort of) get to enjoy the weekends with the rest of the world. The only problem, especially in the summer, is that the only green markets that are even remotely convenient to me aren’t open on Sundays.
The green market in Union Square is open on Saturdays and Mondays, but of course I don’t have Mondays off either. This means that Russell, who is off on Mondays, is responsible for any green market purchases for the week, and the remainder of our groceries are purchased at our neighborhood grocery store.
Sometimes I have specific things in mind that I ask Russell to pick up for me, but usually he just wanders around until he sees something that looks good and he grabs it. This usually works out just great, but sometimes I get home from work on Monday to find a bag full of really random and disjointed produce purchases that I get to plan around for the rest of the week.
If this sounds like a complaint, I assure you that it’s not. It actually kind of forces me to get creative and try to make meal plans and think of blog posts that would work with the items at hand. I am (or at least I try to be) pretty anal about the whole “waste not want not” thing, so it drives me crazy to let our produce spoil before we get to use it up. Sometimes I’ll just come up with some kind of “kitchen sink” recipe like a salad or stir fry to use everything up if I really have no clue what to do. Sometimes these recipes don’t really work out, but they usually do, and sometimes they can really pay off.
This is one of those pay off recipes. Russell came home with a bag full of stuff on Monday, including a couple big zucchinis and a pint of some of the season’s first blueberries. On seeing those blueberries I knew pretty instantly that I wanted to make some muffins, but after some thought I decided to throw in one of the zucchinis just for fun.
The next morning, as I went to gather my ingredients, I realized that I was dangerously low on flour and wouldn’t have enough for a full muffin recipe. It was pretty early, Russell was still sleeping and I was still in my boxers, and I reeeeeally didn’t want to go to the store. If I don’t have to put pants on on my day off, believe you me, it ain’t gonna happen.
For a brief second I was ready and willing to accept defeat and just toast an English muffin for breakfast instead, but then I remembered these cookies I made in March. To give the cookies a really interesting lacy texture, old fashioned rolled oats are turned into oat flour in the food processor, which is then mixed with regular white flour and some whole rolled oats. Not only is oat flour a healthy(ish) whole grain alternative to white flour, it also adds a really warm nutty flavor and chewy texture to anything you make with it.
So, out came the food processor and oat flour happened yet again.
The only issue is that oat flour doesn’t really seem to absorb liquid the same way as white flour, so the batter seemed a bit loose, and the muffins didn’t really rise as much as I’d hoped they would. I ended up making them again a few days later (at Russell’s request) and tried using a little bit more white flour to thicken the batter just a bit, and that seemed to do the trick to get them to rise. This second batch came out slightly lighter in color with a more rounded and crunchier top, but I’m a terrible lazy blogger and they didn’t really look all that different so I didn’t bother shooting new photos. The photos here are of the first batch, but the recipe below reflects the added flour and slightly thicker batter.
Look. I understand that I’m essentially asking you to mill your own flour for this recipe, but I swear it’s not a big deal. If you have a food processor or a blender it takes less than five minutes and then the rest of the recipe is basically just stirring.
I promise you that the little bit of extra effort is worth it; these muffins are seriously tasty. They’re just sweet enough with a little bit of extra sweetness and crunch from the demerara sugar on top. They’re soft and tender and moist, but with a really delicate chewiness (and nuttiness) from the oat flour. The zucchini and blueberries complement each other surprisingly well, and Russell keeps saying that these little muffins taste like summer. You may have figured this out when I said that he requested I make them twice in one week, but they’re totally addictive. In theory they’re also pretty healthy(ish) if eat just one or two, but between the two of us half a dozen were devoured less than half an hour after they came out of the oven, so I’m not sure if “healthy” is a word that would actually apply anymore!
Blueberry Zucchini Oat Muffins
1 1/2 cups rolled oats, divided
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup oil
2 cups grated zucchini
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup demerara sugar or other coarse sanding sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place 1 cup of rolled oats in the bowl of a food processor and grind into a fine powder. It’s okay if there are some unevenly sized pieces, but you want it to resemble the texture of whole wheat flour. Transfer oat flour to a large bowl along with the remaining 1/2 cup of rolled oats and all remaining dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and oil together until combined, and then stir in the grated zucchini. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the zucchini, egg, oil mixture. Gently stir together until just combined. Do not overmix. Fold in the blueberries just until evenly distributed throughout the batter.
Line two 12 cup muffin pans with paper liners and fill the liners about 3/4 full with batter. Sprinkle a little bit of demerara sugar over the tops of each muffin just before they go into the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean, and the tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool for about 15 or 20 minutes on a wire rack before removing the muffins to cool completely.