Last of the summer vine

No funny stuff. A ballet of simplicity–fresh bread, summer garden tomatoes, salt, pepper, and too much Hellmann’s.

I’ve been on a tear this week.  Saturday The Kid and I went to the farmers market and wallowed in gorgeous late season produce.  I got the fixings for my favorite summer treat; a tomato sandwich.  I also picked up a pint of mixed tiny tomatoes—just because they were so adorable.

Last night I took those baby tomatoes, and turned them into a delicious marmalade.

Tomato-onion marmalade

tom marm 2

1 pint mixed small tomatoes, like cherries and grapes, washed, but not cut

½ onion sliced thinly into half-moons

¼ teaspoon dry thyme

¼ teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped very finely

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

Put everything into a small heavy bottomed sauce pan.  Cook on medium low for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  When the tomatoes start to split, press them against the side of the pan with the spoon, to pop them.  In addition to it being very satisfying, popping makes them break down quicker and get nice and jammy.  Turn burner down to low, and cook until it’s thickened and of spreading consistency, stirring every 5 minutes or so (total time, 45-60 minutes).  Take off heat.  Refrigerate when cool.

Makes ¾-1 cup.

This is really versatile.  You could use it on fish or poultry.  Stir it into pasta or rice, or slather it onto a hamburger or hot dog.  It’s also really tasty on toast.  I had it smeared on an English muffin for breakfast this morning.

But…today I invented the marmalade’s perfect partner.

This morning I was in the kitchen, and my self-rising cornmeal caught my eye, and got me thinking.  I wondered if I could make a really simple corn muffin along the lines of an old-fashioned pound cake.

Traditionally, a pound cake is made with a pound each of flour, butter, eggs, and sugar.  Purely as an experiment, I decided to try something similar.  One would be the magic number for my muffins.

Loneliest number corn muffins

corn muff 2

1 cup self-rising cornmeal

1-14.75 ounce can of creamed corn

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pinch salt

Preheat oven to 375.  Put 6 liners into a muffin tin.

Whisk together corn, egg, sugar, and olive oil.  Stir in flour and salt just until it is fully moistened.  Don’t worry about any lumps in the batter—they’ll cook in.

Put 1/3 cup batter into each liner.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until set and browned around the edges.  Spin pan 180 degrees halfway through baking.

Dress with tomato marmalade or spread with butter and drizzle on a little honey.

I still can’t quite believe how well this crazy endeavor came out.  I was fully prepared for anything up to and including explosions and/or the muffins becoming sentient, climbing out of the oven, and running amuck; a roving band of marauding baked goods.  I just didn’t really expect success.

These muffins would be a great recipe for a novice cook or a child.  They’re easy, and each ingredient plays an integral role in the finished product; which makes a practical lesson in the chemistry of baking.

You can also customize the muffins to your taste or the meal in which they’ll be served.  Think cheese, berries, or bacon.

I’m feeling pretty darn pleased with myself today.  I just hope I can hang on to this feeling the next time I screw up big time in the kitchen.

And it’s definitely coming; it’s only a matter of time.

Yeah, dinner’s gonna be a little late…

Thanks for your time.

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