Confessions of a TV Food Show Addict

September 14, 2009 | By | Comments (0)

ButternutSQUASH

            While
some people spend the afternoon watching a riveting game of football or curl up on the
couch for a daily dose of Oprah, my dirty little secret is cooking shows. Baking,
cooking, entertaining, public television or cable – I watch them all, but my absolute favorite star is British chef
Jamie Oliver. He manages to be charming, informative, funny, and educational
all while chopping, dicing, or grabbing fresh veggies from his garden. His show
“Jamie at Home” focuses on one ingredient each week, and contains 2 or 3
recipes for that ingredient. The recipes are always innovative, interesting, and
delicious and I was spellbound when Jamie made butternut squash muffins on a
recent butternut squash episode. Quick, easy, and healthy – perfect for a snack,
or to satisfy a kid’s sweet tooth (they’ll just think it’s a cupcake). And it’s
a great way to use butternut squash, which is in season now through winter. Make
the muffins with or without the frosting (“frosty top” in Jamie speak); they’re
fabulous either way. (And check out Jamie’s show; it runs on the Food Network.)

 

Butternut Squash Muffins with a
Frosty Top

 

14 ounces butternut squash, skin
on, deseeded and roughly chopped

2 1/4 cups light soft brown sugar

4 large free-range or organic eggs

Sea salt

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour,
unsifted

2 heaping teaspoons baking powder

Handful of walnuts, chopped

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the Frosted Cream Topping:

1 clementine, zested

1 lemon, zested

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/2 cup sour cream

2 heaping tablespoons icing
(confectioner’s) sugar, sifted

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
and seeds scraped out

Lavender flowers or rose petals,
optional

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line your muffin tins with paper cups.

Whiz the squash in a food processor
until finely chopped. Add the sugar, and crack in the eggs. Add a pinch of
salt, the flour, baking powder, walnuts, cinnamon and olive oil and whiz
together until well beaten. You may need to pause the machine at some point to
scrape the mix down the sides with a rubber spatula. Try not to overdo it with
the mixing – you want to just combine everything and no more.

Fill the paper cups with the muffin
mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Check to see whether
they are cooked properly by sticking a wooden skewer or a knife right into one
of the muffins – if it comes out clean, they're done. If it's a bit sticky, pop
them back into the oven for a little longer. Remove from the oven and leave the
muffins to cool on a wire rack.

As soon as the muffins are in the
oven, make your runny frosted topping. Place most of the clementine zest, all
the lemon zest and the lemon juice in a bowl. Add the sour cream, icing sugar
and vanilla seeds and mix well. Taste and have a think about it – adjust the
amount of lemon juice or icing sugar to balance the sweet and sour. Put into the
fridge until your muffins have cooled down, then spoon the topping onto the
muffins.

Serve on a lovely plate (on a cake
stand if you're feeling elegant, or on a rustic slab if you're more of a
hunter-gatherer type!), with the rest of the clementine zest sprinkled over.
For an interesting flavor and look, a few dried lavender flowers or rose petals
are fantastic.

Makes 12 muffins

Note: Unfrosted muffins freeze
well; just wrap them in plastic wrap and stick them in a freezer bag for up to
one month.

 

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