The enchanted path of procrastination presents itself to us in many deceptive forms.
These lemon blueberry muffins turned out moist and sweet with just a tiny hint of lemon tanginess. They were a big win, and I’ve been wanting to give them props here for almost two weeks now.
But it just wasn’t meant to be.
I allowed myself to be distracted by many things… but three in particular.
Distraction Number One: I needed to watch Octopussy for what must have been at least the two hundredth time in my life. Many consider it to be one of the sillier Roger Moore 007 outings, but I quite enjoy it.
If you haven’t seen Octopussy yourself, please accept my recommendation. Maud Adams as the title character actually looks to be within an age range suitable for Moore (he was just over fifty at the time). Also, there’s a taut Sotheby’s auction scene near the film’s beginning as Bond drives up the bidding on a rare Fabergé egg, much to the consternation of villain Louis Jordan. Plus we get a pleasantly dreamy and sorely underrated theme song by Rita Coolidge, some great location footage of India, a train chase that cuts straight through a German forest, a murdered circus clown, and some nail-biting aerial footage to cap off the film’s climax.
Unfortunately, we also get camels doing double takes as Indian golf carts whizz through the air above their heads, the unfortunate creative choice to add a Tarzan yell as 007 swings between jungle vines while being tracked for extermination, and what is a sadly and embarrassingly obvious rubber octopus sucking on the face of a dead henchman. Uneven in tone to be sure, but overall, still a fun romp.
Distraction Number Two: Watching thirty episodes of the 1970s soap opera Ryan’s Hope on my DVR, currently airing at, I think, 5 am and 5:30am on SoapNet. I’m not really a fan of it in itself as a soap opera, although the dialogue and storytelling are both top-notch (witness Kate Mulgrew). But I do enjoy watching a company of stage-trained actors handle entire scenes in a single take as the director relentlessly re-locates his cameras to track their movements. This appreciation of directing I’ve picked up from being in the control room for GSN Live. There’s so much cutting in television today, it allows anyone to come across as a decent actor. But the members of this cast had to really know their stuff. Plus which, budget and time constraints were often responsible for the ABC network having to simply live with takes that were hysterically disappointing. Keep your eye on the portable bar in the foreground of the scene below, and then applaud the actors for managing (barely) to keep a straight face, as well as the poor stage hand who did his best to make sure all props found their appropriate homes… eventually.
Distraction Number Three: WORDS WITH FRIENDS, the insanely addictive crossword game currently available for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android. You may also know it as Scrabble, though the scoring tiles have been modified just enough to avoid legal action from Hasbro. Currently, I have seven games going. My win-to-loss ratio is about even, with MG and our GSN Live’s Creative Director, Cris routinely trouncing me, and victories only to be regularly had when I’m playing total strangers. The game has an option to locate a random player somewhere out there in the big wide world and rope them into a game with you. Am I playing a nine year old? An ex-boyfriend? Lindsay Lohan? Zsa Zsa Gabor’s tacky husband? There’s no way of knowing, but I’ve found that the mysterious general public tends to be easier to beat than people in my own real-life social circle. Aside from keeping me happily distanced from my laptop for a few days, do these three distractions have anything to do with these muffins? No, not really. But sometimes a recipe turns out brilliantly, and yet there’s little to no story behind them. I had a big old carton of blueberries, felt that I wasn’t using my muffin pans enough, and wanted to make something I could easily transport to the office and share with co-workers. So I made these muffins… and they were terrific. I’m sure they’d go perfectly with 007 movies, reruns of old soap operas and word games you’re only so-so at, or whatever your own top three distractions are in life.
Lemon Blueberry Muffins from Never Enough Thyme For the Muffins:
- 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tblsp. baking soda
- 1 ½ tsp. salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2/3 cup cooking oil
- 1 ½ cups blueberries
- 2 tsp. lemon zest, divided
For the topping:
- 4 tblsp. butter, melted
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ tsp. lemon zest, divided
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease the cups of a 12-cup muffin tin with butter, or use paper cup liners.
In a mixing bowl, sift the flour and then add the remaining dry ingredients. Stir to combine and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs lightly. Add the milk and cooking oil. Stir. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour all of the milk and egg mixture into the well. Stir as little as possible to moisten the flour. Set the batter aside to rest for a minute.
Combine the blueberries and 1 ½ teaspoons of the lemon zest in its own bowl. Fold the blueberries and lemon zest into the batter with a large spatula. Stir very gently and only enough to fully mix in the berries.
Spoon the batter into your muffin pan. Bake the muffins on a rack in the middle position of the oven for 20 minutes or until they are golden brown on top. Remove muffins and start prepping your topping.
Melt the butter in a small pan. Put the sugar and remaining ½ tsp. lemon zest in a small bowl. Mix the sugar and lemon zest together well. Remove muffins from the tin one at a time. Brush the top of each muffin with melted butter and then dip it in the sugar and lemon zest mixture. Place muffins on a rack to cool completely.