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On Saturday my friend and I wandered into the north end of Central Park to spend an afternoon eating – while also staying cool, since everyone knows I’m cold-blooded and don’t do well in the heat. (I managed both swimmingly, thanks.) In preparation for the afternoon, I had been thinking about things that would pack well and would also be eaten easily – but were a (slight) step up from the usual fruit and cheese boards. Not that I have a problem with those, you know, but occasionally one must pay attention to the ravings of one’s doctor about why one’s cholesterol levels haven’t improved…
So I settled on the classic summertime combination of watermelon, feta, red onion and mint, and it worked nicely – even converting my friend, who claimed not to like watermelon. (Seriously? And I suppose you don’t like Saturdays either? Or Santa Claus?)
I didn’t consult a recipe, and if I can do it blind, then you can too. I just left a small red onion, thinly sliced, in a bath of red wine vinegar for a couple hours. Then I drained it, threw it in a bowl with about four cups of diced watermelon, most of a hunk of nice feta, chopped, and smothered it with chopped mint, salt, pepper, and a bit of balsamic vinegar. Delicious.
I made some sandwiches and mint iced tea with sliced lemons as well, nothing spectacular, but the highlight was really dessert: blueberry streusel muffins. I had managed to screw up the streusel part (I know, I know there are only three ingredients) and they were so incredibly buttery and delicious and…Oh. I hope my doctor doesn’t read this.
Blueberry Streusel Muffins
Adapted from this recipe, but don’t worry friends – the correct amount of butter required for the streusel is listed here. Makes about 24.
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. brown sugar (light if you have it, but the world doesn’t end if you only have dark)
1/2 stick butter, softened just slightly and cut into tiny pieces
2 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 sticks butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. half-and-half
3 c. (1 1/2 pints) fresh blueberries, stems removed
For the streusel: in a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Add the 1/2 stick of butter and combine the mixture with a fork until the topping resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place paper liners in muffin pans. In a separate medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in one egg in at a time, then add vanilla and half-and-half until combined. Add 1/3 of dry ingredients at a time and beat until just combined. With a spatula, evenly fold blueberries into batter.
Scoop batter into muffin pans and fill each cup about 3/4 full – don’t go to the top or they’ll spill over the sides. Sprinkle topping evenly over batter. Bake for 30ish minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
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