Corn Muffins From Homemade Mix!

Gluten Free corn muffins from a homemade mix - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

Congratulations! You have a nice big bowl of corn muffin mix, and are wondering what to do with it! (Well – maybe you don’t. In fact, you’re probably sensibly waiting for this post before you make it. Work with me, here…)

Corn muffin mix, reaedy to use - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

We’re going to keep using the scale. I know that feels like more fuss, when you’re not used to it, but it is so much easier than fooling around with cups once you are. Faster, less clean up, less hassle all around.

First, set your oven to preheat to 425°, and grease your muffin tin.

Then take the scale, and a bowl. Or, well, I usually actually use a quart measuring pitcher – it’s a good size, and it is easy to pour the batter into the pan from it. I used a bowl here, though, for the pictures, so the markings would not confuse anyone. And these are the amounts for 6 muffins – it doubles easily if you want a dozen.

Adding milk to egg to make muffins - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

Break an egg into the bowl, beat it with a fork until it is well mixed. Then put the bowl on your scale (and you can leave the fork in, if you want, as long as you remember to keep it in the bowl while weighing… I do that, because then I don’t need to find a place to put a messy fork.) Put the scale on, make sure it is set to metric (kg, not lb,) and hit Tare or Zero or whatever your scale calls the button that brings it to 0.

Your magic number here is 225. Pour in 225 grams of milk. I know we’re not used to thinking of milk by weight, but this way you don’t need to wash a measuring cup… Use the fork to beat the milk into the egg, until it is all completely blended.

Adding corn muffin mix to wet ingredients - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

Now hit Tare again, so your bowl, egg, milk (and fork) all register as 0. Then use a scoop to add 225 grams of corn muffin mix to the liquid in the bowl. (I collect small scoops from protein powder and dry milk, small measuring cups…  I keep them in containers of flour or mix, and use them to scoop the flour out. It is neater and safer than pouring – I don’t suddenly have a clump of Too Much falling into my bowl – and I don’t have to keep washing measuring cups, since the scoop just stays in the canister.) Once you add the mix to the liquid, use the fork to stir until smooth. We are used to the warning to not overbeat muffin batter, but that is because of the concern about awakening the gluten and making the muffins tough, and that’s not an issue, here. I’ve found, though, that a pretty quick stir makes it smooth, and then it is easier to pour.

Muffin tins, filled and dready to bake - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

Now you can put the scale away. Pour the batter into your greased muffin tin, put it into the oven, and bake at 425° for 20 minutes.

Now, at least the first few times you do this, you’ll want to check for doneness – use a sharp knife to pierce a muffin and make sure it comes out clean. Ovens do vary in temperature, even the humidity of your kitchen (and therefore your cornmeal) can affect timing. I have found this to be a very forgiving recipe, though – I’ve varied the amount of milk several times, and while I think this comes out best, slight fluctuations have still worked.

When you take the pan from the oven, set it on a heat resistant surface, and (ideally) let it rest five minutes before removing the muffins. They contract slightly as they cool, which has two advantages – it’s easier to get them out of the pan, and they’re firmer and less likely to tear and crumble. No, I don’t always give them the resting period – but they really do come out better when I do…  Don’t leave them more than 10 minutes in the pan, though, or they start to become harder to remove.

Corn muffins, fresh out of the oven! www.inhabitedkitchen.com

Now, a glance behind the scenes – I’m going to tell you the scientific way in which I reached the milk measurement. I started out with a volume measure – a cup of milk. When I was working with  other flours, I found that was too wet, and I went down to 3/4 cup. I kind of went back and forth with the corn muffins – 3/4 cup of milk was a bit dry…  but I was also trying the conversion to weight.

Then one day I read the wrong line, and put in the same amount of milk as I used of mix. And got the nicest muffins I’d made yet  – not too dry, nice rise… and you know, that’s easy to remember, too!

I’m telling you this for two reasons. One – you should know that mistakes serendipity happens… The other is that I know some of you will still want to use volume measurements when you actually make the muffins… and in that case, use 1 3/4 c of the mix, and a scant cup of milk. I would beat the egg in a measuring cup and add enough milk to bring it to 1 cup.

Mix pacjaged for individual use - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

An option with the mix – one that may make a lot of sense in some families – is to make it and go right ahead and divide it into 6 zip bags (or 3, for that matter, if you usually make a dozen muffins.) And write the recipe on the zip bag. That way, anyone in the family who can light the oven can go ahead and make them. Then you can leave a note, or call when you leave work (if you are delayed) and say “Start the muffins, and take the chili out of the freezer” so that dinner isn’t late, but you’re not too rushed.

And in that circumstance, the volume measurement might make sense, especially if you are enlisting someone who isn’t used to measuring weight in the kitchen – your spouse, your mom staying with you, whoever.

Individual packaging, and using volume measurements, will also be an easy way to ensure that you can get a whole grain, gluten free bread if you travel and stay with family or friends, who might not have a scale. Ask to use the kitchen, bring a bag or two of muffin mix in your suitcase, buy disposable muffin tins (I wouldn’t normally use them, but in this case, it’s the easiest way to avoid cross contamination) or bring your own – and be prepared to share! (“No, I don’t feel deprived – why would I feel deprived? Yes, of course you may have a muffin!”)

Homemade gluten free corn muffins - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

If you’re teaching a kid to cook, you may want to make them together a time or two, first. Honestly, the way I learned to bake was using mixes and slice and bake cookies – because I could do that without my mom looking over my shoulder when I was 12. (Once she was confident that I could manage the kitchen, and was careful…) Then I got bored and graduated to baking from scratch – but by then, I knew how to tell if something was cooked through and how to add dry ingredients to wet,  I could measure, I learned a few steps at a time. Muffins are a nice quick-reward place to start – and to talk about the reasons you are making the mix together, instead of buying a box…

You may not have known there were that many reasons to make a muffin mix – I didn’t, when I started making it! But it really is very convenient, and solves several problems…  And the muffins are good! As I said when I first wrote about the original recipe – these are not the sugar and fat filled almost-cupcakes the local coffee shop gives you. They are, indeed, a quick bread – which add a spark to any meal.

Have a hot muffin!

Gluten Free Corn Muffin, made from a homemade mix, right out of the oven! www.inhabitedkitchen.com

Corn Muffins From Homemade Mix!

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 6 muffins

Corn Muffins From Homemade Mix!

Gluten Free corn muffins from homemade mix - quick, easy and convenient. Make a mix, and be able to throw together whole grain, all corn, gluten free corn muffins in the time it takes the oven to heat.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Beat the egg in a bowl. Add milk,and beat it in.
  3. Add [corn muffin mix|http://www.inhabitedkitchen.com/2015/02/homemade-corn-muffin-mix/} and stir it in well.
  4. Pour batter into greased 6 muffin tin. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes.
  5. Let rest in pan for 5 minutes before removing, to make them easier to remove.
http://www.inhabitedkitchen.com/2015/03/corn-muffins-homemade-mix/

Homemade Corn Muffin Mix

Gluten Free Corn Muffins made from a homemade mix - quick and easy, tender and delicious - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

Last Spring, when I had the first indication that gluten might present a problem for me, my first challenge was to change my breakfast. I really hadn’t eaten very much bread – even my excellent homemade whole wheat bread – for years, but I ate some form of oatmeal (which notoriously has a high level of cross contamination) almost every morning – and the days I didn’t, I ate bread. I’d had some thoughts about a wheat free corn muffin, so I pursued that – and came up with a tender and delicious muffin that felt like a treat, rather than deprivation. (And a series of symptoms magically vanished over the next two weeks… so I knew I was on the right track.)

Well, I’ve been eating gluten free corn muffins ever since. They’re a treat at breakfast, they’re a good quick bread with a soup or salad lunch, they’re good to tuck into a carried lunch, they are just very useful. I’ve tried a few other version, but am not (yet) as happy with them – you know, there is a reason corn muffins have been a classic of American cooking! They were always my favorite…

Gluten Free Corn Muffins from homemade mix - quick and easy, tender and delicious - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

I missed using a mix, though. That was almost the only mix I continued to use until about 10 years ago – largely because it made just six, which was a good number for me when I was single (my recipes all seemed to make 12 – or even 18!) but also partly for convenience. I mean, muffins are really easy, but if I make them before I’m really awake…  and actually, washing all the measuring cups was even more a nuisance than assembling the recipe. (Rich really likes getting up to a pot of coffee and a plate of hot muffins. He’s less thrilled by the sink full of the liquid measuring cup for the milk, and the dry one for the cornmeal, and the one for the masa, and all the measuring spoons, and the bowl, and the baking tin… Cutting that down was worthwhile.)

So, all right – I developed my own gluten free corn muffin mix. And I do it all by weight, now – so when I bake them, I only use the bowl, the fork, and the muffin tin itself. Not bad. I’ve also continued to tinker a bit with the recipe…  nothing major, but you’ll see a few slight changes.

Weighing cornmeal - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

I’m writing this in two posts – one for the actual mix recipe, and, next Monday, baking the muffins from it. (I started it as one, but it got unwieldy.) I usually make muffins in batches of six – that’s plenty for two of us, and the tin fits in the countertop oven, which is less fuss than heating the big one. I’ve doubled it to make a dozen (using the regular oven) with no problem. This is enough mix for six batches of six  muffins each… which is as much as I want to make room for. Any mix that isn’t going to be used in about a week should be refrigerated – once the oil and the cornmeal combine, they can start going rancid more quickly. I usually keep about a third out (since I use it often) and put the rest in a big zipper bag in the refrigerator, refilling my container when it is empty.

First I get out the biggest bowl I have. I can do this in the largest one in my Pyrex set – but it gets crowded and, with all the stirring, I sometimes splash some of the cornmeal out and make a mess. If you don’t have a very big one, I will give options as we go.

Dry ingredients for corn muffin mix in bowl -  www.inhabitedkitchen.com

I put  the bowl on my scale, and put into it 900 grams of corn meal. Now – corn meal comes in several sized packages – most of the time I weigh out that amount. But sometimes I get a two pound package – and that is 907 grams, so I just put the whole package in. Trust me, 7 grams of cornmeal over 36 muffins is not going to make any difference… make it easy.

Then I add in 240 grams of masa harina. In my original post I explained why this improves the texture, and gives a nice tender crumb. I have since learned that the amount of egg I use helps that, also – but the masa harina is still a real factor. If you cannot get it, though, go ahead and use regular cornmeal – they’ll still taste good, just be crumbly and coarse. I think it would be worth it to locate a Hispanic store or order some online. And if I use too much of it, I get muffins that are heavy and a bit soggy…  this seems to be the best proportion.

After that, I add 30 grams of baking powder, and 20 grams of salt. I take a big balloon whisk and use it to stir everything together well. (One advantage to using yellow cornmeal here is that, if you stir until the color is even, you know it is well mixed… but use your own preference.)

Dry ingredients for corn muffins, mixed well - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

Then I add oil. Now, I have used butter, and cut it in – which is a bit more fuss. It does give a very slightly richer flavor, but I found there wasn’t as much  flavor difference as I’d expected. And that really should be refrigerated… so now I generally just use oil. I used canola oil, here, use your preference, but you probably want a mild tasting one.

Mixing oil into dry ingredients for corn muffin mix - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

There are two ways you can do this. Here, I just poured it gradually over the mixture, a little at a time, and whisked it in until it was evenly distributed (which did take some time and effort.) I used the whisk to break up lumps, and then kept stirring. The other option, which I strongly recommend if you are cutting in cold butter or if you do not  have a very large bowl, is to use a food processor. It doesn’t have to be big – I have used my mini chop successfully. I put a cup or so (more with a larger processor) of the corn meal mixture into the processor, add all the oil or fat, and whir until it is all distributed evenly. Then mix that into the larger container – you still need to mix well, but you don’t have trouble with clumping.

And there you are. Enough mix to make six batches of six gluten free corn muffins each – or three dozen right now to bring to a potluck (I’d mix that in 2-3 batches, myself) – or anything in between. I actually used an earlier version to make the cornbread for stuffing I made last Thanksgiving. (I made entirely unsuccessful dumplings with it, too  – I’ll let you know when/if they work!) and I’ve played with a few other concepts. I really expect this to become a staple in my kitchen. Corn seems to work well for me (though I know it doesn’t for everyone) and it is both readily available and inexpensive – both really useful features. (No – eating gluten free does not have to cost an arm and a leg.. Concentrate on foods that don’t have gluten to begin with. And – it’s easier if you cook from scratch – which I was doing already! Stay with me – I have a whole blog about doing just that…)

Corn muffin mix, reaedy to use - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

And – interestingly – when I wrote last May, I was careful not to say Gluten Free because the masa harina didn’t say so (and I was just learning, and being careful, though it was working for me.) Well – the same package now does say that it is gluten free! It is getting easier to get the information.

In the next post, I’ll give you the muffin recipe. Assemble it while the oven heats (and the coffee drips) using only the bowl and a fork. Bake it in 20 minutes. Serve to great acclaim!

Homemade Corn Muffin Mix

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: enough mix to make 3 dozen muffins

Homemade Corn Muffin Mix

Homemade gluten free corn muffin mix - for quick and easy, tender and delicious corn muffins whenever you want them!

Ingredients

  • 900 g corn meal
  • 240 g masa harina
  • 30 g baking powder
  • 20 g salt
  • 170 g oil

Instructions

  1. Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Use a whisk to blend them very thoroughly.
  2. Drizzle the oil over the mixture, a little at a time, whisking in between. Continue until it is all blended in, without any lumps.
  3. Put away for use. Refrigerate any that will not be used within a few days.
http://www.inhabitedkitchen.com/2015/02/homemade-corn-muffin-mix/

WIAW 53

A daay of meals in February - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

And another day of food…

It’s cold out there! but, at the same time, I’m starting to tire of the steady diet of heavy, warming dishes, and want a little something – brighter. So it’s time to play with winter salads, again… I’ve been trying carrot slaw, for a change. And otherwise, the theme for the day was Fast and Easy (and sort of mindless…)

Muffins, protein shake, and coffee - quick breakfast. www.inhabitedkitchen.com

Breakfast, first. A protein shake, and muffins. The shake, this time, was simple – milk and yogurt, a little orange juice, and protein powder… Sometime I add more fruit, but this is the basic. And I’m finally writing up my muffin mix for you all – it makes them so much easier!

Tomato soup and cheesy eggs - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

Lunch was tomato soup – we ate a lot of tomato soup last week, and probably will continue to, we liked it – with cheesy eggs, served over tortillas. If you think you’ve seen this before, without the soup, for breakfast, you’re right… it is a good really fast and mindless meal. And we all need some of them! (This was the test to see if the soup reheats well. It does…)

Dinner was… well, I was a bit vague that evening (I really wish this weather would settle!) I believe this was leftovers with lentils and peas added to stretch it, served over rice. And I’m not sure why the carrot salad came out neon in every picture… doesn’t it look scary? It really wasn’t that bright… but I wasn’t tinkering with pictures, by then, I just grabbed a snapshot.

Leftovers and salad - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

Jenn is still taking a break from the WIAW party – but there are plans (she posts) for a blog hop, to make it easier on her.  We’ll be able to share again, but the workload of moderation will be spread out. Good for her, I say – setting boundaries! Meanwhile, I eat my neon carrots…

 

Almost Instant Tomato Soup

 

Almost Instant Cream of Tomato Soup - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

Tomato soup…  It was up there, in my childhood, with chicken noodle soup as something that surely everyone ate… Tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. Tomato soup served in a mug to sip along with macaroni and cheese (red can, blue box, right?) Tomato soup with crackers for a touchy tummy, when you were just starting to get better. And sometimes your mom filled the empty can with milk, instead of water, and you had – wait for it – cream of tomato soup! Right?

Almost Instant Tomato Soup -  with a cheese sandwich as a lunch classic - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

And it is one of the foods many of us are no longer eating, as we look more dubiously at the ingredients list, or worry about cross contamination, or… But we miss both the warm rich comfort and the convenience. It was so versatile! You could fill a thermos, and give a packed lunch a little more warmth and staying power (and a serving of vegetables.)  You could serve a cup of soup as a first course at dinner, and feel quite elegant. And all this with no fuss! Heat and eat!

Well… this is almost as easy. Almost as fast. Almost instant tomato soup, in fact… And you control the ingredients, and can vary them to taste. And all you have to do is stir them in, in the correct order.

Combine, Heat and Eat - Almost Instant Tomato Soup - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

Now – the order does matter. It sounds silly – this is one of the easiest recipes I’m giving you, but it took me several versions before I was happy with it. The reason is that this is Cream of Tomato Soup  – and the acid in the tomatoes curdles the milk if you don’t get it just right… (Fresh tomatoes are less acidic than canned – but this is a winter soup, made with canned tomatoes, because that’s what is available.) Each version tasted good, mind you – but a couple looked funny… I put everything in the pot together, and it totally curdled. (Too bad, I was hoping that would work!) I made a white sauce and added tomatoes (which is essentially what my old recipes call for.) Better but grainy. Third time was the winner.

Seasoned and Thickened crushed tomatoes - almost soup! www.inhabitedkitchen.com

In the version that worked best, I took a can of crushed tomatoes and put them in a pot. (I believe that’s called passata, in the UK?) I chose to season it with 1 teaspoon of dried basil and half a teaspoon of dried oregano – you can vary that, if you wish. Then I added 2 roux cubes – you can use the original or the gluten free, whichever you want or need (or have…)  Put the pot over medium heat, and stir frequently. The roux gradually melts off the cubes and blends gently – without lumping – into the tomato. As it comes to a boil, it will thicken quite a bit – start stirring constantly, at this point. You get that molten lava effect, and it will spit (I left the spatter on the stove in the picture so you remember to watch for that!) Stirring minimizes spitting, but stand back. (You, of course, don’t have to stop stirring and take pictures – so don’t.)

Stirring milk into Almost Instant Cream of Tomato Soup - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

Once it is thick, lower the heat, pour in the milk, and stir it well. Now, at this point, you may have a moment when it looks as if the milk is starting to curdle – don’t worry. I found it really smoothed out as I stirred and it heated. Continue stirring as it heats. When it was ready to serve, I added a dash of Tabasco – it is made with vinegar, so again, even that dash could contribute to curdling earlier. Timing is everything.

And serve.

You can vary the seasoning to your taste. (I might add a little precooked garlic, another time.) You can use this as a base and add some more vegetables – leftovers, frozen peas – to make it more filling. (It’s really too thick to add more than that.) Really, though – as we’ve eaten a lot of this in the last two weeks – we like it as the side dish that makes the meal feel complete. If I were packing lunches right now I’d carry it in a sealed travel mug, to drink along with my salad or sandwich – I’ll be doing that in a month or so, when I start eating out in parks, again, and may still want a little warmth to my lunch!

Almost Instant Cream of Tomato Soup, with a cheese sandwich, for a classic lunch - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

Shared at Meatless Mondays,  Gluten Free Wednesdays , Meatless Lenten Recipes , Gluten Free Fridays and

Link up your recipe of the week

 

Almost Instant Tomato Soup

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Almost Instant Tomato Soup

Do you miss the convenience of canned tomato soup, even as you want better control of what you eat? Try this quick, easy, almost instant tomato soup!

Ingredients

  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 2 roux cubes gluten free or original
  • 2 c milk
  • dash Tabasco (or other hot sauce, to taste)

Instructions

  1. Place tomatoes, herbs, and roux cubes in a saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the cubes are dissolved and it starts to simmer. Then stir constantly until the tomatoes thicken.
  2. Lower the heat. Add the milk, while stirring. Continue stirring until the soup reaches serving temperature.
  3. Add hot sauce to taste, if desired.
http://www.inhabitedkitchen.com/2015/02/almost-instant-tomato-soup/

Orange Spiced Pork Chops

Spiced orange pork chops - spiced and braised in OJ for a sweet and savory treat. www.inhabitedkitchen.com

Orange Spiced Pork Chops is another recipe I learned from my mother when I started to cook, but have varied enough over the years that it is now a new recipe. The original was sweeter, and a little blander, and she used a jar of Spanish paprika that sat in the fridge for years and added color, more than flavor. (She kept it purely to add color… she, like most people we knew, considered paprika a garnish, rather than a spice, when I was a child. It’s been nice to see that change – and see more kinds of paprika that contribute real flavor become readily available.)  For years I skipped the spice rub altogether (because it didn’t add anything, right??) but now I’ve added it back in – with better, more flavorful spice. Continue reading