Quick breads to keep you going | Locavore Cooking | Indy Week
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Quick breads to keep you going 

In an old Canadian cookbook (Food That Really Schmecks, by Edna Staebler), there is a mandate about muffins that they must, like true scones, be eaten hot, right out of the oven.

In our world, such timing is not always possible, so baking ahead, freezing and reheating works as a good backup plan. When made with whole grains and minimum sugar, muffins for breakfast on the run can be as good for you as that bowl of granola or oatmeal in the morning, and a healthier afternoon pick-me-up than most things you can buy on a coffee break at work.

This is also the time of year for using up stored and frozen local produce while we await new crops to direct our menus. In my freezer I have blueberries, strawberries, applesauce and puréed winter squash; a friend gave me some dried apples from her very own trees. Why not turn some of these fruits into breakfast? The method and proportions are tried and true: You mix up a base of wet ingredients, including the fruit or winter squash for nutrition and moist texture; then fold in pre-sifted (or at least tossed together in advance) dry ingredients until just blended, and drop by serving-spoonfuls into greased muffins tins (or into paper or foil-lined muffin tins sprayed with a vegetable oil). If you want a relaxed weekend breakfast with these hot from the oven, mix wet and dry ingredients and store separate in the refrigerator, prepare muffin tins the night before and finish blending (with one eye open) in the morning. They can be in the oven before the coffee finishes brewing.

Tip: Lyon Farms sells last summer's blueberries, blackberries and strawberries frozen at the farmers' markets in Durham and Carrboro.

Half-Hour Apple Blueberry Muffins

1/2 cup non-instant rolled oats
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional—I leave it out when I want to serve the muffins dripping in butter and jam)
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey, turbinado or brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 cup applesauce or storage apples peeled, cored and pureed, or 1 cup cooked mashed pumpkin or winter squash
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, pecans or a combination

Sift together dry ingredients and set aside. In another bowl, or in a food processor, mix remaining ingredients. If using honey, measure it in same 1/2 cup as the oil (after measuring the oil) for accuracy and easy clean up. Add dry ingredients to wet and stir (or pulse) until just blended; do not beat or overmix. Spoon into prepared muffin tins and bake in preheated 350-degree oven until peaked and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before removing from tins. If freezing for later, store flat in a single layer in Ziploc bags. Makes 12 regular or 6 jumbo muffins.

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