You may recall the scene from A Christmas Story in which Ralphie’s mom finally sits down for her own dinner after serving the rest of the family, and then, just as she digs in, Ralphie and the Old Man ask for more food, at which point the narrator says, “My mother had not had a hot meal for herself in fifteen years.”
Sometimes that’s what I am thinking when trying to feed Luna, and sometimes even her Papa, particularly when he’s driving the rig.
Between the two of them, their appetites are voracious and I can hardly satiate them. I say that as a good thing: They love my food and I love to feed them. However, I am still crafting my camper kitchen cuisine. Space is limited, the oven is small and baking goods weigh a lot. Furthermore, the end products need storage. How to create good grab-food and feed all of us, while still maintaining an organized and efficient camper space without sweating us out are all things I am trying to balance still.
I look to the baked good.
Besides delicious in-season farm market snacks like sugar snap peas, berries and grape tomatoes or roadside cheese curds, my general strategy is to stuff their faces (and mine, too) with homemade goodies that I can create all at once. Usually I make and bake a day or two before a travel day, so that I can destroy and reestablish the small kitchen space in one go and Scot and Luna have things to eat in between meals and while on the road. Otherwise, I’d end up like Ralphie’s mother.
Here I present you with Scot’s current favorite muffin snack, my spicy corn muffins with cheese curds and fresh dill. Inspired by my love of a moist corn muffin, as well as local cheese curds and fresh, farm market dill, and in desperate need of an endurance snack that Scot can easily eat while we travel, I turned to my constant camper kitchen companions — corn meal, honey, dry buttermilk, eggs, sugar, flour — and to Jenn Segal, author of food blog Once Upon a Chef for a recipe base. I think Jenn’s cornbread muffin recipe is one of the best around as it is super moist and flavorful, and easy. Of course, I modified it, as I do with every recipe I “follow” to make it my own, but her measurements were a good place to start.
I hope that you make these. Sweet, spicy, savory and rich, they are so good and “handy.”
- Prep Time: 15m
- Cook Time: 35m
- Total Time: 45m
- Serves: 1 Hungry husband
- Yield: 12 muffins
- Category: Bread
- 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 1/4 cups flour, all purpose, unbleached
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup buttermilk (or whole milk or other high quality milk)
- 2 tablespoons honey (use 1 tablespoon if you like it less sweet)
- 3 large eggs
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
- 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (save your cob for stock!)
- 1/4 cup freshly chopped dill, or 1 heaping tablespoon dried dill
- 1/2 cup cheese curd bits (like the ones at the bottom of the bag), or larger sliced cheese curds, or really robust cheese shredded
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes -- a heaping teaspoon (optional, but highly recommended)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place paper muffin cups into a muffin pan and have a medium (large tablespoon) scoop with lever at the ready for dropping batter into muffin cups.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
- In a small bowl, or in a well in the middle of the dry ingredient bowl, mix buttermilk, honey and eggs. Melt and cool the butter, then incorporate with other wet ingredients.
- Drop into wet ingredients the corn, dill, cheese curds and red pepper flakes and stir to combine.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir just to incorporate them. As always, don't over mix the batter. I let the batter sit for a few minutes to let the ingredients get to know each other.
- Drop two heaping scoopfuls into each muffin cup. If you are using a camper over, I create a browning barrier by using an AirBake sheet pan or similar product and place it under the muffin tin while it bakes. If you don't have an AirBake sheet pan, use a regular sheet pan and line it with two layers of parchment to create buffer.
- Bake for 35 minutes. Do a clean toothpick muffin check at 30 minutes to see where they are headed, especially if you are using a camper over like I am.
- Let them cook for 5 - 10 minutes, then eat them.