Returning home after vacation is always a bit of a shock. It's amazing how quickly one can get used to whiling away the days, making every decision based on desire and not responsibility. The husband and I returned to foggy, freezing weather, and, of course, work. We'd both developed a deep sense of indignity that we were expected to put on work clothes and report to offices when we had proven ourselves to be so good at applying sunscreen and ordering tropical, rum-laden drinks. Of course, this indignity was not only directed at no one, it was pointless. Work is a fact of life for most of us.
Returning home did have two things going for it, one being the other hungry dog, who enjoyed a week cavorting in Marin County with friends, and the other being cooking. Don't get me wrong, I love going out to eat, but after a week of no cooking, I start to get the itch.
Of course, our fridge and pantry were looking pretty pathetic, as I'd done such a good job of clearing things out before we left. Upon our return Monday evening, we immediately ensured we had the critical staples (coffee and beer) but left a big grocery run until this afternoon.
This morning, though, I was in the mood to bake. Although we had little to work with, we did have the core ingredients for corn muffins. I used a basic recipe from Ina Garten, which suggests you inject raspberry preserves into the muffin after they are baked. There's something about this I find a little gross. So, I whipped up the plain corn batter, which I knew to be sweet and rich, and unearthed the Bing cherries I'd pitted and frozen a few weeks ago.
Muffins always look really tidy when you pop them out of the pan, and even when you peel off the paper they hold their cute, compact little shape. But who can resist breaking into one immediately? For people who write cookbooks telling you to let things cool completely or even partially before eating them, I suggest they wake up and smell the, er, muffin. It's enough to have to wait for said baked good to get out of the oven. What am I, an idiot? I'm not going to stand around hungrily while my delicious little muffin drops in temperature. Hell, it's my kitchen.
Once the paper was off and the muffin busted open, things got messy, and delicious.
By the way, the frozen cherries worked out perfectly. It was great to have something on hand to brighten up some good but otherwise rather pedestrian corn muffins. The baked cherries had a deep, almost almondy flavor that made the muffins seem a little decadent, and you can't beat that beautiful purple color. I often make these muffins with blueberries or fresh raspberries, but after today, I think cherries might be the best choice of all.