A while back I had written about my quest to find more local food sources. While this was a surprisingly big struggle when I lived in the country, it's easier now here in Waterloo. This area has an incredible concentration of local food sources, including many CSAs, farmers' markets, and (possibly my favourite) a local buying club, Bailey's. What I love about Bailey's is that it makes it possible to find local sources of things that aren't commonly available from the market or a CSA--flour, nuts, crackers, you name it.
Anyway, now that I have access to an abundance of local foods, I'm making a more concerted effort to eat what's in season (with some attempts at preservation for the winter, of course). And I know I'm not the only person around trying to do that. So I thought I'd make some time once in a while to write up some recipes and ideas I have in my quest to eat mostly local, seasonal food. (It should be noted--I am not eating 100% local, or any strict percentage. I still love coffee, chocolate, olive oil, citrus, etc. So my recipes won't necessarily be "100 mile", but they will always include local ingredients.)
First up--the squash muffins I made yesterday. My inspiration was a pumpkin bread recipe from Alton Brown, which I made a few weeks ago. It was delicious, but it didn't really seem healthy enough for breakfast. I felt like I could up the healthiness while still preserving flavor--and using a different gourd. Here's what I came up with:
1 C Brown Sugar
3/4 C Pear Sauce (or Apple Sauce. I had pear sauce cooking anyway, so I used that!)
1 t vanilla
2 T maple syrup
4 C shredded squash (I used 2 acorn squashes & 1 sweet dumpling. Shredding them by hand is a bit of a pain--I peeled them with a veggie peeler and then shredded in my food processor)
1 C whole wheat flour
1 C white flour
2 t cinnamon
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1. Preheat oven to 325 F and prep your muffin tin
2. Beat brown sugar, pear (apple) sauce, eggs, vanilla, and maple syrup until smooth. Stir in squash.
3. Gradually stir in dry ingredients until just combined. (proper bakers would sift them all together. I never do. Do as you like!)
4. Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full and make 25-30 minutes, until golden brown on top. Move to a cooling rack and let rest until cool to the touch.
A few notes:
* This made 21 muffins for me, and not huge ones. However, my baking powder and baking soda are old (I learned yesterday that they start to lose effectiveness after 6 months and really become ineffective after 10. This was news to me!). If you have fresh, you'll probably get better rise.
* I took my muffins out close to 30 minutes into baking, and they were still quite soft. I think this is because of the pear sauce--the interior of the muffin has an almost custardy texture. I think it's delicious, but felt you should know.
Here's another look--as you can see, they didn't rise much: