There is an old Yiddish proverb that says, “Man plans and God laughs.” What this means is that the universe does not care what you want. You might think you have the perfect strategy for achieving your goals, but ultimately, fate sometimes intervenes and changes the plan.
This kind of cosmic force is anything but comforting to perfectionists like me. I am a planner by nature. I love making lists, planning ahead, knowing exactly what I’m going to do tomorrow, and having a clear end goal when I start a project. Some days, this goes well, and everything happens the way it’s supposed to. Other days… well, other days, it does not. That’s not always a bad thing, though. Sometimes, a change in plans, or even a mistake, has unexpectedly great results. Which brings us to the story of yesterday’s muffins.
As I mentioned last week, I like baking something every Sunday night. It’s a nice way to wind down after the weekend, and it helps to combat the Sunday Scaries. Plus, I like surprising my coworkers with something yummy on Monday morning. As I was looking for recipes last week, I found this one, for goat cheese & chive corn muffins, from A Cozy Kitchen. They sounded delicious, and like a nice, savory change of pace from the past few weeks of sweet baked goods. The recipe also seemed like it would be really easy to whip up, even while we were running around sightseeing with our guests all weekend. Hahaha - oh man, hubris is a helluva drug, isn’t it?
Saturday afternoon, we went to a Yankee game, because Dayna and Ron wanted to see a baseball game while they were in town (they don’t really have it in Israel), and the Mets were away in in Cleveland for the weekend, which just, ugh… I mean, I love baseball, and we had a great day, but I’m a born and bred Mets fan and a game in the Bronx just doesn’t bring me the same kind of joy. I stubbornly wore my orange and blue to the stadium (shockingly, I was not the only one), and fielded questions from several strangers who clearly thought I got lost on my way to the 7 train. The only way to cope with my new-found traitor status was, of course, to drink a beer the size of my face, which when combined with the surprisingly strong heat yesterday (hello spring, where did you come from?) left me perhaps a bit more tipsy than I realized.
After the game, Adam, Dayna and Ron decided to head downtown to do some more sightseeing while I decided to take my sunburned and inebriated self home. I think you see where this is going. I was baking while drunk.
I mixed all of my ingredients into a batter, greased my muffin tray, and got everything into the oven without issue. While the muffins were baking (and smelling delicious, I might add), I got to work on the dishes. It was at this point that I realized my truly rookie-level mistake. Somehow, I had pulled the ½ cup measure out of the cabinet and used that for my dry ingredients while my wet ingredients had been measured out accurately. I peeked at the tray in the oven - the muffins were already bubbling up over the tops of the tins. Well, this was enough to send me into a fit of hysterical laughter in my not-so-sober state, at which point I had to call my mother, because laughing to myself in my kitchen just felt kind of creepy.
I tried to compensate for the overly wet batter by leaving them in the oven for an extra five minutes, fearing that I would take them out and they’d still be corn muffin-flavored soup. Shockingly enough, when I finally removed them from the tray, the tops may not have been as golden or domed as I would have liked, but they were otherwise unscathed. The result of my mistake was actually a batch of incredibly light, airy muffins, which my coworkers happily ate this morning. No harm, no foul.
Experiences like this are really helpful for me. So often, I get upset with myself if a recipe doesn’t come out the way I expected it to, or a kitchen experiment goes awry. But it’s okay to make mistakes, in the kitchen and otherwise. Sometimes they turn out terribly, and you have to start over from scratch, but sometimes you get a pleasant surprise.
Drunken Goat Cheese Chive Corn Muffins
Makes 12 Standard Sized Muffins
- 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
- 0.5 cup cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea-salt
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled (it should still be slightly warm, otherwise it will start getting grainy)
- 4 ounces goat cheese, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons fresh chives, minced
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners and spray insides with non-stick spray.
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, combine the milk, melted butter, goat cheese and eggs.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir until just blended, then fold in the chives.
- Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each one almost to the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the tops are crisp and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly and remove from the pan.
Adapted from A Cozy Kitchen