Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Farm Fresh - From Berries to Muffins

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit my friend's cute little farm out in Watsonville. Daniel and I got to ride a tractor, feed chickens, collect fresh eggs and pick blackberries off a bush! It's not your average sized bush either, it was a giant with many many berries ready for the picking. I had all these ideas running through my head - what will I make with all of these berries? We picked about 2 pounds worth and I finally had the chance to make some things - creme brulee and muffins. Yum yum :). I don't know what the berries tasted like before I put them into the mix but I'll say they are excellent ingredient for your every day dessert.

I also want to add that I now understand why blackberries (or any kind of berry) are so expensive in the market. I was poked by thorns left and right while picking these berries; there definitely isn't a way to mechanize this method of picking berries because it would only ruin the ripe berries. I'm guessing that the berry industry charges high rates because their workers have to work hard to pick all of these. The next time you have a berry, think about it! Also think about the idea of farm to table meals. I went to this awesome restaurant in Napa (Long Meadow Ranch) where they bring all of their home grown ingredients directly to your table in a magnificent dish. I felt like I was doing the same thing by picking these berries and bringing them directly home to eat. Oh how great it feels to know where your food is coming from!

Here are some fun pictures from the berry picking extravaganza:

Oh look how they hang

Colorful pink to brown colored eggs Yee-haw it's tractor riding!

My friend made a delicious Japanese donburi dish with eggs, mushrooms and onions over chicken katsu with the fresh eggs. I'm glad we didn't have to worry about consuming these eggs. All they eat are some corn seeds and fruit and they have plenty of room to move around and be clean and safe.

So on to the recipe. Thanks to Joy the Baker for posting a great recipe for muffins.

Blackberry Muffins - Yields about 8 small sized muffins

- 3 Tbsp of unsalted butter
- 1/6 cup of milk - I used 1% low fat milk
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tspn of vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
- 3/8 cup of sugar ( I mixed half white and brown sugar) - The measurements are weird because I cut everything in half but for you to imagine, it's half of 3/4 of a cup.
- 1/2 tspn of baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup of berries - black, blue or red. Your choice.

- Place your oven rack in the upper third part of your oven and preheat it to 375 degrees.
- Prepare your muffin pan with liners or spray it with canola oil.
- Melt the butter in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds. Make sure that it's not too hot and then start whisking in the milk, egg and vanilla until it is a milky smooth mixture.
- In another bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Slowly combine the wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Once combined, start folding in the berries.
- Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups ~ 8. Bake for about 20 minutes on the upper rack.
- After they turn golden brown, take out the muffins and let them cool for 15 minutes. After it has cooled down, remove the muffins from the pan. They should easily come out if you sprayed enough oil.
- Enjoy! They're so great warm :)

I really enjoyed this recipe because it combined something tangy with something bread-y. It's not that sweet and it's perfect as a very light snack. It's also beautiful in color (look at that purplish color!) I can't wait to enjoy this with some milk.


  1. Looks good! and I'm sooo jealous you guys got to ride a tractor!!