A Home Plates recipe for Anytime Muffins omitted an ingredient: 5 teaspoons of baking powder should be added along with the flour. The correct version of the recipe is available online at www.mercurynews.com/home-plates.
Clearing leftovers out of the fridge is a marriage-strengthening exercise in our household.
One of us is driven a bit batty by the refrigerator's assortment of plastic containers containing a dab of this or a portion of that. And the other spouse is delighted when she searches for lunch and finds an old friend like Tuesday's casserole tucked behind the orange juice carton.
Occasionally, the leftover gourmand finds herself defending the freshness of a particularly toothsome morsel. While not quite willing to stretch the outer limits of accepted guidelines for spoilage, she is willing to recount the past four or five dinners to prove that we did indeed just enjoy the spicy turkey-kale-black bean tacos on Friday night.
She must be particularly vigilant on Sunday nights when the fridge cop, er, her loving spouse, decides the next morning's impending garbage pickup gives impetus to his need to tidy. She finds nothing sadder than a sink full of empty plasticware.
So, she can only imagine how he will feel about this week's recipe. Known as everlasting muffins or anytime muffins, this vintage bran muffin batter can hang around in the fridge for weeks. "My now-grown daughters loved these hot muffins for breakfast on school days, and it was a mainstay breakfast item when we had overnight guests," says Gayle Gleim, of Sunnyvale. "I don't know how many muffins it makes because I just bake six here, three there and 12 another time."
You'll find a few variations on the fridge bran muffin batter passed around. Some call for All-Bran cereal, while others Bran Buds. Ellen Calderone uses both in her recipe. Diane Rodriguez, of Concord, uses a box of Raisin Bran. "When my family was young, over 40 years ago, I would have a bowl of this muffin batter in my refrigerator to scoop and bake for a quick breakfast or after-school treat," Rodriguez says. Calderone finds the recipe handy for RV travel.
Gleim, Plates regular Debbie Westhafer Schoonmaker and Dorothy Kast sent slightly different versions of the same All-Bran-based muffin recipe. I've included Kast's version with this column because I like the addition of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom), vanilla, orange flavoring and grated orange rind. Now, I know some of you roll your eyes when you think you're going to have to buy an expensive spice or flavoring just for one recipe. Don't worry if you don't have, say, cardamom on hand. Most versions of this recipe aren't quite so souped up, and the recipe should make a nice tender muffin -- and a batter that keeps -- without the spices and flavorings.
Kast finds the batter keeps about two weeks with cranberries and walnuts folded into the batter. Westhafer Schoonmaker suggests adding raisins or cranberries and nuts when you bake the muffins; she says the batter can last up to six weeks refrigerated in a covered container.
I noticed baking times vary widely in these recipes. Kast bakes hers at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, while Gleim bakes at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. You'll have plenty of batter on hand to figure out what works best for you and your oven.
A reader double-checked with me after noticing one of the recent raisin cake recipes doesn't call for eggs. Although it's always a good idea to check for routine ingredients, in this case the recipe is correct as printed. Many times, the raisin cakes simply made use of ingredients on hand during times when families were hard-pressed. "If a family was to have an heirloom recipe, it would be the 'hard times' cake, sometimes called economy cake, my family enjoyed and younger generations still request over and over," Carol Query says. "This cake was in all of my mother's and aunts' and grandmothers' wartime recipe pamphlets."
As a girl, Query loved to look through those pamphlets, some of which dated to the Great Depression. "But I couldn't understand then, as well as now," she says, "how ingredients like raisins, sugar and spices were to be found in a 'hard times' cake. We had all the eggs and milk anyone would want."
Raisin cake fueled her hardworking father, Query says. "My dad would mix this cake up in the evening after dinner was finished just so he could have a sweet and hearty treat in his lunch the next day," she says. "He worked outdoors in northern Montana, and he worked off a lot of calories, especially in the cold winters."
Second helpings too
Constance Larsh reports in with another source for Barefoot Contessa frozen meals. Larsh found the meals at Raley's in San Pablo. "The two we have tried were really good," she says.