Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Compost Muffins

Yesterday, just as I was leaving work Brett called me.  He reported on his activities for the day, including giving a bin full of compost to our neighbor for her garden.  I had planned to use that compost for my summer garden (it was still a few months away from being "done").  Brett asked how much I needed for my garden and said he would get me back that much. 

Those of you who have been following my blog for awhile know that we compost our horse manure.  We have a series of four compost bins and we turn them down the line, and when they reach the last bin (a journey of 4-6 months) I have perfect compost for the garden. 

About a month ago, Brett gave the finished compost in the last bin (and all the rest) to a different neighbor.  I wasn't happy and he offered to go retrieve it.  I told him that wasn't necessary and that there would be a new batch usable by the time I needed it for my garden.  As of yesterday, we had two bins of compost: one that was about a month old and had been turned once and another of fresh manure.  You guessed, he gave the one month old pile to the neighbor and all we had left was fresh.  The neighbor didn't ask for the compost -- Brett offered it to her so I am in no way upset with the neighbor.  I love supporting her garden.  She is English and she has the most amazing flower gardens.  I like to think that our compost is a contributing factor.

As I was driving home, I realized that the small scoops Brett had reserved for me wouldn't be large enough to compost further.  You need critical mass (and moisture and air) to create the heat that breaks down the manure.  So, I asked him to bring back all the compost. 

He was angry.  I was angry.  It was pretty quiet in the Aspen Meadows great room last night. 

This morning, we woke to freezing temperatures and 50 mph winds.  After breakfast, I headed over to another neighbor's house for a haircut.  Brett was at the barn -- tacking up Flash.  When he is upset he does stupid macho things.  I asked him to please not ride in the high freezing wind but had no expectation of him heeding my request.  Thankfully, he didn't ride. 

After lunch, he hooked up his dump trailer to the truck and went over to retrieve the compost.  He couldn't use his tractor to load it as the tractor would have destroyed the ground where the compost was piled.  He had to load it into the trailer by hand.  And it was a lot.  He wouldn't let me help. 

So I made muffins.  Blackberry, Lemon and Thyme muffins.

First I gathered the ingredients for the crumble topping:
1 cup cake flour
 1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
1/2 tsp each baking powder & kosher salt
 3 Tblsp chilled unsalted butter
1 egg yolk

After the crumble was mixed, it went into the fridge to cool for an hour.  
 The muffins:
A ton of ingredients:
1 cup each regular & cake flour
1 tsp baking powder & 3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
1 1/2 cups blackberries & 1 tsp fresh thyme

I didn't have fresh blackberries so I thawed and drained frozen ones.

I make my own vanilla: vodka plus vanilla beans.  Let sit for a month or so.  

I have a truckload of lemons at the moment.  When my daughter, Camille, came up last weekend she brought a big bag from her best friend's tree.  I've been making lemonade like its going out of style.

Back to the muffins:

Mix the dry ingredients and set aside

Cream the butter for a couple minutes.  Add the sugar and cream some more.
Whisk the eggs and vanilla together.  Add them to the butter mixture slowly, while beating.
Whisk the buttermilk and lemon zest together.  Add them while beating.
Add dry ingredients and mix to blend.  Do not over mix.

Toss the blackberries with a couple tablespoons of flour and then fold them into the batter.

Spoon the batter into the pans and top with crumble.

I overfilled the muffin cups so they have platters for tops.

But they were tasty.

I took one down to Brett when they came out of the oven.  He took a break from unhitching his trailer to eat it.  And I got a kiss. 

Maybe it won't be so quiet in the great room tonight.


  1. I had a neighbor who was in the habit of helping herself to my bird of paradise flowers, as the house had been empty a while before we moved in. I ended up taping little red labels to each flower: "Please Leave". It worked.
    It sounds as though you need to create a big sign. We could have a contest to find the best phraseology:) actually "Compost Muffins?" would be precise and obscure at the same time. He'd surely know what it meant.

  2. I share my composted manure, but the oldest, crumbliest, best stuff is MINE, MINE, MINE!! ;)

  3. doncha just love those tiffs that result in silence on both sides!? ugh!

  4. I like the tops of muffins best - those are perfect.

  5. Ain't life grand? Brett was just being generous. You would need a couple of dump trucks to get rid of all the manure here. I'm drooling over the muffins and fresh lemonade.
    Good news that there will be conversation in the great room tonight. You two are something!!!

  6. you know, Brett sounds a lot like my husband- generous and helpful. It's terrific and well meaning and can result in us not getting what we want sometimes. :)

    I may need to go stick a sign on my manure pile- but since we started it in winter I don't think it will be ready to be used until late summer.

  7. Awwww a muffin and a kiss - all is well again in the Meadows. Those muffins look to die for and platter tops are the BEST!

  8. You guys are so my heroes :) Love you both!

  9. I love this: 'When he is upset he does stupid macho things." Boy, that rang a bell :o) Glad the muffins did the trick...


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