99 ¢ Blueberries @The Social Safeway = The Best Darn Blueberry Muffins to Date

This one’s a ‘Chefski original

In keeping with my interest in movies, I recently finished writing a paper on Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker, where I focused on her film’s emphasis on the dangers of “physical and psychic” blindness. In one of my favorite scenes, the protagonist returns home only to be faced with his inability to readjust to civilian life. His discomfort is revealed masterfully when his wife casually asks him to “grab some cereal,” and all he can do is uncomfortably scan the aisle, which is filled to capacity, before his irritation draws him to whatever box is within reach. Consumerism at its worst: too much choice where it doesn’t matter. 

So there, I proved to you that I am a critical thinker and that I despise excess, which will hopefully make what I’m about to say next go down a little easier.

You have got to see the new Safeway that opened up last week. They’ve got organic and conventional produce, a fancy climate-controlled wine cellar, a Starbucks, a pizza station, gelato and ice cream station, and they make sandwiches just like at the Wawa. Not only is it as beautiful as the nicest Whole Foods you’ve ever been to (and has the normal brands WF thinks itself too good to carry); it is the first supermarket in the entire District built to LEED standards (i.e. entirely sustainable). I dig that. I really do.

Of course, I speak from the perspective of someone who, back in NYC, lived in a ‘hood where edible produce within a walkable distance was scarce, and frozen blueberries were near-impossible to find. Given that, just imagine my delight on opening night when I discovered that fresh blueberries were going for 99 ¢! Yes, it’s a big deal! They’re usually closer to four bucks a pop (and by “pop” I mean pack). If that had or has been in your past, I think you’ll dig this place too.

Or if you like shiny, new things. Or if you can admire and respect a business that clearly still believes that “the customer is always right.” And again, coming from a place where few people seemed particularly happy to have jobs — even as grocery baggers — it is refreshing to enter a store where everyone knows the rules of the game: you make your customers happy, they will buy more.

As my high school Economics teacher used to say: Build it and they will come*. They built it. I went. I got some blueberries. And I think I finally found the muffin recipe I have been searching for.  
* I wish I could remember who he was quoting.

By George! I think we’ve got it! Blueberry Muffins
Adapted from The Joy of Baking 

Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain yogurt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
4 oz apple sauce (an individual container… I used this instead of the 1/4 cup canola oil the recipe calls for)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen — don’t thaw)
 The blood blueberry is the life!

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place rack in center of oven, and lightly grease your muffin tin.
2. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the egg, yogurt, apple sauce (or oil) and vanilla extract. 
3. In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. 
4. Scoop 1 Tablespoon of your dry ingredients and toss it around with your blueberries.
5. Using a rubber spatula, fold your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients and stir until just combined. 
6. Gently fold in the blueberries — don’t overmix or the berries will sink to the bottom (and your batter won’t rise… you want to keep your baking soda’s rising power for the oven). 
7. Fill your muffin pan with the batter, lick the leftover batter from the bowl, and bake your muffins for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick/knife/ other “done-ness tester” inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. 
8. Transfer the pan to a wire rack or plate and let cool for about 5 minutes before you remove the muffins from the pan.
9. Got milk? Dive in!

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This entry was published on May 11, 2010 at 8:28 pm. It’s filed under breakfast, pastry and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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