hype is the absolute worst. nothing can ever live up to it and you are almost always bound to be left disappointed in its wake. in an effort to battle the inevitable letdown, i always try to downplay and oftentimes downright demean that which i am most excited about.
unfortunately there are always those things that manage to slip through the cracks of my tightly run degradation determined ship. like new years eve. with the possible exception of this year in which i exerted considerable effort, every nye i expect the world to shatter from the sheer epic force of that night. i put so much pressure on myself to make the previous year go out with such a glorious bang that the night is almost always exceptionally lame and i end up spending the entire next day melodramatically dressed entirely in black determined to manifest my depression over the futility of it all.
first dates can also be an exercise in over-hype. one night i met a guy in a bar (let’s call him shlomo) and under the influence of booze and fashion-shielding beer goggles (his ensemble was shockingly similar to that of mario lopez circa 2007) i gave him my number. two months of texting and scheduling conflicts later, shlomo and i finally manage to meet up. i couldn’t remember what he looked like and was fairly certain i wouldn’t be able to pick him out of a line up, but it was pretty thrilling to finally reach this point. thanks to my lovely, and oh so-endearing girl brain, i had managed to really build this up. but two months of anticipation can do that to a girl. naturally, the date was a total bust. its unfortunate that he wasn’t mario lopez as then we might have had something in common, namely our love for 80s muscle tees and picking on dustin diamond.
per usual, despite my attempts to be super chill, when i first saw these muffins on 101 cookbooks, i was absolutely beside myself. just ask my officemate, he can attest. i was waxing romantic and salivating simultaneously. i thought that these would be god’s gift to muffins. one day i would lure men into my lair like a siren with these muffins. i would move mountains with these muffins. (when i wax romantic, i really was romantic.)
so when preparing a menu for my exciting annual maryland trip with my hlm, these were clearly on the list. highlighted and underlined. much to my dismay, they were just…alright. palatable for sure, but not the taste equivalent of heaven on earth like i had anticipated. so when and if you make these, i suggest you don’t preface the occasion with visions of yourself riding astride a silk-covered elephant as a muffin-bearing goddess like myself. try tempering your expectations with some dramatic “meh”s and “ho-hum”s.
and with that thought in mind… feta pumpkin muffins:
what you’ll need:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups pumpkin
salt and pepper
1 large handful of baby spinach, chopped
2 tbs chopped parsley
3 tbs sunflower seed kernels
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup cubed feta
2 tsp whole-grain mustard
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp fine-grain sea salt
1. preheat oven to 405 f with rack in the top third. grease a 12-hole muffin pan with the butter and set aside.
2. cube pumpkin. after much consternation and knife stickage (despite aggressive “high-YA”-ing), i opted to slice wedges out of the pumpkin and cube after roasting. either way, sprinkle olive oil and some salt and pepper over the squash. toss well and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet/roasting pan and bake for 15 – 25 minutes or until cooked through entirely. allow it to cool.
3. transfer 2/3 of the squash to a large mixing bowl along with the spinach, parsley, sunflower seeds, parmesan, 2/3 of the feta, and all of the mustard. gently fold together.
4. in a separate bowl, beat the eggs and milk together. add to the squash mixture.
5. next, sift the flour and baking powder onto the squash mixture. top with the tsp of salt and a generous dose of freshly ground black pepper. fold together just until the batter comes together, being careful not to over mix.
6. fill each muffin tin hole about 3/4 full and then top each with a bit of the remaining squash and feta. bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops and sides of the muffins are golden, and the muffins have set up completely. let cool for a couple minutes, and then turn out onto a cooling rack.
makes 12 muffins.
despite my (once again) melodramatic grumblings about hype (it is still too close to the first to shake it entirely), these muffins were good. i just prefer a lot more jazz to my baked goods…. and for that matter salt to my savory. if you are more into blander stuff, you will be into these. they have a kick every once in awhile when you bite into the feta without being over the top. i also suggest you warm them up a bit before eating.