i feel like i must be in the depth of my winter blues. scrolling through the pictures of the food i’ve made as of late, the stories that erupt in my mind all scream of summer. 

today i will share with you my love of strawberries. 

not unlike the tomatoes, strawberries are, too, crimson pockets of love. (at the moment i’m realizing that i am missing not only summer fruits, but red, juicy, fantastic summer fruits. i crave for that which i cannot buy at any sort of grocery store out of season.) the strawberries featured in this lovely winter muffin are in fact frozen berries, picked hugely plump (after a few days of rain) in northwest ohio. 

i remember the day well: i learned that my aunt, cousin, and her friend were visiting my grandparents. this was nice enough. i try to see my nanny and poppy once a month, living so close to them. but then i heard they were going strawberry picking that afternoon. quickly, eagerly, hastily, i rushed into work and asked/demanded to take a half day so that i could join them in their endeavor. and what loot i collected! 

most of them became freezer jam (YUM), which works really well in these. but i saved a few bags of these rubies, frozen so nicely, waiting in their chill for a nice smoothie, or to dress up a morning muffin.

to fully understand my undying devotion to the freshly picked strawberry, please consider this. when i was a kid, nothing was more exciting to me than going to my nanny and poppy’s when their berries were bursting (they didn’t grow their own last year, we outsourced, which was just dandy!). i think i ate half of what i picked. “gwenny, we need to have enough for the jam!” my nanny would say. red globs of juice dripped down my chin, my fingers, probably my nose, too. i think a couple of years, the dates for berry picking “accidentally” slipped by without an invitation for me to come up, so as to protect those berries from my ferocious fingers and ravenous stomach. wonderful memories.

strawberry banana muffins
adapted from the moosewood restaurant new classics 

2 cups flour (used 1 cup whole wheat, 1/4 cup wheat germ, 1/2 cup graham flour, 1/4 cup oats)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup plain yogurt
2 bananas, peeled
1 1/2 cups strawberries, coarsely chopped

1. preheat oven to 350. lightly oil a muffin tin and fill with paper liners.
2. in a large bowl, sift together flours, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. stir to mix.
3. in separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. beat in eggs and add vanilla and yogurt, stirring well. the mixture will be lumpy.
4. mash bananas and blend them in. fold in strawberries. mix wet ingredients into the dry ingredients to form a thick batter.
5. spoon a generous 1/3 cup of batter into each muffin cup. bake for 25 to 30 minutes, turning muffin tin around 15 minutes to ensure even baking. insert a paring knife, when blade comes out clean, muffins are done.
6. let the muffins chill for a few in their tin on a cooling rack, then remove. eat warm, or allow to cool! enjoy!
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