Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Long Hibernation is Over!

The last of the snow piles deep in the forest are finally gone and the black flies have begun hovering about as I work in the garden. Yep, spring has arrived in Downeast, Maine and Giddy has come out of hibernation.

The little red squirrels never stopped raiding the feeders all winter long

The Primroses are in full bloom now

Sweet little Johnny Jumpups have reseeded all over, their cute, sunny little faces always elicit a smile.

My Narcissus are actually blooming this year! Now those of you living in the south have already seen these come and go, but they are a sight for sore eyes for us up here in the Great Frozen North.

The Catmint will be blooming soon, bringing happy bees to the garden.

Hosta "Aureo Marginata" is coming up much faster than the other varieties. I guess she's not quite so adverse to the cooler nights.

The bleeding heart has begun blooming, as well.

The PJM Rhododendrons will be in full bloom by Mother's Day if the warm weather keeps up.

We've had a couple of days of rainy weather so I made good use of my time by continuing my quest to bake the perfect English Muffin. My apologies to Pete of Pete Bakes Blog and to Alton Brown of the Food Network. Neither of their recipes quite did it for me. I couldn't get good "nooks and crannies" out of Pete's recipe and Alton's muffins were just a wee bit gummy. Sooo,
I set about to play with the recipe to get just the right amount of texture. The crows had a feast on the rejects.

However, I am happy to announce that I think I've finally hit upon the right formula. It's an adaptation of Alton's recipe and according to H, it's the best one yet.

Just look at those nooks and crannies!

I pretty much followed Alton's recipe, but decreased the powdered milk to 1/4 cup and used only 1/2 TBSP canola oil in place of the shortening (no trans fats for me!). I increased the yeast to 2 tsp.

I did purchase 4 - 3" rings at the local kitchen store. They were only $1.50 a piece so it was a relatively inexpensive purchase. I did, however, resist the temptation to purchase an electric skillet. My cast iron skillet, heated on a low flame works just fine and the four rings fit perfectly.

The dough is quite loose, so I used a 1/2 cup measure to fill the rings after I sprayed them with olive oil spray and sprinkled the bottom with corn meal. After I filled the rings, I sprinkled the top with corn meal, as well. Cover the skillet and "bake" for about 6 minutes, flip the muffins and bake for 6 more minutes.

Hmmm, think I'll go pop one in the toaster now!

Life is yummy!

Hugs, Giddy


Anonymous said...

I have never had luck with keeping primroses alive- good for you!

Don't the muffins smell good while baking? My inlaws gave us an electric skillet with a high lid 40 years ago, when we got married. The only thing I us it for these days in baking english muffins. Have you ever baked English Muffin Bread? We like that toasted with jam.

Zoey said...

I must admit that your English muffin looks much better than the store-bought one I had this morning. Congratulations on coming up with the perfect recipe.

I can't believe how much further along your flowers are than mine.

I still haven't had much desire to get out and work in the garden. I walked around out there a bit in the early afternoon today, but was not in the mood to actually do anything. I did just get home from the dentist where I had a root canal, so maybe that had something to do with my lack of desire. Although in the old days even that would not have stopped me.

Your new garden seats look great!