3.23.2016

Comfort in Buttermilk Cake...

Buttermilk Cake | Southern Soufflé


Buttermilk Cake | Southern Soufflé

Sometimes the journey of life leads you down a path of undeniable triumph, sometimes it takes you to a place shrouded in shadows.
Like a Florida highway in the middle of the night, trying to get to a place that feels warm and the people aren't untamable demons.
The older I get, I can't help but think of the places I've been. Some of the things I've seen, people I've met. Like that same night along the side of highway 95 just outside of Jacksonville.
Watching the blue lights flash behind me, holding on to my steering wheel so tightly my nails are cutting into my skin. Using his baton, he taps on my window, which I've already halfway rolled down, so that's unnecessary.
Several things run through my head as I pass him my I.D. I wasn't speeding, my tags are legit and I'm alone.
"Do your best to avoid the police, just please try to always, just stay out of their way" was something my family told all of us growing up. It was understood at an early age to by any means avoid the police.
Which until this point, I'd always done.
"I'm gonna need you to get out," he tells me. I ask what I've done, he tells me not to ask questions and to step out of the car. Which I do, very slowly. He walks me to the back of my car and has me stand there as he searches the confines of my mother's borrowed '93 Maxima.
At this point I start to cry, thinking of how dark it is and no one knowing where I am. As I stand there, I see a black truck pull over in front of my car, causing the officer to look up from the bullshit he was doing. Honestly, the biggest white man I've ever seen in my life gets out of the truck. He's, at least, 6'4 with huge arms, just an imposing figure all around. This is surely a nightmare.
"Hey, you need some help" He ask the cop who pulled me over. But something about the way he says it seems off. The cop immediately walks over to me, throws my license on the ground at my feet and stalks off to his car. I'm so distraught at this point I don't notice the man from the truck standing next to me, telling the other office to report in.
"You alright? He's a jackass, we've had a few problems, so I' thought I'd stop" He goes on to show me his badge, as he keeps telling me it's gonna be alright. We probably stand there for an hour as he consoles me and helps me call my mom and the friend I'm on my way to visit.
"Hey, there's a place right around the corner that serve food 24 hours, why don't you go there and sit awhile"

Buttermilk Cake | Southern Soufflé

I get back in my car and do exactly as he says, finding a local meat and three that's serving breakfast. The woman smiles while placing a cup of coffee in front of me as I sit down. I don't drink coffee, so I just sit there, staring at the dark liquid. The seat next to me cracks a little as my literal saving grace sits beside me. "I just wanted to make sure you made it ok" He smiles at me again and I can't help but cry. "It’s gonna be ok. This place looks like shit, but we're about to have to best damn Buttermilk Cake you'll ever taste" he tells me
And we did.... he sat with me until the sun came up. I just talked to him yesterday as I cried again while I typed this post, he's now one of my closest friends. Over ten years have passed since that night and it still upsets me.
There are so many that didn’t have someone to stop and make sure everything was alright, I think of them every time I turn on the news. Every time I slice my fork into a warm slice of Buttermilk Cake, I think of that night on highway 95......


Buttermilk Cake | Southern Soufflé


*This cake is simple but so delicious you can seriously eat the whole thing in one sitting. One thing to note, it likes to stick to the bottom of the pan. So if you don't put down parchment, just be ready for a Hunger Games Battle of wills trying to get it out of that pan. 
May the odds be forever in your favor* 



Classic Buttermilk Cake
Prep Time: 30mins Cook Time: 20-25 mins Yields: 8-10 servings 
Adapted from: Cake Bible & The Taste Of Country Cooking 

Ingredients: 
3 cups cake flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
5 large eggs, room temp
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoon vanilla
Powdered Sugar for garnish- optional

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 *13-inch baking pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (you can also use a hand mixer) mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. While running the mixer on low add in the cold butter, a few pieces at a time. Continue to beat mixture until the butter is incorporated. It will look almost like cookie dough. This is good but don’t eat it yet. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition and making sure to scrape down the edges with a spatula to incorporate all the ingredients. Increase mixer speed to medium. Slowly pour in the buttermilk and vanilla. Beat until well incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Garnish with powdered sugar..

3.10.2016

Rosemary Pecan Blondies

Rosemary Pecan Blondies | Southern Soufflé @Reynolds Kitchens


Rosemary Pecan Blondies | Southern Soufflé @Reynolds Kitchens

How many people have you unfriended because they constantly ask you to play candy crush?
How many people have you unfriended because they tag you in the most random post at least twice a week?
How do you stop those "tasty" videos from showing up in your feed? Like, are people really cooking that stuff?
Perhaps Facebook is no longer for me. Do people still keep in touch with you if you permanently delete Facebook from your life? Is that like deleting the people too?
Also, my phone no longer auto corrects the words, "Ratchetness" and "Gurl Bye". That could mean so many things.

Let's talk about Blondies -AKA- brownies without the chocolate.
Is it ok to call them that? I've got a lot of questions today.
I've teamed up with the good folks at Reynolds Kitchen to be a 2016 Reynolds Ambassador and show y'all how to use some of their products in the most delicious ways.
I have this sort of strange idée fixe - you could say- to line every pan/ baking sheet with either parchment paper or aluminum foil. I'm sure this stems from watching my grandmother have this same fixation with Reynolds Wrap so many years ago.
So the strange looks that I get when I walk in with 18 rolls of Reynolds parchment paper don't really faze me because guess whose cakes will never stick to the bottom of that cake pan.
*insert raises hand emoji*
Not to mention, the idea of scrubbing pans to remove the grit and grime left behind, gets a "Honey Bunches Of NO" from me.
Fast and easy clean up, evenly baked cookies and slide off your blondies before shoving them in your face. These are things that make me happy.
So does brown butter and pecans squares of gooey Blondies.


Rosemary Pecan Blondies | Southern Soufflé @Reynolds Kitchens

One of the simplest baked goods you can whip up with one bowl is a pan of buttery rich Blondies. This recipe calls for a quick browning of the butter to add caramel depth to the flavors, along with a nutty pecan crunch and hints of rosemary.
Easily substitute walnuts or almonds for the pecans. Try white chocolate chips and dried cranberries. There are limitless possibilities when it comes to different combinations you can use to enhance these Blondies.


Rosemary Pecan Blondies | Southern Soufflé @Reynolds Kitchens

Pecan Rosemary Blondies
Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 20 mins |Yields: 10 Blondies

Ingredients:
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
½ cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary


Directions:
Preheat oven to 350
Line a 8 x 8 in baking pan with Reynolds Parchment Paper.
Using a small skillet, cook the butter over medium heat for about 6 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Be sure to keep an eye on this.. you want the butter slightly brown not burned..
Pour browned butter into a bowl to cool for about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the butter, eggs and vanilla stirring with a whisk until combined. Gently stir in flour, salt, pecans, and rosemary stirring just enough to incorporate all the ingredients.
The batter will be very thick, somewhat cookie-like (this is ok.. I promise)
Spoon batter into prepared baking pan, smooth the top with a spatula.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean Cool in pan and cut into squares.

* Check the Blondies after about 15 minutes. Everyone’s oven cooks differently and you don’t want to over bake. Obtaining a gooey, chewy like center is the end game for these delicious bars.
* Store Blondies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. If refrigerated they should last up to a week. You can also freeze them for up to a month.*

*Full Disclosure: Reynolds Brand provided me with some goodies and compensation to further my obsession with their products. However, the opinions are my own formed over decades of using their products.*

3.02.2016

Salted Benne Seed Brittle + Sunday Supper

Salted Benne Seed Brittle | Southern Soufflé


Salted Benne Seed Brittle | Southern Soufflé

Tentatively titled- The Issue With Posting In 2 Different Places.

But that was too long.
This coming Sunday we're hosting another Sunday Supper, same time same place. With dining fare that pays homage to one of the greatest to grace the culinary atmosphere, Edna Lewis. Pickled vegetables, pan seared trout, potlikker and hand pies are just a few of the items on the menu. Check out our website below for more details.




Last month's dessert course was an old fashioned caramel cake with crunchy bits of brittle crushed on top. Benne Seeds took the place of peanuts and flakes of sea salt added just the right about of saltiness to offset the humming sweetness that always accompanies caramel cake.

All that to say, it was a big hit.
So I thought I would share a little about the benne and the makings to create this brittle at home.
Benne Seeds are heirloom sesame seeds originally brought over by the enslaved Africans centuries ago and planted between field peas and corn and other crops in the late spring. The name Benne comes from the Bantu people of West Africa and this little seed still holds this name most commonly in the Low Country- Charleston South Carolina Area.
Think Benne Wafers.

The heirloom seed is much more flavorful than its modern day sesame seed and historically the leaves were used as soup greens or pounded and used as thickening agents. After the oil extraction process the benne were made into flour for Benne bread, cakes and biscuits. Truly a versatile little seed.

Anson Mills of South Carolina, has done an exceptional job in preserving these heirlooms plants along with so many other antebellum crops native to the south. They're who I source a lot of my most cherished ingredients from. Their pastry flour is magnificent.

Salted Benne Seed Brittle | Southern Soufflé

Salted Benne Seed Brittle
Cook Process For   BON APPÉTIT 
Prep Time: 20 Mins Cook Time: 10 mins 

Non-Stick Cooking Spray| Candy Thermometer | Baking Sheet

Ingredients:

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup light corn syrup

3 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 ½ cups benne seeds (sesame seeds)

Coarse Sea Salt

Directions:

Spray a parchment paper lined baking sheet with non stick cooking spray and set aside. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Continue to stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring mixture to a boil and cook under a candy thermometer registers 290. About 4 to 5 minutes.

Stir in butter, salt and benne seeds (the mixture will bubble up but melt once it heats back up) Cook the syrup mixture, continuing to stir often until the thermometer registers 300 F. Sprinkle baking soda over the syrup and stir quickly to blend thoroughly.
Immediately pour caramel onto prepared baking sheet and use a spatula to spread out as thin as possible. Sprinkle sea salt over and let caramel cool completely. Break brittle into pieces.

*Store brittle in an air tight container for up to one week* 
*Add to cakes or crushed on top of brownies, mixed into cookie dough, or just by itself* 

2.17.2016

Fried Grits & Carving Paths....

Fried Grits & Black Pepper Soubise | Southern Soufflé


Fried Grits & Black Pepper Soubise | Southern Soufflé

Carving paths, moving mountains, parting oceans.
It's these words that I play in the back of my mind constantly. A daily affirmation of excellence, in constant pursuit of defying expectations (stereotypes).
With these words, images of people also spin like a proverbial Ferris wheel of fortitude.
Showing me the way.
Lena Richard was a pioneer of food tv far before Martha Stewart graced our televisions and encouraged us to become wizards in the kitchen.
An African American woman who achieved great acclaim during the Jim Crow era in the South. In 1949 and 1950, the show aired twice weekly. Every Tuesday and Thursday, you could catch Lena (along with her assistant) teaching you how to cook your way through her book, New Orleans Cookbook, published by Houghton Mifflin in 1940. Broadcast via WDSU throughout New Orleans.
Carving paths, moving mountains, parting oceans.
Born in 1892, Lena's culinary career began as a domestic worker alongside her mother. It was here that her culinary skills radiated brightly and Lena was sent to the renowned Fannie Farmer Cooking School in Boston. Lena would return to New Orleans create a catering business, open a lunch house, write a cookbook, as well as go on to receive national recognition as Head Chef of the Travis House in Colonial Williamsburg. All this during a time of segregation, when the barrier was a wall made of steel rather than bricks.
She carved a path....


Fried Grits & Black Pepper Soubise | Southern Soufflé

There are so many others, from by far the most famous, Edna Lewis and her exceptional contribution to the "farm to table" movement way before it was what it is today. Vertamae Smart- Grosvenor, whose "Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl" had me fascinated with the thought of travelling to Paris and opened my eyes to Gullah cuisine. And of course, Mildred Edna Cotton Council who would take $76 dollars and turn it into a culinary empire.
Carving paths, moving mountains, parting oceans.
Sometimes with just a hot bowl of grits...

Fried Grits & Black Pepper Soubise | Southern Soufflé

Hot Grease Notes: Here is a recipe for grits. Super simple and hearty and can/should be eaten at any time of the day, not just breakfast. Soubise is like a bechamel sauce with onions. It also replaced my normal sausage-laden white gravy. Freshly ground black pepper gives the sauce a kick before the crunch of the grits. A meatless breakfast, brunch or whenever the mood hits you meal.



Fried Grits & Black Pepper Soubise
Prep Time- 45 mins + 24 hours rest | Cook Time: 25-30mins | Yields 6 servings 
Baking Pan | Wire Rack & Baking Sheet | Blender 
Soubise sauce adapted from Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making 

Ingredients:
The Soubise:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 ½ cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper

For the Grits:
2 cups of cooked grits ( I used stone ground)
1 egg, beaten
¾ cup milk
1 cup bread crumbs
½ to 1 cup of peanut oil for frying


Prepare the grits beforehand:
While the grits are still warm pour them in a shallow baking dish. I used a 9x13 in baking pan. This gave me about an inch and ½ thickness in each grit cake. Once grits have cooled, cover pan with plastic wrap, place in the refrigerator and allow to firm up overnight.

The next day:
For the Onion Soubise:
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter until foaming, Add in onions and cook until softened. Stirring frequently until most of the liquid has evaporated. About 15 minutes.
Stir in heavy cream and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes.
Transfer mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Add blended mixture back to the pot with the black pepper and reheat until smooth.
For the fried grits:
Cut out rounds using a 2in round biscuit cutter or you can cut them into squares using a knife. The grits should be firm and easily hold their shape due to the overnight time in the fridge.
In a small bowl (large enough to dip your grit cake into) whisk together the egg and the milk. Add breadcrumbs to a separate plate. Now, take each grit cake and dip once into the egg wash to cover and then coat with the breadcrumbs, dredging off any excess crumbs. Place the prepared grit cake back on the wire rack lined baking sheet and repeat this process with the others.
In a large skillet or heavy saucepan, heat the oil to 350 degrees. When the oil is ready, fry cakes in batches, turning on each side after 2-3 minutes. Fry until golden brown on each side. Remove from the grease and place back on the wire rack to drain off any excess grease.
Once all the grit cakes are fried, add one or two ( or all of them) and drizzle with the onion soubise. Top with some crispy bacon and fresh chives, or a poached egg and crumbled goat cheese.
Enjoy!

2.03.2016

Cornbread Calas - A Ticket to Freedom....

Cornbread Calas | Southern Soufflé


Cornbread Calas | Southern Soufflé

Cornbread Calas | Southern Soufflé

"Belle Calas! Tout Chauds, Madam!"
Ms. Mattie, waved her hands dramatically, giving me her best interpretation of how the Calas women would walk the streets of New Orleans with baskets perched on their heads. While I tried my hardest to roll the cold rice into balls, unsuccessfully.
"Mo guaranti vous ye bons!"
She continued bellowing -loudly at that- telling of the street vendors in brightly colored tignons near old St. Louis Cathedral selling calas and potato cakes.
Calas are creole rice fritters, old rice mixed in an egg batter and fried, then showered with powdered sugar. Originally made with rice and yeast concocted the night before of boiled potatoes, cornmeal, flour and baking soda, then left to ferment in the night air. Highly addictive gustatory delights, with a storied past that's as deeply fused in the history of New Orleans as Marie Laveau. A past that helped some enslaved African Americans obtain their freedom.


Cornbread Calas | Southern Soufflé

Calas were also consumed in other parts of Louisiana and the American south where mixtures of cow peas and other legumes were sometimes used in place of rice. Like the Saraka rice fritters of Sea Islands in South Carolina and Acaraje sold on the streets of Salvador Bahia in Brazil, Calas origins trace back to Ghana and other parts of West Africa. These rice fritters are very much a part of the culinary African diaspora and were a vital piece in the advancement of many African Americans in New Orleans.
Before the Louisiana purchase, while under Spanish rule, the practice of coartación allowed the enslaved of New Orleans to purchase their freedom. Many took to the streets, chanting advertisements for "gaignin calas". Crisp around the edges with luscious centers, these little fritters were, for many enslaved, the key to earning money for these purchases.
The ticket to freedom bubbling in hot grease.
According to African American Culinary Historian Jessica Harris, "Not all Calas vendors were enslaved. And the ones who were, often sold them for their mistresses. If they were lucky, they were allowed to keep a portion of the money, or perhaps have it go towards their freedom."
Even after the Louisiana Purchase, which put an end to coartaion, New Orleans still remained home to many freed slaves who made their living selling calas and other street foods up until the 1940's when only one remained. However, they were preserved in a lot of African American families, eaten on Mardi Gras, on the morning of a child's first communion and on one Thursday afternoon at Ms. Matties dining room table.


Cornbread Calas | Southern Soufflé

Over the past decade, Calas have reappeared on more restaurant menus thanks to a few trying to preserve the tradition. The Old Coffee Pot on St. Peters Street serves them with grits.. I love this place, but they do move a little slow. I've had a savory calas in Charleston with hominy and red pepper aioli. Some with red beans and rice favoring a more savory side of life.
I've kept this more in line with tradition, honing in on the old ways of mixing in a little cornmeal, with crumbs of stale cornbread. My Mardi Gras fare always includes a hot basket of Calas. As homage to my ancestors, those who came before me, moving oceans, paving paths, making a way for me to be born into a life of freedom.


Cornbread Calas | Southern Soufflé

Deep Fryer or 12in skillet| Frying Thermometer| Slotted Spoon

Cornbread Calas 
Prep Time 30mins (with 15 mins rest time) Cook Time 15 mins Yields 18-20 golfball size calas

Ingredients:
1 cup cold, cooked rice
½ cup crumbled day old cornbread
2 tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered Sugar for garnish
Peanut Oil for frying


Directions:
Pour enough oil into the pot or deep fryer to fill it 2 1/2 to 3-inch depth and bringing the oil to 350.
While the oil heats up:
In a large bowl combine the rice, cornbread crumbs, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the egg with the cream and vanilla. Fold the egg mixture into the rice mixture. Once ingredients are incorporated, all the mixture to rest for about 20 minutes in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, heat your peanut oil to 350. Roll the rice mixture into small balls. Adding a little flour to your hands will help with the sticking. Or you could drop a spoonful into the hot grease at a time (this will give you odd shaped calas but will still be just as good and less messy).
Working in batches of about 4 -5 calas at a time, fry each one until the rise to the surface and turn golden brown. You want to make sure to maintain the temperature of the oil while frying. If the oil cools too quickly from the cold ingredients is will not fry the calas properly. Remove them from the oil using a slotted spoon. Place on a wire rack over a baking sheet to allow the excess grease to drain from each fritter. This will keep the exterior crisp.
Dust with powdered sugar and serve while hot.. “Tout Chauds”

1.20.2016

Cornbread, Sunday Supper and inclusion at the table......

Spicy Sea Island Red Peas 5 (1 of 1)


This Sunday at 6pm a group of people, some of whom have never meet; will gather together at one dinner table laden with cornbread, braised pork, rice grits and red peas. Yet the deeper part of it all, is the diversity of the people who fill those chairs.
If only that was the same within this food media community. As I peruse a lot of these sites it's troubling, hardly anything that is written seems to really resonate with me. In all honesty, the lack of diversity, the constant exclusion of different cultural impacts on this culinary atmosphere, really makes it hard to keep posting and writing every week.
I refuse to conform to the mold to be accepted..
Food has had a different influence on me then what I did this week, or my issues with the weather. So I try to relate that in stories about food and my beloved, complicated south.
So when people write about the south and romanticize places that are downtrodden in poverty and disenfranchisement and this is published and highlighted over and over, completely missing the effect the people and environment has had on the food. It's disheartening.
Design Sponge highlighted a stellar group of African American chefs, artist, writers and entrepreneurs. It's truly something special and shines a beautiful light on their achievements, a lot of whom I call friends. If only others would take note. If only there was a little more inclusion around the media dinner table. A collective of people telling about the food they eat, study, love and breathe. Instead, it all looks the same, and that same looks nothing like me.
Don't get me wrong, there are those that captivate me every time they hit publish.. But it's just..
It's not enough..

I've gotten a lot of question about the cornbread in my post about Sunday's Dinner.. I can't help but laugh because it's a very old recipe that my Aunt Mabel made every Sunday, that my great grandma made every Sunday, that her grandma made every Sunday, you want me to keep going? (I can) Unfortunately as good as this cornbread is, I can't hold a candle what she used to put on the table, wrapped in an old tea towel. But it's close.
The cornbread debate is one that I've touched on before. The recipe listed adds sugar and I chuckle to myself when people write how "unsouthern" sweet cornbread is. That is far from the truth. The enslaved Africans that worked on southern plantations were often not awarded desserts and such. Instead they ate molasses (long sweetin) with their corn pone and ash cakes. After emancipation, the recipe evolved - much like the people -and the sweetener became an ingredient rather than an accouterment. So while the recipe below many be considered unsouthern to some, they seem to overlook the history that it has to others. Down here in my beloved, complicated south.

Quick shout out to those that continuously rsvp to eat at our table, it's small but mighty. My gal pal Kenan and I truly are thankful for ya. We bonded over our love of food, the betterment of our community and the South. Despite the complete differences in our cultural backgrounds, our experience around the Sunday Dinner table were the same. It's connected us, showcasing how one's perspective can change when everyone is included, when you really get to know those that you'd might otherwise overlook.




*All ovens are not created equal, I've learned this the hard way. Test your cornbread after about 15 minutes. Because one that is definitely unsouthern is dry cornbread.*


Buttermilk Cornbread
Aunt Mabel’s Cornbread Recipe
Prep Time: 15 mins Cook Time: 25-30 mins Yield 8 servings 

Ingredients: 
1 ½ cup yellow cornmeal (not self rising)
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions: 
Preheat oven to 350
Place 9in cast iron skillet in the oven.
In a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
Stir in buttermilk, eggs and butter until just combined. Batter will be lumpy.
Remove skillet from the oven and pour the batter into the skillet (it will sizzle, this is fine, this is expected, this will lead to crusty edges that can act as spoons) and bake for 25-30 mins.
Or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 2-3 minutes before trying to slice.

1.13.2016

Chocolate Rosemary Muffins + Makings Of A Morning.....


Chocolate Rosemary Muffins | Southern Soufflé

Chocolate Rosemary Muffins | Southern Soufflé

Chocolate Rosemary Muffins | Southern Soufflé

One of the most devastating and heartbreaking obstacles I've faced in my life, is the fact that it seems to be a requirement (that is if you're a "responsible adult") to get up early in the morning.
Let me rephrase that.. Get up early in the morning to get your kids ready and off to school, your husband the right color socks and tie and- I don’t know- go to work... maybe...
And while I know (I Know) that in this beautifully curated world of blogland that exist outside of the actual universe, a lot of people are "doing what they LOVE" in perfectly arranged kitchens while staring at the dew that gathers on their window sills (quick grab your camera). So getting up isn't as hard for them. Yet, for some of us- those forced to remain on this planet- we're on planes, trains, and automobiles at 6 am (3am for my bakery/restaurant peeps) trying to get somewhere.
And no matter how much you LOVE what you do.. That alone has more Makings Of A Murderer then anything they showed about Stephen Avery.
Have y'all seen that.. ? There is so much I want to say.. But it would make NO sense if you have no idea what I'm talking about..
But it's coming.. just need to wrap my head around it (it being injustice) and how the economic and socially disadvantaged are preyed on and ultimately set up to fail.. There is no justice for those that don't fit the mold. But I'll stop there.
So onward..
My mornings have been a little on the rough side lately.. I've got a few projects simmering (Lord Halp Me).. And well, work. Then there's the fact that my kids would rather be forced to eat lima beans then to get their butts in gear and go to school. Everyone's still on holiday hours. This morning my 4 year old looked at me when I pulled the covers off his head and asked me "Why?"
Good Question....
How do you handle the morning grind..? Especially with the onset of cold weather that makes your bones ache.. (or that might just be my age but whatever)
Keeping a batch of muffins in rotation seems to help. Something people can grab as they head out the door. Most of the time way after I've already left for work. A basket full of muffins waiting used to make me smile as a kid.
Even if they were just the Martha White mix.
Muffins, the handheld quick bread, can easily be made the day before (make a big batch and freeze them to be reheated later).
Chocolate also helps.. Lot and Lots of chocolate.
Since eating a snickers bar seems to be unacceptable morning nourishment, I figured chocolate muffins would be a better idea..
You can still find the mini snickers in my bag though..
The first time I made these muffins we consumed them so quickly that I ended up making them again just a couple of days later. The rosemary and chocolate combination is wondrous and has me thinking of waffles and of course biscuits.. I mean we do eat chocolate gravy here in the south.
Rosemary gives off that pine and almost mint like flavor that complements sweet dishes. Also the aroma of these baking in the oven will saturate your house and make your soul happy.


Chocolate Rosemary Muffins | Southern Soufflé

*Hot Grease Notes*
*Overmixing the muffin batter will give you 12 tough muffins and have folks talking about you when they think you ain't looking. So don't do it. Just a few quick stirs to mix all the ingredients together will do.* 
*Muffins that contain less than 4 tablespoons of butter or oil will go stale quicker due to the small amount of fats inability to protect the starch. So you'll want to eat them the same day you bake. This recipe here will last a little longer due to the amount of olive oil in them.* 
*To Freeze- I normally bake them as directed, let them cool, then indiviually bag and freeze them. When ready to eat, place the still frozen muffin on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for about 5 to 10 minutes.*


Chocolate Rosemary Muffins 
Prep Time: 20 mins   Cook Time: 15 mins Yield: one dozen 
Needed- Muffin Tin | 2 Mixing Bowls | Muffin cups (optional) 

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 cups buttermilk
½ cup olive oil
4 oz bittersweet chocolate roughly chopped.


Directions:
Preheat oven to 400°
Prepare 12 cup muffin tin by either- greasing with vegetable shortening, butter or non stick cooking spray, or lined with paper cups. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, rosemary, baking soda and salt.
In a separate bowl whisk together the egg, buttermilk and olive oil.
Gently add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredient mix with just a few light stirs to incorporate (see notes). Fold in the chopped chocolate. The batter will be lumpy but that’s fine.
Spoon muffin batter into prepared muffin tin cups. The standard seems to be about two-thirds of the way full but I fill mine to the rim to get the more doom like tops.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of 2 or 3 of them comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 2 to 3 minutes before trying to remove from the tin.
*This batter can be mixed and spooned into the muffin tin then refrigerated overnight to be baked in the morning.*