The Neighbor with the Fig Tree

Honey Fig Cornmeal Muffins

We once had a kind neighbor who planted a fig tree on the side of their house. They were great cooks. They would share homemade pita bread, and gave Dad a trunk of lobsters when they returned from a trip to Maine. When we first moved into our house, they shared tips on landscaping our front yard. After-school, my sister and I would accidentally leave our house keys at home, and we would stay at their house until our parent came home. The smell of their evening dinner was enticing.

They were generous. And, they broke our hearts when they moved away without telling anyone where they were going. No one had in the neighborhood had any problems or disagreements with them. We woke up one morning to discover they had disappeared. All that was left was their fig tree and beautiful yard.

Read more

Parade.com: Earthy and Citrus Meyer Lemon Muffins

Meyer Lemon Muffins

One snowy and freezing day, in which outside temperatures hovered around 10° F, my apartment was filled with a clean lemony and early spring, floral smell of Meyer Lemon Muffins. These aren’t super sweet muffins mimicking cupcakes. They have an earthy flavor from wheat flour, flax seeds and chia seeds as the glaze sweetens the muffins with an extra lemony taste. As temperatures continue to rise and extremely fall (in some places below 0° F), the taste and smell of these Meyer Lemon Muffins reminds us of early spring gardens as we watch snowflakes dance outside our windows.  Read more

Parade Magazine: Dirty Chai Pumpkin Muffins with Chocolate Ganache

Dirty Chai Pumpkin Muffins with Chocolate Ganache
I wanted a special pumpkin muffin—like a unique Halloween costume—to stand out among the store-bought versions. Inspired by the flavors of warm spice tea and bitter coffee you find in a “dirty chai” drink, this is a muffin to nibble on while sipping coffee (or black tea) in a thermos as kids trick and treat in the neighborhood. As an added treat, the muffins are sweetly topped with a generous drizzle of bittersweet chocolate ganache. Here’s a warning: Be careful of kids performing magic tricks, causing these muffins to disappear into the ghostly night. Read more