Taking a week off from work is the best medicine.
So is laughter. And visiting friends in the city. And drinking strawberry milk on an unusually warm spring afternoon.
And so is comfort food, like these muffins.
I would caution you not to make these muffins when you’re in a hurry. These are slow, take-your-time kind of muffins. It’s not that they demand a lot of attention, in fact, they’re very simple to make. But these muffins conjure up feelings of sunny mornings at a bed and breakfast; or breezy, twilit summer evening barbecues; or picnics with shady trees and a soft gingham tablecloth.
In other words, make these muffins when you’ve got nothing better to do (or when you just need a moment to feel that way).
This recipe renders crumbly, dense cornbread muffins. They’re not soft, but they’re not dry or stick to the roof of your mouth, either. The tiny flecks of bright green pesto emit a mild but surprisingly inviting flavor of basil and olive oil. It’s a mix of Southern and Italian cooking, but it’s all comfort.
And, as with most things, they’re extra delicious with a pat of butter sandwiched in the middle.
Pesto Cornbread Muffins
Adapted from Food Network Magazine
Yields: About 6 to 10 muffins, depending on size
1 1/2 cups finely stoneground cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
3/4 cup milk
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1-2 tbsp pesto
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffin tins or fill tins with baking cups. In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, baking powder and sugar. Add in egg, milk, oil and desired amount of pesto (keep in mind a little bit goes a long way) and mix using a spatula.
Fill tins or cups halfway full with cornbread batter. Bake about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean. Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack before eating.