Chances are you live a stone’s throw away from a Thai restaurant in your neighborhood, and you’ve got a go-to local favorite for pad thai. These days I often find myself traveling north of Berkeley, where there’s quite a few wonderful Thai eateries clustered in Albany, El Cerrito and San Pablo locales.
In the mood for something a little lighter and airier, I decided to make steel-cut oat muffins. Much like my oatcakes and oat squares, I started with a base of steel-cut oats, flour and butter. Yet unlike those baked treats, I used a little less butter and instead added in some buttermilk (which is naturally lowfat) for added tangy flavor and to moisten things up a bit. For a burst of sweetness, I nestled some cherry jam into each muffin (being sure to include at least one cherry in each). Hot out of the oven, the muffins smelled and tasted a bit like cherry pie.
Although you can easily use frozen blueberries for muffins, there’s no reason to do that now, when berries are fresh, in season, and moderately inexpensive. Frozen berries are for the winter, when you have to pay little buckets of gold for a half pint of fresh ones. Plus, fresh berries exude bursts of sweetness that are unmatched by their frozen cousins.