Saturday, November 17, 2018

A day in the life of a liveaboard, part 7

It's only mid-November, and Thanksgiving is not until next week, but old man winter is showing up a little early for the party. With temperatures in the low 30s and 40s F the last several days, baking is the perfect solution to keep the boat warm. I was craving for some homemade cookies and muffins anyway. My go-to muffin recipe is from an old issue of Cook's Illustrated Magazine. I've baked from other recipes, but this one is a keeper (recipe below).
Orange Poppy Seed muffins
After five consecutive days of cold and dreary weather, the sun finally came out today. With a high of 58 F this afternoon, we seized the opportunity to kayak across the river to see some of the last traces of fall colors.
Kayaking across the river (Hales Bar Marina in the background)
This is it. Most leaves were gone.
Avid fisherman Mark is out no matter what the weather. 
Back on the boat, we enjoyed an afternoon snack of muffins with green tea.
muffins with green tea
Master Recipe for Basic Muffins [print recipe]
Cook's Illustrated Magazine, Feb 1997
Serves: 12 muffins

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 cup minus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1½ cups plain low-fat yogurt
Vegetable cooking spray or additional unsalted butter for muffin tins

1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl; set aside.

2 Beat butter and sugar with electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in one-half of dry ingredients. Beat in one-third of yogurt. Beat in remaining dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with yogurt, until incorporated.

3. Spray twelve-cup muffin tin with vegetable cooking spray or coat lightly with butter. Use large ice cream scoop to divide batter evenly among the cups. Bake until muffins are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Set on wire rack to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove muffins from tin and serve warm.

For Lemon Poppy Seed
Follow Master Recipe for Basic Muffins, adding 3 tablespoons poppy seed to dry ingredients and 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest to butter-sugar mixture. While muffins are baking, heat ¼ cup granulated sugar and ¼ cup lemon juice in small saucepan, until sugar dissolves and mixture forms light syrup, 3 to 4 minutes. Brush warm syrup over warm muffins and serve

Cook's Note: I used orange, and I halved the recipe because I have a small convection oven.

Have a great Thanksgiving, y'all!

This post is shared on Weekend Reflections, Through My Lens and Our World Tuesday.

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Friday, October 19, 2018

Barcelona Reflections

Last night, we stumbled upon the travel show  I'll have what Phil's having on Netflix. The host Phil Rosenthal is the creator of the hit TV comedy Everybody Loves Raymond (1996 to 2005, and was our favorite show at the time). We watched two episodes of the travel show; in each, he skypes his parents and reports his experiences in the new city. In Seinfeld fashion. Phil is a comedian all right. The episode on Barcelona is the inspiration for this post. We were there this time last year.

It was our first visit to Barcelona and we were very impressed with the city, from the architecture to the people and its food. It is vibrant, friendly, ornate, and full of surprises at every turn. Architecture buffs will rejoice in ambling along Passeig de Gràcia, where three Modernista buildings - Casa Amatller, Casa Batllo and Casa Lleó Morera - stand in the same block (between Carrer del Consell de Cent and Carrer d’ Aragó).
Casa Amatller
Casa Molera
Casa Batllo
Alleyways are fun to wander around
Fancy street lighting
We spent a day walking all along La Rambla to Maremagnum, the distinctive waterfront mall at Port Vell. We were more into people watching than shopping. There are plenty of places to sit outside, soak in some sun and watch the boats and kayaks go in and out of the port.
Mirrored entrance to the mall
Reflection of us in front of the car in the middle
Barcelona is a food lover's paradise. The churros were delicious, and the array of tapas was amazing. We discovered a store called Vicens, which makes some fantastic nougat and chocolate. We were lucky to run into a food festival or farmer's market on a Saturday morning.
Tapas at Taverna Basca Irati
The Boqueria, the market along the La Rambla is a feast for the eyes. We tried the ubiquitous jamon but found it too gamey for us.
Endless varieties of seafood at the Mercat de la Boqueria
You can eat at a bar at the Boqueria
Jamon at a farmer's market
Jamon at a restaurant
Street food near Parc Ciutadella -roasted sweet potatoes and chestnuts. Yum!

The only thing we missed was a good paella dinner. We'll have to come back. Meantime, we look forward to watching more of Phil's travel show. Have you seen it?

This post is shared on Weekend Reflections and Our World Tuesday. 

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