English Muffin and Blackberry Jam Grilled Cheese Sandwich

In honor of National Grilled Cheese Month, I’m posting a different grilled cheese sandwich every single day through the month of April. You’re welcome.

Do you remember that vacation you took to Provence, when you lounged in the sun with your lover, picnicking on creamy cheese, a fresh, crisp baguette, and a glass of regional wine? No?

Yeah, me neither. But I imagine that such a perfect, sunny picnic tastes an awful lot like this grilled cheese sandwich. No, I’m not even kidding. (OK, maybe a little.)

I split the English muffin with a fork and flipped it inside out to grill the cut side to a perfect golden crunch. The jam swirled into the melted provolone to make a gooey, sticky sauce. Bon appetit!

For general grilled cheese tips, visit the inaugural grilled cheese sandwich post.

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Banana Walnut Muffins

I despise banana-flavored candy. Laffy Taffy, Runts, popsicles, Lifesavers, Now and Laters, jelly beans, Dum Dums, Pez, Dubble Bubble, Starburst – I will ALWAYS toss out the banana flavored ones.

When I was a kid, my banana-flavor loathing prejudiced me to all things banana. I thought I hated bananas, and by extension, any foods baked with bananas. And so I turned up my nose at banana bread, banana cream pie, banana pudding, and sadly, banana muffins.

Thankfully, I came around to baked banana goodness on a family vacation to Toledo when my great grandma tricked me into eating zucchini bread. “Here, have a piece,” she said, with a sly smile. Wildly suspicious, my sister and I asked what was in it. “Oh, just try it. I promise you’ll like it.” And she was right – it was delicious.

Banana Muffin Batter in Tin

That zucchini was my gateway bread. The next morning when she offered me a piece of her freshly baked banana bread, I tried it without first scrutinizing the list of ingredients, and I finally realized what I’d been missing.

While I can’t imagine duplicating my great grandma’s magical banana bread, I think I’ve found a pretty darn good banana muffin recipe. I tried to make them a little more heart-healthy than your average muffin, subbing a bit of wheat flour for some of the AP, and a bit of heart-healthy spread for some of the butter. They came out delicious – sweet and moist and buttery – and they didn’t taste like health food at all.

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Corn Muffins

Friends, I have some very important, exciting news: today is my one year blogiversary! A year ago today, I set out to learn more about cooking, writing, and photography. On a beautiful, crisp September day, I posted my very first recipe—Caramel Apple Crisp—and Galley Kitchen was born.

I started with a very simple recipe that was not my own. In the following months, I grew more and more adventurous with ingredients and techniques, and I found that blogging was really changing the way I cook.

Thanks to Galley Kitchen, I conquered my fear of pie crust, addressed my perfectionism, made candies with Cap’n Crunch, entered a baking competition, learned to splurge on myself, and baked an apple pie with bacon on it.

I’ve had a perfectly lovely year sharing my successes and failures, and stories from my kitchen and my life.

My goals for the coming year include learning to cook fabulous dinners on an unemployed lady’s budget; learning to take decent photos after the sun has set; and learning some new adverbs. Someday I’d like to have the money to hire a designer to create a pretty, custom header for the top of my little blog, rather than the boring old WordPress default header. In the meantime, the food photos will have to suffice for decor.

For my blogiversary post, I’m sharing a recipe adaptation from my all-time favorite food blog, Smitten Kitchen, with thanks to the blogstress, Deb Perelman, for inspiring me to begin writing about food. Deb’s corny corn muffins are light and crumbly, and bejeweled with sweet, chewy bits of corn. The muffins are a perfect accompaniment to the rainbow chard chili I posted last week.

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carrot and walnut muffins

I adore breakfast. Pancakes with maple syrup, crumbly scones, fresh fruit, smoky bacon, eggs with runny yolks and toast to dip in it like fondue. I love it all.

And yet I rarely make time to eat a proper breakfast in the morning. In fact, breakfast is so regularly neglected in my house, that I’m a little surprised it hasn’t yet asked for its CDs back.

I’m not a morning person. Most mornings I eat breakfast at my desk at work, and by breakfast, I mean a mug of instant oatmeal.

On work days, I need a breakfast that’s tasty and portable. And that’s exactly what I found in these carrot and walnut muffins.

The secret to moist muffins is conjoined yolks.

They’re sweet, fluffy, moist, and robust. I hesitate to even call them muffins. They’re more like unfrosted cupcakes that one can eat in the morning, if one is providing extra special, loving self-care.

One day I’ll use this very muffin recipe to make carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, perhaps topped with candied cumquat slices. The cake? Will be exactly the same.

Recipe below the fold

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bacon scallion cornbread muffins with cheddar and honey butter

Dear Cornbread,

I will not let you break me.


These muffins had everything going for them: cheese, bacon, honey butter, bacon. I took all those things for granted.


The original recipe came from Cook’s Illustrated, and it called for cornmeal, as nearly all corn bread recipes do. I didn’t have cornmeal, but I did have corn flour. I took a chance and substituted one for the other (WHAT?! Improvised baking!), and they turned out… mostly fine.

(I also substituted brown sugar for granulated sugar, and bacon fat for some of the butter. I’m truly living on the edge.)


Fresh out of the oven they were wonderful – maybe a little less coarse than regular cornbread, but awfully tasty.

Upon reheating, the texture was off – a little rubbery, somehow. The flavor was great, and the whipped honey butter was earnest in masking the texture funk, but they still weren’t good enough for company.

When I toothpick-tested them, they seemed underdone. So I put them back in the oven, and they got a lot darker than I wanted, and yeah. Rubbery. Next time I’ll make them smaller, and take them out sooner.

I was punished for my recklessness with rubbery corn muffins. But I’ll make the adjustments and try this cornbread again.

Goonies never say die!

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