Come Hangout with Me

That’s the teaser for my appearance in a brand new project.

Over the past several weeks, I and a few other North Shore food and wine people have been working with our cooking video producers to launch an online, interactive cooking show that is accessible to viewers through a Google Hangout. At present we are broadcasting the show, called Open Kitchen, on Thursdays between 12 noon and 6 pm. To hang out with us cooks and wine connoisseurs, viewers need a Google+ account. Once your page is set up, you must connect with MPN Online, the show’s production company, and you will receive the weekly broadcast reminder.

On Thursday, you may log in and watch any or all of the show through Google+. Or you may find the show as it is being broadcast simultaneously on the Open Kitchen/MPN Online YouTube channel. It can also be accessed through some local newspapers’ online food or lifestyle pages. Anyone from anywhere may watch. Those of you watching as a subscriber to the YouTube channel may type in questions for the cook in real time. Questions will likely be presented to us as we demonstrate the week’s cooking project, and we will do our best to answer.

Even more exciting, some viewers will be able to log in to the show and, via webcam, appear on screen along with other viewers and the segment host. Interactive means interactive: you, me, talking about the food being prepared, or talking about anything you’d like to talk about while I show you a thing or two from the studio kitchen. Together, host and participants can really get some good conversations going, producing what is, I believe, great social media. Already I have met and chatted with folks from as far away as Montreal. I’d like to chat with you next, so please think about participating in an upcoming Hangout. Anyone interested in logging in to a video chat may leave me a note in the comments section and I will see that you get connected.

Past shows are archived at the YouTube channel so you may watch them at any time. Last Thursday, I cooked a meal in the slow cooker and made two more weeknight meals from the leftovers. Jen Perry of the Cape Ann food pantry and mobile market, Open Door, made several kid-friendly dishes from fresh and healthy ingredients. Gloucester Times food columnist Heather Atwood showcased fresh fish, husk cherries, pasta, and Swedish waffles in her segment. Take a look. I’d love to hear what you think.

Here at home, I finally got my mixer back from its monthlong holiday at the Cuisinart repair center. It needed and received a new power cord, and now all is well. I had been saving some of the last blueberries in the freezer, and on Sunday, I made muffins.

Who remembers Boston’s Jordan Marsh department store? For those who don’t, it occupied the space at the corner of Washington and Winter streets in Downtown Crossing until bankruptcy allowed for a takeover by Macy’s in the 1990s. For years, Jordan Marsh operated a bakery on the ground floor of the Boston store, and this bakery was famous for blueberry muffins with a crunchy sugared top. The store and its bakery may be long gone but the recipe for the muffins has circulated for years. I have had a copy for a long time. It’s about time I shared it.

Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins

  • 1/2 cup (8 Tbsp.) soft unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups blueberries
  • additional sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tine with paper muffin liners.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter together with the sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition. Combine the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and whisk to blend. Add the vanilla to the milk.

On medium-low speed, add the flour to the butter mixture alternately with the milk in two additions. Blend just until combined after each.

Crush 1/2 cup of the blueberries and add these to the batter until mixed thoroughly.

Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and fold in the remaining 2 cups of berries by hand.

Spoon batter into cups, or use a standard ice cream scoop to portion the batter into the cups. Sprinkle the muffin crowns generously with sugar.

Bake the muffins in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove finished muffins in the tin to a cool rack and allow muffins to cool in the pan.

I have doubled the recipe successfully.

©2012  Jane A. Ward