So much changes in 365 days, and yet I feel like I’m in almost exactly the same spot as last year. (Recap: Jamaican vacation feeling like a different lifetime ago, catching up on school work, time for a musical!) I joined Orpheus onstage for the first time last year, and had such a ball that I auditioned again this season – it’s another very silly show: Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein, and we just had our third show today (!!). If you happen to be in town, there are six more shows and you can get tickets here…let us entertain you!
And like last year, I find myself enamoured by these bright March days. Still cold, but the sun shines longer and it’s glorious– I’m always reminded of this Dickens quote during these end of winter days.Piles of snow and schoolwork were my welcoming committee after coming home from our vacation (not looking for any sympathy!), and with a hectic rehearsal schedule I needed something for quick snacking and something to warm me up – queue these warm spiced carrot muffins & chai.Whole Wheat Spiced Carrot Muffins (adapted from the adorable Newfoundland Homestyle Muffins And Quickbreads)
Makes a dozen large muffins
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cardamom
¼ cup molasses
2/3 cup plain yogurt
2 tbsp canola oil
½ cup grated carrots
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside. In a smaller bowl, mix liquid ingredients. Stir in carrots. Stir in gently to the flour mixture. Spoon into muffin cups so that they are about 2/3 full.
Bake at 375°F for 15-20 minutes. Homemade Chai (adapted from Bon Appétit, 2002)
My mum started making this chai enthusiastically in the fall, and we were enjoying it so much that she put together little “chai packages” – the tea bags, and measured spices – so that you just need to add the fresh ginger and your liquids! I call her Martha sometimes.
We’ve reduced the sugar from the original recipe, and ¼ cup tends to be our sweetness “maximum”, but play around with it depending on how sweet you enjoy your chai.
2-inch piece fresh ginger, cut into thin rounds
2 cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
10 whole cloves
6 cardamom pods
6 cups cold water
6 bags of black tea (preferably Darjeeling)
2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
Combine first 5 ingredients in medium saucepan. Using mallet or back of large spoon, lightly crush or bruise spices. Add 6 cups water; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover pan, and simmer gently 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add tea bags and steep 5 minutes. Discard tea bags. Add milk and sugar. Bring tea just to simmer over high heat, whisking until sugar dissolves. Strain chai into teapot and serve hot.
Enjoy, and maybe I’ll see you in the audience!