opening the kimono

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After a work-related panel discussion I attended a while back, there was some conversation about how panelists often gloss over the gritty, gory, real details of what they’re talking about. And that’s understandable – when you’re in front of a room of 200 professionals, it’s probably best to talk about your successes rather than your failures. As one woman put it, “now is not the time to open the kimono.”

Which is not really an image I wanted in my head.

But that strikes a familiar chord to food blogging. On this site, I share with you the somewhat thoughtfully laid out best of whatever I’ve just made. I try to tell you things about myself that make me seem like the kind of person that has an awesome work-life balance, has brilliant and heart-melting friends, has impressive and unique athletic abilities, is a proficient baker and cake-decorator and cook, and reads Al Jazeera at 7 o’clock in the morning.

And all of that is true – which is a pretty cool realization.

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But what you should also know is that it isn’t always perfect. I’ve dyed all my socks pink by accidentally adding a red t-shirt to my white load of laundry. I’ve had a bad week’s sleep and cried when I got into my apartment because someone didn’t move out of the way when I wanted to get out of the elevator. I’ve added peppermint oil to meringues and watched them deflate. I’ve broken glasses and burnt an inch-thick layer of soup to the bottom of a saucepan. I’ve dropped an open bag of frozen blueberries all over the kitchen floor. I’ve eaten a McChicken… and then documented it with a selfie and then sent that to a friend.

Often I think it’s our ridiculous mistakes that make the best stories. I’m sure one exists and I just haven’t had time to find it yet, but I would love to read or write a blog about hilarious baking and cooking failures. Maybe even the occasional minor life failures.

We could call it “opening the kimono.”

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With that gotten out of the way, these muffins weren’t a failure at all. They came out perfectly on the first try, and they were delicious.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Adapted from food.com

Ingredients

half cup butter (I use European style) at room temperature
two thirds cup sugar
two eggs
one and one third cups cake flour
one teaspoon baking powder
half teaspoon baking soda
two tablespoons poppy seeds
zest of two lemons
quarter teaspoon salt
scant half cup milk
three tablespoons lemon juice
one teaspoon vanilla

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a muffin pan and set aside.
Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs one at a time until fully incorporated.
In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Stir in poppy seeds and lemon zest.
In a liquid measuring cup, measure one tablespoon of lemon juice. Add enough milk to make half a cup. Add in the remaining two tablespoons of lemon juice and the vanilla.
Stir one third of dry mix into butter mixture until just barely combined. Repeat with half the liquid, and another third of the dry until everything is in one bowl.
Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan. Bake for about 22-24 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

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