today had the markings of a good solar production day. we wouldn't set any records and there were still clouds in the sky, but morning readings showed at least several kW, enough energy to test the space heaters connected to the wifi smart plugs. i opened up the smart life app and sure enough, my father had already turned on the living room space heater. as an added precaution, he pointed the wifi webcam towards the heater, so he could monitor it in case something went wrong (like a fire). the energy monitoring feature is also pretty useful, we can see how much total electricity we used. even though the heater only uses 900W, that's still a lot over time, which is 900W every hour.
for lunch i had the fried egg-kielbasa-sauerkraut combination along with a glass of fresh-squeezed OJ. i also squeezed a full container for my mother, using just navel oranges as they're much sweeter than the minneolas which give a tart flavor to the juice. i decided to make another attempt at blueberry muffins, this time using a jordan marsh recipe i found in the new york times archives. this recipe uses butter (the last recipe i used substituted oil over butter which was a mistake). when i made it last time, the muffins were also very dense despite having such a high-rise crust, which might've been because i used old flour, or simply because there was a lot of ingredients. i also added more blueberries this time around, 2 cups instead of 1 cup, and regular frozen blueberries, not the frozen wild blueberries i used last time.
besides a few ingredient differences, the biggest difference with this particular recipe is the butter and sugar needed to be creamed. this was something i've never done before, but i was up to the challenge. i defrosted a stick of butter in the microwave for 15 seconds and began mixing it together with 1-1/4 cups of sugar. right away i knew it wasn't going well. i tried using a spoon at first, but was making zero progress, before i switched to my handheld electric mixer. my mixing bowl wasn't deep enough and i was afraid of whipping the butter all over the countertop. it was just very difficult to mix everything. but i kept at it, and eventually i got something tot he consistency of granulated mash potato, but it definitely wasn't creamy. i zapped it for 15 more seconds in the microwave on defrost, which turned out to be a mistake, because for some reason the fluffiness was gone and the butter and sugar mixture seemed to have shrank. i mixed it for a few more minutes, but it never returned to its previous form. i then mixed in 2 eggs and some vanilla extract, which turned the mixture into a gooey batter.
into the wet batter i added the dry ingredients (flour + salt + baking powder), mixing in batches, adding some buttermilk in between. the original recipe called for just milk, but i had buttermilk on hand so i used that instead, hoping for better muffins. in fact, the rush to make muffins today was so i could use the buttermilk, which i bought exclusively for this recipe, and i wanted to use it before it went bad (which is hard to tell with buttermilk since it's naturally sour). once that was mixed, i added 2 cups of frozen blueberries. once again, the original recipe called for fresh blueberries, a quarter of which were to be mashed and added to the batter for increased blueberry flavor (i didn't do that). the batter turned out very thick, difficult to stir, but a thick batter is a good thing because it allows the blueberries to be suspended instead of settling to the bottom.
i then scooped the batter into the spray-greased muffin tin, sprinkling some sugar on top for a glaze (ideally it should be special sparkling sugar but i didn't have any), and baked in the oven for 35 minutes at 375°F. when they were done, i simply inverted the tray for the muffins to fall out effortlessly. some of the blueberries fell out of their muffin sockets like jewels, which i put back. they didn't have that incredible rise of my last blueberry muffins, but hopefully they'd taste better. without even trying them, i put 4 in a box and rode off to the cafe to give them to my parents along with the orange juice.
i finally tried the blueberry muffins, still warm. they tasted so much better than last time. very sweet, with a sugary crust on top which reminded me a lot of dunkin' donuts blueberry muffins. my mother did note that the crust didn't rise before much, but the muffin was still fluffy, not dense at all. it was the kind of thing i couldn't just take one bite and i ended up eating half a muffin though i could've easily eaten the whole thing.
my parents were also making tripe soup and boiling some pork skin to make aspic for tomorrow night. i tried a bowl of tripe soup, which smelled like ass, but tasted pretty good once enough salt was added for flavor. i returned home soon afterwards.
despite the clouds, production for today was 27.55kWh, the 4th 25kWh+ day for february.
i made another italian sub for dinner, this time missing one of the meats because i ran out of ham.