it's been 6 days since my last blueberry muffin attempt (v5 lazy muffins), i was due for another muffin experiment. this time around, instead of 1/2 cup of buttermilk, i used 1/2 of whole milk. will this make any difference? i would find out. i mixed the softened butter (left out since yesterday) and sugar first. i don't have the capability to reduce the two ingredients to cream, but a little bit of mixing prevents butter chunks (which doesn't seem to hurt the recipe but i believe the muffins have a better final consistency if the wet ingredients are mixed properly). only then did i had the 2 eggs and a tsp of vanilla extract. i'm wondering if the vanilla is even necessary because i can't taste it at all. i found another nytimes recipe, "simple blueberry muffins," that don't use vanilla at all (it also called for melted butter and only 1/4 cup of sugar).
i mixed the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, adding in thirds, including some milk in between to moisten the batter. the batter seemed wetter than usual, perhaps because whole milk is not as thick as buttermilk. once i added 2 cups of frozen blueberries however, the batter quickly thickened from the cold temperature. after filling the jumbo muffins tray, into the oven went the muffins, first baking at 425°F for 10 minutes, then reduced to 375°F for 30 minutes. while i waited, i also squeezed another batch of fresh orange juice.
when i opened the oven to check after the 40 minutes mark, the muffins still looked a little raw, so i cooked it for another 10 minutes (my mother prefers a crispier crust anyway). the muffins rose to a typical amount, no more no less. i know if i had another cup of flour i can get a bigger crust, but that would make the muffins too dense. as soon as they were out of the oven, i packaged 4 of the muffins in a small lasagna tray, put them into a cardboard box padded with paper, then biked to the cafe to deliver them to my parents.
my parents had the day off today but was at the cafe to deliver my sister's godmother's tax returns (which i did last night). not only was she there but my 2nd aunt as well. besides the blueberry muffins (still warm from the oven), they also got to try the freshly squeezed orange juice. the muffins were soft, almost cake-like. i noticed the top portion of the muffin was a differently consistency than the lower part, not as dense, maybe less cooked, but still tasted fine. so as far as i'm concerned, there's no difference as to whether one uses whole milk or buttermilk in a muffin recipe. for my next attempt (v7) i'm going to use the fresh blueberries i bought from haymarket on saturday.
i left for belmont, my parents to follow a short time later. during these recent intermittent late winter warm spells, i've done more biking. my thigh muscles feel weird now, they still ache when i pedal uphill, but the pain isn't as sharp, and there's this sort of numb feeling, like i have more endurance and can keep on pedalling longer. anyway, today was supposed to be a sunny day, but by late morning it was already cloudy, with the sun struggling to peek through blotches of thick clouds. despite those odds, we still managed to produce 19.66kWh by day's end. we also reached a new milestone: we produced 500kWh of electricity this month (last month we only made 372 kWh).
i got my father's help to drill a few more holes in the 2nd backyard tree stump, so i can apply the tree stump removal powder to accelerate the cellulose decomposition. this was something we should've down back in the fall, and not wait until late winter (that way we can plant new trees come spring). i would've done it myself, but there's an element of danger (power cord, fast drill) so it's best to have a spotter. we tried using the 1" and 3/4" auger drill bits but they just wouldn't bite into the wood. maybe they did when they were still new, but after using them for a while (to the point where they were smoking hot), they're not as sharp as they used to be. instead we used spade bits. they work much better and don't have the tendency to buck the drill as much as auger bits, but they don't have the depth of the augers (instructions said drill holes 10" deep, the spade bits can only sink 4-5" at best).
we initially used the 7/8" spade bit before it got too dull and we switched to a 3/4" bit. the middle of the stump produced some pink sawdust, which meant the stump hasn't dried up completely yet and still partially alive (edges of the stump produced yellow dried sawdust). after additional top holes were drilled (we'd already worked on this stump months ago, so there were some preexisting holes), we had smaller side holes to let in oxygen in case we ever wanted to burn out the stump. afterwards i poured some water into the holes. my father drilled some additional side holes in the other tree stump as well.
i turned my mother on to dramafever yesterday. i've known about it for a while but the platform seems to be catering to english speakers who want to watch asian television shows. i revisited dramafever recently and learned that that they now having chinese subtitles. this is only on some of the programs, but still enough to watch for a while, especially after my mother has already exhausted all the korean drama catalog on both netflix and amazon prime. dramafever presents a treasure trove of new shows not on either one of those platforms (and by new i mean recent, 2017/2018, a lot of netflix/amazon dramas are years old). my mother is seriously considering the $50/annual to get rid of commercials and had me install the app on all her devices. chinese subtitle only works on the phone/tablet apps; the roku app still only has english/spanish/portuguese language options. we might be able to show chinese subtitles if we stream it using chromecast but that option is only for paid subscribers. my mother also introduced my 2nd aunt to dramafever as well.
after dinner i rode home. the evenings felt a little more empty minus the winter olympics. i watched DC's legends of tomorrow (currently one of the best shows out there for scifi/fantasy nerds, feels like an american version of the time-traveling adventuring dr.who with just more fighting), then took a shower, then watched the good doctor.
earlier this morning i plunged the bathtub drain after noticing a slight clog these past few days. i've been using the double plunger technique, which works miracles and can unclog anything. i block the overflow drain with one plunger and plunge the drain with the other. the suction that gets create produces a satisfying vacuum that quickly clears the drain. still, i wonder what's clogging the plumbing. maybe the soap or the shampoo i use had a tendency to block the drain.