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Sunday, August 28, 2011

“Classic Quickbreads and Muffins, Pt. XXIV: Peach-Pecan Muffins—Delicious Muffins with a Southern Flair”

It’s a Beautiful Day released their fifth album, “It’s a Beautiful Day…Today,” in 1973 and was basically the last gasp of the band.  Not a great one, it’s still worthy of purchase because it had Patti Santos (vocals/percussion), Fred Webb (keyboard/vocals), Val Fuentes (drums/vocals), Bill Gregory (guitars/vocals), and newcomer Bud Cockrell (bass/vocals) who went on to found legendary Pablo Cruise and make millions.  This album is okay and if you are a collector like we are, we suggest you to take the handy link to Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer and buy it now! You won’t be disappointed!  Note: there are a few other IABD albums out there but are difficult to find so we will stop with this one.  Tomorrow, we begin the Grateful Dead! Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day.


Here's the countdown to December 21, 2012: from today, we have 481 days to go until the End of Days, the End of Time, Armageddon, and the End of the Mayan Calendar!  Everybody, beware!


                                                   STINKBUG 2011


Chef James “JT” Tobiason

END Commentary 08-29-2011

Copyright © 2011 by MHB Productions

Word Count: 2,142.



Elemental News of the Day Commentary-Opinion-Sports-Foodservice for Monday, August 29, 2011 by Chef James “JT” Tobiason


 Classic Quickbreads and Muffins, Pt. XXIV: Peach-Pecan Muffins—Delicious Muffins with a Southern Flair

Bakersfield, CA, 08-29-2011 M:  This is strangely enough only my SEVENTH post for the new Elemental News of the Day and I’m glad that I am being asked to do an entire week!  I am going to delve into something I seldom write about—Quickbreads and Muffins—but is something that’s both near and dear to my heart.  My career began in the Napa Valley, one of the most beautiful areas of the State of California and was among the restaurants in the town of Napa.  In between Napa in the south and Calistoga to the north were a great many wineries on both sides of the highway.  Each one had its own restaurant and back in the day, the 1960’s and 1970’s, jobs were always plentiful. I worked in the restaurants of the area and one of the things I enjoyed doing most was learning to bake muffins, many times using fresh fruit.  Murph MacDougal’s work with peaches last week gave me some inspiration to do a muffin recipe with peaches which is one that I am sure all of you will enjoy here at the end of another summer.  Of course, in California, summer won’t truly be over until we’re well into October but you take what you get and you accept it and make the best of it.  The thing that’s bad about living in this state is that we are ever-growing but no new power plants ever come online.  In this day and age of Green, environmentalism, we cannot do the things we need to do in order to sustain our high standard of living; it’s almost as if we committed a crime living so high on the so-called hog.  It used to be that power was the creator of economic growth but apparently, that is a bad word in today’s America. I suggest that every one of you pick up pen and paper and address your congressman-or-woman and tell them that it’s time to crap or get off the pot, that if we’re going to employ people other than illegal aliens, we need energy to do it!

Anyhow, the joy of learning to bake was that I entered the kitchen at 4:00 A.M., fired up the place so that when the Pastry Chef walked in at 5:00 A.M., the place would be warm, the ovens would be ready, and his coffee with cream and sugar would be awaiting his trembling lips.  It seemed like Chef Giscard always walked in with somewhat of a hangover but that man knew how to bake and he did it well. I am fortunate that he took the time to train me, a sixteen-year-old kid. Our muffin for today is a fabulous Peach-Pecan Muffin, one that will make you woozy with wonderment! Let’s do it:


Yield: about 1.5 dozen medium-sized muffins / Mis-en-place: about 60-75 minutes:

All-purpose flour

Cake flour

Ground cinnamon

Ground cardamom

Baking powder

Baking soda

Peach Jell-O

Kosher salt

Large eggs

Brown sugar

Granulated sugar

Vegetable oil

Vanilla extract


Sour cream

Peach syrup

Chopped pecans

Sliced pecans


1.      Mis-en-place: have everything ready to work with. Spray 18 muffin cups with PAM or some such other food release spray, line with paper liners, and spray the liners, too; set aside. Preheat standard oven to 400°F or convection oven to 350°F.

2.      Double-sift the first EIGHT ingredients together and set aside.  Add the three-quarter cup of chopped pecans, stir, and leave.

3.      Cream the egg and sugars on an electric mixer equipped with a paddle attachment.  Cream until light and then beat in the oil and vanilla.  Stir in the buttermilk and sour cream and blend well.  Add the peach syrup and combine.

4.      Fold the DRY ingredients into the WET using the least amount of strokes necessary in order to blend the two together.  We do this so that the finished product isn’t chewy.  Overdeveloping the gluten in quickbreads and muffins spoils the completed product so always take care to NOT overmix.

5.      Refrigerate the batter for 10 minutes and then, scoop it into the prepared muffin cups up to their rims.  Be sure to use equal amounts and if the batter is slightly higher than the cups, that’s okay, we like “high-tops.” Shake the pan gently to settle and then place a pecan half or two atop each muffin, press slightly, and place on the middle oven rack to bake.

6.      Bake for 10 minutes and then drop heat by 25°F.  Continue baking for another 20-25 minutes or until a paring knife inserted into each of the center muffins withdraws clean. Remove from oven at that point and place on a wire rack to cool.

7.      After a couple of minutes, gently rap the pan to loosen the muffins and then tilt them at an angle and complete cooling. To garnish them, mix a little bit of peach syrup with powdered sugar until you have a stiff glaze and then using a spoon, dribble it across the upright muffins in a swirling pattern and allow finishing cooling.

8.      You can wrap each of them individually with plastic wrap and then place inside a Freezer Zip-Lock baggie and freeze until you need to use them.  Heat in a microwave oven until warm and then serve them. Be sure to keep them frozen rather than in the fridge as the fridge tends to dry breads out whereas the freezer keeps them in “suspended animation” for up to three months.

This is an awesome muffin that your friends, family, and guests will admire and enjoy.  Keep this one handy in your recipe book and figure out different variations that you can do it with it like substituting apricots or even plums. Enjoy!

As my dear friend, Murph MacDougal said yesterday, I have had a great time today and as always enjoy my opportunities to write for the Elemental News of the Day. We urge our readership to write to us and leave comments and if there are any of you, who would care to write an article for us, please get in touch via Magnolia Hilltop Brewers, P.O. Box 20669, Bakersfield, CA 93390-0669.  We obviously don’t pay anything but you will be given a full byline and that’s worth its weight in gold.  We want as many people who want to write to be able to do so and we believe that by presenting a forum for our fellow chefs, we are doing something for our beloved industry.  We love diversity and hope to add new and different authors to our pantheon of chefs, food and beverage directors, and culinary professionals.  Come on and join us, it’ll be fun!

Please remember to avoid doing business with AARC Technology in Bakersfield, CA.  These people don’t care about the small customer anymore but instead put all of their attentions onto their corporate customers. It’s sad to not remember why one has the success they do or from where it came.

I had a wonderful time today and will be here for the next six days as I fulfill my week’s commitment to Stinkbug.  This is actually a better thing as we will end up having a couple of months off instead of being around once every ten-eleven days or so.  Anyhow, why not spend some money and purchase an It’s a Beautiful Day album and/or buy a cookbook from Amazon.com.  We are allied with them and are pleased to market their merchandise! See you tomorrow! Love you all! Take care! Bye!    

Thank you!


James “JT” Tobiason

Professional Baker, American Baker’s Association, Certified Working Chef, ACF, CWC

This is me back in the 1980's when I was an Executive Sous Chef at a hotel Monterey, California. I originally came from Salinas, CA, spent time in Fresno and Bakersfield, and currently am working at a fine-dining restaurant in Visalia, CA. I began cooking in 1967 when I apprenticed under a top chef working in the Napa Valley.


END Commentary for Monday, August 29, 2011 by Chef James “JT” Tobiason

Please note that everyone who writes for the Elemental News of the Day is their own person entitled to their own opinions, attitudes, and insanity so does not necessarily speak for all of us.  Thanks, Stinkbug.


This original essay was authored by the one-and-only Chef James “JT” Tobiason

Recipes created by Chef James “JT” Tobiason on June 15, 1988 in Monterey, CA.



“Stinky” of the Elemental News of the Day for the best of the news, politics, sports, foodservice, hotel and restaurant business, the end times, the end of days, the apocalypse, armageddon, and whatever else happens to pop up!



          LE STINKBUG

This is #1308, an 11” x 14" original oil painting by Beverly Carrick entitled, “The Big Shoe." It's among her more beautiful works and is available for sale. You can see much more of her work at her Website, located at http://www.beverlycarrick.com or at Brian Carrick's Facebook page. At her Website, you will see not only more original oil paintings but also lithographs, giclees, prints, miniatures, photographs, and even her award-winning instructional video entitled, "Painting the Southwest with Beverly Carrick." Beverly has been painting for more than 60 years and is known around the world. Her work hangs in private and public galleries and is followed by a great many fans that circle the globe. We urge you to go to her Website NOW and view her work. It's possible that you will find something you like and will want to buy it for yourself, a friend, a loved one, or a neighbor! You will not be disappointed so please: do yourself a favor and go there IMMEDIATELY! Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day!

Web Pictures II


Magnolia Hilltop Brewers and What's Cookin' Productions Trademark of Quality and Symbol of Integrity. Copyright 08-26-2011, all rights reserved. No unauthorized reproductions of any of this material are permissible unless granted by written permission. Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day.

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