J-term is Harvard’s gift to 1Ls after the insanity of final exams. After finishing last semester, I had been looking forward to a couple weeks at home to rest and recoup. But breaks usually aren’t actually all that much of a break when you think about it. You have to run all of the errands you ignored for the month you spent in the library. You have lots of family and friends to go see and spend time with. You realize that you haven’t thought about applying to jobs yet and that’s going to sneak up on you faster than you think. Before you know it, break is over and you have to go back to school, but you don’t feel anymore rejuvenated than when you left.
Enter J-term. A three-ish week long period of time where 1Ls have to take a class called Problem Solving Workshop in the mornings, and dedicate the rest of their time to whatever they want. Which ends up being a lot of hanging out with friends without the pressure of deadlines ruining your fun. It also ends up being a time where you can explore all of the places you didn’t have time to explore during the semester. And, honestly, it really ends up being a whole lot of Netflix.
Regardless, J-term has managed to feel like more of a vacation than vacation itself. Which I like to believe Harvard does intentionally, but, even if not, one week in I’m already feeling way better.
I haven’t quite taken advantage of the extra time to bake yet, but that will come next week, when I’ll be celebrating what seems to be half of my section’s birthdays. Why everyone was born within a month of each other, I don’t know, but it does give me a good excuse to make cupcakes or cake next week.
This week, though, I went the more practical route of corn muffins. I wanted to make something that wasn’t a cookie (I’ve been doing a lot of cookies recently) and that I could eat with meals and not count it as dessert. Corn muffins seemed like the perfect complement to the black bean soup I’m currently making, so that’s what I went with.
These come from Magnolia’s Bakery Cookbook, which is one of my favorites, and are really easy – I already had everything on hand.
First, in a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.Then, make a well in the middle and add the melted butter, beaten eggs, and milk. Stir lightly with a wooden spoon until just combined – batter should be lumpy. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and divide the batter evenly between the 12 cups. Bake at 350°F for 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean and edges are golden.
Allow to cool slightly in pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. They should pop right out of the pan pretty easily; no paper cups requiredWith muffins and other breads I’m planning on using for meals, I tend to wait until they’ve cooled completely, put them in a big ziploc bag, and freeze them. Then, right before I’m eating, I’ll heat one up in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.
If you don’t want to freeze them, make sure you keep them in an airtight container to stay fresh.
- 1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the eggs, milk, and melted butter. Stir lightly with a wooden spoon until just combined but still lumpy.
- Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and spoon the batter evenly into 12 cups.
- Bake at 350°F for 18 minutes or until the edges are golden and a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool slightly in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.