Monday Night Martha, Jalapeno Corn Muffins

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We are invited to a New Year's Day smoked pork roast. Our Southern girlfriend and her husband are going to slow smoke pork for twelve hours on the grill with a secret spicy dry rub. Well, need we say more? Count us in. But we need to bring something along.

And since this is Monday Night Martha, we turn to Ms. Stewart for a cornbread idea to complement this pork fest. We are excited to find this recipe for jalapeno corn muffins from the March 2004 Martha Stewart Living.

The recipe calls for unsalted butter, buttermilk, eggs, sour cream, yellow cornmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, coarse salt, 2 jalapenos seeded and finely chopped and fresh or thawed corn kernels.

We are doubling the recipe, which means that we should seed and chop four jalapenos but since our jalapenos look large we decide to use only three. Our caution was not necessary. The finished muffins have a nice pleasing taste, but were not too spicy at all. Next time we will not be so timid - in fact, we would probably consider adding an additional chopped jalapeno into the mix to turn up the heat.

We make another modification to the recipe, which calls for one stick of unsalted butter. Since we have fresh bacon grease on hand, we decide to halve the butter and make up the difference with the bacon grease. This was not going to be a vegetarian event, after all! This substitution worked out great, and added a nice hint of savory flavor.

At the party, the muffins seemed to be a success. Our host - who had been awake between 2:00-4:00 AM tending to the smoked pork roast - ate three.

The New Year was launched in foodie style with jalapeno corn muffins and slaw and crock-pot greens and homemade walnut bread and black-eyed peas and cold beer. And since our host's alma mater, Georgia Tech, would be heading to a bowl game, he even made some deliciously zesty yellow BBQ sauce he called "The Sting". Not a bad way to ring in the New Year.

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