Ronnie Paul: I should have known |

Ronnie Paul: I should have known


You won’t regret starting your morning with these lemon poppy seed muffins.
Photo by Jeff Kane

Whenever I listen to the Beatles, my teenage heart and memories awaken. I plastered posters of the Fab Four on my bedroom walls and trembled with excitement when they appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. Many of their songs were my favorites, but last week when recovering from eating a huge piece of chocolate cake and a bag of tortilla chips, I sang, “I Should Have Known Better.”

Decades ago I scoffed at the thought of culinary moderation, but now I bow my head humbly. I too am fallible.

Another example of I-should-have-known-better was when I insisted on clearing the dinner table by balancing a water pitcher, two plates, and a serving platter on one arm. Had I heeded Jeff’s horrified face and noticed the cat curled up by my chair, the crash might not have happened. Never one to waste, I plan to use the ceramic shards to build a small mosaic table.

Apparently wisdom doesn’t always accompany age. For instance, take the last time I went shopping and found myself in the checkout line holding a gold lamé bomber jacket. Yes, I did notice the ripped sleeve and the dangling sales tag stating that the “As is” item was not returnable. Yes, I did notice that it was not my size. Yes, I should have started singing, “I Should Have Known Better.”

Fortunately, I usually know better when combining recipe ingredients. When you try these, I hope you agree.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

1 dozen

You won’t regret starting your morning with these muffins.

½ cup salted butter, melted

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup vanilla yogurt

2½ cups white flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¾ cup white sugar

1 packed tablespoon grated lemon peel (grate the lemon before you squeeze the juice)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

4 teaspoons poppy seeds

Stir the butter, eggs and vanilla together. Mix in the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and poppy seeds by hand.

Pour into a well-greased muffin tin and bake for about 25 minutes at 375 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the middle, comes out clean. Because everyone’s oven bakes differently, I suggest that you start checking the muffins about 5 minutes before the recommended time.

Sweet Potato-Squash Soup

Serves 4

My daughter chooses this exotic, though easy to make soup, as her birthday dinner.

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in small chunks

1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut in small chunks (I make my life easy and buy it already peeled and cubed.)

½ cup chopped onion

1 pressed garlic clove

4 cups water

½ teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon curry powder

Salt and pepper



Plain yogurt


Put the potatoes, squash, onion, garlic and water in a soup pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until the veggies are very tender. Let cool.

Purée the soup (I never regret making life easier, so I use an immersion blender.)

Ronnie Paul is a Nevada County freelance writer.

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