My bags are packed, Buddha and all. I’m heading to the magical, mystical land of Dhagpo Kundreul Ling, i.e. the sister center of my home center, Dhagpo Kagyu Ling. To each their own magic and mystery; for me, Bost, as it is known colloquially, is the stuff of legend. Where people go to do three-year retreat, tucked away in the snowy mountains, with a temple handmade by practitioners over decades of hard work.
Retreat itself is neither magic nor mystery; its activity falls more under the heading of hard work. Long hours of meditation to develop focus and what understanding we can wrangle. Ten of us are riding out in half an hour here, a caravan of aspiring Bodhisattvas. Ha, I kid–a bunch of tired (annual budgets first–meditation retreats after!), devoted normal people with wishes to be of use in this world. But I guess even the wisest of Bodhisattvas was here once.
Whenever something of note is happening and I need time to process–like going to my first group retreat at a Dharma center I’ve dreamed about visiting for years–I find myself in the kitchen covered in flour. Fortunately, muffins to accompany our winding route into the mountains are a very appropriate result of my time of reflection. These are ace. Parsnips are just the best, sweet and tender, yet subtle enough to pair well with other flavors for a final taste that is familiar yet unexpected. In this case, I went for maple syrup to carry us into even colder climes. These are earthy and gentle and sweet, like a hug from your mom when you’re little.
Enjoy your muffins and your week, wherever it takes you. I’ll see you on the other side. Maybe I’ll even be just the tiniest bit wiser, hehe. If nothing else, I’ll have gotten to see snow and mountains and a big old Buddha statue in a temple that looks right out of Tibet. And that, my friends, is never a bad thing in my book.
All the love in the world to you. Ciao!
Honey Glazed Parsnip Muffins
Makes twenty regular-sized muffins
For the parsnips:
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons maple syrup
a pinch of salt
2 cups chopped parsnip, in 1/4 inch chunks
For the muffin batter:
2 1/2 cups (310 grams) all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons (7 mL) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3 mL) baking soda
1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (30 mL) maple syrup
1 cup (240 mL) buttermilk
1 stick (8 tablespoons/113 grams) butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 400˚ F (200˚ C).
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter for the parsnips on medium heat. Add the parsnips and cook until tender. Add the maple syrup for the parsnips and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook until all the liquid has evaporated and the parsnips are slightly golden on the outside. Set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, maple syrup, eggs, buttermilk and melted butter. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Fold in cooled parsnips.
Scoop batter into twenty regular-sized muffin cups. Bake for twenty to twenty-five minutes, or until muffins are golden brown and tops spring back lightly when touched. Take on the road or on the kitchen table with a cup of tea and a whiff of winter. Cheers, y’all!