Saturday, February 19, 2011

Lemon-palooza: part I

I had planned to write about something else tonight.  But, alas, it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day around here.  Isa is just getting over a nasty cold, which she has now passed on to me.  Despite beautiful, sunny weather for the last several days, it's been quite cold and I decided to keep us quarantined inside in hopes of keeping the colds from getting worse.  Even more profound- yesterday Isa lost her beloved "baba" (aka pacifier) before naptime and while I might have found it later that afternoon (shhh! don't tell her!), she slept fairly well without it last night and that marks the end of baba.  All of those issues conspired to make today really horrendous.  There was yelling (from both of us), crying (again, both of us), ferrel animal screaming (just Isa actually, though I definitely wanted to join her).

I. Am. Exhausted.

The only therapy available to me at the moment is baking.  And so I did.

My fabulous friend Allison down in AZ has recently been drowning in homegrown lemons and grapefruit.  So when she offered to send me a box, I very happily accepted!  The box came late last week and I've been plotting what to do with them.  I'm not sure I have the patience required for marmalade, so right now the list includes lemon curd, preserved lemons, a citrus olive oil cake, and homemade pectin.

Let Lemon-palooza begin!

Tonight's baking was totally on the fly, must-bake-or-I-will-go-crazy stuff.  We are out of breakfast foods, so I decided on muffins and when surveying the possible ingredients, I decided to try lemon poppy seed muffins.  The smell of freshly zested lemons is enough to break most anyone out of a deep funk, thank goodness.  And once I got the zest in, I decided I didn't want to mar the taste of the lemons and left out the poppy seeds.

Unless I state otherwise, all my muffin recipes start with the AtoZ recipe and divert from there.  Tonight was no different.

Lemon-palooza Muffins

(makes 24 muffins)

1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c white flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
1 1/2 c vanilla yogurt
1 1/2 c white sugar
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 1 lemon

Mix together dry ingredients and set aside.
Beat eggs.  Add yogurt and vanilla, cream well.  Add zest and lemon juice, mix well.
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until combined.
Spoon into greased muffin tins.
Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes, or until knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Verdict: Not bad.  All yogurt instead of oil/butter/etc definitely changes the consistency of baked goods, so keep that in mind.  If you want a fluffier muffin (heehee, that sounds awfully dirty), then I'd suggest half yogurt/half oil.  And honestly, I could do with even more lemon-y zing, so feel free to add more zest and/or juice at your own discretion.  I certainly will next time.

When life (or a good friend) sends you lemons....

... bake some muffins!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Poor little neglected blog

It's been a busy and tiring couple of weeks over here. I recently increased my hours with one of my jobs and I'm still trying to figure out how the make the schedule work. For the last several weeks, I have worked past 1 a.m. nearly every night. Last night I was worked until 2:15. So blogging just hasn't happened.

The good news (aside from the larger paycheck and Veronica Mars marathons I've been enjoying) is that the homemade-goodness has continued despite the added stress and decreased sleep. Here are a few of the yummy offerings from the kitchen in recent days:

Oatmeal pear muffins

Sauteed collard greens with bacon jam

Rustic tart from the bacon fat pie crust, stuffed with tomatoes, onions, and cheese

Cream-braised green cabbage (from Molly Wizenberg's book A Homemade Life)

The first three items were for the most part improvised, something I'm proud to be slowly getting better at. The cabbage was out of this world- something I never thought I'd ever say about cabbage. My picture really doesn't do this dish justice. Just typing about it makes me want to go eat the leftovers ASAP.

Even though I haven't had the time to blog lately, I have been filing away ideas in my brain. Topics to look forward to in the near future: whole wheat tortillas, the oil cleansing method, oatmeal, and where to store all these raw materials.