Monthly Archives: June 2013

Lemon Ricotta Muffins

Muffin
I have a confession to make: I am the ultimate ricotta-waster. I hate wasting food in any capacity but for some reason I more-often-than-not have a moldy container of ricotta cheese in my fridge. I use a cup for one recipe and then cut to three weeks later and I haven’t used it since. It’s becoming a reeeeeal problem in my life.

Anyway, on the brink of ricotta expiration, I made these muffins. I loooove love love ricotta in baked goods (it gives them this strangely spongy but not-too-fluffy texture, kind of like ricotta cheese itself) and have made a promise to myself that I will no longer waste ricotta – I’ll just bake it up.

On the menu:
Lemon ricotta muffins
Makes 12

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar, plus 2 Tbsp (for topping)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
Zest of 2 lemons
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin tin cups with muffin liners.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, blend the sugar, butter, and zest. Beat in ricotta cheese until smooth. Add egg, fresh lemon juice, and vanilla extract and blend until combined. Add dry ingredients and mix by hand until combined.

Fill each muffin liner with batter. Cups will be almost completely full (don’t worry, they don’t really overflow but just puff up nicely). Sprinkle remaining 2 Tbsp of sugar over the top of the muffins.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost completely clean.

Let cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before removing them from the tin and letting them cool completely.

PS: I apologize for all the lemon-themed baked goods lately. If you can believe it, I even made lemon lime cookies that I didn’t post because I forgot to take a picture before I gave them away. What can I say, it’s summer time and I’ve got lemon on the brain. So sue me.

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Words to Live By

Words to Live By

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June 17, 2013 · 4:03 pm

Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Strawberries

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There are few greater joys in a home cook’s life than when a first time recipe turns out really, really well. And this is a recipe that turned out really, really well. It’s a “pound cake” type of dessert, meaning it could be eaten by itself (tomorrow I’ll probably call it breakfast) or you could top it with 100 different things. For a pre-Father’s Day dinner with my dad last night I served this cake with fresh strawberries (tossed with a little white sugar for sweetness and to bring out the juice) and topped it with whipped cream. But you could do lots of different things: top with lemon curd, drizzle dark chocolate over each slice, or add any kind of seasonal fruit. The sky is the limit.

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On the menu:

Lemon Olive Oil Cake
Adapted from Food + Wine
Makes 1 10″ round cake

7 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled, plus more for greasing the pan
1 3/4 cup flour, plus 1 Tbsp more for flouring the pan
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup olive oil*
3 Tbsp milk, at room temperature
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
Zest of 2 lemons, approximately 2 Tbsp

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10″ cake pan (I used a 10″ tart dish and it came out beautifully).

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, olive oil, and milk.

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, zest and sugar with an electric mixer until the mixture is light and frothy, around 3 minutes. While your mixer is still beating, alternately add the dry flour and wet butter mixtures, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until completely combined.

Pour into your prepared cake pan and tap against the counter top a few times to release bubbles. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes (see note below). Let cool on a cooling rack for at least 10 minutes before serving. This cake will also keep for around 3 days at room temperature.

Cut into wedges and eat alone or top with whatever topping your little heart desires.

*I used regular old olive oil but you could use virgin or extra virgin olive oil if you want to. Just know that the heavier the oil, the heavier your batter will be and a cake made with olive oil might have to cook just a bit longer. Test the doneness of your cake by pressing down on the cooked cake gently with your finger – it should spring back when it’s fully cooked.

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Birthday Countdown

Birthday Countdown

My birthday is in 30 days. That means you have exactly 29 days to find this shirt and buy it for me. And… go.

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June 12, 2013 · 3:46 pm

Greek Pasta Salad

I love looking around for new recipes. Especially in the summer months when I’m not necessarily going to want to spend too much time in a boiling hot kitchen slaving away over an oven.

One recipe I stumbled across on the AllRecipes website was a Greek style pasta salad. Obviously I’d heard of Greek salad on its own, but it had never occurred to me to add pasta into the equation. I’m glad I tried this one though. Not only is it healthy (so long as you go easy on the oil you dress it in), but it’s also delicious and practical for a picnic or barbecue, you know if you’re saving your next trip to a restaurant like 100 Hoxton in London or Fig & Olive in New York for another time.

Ingredients:

150g penne or fusilli pasta

4 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 cloves garlic

2 teaspoons dried oregano

salt and pepper

160ml extra-virgin olive oil

10 cherry tomatoes

1 small red onion

1 green pepper

1 red pepper

1/2 cucumber

70g sliced black olives

125g crumbled feta cheese

Directions:

Pull out a large saucepan and fill it with lightly salted water. Bring to the boil and stir in your pasta of choice (penne and fussili work best). Cook the pasta for about 11 minutes, stirring occasionally. Test the pasta with a fork. If it slips through the pasta easily and isn’t chewy, it’s cooked.

Rinse out the pasta with cold water and drain it well with a colander over the sink. Whisk the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, pepper, salt and olive oil together and set aside.

Chop the onion, green and red peppers, slice the cucumber and black olives, and halve the cherry tomatoes on a chopping board, and combine the pasta and vegetable ingredients together in a large bowl. Then crumble the feta cheese on top.

Finally pour the vinaigrette over the pasta and mix the whole thing together thoroughly, making sure the entire dish has a proper coating. Cover it over and allow to chill for about 3 hours before serving.

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National Donut Day!

donuts
In the past few years, somehow, inexplicably, donuts have become one of my favorite foods. I can’t explain it. My grandfather was a baker so maybe it’s in my genes or something.

Anyway, celebrate National Donut Day today! Dunkin’ Donuts is giving away a free donut with every beverage purchase and that’s reason enough for me.

If you’re in NYC my favorite donuts are at The Donut Pub in the West Village. Pop on in and tell them Lauren sent you! They’ll have no idea what you’re talking about and it will be hilarious.

Happy weekend!

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Sea Salt Brownie Cookies

Sea Salt Brownie Cookies

I don’t have a whole lot to say about this recipe except that these cookies are SO FREAKING GOOD. I got the recipe from this article on BuzzFeed called 17 Hybrid Desserts That Will Blow Your Mind. Just beware if you click that link you’re going to end up making SOMETHING from that list. Next up, I think, will be the cupcakes with the cookies in the bottom. This is the stuff that dreeeeeams are made oooooof…

These cookies are basically brownies in cookie form. They get that incredible, flaky brownie crust on them but the inside is soft just like a regular brownie. Delish.

On the menu:
Sea Salt Brownie Cookies
Makes approximately 16 cookies

3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1 1/2 chocolate chips (any kind you like!), divided
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, diced
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup plus Tbsp sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Coarse salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet, or use parchment paper (these do stick a little, even to my non stick baking sheets).

In a double boiler, or in the microwave, melt the unsweetened chocolate, 1 cup of chocolate chips, and butter until completely melted and combined.

In a medium sized bowl, using an electric mixer, blend together the sugar and eggs for around 3 minutes and until fluffy. Add the melted chocolate and mix until combined. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and stir together by hand. Add the remaining chocolate chips and stir to combine.

Drop batter by 1/4 cups onto the baking sheet. Flatten a bit into 1/2 inch thick disks with a spoon. Sprinkle coarse salt on top if desired.

Bake for 10 – 13 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies, or until the middle is puffy and the outer crust is flaky. Let cool for a minute on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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