August 25, 2012

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

These muffins are one of my favorite on the go breakfasts because they are tart, tangy, and freeze well. I like to make a big batch and freeze them so that I can grab one when I need to eat quickly.

This recipe is very easy, but it bursts with tart lemons and nutty poppy seeds. To make the flavors pop even more, I drizzle the muffins with a gooey lemon glaze and more crunchy poppy seeds. If you freeze the muffins, I would top them with the glaze and poppy seeds just before eating them instead of before freezing. It will make the muffins taste fresher, and the glaze will have a better texture.

Since these are lemon poppyseed muffins, you would expect a lot of poppy seeds. A tablespoon doesn't sound like much, but wait until you mix the poppy seeds in before increasing the amount. Remember, you want to have a lemon muffin studded with poppy seeds, not a mass of poppy seeds barely held together by some muffin batter. This applies to most recipes; personally, I stick with the original recipe the first time and adapt it to fit my taste once I make it again.

If I'm running late in the morning, I can only have breakfast if it's quick and easy, so I make sure I have a batch of these in my freezer. They are the perfect treat to wake up to!

2/3 Cup Sugar
1 Lemon
2 2/12 T Lemon Juice
2 Cups Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
3/4 Cup Sour Cream
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Stick Butter, Melted
1 T + 1 tsp Poppy Seeds
1 Cup Powdered Sugar

Heat oven to 400F and line muffin tins with paper cups.

Rub the sugar and the zest of the lemon together. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Whisk the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, juice from the lemon, and butter together in another bowl. Pour into the flour mixture and stir to combine. Fold in 1T poppy seeds.

Divide the batter between the cups and bake for 16-18 minutes or until cooked through.

Meanwhile, combine 1 1/2 T lemon juice and the powdered sugar. Gradually add the remaining lemon juice until it forms a thin glaze. Drizzle on the cooled muffins and sprinkle with remaining poppy seeds.

Makes 12
Recipe Adapted from Dorie Greenspan

August 17, 2012

Strawberry Ricotta Scones

Celebrate the end of strawberry season and the beginning of the school year with this delicious breakfast treat! These scones are not too sweet, but they are bursting with summery strawberries, hints of tart lemon, and tangy ricotta cheese. It appears to be an odd combination, but it definitely works! I recommend keeping a bowl of dough in the refrigerator and baking one or two each morning so that they are warm and fresh when you are ready to eat.

This recipe is fairly easy; you combine the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients separately, then whisk the two together before folding in the berries. However, there are a few  tricks to make these some of the best scones you will ever have! I rub the lemon zest and sugar together so that you taste lemon in every bite. It works because the oils in the lemon zest perfume the sugar, giving it a subtle lemony flavor and pale yellow color. Another tip is to keep everything cold, including the butter, ricotta, berries, buttermilk, and the finished dough. The cold ingredients, especially the butter, steam in the oven to create a light, fluffy scone. My final piece of advice is to not overwork the dough. You want to have small nuggets of butter and ricotta, so don't worry about having a smooth, homogenous dough.

I often find myself rushing out the door to get to school on time, so breakfast is usually overlooked. However, if I have a bowl of strawberry ricotta scone dough ready to bake, I never go hungry!

1 Egg
1/2 Cup Buttermilk
2 T Lemon Zest
2 T Lemon Juice
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 Cup Ricotta
3 T Sugar
2 1/2 Cups Flour
2 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1 Stick Butter, Chilled & Cubed
1 1/4 Cups Chopped Fresh Strawberries

Heat oven to 375F. Line a cookie tray with parchment.

Combine the egg, buttermilk, lemon juice, and vanilla. Whisk in the ricotta.

Combine the sugar and lemon zest. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the butter, then stir in the liquid mixture. Fold in the strawberries.

Scoop the dough onto the prepared trays using a large cookie scoop. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

Makes 12
Recipe Adapted from

August 4, 2012

Pineapple Mango Salsa

This is not your typical salsa. It is very tropical, chunky, and more sweet than tomato-based salsas. It has a lot of variety, too; no bite is ever the same. There is the sweetness of the pineapple, sharpness of the onion and ginger, spiciness from the jalapeño, and tanginess from the lime juice. I grill the pineapple to bring out some of the natural sweetness in addition to adding a bit of charred (but not burnt) flavor. Since it is both sweet and spicy, I use it on more than just chips. This salsa is fantastic on fish, grilled chicken, shellfish, and more. As with most salsas, you can always adjust the ratios of the ingredients to fit what you prefer. This salsa is as delicious as it is unique!

1 Pineapple
2 T Oil
2 Mangos
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Red Onion
1/3 Cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro
1/3 Cup Olive Oil
2 T Fresh Grated Ginger
2 Jalapeños
3 Limes
4 tsp Sugar

Peel and core the pineapple. Cut into 1/4" thick rings and brush with the oil. Grill until grill marks appear.

Peel and pit the mango. Dice. Dice the bell pepper. Mince the onion and jalapeño. Dice the pineapple rings once cool.

Whisk the olive oil, ginger, the juice of the limes, and the sugar together.

Combine the pineapple, mango, bell pepper, onion, cilantro, and jalapeños. Stir in the olive oil mixture and let sit overnight before serving.

Recipe Adapted from Susanna Goihman