I can sometimes be a brat, especially when it comes to guys. And, for some reason, that’s when you can’t get rid of them. I don’t do it purposely, but as nicely as possible, I just can’t be bothered. When The Ex-Husband and I first met, I barely gave him the time of day. I was fresh out of a terribly bad relationship and was thoroughly enjoying being single. My best friend was single at the same time as well, and we were great co-conspirators, relishing in typical single-girl adventures in our early 20s. Because of that enjoyment, I didn’t chase my ex. There was no sitting by the phone. There was no wishin’ and hopin’ and wonderin’. And I ended up married. There is a new guy that I’ve been randomly talking to for a really short period of time. I think I’ve done my best to express very little interest and darn it if he hasn’t become the girl, always there whenever I turn around. I feel like I’m not being fair, and I’m likely not, but damn, a girl’s got to breathe. It makes me feel like a brat when I internally get exasperated. Apparently, though, that is quite the potent pheromone. Ladies, act as disinterested as you can, I’m telling you, you’ll be golden.
I am also a total brat when it comes to baking. Somehow, I’m lucky enough that it all comes out completely edible and even delicious some 90% of the time. Dumb luck, methinks. I don’t measure flour by weight. I don’t level off properly when measuring. I don’t use different measuring cups for liquids versus solids. I don’t soften butter the “correct” way. Total and stinkin’ brat. But yet, it all seems to work out a-ok. Life, whether it be boys or baking, shakes out the way it should be.
And such is the case with these Tuscan Lemon Muffins. When I hear the word Tuscan, it reminds me of two things. The first is Diane Lane in Under the Tuscan Sun (great chick flick if you need something to add to your running Netflix queue). And the second is a new show on the Cooking Channel called Extra Virgin. It features Debi Mazar (the Brooklynite actress bestie of Madonna from way back when) and her real-life Italian husband, Gabriele. Filmed in their own kitchen, featuring their own Tuscan recipes, it’s good tv.
And these are good muffins. The recipe comes from the May issue of Cooking Light magazine and given my brattiness when it came to the ingredient list, I’m pretty darn lucky that they were edible. Using what I had on hand, I used full-fat ricotta instead of part-skim, extra lemon juice instead of lemon rind and I certainly didn’t measure the flour by ounces or do any sort of leveling. I also didn’t have turbinado sugar in my pantry, but did happen to have a few packages I swiped borrowed from Panera, and three of them were just about perfect. You know, because I didn’t measure that out either. The muffins? They’re moist. Slightly creamy. A teensy hint of lemon. And the perfect treat for day four of Teacher Appreciation Week.
- 7 9/10 ounces all-purpose flour (1 3/4 cups)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Cooking spray
- 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients (through salt); make a well in center. Combine ricotta and next 5 ingredients (through egg). Add ricotta mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
3. Place 12 muffin-cup liners in muffin cups; coat with cooking spray. Divide batter among muffin cups. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over batter. Bake at 375° for 16 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan on a wire rack.