On Baking and Boys (Recipe: Tuscan Lemon Muffins)

by Cate on May 4, 2011

All GoneI 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.

Thanks, PaneraHungry for more reviews?  Just noticed these Tuscan Lemon Muffins have been making the rounds.  You can check out more pictures and reviews at:

Project 365
May 4, 2011, Photo #122

HeavenI could eat caramelized mushrooms every day. They make everything better.
Tuscan Lemon Muffins
Recipe courtesy of Cooking Light magazine, May 2011

  • 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.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah Caron May 4, 2011 at 11:01 pm

7 9/10 ounces of flour? That’s the fussiest measurement ever! LOL.


Joanne May 5, 2011 at 6:16 am

I may be eternally complaining about being single, but I am actually super picky/bratty when it comes to guys as well! The second they become even the list bit clingy, i’m out. I just have no desire to have someone breathing down my neck! I’ve been single for far too long for all that.

You’ve really made me wish I had The Cooking Channel! This show sounds awesome as do these muffins!


The Daily Dish May 5, 2011 at 8:53 am

Girl, you’ve got *mojo* – that magical quality that draws people and perfection to YOU. And no matter how hard you fight against it, how hard you try NOT TO, it only makes it worse!

Thanks for the laugh — I loved reading this post and I love those little muffins just as much as you do. (and maybe even a little more, now that they’ve been sprinkled liberally w/ your irresistible mojo!)



Kim - Liv Life May 5, 2011 at 11:15 am

Your post had me laughing out loud!! While it’s been 20 years since I was single I certainly remember the days. Luckily I have a non-clingy husband, and all works out well. He travels for his job and I think we have a more successful relationship as we are not always together and actually look forward to the times of being together.
We LOVED these muffins!! We’ve actually made them 3 times since we found them as I had a request from one of the girls at dance class to “Please make those again!”. So we did.
Thanks for the shout out!


Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily May 5, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Ahh, it’s so true. I met my husband immediately after I’d seriously sworn off guys, didn’t return his call for quite some time and wasn’t acting all goofy and flirty.
love muffins. love lemon. can’t wait to try these.


Amelia from Z Tasty Life May 6, 2011 at 10:44 am

I saw this post on today’s Food News Journal…glad I stopped by to read it because it made me smile and want to be your friend: you seem like a fun person that takes life as it comes!


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