Monday, October 24, 2011

The Weekend's Success Stories

This weekend/week was filled with a lot of baking, as I sought to avoid the more unpleasant aspects of everyday life/the outside world in general (hundreds of pages of Freud for class, an equally unreasonable number of screaming 7 year olds celebrating birthdays at the pottery shop where I work, the frosty weather beginning to set in, you get the picture.)  I experimented with three different lemon muffin recipes, all delicious, but the one below DEFINITELY beat the others out...soooo good.  I also frequented a new Boulder restaurant, Snooze, where what must be the best breakfast food in the whole world is served into the late afternoon (umm...hellooo pineapple upside down pancakes!) And the week's final success story is the butternut squash pizza that Ben and I made-- I had my doubts, but it turned out scrumptiously!

 Caprese Benedict at Snooze.  Seriously, NOTHING could be better on a Saturday morning.

The Buttenut Squash Pizza.  We bought a crust, but it would have been so much better with a homemade one--definitely an improvement for next time.  Here's the recipe, adapted from this one, but with a few changes:

Butternut Squash Pizza

2 cups cubed butternut squash (1/2-inch pieces)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 ball (16 ounces) store-bought whole-wheat pizza dough, at room temperature
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
4 ounces grated parmesan cheese
sprinkling of parsley

Heat oven to 400°. Heat pizza stone on bottom rack (or use an inverted 11" x 16" cookie sheet, not heated). Toss squash with 1 teaspoon oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. On a baking sheet, cook squash until soft and lightly browned, 25 minutes, stirring halfway through; set aside. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Cook onion (season with remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper), stirring, until light brown, 10 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons water; cook, stirring, until brown, 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Turn oven up to 450°. Sprinkle flour on a flat surface. Press dough into a 15-inch circle or 10" x 16" rectangle. Top with squash, onion, spinach, cheeses and thyme. Dust stone or inverted sheet with flour; place pizza on it. Bake until crust is crispy and cheese melts, 10 to 12 minutes.

Here's the best of the three lemon muffins I tried making.  The other two recipes had berries in them as well, but this one was just plain lemon.  I guess sometimes simplicity is best! It was also quite literally the first thing that came up when I googled "lemon muffin recipe" and for good reason-- everyone should be subjected to the deliciousness that is these muffins (and also the hilarity that is Jolie Kerr, the writer of the recipe/ article).
Here's the recipe, in all it's zesty, yellowy glory!
Recipe from The Awl.

Lemon Muffins

1 stick of butter, melted
1 cup of sugar
grated zest of one lemon
2 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

For lemon glaze:
1/4 cup sugar
juice of one large lemon

Mix together the butter, sugar, zest, eggs and milk.  Stir in the flour, baking soda, and salt. Pour into lined muffin tins and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.  Remove when just slightly golden brown on top/ a toothpick poked into the middle comes out clean.  Let cool, then poke a few holes into the tops of each muffin.  Heat the 1/4 cup sugar and lemon juice in a pan until the sugar dissolves, then pour onto the muffins (waiting, perhaps, for a few minutes to let the sugar mixture cool down from it's molten lava-esque temperature so that you don't bite excitedly into the center of the muffin only to burn the bejeezus out of your tongue/general mouth area and then roll around on the floor screaming for the next five minutes.  I am not saying this from experience or anything, I am just giving fair warning that this could easily happen and you might not expect it and totally embarrass yourself in front of your boyfriend.  I'm just looking out for you, ok?).  Anyway, the holes in the tops of the muffins are not super attractive, but when the muffins are this good, no one will care!  But if it really bugs you, you could always cover them up with some kind of fancy garnish like a lemon slice and a sprig of mint or something.

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