Lunch With Loni

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Lemon (& Blueberry) Muffins July 16, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — lonislens @ 10:24 pm

Does anyone else find Ina Garten’s voice incredibly soothing?  Sometimes I’ll watch an episode of Barefoot Contessa that focuses on food I’m not even interested in, just because it is relaxing.  One recipe recently caught my eye, a recipe for lemon cake.  It looked simple, fresh and delicious.  I halved the recipe and turned it into muffins (I bought some silicone muffin/cupcake liners that are a breeze to use).  I also added blueberries to some of the muffins, which is always a winning combo in my book.

Recipe Courtesy Of: Ina Garten, from her 2001 book Barefoot Contessa Parties!

Recipe Located Online At:


**Note: I have included the original recipe (and ingredient amounts) below, although I halved my recipe.  The original recipe yields two loaves.**

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the glaze:

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2  (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans. You may also line the bottom with parchment paper, if desired.  I used a standard muffin/cupcake pan with my silicone liners, and the halved recipe made 12 good-sized muffins.

Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and the lemon zest.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.  I baked the muffins for approximately 14 minutes (at 350 degrees).

Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and set them on a rack set over a tray or sheet pan; spoon the lemon syrup over them. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.  The muffins in the photos are unglazed.  Sorry!

These turned out very well.  I could imagine that the lemon would be a bit much for some.  I used 2 very large lemons in mine, since that’s what I had on hand.  The halved recipe called for 3 to 4 lemons, but I felt the amount I used was fine.  I recommend trying a little less than the recipe calls for, and then possibly add more to taste.


Farmer’s Market French Toast July 14, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — lonislens @ 12:00 am

There is a fabulous little farmer’s market no more than 5 minutes from our house, and they have had the most delicious “free stone” peaches lately.  For those of you who don’t know (because I know I didn’t before one of the vendors explained it to me), free stone peaches are a type where you can easily separate the flesh from the pit.

I had some peaches that needed to be used up, and I also had a nice loaf of cranberry walnut challah bread (also from the farmer’s market), so I decided to whip up a quick brunch for the husband and myself.  Quick and easy are even more important now, as we welcomed the newest addition to the family a couple of weeks ago…a sweet baby girl!

French Toast Recipe:

  • 6 thick slices bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  Beat together egg, milk, salt, desired spices and vanilla.

2.  Heat a lightly oiled griddle of skillet over medium-high flame.

3.  Dunk each slice of bread in egg mixture, soaking both sides.

4.  Place in pan, and cook on both sides until golden.  Serve hot.


Peach Topping Recipe: my own simple creation

  • 2 medium sized peaches, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinammon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (I’m guesstimating this a bit, as I didn’t measure it exactly)

1.  Place all of the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat.

2.  Stir to incorporate, and reduce heat to low once it starts bubbling and the sugar has liquified.

I started the peach topping first, and turned it down so it just remained warm while the french toast was cooking.  This was a delicious brunch recipe, and a great way to utilize my farmer’s market finds!