Saturday, December 14, 2013

Meyer Lemon-Cranberry Cornmeal Muffins

just think of lemons...
Meyer Lemon-Cranberry Cornmeal Muffins.

had a friend growing up whose mother used to tell her, whenever things were a little less than perfect, to "just think of lemons." As angsty, jerky teenagers we found this advice more amusing than helpful. But now, as a marginally functional grown up, I'm finding that it actually works. While I do love a good "I'm not leaving the house at all" snow day, winter as a whole bums me out. It gets dark at 3:30 in the afternoon, the car is frozen shut every other morning and my toes are numb and frozen pretty much always. When Meyer lemon season starts things feel a little bit (metaphorically) warmer. 
So when life gives you a seemingly endless frozen tundra, 
think of lemons.
And when life gives you lemons, make muffins.
Or, as a wise man from Minnesota once said, paint that shit gold. 

Cranberry-Meyer Lemon Muffins
(makes approximately 15 muffins)
1/2c all purpose flour
1c whole wheat flour
3/4c cornmeal
2/3c organic sugar
1tbsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
1/2tsp salt
1tbsp apple cider vinegar
1.5tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2c halved fresh (or frozen) cranberries
1/4c raw walnut pieces (optional)
2tsp grated meyer lemon zest
1c unsweetened non-dairy milk
1/4c meyer lemon juice
1/4c canola (or other neutral) oil
1/2Tbsp extra sugar for dusting tops of muffins

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Line muffin tin with paper liners.
Measure out 1 1/2c of cranberries, cut each in half, toss in a small bowl, set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt
and 1/3c of the sugar, whisk to combine.
Add the remaining 1/3c of sugar and 2 tbsp of the dry flour mix to the cranberries and toss gently until cranberries are well coated.
Stir in 1 1/2tsp of the lemon zest.
Add non-dairy milk, lemon juice, vinegar, oil and vanilla extract to flour mix.
Stir until well combined.
Add in walnut pieces.

GENTLY fold cranberries into wet mix.
If using fresh, be more aggressive, but the frozen will bleed.
Fill muffin liners 2/3 full and shake pan gently to distribute.
Sprinkle the tops of each muffin with a pinch of sugar and reserved 1/2tsp lemon zest.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until tops are light golden brown and
tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Spiced Lentil Stew with Preserved Lemon

always be prepared.
Spiced Lentil Stew with Preserved Lemon
Oh yes. And I didn't even have to leave the house.

Otherwise known as "why I always have lentils on hand" stew. This is me, singing the praises of a well stocked pantry. Because, if you're prepared, on those it's too cold (or I'm too lazy) to go outside days or on those there's nothing in the fridge days,
there is ALWAYS the possibility of soup.
So stock up.
And try this recipe.
It's a good one.

Using up the heirlooms, but regular ol' orange carrots work just as well.

Spiced Lentil Stew with Preserved Lemon
(serves 4)

2tbsp olive oil
1 1/2c brown lentils, rinsed
1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 leek, sliced thinly
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into discs
2tsp sea salt
2 1/2tsp chili powder
1tsp turmeric
1/2tsp black pepper
1/2tsp finely minced preserved lemon
4c unsalted vegetable stock
1/2c crushed tomatoes
1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed

Trim and thinly slice leek into half discs, reserving a generous pinch of the
brightest greens for garnish.
Sautee diced onion, leek and garlic over medium heat for 2-3 minutes 
until onions become translucent. 
Add carrots and sautee for 1-2 minutes longer.
Add chili powder, turmeric, salt, pepper and preserved lemon.
Cook 1-2 minutes longer, stirring frequently, until mix is fragrant. 
Add stock, lemon juice and tomatoes.
Stir to combine. 
Increase heat, bringing stew to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to medium-low.
Cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If soup becomes too thick, add a small amount of water during cooking.
Remove bay leaf and adjust seasoning to taste.
Garnish with reserved sliced leeks and crushed red pepper when serving.

Gorgeous ingredients, soon you will be soup.