Sundays in Southie, with a mildly severe case of the Sunday scaries. This is the first weekend I’ve stayed put in the city in over a month, and I have been quickly reminded why I escape to the Cape every weekend (aside from hanging out with my wonderful parents): the city is very expensive and I am way too old to stay out past 11pm two nights in a row. I did get a lot done this weekend and saw a lot of friends all over the city, but I’m probably good with hitting any Boston bars until after Labor Day. I’ll give you more details about the weekend via pictures later in the post.
A lot of times people ask me where I get my inspiration for my Sunday baking. I wish I had a more sentimental or riveting story behind the baked good inspiration, like I uncovered a secret recipe book from my Great Grandmother or that Martha Stewart is my baking sherpa and is guiding me on my life journey to become a famous baker. But the real story is that most weeks I am standing in the grocery store on Sunday morning trying to decide on some flavor combination that I haven’t tried before. This morning, I was unshowered, a bit dehydrated and smelling of pinot (in a classy way), standing in line at the Java House waiting for my large iced Snickerdoodle coffee to bring me back to life, and I was just staring at the display of muffins. And I wanted the Lemon Poppy Seed one. But I’m on a new kick where I try not to eat any processed foods if I can help it, so if I can make something myself from scratch than that is better than eating something with a shelf life of 4 years. So I decided, LemonPoppy Seed Muffins from scratch couldn’t be that hard … and they weren’t, and they are delicious. Probably more delicious than the one in the Java House display case that was likely manhandled by some hungover hooligans earlier in the morning. (just kidding, no one in Southie is up and about before 9am except me).
After some light perusing on the world wide web comparing recipes, I settled on this recipe from one of my favorite bloggers Two Peas and their Pod. She added a lemon glaze to these which looked really good, but I decided to keep it simple today – also because my coworkers are like three-year-olds and don’t do well with messy things.
- 2/3 cup sugar
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 stick butter, melted and cooled
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 16 muffin tins with paper muffin cups and spray with nonstick spray.
Step 2: In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and lemon zest. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, and melted butter until well blended. (*If you don’t have sour cream, you can substitute plain Greek yogurt).
Step 3: Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix just until they are well incorporated, but be careful not to over mix. Stir in the poppyseeds. Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin tins. You can make larger muffins and just make 12 instead of 16.
These are going to be a regular in my arsenal of muffin recipes. Super easy, and really nice, light and refreshing. I spent a long time today in the grocery store trying to pick out the best lemons that would be super zesty. I think I got some solid ones, because between the zest and fresh lemon juice these pack a mean lemon punch.
Earlier in the week, I had some food adventures with friends. Sarah came over Tuesday night for some vino and grilling – a combination I’m getting a little better at this summer. My Uncle Jimmy is always a solid go-to for new recipe ideas, so he sent me this BBQ Siracha chicken recipe which was delicious. We made his go-to Emeril’s cole slaw recipe, and then grilled some peaches for dessert. We popped open the Cranberry Pinot Gris that I got from my trip to Cisco Brewery in Nantucket a few weeks back. Ideal summer night in my book.
My summer intern Abby is a big fan of cookies and all things baked goods. As her career sherpa, I’m supposed to teach her all of the important things in life and about how to be a business consultant and leverage things and synergize, and all that good stuff. So Friday we continued our summer research project to eat all of the cookies in Boston, and took a little afternoon field trip to the Food Trucks near South Station – specifically, we visited the Cookie Monstah truck. I kick myself for not thinking of this food truck idea first. They have fresh baked cookies, ice cream sandwiches, or ice cream scoops topped with a cookie. Abby and I shared The Salty Dog ice cream sandwich – which was Salted Caramel Cookies with Totally Turtle ice cream (vanilla ice cream, cashews, caramel and brownie) in between. Holy bananas. We just sat in the sunshine on a park bench and went into a delicious sugar coma. We brought back a half dozen cookies for our coworkers, since navigating the orange line with melting ice cream was not going to happen. Obviously I am sending her off on a solid life path by dropping this knowledge on her.
The weather wasn’t looking stellar for the weekend, so I decided to take a weekend off from fighting Cape traffic and take care of a bunch of things around the house this weekend. Friday night I went out to Legal Test Kitchen down in the seaport with my friend Ania – who survived both high school and college with me – and was one of my original baked good taste testers back in my high school baking days. This watermelon martini was super refreshing and delicious – and had lots of vodka in it. My favorite.
I was at my favorite place in Chestnut Hill yesterday – Pottery Barn. I had to swap out a rug and then use some more rewards to buy more fun things for Operation: Furnish the guest room. So far we have some new curtains, a sea grass rug, Albert + Dash ottoman and Pottery Barn tray (to make the ottoman more like a casual coffee table). I have a bunch of things to hang up on the walls, but need to bribe a friend with cookies to help with that. Or just wait until my mom visits next, since she is handy.
Last night I went out with Sarah and a bunch of other friends to Legal Roofdeck in the Seaport. A solid spot on a nice summer night, if you can get there earlier enough to avoid the line and lock up a good spot at a table. The pinot tastes a thousand times better with this view:
I wrapped up the weekend with a trip to the new movie theater in Somerville with my friends Allie and Luke. We saw 22 Jump Street, which had us laughing the whole time, but mostly we were loving the assigned seating, big comfy chairs, and fancy Diet Coke machines. And now it’s late, because I always leave these until the last minute. Back to work tomorrow morning to try to make back all of the money I spent this weekend. Uncle Jimmy is coming to the Cape this weekend for his annual big-dinner where he basically cooks the most amazing multi-course meal of your life which you try to stay just sober enough to enjoy and remember. I like to try to be his helper so I can learn to make some of his dishes – like the first year a few years back when he taught me how to make risotto which is my winter go-to when I need an impressive dish to pull off. The grilled peaches soaked in booze over coconut gelato is one of my favorite summertime desserts. So prepare yourself for some food envy on my instagram this weekend, because it’s going to be a weekend of boozy gluttony and I cannot wait.