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Lemonade and a Kitchen-Aid Stand Mixer Review

25 Jun

With all the many things you can do with a Kitchen-Aid stand mixer, choosing a recipe as simple as lemonade to show off its capabilities may seem like an odd choice.  My Kitchen-Aid and all its attachments get used for pasta making, meat grinding, dough kneading and cake mixing all the time. Since these items are not necessarily the types of things most busy cooks do everyday, some people have a hard time justifying buying a Kitchen-Aid mixer for themselves. The thing is, when you do purchase one, it makes such an easy job of everything that you will start making more complicated items without hesitation. What used to be special occasion becomes simple everyday stuff. My students were lucky enough to have them this year for the first time and it has completely transformed the curriculum because of the things it can do and also the time it allows us to do things in. The important thing is keeping it out on your counter in an accessible spot so you will be able to use it for all types of tasks. Which brings me to today’s simple task, lemonade. Lemonade is as simple as hand squeezing lemons and whisking in sugar, right? Seems like it, but just like a ridiculous infomercial can prove, something as simple as lemonade can turn out to be a time-consuming sticky mess. If your Kitchen-Aid is out and ready to go, it’s as easy as screwing on the juicer attachment and juicing straight into the mixing bowl for easy and efficient whisking in of the sugar.  I’m not suggesting anyone purchase a Kitchen-Aid mixer just to make lemonade, if that were the only thing you were to use it for, it would be a sin. Once this kitchen must have item is in your possession you’ll find whipping up a batch of cookies on a Tuesday night is no big deal. Homemade fettuccine doesn’t need to be an all day Sunday affair and can be completed in less than a half hour. Pizza and bread dough will become a weekly occurrence . It can also save you some time mixing up something as simple as a quick summer drink.

Kitchen-Aid Lemonade

Mixing the sugar into the lemon juice with the whisk attachment eliminates the need for boiling sugar and water together to make a simple syrup on the stove top.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup lemon juice – about 10 large lemons
  • 5 -7 cups water

 Attach the juicer to the Kitchen-Aid stand mixer and place the mixing bowl underneath the juicer’s spout.  Turn the mixer on medium speed and extract the juice from the lemons into the bowl.

Detach the juicer and place the mixing bowl back into the base. Attach the whisk and begin beating on low-speed. Slowly add in the sugar. Raise the speed and add in 5 cups of water. Whisk for 3 minutes. Taste, and add water if too sweet or tart.

Pour lemonade into a pitcher and add the juiced lemon shells. Serve with ice and lemon wedges.

Tuscan Lemon Muffins with Olive Oil and Ricotta Cheese

23 Aug

I have a thing for writing lists. My weapon of choice is the large, yellow, lined Post-it pads and a new mechanical pencil. Nothing beats the feeling of crossing things off a list. But today I have a little “to do list” guilt going on. I started an exercise routine that has only happened 2 out of 5 planned days and usually started with a handful of chocolate covered raisins to get me motivated and a cup of Italian ices to reward myself for working so hard.

I also planned to get some serious paperwork finished this afternoon.  That was 6 snacks, 4 episodes of Food Network Star, 1 nap and 5 hours ago. Not a single thing has been crossed off the list and I’m already in pajamas at 5pm. Things arent looking good. To procrastinate more,  I have decided that I need to share these really great muffins with you.

These muffins are great to eat while you are making to-do lists.  They are also suitable for motivating  or rewarding yourself for a workout because they have heart healthy olive oil and low-fat, protein rich ricotta cheese.  You can eat them while watching TV or mindlessly surfing the internet. You should not eat them while attempting a nap. You can even eat them when your working. They taste best when crossing things OFF your to-do list. Which is maybe what I will be doing soon… 

 Tuscan Lemon Muffins – adapted from Maureen Callahan, Cooking Light  MAY 2011

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 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  coarse sugar
  • 12 muffin cup liners

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2.  Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl and make a well in the center. In a small bowl, whisk together ricotta, water, olive oil, lemon juice, zest, and egg. Add ricotta mixture to flour mixture and stir just long enough to moisten dry ingredinets. Do not overmix.

3. Line muffin tins with muffin liners and spray with cooking spray. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.  Sprinkle muffins generously with coarse sugar. Bake at 375° for 14 minutes. Raise heat to 400 for a remaining 2-3 minutes to caramelize the sugar on top slightly. ( I have used my broiler which takes 1 minute but you must stay close by watching it or they will burn) Test with a wooden pick inserted in the center to see if it comes out clean. Let cool in pan on a wire rack.