Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Whole Chicken with Stuffing

This was the first time I have ever made a whole chicken with stuffing. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be and it was delish! I also put stuffing in it (not homemade, but still good) and enjoyed the leftovers for days.

I cooked it at 350 for longer than I was supposed to because it was done a whole two hours early, so I just put it on low until the hubby got home for dinner. Still good, but a bit on the dry side.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Lemon Ricotta Biscuits . . . . or are they muffins?!

Giada made these delicious-looking "things," as we'll call them, on her show a few weeks ago. I have had the recipe on my Safari page in my iPhone for I don't know how long. Yesterday, I decided to finally make them.

My neighbor has a lemon tree in her front yard. It actually looks more like a bush of sorts. She has mentioned to me, while walking her dog, that we are free to come over and take lemons from her tree anytime. And I did just that! Carly and I walked right over and picked a few, well, 5 to be exact. But who's counting?

They were super easy and are quite tasty. You only need two lemons. The recipe calls for whole milk ricotta and I substituted it with low-fat ricotta. I thought they might come out less moist, but surprisingly, they are not dry. (If you know me, most of my food has to be moist. Especially my chicken and turkey.) I also ran out of cupcake liners, so for two of the "things," I just sprayed the muffin tin with cooking spray. And lastly, I didn't have any slivered or sliced almonds to garnish the top, so I simply put an almond.

Now, to my question. These muffin-shaped yummies are sweet - calls for a cup of sugar and extra for garnishing the top. I had one for breakfast this morning with my coffee. The lemon and almond flavors remind me of a dessert or muffin I would have with my latte. The word biscuit gives these guys the connotation one would have them with chicken or other hearty dinner. Thinking about it, I do like my cornbread sweet, and I usually like it with butter and honey to boot!

After doing some research, this is what I found.

The definition for muffin and biscuit, respectively:

muf⋅fin   [muhf-in]
1. an individual cup-shaped quick bread made with wheat flour, cornmeal, or the like, and baked in a pan (muffin pan) containing a series of cuplike forms.

bis⋅cuit   [bis-kit]
1. a kind of bread in small, soft cakes, raised with baking powder or soda, or sometimes with yeast.
2. Chiefly British.
a. a dry and crisp or hard bread in thin, flat cakes, made without yeast or other raising agent; a cracker.
b. a cookie.

I also realized that the episode Giada made this was titled Everyday Desserts. I never knew the definition of biscuit, and it does seem to fit these lil treats well. My assumption that a muffin is sweet, has proved me wrong and that it is the shape that makes something a muffin.

Enjoy these biscuits, they're a real treat, a sweet treat!

Nonna's Lemon Ricotta Biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar or more as needed for sprinkling
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup thinly sliced almonds
Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup sugar, butter, and lemon zest in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the ricotta. Beat in the egg, lemon juice, and almond extract. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended (the batter will be thick and fluffy).

Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle the almonds and then the remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar over the muffins. Bake until the muffins just become pale golden on top, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.