Watermelon Limeade #SundaySupper

It’s seems to be a winter that’s getting longer by the moment. As I sit here typing, on March 22, it’s SNOWING again! Just as my head is turning toward starting some seedlings for planting and planning out our garden. It’s SNOWING! AGAIN! I ned something spring-like. Something summer-time cool to chase away the winter blasé mood.

It was a combination of events that led me to try this recipe … first, Sunday Supper’s theme of Citrus Recipes That Will Make Your Smile, hosted by Lisa at Jersey Girl Cooks AND walking through the supermarket and finding watermelon! I know, I know, it’s the wrong time of year. I don’t care. It looked fab and I needed a cocktail.

The original recipe did not call for gin. To me, it called for gin!

  • 6 cups 1-inch-pieces watermelon (from about 1/2 5-pound watermelon)
  • 1/2 cup cup fresh lime juice
  • 2–3 tablespoons light agave syrup (nectar) or honey
  • Lime wedges (for serving)
  • GIN

Purée watermelon, lime juice, and 2 Tbsp. agave syrup in a blender until smooth. Add 1 Tbsp. more agave, if desired. Strain into a large pitcher filled with ice and stir in 1/2 cup water. Serve over ice and garnish with lime wedges.

Sunday Supper Citrus Recipes That Will Make You Smile

Appetizers

Breakfasts

Main Dishes

Sides

Desserts

Beverages

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Peach Salsa

peach-salsa

When the Dear One and I talked about getting married – really, the hows and wheres and whos part of getting married – it became apparent to us that we wanted only two things out of the ceremony (1) it had to be small and (2) we wanted all of our children there. Wait, maybe we wanted another – we wanted to be married.

Between us, there are 4 children (I always in include my dear daughter-in-law in that number), 7 parents, 4 sisters and 2 brothers, as well as their husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends. There is NOTHING small about that group of people. There is nothing intimate about that group of people. There is nothing simple about placing all those people in the same place at the same time.

Okay, so how about just you and me, our kids, someone to marry us, a best man and maid of honor. Everyone else? Well, we’re adults, this isn’t the first time for either of us, this is our choice and, hopefully, they will just be happy for us. We chose to be married this way and at our age not anyone else’s place to have issue or commentary.

Trying to put the 4 kids in the same place at the same time was proving impossible. We tried for 6 months and just couldn’t manage. It had to be all of them or none of them. How do you explain to the ones who couldn’t be there on a specific date and time that others would be there and we would just go on without them. Sadly, after trying to arrange something, it had to be none. We didn’t handle it very well – correct that – one of us didn’t handle that very well and it isn’t the one typing. Okay, okay, I didn’t handle some things well either.

But I honestly believe that it’s all about how you recover from your mistakes that really counts. If you make a mistake, and don’t admit the mistake and do nothing to rectify it, you’ve learned nothing and will likely do something very similar again. I believe that parents should apologize when they’re wrong – and we were wrong. I believe now we’re in a very good place together as a family. Our definition of family.

There is, though, one person, who I doubt will read this, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your words meant more to us than you can possibly imagine. We will keep that note always.

We realized then, that as much as we love that small army of people, we married each other – not our mothers or fathers or sisters or brothers – each other. To a certain extent our children – it takes a village, don’t you know. We have a favorite son, a favorite older daughter, a favorite younger daughter and a favorite daughter-in-law. Mix them all together, add lots of love and a little understanding and patience, two adults who just love them to bits – oh, really, there’s no place else I’d rather be and no other people I’d rather be here with.

It’s that melding of people – all very different, things in common here and there, but somehow melded to make a family unit that bring me to … TADA! Peach Salsa.

peaches

This past summer we had TONS of peaches! You remember the Peach Liqueur – I think I do! There will be Peach Jam coming up.

I found this recipe in Small Batch Preserving. I’ve had it book marked forever, but I’m not quite comfortable with canning yet, so I would look at the book and cast it aside and then look and cast … the more I delve into it, the more I do like it.

The peaches bring a certain sweetness, a bit of kick from the jalapeño, tartness from the lime, they just all come together for one incredible bite.

The worst part of this salsa is peeling and chopping the peaches. IF – and that’s a big IF – I made a single batch, it might not have been so awful, but I doubled it. By the end of dipping them into boiling water, you JUST DON’T CARE.

  • 2 C chopped, peeled peaches (about 4 medium peaches)
  • 1/4 C finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 C finely chopped red pepper
  • 1 T finely chopped jalapeno
  • 2 T honey
  • 1/4 t pickling salt
  • grated rind and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 T finely chopped mint

NOTE: To peel the peaches, bring a large pot of water to a boil. On the counter next to that pot have a large bowl of ice water. Place a couple of peaches in the boiling water for 20 or 30 seconds, transfer to the ice water. After a few seconds, the skins will pop right off. By the end you and your kitchen will be covered in sticky peach juice, but it’s totally worth it!

ingredients

Combine peaches, onion, peppers, honey, salt, lime rind and juice in a medium stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

simmering

Stir in mint and stir for 1 minute.

NOTE: Not a huge mint fan so I used half the amount.

Remove jares from canner and ladle salsa into jars within 1/2 ” of rim (head space). Process 10 minutes for half-pint or pint jars.

NOTE: I process the jars in the dishwasher. I try to time the end of the dishwasher cycle to the salsa being ready.

 

Grilled Swordfish with Husk Cherry Salsa #SundaySupper

done

It’s been a long time, but know that I feel the urge to blog again, I’ve rejoined the fab people over at Sunday Supper. For those of you that don’t know, it’s a great bunch of food folk who post recipes from a specific theme each Sunday. There’s information at the bottom of this post on how to join. I’m going to do my best to keep up! This week’s #SundaySupper Tastemaker event is being hosted by Candace from Authentically Candace. Thanks for the hosting!

A friend of mine with a garden that is fair size bigger than ours and with some ingredients that are ‘experimental’ for my limited gardening knowledge, lets me come over and explore. While she and I were walking around her garden one day, I came across these Husk Cherries. They’re also called Choke Cherries or ground cherries.

husk-cherry

As you can see, they’re covered in paper, much the way a tomatillo is. They’re about the size and color of  a Sun Gold tomato, maybe a little smaller in size. Inside, they’re structurally akin to a tomato.

picked

peeledThey’re sweet. They’re tart. They’re like candy. They’re fabulous. Definitely going in my garden this year.

But now that I have them, what am I going to do – aside from admiring them!

They’re a pain to peel because they’re so small. They’re sticky.

But once peeled and rinsed, you just want to do something fabulous with them. I searched and searched until I came across a recipe from Michael Simon, who I am liking more and more every day.

 

FOR THE HUSK CHERRY SALSA

  • 1 pound ground cherries (husked, washed, and sliced in half, about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup thinly shaved red onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients and season with salt and pepper. For better flavor, let sit for 1 hour before serving.

made

FOR THE SWORDFISH:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 (5 to 6-ounces each) swordfish steaks

Prepare the grill (medium-high heat). Whisk the oil, mint, lemon juice, basil, and garlic in a medium bowl to blend. Season the lemon and olive oil mixture with salt and pepper, to taste.

Brush the swordfish steaks with 2 tablespoons of the lemon and olive oil mixture. Grill the steaks until just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side (depending on thickness of steaks). Transfer the steaks to plates.

Add the Husk Cherry Salsa to the top of each Swordfish steak and you’re done!

Take a moment to visit the other great Easy Dinner Recipes for Two!

Chicken Recipes

Pasta Recipes

Pork Recipes

Red Meat Recipes

Seafood Recipes

Veggie Recipes

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Peach Liqueur

peach-liqueur

As you learned from the Pear Liqueur post just a few days ago, the Dear one and I were married in October. It only took us 45 years to get there, but the important thing is we got there.

Yes, 45 years. We met in grammar school in the mid-1970s. Not a lot of spark, but we weren’t even teenagers then. Went to separate high schools, but ended up in the same high school. I remember the first day being in a new school and seeing him standing at the top of the stairs. My heart exploded and I was in love. We dated, didn’t, dated, didn’t, dated,he went to Antarctica for the first time and we lost touch. There was always a space there for the ONE who got away. Sigh …

We went to a teeny, tiny Catholic grammar school in Greenwich Village. The Sisters of (un)Charity, the order of nuns that ran our grammar school, which had closed right after graduation, allowed us to use the building for a reunion. This was to be – and was – a reunion of epic proportions. Alumni were invited from the very first class of students through to the last graduating class.

I was somehow (thank you, Sandra!) was dragged into planning and coordinating this event, though someone, whose name I will not mention, hogged all the credit – well, he shared it with someone who didn’t do a single thing. Part of what the Sisters sent us to use for the reunion were CDs filled with photos; some candids, some class photos.

As one does, I sat in front of the computer looking for photos of me, my sister, my friends. While scanning through the class photos, laughing the whole time at the outfits and hair – WAIT! There HE is wearing groovy Davy Jones-esque stripped pants, a hair cut from I don’t know where and a goofy smile only a tween-aged boy can have. My heart did a pitter-patter.

To make a very long story short, I emailed him. Three sentences and the photo. I wasn’t looking for anything, just to share a photo, check in.

He didn’t answer.

And he didn’t answer.

But then HE DID.

And here we are … finally. I feel as though all the pieces finally fit together, not a feeling ever experienced before in my life.

Perhaps it’s a bit like that old sermon about the fellow who gets to heaven questioning why God didn’t save him. God’s reply, I sent you a log, a boat and a helicopter …

This was more like I put you two in each other’s paths in grammar school, high school and now. Well, this time I got the message LOUD AND CLEAR and I grabbed on and won’t ever let go.

peaches

But we’re here for peaches!

Lovely, sweet peaches. Look, there are a few in the trees! Wait, here’s more. O.M.G. look at all of these peaches! Now what will I do!?

I’ll tell you what I will do – I will make peach liqueur (look at how well the pear experiment worked!), and peach salsa, and peach jam, and freeze some just sliced, and eat many, oh, wait Sangria. Peaches were easier. The very nice thing about this recipe is the no fuss, no muss, no cooking side to it.

  • 3 peaches (about 10 ounces)
  • 5 ounces sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 or 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 500 ml vodka

NOTE: Again, do to the number of peaches I had I quadrupled this recipe.

Rinse the peaches well and pat them dry.

lemons

Remove the peel from the lemon and cut into thick slices.

ready-to-sit

Place all the ingredients in an air tight jar and leave to infuse for 6 – 8 weeks, shaking every few days to dissolve the sugar.

2-weeks

NOTE: After about two weeks the liquid turns a lovely pink color.

After 6 – 8 weeks, strain the liquid through cheesecloth or coffee filter lined sieve. Refrigerate. Enjoy!

 

Pear Liqueur

pear-liquor

I’ve just returned to Maine after having spent Christmas and New Year’s in New York with  my family and friends. The Dear One – whose name I may now change to Dear Husband, we were married in October – was away in Antarctica working. It was wonderful being able to spend so much time with my family and friends, and also wonderful to return home to Maine. At times it feels as though I don’t feel quite settled in either place.

One of the questions I am constantly asked is “Do you miss New York?”

This is a question I have asked myself many, many times. I have no solid answer. I have more of a pro and con list for both New York City and Bar Harbor.

Bar Harbor is a car culture. I find myself at work going through my cabinets and fridge and freezer to figure out what I need at home. Once home, it’s 6 miles to the nearest store. In NYC, you can find anything you need or want at any time of the day or night – and within walking distance. I walked  more in NYC over my three week visit than I have in Bar Harbor in three months.

New York City wins HANDS DOWN restaurants, supermarkets, ability to find unusual ingredients – well, anything a foodie may need or desire. Bar Harbor is a barren foodie land. There are very few restaurants open here during the off season and those pickings are slim and not necessarily diverse. As for ingredients? OH PUH-LEASE! Thank goodness for Amazon!

Bar Harbor is beautiful and quiet. We hear no sirens or honking of horns. As you drive down roads there is one beautiful view after another. Breathtaking at times. Don’t get me wrong, there are views in NYC that are unforgettable, but they’re only enjoyed with the 300 or 400 people swarming around you.

The sidewalks are not as crowded in Bar Harbor. Not crowded from October to May and increasingly crowded May to October with tourists. But, no one is walking down the street with their heads down staring at an illuminated screen missing the world going on around them. Or a phone in one hand and a cup of Starbucks in the other behaving as though no one else is walking down the street.

People here say please and thank you regularly. I’m greeted by name in the bank and post office and supermarket. There’s a friendly spirit amongst the residents of this bucolic town.

I would say that the major disadvantage between NYC and BH is my family and friends. They’re all in NYC. I miss my family and friends desperately. That sense of community, of belonging, of loyalty, being a member of and a part of a family – whomever that is made up by – has not yet been found here. We all have those people – friends and family that call when you’re alone or not feeling well, that like to spend time together, gravitate toward each other; the phone that rings at just the perfect moment when you’re wandering around a big house all alone with a voice inviting you to dinner or a movie or a walk or just a chat. People who are truly intertwined in each other’s lives with more than just ‘saying’ they are. Perhaps it’s being the new person, or not being ‘from’ here. Quite frankly, I have met a small handful of people who actually are ‘from’ here. Everyone was new at one time or another.

Boy, oh, boy do I miss that. I’m not sure how to find that here or if it even exists. I’m still looking. I’m open to it actually happening, but after 3 years, I’m not sure if it will happen.

Wish me luck! Fingers crossed.

pear

After reading all of that, we’re finally at the foodie portion of this blog post.

One of the best things about living in Bar Harbor are our lovely gardens. Flowers and herbs and veggies and fruit trees. We have cherry trees and apple and peach and pears. Some years there are bumper crops of each and some years not a one. We were blessed with a bumper crop of pears.

The first time the trees had pears! We have three. Two were here when I  moved in and one we planted. The two that were here were very strange. They were alive, they had leaves, but never a flower. Early the first spring I spoke to them and mentioned that if they didn’t flower, they would be cut down and replaced. One tree flowered, one didn’t. The next spring, I spoke to the unflowering one and nicely asked it to catch up to the other and at least flower – or else. We planted the third tree. That spring two flowered, but not the new tree. The third spring, I was very adamant about them ALL flowering and having at least ONE pear EACH! And KA-BOOOOOOOM!

Pears! Our pears had pears! The question is, what do you do with PEARS? Bushels of pears. They don’t have a long shelf life. You cannot do a lot with them. I made pear butter, pear sorbet, many blue cheese, walnut and pear tarts … now what?

Pear liqueur here we come! It’s easy to put together. Most of the time preparing this comes during the waiting, waiting, waiting for it to be finished. But the jar is sitting in the dark just getting ready to bring you great joy.

The liqueur is sweet and fragrant, warmly infused with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, just a hint of citrus from the orange peel. We served this ice cold from the freezer in small glasses – you really cannot drink a lot of this (well, one person drank an entire jar – the last jar!)

I used a good, inexpensive vodka. Please don’t spend oodles of money on a top shelf vodka. The vodka here is really just a vehicle for the pears and spices.

If you have an abundance of pears or can get your hands on some beautiful, fresh pears, give this a whirl. I’ve also done the same with peaches and made a peach liqueur, so keep an eye out!

pears

1 large pear
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/4 nutmeg broken into small pieces
2 strips of dried orange peel
6 cloves
500ml vodka
150g (5 oz) caster sugar

NOTE: I quadrupled this recipe.

Make sure you have a ripe yet unblemished pear. Rinse and pat dry.

Pierce the pear all over with a fine skewer Place the pear in a sterilized glass jar that it fits quite snugly in. Make sure it’s large enough to hold the 500ml vodka. Add the spices and orange peel.

NOTE: To make the dried orange peel, use a potato peeler to peel strips of skin off an orange, making sure you just take the skin and not the bitter white pith. Leave this on a radiator or in an airing cupboard overnight, or warm in a very low oven till completely dried. I used the oven method for quickness. This intensifies the wonderful orange flavor.

adding-vodka

Fill the jar with vodka and close the lid.

ready-to-age

Set on a sunny windowsill for 2 weeks.

After 2 weeks open the jar and add the sugar. Shake well and set aside in a cool dark cupboard for a further 6 weeks. Shake every day or so that the sugar to completely dissolves.

After 6 weeks, remove pear and spices from the jar and strain the liquid through a sieve lined with a double layer of muslin. Do this part twice to get a really clear liqueur.

NOTE: I used a sieve with a coffee filter set inside.

Decant the liquid into a sterilized bottle and enjoy! It’s best served ice cold, so keep the jar in your fridge or freezer.

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Done

As Robert Burns once wrote … ‘The best laid schemes ‘o mice an’ men’ …

As anyone still out there may recall, this past January I took a stand against cyber stalking, pledging to not allow fright and fear of judgment curb my enthusiasm for writing.

AND THEN …

Came the snow! (Imagine that, snow in Maine …) And there was the Dear One, shoveling and shoveling and shoveling. It pained me to watch him do this all alone, so off I went to help. It pained me to watch him and then it pained me the next morning ~ SCIATICA. Crippling sciatica. Off we go to the doctor. Here’s some meds. They will help. Rest. Heat. Cold. Drugs. Repeat.

After a few days, they did help. Helped enough so I was able to get myself out of bed and go downstairs.

At our house in cold and snowy and blowy Maine, it was not easy to keep the outer door closed tight and we would offer awake to inches of snow inside the porch doorway. The solution? Put a log there.

Physically fragile and compromised me goes to walk outside and instead of bending over to move the log, I pushed it aside with the outside of my left foot. No big deal.

HA!

I opened my eyes the next morning in the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life. It was blinding. I couldn’t stand or walk or sit. I had one comfortable position and one emotion ~ hysteria.

Dear One and I drive off to the doctor again, this time with me lying across the back seat in the fetal position sobbing. Different drugs. Rest. Heat. Cold. Drugs. Repeat. No better come in and we’ll start running tests.

And really crappy drugs. I needed the mother of all muscle relaxers and I truly felt this medical office was ‘not getting it’. I managed to get flexeril, but I was in pain. I needed relief. It wasn’t happening. I was just stoned out of my head. Not sleeping, just passed out. Not eating (not the worst thing in the world). Sad. Deflated.

A friend or two stepped in and suggested an osteopath. Being the skeptical gal I am, I just didn’t see that working. But at this point – three weeks of being in bed – I would have done nearly anything anyone suggested for relief.

On a ridiculously snowy day, the Dear One and I drive 40 minutes to see the osteopath. I walk in the door and there’s sitar music playing and incense burning and I’m thinking – ‘yeah, right. This ain’t gonna work. $230 down the drain.’

I lay on the table and the doctor placed his hands on my middle and lower back. Then my knee and hip. Light little fluttery touches. Nope, nope, nope, not working, not working … OH MY GOD, the muscles I pulled and twisted and tore RELAXED. No more drugs, slow pace, less bed rest, more sessions with him. And after 6 weeks, I felt like … well, at 80%.

What I didn’t realize at the time was the emotional and mental blow this took on my psyche. I was just unhappy and unmotivated. I did just the bare minimum I needed to do to get by. Quite frankly, I didn’t even realize this was happening. I wasn’t writing or cooking anything new, certainly not taking photos. I felt myself slipping away. Nothing was fun. Nothing was interesting. Get up. Shower. Eat. Work. Sleep. Repeat.

Finally, a dear friend who had been trying to reach out to me over and over again, cornered me. And we started talking … and talking … and talking … it didn’t hurt that she is an incredible neuropsychologist …

Everything had caught up to me after the injury … moving, being away from my family, my friends, being away from my darling son and his new bride, trying to find a place to fit in with the Dear One and his children, making new friends, being seriously injured, feeling isolated and alone. I don’t have those bring you chicken soup at 2:00 am friends here yet. No one who would reach out and come and visit or … It all just came crashing down on my soul at once. I was just paralyzed. My dear friend has known me for many, many years and heard the sadness and desperation creeping into my head. Her answer … let’s talk some more and let’s think about prozac.

I knew what I thought about prozac and I was VERY reluctant. The first pill I took was truly really hard to swallow. I was terrified. And I sat, patiently (well, as patient as I am capable of being) waiting for something to happen. As if there would be a TA-DA! moment. There wasn’t.

But one morning I woke up, just as dear Dr. D.T. said, and it felt as though the haze was gone. I felt happier in my head, my heart and soul felt lighter. I tried a new recipe. I giggled. I’m sleeping.

I’m getting better. I’m at the edge of the woods about to step into the sun light. Thank you, Dear one for being so patient and for dropping everything to stay home and take care of me. Thank you, D.T., I would have been able to get to this point without you. To my friends and family I’ve hidden from for the last number of months, I’m sorry, I love you all, and I’m back amongst the living.

So, while in bed I saw this recipe for Rhubarb Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping from Melissa Clark in the New York Times Cooking section. It looked like it had to be made. I had rhubarb that had to be cooked.

Tender, sweet, easy, yummy. The true testament is it being gone in a day!

Cake

  • 1 C of sugar
  • ½ C of butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C buttermilk
  • 2 C flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • ½ t nutmeg (optional)
  • 2 C rhubarb, diced

 

Streusel Topping

  • ½ C sugar
  • ½ C walnuts, chopped
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 T butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a nine-by-thirteen pan. Assemble the cake, cream together the sugar and the butter, beat in the egg and buttermilk. Whisk or sift together the flour, soda, and optional nutmeg, and add it to the sugar, butter, egg, buttermilk mixture. Mix all together completely, and then fold in the rhubarb. Spread in the baking pan.

Mix the topping by combining the sugar, walnuts, cinnamon, and melted butter, and distributing it over the top of the cake batter.

Bake for forty-five to fifty minutes. Serve warm.

Makes one nine-by-thirteen cake.

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting

Done

At times it’s hard to believe that just one year ago, I was living in New York City, working as a paralegal and not always happy.

Here I am a year later, living in Bar Harbor, Maine, reinventing myself work-wise, and very happy.

Work had been a struggle. I knew I didn’t wish to be a paralegal any longer. I wanted time to do many things, mostly revolving around cooking.

I give cooking lessons. I work as a prep cook in a friend’s restaurant.

I also work for my friends Chris and Lisa at their fabulous movie theater, Reel Pizza. What a concept! Watch a movie, eat pizza, drink wine … does it get better than that?

By day, I am mild mannered office staff – pay bills, enter info into box office and sales reports, payroll, giggle with Lisa.

By night, though, and just a few nights, mind you, I am sassy box office girl.

The questions, oh, the questions by customers. It takes everything at times not to just burst into laughter! This is particularly difficult when my boss is standing behind these folk laughing!

Let’s see …

To a couple on a busy night – “I’m sorry, folks, there are only singles left.” The woman looks at me, then her husband, and then at me again and says, “But we’re married.”

To a particularly grumpy senior citizen – “Tickets are $6 each.” “No, senior citizen discount?” “Ma’am, the tickets are $6!” “But, I’m a senior. I should get a discount!” “Ma’am, where are you from?” “New York. Why?” “You pay at least $13 for a full price ticket. Seniors don’t get half price, but a discount. So $6 is less.”

Then there was another grumpy senior (imagine!?), arguing about the $6 admission, and no senior discount – “I want a senior discount!” “Okay. Today, seniors pay $12 with a 50% discount. So, $6.”

Ah, the couple when told there were only single seats left. He, “Well, that’s okay. We want to see this movie. And who talks through the movies anyway?” She, glances at him sideways, “Well, I’ll be able to watch the movie in peace! You never STOP talking through the movies!”

The time goes by REALLY quickly with this entertainment!

Well, the entertainment and the GREAT gals I work with! Justine and Grace make getting through 5 hours a pleasure! It doesn’t hurt that Justine makes the BEST nachos and snacks for us!

So, long way around to why I made these cupcakes …

Justine showed me the ropes when I started in the box office. She explained everything in an uncomplicated way, held my hand, made me laugh and fed me. When I found out she had a birthday coming up AND had to work on her birthday (!) I decided we needed to have a little celebration at work.

What to make? What to make? Something with chocolate! Nope. She doesn’t like chocolate. Oh, stop gasping out there! Not liking chocolate is not a deal breaker in life!

I started searching for something fun and festive, omitting chocolate. That’s when I stumbled up these great Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting over at Sally’s Baking Addiction. I knew this was the recipe for me!

They were fabulous!

LEMON CUPCAKES

  • 1/2 C unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature preferred
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 C  milk
  • zest + fresh juice of two medium lemons

RASPBERRY FROSTING

  • 3/4 C unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 and 1/2 C confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 T heavy cream
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t salt, to taste
  • 1/2 C thick raspberry preserves or jam
  • fresh raspberries and lemon slices to decorate, optional

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line 12-count muffin pan with paper liners. Set aside.

Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed in a large bowl until creamed. About 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until everything is combined, about 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Set aside.

Ready t0 Bake

In a medium bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 additions, beating on low speed after each addition. Batter will be thick. Beat in the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice on low speed until just combined. Do not overmix this batter at any point. Spoon batter evenly into 12 cupcake liners. Bake for about 20 minutes. Check at 18 minutes, then again at 20. A toothpick inserted in the middle will come out clean when done.

Baked

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat softened butter on medium speed for about 3-4 minutes until completely smooth and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running. Increase to high speed and beat for 1 minute. Add the raspberry preserves and beat until thick and creamy, about 2 full minutes. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin, is separating (due to the fruity jam) or looks too wet. And then add more salt to offset added sweetness.

FIlling

Before frosting I filled a few of the cupcakes with some frosting before frosting. To fill the cupcakes: use a sharp knife, cut a circle/hole into the center of the cupcake to create a little pocket about 3/4 inch deep. Place about 1 teaspoon of raspberry frosting inside and top with the piece of cupcake you removed to seal. Then frost the entire cupcake.

Frosted

I couldn’t find my piping bag, so I put all the frosting in a zip-lock bag, cut a corner and frosted away!

I toped each with a fresh raspberry (from my freezer stash) and a lemon slice.