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Posts Tagged ‘lemon’


I’m pretty sure my favorite pie of all-time is strawberry rhubarb, but it’s hard to choose. Sometimes though, I just don’t want to go to the trouble of making dough and rolling it out. This was one of those days. And then I remembered a blackberry fool recipe I saw somewhere and thought I would create something similar.

A fool is a British dessert that consists of a fruity, jam-like mixture folded into whipped cream. It’s light and rich at the same time, and the leftover strawberry rhubarb mixture was just fantastic on some vanilla ice cream the next day.

Strawberry Fool

4 rhubarb stalks, chopped into 1″ pieces

1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced

1/2 cup water

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 cup sugar

1 pinch salt

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Combine the strawberries, rhubarb, water, sugar, lemon, and salt in a sauce pan over medium heat. Cook together for 15 minutes, until the fruit has softened and broken down. It should look like jam. Refrigerate for at least a couple hours.

Beat the cream with the powdered sugar until stiff peaks have formed. Layer alternating with the fruit mixture into glasses or fold together gently before spooning into glasses.

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I’m a big fan of quinoa because it reminds me of pasta but it’s actually a seed so it’s healthier. You can basically treat it as you would any small pasta and it works, although my favorites are either mushroom-based or citrus-based. When I saw these beautiful snap peas at the farmers market, it seemed like a natural fit for a healthy Sunday lunch.

Quinoa with Snap Peas and Mint

1 cup quinoa

2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock or water)

1/2 cup white wine

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1.5 cups snap peas

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon mint, chopped

Saute the onion and garlic in a little extra virgin olive oil until they soften. Season with salt. Add the quinoa and allow to toast for a minute. Add the chicken stock and wine and let cook until the quinoa softens. Add the vinegar, lemon juice and zest, and honey and stir through. Add the snap peas and cook for the final minute. Top with the mint and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil when you serve it.

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I have a lot of meatballs on here by now: classic spaghetti and meatballs, tuna meatballs, and chicken meatballs, and I thought it was time for vegetarian meatballs. These were inspired by a couple different recipes I saw across the blogosphere and they disappeared so quickly that I will have to make them again. They’re perfect for a party where meat-eaters and veggies alike will love them.

Lentil Meatballs

2 cups cooked lentils

1 cup drained and rinsed chickpeas

2 eggs

1/2 cup ricotta or goat cheese

1/2 cup grated parmesan

Juice of 1 lemon

1 garlic clove

1 tablespoon aleppo pepper

2 tablespoons chopped basil

2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until it creates a paste. Place on parchment paper on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until they start to brown on top.  Squeeze a whole lemon over them before serving.

Lemon Pesto

3 cups basil

2 tablespoons pine nuts

1/2 cup grated parmesan

Juice of 1 lemon

4 tablespoons olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until combined. Spoon over the meatballs or use as a dip on the side.

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I love citrus in my salad, and I’m not really big on salad in other variations. So, that means we eat a lot of citrus vinaigrette. A bright, colorful salad on the side of something delicious and indulgent balances and rounds out the meal. This salad is a sicilian favorite, combining blood oranges and olives. If I liked fennel, a little raw fennel shaved on the salad with a mandoline would be a nice touch.

Blood Orange and Olive Salad

1 orange and 1 blood orange, supremed

1/2 cup olives like Gaeta or your favorite, sliced

3 cups spinach

1 lemon

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

salt and pepper

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (optional)

To make the vinaigrette, combine the juice of the lemon, olive oil, honey, and salt and pepper to taste and whisk together. Supreme the citrus by slicing the top and bottom off the peel, running your knife along the side all the way around to remove the peel and all white stuff. Slice on either side of each segment so that you have citrus segments without any white. Squeeze the juice out of remaining bits.

Toss the spinach in the vinaigrette and add in citrus segments and olives (and pine nuts if you are using them).

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Crostatas are great because you don’t have to worry about a pie shell. You bake them on a cookie sheet and they are wonderfully rustic and delicious. It’s still pretty chilly here, so the fall/winter desserts are still what I’m craving. I love pears with blue cheese, and when it’s still warm, this is a perfect ending to a meal. How can you go wrong combining dessert and cheese course?

Pear and Gorgonzola Crostata

2 pears, sliced

2 tablespooons thyme, minced

juice of half a lemon

1 cup crumbled gorgonzola (the better the cheese, the better the final product)

1/4 cup honey

1 pastry crust (homemade is better but you can use a defrosted frozen one as well)

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons raw sugar or large crystalled sugar

Roll out the pastry dough into a round about 1/4 inch thick or as thinly as you can and still be able to move it around without it falling apart. Transfer to a silpat or parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

Combine the pears, thyme and lemon and allow the lemon to coat the pears so that they don’t brown. Gently add the gorgonzola and the honey, reserving a couple pieces of gorgonzola for the top. Stir just to combine, you don’t want to break up the pieces of cheese. Pour the mixture into the center of the dough and place the extra pieces of cheese on top. Fold up the edges of the dough making sure you don’t break holes in the sides.

Brush the edges of the crust with the egg wash and sprinkle the sugar on top.

Bake for 40-50 minutes at 375 degrees until it gets golden brown and delicious-looking! Let it cool a bit before cutting.


Crostata

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After the crab cakes and spicy crab pasta, I wanted to make a version of crab imperial I saw on Saveur. I changed it quite a bit, and it really became more dip than main course. I will definitely be trying something like this again because it’s one of the few dips that doesn’t use sour cream or cream cheese, two things I hate. (I know, I’m weird) Surprisingly, this dip doesn’t have any cheese, but the bechamel sauce gives it a richness that might make you think it does.

Crab imperial Dip

1/2 pound crabmeat

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon flour

3/4 cup heavy cream

1.5 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce

1/4 cup Sherry

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Juice of half a lemon

1 shallot, minced

1/4 cup finely chopped eggplant

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon minced thyme

In a little olive oil, saute the shallot, garlic, and eggplant until it becomes soft, about 6-8 minutes. Stir in thyme and remove from heat.

Meanwhile, in a sauce pan, combine the flour and butter and let cook until it browns a little and becomes the consistency of wet sand. Whisk in the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper. Allow to thicken, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the crab, Sherry, Worchestershire, half the panko, paprika, cayenne, and sauteed vegetables. Stir to combine. Add the lemon at the last second and pour into baking dish. Top with the panko and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes or until browned on top. Let cool a little before eating.

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For years now, I have been listening to an old coworker talk about his love of sesame noodles. It really was more like an obsession. After making them this week, I’ve started to understand. While this version is probably a lighter, healthier, and less traditional version, I think he would be more than happy to have some. Paired with some delicious Asian-inspired chicken meatballs, you can’t go wrong. Break out the chopsticks!

Sesame Noodles

1/2 box of whole wheat spaghetti

1 shallot, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 scallion, chopped with extra for garnish

1/4 cup peanut butter

4 tablespoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1  tablespoon mirin

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Teriyaki sauce

1/4 cup sake, rice wine, or apple cider (non-traditional I know, but it was what I had in the fridge)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 teaspoon sesame seeds for garnish

Cook the pasta according to package instructions in salted water. Meanwhile, saute the shallot, garlic, and scallion in half the sesame oil until softened. Add the peanut butter, fish sauce, mirin, vinegar, Teriyaki sauce, and sake/cider. Stir to combine and let cook with about 1/2 cup of pasta water for 5 minutes.

Off the heat, add the pasta along with the rest of the sesame oil and the lemon. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with sesame seeds and scallions.

When making meatballs, the MOST important part is making sure you use enough breadcrumbs. No one likes rock hard meatballs, which comes from only using meat. If you can’t make your own (and it’s REALLY worth it, trust me), at least use some packaged breadcrumbs and soak them in a little milk. Ok. I’m done with the caps lock.

Chicken Meatballs

1 pound ground chicken

1 scallion, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs, not ground too finely

1 egg

1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons mirin

1 teaspoon plus 3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs if needed

2 tablespoons sesame oil

Combine the chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, scallion, garlic, half the ginger, and teaspoons of mirin and teriyaki sauce in a large bowl. Add dry breadcrumbs if it seems too wet to stay in loose balls. Roll into tablespoon-sized balls and saute in the sesame oil until they brown on all sides. Remove to a baking dish.

Add the remaining ginger, mirin, teriyaki, vinegar, and fish sauce to the pan and stir together. Pour over the meatballs and bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.

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