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Posts Tagged ‘lemon’

2011-10 lemon poppy loaf 2

We were at a friend’s house this weekend to celebrate Mike’s birthday.  Friend of friend Sam made Avgolemono for everyone.  She graciously allowed me to share her recipe for this lemon egg soup, which was amazingly tangy and silky. A flavorful soup is one that takes time, love and affection. Like raising a child, you have to watch it carefully, give enough to keep it going, and know when it’s time to let go. A poignant analogy as many parents I know have let their chicks out of the nest to join the collective (a.k.a. college). My aunt is probably freaking out right about now as my youngest cousin begins his college career. Boy, do I feel old saying that!

Anyways, on to the soup!

Sam described creating the foundation of the soup with a homemade chicken stock. You can find posts here and here which discuss stock. For this soup, a simple mirepoix and a roasted chicken will suffice. Over a period of 8 hours, the stock should be watched, more water added as needed to extract every bit of chicken flavor from the carcass of a lemon-rosemary roasted bird. Keep the breast meat aside, but everything else can be used for stock. If you don’t have all day to make soup, you’re forgiven, go ahead and use the box or cubes instead. You’ll need 10-12 cups of stock. This will make 8-10 servings, depending how hungry y’all are.

Add shredded breast meat to the stock. Simmer while you work on the next step.

Get 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 10 lemons), less if you’re making less soup.

Separate 6 eggs. Set aside the whites (make a lemon meringue pie or something!). Whisk the yolks then add small amounts of stock from the soup to temper the eggs.

Add the lemon juice to the tempered yolks while whisking.

Turn the temperature down to a bare simmer. Slowly incorporate the yolks into the soup. Adjust the salt if needed.

OPTION: For people who can eat gluten, some cooked orzo may be added to this soup. Sam left it separate from the soup so everyone could choose to add some (or not) to their respective bowls. You can cook the pasta in the stock for 10 minutes before adding the chicken meat as well.

Thanks Sam for sharing your soup!

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2013 refreshing strawberry lemonade

Making use of the five-pound bag of lemons I bought at Costco (why do I do this to myself?) I decided to make lemonade.  Those bright yellow puckers looked so lonely, so I added strawberries to the jug.  The lemon is front and center, but I love the pink hue the strawberries added.  Bonus is the pieces of fruit in the bottom of your glass!  This can be easily scaled up to serve a larger crowd for a back yard gathering or picnic.

Refreshing Strawberry Lemonade

  • 1 cup organic coconut sugar (more to taste)
  • 5 cups water, divided
  • 2 large organic lemons
  • 6 large organic strawberries

In a small pot, combine the sugar and 1 cup of water, bring this to a simmer to dissolve the sugar.  Slice the lemons in half and take a slice off each half, place these perfectly round slices in your lemonade vessel of choice.  Juice the remaining lemon, catching the seeds or strain afterwards.  Add the lemon juice to the vessel.  Add the sugar-water and stir to combine.

Chop the strawberries and cook them down until their juices are released, use the same little pot to save washing two!

Add the strawberries to the vessel.  Add the remaining 4 cups of water and stir well.  Cover and chill until ready to serve over ice.

Another idea is to make a more concentrated version by only adding 1 more cup of water then adding it to fizzy water to make a sparkling strawberry lemonade!

Cocktail time by adding vodka or gin to the sparkling version.  Although you may want to reduce the berries further and strain the seeds if you are making hard strawberry lemonade.  Seeds floating in your cocktail is not classy.

Have fun with it.  Enjoy and be refreshed.

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What smells like roasted corn?

Umm, nothing dear!

It was a spur of the moment quick bread.  I didn’t note the size of pan required for the recipe, and I modified the original to include sour cream and a little olive oil since the last egg in the fridge mysteriously disappeared.  The roasted scent was from the globs of dough burning on the bottom of the oven.  More was on the way from the seething undersized loaf pan on the top rack.  A cookie sheet on the lower rack was pushed in as I grabbed the closest utensil to scrape the rapidly hardening expulsions.  My heart sunk, was the whole thing ruined?

I left the darn thing in the oven to finish baking, hoping my late night dessert would survive.  Every door and window was open in an attempt to evacuate the billows of smoke coming from the oven floor.   With all the commotion in the kitchen I was surprised no one came out to investigate!

Happily, the loaf finished baking.  It’s not the prettiest lemon poppy seed cake/loaf but it could be one of the tastiest.

 

I shared the first slice with Hubby.  And saved the rest for breakfast.

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf

Adapted from The Great Holiday Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas

This original recipe was a cranberry nut quick bread.  I changed the flavour using lemon zest, juice, and poppy seeds.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 4 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 4 Tbsp poppy seeds

Mix the dry and wet ingredients separately, adding the poppy seeds to the wet bowl.  Make a well in the flour mixture and add the wet ingredients.  Mix by hand until the flour disappears and the batter is evenly moist.  It will look dry and clumpy, that’s OK!

Spoon the batter into two 5 x 4 inch loaf pans or into muffin tins.  Be sure that the pans or tins are half full or your oven will end up like mine.

Bake at 350ºF for about 50 – 60 minutes.

You might want a cookie sheet under that.  You can thank me later.

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I bought a used copy of the cookbook written by Erin McKenna, owner of Babycakes in New York City.  It’s aptly named Babycakes:Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York’s Most Talked-About BakeryThere were several pages dog-eared by the previous owner, I wonder if they tried all the recipes they marked for later.  There are plenty of beautiful glossy photos to drool over as you decide which recipe to try first.

My first attempt was the Lemon Poppyseed Tea Cake (shown above), and I broke Erin’s first rule: I didn’t follow all of the directions.  And the cream cheese frosting/glaze was made with xylitol (a sugar alcohol) instead of leaving the cake bare.  The cake was very moist, with a good amount of sweetness to counter the tart lemon zest and juice.  If I didn’t tell you it was gluten and sugar-free you wouldn’t have noticed.  That’s what Erin McKenna strives to achieve in each recipe in her book and at her bakery.  Her shop is on my to-see list if I ever get to visit NYC!

The second recipe was an adaptation of the Cherry Cobbler.  The filling was rhubarb and Granny Smith apple instead of cherries.  I was planning to make a pie but this seemed like it would work with the spelt flour lattice topping.  I didn’t have evaporated cane juice and used brown sugar instead.  I should have baked this a little longer as the underside of the crust became soaked with the juices of the fruit and turned into a sticky mush.  Best to bake and serve immediately, as with any pie or crumble.  I liked the flavor of the spelt topping though, it had a light nutty flavor and reminded me of oatmeal.  Paired with the cinnamon-apple-rhubarb filling this could be eaten for breakfast or dessert, heck anytime!

Next up: Chocolate Cake!  I made the same rookie mistake of baking this fella a little longer than I should have.  As soon as the middle is set you should take it out of the oven.  The original recipe calls for a crumb topping to be added half way through baking.  Instead I left the cake alone and added roasted cherries that I washed, seeded and quartered.  That’s a great thing I learned from this cook book: roast your fruit to amplify their natural flavors so less sweetener is required.  Then I made a vanilla cream sauce to top it all off.  This is my version of a black forest cake.  A splash of Kirsch over the cake would have made it closer to the real thing, but it was tasty nonetheless.

Last on my first round of tests were the Double Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Oh the chocolate!  I used Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder and Ghirardelli 60% cocoa chocolate chips for this recipe.  A couple of notes: regular sugar was used instead of evaporated sugar cane in the same measurement called for, I added 1/4 cup rice flour and a little more Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free all-purpose flour to absorb the oil.  They still came out on the oily side but I guess they will stay moist longer that way, I’m not a fan of greasy cookies though.  The cookies are tender (I didn’t over bake them, yay!) and very delicate with a brownie-like texture in the middle.  With a bit of engineering, these will be perfect doppelgängers to gluten-laden cookies.

My overall conclusions about gluten-free/vegan/sugar-free baking from this book are these; use lower temperatures and the least amount of time possible, buy the best ingredients possible on your budget (and shop around, Sprouts puts GF baking stuff on sale %25 off, try on-line at Amazon.com or BobsRedMill.com) and most importantly READ the recipes first.  With entrepreneurs like Erin blazing the trails of alternative baking and better access to the squirrely ingredients necessary for vegan baking, it’s easy to make the switch.  Whether you cannot tolerate gluten anymore, want to cut down on refined white sugar, or for the animal lover in you – this is a great book to help you on your journey!

*

This review was solely out of my own curiosity and wanting to share my thoughts on the book.   Recipes were respectfully omitted to honor the copyrights of the author.

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Lemon Layer Cake

I found this photo of a lemon cake I made a long time ago.  It might have been a crazy craving at the time, I don’t recall a special occasion for this cake’s purpose in life.  I suppose its sole purpose was to amuse my bouche.

I’ll have to find what recipe was used for the cake.  I’m sure it was a moist cake spiked with lemon juice and zest.  I made a lemon glaze and a lemon frosting.  Lemon³.

Our wedding cake was lemon, maybe that’s what I was after, a recreation of our wedding cake?  Who knows!

 

 

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Remember how I was trying to think of ways to use up my bag of Teff flour?  Well, I did it again.  This time I made muffins with a boost of fiber from the sneaky addition of Teff to the batter.  The neat thing about Teff is that in small portions it is easily incorporated into any recipe with all-purpose flour, including these lemony blueberry muffins.

Look good enough to eat, eh?

Here’s another tip for you… If you are like me and don’t like soggy areas of muffin around the fresh berries, use dried blueberries instead.  Dried berries are always in season and you won’t have to wait for them to thaw.  The best part is no soggy muffins!

  • 1 cup dried blueberry flavoured cranberries
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Teff flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 12 paper muffin cups
  • turbino sugar for sprinkling

Note: My typical recipe includes 2 or 3 mashed bananas, the lack of extra moisture should have been more apparent to me.  This recipe would be improved with the addition of a 1/2 cup of plain yogurt or applesauce.  I didn’t have anything else on hand.

Pre heat the oven to 325ºF.

Mix the wet ingredients with the lemon and blueberries and set aside.  Combine the dry ingredients (except the turbino sugar) in a large bowl.  Make a well in the dry mix and pour in the wet mix.  Stir until the flour disappears, the consistency should be lumpy but evenly moist.

Divide the batter between 12 regular sized muffin cups in a metal tin.  These would also be cute as mini muffins for a brunch or coffee table.  Top with about 1/2 tsp of the turbino sugar.  Turbino sugar is coarse and will not completely melt during baking, this leaves a crunchy topping to the muffins.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotate the pan half way through.  The middles should be set and the edges lightly golden brown.

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It’s Sunday morning.  The autumn sun has barely crept into the kitchen through the French door windows.  Both children are tugging at me in bed.  LEDs illuminate 8:07 on my alarm clock, which is not waking us up during the weekends. Nope, the hungry little ones, including the dog, are quite capable of replacing the clock all together!

Like pixies pulling at Wendy in the night, the children pinch my pajamas and tow forward.

What’s for breakfast Mom?  Waffles, we haven’t had waffles in a while.  That sounds good.

I start pulling out the ingredients from the pantry and have to move a jar of poppy seeds to get the baking powder.  I paused.  Mmmm… you know what would be really yummy right now?  Lemon Poppy seed cake, just like the one from the bake sale.  Baking a cake this early, and for probably just me, wasn’t going to happen.  Instead, I cleverly added the seeds and some lemon zest to half the waffle batter.  The result: Lemon Poppy seed Waffles!  And they soothed my early-morning-crankiness and sudden craving for cake.

Lemon Poppy seed Waffles

Adapted from Better Homes & Garden’s Cookbook

  • 1  3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 2-3 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Mix the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, seeds, and lemon zest in a large bowl.  Beat the eggs and combine with the milk, vanilla, and butter.  Make a well in the flour and add the egg mixture, stir until combined and all the flour is mixed in.  Let the batter stand while the waffle iron heats up.  Use the appropriate amount of batter to fill the iron, mine can handle about 2/3 cup per round waffle.

Fancy option: lemon glaze.  Take the lemon juice and whisk it with confectioner’s sugar.  Keep adding sugar to get a consistency that you like.  Drizzle over warm waffles.

Busy Mom Tip ~ Freeze extra waffles and on weekday mornings pop one in the toaster for a quick breakfast!

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Peppered Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Peppered Lemon Rosemary Chicken with Autumn Vegetables

The nights are releasing their grip of their clenching fists of daytime warm air.  Visually, there’s not much evidence of fall in Texas.  The long dry summer sucked the moisture out of the limbs and leaves of even the heartiest of flora.  There was a lack of lush flowers and bushes since the middle of spring.  Bluebonnets suffered a short growing season and I have no fields of blue dotting my recent collection of digital photographs.  The land remains stagnant, waiting for water to return.

This subtle change in the night air is like a whisper from the far north, the snow-capped mountains sleeping through the summer.  Winter and hopefully rain will be here soon.

October must be the best month during fall.  Not only do we see and feel the changes of autumn, it’s also Little Sister’s birthday and Halloween.  Double the chances to have excuses to bake treats for the family!  October is also then month of Thanksgiving in my native land.  I often observe the holiday abroad with a whole roasted chicken, or if I’m feeling ambitious enough, a turkey.

Peppered Lemon Rosemary

This year I was inspired by what was waiting in the fridge: lemons and fresh rosemary, assorted vegetables, and a whole chicken.  With minor preparation, you can have a warm succulent chicken bursting with citrus and piney rosemary.

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 small lemons, zested and halved
  • 1 white or yellow onion, halved lengthwise
  • 1 red bell pepper, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 3-4 small zucchini squash, halved lengthwise
  • 2 tomatoes, halved
  • 2 carrots, cut into manageable pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oregano or Italian herb blend, to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 375ºF.

Start by preparing the vegetables and arranging them on a baking sheet.  Give them a rub with olive oil then sprinkle salt, pepper and oregano.  Set this aside.

Autumn Vegetables

Autumn Vegetables

Combine the butter, lemon zest, about a tablespoon of rosemary, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Prepare the chicken by removing the gibblets and washing the bird inside and out.  Pluck any pieces of feather that might remain.  Using paper towel, pat the skin dry.  The drier the skin the crispier it will be.  Tuck the lemon butter between the skin and the meat, all over the breasts and drumsticks.  You can save a bit of the butter to smear over the skin or use olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper generously.

The chicken I used was 4 and a half pounds, and it was ready in about 75 minutes.  Always have a thermometer handy while roasting, the thickest part of the thigh meat needs to be 180ºF and juices running clear (i.e. no pink hue).  Cover the chicken for the first 45 minutes, then remove the lid or foil for the last part of the roasting time to get a crispbrown skin.

The veggie tray will take about 30 minutes to soften and get a hint of brown caramel around the edges.

Arrange the chicken and vegetables on a platter and sprinkle with rosemary as a garnish.

Look for a dressing in an upcoming post to serve alongside the chicken or a turkey!

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Making a mess in the kitchen is much more fun than cleaning up afterwards. I left the house this morning, car loaded for the Austin Bakes for Bastrop bake sale and the kitchen was a disaster. I wasn’t expecting it to look any better when I returned. Hubby and Big Brother spent the better part of an hour cleaning up my mess and still didn’t manage to finish. Grateful for their efforts, I relieved them of their duties. Am I finished cleaning as I write this post? Nope! Closer but I couldn’t wait to try this lemon poppy seed mini cake with [very] lemony glaze.

austin bakes - lets bake - lemon poppy cake

Let's Bake! Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

This is so lemony and moist, it really held up to being outside until 2PM when we shut down the bake sale in Round Rock.

I might need to take a nap now.

Check out Austinbakes.wordpress.com for the update on Monday about the final amount raised for the wildfire relief fund in Central Texas!

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Chicken Picatta

Chicken poached in lemon butter sauce loaded with capers.  How inviting this dish was on my family’s table.  Someone had thirds, and could not stop enjoying the pasta smothered in the silky tangy sauce.  I can see why the French love butter so much!

This dish was a spin-off of the one I enjoyed while on a road trip with the family.  The dish prepared for me included sliced mushrooms, most of which were donated to hubby’s plate as I’m not a huge fan of mushrooms (even though my mother will tell you stories of me wolfing down every last button out of the fridge).  Needless to say they didn’t make it in my shopping cart.  Although, I’m sure hubby would have taken good care of any mushrooms lucky enough to join the butter jacuzzi.  This dish does need a supportive player though, it was really good with the capers but it could have been fantastic with… greens?  Green beans?  Hmmm….

Chicken Picatta à la Midnitechef

  • one boneless, skinless chicken breast per person
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter (I know, shocker eh?)
  • zest of one lemon
  • juice of 2 lemons (or one large lemon, mine were pretty small)
  • 1.5 Tbsp capers with juice from the jar
  • 1 cup chicken stock (homemade preferably, see one of my versions in this post)
  • sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper

In a large pan over medium-low heat, start warming the stock, butter, zest and lemon juice.  

Pound the chicken breasts with a meat mallet, small pan, empty wine bottle, or rolling-pin.  Keep the chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment.  Get the breast to an even thickness so that they will cook evenly. 

Poach the chicken in the lemon butter, about 7 or 8 minutes per side, covered.  Season each side with salt and pepper.  Add the capers after the flip to the second side.  I ended up adding more capers at the end too.  The sauce should be bubbling while the chicken cooks, so I guess that’s actually a simmer.  The sauce will reduce.

Serve over pasta.

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