Tag-Archive for ◊ lemon ◊

14 Oct 2010 Cheese Danish, just like those in the fancy bakery!

My daughter, who shall remain nameless (so I don’t embarrass her, HA!), has a crazy crush on a French exchange student. It’s one exchange student in particular, but there are about thirty others she’s crazy about if this one doesn’t work out.  Her roommates bragged to the French students about my nameless daughter’s cooking skills.  They told the French students she can make cakes, she can make cookies, she can make Rice Krispie treats… Then one of the Frenchmen looked at her and whispered, in a very excited voice, with that wonderful French accent, “Can you make pastries?”  She answered, “Sure!”  Then she flew home (a two hour drive) to learn how to make pastries!  She succeeded, too, she took back with her a large Glazed Fruit Tart, a dozen  Cheese Danish and, being a first generation American teen, a big tray of Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats.  I haven’t heard from her since, but she has been posting on Facebook how very wonderful her life is and how much fun she is having…

Abby (Oops! Blew her cover) found many pastry recipes on line.  She printed out about a dozen, and made this one.  Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.  Winner, winner, winner, winner, winner.  Ina Garten rocks!  I wish I had known how easy these were to make years ago.  I could have wowed so many people!  But never mind, I am going to start wowing them NOW!

These are so easy to make.  Really.  Easy.  And they are beautiful.  And delicious. And impressive.

Abby followed the recipe for the first time, and made  four pastries with one sheet of puff pastry.  We decided the pastries were wonderful, but a bit too big, so she cut smaller squares, and made 8 pastries with the second sheet of puff pastry.  I have left the directions as she originally found them, but feel free to cut the pastry into  smaller squares.  We found the quantity of the filling to be more than adequate, so no need to skimp!

Ina Garten’s Cheese Danish

8 oz. of cream cheese, at room temperature (if you are in a hurry, soften slightly in the MW)
1/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
2 tablespoons Ricotta or Mascarpone cheese (we used Mascarpone)
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
grated zest of one lemon
1 box (2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted
egg wash (one egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)
Sprinkling of raw sugar  (optional)
Sprinkling of powdered sugar (optional)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper.

With an electric mixer,  cream the cream cheese and sugar together.  Reduce the speed to low and stir in (don’t beat or whip) egg yolks, ricotta or mascarpone, vanilla, salt and lemon zest.

Unfold the defrosted puff pastry and roll out, on a lightly floured board, to a 10 x 10 inch square (approximately).  Cut sheet into quarters (or smaller, see note above).

Brush border of each pastry square with egg wash, and then place one tablespoon of filling into the center of each square.  Fold the 2 opposing corners together over the filling.  Squeeze the pasty corners together so they stick. Brush pastry with egg wash.  Sprinkle lightly with raw sugar (if desired)

Place pastries on prepared pan.  Refrigerate pastries on the prepared pan for 15 minutes to re-chill the puff pastry.

Remove pastries from refrigerator and place in a preheated 400° oven for 20 minutes, or until pastry is puffed and golden brown.  Rotate the pan once during baking time.

Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired, just before serving. These are even good the next day!

It’s nice to be back in the kitchen. THANKS for stopping by.  Now I have a new camera, there shouldn’t be any more two week breaks!

15 Jun 2010 Lemon Chicken Pasta

The cooking lessons with my 19 year old son continue…, and he’s enjoying it more than I (and he) ever thought possible. We are having great success with one-dish pasta recipes. Here’s the latest, pasta with chicken in a light lemony-cream sauce. I was a bit unsure of the flavor appealing to 19 year old boys, but the three 19 year old male taste testers loved it. They had half for lunch–in between a gym workout and a pool workout–then came back and finished off the other half (washing it down with the leftover Blueberry Lemonade, which they also enjoyed). One friend asked me to send the recipe to his Mom. I’m not going to, but I will show him how to make this for her. Wouldn’t that be great for her to come home and find her son had made her a creamy chicken pasta dish for dinner? Maybe with some two-ingredient biscuits on the side? Awwww…

I’ve been making this for about 3 years now…, and I really have no recollection of where I got the recipe.

Lemon Chicken Pasta

For this recipe use leftover cooked chicken, or saute approx. 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (good for a college students budget) or chicken tenders in a bit of olive oil and butter (about 1 T. of each) for a few minutes on each side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (and any other favorite herbs), cool for about 5 minutes, and then coarsely chop into cubes. Use as directed below.

1 lb. Penne Pasta (or any kind of pasta)
1/3 cup whipping cream
4 strips of peel from one lemon, plus the juice from the one lemon (2-3 T)
1 cup chicken broth (OR 1/3 cup white wine plus 2/3 cup reserved pasta water)
1 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 to 2 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water according to package directions. MEANWHILE, saute chicken as directed above. Let cool, then chop into bite-sized pieces. In another small pan, heat 1/3 cup whipping cream with the four pieces of long lemon peel. Simmer for about 1 minute, then remove and discard the lemon peel. Set the lemon infused cream aside. In the pan used to cook the chicken (or in a fresh, clean frying pan if you are using leftover cooked chicken) combine the chicken broth (or wine and pasta water), lemon juice, peas, and cooked chicken. Simmer for two minutes then stir in drained/cooked pasta, lemon juice and Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine. Add more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve.

Makes 4 generous servings.
A small salad on the side would be a nice touch.

13 Jun 2010 Fresh Blueberry Lemonade

Thought I might like this…and I was right! Loved it. The blueberry taste is not pronounced, but the color they give to the drink is fantastic. Bbbb…b…bbut…the lemonade is pinkish RED, not blue! Surprise! Our delightful 4 year old guest, who was dressed as a doggie AND a superhero (yes, at the same time!) drank 10 cups of this (at least), and she called it Pink Lemonade.  I was going to follow her lead, but that would be even MORE confusing…so Blueberry Lemonade it remains!

I found this concoction to be more refreshing than straight up lemonade. It’s not as harsh, not as much acidity, I think. Yep, this recipe is a winner, a keeper. Be sure to make a batch for the July 4th picnic. Make several batches as once, in “concentrate” form, so you can serve it up when it is most needed and wanted without any fuss or bother.

This recipe was pulled together from two sources. My original long-relied upon lemonade recipe from “Too Busy to Cook” (a cookbook from the 80’s or 90’s) and a recipe from Family Fun Magazine attributed to Anne Coleman.

Fresh Blueberry Lemonade

1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 1/3 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
grated zest of two lemons
1 sliced lemon
extra handful of blueberries (for garnish, if desired)
Additional water, about 6 cups.

Combine blueberries, sugar and water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until blueberries soften and release their color, about 5 minutes. Strain liquid and discard solids. Let cool. Stir in lemon juice,lemon zest, and sliced lemon along with enough water to have liquids measure 2 quarts. Flavor from lemons develops over time. Let mixture sit for a few hours or overnight. Serve over ice with a slice of lemon and a float of 5 or 6 blueberries.

Make your own Blueberry Lemonade Concentrate!

Make the sugar-blueberry-water syrup. Strain. Stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest. Freeze. When needed just add 1 sliced lemon and enough water to made 2 quarts of drink, stir briskly to dissolve the concentrate. YUM. How impressive would that be to pull out on a Tuesday night?!

Thanks for visiting!

25 Feb 2010 Microwave Marmalade

You can make marmalade for breakfast. Yes you can! It’s amazing! I have made orange, lemon and lime marmalade with this recipe. It’s so QUICK! I am so impressed. I have had better marmalades, but they weren’t made in 15 minutes from the citrus in my backyard. This recipe is a winner.

The original recipe was found at Put Up or Shut Up!, a canning blog.

Notes from original recipe:
Do not double the recipe, the microwave will not like it and you will end up with a giant mess.
Use a high-sided microwaveable container (I used an 8 cup Pyrex measuring cup) to microwave the marmalade
After you get the basic technique down, play a bit…, add a touch of booze or spice!

Microwave Marmalade

Thinly sliced zest (with no white stuff) from 1 lb of citrus
3/4 lb citrus, all peel, white rind and seeds removed (tangerines, lemons, limes, oranges or a combination)
1 1/4 cup white sugar
1-tablespoon rum (optional) (I used Cointreau)
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

Peel and seed fruit, removing and discarding all the white pith and white stringy bits from the outside and down the center of the fruit. Weigh the peeled fruit and removed zest, you’ll need 3/4 lb. of pulp and zest. Place zest, pulp and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Puree, making sure all the peel and section skins are reduced to a pulp. Pour pureed mixture into a high-sided microwaveable bowl, adding optional alcohol and nutmeg. Cover tightly with plastic wrap pierced a few times to vent. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Stir; remove platic wrap and return to microwave for 7 minutes. Remove, stir and check thickness. At this point, depending on the juiciness of your fruit (oranges mainly), return mixture to the microwave for another 2-3 minutes. Marmalade will thicken as it cools. Makes 2 cups. Keep in refrigerator for up to three weeks. Can be frozen for longer storage.

Thanks for visiting!

22 Feb 2010 Lemon Curd Cupcakes Three Ways
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Now that I have everyone making the easy microwave Lemon Curd, it’s time to put it to good use!  I am not a huge fan of Martha, but sometimes she shows up in the right place at the right time with the right recipe, like she did this morning.  I made Martha Stewart’s Lemon Cupcakes from her book “Cupcakes” (page 121).  Abby took 18 to college with her. I took 6 to a quilt group.  And there are still 12 here.  (Hint number one, make  half the recipe!) I think the squirt of lemon in the middle of the cupcake was a lot of fun.  Loved the frosting, too.  The cupcake was a bit dense, but a nice foil for the soft lemony center and sweet creamy top.  I’ll make these again next time I have a batch of lemon curd on hand.

Lemon Curd Cupcakes

3 1/2 cups flour
2 T lemon zest (or a bit more, if you like a really lemony cupcake)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cups butter, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
7 eggs, at room temperature
3 T freshly squeezed lemon juice (Martha only used 2)
1 tsp. vanilla
approx. 1 cup lemon curd
powdered sugar or buttercream frosting (recipe below)
toasted coconut, optional
yellow decorating sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line 36 – 42  cupcake tins with paper liners (Martha stated she made 42 cupcakes out of this batter, I was only able to make 36).  In a medium bowl whisk together flour, lemon zest, baking powder and salt and set aside.  With an electric mixer beat softened butter for two minutes.  Add in sugar and beat for 3 minutes more. Beat in cream cheese.  Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in lemon juice an vanilla.  Add in flour mixture, beating until just combined.  Bake in preheated 325 degree oven for 28 to 30 minutes.  Cool cupcakes in tins on a rack.  When completely cool, fill and frost.

Place lemon curd in a Ziploc bag.  Squeeze curd to the corner of the bag, and cut off about 1/8th inch of the plastic corner to make a “filling bag”. With a knife, cut a small cylinder from the middle of each cupcake. Remove and discard the excess cake.  Fill the hole in the cupcake with lemon curd from the Ziploc bag.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar or frost with buttercream frosting.

Buttercream Frosting

1 cup butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

With an electric mixer beat butter for two minutes.  Add in powdered sugar and beat for another three minutes.  Raise speed to high and beat for another two minutes or so. Beat in vanilla.

Spread frosting on desired number of cupcakes.  Sprinkle with toasted coconut or colored sugar if desired.

My favorite is the one with the buttercream frosting and toasted coconut.  What’s yours?

21 Feb 2010 Microwave Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd: (n) a wonderful treat cursed with an unfortunate name.  Don’t be put off.  Lemon Curd is not curdled and there are no curds (nor whey).  So why the unfortunate name?  I just don’t know.  Never mind, though, Lemon Curd is lovely;  it’s sort of a lemon jam. There’s nothing better at the end of the day (or the beginning of the day or the middle of the day, for that matter) than a slice of hot toast with lemon curd, a cup of hot tea on the side, with feet up and something nice on the telly. Oh, yes there is, two slices of hot toast with lemon curd!  I picked 6 large lemons off of my neighbors tree this afternoon and whipped this up in the microwave. Enjoy Lemon Curd on your toast all week. Next weekend put some Lemon Curd in the middle of a layer cake, cupcakes, or cookies AND, I will post a recipe for a Pavlova with lemon curd and blueberries to finish off your batch. Leftover lemon curd will keep in the refrigerator for approximately three weeks.

I was reminded of this microwave recipe when I visited a few food blogs recently; 2 Stews and La Table de Nana.

Microwave Lemon Curd

1 cup sugar
3 whole eggs
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 6 or 7 large lemons)
zest of 3 lemons (I used a microplane)
1/2 cup butter, melted

In a microwave safe bowl whisk together sugar and eggs until smooth. Sir in lemon juice, lemon zest, and melted butter.  Microwave for one minute, stir, microwave for another minute, stir.  Do this until the lemon curd is think enough to coat the back of a spoon.  This will take 5 – 7 minutes.  At this point can pour into small sterile jars to give as gifts, or cool, then cover and refrigerate for your family to use.  Store for up to three weeks in the refrigerator.

Thanks for visiting! Enjoy your Lemon Loveliness with your feet up, a cup of tea, and a good book.