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Friday Recipe Exchange: Sitting on the Porch, Sipping a Rosemary Lemon Rhubarb Sprizter

Rosemary Lemon Rhubarb Spritzer by Alton Gunn

Rosemary Lemon Rhubarb Spritzer by Alton Gunn

It is too hot to cook. Mostly I take fresh fruits and veggies and toss them in a salad. I am waiting with anticipation for this year’s crop of peaches to begin to show up from Palisades, CO. Next to sweet corn, it is my favorite summer Colorado crop. Once they get here, we’ll revisit some of my favorite peach recipes. Until then I thought it would be fun to mix up some drinks to keep things cool.

Starting with Thai Iced Tea, from cyber friend, Tes at Home (recipe here), who is originally from Thailand and now lives in India and shares her food and travel adventures on her blog.

Next up, a couple of Watermelon Cooler recipes can be found here.

I love my Mimosas, but a few years back, someone introduced me to Poinsettias (recipe here), which I find equally delicious at brunch.

For the rest of our drink recipes, including a martini, old-fashioned lemonade, iced coffees, smoothies and more, click here.

I’m crazy busy this weekend, visiting the Chihuly exhibit at the Botanic Gardens and then off to the World Lacrosse Championships (I won tickets! I was going anyway, but this was a pleasant surprise). What’s on your plate this weekend, real and metaphorically? Have any favorite summer drinks or unique takes on the classics? What’s your “too hot to cook” go-to recipe? Share your ideas and recipes in the comments.

For tonight’s featured recipe, I picked an unusual, but tasty, spritzer. One night a few summers back I received a phone call from a friend who said her husband had just made the most amazing drink and I had to try it. I said, ‘send the recipe and photos and I’ll share it’.  A few minutes later I received the email. I read through the recipe and thought, there is no way this can be good.

But, to my surprise, it was delicious. So if you’re looking for something just a bit unique and refreshing, this is it.

Rosemary Lemon Rhubarb Spritzer

  • 1 pound rhubarb, cleaned, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • Soda water or carbonated water

Put rhubarb pieces, water, sugar, and rosemary leaves into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. Rhubarb pieces will disintegrate.  Remove from heat. Strain out the solids with a fine mesh strainer. Add lemon juice. If too sweet for taste, add a little more lemon juice. Chill until ready to serve.  To serve, fill a quarter to a half of the glass with the lemon, rhubarb, rosemary syrup, and the rest with soda water.

Makes about 3 cups of syrup, and 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of spritzer.

That’s it for this week. Next week I’ll be travelling so there won’t be an exchange. And if you missed it, JeffreyW posted a stunning photo this week (I know what’s new? But this one is beautiful and unusual).  – TaMara

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Mmm… Coconut Lemon Cake

DSC_7840 (1600x1060)Not as pretty as TaMara’s cake but I betcha it eats just as well.  Love the toasted coconut.

Chicken with Couscous

DSC_7832 (1600x1060)We like Chicken Marsala so much that we made a variant of it tonight.  This has boneless skinless thighs dredged in seasoned flour and then browned in olive oil.  Remove the chicken and deglaze with the Marsala wine, scrape the bottom with a flat wooden spatula to break the nice browned bits up.  Add a cup and a half of chicken stock to it and bring to a simmer.  Add the browned chicken back and cover.  I used butter kneaded with flour to thicken the gravy before serving.  The couscous was from a box mix, this one was flavored with dried mushrooms.  I squeezed lemon juice over my chicken and liked it well enough, optional.

We don’t eat much couscous, but it is being stocked regularly and we may step up the pace.  I see from the Wiki that we had the instant variety which is quick and easy.  I may browse the International Grocery next town over for the regular stuff.

Friday Night Recipe Exchange: Sweet Treats

Coconut Lemon Cake c2011 W4DS

Coconut Lemon Cake

Something about frigid temps makes me crave sweets. So when I was thinking about tonight’s recipes, that is what I was drawn to and lemon themed recipes rose to the top. I suppose because it brings with it a reminder of warmer climates. Which is where I am headed later in the month. Beach weather. I’ll be the pale, wind swept one by the eucalyptus tree.

One of my favorite tangy, sweet desserts is Sour Cream Lemon Poppyseeed Cake, yum, recipe here.

Sliced Lemon Poppy Seed

Since next week bring with it the ultimate date night, I thought it would be a good idea to include some special sweets: Valentine’s Day Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies, recipe here and Valentine’s Chocolates, recipes here.

Which is a good time to let you know there will be no recipe exchange next Friday. Do you have Valentine’s plans? Do you go out or stay home and cook? Or do you ignore it all together? (You should probably make sure your romantic partner is on board with that, if that’s your plan. Right?) And during these cold, cold days, what do you like to cook?

DSC_7759 (1600x1060)

Let’s not leave JeffreyW out of the mix, he and Mrs. J spent the cold week giving their kitchen a work out and this is one of the recipes that fortified them. Peanut Butter Granola Bars, click here.

And finally, tonight’s featured recipe (pictured at top):

Lemon Coconut Layer Cake

I have a friend who loves coconut cream pie.  I’m not a big fan, so I’ve never made one.  But when I saw a photo of a coconut-lemon cake, I thought she might like it, so I gave it a whirl.  The original cake was 6-layers, I just couldn’t fathom that, so I reduced it to a 4-layer cake.  Layering is easier to do if you use pie pans instead of cake pans.  This eliminates the need to cut each cake in half to achieve thin, even layers.  This cake works best if made the night before.  Refrigerate so the lemon filling stays firm. And shredded coconut covers any number of baking sins.

Coconut Cake:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups sifted flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 13 oz coconut milk
  • 3 eggs, separated

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 9-inch pie pans

Cream the butter in a mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until very light, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, blending well.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and add to the creamed mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the coconut milk, and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Add the vanilla and beat to thoroughly combine.

In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff, and then gently fold into the cake batter. Divide evenly and pour into the pans, spreading to the edges. Bake until a toothpick inserted into one of the cakes comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool 15 minutes. Loosen and invert onto racks to cool completely.

Lemon cream filling:

  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Combine the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, water, lemon juice, lemon zest and butter in the top of a double boiler set over, but not touching, boiling water. Cook, stirring, until thick and creamy, about 5 or 6 minutes.  Cool thoroughly before spreading on the cake layers.

Okay, so all the recipes for lemon filling wanted a double-boiler.  I started with one, but after 5 minutes of stirring and not thickening, I changed over to a saucepan and whisked it for 5 minutes while it boiled and thickened and had no issues with it burning or sticking.  High altitude may have been the reason for my original troubles.  Water boils at a lower temperature here, so the double boiler may not have offered enough heat to thicken the sauce.

Butter Cream Frosting:

  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 2 cups shredded coconut

With a mixer, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

Add vanilla and milk and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

To assemble: Place first layer on cake plate, bottom side up, spread with a third of the lemon filling, sprinkle with coconut, place next layer, bottom side up, repeat and again with the third layer.  Place fourth layer, top side up.  Frost and garnish with more shredded coconut.

That’s it for this week. On Monday the full dinner menu and shopping list will post and it will be a Valentine’s dinner if you need ideas. Happy Valentine’s Day! – TaMara

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Dinner Menu: Lemon Nut Pork Chops and Raspberry Poppyseed Cake

Lemon nut pork copyrighted

I had a request for a Poppyseed Cake, so I thought it was a good enough reason to use it for the menu this week. These are some of my favorite pork chops (the other being my peach chutney pork chops) and a breeze to make. If you want some good baked potato ideas, head on over to last week’s recipe exchange.

On the board tonight:

  1. Lemon-Nut Pork Chops
  2. Baked Potatoes
  3. Steamed Asparagus
  4. Raspberry Poppy Seed Cake

Lemon-Nut Pork Chops

  • 4 boneless pork loin chops (approx. ½” thick)
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup finely chopped pecans or hazelnuts (the finer the grind, the better this works, if you have a coffee grinder that’s best)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, quartered

skillet

Rub chops with garlic, salt, pepper, & zest. Melt butter in skillet on medium heat. Brown chops, 5 to 7 minutes on each side. Spread 1/4 nuts on plate. Remove chops 1 at a time and press 1 side into nuts. Add ¼ more nuts each time. Sprinkle any remaining nuts over chops. Stir lemon juice into pan drippings, deglaze, heat for 1 minute and spoon over chops. Serve with lemon wedges.

Baked Potatoes – scrub well, rub with olive oil and kosher salt. If you have them, use metal skewers to speed up cooking.  You can place two potatoes per skewer.  Bake at 450 degrees, for about 30-45 minutes, depending on size of the spuds.

Asparagus – snap ends off each stalk by grabbing the lower, tougher end of the stalk and then tugging on the flower end until the tough bottom stalk snaps off. I use a skillet to steam with just enough water to barely cover stalks, cover and cook for 2 to 8 minutes, until stalks are bright green, but still slightly crisp. Serve with butter or vinaigrette.

Raspberry Poppy Seed CakeRaspberry Poppy Seed Cake

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp poppy seed
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup sour cream

Filling:

  • 2 cup raspberries (about 12 oz)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp flour
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg

10” springform pan, greased & floured and 2 bowls

In one bowl, beat sugar & butter until fluffy. Add zest and egg. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. In second bowl, mix together poppy seeds, soda, flour & salt. Add to butter mixture. Add sour cream. Mix well. Spread batter in springform pan. Combine filling ingredients with a fork, mashing slightly and spoon over batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes until golden brown. Cool slightly before removing from pan.

Shopping List:

  • 4 boneless pork loin chops (approx. ½” thick)
  • 2 oz finely chopped pecans or hazelnuts
  • 2 oz lemon juice
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 baking potatoes
  • 1 lb asparagus
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 sticks butter
  • 2-1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp poppy seed
  • 4 oz sour cream
  • 1 ¾ cup flour
  • 12 oz raspberries

Also: baking soda, salt, nutmeg, pepper, crushed garlic, olive oil, kosher salt

Originally posted January 2010

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Dinner Menu: Cranberry Chicken and Cheesy-Lemon Cauliflower

A little fall at Golden Ponds this weekend

A little fall at Golden Ponds this weekend

We saw Gravity yesterday in IMAX 3D, which was my first IMAX 3D experience. It was quite the ride. I’m not a fan of 3D (I find it distracting) but i think in this case, it was a must. Also went out to explore the recently reopened trails around the city. There are only a few open and there is lots of damage still, I’ll post photos later.  The rest of the city is getting back to normal and I hope it’s the same for the other towns that were hit even harder than we were.

Fall is in the air and now I want pumpkin and cranberry, so I thought it was time to bring out the roasted cranberry chicken recipe. I love chicken and cranberry together and this recipe creates a tangy cranberry barbecue sauce.  I’m not a big fan of cauliflower, but this version can get me to eat it and it makes a perfect side to the chicken. And to finish it up, a nice treat, ice cream sundaes. If you really want to complete the fall theme, try some pumpkin ice cream, or maybe go with some vanilla served over hot apple crisp.

On the board tonight:

  1. Cranberry Chicken
  2. Cheesy-Lemon Cauliflower
  3. Ice Cream Sundaes

Cranberry Chicken 3_Snapseed2

Cranberry Chicken

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded flat
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 cups whole cranberries*

9×9 glass baking dish, greased and skillet

Heat butter in skillet, sauté onions until golden brown. Arrange breasts in one layer in baking dish. Mix together ketchup, sugar, vinegar, mustard & onions. In a blender, coarsely chop cranberries and add to sauce mixture. Spoon over chicken. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes, until chicken is 180° in center.

*As anyone who reads the blog knows,  I keep cranberries in the freezer, having stocked up during the holidays. If you can’t find whole cranberries, use whole, canned and cut the sugar.

Cheesy-Lemon Cauliflower

  • 16 oz cauliflower crowns
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ tsp curry
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar
  • 1 lemon, quartered

saucepan

Add cauliflower, 1 inch of water and ¼ cup lemon juice in saucepan, bring to a boil and cook until cauliflower is just tender. Drain. In saucepan, melt 1 tbsp butter, sauté onion until golden, then add flour, stirring until smooth. Add milk, seasonings & cheese, stir until well mixed and smooth. Add cauliflower, stir well. Reduce heat and let simmer on low, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Serve with lemon.   The lemon in this really brightens the flavor.

Shopping List:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 cups whole cranberries*
  • 16 oz cauliflower crowns
  • 2 oz lemon juice
  • 1 onion
  • 4 oz milk
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 quart favorite ice cream
  • Sundae toppings

Also: butter, flour, curry, salt, red wine vinegar

Lemon Blueberry Bread

DSC_6281 [1600x1200]We were browsing a Reddit food porn thread (subreddit) and ran across this lovely photo of blueberry lemon bread and Mrs J decided she would do one.  There is a link to a recipe in comments there but Mrs J used this one instead.  It turned out tasting good but didn’t get the same rise as the loaf in the original picture.  We will try again!

Frozen Treats: Blueberry Sorbet

Blueberry Sorbet3

This week I’m doing frozen treats. Vanilla and Strawberry Ice Cream began the series here.  This is the next treat.

The sorbet was by request and I’m so glad they voted for it. It was terrific. Cool, light, tangy and slightly sweet. The lemon is the perfect addition to the blueberries, giving it a nice depth. Easy to make. Perfect for a warm summer day.

Blueberry Sorbet

  • 1 cup water (3/4 cups if you’re using frozen blueberries)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (you can use half sugar, half honey if you prefer)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 5 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • a few blueberries and fresh mint for garnish

saucepan, blender, ice cream maker

In the saucepan, add water, sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a low boil and stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved. To blender add blueberries and slightly cooled sugar mixture and puree until smooth. I have a vitamix, so I got a very smooth puree, you may need to run the blueberry mixture through a cheesecloth or fine sieve to remove any remaining skins or stems.

Let mixture cool in the refrigerator for at least an hour and then process in your ice cream maker according to directions.

Remove to an airtight container and let freeze solid. I actually covered the top with wax paper to keep it from getting a dry crust on top. It worked well.

Stay tuned, tomorrow there will be another treat.  Until then….

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Friday Recipe Exchange: Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata W4DS

I think because winter moved back into the neighborhood (seriously, Tuesday’s forecast was for honest to goodness ‘ice pellets’, can ‘raining frogs’ be far behind?) I am finding myself in a berry and citrus mood. I bought 3 lbs of strawberries over the weekend and they are gone. I stocked up on oranges yesterday and I’ll have to do it again by the weekend.

I was going to do a sirloin roast tonight. I had made a really nice one last week, but didn’t get around to photographing it, so I was going repeat it yesterday. But when it came down to it, I just didn’t feel like roast. Instead I grabbed a bunch of lemons and some chicken breasts and decided on Chicken Piccata, tonight’s featured recipe. I like the tangy sauce with the crispy, moist chicken and the herb noodles are a nice side to accompany it.

If spring ever arrives, what do you look forward to most in the produce aisle? Do you crave certain foods by season?   Hit the comments and complain about the weather and share your favorite spring foods.

Of course, once I found my recipe, I went hunting to see what JeffreyW might have in the way of lemons and chicken and found a Chicken with Lemon Curd, that sounded yummy. You can see it here, along with a nice slideshow of the prep and final dish.

Now, tonight’s recipe:

Chicken Piccata with Herb Noodles:

Chicken Piccata

  • 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp basil, crushed
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded flat
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, sliced into very thin slices*
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp fresh snipped parsley
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice

bowl, skillet

Combine breadcrumbs, basil, zest, and pepper in bowl. Mix ½ tbsp oil and garlic together. Coat both sides of chicken with oil/garlic and dredge in breadcrumbs. Over medium-high heat 1 tbsp ea. of butter and oil in skillet, add chicken and cook 4-5 minutes on each side. Remove chicken – keep warm – add lemon slices to pan, sauté 30 seconds, add water, parsley and juice, boil for 1 minute, spoon over chicken.

*Scrub well before slicing.

Herb Noodles

  • 12 oz egg noodles
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp basil, crushed
  • ½ tsp oregano, crushed
  • ½ tsp rosemary, finely crushed
  • ¼ tsp crushed garlic
  • Sesame seeds, opt

saucepan, serving dish

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain well. Melt butter in saucepan, add spices, mixing well. Toss with noodles. For an extra touch you can add 1 tbsp of sesame seeds.

boston-strong1

Thursday Recipe Exchange: When Life Gives You Lemons

Lemon nut pork copyrighted

I had some recipe testing and photography to do last week for another project, so I tried to group things together and buy ingredients in bulk. That inspired me to choose lemons as our ingredient for tonight’s recipe exchange. A bag of lemons provided me with two of my favorite recipes last week. And this week I’ll be working on a Chicken Piccata  (same bag of lemons) but I didn’t get it done in time for tonight’s list. And, yes that’s right, you’re getting leftovers tonight.

The Tangy Lemon Pie got a makeover with a lemon cookie crust which won it rave reviews from my taste-testers, (recipe here)

JeffreyW gives us a a Lemon Garlic Basil Shrimp recipe, complete with a beautiful slideshow (recipe here).

When life gives you lemons, what do you make?

And tonight’s featured recipe, which turned out better than I remembered. I hadn’t made it in quite a while and had forgotten what a good combination butter, lemon and in this case, pecans are with pork.

Lemon-Nut Pork Chops

  • 4 boneless pork loin chops (approx. 1/2 to 3/4” thick)
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup finely chopped pecans or hazelnuts (the finer the grind, the better this works, if you have a coffee grinder that’s best)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, quartered

skillet

Rub chops with garlic, salt, pepper, & zest. Melt butter in skillet on medium heat. Brown chops, 5 to 7 minutes on each side. Spread 1/4 nuts on plate. Remove chops 1 at a time and press 1 side into nuts. Add ¼ more nuts each time. Sprinkle any remaining nuts over chops. Stir lemon juice into pan drippings, deglaze, heat for 1 minute and spoon over chops. Serve with lemon wedges.

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