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Tag: lemon (page 1 of 2)

New Paths to Old Puddings: Lemon Honeycomb

I came across this tantalizing English pudding recipe ages ago whilst perusing The Kitchn, and immediately put it on my to-do list… where it promptly langished for nearly a year.

Embarassing, since I actually own a copy of Jane Grigson‘s “Good Things”, in which the recipe first appeared, as well as a shame, really, since anything with such an august pedigree is bound to be good.

Moreover it involves lemon and gelatin, two of Mr. T’s absolute favorite things. I’d like to think that my tendency to be slightly sneer-y when it comes to Jell-O type things did not contribute to the lag time, but it probably did.

Although, having made it, I can say with complete confidence that no one could think for a second that this deliciously lemony whimsy came from a packet.

It does, however, bear more than a passing resemblance to the Jell-O 1-2-3 desserts of my childhood. Well, not MY childhood, but you get the idea. A thin layer of tart lemony jelly is topped by a foamy, chiffon-y, lemon mousse that crackles pleasantly in the mouth–a perfect textural compliment to its sprightly tartness.

And, since this is do-ahead and pretties up well in individual glasses, it’s a perfect ending to any big holiday meal–bright in flavor, light in texture, but still indulgently festive.

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Soup for the Sickie: Lemony Stracciatella

Last weekend, we trotted out to the Eastern Shore with some friends in lieu of our usual summer camping trip. We swapped sleeping beds for the relative luxury of beds as one of us is about 7 months pregnant (with twins “Ricky” and “Lucy”… at least till actual names are confirmed) and the saner among us managed to convince the mother-to-be that she really shouldn’t be sleeping on the ground whilst this far along.

And, despite mice, flies, roaches, and the (well-behaved, just creepy) nuclear plant just down the bay, we had a lovely time. We grilled things, did some fierce water’s edge Pilates, savored the seaside sunrises, saw a bunch of non-verminous animals (skates, minnows, heron, fireflies), had soft-serv, and played what is alleged to be the funnest board game ever. I remain open-minded if unconvinced on that latter bit.

Aside from the actual flies in the tzatziki, the only fly in the ointment is that Mr. T got some sort of death flu halfway through the weekend and retired to bed for the remainder of the trip. Being a total champ, he rallied for dinner and–fortified with lamb, Robitussin, and scotch–made it through the most huckterish game of Catan ever.

Unfortunately, he’s was still sick when I came home tonight, so I swung into action, making a lemony egg-drop soup of indeterminately Mediterranean origins. I’m using the Italian name, though it occurs to me that this is may have more in common with the Greek version, avgolemono. Oh well.

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Mid-East Mashup: Tabbouleh 2.0

Ah, organizational skills. If mine were slightly better, this is what I would have taken to the Pride bar-be-que I went to on Saturday. But no, not quite that together. Not that anyone complained, mind you, as I showed up instead with one of WhiskedDC‘s super tasty strawberry-rhubarb pies–which got snarfled up pretty much instantaneously. Good stuff. Also good, however, is this verdant, lemony tabbouleh-esque salad… particularly now that the summer has definitively arrived in D.C., crushing everyone under its hot, sweaty fist.

Although you’d not know it based on many of the tabboulehs  available in this country, it’s MEANT to be a green salad of parsley with a little bit of bulghur mixed in–not a tan salad of bulghur with a little bit of parsley mixed in. Of course, there are challenges to making a salad that’s mostly parsley. While I love its bright, grassy flavor, most of the parsley I can get my hands on is huge and tough. And, when tossed with its super lemony dressing, the parsley manages to go all wilty, yet remain tough. Tiresome.

Since I’m not about to start growing my own tender young parsley for salads–I’d need several more balconies–I thought about other greens that might also play well with the parsley I was committed to keeping for the sake of flavor (and tradition). Spinach? Nope. Too delicate. It’d just wilt down into snotty green hankies. Ech. But kale? That could work. It’s rugged enough to stand up to the dressing, but once cooked, isn’t as throat-ticklingly tough. And chic peas? Also not traditional, but a nice addition that adds some creamy heft and enhances the veggie-friendliness of your menu.

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Friday Night Lights: Quick Lemon Blackberry Trifles

Because I am slightly dumb, and nothing if not ambitious, I recently elected to invite people over for dinner the night before I left for a conference. That would be the slightly dumb part. Of course, I could not merely suggest that we go out; that would be the ambitious bit. After years of painfully-earned experience, however, I have learned that reality tends to intervene–the nerve! So, I had to come up with a tasty menu that I could shop for, prep, and get on the table between leaving the office and the arrival of my delightful guests. (Did I mention that I had elected to go out for drinks and then watch two hours of Futurama on Thursday night? Dumb, dumb, dumb.)

It was also hot hot hot (as Nanny would say), so I turned to my trusty Salade Niçoise to provide a bright and savory–yet cooling–entree. I also picked up some nice cheese and nuts to create a snacking buffer so no one would starve whilst I banged out the salad’s components. It’s merely a matter of keeping a pot of water on the boil for the eggs, potatoes and beans, and then cutting everything else up, though, so dinner was in the bag. Dessert, however, still necessitated some attention… and ambition.

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Oh La La! Pierre Hermé’s Magical Lemon Cream

Lemoncreamtart1You may have noticed that the “perfect” (note ironic scare quotes) kitchen has quite the thing for lemon. While I love bright, acidic savory things, Mr. T gets super excited about citrusy sweets. And, well, who am I to argue? It seems every lemony dessert that gets produced is the favorite, at least until a new one appears or an old one gets revisited. This lemon cream, however, with its amazing flavor and a singularly voluptuous, silky texture, might just actually be THE ONE. Coming from the kitchen of famed French pâtissier Pierre Hermé via his American collaborator Dorie Greenspan, it’s no surprise that this is something special. And, from a culinary standpoint, it’s excitingly innovative.

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Ladies und Gents, The Roast Chicken

ChickenPart2

O.K. So, my efforts to simplify do not get any simpler than this recipe: Roast Chicken with Lemons. There are just four ingredients, people. Four. The recipe is from “Essentials of Italian Cooking” by the almighty Marcella Hazan. The Julia Child of Italy.

The recipe, like Hazan, is a bit fussy. However, don’t be put off by her fastidiousness. Again, you are dealing with just a handful of ingredients. In some ways, following the recipe to the word is therapeutic; know that it is process  but a process, nonetheless, that consistently produces a succulent roast chicken.

When I have the time, I tend to make the Zuni Cafe Roast Chicken–the industry standard, in my opinion. However, when pressed for time, Hazan’s never disappoints.

Oh, the twig-y things you might see in the picture? Thyme leaves. So, I just lied to you. My recipe included 5 ingredients. At the last minute, I shoved a handful of thyme leaves under the skin and up the chicken’s hole. Hawt.

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When Life Gives You Lemons… Make Chicken Piccata!

chickenpiccata1It’s probably apparent by now that I tend to favor tangy, bright, acidic flavors. I’m sure, in fact, that those very words would loom large in a tag cloud of my posts. I love the spritzy, mouth-filling tingle of the lemony, the vinegary, and the just plain puckery.

Chicken Piccata is one of my favorite ways to hit my sour sweet spot–it’s also a great weeknight supper of some distinction since it doesn’t take that long and is uber-delicious. It’s certainly my favorite thing to do with chicken breasts, which–while speedy–can be a bit of a drag on their own. But napped in a smooth lemony sauce punctuated with briny capers and verdant parsley, it’s hard to imagine a better preparation for them.

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Obsessing About ‘That Cake…’

ThatBaltimoreCake

I became acquainted with this cake several years ago at the always-excellent Palena Restaurant in Cleveland Park.  Pastry chef Ann Amernick, a D.C. treasure, had this dessert listed on the menu. But by the time we were ready to order dessert (we waited quite some time for a table) they were sold out. Disconsolate, I fumbled across other items on the menu, a bit listless as I was immediately sold on this dessert–jam, lemons…Really, it was exactly what I wanted. Nothing else perked my interest. Suddenly, Amernick emerged from the kitchen, apologized profusely for running out of the dessert, and presented us with a plate of house-made cookies. It was such a nice gesture but I couldn’t get this cake (like Kylie) out of my head.  I asked for the recipe and she said I could find it in a book entitled, “Baking from the Heart,” a compilation of recipes from American bakers. This book predated her most-wonderful, “The Art of the Dessert.”

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