Tag Archives: lemon

Everyone’s Irish on March 17

Shamrock's

Shamrock’s at Muir Woods.

Here’s a little round-up of some of my previous green-themed posts.  It includes links to recipes – just click on the underlined headings.

Rem and I had our St. Patrick’s day dinner a little early over at my mom’s, and enjoyed a sodium-nitrate-free corned beef from Whole Foods.  Happily I have enough leftovers so I could leave some for mom and still have some for tomorrow night’s dinner.

This is a a post about Roasted Root Vegetables which is how I did the vegetables we had this year.  The corned beef and cabbage cooked in the slow cooker.

Root Vegetables

These two salads are both green and both delicious: Baked Feta with Greens and Avocado

Baked Feta with Greens & Avocado

And Emerald City Salad with nutritionally dense kale and chard, brown rice, fennel, apple and craisins.

Emerald City Salad

A pre-spring hike in early March 3 years ago was the source of some pretty green pictures.

Ferns

This last post includes a recipe of Irish Soda Bread, a redhead, and a lovely blessing.

Irish Soda Bread

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

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Emerald City Salad

On vacation in Seattle I had a version of this salad from a store called PCC Natural Market.  I’ve been eating lots of kale and chard but usually cook it  (and occasionally juice it) so having it raw in a salad was new for me.  The PCC recipe has ribbons of kale and chard mixed with wild rice, fennel, bell pepper and green onion in a lemon/olive oil dressing.  It was very good but I wanted to tweak it a bit.

I switched brown rice for the wild rice, though wild rice is great if you want to splurge on it.  I added some apple and dried, sweetened cranberries for a little bit of sweetness and celery for more crunch.  I also omitted the garlic from the dressing and reduced the green onions.  A little toasted sesame oil in the dressing enhances the nutty quality of the brown rice.  The resulting salad is delicious and colorful.  It is perfect for a potluck as it makes a lot.  It also holds up better than most green salads.

It is loaded with healthy ingredients and might be just what you’re craving after a weekend of turkey, stuffing and pie.  I think it could be the perfect fall salad and with a little leftover turkey on the side would make a very nice lunch or supper.  I like to make a big bowl of it on Sunday and enjoy it for lunch throughout the week.

Emerald City Salad

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked brown rice (I use Trader Joe’s frozen, microwavable brown rice or their Rice Medley which is a combination of Brown Rice, Red Rice and Black Barley).  You can, of course, start with raw rice and cook it according to the package directions.

1/2 half bunch of kale (about 7 ounces before trimming)

1/2 half bunch of Swiss chard (about 7 ounces before trimming)

1/2 a large fennel bulb

1 red bell pepper (or half of a red bell pepper and half of a yellow bell pepper)

1 apple

2 stalks celery

2 green onions

1/2 cup dried, sweetened cranberries, such as Craisins

Dressing:

1/3 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

juice of 1 lemon

1 to 2 teaspoons Dijonnaise, Dijon or other mustard (I love Dijonnaise by Best Foods aka Hellman’s – it is a creamy blend of Dijon mustard and mayonnaise and I use it all the time in salad dressing and on sandwiches)

1 teaspoon sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Remove the tough stems and ribs from the kale and chard.  You can grasp the leafy part in one hand and kind of zip the stem down with the other.  Lacinato or Dino Kale is pictured below though I more often use Curly Kale.

Stack and roll up the kale and chard leaves and cut into thin ribbons.

Thinly slice the fennel.  Dice the bell pepper and apple.  Slice the celery and green onion.

In a large bowl combine the cooked rice, kale, chard, the vegetables and the apple.  Add the dried cranberries and toss together.

Put the olive oil, toasted sesame oil, about 3/4’s of the lemon juice, Dijonnaise, sugar and salt and pepper in a jar.  Close the lids and shake well to combine.  Taste and adjust with the remaining lemon juice, additional olive oil, Dijonnaise and/or salt and pepper as needed. (I like it quite lemony and mustard-y with the kale and chard, but others might prefer it on the milder side). Drizzle dressing over salad and toss until greens are well coated.

Salad will improve if it sits at least an hour in the fridge once it is dressed.  Adjust seasoning before serving.  This salad keeps well but I found it needed a little more lemon juice after being in the fridge for a day.

Serves 6 to 8

Thanks for the visit.

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‘Make This Pasta’ Update

Over a year ago I wrote about a delicious pasta dish, Pappardelle with Broccolini, Feta, Pine Nuts and Lemon, a favorite from a cooking class taught by Tom Hudgens, author of The Commonsense Kitchen cookbook.

In my post I mentioned making it a year earlier for my friends, Carson and Ian, who were new parents at the time.

Well, when we saw our friends in Seattle, we made the Pappardelle Pasta for dinner and Carson suggested an addition that she had made to the recipe: prosciutto.  She also suggested using Lemon Pepper Pappardelle if you can find it (which we found and bought at Trader Joe’s), it’s perfect for this dish.

We made a double recipe of the pasta and added a 4 oz. package of sliced prosciutto that I cut into pieces and frizzed up in a pan with a little olive oil.

That little baby?  He’s now this grown up guy, digging into the pasta.

While I was running for my camera to get a photo of the finished dish, he was grabbing the tongs and helping himself!

Before vacation was over, we made another double batch at the last place we were staying.  Broccolini or Broccoli were not favored by some of the guests, so I added spinach to the pasta and though it wasn’t the best substitute, it was still very tasty.  Asparagus or zucchini would have been better choices.  I also cooked some broccoli and served it on the side instead of in the pasta.

If you tried it before, you might want to try it again with (or without) the addition of some fried prosciutto.  If you haven’t tried it yet, you really should make this pasta!

Here’s how.

Not pictured: Olive oil, prosciutto, red pepper flakes, black pepper

Pasta with Broccolini, Feta Cheese, Pine Nuts & Lemon

(Adapted from The Commonsense Kitchen, Tom Hudgens)

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
8 oz. pasta (Pappardelle or other shape)

salt (for the pasta water)

1 lb. broccolini, or sprouting broccoli, or broccoli

2 to 4 oz. pine nuts I love this pasta for dinner by itself so use the greater amount of nuts.  If you are serving it as a side dish, you can use fewer pine nuts.

extra-virgin olive oil

4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (see note about feta, below)

1 lemon (zest and juice)

2 to 4 oz. sliced prosciutto (cut each slice into quarters) (optional)

black pepper to taste

pinch of hot red pepper flakes (optional)

A note about feta:  I can sometimes find an Israeli sheep’s milk feta called Pastures of Eden at Trader Joe’s. It is creamy, tangy and salty and wonderful in this recipe.

Directions:

Cut the broccolini into large bite-sized pieces – in half lengthwise and crosswise is enough.

If the pine nuts aren’t dry-toasted , toast them in a dry pan over medium heat until they are golden brown.  (Trader Joe’s has dry-toasted pine nuts).

Bring 1 1/2 gallons of water to a rolling boil, and add a heaping tablespoon of salt. Throw in the pasta, and boil, stirring frequently, until the pasta is almost, but not quite, cooked through. Add the broccolini to the pot and cook until pasta and broccolini are tender.

While the pasta and broccolini are cooking, zest the lemon (I love my microplane grater for this task) then cut lemon in half.

If using the optional prosciutto, fry it up crispy in a bit of olive oil.  Set aside.

When both the pasta and the broccolini are cooked, scoop a bit of the pasta water out of the pot and set aside. Drain pasta and broccolini.

In a large bowl (or I like to use the pot in which I cooked the pasta), combine the pasta and broccolini with a splash of olive oil, a bit of the pasta water, 2/3 the feta cheese, pine nuts, lemon zest, squeeze on juice from one or both halves of lemon as desired, add red pepper flakes if using, and black pepper to taste.

Now put it in the serving bowl, top with remaining feta and crispy prosciutto, if using, and serve.  You can also set aside a bit of the lemon zest and pine nuts and sprinkle those over the finished dish.

Thanks for the visit.

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Baked Feta with Greens and Avocado Salad

This is a delicious salad and I only wish I could give you a taste.  I’m afraid my photos don’t capture the combination of flavors and textures that has my mouth watering at the memory.  But you really should just go on faith here and make it.

The salad is a wonderful balance of crisp, creamy, crunchy, rich, and salty dressed with fresh lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil.

I saw the salad on The Hazel Bloom and had all the ingredients so I gave it a try.

It is made up of mixed greens topped with avocado and a zesty spritz of lemon.  That is than top with feta cheese that has been baked along with some torn bits of bread that have been drizzled with olive oil.  The resulting melty-warm feta and crispy bread crumbs are what really take this salad from good to I-want-it-again-now wonderful.  A grind of black pepper and you are ready to eat.

Note: I’ve made this for myself twice and I just cut the recipe in half.

Baked Feta with Greens and Avocado Salad

Serves 2

2 oz. feta cheese (I love Pastures of Eden Israeli feta, available at Trader Joe’s)

1/2 cup crusty bread torn into small pieces

2 Tbsp. olive oil

4 cups mixed salad greens (your favorite combination from the Farmer’s market or an easy bagged salad from your local grocery store)

1 avocado

juice from half a lemon

black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Put the feta in a baking dish and scatter the torn bits of bread on and around it.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and bake for about 10 minutes until cheese is soft and crumbs are toasty.

While the cheese and bread are in the oven, put the salad greens on your serving plate and top with sliced avocado. Squeeze lemon juice over the avocado.

When the feta cheese and toasted crumbs are ready, put the cheese on top of the avocado and scatter the toasted crumbs.  Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the salad and grind black pepper on top.

Now eat it right away so you can enjoy the contrast between the cool, fresh salad greens, and the warm cheese;  the crunchy, toasty bread crumbs and the buttery avocado.

Delicious!

Thank you for coming by.

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Day 7: Lemon Custard Ice Cream

I’m ending the first week of 30 Days of Creativity with a delicious dessert: rich, creamy Lemon Custard Ice Cream.  I saw the recipe at Good Life Eats who adapted it from Tartelette.

Before I went to work in the morning I put together the base – in two parts.  The first part is a combination of lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar.

The second part is 4 egg yolks (guess who had scrambled egg whites with spinach and mushrooms for breakfast – yup, me!) combined with warm milk and heated again until thickened.

Heavy cream is added and the  two bowls go into the fridge to chill and I go off to work.

Before going to Jazzercise I blended the two mixtures and tasted the creamy results.  Oh, my.

Pour the cold ice cream base into your ice cream maker and watch it turn into a sweet, lemony ice cream.  I put it in the freezer so it could get a bit firmer and had a dish after dinner.  So good!

We’ve made a custard style vanilla ice cream in the past and it was delicious but this particular combination: the bright  hint of tartness, bits of sunny lemon zest and the richness from the heavy cream and egg yolks  really stands out as a wonderful dessert.

Update: I’ve added links (above) to Good Life Eats where I saw the recipe that I adapted and to Tartelette where Katie Goodman from Good Life Eats saw the recipe she had adapted.  When I went to Tartelette I saw that with the *changes I made, I had pretty much made it back to the same as Helene at Tartelette but without a pinch of salt.

* Changes: I didn’t use any half and half (I didn’t want a container of heavy cream and another of half and half in my fridge) and I omitted the xantham gum that Katie added to keep the ice cream from being too icy and hard.  I didn’t have any xantham gum in my pantry and maybe my freezer just doesn’t freeze as cold because it wasn’t a problem with the batch I made.

 

Lemon Custard Ice Cream

Ingredients:

finely grated zest from 3 lemons

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup sugar

4 egg yolks

1 cup milk (I used 2% milk as that is what I have)

2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar in a glass or other non-reactive bowl and refrigerate for an hour or two (or in my case, all day).

In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks slightly.  Heat the milk in a large saucepan on medium until it is just starting to simmer and pour slowly over the yolks, beating until well combined.  Return the milk and yolk mixture and heat gently until it thickens and coats the back of the spoon. I strained the mixture at this point because there were some lumpy bits, but that is optional.

Combine the thickened milk and yolks in the bowl with the heavy cream.  Chill at least an hour but several hours would be even better.

Combine the lemon juice and sugar mixture with the cream mixture and pour into your ice cream maker.  Process as directed by manufacturer.  Get ready to enjoy this luscious treat!

Last year on Day 7 I created Refrigerator Word Magnets.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Minted Pea Salad

This is an easy and delicious salad that goes together quickly.   It is cool and refreshing especially if you’re experiencing a spike in the temperature as we did in these last few days.

Start with a few handfuls of sugar snap peas.  Trim off the ends and cut them in half.  Put them in a bowl.

Pour about 1 1/2 cups of frozen petite peas into a mesh strainer and defrost them under running water.  Shake the water off them and dump them in the bowl with the sugar snap peas.

Dice up two stalks of celery and add that to the bowl.

Chop up some fresh mint – you’re aiming for about a 1/4 cup of chopped mint, and add that to the bowl.

Toss the salad together.  Drizzle with the juice of 1/2 a lemon, a few tablespoons of olive oil, a teaspoon of sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.  Toss again and serve or if made ahead, refrigerate and serve chilled.

Like I said, easy and delicious.

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You Should Make This Pasta!

Pappardelle Pasta with Broccolini, Feta, Pine Nuts and Lemon.  Last summer I took a wonderful cooking class with Tom Hudgens, author of The Commonsense Kitchen and a College of Marin colleague and friend.  Every class culminated with a shared lunch of all the wonderful, creative, seasonal food that Tom had just taught us how to make.  This pasta is so easy and so delicious that it became part of my regular repertoire of dinners for but then I forgot about it for awhile.  I saw pine nuts at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago and remembered this pasta.

A note here, this is really Tom’s recipe – I’ve hardly changed it at all.  I just like it more lemony than the original which has lemon zest but no lemon juice, so I’ve added lemon juice.  This is a great one-pot dinner because the broccolini goes into the same pot as the pasta to cook.  I use more pine nuts than the original recipe but if you are serving it as a side you can go with the smaller amount.   I usually don’t use the chile pepper flakes – but I include them for those of you who want a little more bite.  The recipe is wonderful exactly as written but it’s also great if you don’t have pappardelle pasta.

I made it last week with bow tie pasta and broccoli. Although the recipe calls for broccolini it is equally yummy with broccoli.  In fact, I’ve even substituted toasted, slivered almonds for the pine nuts and even though it isn’t quite as good as the original, it’s really still a very satisfying combination.  What is crucial in my opinion is pasta, feta cheese, lemon zest, olive oil and a green vegetable plus some toasty nuts.  It makes a big, comforting bowl of pasta.

Pasta with Broccolini, Feta Cheese, Pine Nuts & Lemon

(barely adapted from The Commonsense Kitchen, Tom Hudgens)

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
8 oz. pasta (Pappardelle or other shape)

salt (for the pasta water)

1 lb. broccolini, or sprouting broccoli, or broccoli

2 to 4 oz. pine nuts I love this pasta for dinner by itself so use the greater amount of nuts.  If it is part of a larger meal, you can use fewer pine nuts (Trader Joe’s has dry-toasted pine nuts)

extra-virgin olive oil

4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (sheep’s or goat’s milk, if possible)

1 lemon (zest and juice)

black pepper to taste

pinch of hot red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

Cut the broccolini into large bite-sized pieces – in half lengthwise and crosswise is just about right.

If the pine nuts aren’t dry-toasted , toast them in a dry pan over medium heat until, they are golden brown.

Bring 1 1/2 gallons of water to a rolling boil, and add a heaping tablespoon of salt. Throw in the pasta, and boil, stirring frequently, until the pasta is almost, but not quite, cooked through. Add the broccolini to the pot and cook until pasta and broccolini are tender.

While the pasta and broccolini are cooking zest the lemon then cut lemon in half.

When both the pasta and the broccolini are cooked, scoop a bit of the pasta water out of the post and set aside. Drain pasta and broccolini.

In a large bowl (or I often use the pot in which I cooked the pasta), combine the pasta and broccolini with a splash of olive oil, a bit of the pasta water, 2/3 the feta cheese, pine nuts, lemon zest, squeeze on juice from one or both halves of lemon as desired, add red pepper flakes if using, and black pepper to taste. Now put it in the serving bowl, top with remaining feta and serve.  You can also set aside a bit of the lemon zest and pine nuts and sprinkle those over the finished dish.

When I make this dish I use one of my very favorite kitchen tools, a microplane grater.  It is incredible for getting loads of zest off a lemon and if I splurge on a chunk of good Parmesan cheese the microplane grater makes a fine, snowy pile.  It is also a good tool for grating fresh ginger.

I made this pasta for my friends, Carson and Ian, last year when I went visit them with their new baby boy, Eamon.  Here is Eamon from that night in June of 2010.

One last note: I usually buy fat-free feta cheese and have used that in the pasta recipe, but Tom recommended some Israeli sheep’s milk feta from a place called “Pastures of Eden“.  He found it at Woodland Market in Kentfield and said it was probably the best feta cheese he’d ever tasted.  I bought some today and it is incredible!  It is creamy yet still crumbly, tangy and salty.  It was marvelous in this dish.  If you are looking at a specialty shop for feta cheese, keep an eye out for it.

UPDATE: I found the Pastures of Eden Feta cheese individually packaged at Trader Joe’s.

Thank you for stopping by.  Now go make that pasta!

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