Category Archives: lemon zest

Creamy Ravioli w/ Squash, Lemon & Chives

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

I absolutely love this pasta dish from Noble Pig. The ingredients are quite simple–pasta, either fresh or frozen, summer squash and bit of cheese and cream. But when these ingredients are pulled all together the results are truly delicious. The secret is the combination of cream and parmesan cheese combined with bright and tangy lemon zest. It is unexpected yet so welcome. And as an added bonus you truly get a balanced meal in a single dish thanks in part to a generous amount of squash. What a perfect end of the week meal. Enjoy!

CREAMY RAVIOLI w/ SQUASH, LEMON & CHIVES

16 to 18 ounces cheese ravioli
1 Tablespoon olive
1 shallot, chopped
3 summer squash (zucchini and/or yellow squash; about 1-1/2 pounds), thinly sliced
Kosher salt and black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water; drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add the squash and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper to the skillet.
  • Cook, tossing often, until the vegetables are just beginning to soften, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Add the cream and lemon zest and cook until the vegetables are tender and the cream is slightly thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add the squash mixture, grated cheese and 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking water to the cooked ravioli and toss gently to coat. Add additional reserved water if the sauce is too dry.
  •  Serve sprinkled with the chives.
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Browned Butter Flounder w/ Lemon Snap Peas

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It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

This is a fast and fresh tasting dinner option adapted from Cooking Light that literally cooks in minutes (so be sure to prep all of your ingredients before beginning to cook). There are just a handful of ingredients and best of all, everything is cooked in a single pan meaning cleanup is a snap as well. I’ve used flounder in this recipe but use whatever firm white fish you prefer.

BROWNED BUTTER FLOUNDER w/ LEMON SNAP PEAS

4- 6 ounce flounder fillets

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4teaspoon kosher salt

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Juice of 1 lemon

Zest of 1 lemon

8 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

  • Combine the flour, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika and salt in a shallow dish.
  • Dredge the fish in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.
  • Heat half of the oil in a large non-stick skillet set over medium-high heat.
  • Swirl the oil to coat then add the fish to the pan, cooking for 3 minutes on each side or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
  • Remove the fish from the pan and keep warm.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter to the pan.
  • Cook for 1 minute or until the butter begins to brown.
  • Pour the butter into a small bowl, stir in half of the lemon juice and the parsley.
  • Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the remaining oil.
  • Add the snap peas and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until just tender crisp.
  • Stir in the remaining lemon juice and zest and serve alongside the fish topped with the brown butter.

Serves 4

Lemon Milano Cookies

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I grew up in a home where pretty much everything was homemade. Cereal was granola and shredded wheat was a special store bought treat; cakes were baked from scratch and a cookie was fresh baked from the oven. With one exception. Every once in a while Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies would appear in the house and no matter how well the paper bag was hidden, the cookies disappeared in a matter of minutes. Perhaps it was the novelty of a store bought cookie that enticed me but to this day there is something about those soft and tender cookies sandwiched together with a bit of dark chocolate that simply excites me. So naturally it was just a matter of time before I decided to make my own Milano treats.
My cookies combine zesty lemon with rich dark chocolate. The cookie recipe comes from  Dessertnowdinnerlater.com. The cookies are tender and thanks to the use of lemon in three forms–zest, juice and extract–filled with tangy flavor in every bite. It pairs perfectly with the complexity rich dark chocolate. If you prefer you can substitute milk chocolate but the results will be creamy and slightly sweeter.
LEMON MILANO COOKIES

10 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

Zest of 2 lemons

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1½ teaspoons pure lemon extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup powdered sugar

8 ounces dark chocolate, broken into pieces

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl cream together the butter, sugar, and lemon zest using an electric mixer set on medium speed.
  • Add the egg, egg yolk, lemon juice and lemon extract mixing thoroughly to combine.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients mixing until just incorporated and scraping the bowl as necessary.
  • Place the powdered sugar in a shallow bowl.
  • Scoop 1½ tablespoon sized cookie dough balls and roll them in the powdered sugar.
  • Place the cookies on a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
  • Bake  for 9 to 10 minutes until the cookies are just golden.
  • Move to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Place the dark chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of boiling water. Stir gently until the chocolate is melted and liquid.
  • Using a narrow spatula or a knife, spread the melted chocolate over the bottom half of a cookie then top with another cookie. Set aside until the chocolate is firm.

Yields: 20 sandwich cookies

 

 

Lemon Burst Buttermilk Cake

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If you love lemons, and lots of them, then this bright and tangy lemon cake from Melissa’s Southern Style Kitchen is just the recipe for you. It is so good that it has become my go-to recipe whenever I have an abundance of lemons on hand.

I love this cake because it is so moist. It also contains buttermilk which has become my preferred dairy product for baking.  And because it contains a generous amount of both lemon juice and lemon zest, you are rewarded with a mouthful of lemon flavor with every bite. And by all means don’t skip the lemony glaze; it is the finishing touch for this already delicious cake.

LEMON BURST BUTTERMILK CAKE

For the cake:

3 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

½ tsp baking soda

1 cup butter, softened

2 cup granulated sugar

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

4 large eggs

4 large lemons, juiced and zested

¾ cup buttermilk

For the glaze:

1½ cup powdered sugar

1 Tbsp heavy cream

1 Tbsp lemon zest from lemons

2 Tbsp lemon juice from lemons

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat 2- 8 x 4½ x 5-inch metal loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a medium sized bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
  • Using a hand mixer and a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, and vanilla.
  • Beat until creamy then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Reserve 1½ tablespoons of the lemon zest for the glaze then add the rest to the creamed butter and eggs.
  • Mix together ¼ cup fresh lemon juice with ¾ cup buttermilk.
  • Add to the mixing bowl alternately with the sifted dry ingredients. Beat until fully combined and all of the dry ingredients are fully moistened.
  • Divide the batter between the 2 loaf pans, tapping the pans to release air bubbles.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center shows moist crumbs.
  • Cool in the pan then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • To make the glaze, mix together the powdered sugar, heavy cream, lemon zest and lemon juice until drizzling consistency. If needed add additional cream 1 tsp at a time to thin.
  • Drizzle the loafs with glaze, slice and serve.

Yields 24 slices

Lavender & Lemon Shortbread Cookies

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Lavender is one of these herbs that is more often associated with perfumes and beauty products than with cooking. After all, who hasn’t smelled the sweet smell of a lavender infused soap or a sachet packed tucked into a drawer. For me, the smell alone elicits images of purple fields under a summer sky. But as is the case with many herbs, their purposes are varied. Lavender can be used in the afore mentioned beauty and household products as well as in cooking.
These cookies remind me of a French summer and appropriately so, come from the The French Farm website. With the perfumed scent of lavender paired with with tangy lemon zest they are the epitome of a summer cookie. Because lavender is a surprisingly strong flavor, a little goes a long way when it comes to cooking since you don’t want to overpower the rest of the flavors. In this cookie, the lavender is tempered by lemon zest and infuse the buttery shortbread with just the right amount of flavor.
Dried lavender is available at many farmer’s markets and online cooking resources but do as I do, and grown your own. Not only will it provide a fragrant addition to your garden but it will also provide you with a ready supply of flowers for all of your culinary needs.
LAVENDER & LEMON SHORTBREAD COOKIES
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons dried lavender flowers
Zest of one lemon
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
  • In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, gently blend the powdered sugar, dried lavender flowers, and lemon zest until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
  • Add the softened butter to the food processor and pulse until the butter has been creamed into the sugar mixture.
  • Add the flour and salt and mix until just combined.
  • Remove the dough from food processor and place it on a large sheet of waxed paper.
  • Gently form the dough into an 8-inch log.
  • Carefully roll the paper around dough to create a smooth log and chill far at least 4 hours or up to a three days.
  • When ready to bake, heat oven to 375 degrees and slice the chilled dough into 1/4-inch slices.
  • Bake for 13-15 minutes, then remove from oven and cool completely before serving.

Yields: 36 cookies

Blueberry Scones

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I love scones but they tend to be an overlooked breakfast item in my house. I will always select one when I am at a bakery yet at home, when it comes to making a breakfast treat, I am more apt to decide to make muffins. I’m not sure why because scones are so easy and often faster to make than muffins. They are tender and flakey and in many respects combine the best of a biscuit and a muffin. Simply put, they are so good. That said, I really need to make them more often.

And what better way to start making scones than with this so easy and tasty recipe adapted from the Smitten Kitchen. These scones are tender and filled with juicy blueberries. A generous dose of lemon zest brightens the berries and makes these the perfect way to start off your day. So pop them in the oven and before your coffee is brewed, they will be done. Enjoy!

BLUEBERRY SCONES

2 cups all purpose flour
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small bits
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
2/3 cup whole milk
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon coarse sugar, for finishing

  • Heat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, lemon zest, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  • Add the cold butter and using a pastry blender, work it into the flour mixture until the biggest pieces are the size of small peas.
  • Stir in the blueberries and the milk, mixing only until large clumps form.
  • Use your hands to reach inside the bowl and knead the mixture into one mass. Do this quickly, kneading the dough as little as possible in order to make it come together.
  • Transfer dough to a well-floured counter and pat into a roughly 1-inch tall disc.
  • Cut into 8 to 10 wedges.
  • Transfer the wedges to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them apart.
  • Brush the tops of each with egg, then sprinkle with coarse sugar.
  • Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until scones are golden brown on top. Serve warm.

Serves 8-10

 

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