Meyer Lemon Curd

15 Dec

Making Lemon Curd is simple and easy.  I made this fabulous recipe for my friends by placing the curd in cute little mason, wrapped in ribbon.  I included a “How To Use Lemon Curd” tag with each jar.
Lemon Curd
Makes 3 cups

3 lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
4 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of 3 lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.

Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer. Remove from the heat and strain thru a fine sieve. Cover bowl with plastic wrap then place on a ice bath to cool. Spoon into sealed jars and keep in refrigerator for up to one month.



How to use Lemon Curd

Serve on the side, with other favorite breakfast spreads, together with croissants, muffins, scones or waffles.
Add a European flair to your breakfast – spread lemon curd on pancakes, crepes or French toast.
Stir into cream cheese, place in the center of a fruit tray to use as a dip.
Use as a glaze – spread thinly on cakes.
Fill pre-baked tartlet shells with lemon curd, top with green sugar sprinkles or a dusting of powdered sugar.
Spread on thin cake rounds, top with sweetened whipped cream and berries in alternating layers for individual serving-sized parfaits or trifles.
Sandwich together angel food cake or pound cake layers with lemon curd.
Fill curd into a pre-baked piecrust, and top with whipped cream.
Spoon onto ice-cream sundaes as a sauce; top with your favorite add-ons.
Fill into individual serving-sized meringues, top with a garnish, and serve as dessert.
Use as a pudding topping, then decorate with maraschino cherries.
Use as a cheesecake topping, or swirl into cheesecake before baking, for a special effect.
Stir berry preserves or a whole-berry sauce into individual servings of lemon curd in small dessert glasses for that perfect eye-catching dessert.



Turkey Tip

14 Nov

Turkey Talk…
Oven space is always at a premium on holidays. If you’re roasting a whole turkey, make room for the quicker-cooking side dishes by timing the bird to be done early, and transferring it to a cooler (without ice). It will stay hot for up to two hours.

Just keep in mind that for food safety, the internal temperature of the bird shouldn’t drop below 145° for longer than a couple hours, so keep the cooler lid tightly closed to retain heat.Image

Breakfast Baked Apple

13 Oct

Baked Apple
This old fashioned treat is almost like an inside-out apple crisp, with the oats and brown sugar filling nestled within.

4 large Gala apples
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup quick-cooking cinnamon-raisin oats
3 tablespoons softened butter
1/3 cup pecans or walnut pieces
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup apple juice


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash, peel the apples halfway, and remove the cores, taking care not to pierce through the bottom of the apple. Make a nice wide core, so there is plenty of room for the filling.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar, oats, butter, walnuts, spices and lemon juice until crumbly. Divide mixture equally between the apples, mounding it a bit.

3. Place apples in an 8 x 8 inch baking pan and pour the apple juice all around the bottom.

4. Bake for 45 minutes, or until tender. Serve warm with gently whipped cream spooned over the top.


Salted Caramel Apple Pie

9 Oct

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

1 9-inch Pillsbury Pie Crust (dough), at room temperature
6 cups apples (Northern Spy or McIntosh)
1/2 lemon
1 cup Sugar in the Raw / natural-cane turbinado sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons heavy cream
4 tablespoons salted butter
Streusel Topping

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons salted butter (cut in to dice-sized cubes)
2 Planters Peanut Bar Originals (1.6 ounces each), crushed – *if you cannot find these bars in your area, subsitute with 1/4 cup of crushed peanut brittle*
1/2 teaspoon fleur-de-sel (sea salt crystals)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Secure uncooked pie crust in a 9-inch circular glass/aluminum pie pan. Using a fork, gently prick the bottom of the pie shell, to vent.

Peel and slice apples. Sprinkle with juice from 1/2 of a lemon, making sure to catch seeds.

In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Pour over apples and toss to mix. Add vanilla and cream.

In a heavy skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add apple mixture and stir frequently for approximately 8-minutes – this will soften the apples. Remove from heat and set aside.

To make the streusel topping, combine flour, sugar, and butter in a small bowl. Using clean hands and a fork, lightly toss ingredients until course crumbs form. Add crushed Planters Peanut Bars and toss.

Pour apple mixture in to pie shell. Evenly coat with streusel topping. Sprinkle with fleur-de-sel (sea salt crystals).

Bake pie for 40-minutes in a 350 degrees F oven.


Pumpkin Flavored Rice Krispie Treats

5 Oct

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispies Squares

6 tablespoons butter, plus additional for coating the baking dish
1/2 cup plain pumpkin purée
10 cups miniature marshmallows
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
8 cups Rice Krispies cereal

Line an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with parchment paper and lightly coat it with butter. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add 6 tablespoons of butter and pumpkin purée and stir. Once the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth, stir in 8 cups of marshmallows. Allow the marshmallows to melt, stirring frequently, until smooth. Take the skillet off the heat. Stir in the vanilla, kosher salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. If you want a chewy result, add the cereal and stir to combine. If you’d prefer an extra crispy treat, wait 10 to 15 minutes for the butter-marshmallow mixture to cool and then add the cereal. Stir in the remaining two cups of miniature marshmallows, but don’t let them melt! Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Coat the bottom of a spatula with butter, and use the spatula to smooth the mixture into the dish. Let the dish cool for at least 30 minutes. Cut into squares and serve!


Five Minute Spinach Artichoke Dip

4 Oct

The Five Minute-
Fast, Easy, Cheesy and Delicious Spinach Artichoke Dip


4 ounces cream cheese
1 can artichoke hearts, drained, and finely chopped
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and finely chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt


Microwave cream cheese in a small mixing bowl on high for one minute, or until soft.
Add the artichokes, spinach, Parmesan and pepper jack cheeses, mayonnaise, garlic powder, and salt, stirring to combine.
Heat in the microwave on high for 45 seconds, stir, then microwave on high for 45 more seconds, or until heated through.
Serve hot with crackers or crostini.
Recipe courtesy of Shine Food.


Game Day Snacks

1 Oct

Bacon-Wrapped Beer ‘N Brat Bites
Bite-Sized Snacks…Make A Great Game Day Snack!

2× 12 oz bottles or Cans of Beer
1× 19.76 oz pkg Uncooked Pork Bratwurst
8 slices Bacon, halved
⅔ cup Light Brown Sugar
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
½ tsp Dry Mustard
Assorted Mustard, for dipping: yellow, honey, horseradish, stone ground, etc
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed jelly roll pan with nonstick foil. Pour beer into a skillet over high heat. Pierce each bratwurst in several places with a fork. Place in skillet with beer and heat until very hot, but not boiling. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes or until brats are no longer pink inside, turning brats after 10 minutes. Remove brats from skillet and let sit until cool enough to handle. Discard beer.

When cooled, cut each brat into 3 equal pieces. Wrap each brat with one bacon half. In a mixing bowl, stir together brown sugar, cayenne pepper and dry mustard until well combined. Coat each bacon-wrapped brat in sugar mixture. Lay coated brats in the foil-lined pan with the seam of bacon firmly down so it won’t curl. Bake brats for 20-25 minutes, carefully turning at the halfway point, until bacon is crispy. Remove to paper towels to drain briefly, then arrange brats on a serving platter, surrounded by a variety of mustard. Serve hot with toothpicks for dipping.


Butternut Squash Soup

27 Sep


Butternut Squash Soup with Sage.
This soup is a creamy combination of classic autumn flavors: butternut squash and sage.

– 2 medium (2 1/2 pounds each) butternut squash, each cut lengthwise in half, seeds removed
– 4 tablespoon(s) olive oil
– 2 medium stalks celery, chopped
– 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
– 1 medium carrot, chopped
– 3 sprig(s) fresh thyme
– 1 bay leaf
– 1 tablespoon(s) chopped fresh sage leaves
– 24 sage leaves, for garnish
– Salt and pepper
– 1 carton(s) (32-ounce) chicken broth
– 2 cup(s) water
– 2 ounce(s) French bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 cups)

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line 15 1/2″ by 10 1/2″ jelly-roll pan with foil. Place squash halves, cut sides down, in prepared pan and roast 45 minutes or until very tender when pierced with knife. Cool until easy to handle; with spoon, scoop squash from shells and place in large bowl. Discard shells.

2. Meanwhile, in 5- to 6- quart saucepot, heat 2 tablespoons oil on medium until hot. Add celery, shallots, and carrot; cook 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in thyme, bay leaf, 1 tablespoon sage, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; cook vegetable mixture 2 minutes longer.

3. Add broth, water, and squash to pot; cover and heat to boiling on high. Reduce heat to low; simmer 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, in 10-inch skillet, heat remaining oil on medium-high until hot. Add sage leaves; cook 1 minute or until sage is crisp. Transfer to paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Add bread to skillet; cook 3 minutes or until golden brown, stirring. Transfer to plate with sage.

5.Discard thyme and bay leaf. Working in batches, ladle squash mixture into blender. With center part of blender cover removed to allow steam to escape, blend mixture until pureed; return to pot. Reheat on low, stirring in additional water for desired thickness. To serve, ladle soup into shallow bowls; garnish with croutons and sage leaves.

Chicken Picata

25 Sep

Chicken is anything but boring with this one-pan wonder. Combining a few basic ingredients found in most kitchens, this chicken piccata is sure to become a family favorite. Ready in less than half an hour, this dish is perfect any night of the week.

Makes 2 servings

2 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-3/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 large lemon
2 tablespoons drained capers
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally: With the blade of the knife horizontal to the work surface and with your free hand pressing down slightly on a chicken breast, slice horizontally through the breast so that you have 2 same-size pieces. Repeat with the remaining breasts, so that you have 4 pieces.
Place the 4 pieces of chicken between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound them to about 1/3-inch thickness.
Beat the eggs and salt in a shallow bowl large enough to hold a piece of chicken. Place the flour in another bowl.
Coat the chicken first with the egg and then with the flour, tapping off the excess. Discard any unused egg and flour.
Over medium heat in a nonstick skillet large enough to hold all 4 pieces of chicken in a single layer, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and add the 2 teaspoons of olive oil.
Add the chicken and saute until it is golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes on each side.
Remove the chicken from the skillet and set it aside.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and the 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet.
Add the garlic and capers; saute for 15 seconds.
Add the chicken stock, white wine, and the juice of the lemon.
Boil the sauce to reduce it, about 3 minutes.
Return the chicken to the sauce, and simmer over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens a little more, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a serving plate.
Add the parsley and pepper to the sauce. Bring it to a boil, and remove it from the heat.
Spoon the sauce over the chicken, and serve.


The New Fresh Spinach Dip

22 Sep

Fresh Spinach Dip

Growing up, the only way I knew how to make spinach dip was by using dehydrated soup mix and frozen spinach, and dumping the whole thing into a hollowed-out bread bowl. It was delicious, but as a grown-up, I like the flavor and texture of fresh vegetables for my spinach dip.
So thanks to Chow, in this recipe, I cook fresh spinach leaves, shredded carrots, and onions, then mix them together with mayo, sour cream, and a few other ingredients. After a couple hours chilling in the fridge, it’s ready to serve with crackers and veggies, but I still like to break out the bread bowl….

Makes: 2 1/2 cups
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup shredded carrot (from about 1 medium carrot), finely chopped
1/2 cup yellow onion, small dice
2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
20 ounces baby spinach, washed
2 medium scallions, finely chopped (white and light green parts only)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Saltine or Ritz crackers, crostini, carrot sticks, celery sticks, or thick-cut potato chips, for serving


Place a quadruple layer of paper towels on a cutting board and set aside. Place a fine-mesh strainer in the sink.
Heat the oil in a large straight-sided frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the carrot, onion, garlic, measured salt, and measured pepper and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
Return the pan to medium heat, add half of the spinach, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Cook, tossing occasionally with tongs, until the spinach is completely wilted, about 4 minutes. Add the remaining spinach and cook, tossing occasionally, until completely wilted, about 3 minutes more.
Transfer the spinach to the strainer in the sink. Using a ladle, press on the spinach to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
Place the spinach on the layered paper towels, cover with a second quadruple layer of paper towels, and press any additional liquid out of the leaves. Discard the paper towels, finely chop the spinach, and transfer it to the bowl with the vegetables.
Add the scallions, sour cream, mayonnaise, Worcestershire, and lemon juice and stir to combine. Cover tightly and refrigerate until the flavors meld and the dip is thoroughly chilled, about 2 hours.
Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed, then transfer to a serving dish. Serve with saltine or Ritz crackers, crostini, carrot sticks, celery sticks, or thick-cut potato chips.



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