Apple Pear Cobbler with Lemon-Cornmeal Biscuits

I was looking through the Apple Lover’s Cookbook and came across this unique cobbler recipe.  I wanted to make it for Thanksgiving, but my mom decided to bring apple pie.  So, instead I made it for the night before Thanksgiving.  Might as well kick-off the holiday season with lots of desserts, right?  The cobbler had a nice mix of sweet, but not-too-sweet flavors to it.  The lemon-cornmeal biscuits on top were a great way to temper the sweetness.  Unlike some other cobblers that make a 8-inch square pan, this made a large cobbler and I was eating it all weekend long.  I warmed it and added a scoop of caramel ice cream to teh top, and that was a great combination.

Apple Pear Cobbler with Lemon Cornmeal Biscuits

Apple-Pear Cobbler with Lemon-Cornmeal Biscuits

2 1/2 lbs firm-tart apples
1 1/2 lbs ripe pears
1/3 c granulated sugar
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 Tbsp chilled salted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Topping:
1 c flour
1 c cornmeal
3 Tbsp plus 2 tsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
1 1/2 Tbsp chilled salted butter, cut into small pieces
1 c plus 2 Tbsp chilled heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and set a rack to the middle position.  Peel and core the apples and pears.  Cut the apples into 1/4 inch slices and the pears into 1/2 inch thick slices.  Put in a Dutch oven.  Add the sugar, lemon juice, flour, and butter, and toss to combine.  Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes.  Can stop and refrigerate at this point overnight.

Meanwhile, prepare the topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, the 3 Tbsp sugar, the baking powder, salt, and the lemon zest.  Sprinkle the butter on top and use fingers to work it in, forming thin flakes.  When the dough begins to look like cornmeal, add the 1 cup cream and stir with a fork until the dough just comes together.  Gently pat out on a well-floured surface to a 3/4 inch thickness.  Use a biscuit cutter or juice glass with a 2-3 inch diameter to cut out biscuits, scraping and re-rolling the dough as needed.  Chill the biscuits in the refrigerator while the fruit finishes the first round of cooking.

Remove the fruit mixture from the oven and give it a quick stir — it should look softer and a little glossy.  Arrange the biscuits on top, overlapping slightly in concentric circles, brush with the remaining 2 Tbsp cream, and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tsp sugar.  Bake, uncovered, until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling, about 35 minutes.  Cool on a rack at least 20 minutes, then serve warm.

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Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Garlic and Lemon Peel

It’s another day, so another brussels sprout recipe that I’m trying out.  For our staff holiday party last week, we ordered some casseroles from our dining service provider and people brought appetizers, sides, and desserts.  There were a number of hits, including some delicious cornbread that is a family recipe passed down from year to year, great crisp salads, cannoli dip, skewers with meats and cheeses, and of course lots of holiday sweets.  After last year’s brussels sprouts went over well and I brought home zero leftovers, I thought I’d make a double batch of this recipe from Plenty More.  I caramelized the garlic and prepped the lemon peel the night before and then after sauteeing all of the sprouts, I brought the garlic and lemon back in the skillet.  The grocery stores around here didn’t have red chiles, so I added a couple serrano chiles instead.

Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Garlic and Lemon Peel.jpg

Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Garlic and Lemon Peel

7 o garlic, cloves removed and peeled (5 medium heads or 3 large heads)
1/2 c olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp superfine sugar
1 medium lemon
1 1/3 lb brussels sprouts
1 red chile, seeded and finely chopped
2/3 c basil leaves, coarsely shredded
salt and black pepper

Start with eh garlic.  Bring a saucepan of water to a boil, add the garlic, and blanch for 3 minutes.  Drain, dry the pan, and pour in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.  Return the garlic to the pan and fry over high heat for 2 minutes, stirring all the time, until golden on all sides.  Add the vinegar, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, 6 tablespoons water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Bring to a boil and simmer gently over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until hardly any liquid is left, the cloves have caramelized, and the syrup is thick.  Set the pan aside.

To prepare the lemon peel, use a vegetable peeler to shave off wide strips of lemon rind; avoid the white pith.  Cut the strips crosswise into paper-thin slices and place them in a small saucepan.  Squeeze the lemon, measure the juice, and add water as needed to total 7 tablespoons.  Pour over the lemon rind, add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and bring to a light simmer.  Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the syrup is reduced to about one-third.  Set aside to cool down and then drain the lemon, discarding the syrup.

Meanwhile, trim the sprouts and cut them in half lengthwise.  Place about 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, heavy pan, and heat over high heat.  Add half the sprouts, 1/8 tsp salt, and a good grind of black pepper and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring once or twice, so that they char well without breaking up; add oil if needed.  The sprouts will have softened but still retain a bite.  Transfer to a bowl and continue with the remaining oil and sprouts.

Once the sprouts are cooked, mix them with the chile and with the garlic and its syrup.  Stir and leave aside for about 10 minutes.  Stir in the basil and lemon peel and serve warm or at room temperature.

Lemon Honey Chicken Thighs

A few weeks ago I had some friends over for dinner.  I was trying to determine the menu when I remembered this recipe from last August’s Cooking Light magazine (2016) and thought it was probably time to try it.  It appeared to be something that I could finish make relatively quickly as we prepared to sit down, without much last minute fuss.  For the most part, this was pretty accurate.  My only issue was that I should have swirled the olive oil around on the pan a little bit better because the chicken thighs stuck to the pan in some pretty significant ways.  Otherwise, this was a nice, light chicken thigh recipe, and I almost always use chicken thighs because they tend to not dry out as easily, so I was happy to have a recipe that used them.

Lemon Honey Chicken Thighs.jpg

Lemon-Honey Chicken Thighs

1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 c thinly sliced shallots
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  Add chicken to pan; cook 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until browned and done.  Transfer to a warm plate; keep warm.

Add shallots to pan; reduce heat to medium and cook 2 minutes, or until beginning to brown and soften, stirring frequently.  Add 2 Tbsp water, juice, and honey to pan; bring to a boil.  Cook 1 minute, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.  Return chicken to pan, turning to coat.  Sprinkle evenly with fresh oregano, and serve immediately.

Lemon Bars

I have been overwhelmingly on the sweets train lately.  It’s probably time to cut the sugar habit, but in the meantime, I have been looking for things that are a little more refreshing and less over-the-top sweet.  These lemon bars, from the Strawberry Point Community Cookbook, fit the bill.  I was going to try and update these a little bit more, but I ran out of the surprise ingredient I was going to add.  So, plan lemon bars are what ended up being made.

Every time I make lemon bars, I leave myself wishing I had buttered the pan a little bit more or put down parchment paper on the bottom.  So, that would be my tip to anyone who decides to make this recipe.

Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

Crust:
2 c flour
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 c margarine

Topping:
4 eggs
2 c sugar
1/3 c lemon juice
1/4 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Sifted powdered sugar

Sift together the 2 c flour and 1/2 c powdered sugar, cut in the margarine, and press into a 9×13 pan.  Bake at 350 degrees until light brown, 20 to 25 minutes.  Remove from oven. Put eggs, 2 c sugar, and lemon juice in a blender and blend until thick and smooth.  Add 1/4 c flour and baking powder and blend until mixed.  Pour over baked crust and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Cut in bars when cool.

Raspberry Lemon Muffins

I’m continuing to cook through some recipes I’ve written down from my mom and this light and spring-like recipe was calling my name as raspberries are in season.  I’m guessing this was a low-fat muffin recipe, with the addition of yogurt and oil.  The muffins stick to the paper liner a little bit, but the flavor of them was great.  I love a little lemon and raspberry combination.

Raspberry Lemon Muffins

Raspberry Lemon Muffins

1/2 c yogurt
3 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 eggs
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1 1/2 c flour
3/4 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon zest
1 c frozen raspberries (blueberries, peaches, strawberries)

Mix together yogurt, oil, lemon juice, eggs, lemon extract.  In a separate bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest.  Mix these two bowls together until blended.  Add the berries.  Spoon into 12 muffin cups and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp sugar.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes.  Cool on rack and drizzle with icing, if desired.

Asparagus, Cashews, and Mint with Quinoa and Lemon Vinaigrette

There’s something about the springtime and asparagus starting to grow that brings a smile to my face.  So, as I was reading through the Vegetable Butcher cookbook and came across this recipe for Asparagus, Hazelnuts, and Mint with Quinoa and Lemon Vinaigrette, I knew I wanted to put it together.  Even better: the recipe suggested I could substitute cashews for hazelnuts, which I had found an abundance of while cleaning out the pantry.  It was time to put this dish together.  When I brought leftovers for lunch, people commented how healthy the recipe looked, and it really was a full meal in one dish, but would also be a nice side dish.

Asparagus, Cashews, and Mint.jpg

Asparagus, Cashews, and Mint with Quinoa and Lemon Vinaigrette

zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 c olive oil
1 lb asparagus
3 c cooked quinoa
1/3 c toasted cashews or hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1/3 c thinly sliced scallions
1/4 c packed fresh mint leaves, finely sliced

For vinaigrette, whisk together zest and juice of 1 lemon, 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp maple syrup, ¼ tsp fine sea salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Slowly add ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, whisking constantly.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil; place a large bowl of ice water next to stovetop. Cook 1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed, tips intact and spears cut into 1-inch pieces, 2–4 minutes or just until crisp-tender. With a slotted spoon, transfer to the ice water. When cool to the touch, drain well and spread on a towel to absorb any remaining water.

Combine asparagus and 3 cups cooked white quinoa in a large bowl. Toss with enough vinaigrette to coat all of the ingredients, about ¼ cup. Add ⅓ cup toasted cashews or hazelnuts, coarsely chopped, ⅓ cup thinly sliced scallions, ¼ cup packed fresh mint leaves, finely sliced, and ¼ tsp each salt and freshly ground pepper; toss again. Add more salt, pepper and/or vinaigrette to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Crisp, Lemony Baby Yukons

I was ready to eat a summery meal last week and was came across the recipe for Crisp, Lemony Baby Yukons in the Ruth Reichl my kitchen year cookbook.  This is the first recipe I’ve made out of her cookbook, but as the academic year came to a close, I’m making a commitment to cooking at home with more real food.  I was about to make some sausages to eat and potatoes sounded really good.  I’m not always a potato fan, but the idea of putting some together seemed incredibly appealing on this night.  I had seen this recipe the day before in the cookbook and the idea of lemon with potatoes in a crisp form was exactly what I wanted.

Crisp, Lemony Baby Yukons

Crisp, Lemony Baby Yukon

3 lb baby Yukon gold potatoes
3 c chicken stock
1-2 lemons
2 cloves garlic, smashed
olive oil
sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Put the chicken stock into a medium-sized pan and stir in the zest of a lemon or two and the smashed garlic.  Add the potatoes, bring to a boil, cover, and cook for about 12 minutes.

Drain the potatoes, reserving the lemon zest from the stock, and allow them to cool a bit.  Put them on a sheet pan that is liberally covered with olive oil.  Gently flatten eat potato, using the back of a chef’s knife, a rolling pin, or a small skillet.  Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and the lemon zest, and put in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are crisp.  Sprinkle with lemon juice and a bit more salt.