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This is one of those recipes that is easy, delicious and can be done without a lot of forethought. I've started keeping cans of chickpeas and tomatoes around just so I can make this dish (and others like homemade falafel) when we run out of groceries and don't want to make another run. Of course that means that we usually make this when we don't have a lot of time. So even though I've made this at least twice, no pictures yet. But take my word for it - it's worth a try.

olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin seeds (or coriander seeds)
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground ginger (I usually omit)
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cardamon (or 3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed)
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
1 Tbs cilantro leaves, roughly torn, plus more for garnish
A pinch of cayenne, or to taste
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6-8 Tbs plain yogurt, optional
A few lemon wedges, optional

Film the bottom of a large saucepan or Dutch oven--preferably not nonstick--with olive oil, and place the pan over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until it is deeply caramelized and even charred in some spots. Be patient. The more color, the more full-flavored the final dish will be.

Reduce the heat to low. Add the garlic, stirring, and add a bit more oil if the pan seems dry. Add the cumin seeds, coriander, ginger, garam masala, and cardamom pods, and fry them, stirring constantly, until fragrant and toasty, about 30 seconds. Add ¼ cup water, and stir to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the water has evaporated away completely. Pour in the juice from can of tomatoes, followed by the tomatoes themselves, using your hands to break them apart as you add them; alternatively, add them whole and crush them in the pot with a potato masher. Add the salt.

Raise the heat to medium, and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the cilantro and cayenne, and simmer the sauce gently, stirring occasionally, until it reduces a bit and begins to thicken. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Add the chickpeas, stirring well, and cook over low heat for about five minutes. Add 2 Tbs water, and cook for another five minutes. Add another 2 Tbs water, and cook until the water is absorbed, a few minutes more. This process of adding and cooking off water helps to concentrate the sauce's flavor and makes the chickpeas more tender and toothsome. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Stir in the yogurt, if you like, or garnish with lemon wedges and cilantro. Serve.

Yield: About four servings

Original Recipe

grilled_london_broil_with_chimichurri.jpgTender, juicy steak - cheap! through the wonders of pre-salting, frequent turning on the grill, and nice thin slices against the grain. Be careful not to overcook the steak - it really is best medium rare, and I'm usually a medium well type of girl. Bright and flavorful chimichurri with lots of fresh cilantro, herbs, and garlic is optional but highly recommended.

London Broil

2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 bottom round steak or 'london broil', 2 to 2 1/2 pounds and 1 1/2 inches thick
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Sprinkle both sides of steak evenly with salt; wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (steak can be salted and refrigerated for up to 24 hours).

About 20 minutes before grilling, ignite grill, turn all burners to high, close cover, and heat until very hot, about 15 minutes.

Unwrap steak; insert 3 metal skewers lengthwise through center of steak, spacing skewers about 1 inch apart. Brush both sides of steak with oil and sprinkle evenly with pepper. Place steak on hottest part of grill. Grill, flipping steak every 4 minutes, until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meat registers 120 degrees for rare to medium-rare, 16 to 20 minutes.

Transfer steak to cutting board and let rest, tented with foil, about 10 minutes. Remove skewers. Holding thin slicing knife at 45-degree angle to meat, slice very thinly and serve.

From: Cooks Illustrated

Chimichurri

1 small jalapeno pepper
2 tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano, rosemary or thyme (or a combination)
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup (packed) fresh Italian parsley or cilantro (cilantro is recommended)
Salt and pepper

Heat the jalapeno pepper over the flame of your stove or in the broiler until the skin starts to blister and develop black spots, about 3-4 minutes. Set aside. When cool enough to handle, remove the stem and seeds. Chop pepper (skin and all) and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over a medium flame until bubbling slightly, not yet smoking. Remove from heat and add rest of ingredients. You will hear a sizzle.This partially cooks the garlic, mellowing the flavor

Allow to sit, covered at room temperature, for 2 hours before using (we didn't do this). If you do not plan to use sauce within a few hours, wait to add the parsley until you use the sauce.

Original recipe


chickenmilanese_sm.jpgPan-fried breaded chicken topped with a salad of arugula, corn, tiny potatoes, and cherry tomatoes in a light lemon honey vinaigrette. One of my absolute favorite summer dishes, with a very pretty presentation.

For the salad:
5 to 6 fingerling potatoes
1 ear corn
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 large handfuls of baby lettuce or arugula (or a mix), washed and dried
optional: 3/4 cup sliced hearts of palm
juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 tablespoons honey
salt and pepper
2 ounces ricotta salata or fresh mozzarella, cubed
For the chicken:
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded thin (about 1/4 inch)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
juice of 1/2 lemon
For the salad:
Bring a small pot of water to boil. Have a bowl of ice water off to the side. Add the fingerling potatoes to the pot and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until one can be sliced in half easily. Remove the potatoes from the pot with a slotted spoon and put in the ice bath until cool. Remove, pat dry, and slice into 1/4-inch rounds.

Cook the ear of corn, in its husk, in the microwave- on high for 3 minutes. Remove, allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then shuck. Cut the kernels off the cob and add to a bowl with the potatoes, tomatoes, lettuces, and hearts of palm. (note: can use canned or frozen corn)

Make the vinaigrette. Combine the lemon juice, vinegar, and mustard in a bowl and whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Slowly stream in the olive oil while whisking vigorously. Add honey to taste. Set aside until the chicken is cooked (you'll dress the salad and use the ricotta salata when you plate the food).

For the chicken:
Season the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a very large (14-inch) skillet over high heat. Pour the beaten eggs into a shallow pie plate. Pile the breadcrumbs onto a plate or in another pie plate and season with salt and pepper (mix the salt and pepper in with your fingers).

Working with one chicken breast at a time, dip it into the eggs, then allow the excess to drip off. Place it in the breadcrumbs and coat on both sides, then gently lay the chicken breast into the pan. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts. Cook the chicken for about 4 minutes on each side, flipping carefully with tongs, until the breadcrumbs are a deep golden color and crispy. Remove the chicken from the pan, set on a plate, and squeeze the lemon juice over them.

To serve, toss the salad with the vinaigrette. Place one chicken breast on each plate and top with the salad. Crumble the ricotta salata on top of each salad and season with salt and pepper.

Original recipe
olivepasta_sm.jpgPenne pasta with rich Italian flavors of kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic. Fresh herbs and lemon juice brighten the flavors, and crispy garlic breadcrumbs add crunch and flavor. Easy roasted chickpeas add protein for a full one dish meal.

2 T olive oil
6 medium garlic cloves, minced (~2T)
1 T minced anchovy fillets (4-6 fillets)
1 T tomato paste
1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 c. drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinse, patted dry, and cut into thin strips
1 c. pitted kalamata olives, rinsed and coarsely chopped
2 lg. slices sandwich bread, torn into quarters
1 3/4 tsp. salt
1 lb. pasta (we used penne)
1/2-1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
3 T chopped fresh parsley leaves (optional)
1/2 c. fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
pepper
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Optional: Oven Roasted Chickpeas
1 15 ounce can organic chickpeas

1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon chunky sea salt

Heat the oven 400°F. Pour the chickpeas into a colander and drain and rinse very well under running water. Pat dry.

Toss the chickpeas with the olive oil and spread out on a large cookie sheet. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until brown and crispy. Turn and stir every ten minutes so they don't burn. Take out and toss to taste with salt and spices.


Combine 1 T olive oil, 1 T garlic, anchovies, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives in medium bowl. Set aside.

Pulse bread in food processor until coarsely ground, about 16 1-second pulses. Heat remaining tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add bread crumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in remaining tablespoon garlic and 1/4 tsp. salt. Cook and stir until garlic is fragrant and bread crumbs are dark golden brown, 1-2 minutes longer. Transfer to plate to cool. Wipe out skillet with paper towels.

Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts of water to boil over high heat. Add rigatoni and remaining 1 1/2 tsp. salt. While pasta is cooking, return now-empty skillet to medium heat and add olive mixture. Cook until olive mixture is aromatic and oil has turned rusty red, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove 3/4 c. pasta cooking water from pot and add to skillet. Bring to simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat while pasta finishes cooking. When pasta is just shy of al dente, drain pasta, reserving 1/2 c. cooking water. Transfer back to pot, add olive mixture and toss over medium heat until pasta absorbs most of liquid, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 c. Parmesan. Remove pot from heat and stir in parsley and basil, adjust seasoning with pepper. Sprinkle with bread crumbs, serve with lemon wedges and extra cheese.

From Cooks Illustrated, July & August 2008 
Carmelized onion, sliced garlic, and soft and tender kale make a wonderful light and flavorful pasta topping, perfect for a fancy side dish with a formal meal or by itself for a light dinner. My hands-down favorite use for fresh kale.

1 pound lacinato kale (about 2 bunches), large center ribs and stems removed, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
1 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 pound spaghetti or linguine
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Finely grated Parmesan cheese

Rinse kale. Drain; transfer to bowl with some water still clinging.

Heat 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add sliced garlic and sprinkle with salt; cook until onion is golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add kale and remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and toss until wilted, about 3 minutes. Cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Continue cooking until kale is very tender, stirring occasionally and adding water by teaspoonfuls if dry, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in medium pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Add cooked spaghetti to kale mixture in pot. Add lemon juice and 2 tablespoons reserved cooking liquid; toss to combine, adding more liquid by tablespoonfuls if dry. Sprinkle spaghetti with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

Original recipe

stovetoproastchicken.jpgA rare easy and fairly quick (~30-40 minute) recipe from Cook's Illustrated. True to form, the chicken is cooked in a three step, sear-steam-crisp process, but in happens pretty fast and with only one pan. The pan sauce only takes a few minutes and is well worth it.

Chicken:
3 1/2 lbs bone-in, skin on chicken pieces (breasts, thighs, and/or drumsticks)
salt and pepper
1 tbs. vegetable oil, divided
1 c. low sodium chicken broth
Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tsp. oil in a 12" nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chicken pieces skin-side down and cook without moving until golden brown, 5-8 minutes.
Flip chicken skin-side up. Reduce head to medium-low, add 3/4 c. broth to skillet, cover, and cook until thermometer in thickest part of chicken reads 155 degrees for breasts and 170 degrees for legs and thighs, 10-16 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate, skin-side up.
Pour off liquid from skillet into 2-cup measuring cup and reserve. Using tongs, wipe skillet with paper towels. Add remaining tsp. oil to skillet and heat over medium-high heat until oil is shimmering. Return chicken pieces skin-side down and sook undisturbed until skin is deep golden brown and crisp and it reaches 160 degrees for breasts and 175 degrees for legs and thighs, 4-7 minutes. Transfer to serving platter and tent loosely with foil.

Lemon-Herb Sauce:
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1 medium shallot or small onion, minced
1 tsp. flour
1/2 lemon, juiced (~1 tbs.)
1.5 tbs. fresh parsley, minced (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
1.2 tbs fresh chives, minced (or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves)
1 tbs. butter (optional)
salt and pepper
Skim fat from reserved cooking liquid and add enough broth to measure 3/4 cup.
Heat oil in now-empty skillet over low heat. Add shallot (or onion) and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 1 minute. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Increase heat to medium-high, add reserved cooking liquid, and bring to simmer. Simmer rapidly until reduced to 1/2 cup, 2-3 minutes. Stir in any accumulated juices from resting chicken, return to simmer and cook 30 seconds. Off heat, whisk in lemon juice, herbs, and butter (if using). Season with salt and pepper. Pour sauce around chicken and serve.

Derived from Cook's Illustrated, Nov-Dec 2008

falafel_sm.jpg

These homemade falafel made with canned chickpeas, onion, and fresh herbs are easy, delicious, and healthy. The mix can be made ahead of time, and the patties cook up quickly in a frying pan with a little oil or baked in the oven. Adjust the red pepper to taste: even 1/4 tsp was fairly spicy to me.

1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans
1 small onion, finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste

Serve with: pita bread, cucumber, hummus, lemon-yogurt sauce, lettuce and tomato

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans. Put in a medium sized bowl and smash with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Form into small balls, about 1 1/2″ in diameter and slightly flatten.

To bake: Place onto an oiled baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes on each side, until nicely browned (since it's baked, only the part actually touching the pan will be browned and crispy).

To saute: Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a large frying pan over med-high heat. Add falafel, cook until brown and crisp on both sides.

Makes about 18 patties.

Original recipe


lemonhoneychicken.JPGHoney, lemon, and garlic flavored dark meat chicken, goes well over rice with some green vegetable on the side. 
 

8 - 10 dark meat chicken pieces
salt and freshly ground pepper to season
1 tbsp olive oil
4-5 slices of ginger
1 head of garlic, all cloves peeled and crushed
few thyme sprigs
2 tbsp white wine
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
1 cup chicken stock
1 lemon, finely sliced
Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan. Brown the chicken pieces on each side over high heat for 2-3 mins until golden brown. Remove from pan.

Add ginger, garlic and thyme to the pan. Stir fry lightly.

Add white wine to deglaze the pan. Drizzle over the soy sauce and honey.

Pour in hot water, add the lemon slices and drumsticks. Lower heat to medium high, let the liquid bubble until it becomes thick, about 10 minutes or until the drumsticks cook through. Add spoonful water at a time if the sauce becomes dry.

Original recipe

This unusual cake is Italian inspired with the flavors of ground almonds, lemon zest, and olive oil. Grapes stud the surface for an elegant presentation.

2 large eggs
1/2-2/3 cups sugar
4 Tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup ground almonds (feel free to substitute flour here if you don't have almonds, or even scale back the flour a bit and add more almond flour)
3/4 tsp baking power
a pinch of salt
zest of one lemon
2 cups flavorful grapes
Equipment: a 9″ round cake pan
Butter and flour a cake pan, then set it aside. Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until they're thick, about 3 minutes. Beat in milk, butter, oil, and vanilla.

Sift together the flour, almonds, baking powder and salt. Add the zest, tossing it to make sure it is well-distributed. Then stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, making sure it is well-combined. Allow this mixture to sit for 10 minutes to make sure the flour has absorbed the liquids.

Gently stir in 1 1/2 cups of grapes, then transfer the batter to your cake pan.

Bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pull out your cake and top it with the reserved grapes. Sprinkle coarse granulated sugar overtop. Bake for about 40 more minutes, until the top of the cake is golden and springy. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan.
Original recipe
An Asian twist on the typical tuna salad sandwich with a chili sauce kick and tons of vegetables: peas, celery, green onion, and radish.

2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 clove of garlic, minced, or 1/2 teaspoon jarred minced garlic
1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce
2 (5 ounce) cans of tuna, drained
1 cup peas, fresh or thawed from frozen
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup green onion, sliced green tops
1 radish, finely chopped
2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
ground black pepper to taste
lettuce leaves
whole wheat tortillas

In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic, and Thai chili sauce.
Add tuna, peas, celery, green onion, radish, and slivered almonds, and mix well. Add black pepper if desired (salt too, if you want).
Original recipe
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