Tag Archives: Lemon

Broiled Lemon Salmon (and an Eagle Sighting?)

I think I might become a bird watcher.  First we find some baby blue jays in my backyard, and today I believe we witnessed not one but two bald eagles just totally hangin’ outside our front deck.  They were kind enough to wait around for me to locate my camera, change the lens, and get situated before taking off in flight.

Gorgeous, eh?

So are these bald eagles?  Bird experts out there, let me know.  They were huge!

And in other fantastical news, Tharrie (Fritz’s mom) made the best salmon I’ve probably ever had.  It was super easy, very low maintenance, and tasted absolutely fantastic–crunchy outer crust, and perfect flaky moist fish on the inside.

And I’m here to impart that magic to you guys.  And in true vacation-style, I’m only estimating the ingredients–if that.  Mostly just giving you another idea.

Tharrie’s Broiled Lemon Salmon

  • salmon fillet, no skin
  • generous sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • liberal drizzle of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3-4 T olive oil
  • herbs–I’d suggest rosemary, or oregano, or any seasoning packet that might work with seafood. 

Again, she just dashed the ingredients on as inspiration struck.  Let the photos lead you, but let the fresh taste of perfectly baked fish be the star of this dish.  Don’t go crazy with the herbs.

Preheat the broiler on the oven, and adjust the oven rack to a high level.  Our fish was only a few inches from the broiler.

On a foil-lined tray, drizzle several tablespoons of olive oil over the surface and gently lay the fish on top.  Drizzle with another tablespoon of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs.  Squeeze the lemon generously over the top, and place in the broiler for 15-20 minutes (check it frequently, and baste with the olive oil several times to prevent burning).

That’s it!  You won’t believe how amazing this fish will turn out.  The crisp, buttery crust, followed by tender and flaky fish.  A dream come true.

She also threw some onions on the tray to broil alongside the fish.  Yes.

For dessert?  Fresh fruit from several of BC’s highly recommended fruit stands.  Who knew that Canadian cherries were something to be so highly regarded?

Nothing like fresh cherries to satisfy your sweet tooth.  Especially with some fresh picked (err…bought) chocolate and brandy sauce.

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Lemon Meringue Pie

I tried making lemon meringue pie once, a long time ago, when I was probably about 12 or 13 years old.  It took a long time, and then devastatingly, the lemon custard layer never set, so we just threw the whole thing out.  Since then, lemon meringue pie has been dead to me.

Dead to me.

So imagine my surprise when a few weeks ago I found out that it is one of Fritz’s favorite desserts!  I knew that since his long-studied for and agonizingly difficult test was finally over today, we needed to celebrate, and celebrate good.

It was enough motivation to write lemon meringue pie back into my will.  Oh, and this recipe is super easy, totally fool-proof (you can tell if the lemon custard will set or not before you bake it), and…oh yeah.  Totally delicious.

I probably ate about 3 weeks worth of calories in lemon custard.

Pie, you will never be dead to me again.

Lemon Meringue Pie (from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook) Printable Recipe Page

for the crust:

  • 3 T vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 4 T butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 1 1/4 C flour (I used my new whole-wheat pastry flour, but you can sub in all-purpose)
  • 4-6 T ice water
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 C graham cracker crumbs

for the custard layer:

  • 1 1/2 C cold water
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/4 C cornstarch
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 6 (yep, 6–deal with it) egg yolks
  • 1 T lemon zest (zest from 1 large lemon)
  • 1/2 C lemon juice (from 3 lemons)
  • 2 T butter

for the meringue layer:

  • 1/2 C water
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/4 t cream of tartar

Yeah, I know.  It’s a lot of stuff–and I promise you, this recipe takes a lot of time (but not at all if you buy a pre-baked pie crust!) but pies are never quick and never easy and they are always worth it.

You need to start out with the crust, ’cause it’ll take a few hours of waiting before this baby is ready to go.

In your mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt (you can do this all by hand, too, or in a food processor).  Add the shortening and the butter and allow the mixer (paddle attachment) to blend them until small crumbs are formed.  Add four tablespoons of ice water and mix until just blended.  If the dough isn’t coming together, add up to two more tablespoons of water.  Flatten the dough into a small disc, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Once it’s ready, take it out of the fridge and allow it to rest for a few minutes.  Use the graham cracker crumbs in lieu of extra flour as you are rolling out the dough.  This makes the dough more resistant to the sogginess that is correlated with baking custard pies.  As you roll out the dough, continue to sprinkle crumbs above and below to incorporate them.  Roll the dough out into a 12-inch circle and carefully lift into the pie pan.  Tuck the extra edges under, and crimp the edges any way you like–using your fingers, a fork, whatever.  Just make it reaaal purty.

Stick the crust in the freezer exactly as it is for about a half an hour, or until it’s firm.  Then (whew), line it with foil, covering all the edges so they don’t burn, fill with pie weights or beans, and bake for 25-30 minutes.  Remove the foil and beans and finish baking another 12-15 minutes until the crust is a deep, golden brown.  Let it cool completely.

Let me also remind you that you can buy a crust at the grocery store if you don’t have an issue of pride or require kitchen therapy the way I do.

‘While the crust is cooling, you can make the rest of the pie.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

For the custard layer, bring the water, sugar, cornstarch, and salt to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat (keep it at medium no matter what!) while whisking constantly.  Once it thickens a lot and starts to turn translucent, whisk in the egg yolks, two at a time, then the lemon zest, lemon juice, and lastly the butter.  Go slowly and whisk constantly.  Allow the mixture to come up to a full simmer (it should be getting very thick!), then remove from the heat.  Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the top, right against the custard, to keep it hot and prevent a skin from forming.

Next stop: the meringue.

Bring the water and cornstarch to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Once it’s thickened and translucent, remove from the heat and set aside.  In a mixing bowl (I used my KitchenAid with the beater attachment, but you can also use a hand mixer), whip the eggs and vanilla until frothy.  Add the sugar and cream of tartar to the eggs, a tablespoon at a time, whipping at medium speed until soft peaks form (when you lift the beater from the eggs, the peaks should droop–those are soft peaks).  Add the cornstarch mixture, and continue whipping at medium speed until stiff peaks form (no more drooping).

You are ready to assemble the pie.

Peel the plastic wrap off the custard layer, and test the temperature.  If it has cooled a lot, return to low heat for a minute until hot.  Pour the custard into the cooled pie crust.

Leave a good 1/4 C out “by accident” so you can eat it with a spoon.  Actually, don’t do that.  But do it.

But don’t.

Even the custard layer out with a spoon, then drop large spoonfuls of the meringue over the top.  Press the meringue into the crust to ensure that it adheres, and gently even out that layer with a spoon.  It’s also quite pretty to use the back of a spoon to press into and lift from the meringue, making nice peaks all over for the good housewife-decorating effect shown here.

Bake on the middle rack for twenty minutes, until the meringue is golden brown.  Cool to room temperature before serving (alternatively, eat a slice immediately and cool the rest to room temperature).

Isn’t this totally gorgeous?

Fritz was so excited when he got back from his test.  He said it went well, and I had just taken the pie out of the oven, so it smelled all lemony and meringuey (?) in the whole apartment.

Lemon meringue, I’m so glad you’re back.

Never leave me again.

Henry and I also built some shelves today to surprise Fritz with!  He now has a place for his extensive dental book collection–and Henry has a new stepping stone to the top of Fritz’s dresser.

Fritz also shaved his beard for the first time in weeks as a post-test celebration–and he considered this look:

What do you think?  Ha!

Lastly (so much news today=longest blog post EVER): I now have a Facebook page for this blog and you, my friends, can “like” it from the button on the right side of this blog.  Nifty, eh?

By the way, Fritz said this was the best lemon meringue pie he has ever eaten.

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Lemon Poppy Seed Oatmeal Cookies

Hello, friends!

I finally made time to bake, even though for a while it looked like it may not happen.  I dragged my achy and sore body to the gym this morning, got energized, then donated blood and painted faces at our church’s yard sale.

Turns out I’m not the best face painter.  Just not that artistic in the world of painting–I pity the children who are wearing crowns and Elmos that I painted on them.  I did, however, manage to break out my favorite thing to draw/paint.  Those of you who know me well know that I’ve been tattooing this heart around the world for years.  It’s the one work of art I’ve truly mastered.

Impressive, huh?  Unfortunately, it wasn’t highly demanded among the 3-8 year olds who visited today.  I’d actually say it ranked somewhere below the six-legged spider and the pink football.

By the time we got home from face painting, I collapsed diagonally on the bed, feet hanging off and face smashed into the blankets in a dramatic display of exhaustion.  And then I fell asleep.  For two hours.  And awoke with a deeply imprinted blanket design on my entire face.

Luckily, there was still time to make cookies!

The taste of these cookies is fantastic, but I sleepily adapted them from a vegan website and realized halfway through scooping them onto the cookie sheet that there was no way they would hold together, which turned out to be true.  If I made them again, I’d definitely do some recipe tweaking to add a bit of flour and definitely an egg.  Any recipe magicians out there want to give it a try, let me know how it turns out!

Lemon Poppy Seed Oatmeal Cookies (original recipe here and printable card here: Lemon Poppy Seed Oatmeal Cookies)

  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1/4 C lemon juice and the zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 C old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/4 C poppy seeds
  • 1/4 C butter, softened
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  I creamed the butter and sugar together quickly with the vanilla, lemon juice and zest.

Next, I added the banana, poppy seeds, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Mix until just combined, then add in the oats.  I also tossed in a T or so of ground flax seed at the last minute.

Don’t over mix!  Scoop spoonfuls onto greased baking sheets (I did 1 T-sized scoops) and bake until browned, about 15 minutes. 

Let them cool on the sheets before removing, because they will definitely fall apart otherwise, and then you’ll be forced to eat all the crumbled up bits.

Like I said, the flavor of these cookies is unbelievable, and the texture with the oats and the poppy seeds is also great–just the actual cookie stability needs a bit of work.  But the taste!  Definitely worth posting, and trying.

Fritz was also a huge fan (but when isn’t he, really?).  He just at three more for a post-dinner snack.

 Here’s a few more pictures from the yard sale for you to enjoy:

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Mint and Lemon Iced Green Tea

I actually made this a few days ago, when it was 95 degrees and humid outside (and inside).  Today it’s more like 60 degrees and cold, and raining, and I’m wrapped in a blanket drinking tea of the hot and English breakfast variety.  But because I know it’s going to rapidly return to the boiling point, I’m going to post this anyway.  We’ll be better off prepared for what’s coming.

This is an iced tea recipe I found online a few years ago and wrote down on a notepad.  That was pre-blog, when I was unaware that I would be posting my favorite recipes for the world to view, and I should probably be able to cite from whence they came.  So if this is your recipe, please tell me and I’ll gladly let everyone know!  I’m sure I’ve changed it a bit since I originally found it, so it may be unrecognizable by now, anyway.

Sorry.

Mint and Lemon Iced Green Tea (serves 6-8)

  • 6 bags of green tea
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 bunches of mint (10-12 good-sized leaves)
  • 2 quarts boiling water
  • 10-15 ice cubes

This is a pretty simple recipe, and I’ll warn you–I used to add sugar into the boiling water, but this year Fritz and I stopped adding sugar to our beverages.  It took a little getting used to, but now everything tastes just as good as it used to.  Amazing how sugar feels absolutely necessary until you just stop using it.  But if you want to, you still can.  I think the original recipe called for 1/3 C? Maybe even 1/2 C of sugar.

Anyway, heat up the two quarts of water until boiling, then add the tea bags and take it off the heat.  That’s important–don’t boil the tea bags, ’cause it won’t taste good.  Just let them steep in the hot water for eight minutes.

While the tea is steeping, slice the lemons in half.  I usually cut off a few thin slices to put in the pitcher, and juice the rest.  Rinse the mint leaves and tear them in half.  Toss them in the bottom of the pitcher, along with the ice.

Once the tea is ready, remove the tea bags and pour the green tea over the ice.

This is also important–let this tea rest for a while!  It’s really good the next day, when it’s icy cold and the mint and lemon flavor are really strong.  You should probably make this tea the day before you want to use it, but at least a few hours.  The mint is what makes this perfect for a hot summery day, so it’s worth the wait.

Enjoy with a barbeque, or day by the pool, or you can take it to class like I did so you can imagine you are at the beach.

This recipe is also easily doubleable, and it looks very pretty at a party with the mint and lemon in the pitcher.  You could also put a little sprig in each person’s glass.

And hey, you could spike it with a little spiced rum, too…if you wanted.  Just sayin’.

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Lemon Cardamom Sugar Cookies

Mom asked me to do her a favor and make her some sort of baked confection for her church group tonight–and that’s my favorite kind of favor to do.  She also asked me to clean up all my stuff that is strewn haphazardly about the house, but I decided to go with the baking first.  More rewarding.  And much more delicious.

Looking through the cabinets and fridges for interesting ingredients, I decided to use up the last lemon half leftover from our sangria-making.  I also wanted to make cookies, since I haven’t made any in a while.  Lemon+sugar cookie+cardamom=thin and crispy sweet wafer with lemony tang and a satisfying spice.

Lemon Cardamom Sugar Cookies (original recipe here, makes about 30 cookies)

  • 1/2 C shortening
  • 2 T softened butter
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 1 t lemon extract
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1-2 T lemon zest (I only had about one, but I would have used two!)
  • 1/4 C lemon juice
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t ground cardamom
  • 1/2 C whole-wheat flour
  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cream the shortening and butter together until smooth, then add the sugar and continue to cream until light and fluffy.

Mix in the extracts, lemon zest, and juice, and combine.  Next, toss in the baking power, baking soda, salt, and cardamom and blend.  Add in the flour and mix only until blended; don’t over mix.

Scoop out 1 T of dough at a time and roll into a ball.  Place onto an ungreased cookie sheet and press gently down to flatten. 

 

Bake on the middle rack for about 10 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.  Remove and let cool for about a minute on the cookie sheet, then move them onto a wire cooling rack.  Once they’ve cooled completely, dust them with powdered sugar (I also dusted with a tiny bit of ground cardamom as well).

 

Aren’t they pretty?

 

If these aren’t the perfect tea cookies, I don’t know what is (well, other than my rooibos tea cookies, obviously).  Just somethin’ about a light and crispy cookie has me dying to break out a giant bucket of tea (yes, I prefer to drink my tea from extra-large mugs), even if it is 80 degrees outside. 

I usually avoid the lemony-flavored things on the bake sale table, because I hate the taste of shortening in a cookie, I really hate the taste of fake lemon flavor, and when there’s chocolate and peanut butter around…well.  I have my loyalties, ya know?  And even those this cookie recipe has both shortening and lemon extract in it, I think the butter, crispy edges, lemon zest, and cardamom completely make up for it.  I would never guess that this would be on my top ten cookie list, but I think it might have made it.

I just ate three of them.

I’m going to salsa night tonight with Sarah, and I’m pretty excited–and then tomorrow morning, it’s back to Long Island.  Sad and happy at the same time.  Enjoy some cookies and take advantage of the sunshine!

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Grilled Trout with Lemon, Tarragon & Garlic Mayonnaise

We made this for dinner yesterday, and I would have to call it an absolute success.  Not only did Dad have an extra excuse to go fishing (I requested fish earlier in the week when we went kayaking), but the flavors worked out beautifully.

I didn’t want to do anything too crazy, because it was hot outside and I didn’t want to spend all day inside cooking.  I asked Dad how he normally prepares the fish, and he said that sometimes he coats in a bit of mayonnaise and grills it.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of mayonnaise.  Ever.  But I thought that flavored with some herbs and citrus, then used to protect and baste the fish in flavor while it’s grilled over high heat might be a different story.  And I was right.  No mayonnaise taste detectable–especially since we didn’t eat the skin of this particular fish.

Lemon, Tarragon, & Garlic Mayonnaise

  • 1/3 C mayonnaise
  • 1 T fresh tarragon, finely minced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 T lemon zest

Combine all the above ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.  Reserve your newly naked lemon to squeeze over the top of the fish.

Grilled Trout with Herby Mayonnaise

  • 4 trout, cleaned and prepared
  • lemon, tarragon, & garlic mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon wedges

First, take pictures of fish in the manner that makes it most alarming to your blog readers.  Then laugh because it looks like they are singing the Hallelujah Chorus (all together now–Haaaaallelujah!).

I’m sorry.

Off with their heads!  Dad gave me a nice lesson in cleaning fish–you never know when you might need to prepare your own dinner from the basics.  I actually remembered most of the steps from when I watched him do it as a kid, but he gave me some extra tips.

Next, turn on the grill to high heat (Dad estimates it was around 300 degrees) and let it warm up.  Next, coat the fish in a nice layer of the herby mayonnaise–most of it is going to drip off as it cooks, so you don’t want to be too stingy with it.  If you want to toss some lemon, garlic, or tarragon inside the fish before you get going, I’d be okay with that. 

Let the fish turn a nice, gorgeous, crispy brown.  The flesh should turn white when it is fully cooked and easily flake with a fork.

It’s better for fish to be flaky than for people.

Drizzle with some lemon left over from the mayonnaise zesting–the sharp citrus really takes the fish to the next level.

We served this with pasta salad and the sangria from yesterday–a very light and fresh summer meal!  Just watch out for those fish bones as you are eating.

So weird that I used to hate fish as a kid, ’cause now I love it.  It’s amazing how much our palates change and mature as we grow up. Speaking of growing up, the whole family trooped over to watch Jordi’s third karate lesson–she’s decided to take up a new hobby, and she got promoted from a regular white belt (novice) to a first-class white belt something-or-other (still a novice).  Now her white belt has a black stripe on the end.  Pretty exciting stuff.

Isn’t she so beautiful?  They grow up so fast!

This morning I went to breakfast with Mom and Dad at Stella’s, a popular Betty Boop-themed diner.  It was fun, and it made me reminisce about earlier times.  More importantly, it’s right around the corner from the Antique Exchange.  Oh, yes.  I was so excited!

And then it was closed.  Alas–maybe tomorrow.

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