May 5, 2013

Meyer lemon Bars with a Coconut Crust

It's been so loooong since I have added to this blog that the settings have all changed!  Please excuse me if any mistakes appear...

It feels like *almost* summer in Northern California, and citrus is appearing everywhere.  I especially love lemon bars, and I saw a recipe for lemon bars with a coconut crust on Pinterest last week.  Needless to say I had to RUN to the store for lemons!!



Retro juicer from my mother-in-law Ruthann

Toasted coconut

Zested lemon rind

Cold butter cut into chunks

Mixture

Finished product


Yum!   


Meyer Lemon Bars with a Coconut Crust

For the crust:
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (be generous) shredded coconut, toasted and cooled
  • 12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) chilled butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

For the filling:
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 meyer lemon juice
  • 2 tsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degress
2. Butter a 9 x 13 glass baking dish and line with parchment paper
3. Combine flour, sugar, salt, and coconut in a food processor; pulse.  Add cubed butter and pulse until mixture resembles fine meal and begins to clump together.
4. Press into prepared baking dish, and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
5. While crust is baking, prepare filling.
6. In a clean food processor bowl, combine sugar, eggs, lemon zest and juice, flour, baking powder, and salt.  On low, process until well mixed and smooth.
7. Pour filling over warm crust, return to oven, and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes, or until filling is just set.
8. Cool completely and top with powdered sugar if desired. 


Helpful Hints:
  • Any thin-skinned lemon will do.  In fact, I don't know what kind of lemons I used; they were the only ones the grocer store had. 
  • My food processor is too small to handle the crust mixture, so I used an old fashioned pastry thingy. 
  • No need to use the food processor for the egg mixture; I just used a wire whisk. 

January 27, 2013

Tarte aux Pommes




One of my favorite desserts to make is an apple tart, or a tarte aux pommes, and the best thing about a tarte aux pommes (aside from the taste) is that it requires only 2 or 3 teaspoons of sugar to make! 

First, make a crust, or a pate brisee, following this recipe:
http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/all_butter_crust_for_sweet_and_savory_pies_pate_brisee/

*Note that the butter does not need to be cut into chunks before frozen, but it does need to be frozen!

Second, coarsely chop 2 medium sized apples (I like Granny Smith) and sautee the chunks in a teaspoon of butter, a teaspoon or two of sugar, and a dash of brandy or cognac, if you have it. 

*Note that if you have a little apple butter lying around you can cut the sugar in the apples and spread a little apple butter on the crust before adding the apples.

Third, fill the crust with the apple chunks and arrange thin slices of one apple (I like Fuji) in concentric circles on top. 

*Note that you can cut thinner apple slices if the skin of the apple quarters faces up. 

Bake for 30 minutes in a pre-heated oven set to 350 degrees. Enjoy!

-M

October 17, 2012

Tea!


I never used to be much of a tea drinker. I liked the idea of drinking tea, wrapped up in a shawl on a cold, snowy Saturday morning with a good book in hand, but always in the end it seemed infinitely more satisfying to down a cup o’ Joe with the requisite tablespoon of half & half.

Cut to years later, when I started dating—and later married—a tea drinker. No doubt influenced by his family’s Irish heritage, S. would serve and asked to be served just a simple cup of Lipton, please. By default, I started drinking Lipton.

A few months back, I participated in a three day juice cleanse during which I was compelled to drink eight cups a day of green tea. I found that I liked the mild, soothing flavor, and then started to experiment with other teas.

A trip to the local market yielded a box of the delightful Better Morning Blend from Two Leaves and a Bud, a tea company headquartered in Basalt, Colorado. With selection limited to just a few flavors, I went online to order a sampler.

Two Leaves and Bud promises the experience of “whole leaf organic tea in its purest, native form.” I don’t know much about tea, but I do know that Better Morning Blend changed my approach to tea.  I’m looking forward to drinking my way through the sampler.



Next up: a comparison of orange sencha, mountain high chai, and pomi-berry.

-M 

May 9, 2012

Cream of Mushroom Soup

This recipe was adapted from Cooking Light by way of myrecipes.com. Many times when I want to make something in particular I just Google the recipe. 

I love soups because they are easy and nutritious. When I take them to work for lunch, I can feel good about what I am eating. They are both healthy and inexpensive. A Midtown Manhattan lunch costs approximately $9 - for a sandwich or for noodles. Wouldn't you rather pack a hearty vegetable-based soup and a few slices of baguette? 



Ingredients:
  • 20 small or medium-sized mushrooms (10 brown, 10 white)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp rubbed sage
  • 1 Tbs crushed garlic
  • 4 cups no-salt organic chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 4 Tbs half & half
Directions:

Sautee chopped onion, carrot and celery in olive oil until tender. Add chopped mushrooms and garlic and sautee until tender. Add sage, salt and pepper, stirring until incorporated. Add chicken broth and let simmer 20 minutes. 

Blend mixture in multiple batches in food processor. Put mixture in pot and cook on low for 10 minutes, adding sherry and half & half.

I hope you enjoy this easy and healthy cream of mushroom soup!

-M
At Long Last!

Dear Readers,

Please forgive our absence. Julie has been preoccupied by graduate work and Marie has been busy settling into life as part of a twosome. Lots of cooking has been happening, but the same cannot be said for blogging. :)

Sincerely,
Julie and Marie

December 25, 2011

Christmas Dinner 2011

Family style Christmas dinner


Grilled lobster and baby asparagus

Grilled tri-tip

Garlic and butter clams

Garlic bread

Shrimp cocktail

Garlic and butter clams before cooking

Split lobster tails before cooking

Lobster tails again

Christmas dinner is usually so wonderful that I always think I will never forget it, but here I sit wondering what the heck we had last year.  I remember the guests, which really is the most important thing to remember.

No guests this year, but Jessica is home from college so that's the memory I'll keep for sure; her sitting at the table, in the usual spot.  It's funny how quickly we changed our routine when she left, but I love how natural it was to fall right back into it.

So here I sit listening to Julie Andrews Christmas songs (and really, is there any better voice for Christmas songs than hers?) and finish a wonderful glass of wine while waiting for my food coma to kick in.  We had such a wonderful dinner this year!

November 1, 2011

Pumpkin Pasta in Sage Brown Butter

Recently, I somewhere - I can't remember where - came across a recipe for pumpkin pasta in sage brown butter. When I saw it, I immediately thought: I need to try this! Unfortunately, an internet search and a foray into some of my old copies of Bon App├ętit yielded no results. In the end, I made up this recipe based on my recollection.


Ingredients
  • 1 small pumpkin
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • fresh sage
  • shallot 
  • 1 Tbs unsalted butter
  • linguine
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • nutmeg
Cut the top off the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. (When I opened my pumpkin and found that it was partially rotted on the inside, I simply removed the yucky part.) Cube the flesh of the pumpkin and place the cubes in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes (or until tender). 

While the pumpkin is baking, finely chop a shallot (or 1 Tbs of onion if you don't have a shallot) and sautee it in the butter. Add several chopped leaves of fresh sage and a pinch of nutmeg about halfway through. 

Cook the linguine and, when finished, add a touch of olive oil and a scoop of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Add the pumpkin and drizzle the sage brown butter. Voila!



-Marie