Say “Bye-Bye” to Citrus Juice & “Hello” to Citrus Zest (Part II)

May 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

I know you can’t see it, but there is actually an orange and lemon yogurt cake under all of the fresh berries and homemade whip cream.  Citrus zest intensifies this cake’s wonderful flavor and makes your house smell like a citrus grove on a warm day.  The aroma of lemon and orange completely fill your home as the cake is baking…it’s a great way to relieve stress.

The bottom line is that this is a very easy recipe that gives you a deliciously light and moist cake for breakfast, with tea or coffee, or for dessert with berries and cream.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1  cup sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 1 tbsp. citrus zest (both lemon and orange)
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed citrus  juice (use the juice from the orange and lemon that you zested)

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 º.  Butter and flour a standard loaf pan.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon and orange zest and juice, and the vanilla.

3.  Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients (a little at a time).  Fold the vegetable oil into the batter making sure it has been incorporated throughout.

4.  pour the batter into the buttered and floured loaf pan and put it into the oven for 50-60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

5.  While the cake is baking, you can make the topping for the yogurt cake.  Put 1/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese in a bowl.  Sweeten the cottage cheese by adding sugar to taste.  Then add 1/4 – 1/3 cup homemade whip cream.  Fold the whip cream into the cottage cheese to keep the topping light and fluffy.

6.  When the cake is done, cool it on a wire rack for 10-20 minutes.  After 10-10 minutes, carefully take the cake out of the pan and allow it to cool completely through.  Serve with mixed berries and whipped topping.  I think a mixture strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries go really well with the cake.

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Cucumber + Dill + Lemon = Yum

May 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

There is no flavor more refreshing than a cool cucumber… unless you make this cucumber + dill + lemon salad.  Start with two large cucumbers, a bunch of dill, one lemon, and salt.

Cut the cucumber into “D” shaped pieces and chop the dill (removing the tough stick parts).  Combine the cucumbers and dill in a bowl.  Squeeze the juice of one lemon into the salad.  Salt to taste.

This makes a perfect light lunch on a hot summer day or a delightful side salad.

Lemon Jubilee- Lemon Poppy Seed and Almond scones

April 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

I still have some lemons left over from my friend Cheri.  I decided to make some lemon scones for breakfast this week.  I tried to make them even more healthy, so I eliminated sugar where I could and chose to not add a lemon glaze on top of the scones.  I will include the recipe for the glaze because it is so good with the scones.  You could also use sanding sugar or sugar in the raw to make it a little sweeter.

Ingredients:

  • 1  3/4  cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 4 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and refrigerated, after cutting, until cold.
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • zest from 3 lemons (you could also use lemon extract)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 450º.  Put flour, baking powder, sugar, lemon zest, almonds, poppy seeds, and salt into a food processor.  Pulse until combined.

2.  Add the chilled pieces of butter and pulse until the butter and flour mixture form medium sized round pieces.

3.  In a small bowl, beat the two eggs together (reserve 2 Tbsp. of the eggs to the side.  Use these eggs when applying the sanding sugar to the top of the scones.  If you are not using the sugar, use the eggs tomorrow for breakfast).

4.  To the beaten eggs, add the heavy cream.  Pour the liquid into the food processor in a steady stream.  Pulse as you add the liquids.

5.  On a lightly floured surface, pat the dough into an 8 inch round that is about 3/4 inch thick.  Try to work with the dough as little a possible.  Cut the round piece of dough into either 8 or 12 wedges (depending on how large you want your scones).  Place each scone onto an ungreased nonstick baking sheet.

6.  If you want to add sanding sugar or sugar in the raw, brush each scone with he left over egg mixture.  Sprinkle with sugar.  If you want to have plain scones or add the lemon glaze at the end, omit this step.

7.  Bake the scones until golden, about 15 minutes.  Cool over a metal rack.

8.  If topping with lemon glaze, put a piece of foil underneath the metal cooling rack.  This will make for easier clean up later on.  Mix together          1  1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, and 1 tsp. vanilla.  Pour the glaze over the scones (once they have cooled).  Let dry before eating.

Lemon Jubilee: Lemonade in the Spring

March 29, 2010 § 1 Comment

Last week, I was lucky to get a huge bag of handpicked lemons from my friend Cheri.  I have enjoyed having these sweet flavored lemons around the kitchen so much, that I decided to create a series of recipes that showcase the wonderful flavor of lemons.  This recipe for lemonade is the first of several recipes that all celebrate the fresh warm weather taste of lemons.  Nothings says warm weather better than a cold glass of hand squeezed lemonade, and the warm weather definitely showed up this last weekend.  Enjoy.

Ingredients (makes a large pitcher):

  • 9 cups of water
  • 2  1/4 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups sugar

Directions:

1.  Heat 4 cups of water in a pot on med-low heat.  Do not boil the water.  Put the remaining water (5 cups) in a serving pitcher or jug.

2.  Dissolve the sugar in the warm water.  When the sugar is fully dissolved and the water is translucent, cool the simple syrup to room temperature.

3.  While the simple syrup is cooling, juice your lemons.  You can add more of less lemon juice depending on how sweet or tart you want your lemonade.

4.  Once cooled, add the simple syrup to the pitcher of water.  Add the lemon juice and cool completely before serving.  Add ice to the pitcher just before serving.

Variations of lemonade:

  • This lemonade is also great with fresh blended strawberries.
  • You could also make raspberry lemonade by muddling or blending raspberries (make sure you strain the raspberry puree if your don’t want all of the raspberry seeds to settle at the bottom of the lemonade).
  • Mint lemonade is also delicious.  Muddle some mint in the bottom of the pitcher before you add the water, simple syrup, and lemon juice.

Avocados in the Buff

March 22, 2010 § 1 Comment

If you are like me and taste an avocado of the perfect ripeness at the market, you want to buy a million pounds of them, bring them home immediately, and bathe in their richness and yumminess.  Fortunately, I do not always act on my avocado impulses.

This recipe is my tribute to the perfect avocado — without the perversion of any other flavors.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a colorful guacamole, but sometimes you just have to praise the avocado in the buff and celebrate its moment of perfect ripeness.

Ingredients:

– 3 avocados

– 1 lime (or lemon, if you prefer)

– salt

Step 1: Halve the avocados with a sharp knife.

Step 2: This is a super secret avocado cutting trick, so don’t go telling everyone.  Score the avocado half in a criss-cross (jump! jump!) fashion so that you cut all the way to the skin, but without puncturing the skin.  Next, gently lift out the pieces by inverting the avocado half as if it were a suction cup.  The pieces will start to almost fall out and you could help them along with your hand or a knife.

Step 3: Place the cubed avocado into a bowl, add a lime, and salt to taste.  Wipe the sweat off your brow — I know this was a tough one!

Enjoy the avocado in its pure unadulterated nudity.

WeHo Farmer’s Market Finds

March 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

I recently moved from Marina del Rey to West Hollywood, so I was a little nervous and excited to visit my new West Hollywood Sunday farmers market (located on Melrose Place & Croft).  Would the selection be as great as it was at the Main St. market in Santa Monica?  Would the veggies be as fresh?  The wait was making me very excited!

Alas, Sunday morning I walked on over to the market — it was small with far fewer vendors than the Main St. one, but the selection was great!  I could not be happier.  The fact that it was small only made it easier to get in and out very quickly without wading through the typical crowd in Santa Monica.

Here are my finds from this week’s market trip:

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