lemon

All posts tagged lemon

Summer Jell-O Shots

Published June 18, 2014 by jenmatteson

I recently subjected myself to a new type of torture, or what many people call exercise. Bootcamp to be more exact. Now I’m no stranger to working out, and usually before work, but I was committed to this bootcamp for two weeks – 6 AM workouts M-F, and 8 AM workouts on Saturday. Oh, and don’t forget about the strongly encouraged second workouts on all these days.

While I make it out to be hell, it was actually a lot of fun. I was searching for a new type of workout, as my typical routine had put me into plateau mode. What’s more, not only are there four wonderful bootcamp coaches pushing and supporting you throughout the two weeks, but the camaraderie in the 31 person group was extremely foreign and amazingly inspiring to me.

On the last day, we decided to do a potluck, and I offered to bring Jell-O shots. No one seemed extremely against the idea, so I went for it! The last time I made fancy Jell-O shots (watermelon mint), they turned out pretty good, although I had some trouble with the gelatin sticking to the watermelon rind. I was a bit scared I’d have that same issue this time, but I didn’t at all. They turned out so well and everyone seemed quite impressed.

Lemon Meringue Jello Shots Greyhound Jello Shots

It’s hard to pick a clear favorite here with the delicious flavors; the lemon meringue was dreamy, the Arnie Palmer was summery and refreshing, and the greyhound was perfectly tart. They are super simple, and get a lot of great compliments, so try them out at your next gathering!

Lemon Meringue Jello Shots

Lemon Meringue/Arnie Palmer Jell-O Shots

Source: Adapted from E is for Eat
Servings: Makes 24-40 shots

Ingredients:

6-10 lemons (depending on size)
1-3 oz package of lemon Jell-O
1 cup boiling water
1 cup whipped cream flavored vodka (for lemon meringue) or iced tea flavored vodka (for Arnie Palmer

Directions:

1. Cut each lemon in half, lengthwise (so pretty much the opposite of how you would if you were regularly juicing a lemon), and juice them carefully without tearing the peel. Save juice for another use (freezing in ice cube trays works great!).

2. Hollow out each half, again being cautious not to puncture the peel. I used a grapefruit knife to loosen the edges and was able to pull the inside segments out easily. Place halves in muffin pan to help keep them balanced while setting.

3. Make Jell-O according to package directions, except in place of the cold water, substitute your vodka. Fill each lemon half and refrigerate until set. It’s easiest to pour mixture into a liquid measuring cup for easy pour into the peels.

4. Once set, use a sharp knife to slice into wedges and serve. Depending on size of lemon, you can get at least 2 wedges out of each half, sometimes more.

Greyhound Jello Shots

Greyhound Jell-O Shots

Source: Adapted from E is for Eat
Servings: Makes about 24 shots

Ingredients:

3-5 large grapefruits
2 packets of Knox unflavored gelatin
1 tbsp. sugar
3/4 cup vodka
1/4 cup cold water

Directions:

1. Cut each grapefruit in half, and juice them carefully without tearing the peel. Strain the juice to remove any pulp or seeds.

2. Hollow out each half, again being cautious not to puncture the peel. I used a grapefruit knife to loosen the edges and was able to pull the inside segments out easily. Place halves in muffin pan to help keep them balanced while setting.

3. Pour 1 cup of the grapefruit juice into a small saucepan and sprinkle with Knox gelatin. Add 1 tbsp. of sugar (use up to 1/4 cup if you like really sweet grapefruit juice – I prefer unsweetened) and heat until gelatin and sugar have dissolved, about five minutes.

4. Pour in vodka and water and transfer to something with an easy pour spout, like a liquid measuring cup. Pour in grapefruit halves and refrigerate to set.

5. Once completely firm, cut each half, in half, and then in half again. Depending on size, you may want to cut them even smaller.

 

Tarragon Chicken Salad

Published April 9, 2014 by jenmatteson

“I’m not dead, yet!”

Monty Python, anyone?

Wondering where I’ve been?  If I’ve quit blogging?  Found another love besides cooking?  Dead?  Well, you’d be wrong.  Big news on the Pigzilla family front!  No…it’s not a tiny Pigzilla.  After being unemployed for almost 8 months, I have finally found a new position.  And I love it…so far anyway.  I don’t anticipate not liking it, but I’ve only been there for two weeks, so it’s hard to say.  That being said, I have not had a lot of time for my second love, this blog.  As you know, I’m in the midst of planning a baby shower for my girlfriend, as well as another dinner party for a small group.  In addition to feeding my husband and all the things that go along with being an adult, I’ve been basically vegging out after I get home and dinner is made.  I have to get back into the grove of writing…

I love chicken salad.  But this is one thing that I’m particularly picky about.  I don’t like fruit or nuts in my chicken salad, though I do enjoy a crunch, which is where the celery comes in.  Certainly, if you enjoy fruit or nuts in your chicken salad, feel free to add at your own discretion, but purely against my strong recommendation not to.

Tarragon Chicken Salad

This is another recipe I tried for the aforementioned baby shower – I’m sorry, you’ve heard so much about this in the last few weeks.  The pairing of tarragon and chicken salad were of my own genius, but I wanted to find a great basic recipe for the chicken salad itself.  This recipe comes from Note to Self, and claims to be the absolute best chicken salad, ever.  So I had to try it.  I just subbed the tarragon for the dill.  I really enjoyed it!  I think this salad goes well on a buttery croissant because of deep tarragon flavor, but it’s just as good on wheat, white, pita or even on a salad.  This is certainly not your ordinary chicken salad, and I love that!

Tarragon Chicken Salad

Tarragon Chicken Salad

Source: Adapted from Note to Self
Servings:

Ingredients:

3 cups chilled shredded chicken (I used two poached breasts)
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp. fresh tarragon, minced
salt and fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.  Add additional mayonnaise to desired consistency and adjust seasonings to taste.   Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Published March 19, 2014 by jenmatteson

A few days ago, I got a wax and facial from my girlfriend who is an esthetician.  It was awesome.  Even better, we drank wine, before, during (mostly me during) and after.  She offered me some snacks after, one being a lemon poppy seed scone.  I’m not typically a pastry person – and it’s definitely not because I don’t like them, but because they are sooo sooo not very good for you.  I like to use up my calories in wine 😛  Anyway, I did have one, and it made me really want to make them.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Clearly, you can see I didn’t make scones, rather muffins.  I thought this would be a slightly healthier option, with a little less butter.   I also substituted apple sauce and extra baking powder for eggs. But, you really can’t hide that full stick of butter in the batter.  Oh well, we must indulge every now and then.  I think I’ll try out the lemon poppy seed scones next time.  My pumpkin scones turned out so well, it’d be too hard not too.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

The lemon zest and juice keep these light and fluffy muffins tasting bright and fresh.  Nate has taken one to work most days for breakfast; I think they are perfect for on the go, snacks or breakfasts!

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Source: Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
Servings: Makes 12 large muffins

Ingredients:

2/3 cup sugar
grated zest of one lemon
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
juice of one lemon
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (sour cream will work here)
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tbsp. poppy seeds

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray muffin tin with oil or place paper muffin cups in molds.

2. In a large bowl, rub sugar and lemon zest together with fingertips until fragrant and sugar is moist.  Whisk in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In another large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, Greek yogurt, eggs, vanilla and butter until well blended.

3. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and gently stir to blend, careful not to over-mix.  Fold in poppy seeds.  Divide batter evenly into muffin tins (I made smaller muffins, not in a mini muffin tin, so they were more reasonably portioned, so it ended up making 18 medium muffins instead of 12 large). *If you like them just a bit sweeter, sprinkle some coarse sugar over the top of the divided batter.

4. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack before removing from pan.

Skip the Restaurant, Cook and Home: Scallops with Fennel Grenobloise

Published February 6, 2014 by jenmatteson

My girlfriend was coming over for dinner last Friday night.  She had originally suggested going out for seafood, but seeing as though I’m not working, I countered with cooking in.  I know, not quite as exciting (though, it can be with enough wine and Just Dance).  But I did splurge a little and get us some scallops, which was perfect, as I had this recipe waiting for use.  Unfortunately, she had some car trouble so she wasn’t able to make it.  Fortunately for Nate, that meant he got leftovers 😛  The scallops with the fennel was absolutely outstanding.  I amped it up slightly by serving them over a parsnip puree, and drizzled with truffle oil.  It wasn’t necessary by any means, but why not add a little luxury into our simple lives? Sorry the pictures are so gross – not very good lighting late and night, but this was too good not to share with you!

Scallops with Fennel Grenobloise

Oh, and what the heck is a “grenobloise”?  It’s just a fancy French term for “sauce of brown butter, capers, parsley, and lemon”.  It makes for a much shorter recipe name: Scallops with Fennel Grenobloise vs. Scallops with Fennel, Brown Butter, Capers, Parsley and Lemon.  Yeah, I’ll take the first one.  But how do you pronounce it so you don’t sound like a dope?  You really can’t, but if you must try, here’s a little help: “grewn-o-blwahz”.  Seriously.

Scallops with Fennel Grenobloise

This is the second time I’ve made scallops at home, and they are so easy to make.  Don’t be scared to try!  A few key tips: 1) Make sure the scallops are very dry before placing in a hot pan.  I laid mine between paper towels in the fridge a few hours before I planned to make them.  2) Get your pan nice and hot.  3) Be patient and don’t move once you get them in the pan.  This will get that nice crisp sear on the outside while keeping the middle warm and opaque.  4) Don’t overcrowd your pan.  Placing the scallops too close together will steam them instead of searing them.  YOU DO NOT WANT THIS.  I promise, follow these tips, and you can’t screw them up.  The simple taste of the scallops paired great with the rich taste of the fennel.  Open a nice bottle of wine and make this for your honey this Valentine’s Day instead of braving the crowds and overpriced menus.

Scallops with Fennel Grenobloise

Scallops with Fennel Grenobloise

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb sea scallops
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 tbsp. capers, drained
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
2 tbsp. flat leaf parsley

Directions:

1. In a large non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over moderately high heat.  Season both sides of scallops with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until golden brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes on each side (DO NOT move in the pan – this will allow them to sear properly).  Transfer to platter and keep warm.

2. Melt butter in same skillet.  Add fennel and capers and cook over high heat, stirring until the fennel is crisp-tender and lightly golden, about 2 minutes.  Stir in lemon juice and parsley, and season with salt and pepper.  Spoon fennel around the scallops and garnish with chopped fennel fronds, serve with lemon wedges.

Lemon-Cranberry Pie Bars, aka Ham Pie

Published October 20, 2013 by jenmatteson

I know, it sounds gross.  But let me explain.  Over the weekend, the hubs and I went to our friends’ Slumber Party Massacre.  It’s basically a great annual excuse to get together, play beer pong, flip cup, and watch scary movies (my favorite!).  Unfortunately for us, the beer pong tournament lasted until almost 3 AM, so there was no flip cup afterwards 😦  Nate and I are pretty horrid at beer pong, but surprisingly, we did win two games, but lost two.  So I suppose we are just okay, not horrid.  Overall, it was a super fun night and we’re already looking forward to next year.

Lemon-Cranberry Pie Bars

So what’s with the ham pie, you ask?  Well, for the party, I brought lemon-cranberry pie bars to share.  I didn’t get the swirl just right, which just made for a mostly pink top.  After a while, the confectioners’ sugar seeps into the topping, and the result apparently looks like ham.  One of my friends truly thought it was an appetizer with ham on the top, coining the term “ham pie”.  I’m not sure that name really sold many people on trying them, sadly.  Nate and I both love them, so I suppose it’s everyone else’s loss.

Lemon-Cranberry Pie Bars

The bars are more or less a variation on lemon bars, with the addition of cranberry.  The acid from the lemon and the tartness from the cranberries paired with the sweet crust makes for an excellent treat!

Lemon-Cranberry Pie Bars

Lemon-Cranberry Pie Bars

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: Makes one 9×13-inch pan

Ingredients:

For the crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp light brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar

For the filling:
1 cup cranberries
2 3/4 cups sugar
pinch of ground cloves
1/4 cup water
4 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about two lemons)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

1. Make the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl, whisk together flour and salt.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream together butter and both sugars for two minutes on medium speed.  With the mixer on low speed, slowly add flour-salt mixture.

2.  Transfer dough to parchment paper lined 9×13-inch baking pan.  Press dough over the bottom and about 1-inch up the sides all around (you can cover the dough with plastic wrap and press it in with the bottom of a measuring cup).  Refrigerate until firm.

3. Bake crust for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown.  Halfway through baking, remove from oven and use the back of a spoon to even and smooth the sides and corners of crust.  Transfer pan to wire rack and let crust cool before filling.

4. Make the filling: In a saucepan, simmer cranberries, with 1/4 cup of the sugar, cloves and water over moderately low heat, until berries pop and liquid thickens, about 8 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.  Transfer mixture to food processor and puree until smooth.  Strain and press the puree through a fine sieve set over a bowl and let cool completely.

5. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together remaining 2 1/2 cups sugar, eggs, egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice and flour.

6. Mix 1/2 cup lemon filling with cranberry puree.  Pour the rest of the lemon filling into cooled crust, and swirl in cranberry mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, or until set.  Transfer pan to wire rack to cool.  Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.

Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

Published July 15, 2013 by jenmatteson

I rarely purchase fancy salad dressing.  We typically have light ranch and light Italian in our refrigerator, and most of the time I just throw a vinaigrette together.  A few weeks ago, we had our neighbors over for dinner on a Friday night, and I knew I barely had enough time to throw together dinner, drinks, and appetizers, so opted to buy a “fancy” salad dressing instead of taking the extra 5 minutes it takes to make one.  FYI, a “fancy” dressing is one that wasn’t made by Kraft or the generic grocery store brand.  It also lives in the produce section, not in the grocery isle.

Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

I picked a lemon herb vinaigrette from Marie’s.  Never had it before, but it sounded light and fresh so I took a chance.  It was really good!  We ended up going through the bottle in about a month, which I think is quick for a large bottle of dressing.  I think we had it on every salad we ate until it was gone.  Seeing as though I hate spending money on items I can make at home, I wanted to attempt to remake this dressing at home.  A simple read of the ingredients, minus all the stuff I can’t pronounce, and I’d have a good idea of where to start.

Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

The weird thing was that the dressing didn’t include ONE herb.  Funny, seeing as thought it was called lemon herb vinaigrette.  I took some liberties and added some herbs, and I really, really liked this dressing in the end.  It actually tasted quite similar to the store-bought brand, and in my opinion, better.  Maybe that was because of the addition of fresh herbs 😉

Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

And yes, I stored the dressing in an old olive oil bottle.  Maybe some day I’ll bother to take the label off!

Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

Source: Inspired by Marie’s Lemon Herb vinaigrette
Servings: Makes about 1/2 cup

Ingredients:

2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp xanthum gum (optional – don’t go out and buy this if you don’t have it.  It’s just nice because it’ll thicken up your dressing so it’s not so watery and resemble a store-bought dressing more closely)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tbsp fresh chives, minced
1/2 tbsp fresh basil, minced

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon, onion powder, garlic powder, turmeric and xanthum gum.  Whisk in olive oil.  Stir in chives and basil.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Cedar-Planked Salmon with Dill and Lemon

Published July 5, 2012 by jenmatteson

Nate and I both love fish, but we rarely eat it at home.  I’m such a compulsive frugal shopper, that sometimes it pains me to buy fish because it can be expensive compared to chicken or turkey.  But, sometimes it’s okay to splurge.  Today I splurged on salmon fillets, which I’ve been wanting to grill on our cedar planks for some time.

I thought I’d try something classic like dill and lemon so the flavor of the cedar could still shine through.  Since I’ve never made this before, I googled the ingredients, and the first result that came up was my favorite place to search for classic recipes, Food and Wine.  Perfect.  It had everything I wanted in addition to a salt cure, followed by a sake marinade.  The only down side of this recipe is how long you have to wait to eat it.  The salmon should sit in the cure for 1.5 hours, and then in the sake for another hour.  Add on another 25 minutes for cooking, plus 5 for resting…it’s far far too long.  This is certainly a great recipe for a weekend (or a day off work) so you can get it started early.  I didn’t get the cure going until about 6, and since we had to run some errands, I got the sake in there at about 8:30.  Then I waited the next hour in agony, praying for time to go by faster so we could eat.

But it was more than worth the wait!  The salmon literally melted in my mouth.  It was so silky smooth and bursting with fresh flavors of the dill and lemon.  I really wished I would have tried this while entertaining, but I suppose that gives me a good reason to make it again.  Who wants to come over for dinner??

Cedar-Planked Salmon with Dill and Lemon

Source: Food and Wine
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1/2 cup kosher salt
1/8 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup dill, chopped, plus 4 sprigs
zest of one lemon, plus 8 slices
4-8 oz salmon fillets, with skin
1 cup sake
olive oil

Directions:

1. Soak two cedar planks in water for 2 hours.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine salt, brown sugar, 1/2 cup chopped dill and lemon zest.  Place salmon fillets in shallow  baking dish.  Coat with rub and refrigerate for 1.5 hours.

3. Rinse salmon and pat dry.  Return fillets to shallow baking dish and cover with sake.  Refrigerate for one hour, flipping salmon fillets after 30 minutes.

4. Light grill and cover for 10 minutes.  Grill cedar planks until grill marks appear, about 30 seconds on each side.

5. Drain salmon and pat dry.  Brush with olive oil and place two fillets on each cedar plank.  Top each fillet with dill sprig and two lemon slices, and drizzle lightly with more olive oil.

6. Turn off half of the burners on the grill and set planks over indirect heat.  You may need to cook them in two separate batches, depending on the size of your grill.  Cover and grill the salmon for 25-30 minutes, rotating the planks halfway through.  Tent with foil until ready to serve.

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