Tag Archives: Lemon

Spring for Lemons

Spring for Lemons

This article originally appeared in the May 2015 issue of The Journal of the Delaware State Bar Association, a publication of the Delaware State Bar Association.  Copyright © Delaware State Bar Association 2015.  All rights reserved.  Reprinted with permission.

Corn Salsa and Crab Cakes

Corn salsa is a refreshing, and somewhat spicy, way to enjoy summer’s bounty of fresh corn.  I recommend pairing this salsa with crab cakes…

Ingredients for Corn Salsa:

2 ears of corn, preferably white, sweet corn

2 scallions, thinly sliced

4 slices jalapeno, chopped

1 large tomato, cut into small chunks

Chiffonade of 5 basil leaves

Juice of 1/2 lime

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Fresh ground pepper

Cut the corn from the cobs and place in a large bowl.  Add the scallions, jalapeno, tomato, basil and lime juice.  Mix together and taste before adding the desired amount of olive oil, salt and pepper.

Corn and Scallions

Ingredients for Crab Cakes:

16 ounce container lump or jumbo lump crab meat

1 egg

Zest of 1 lemon

Sea salt

Fresh ground pepper

2/3 to 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

3 tablespoons butter

My recipe for crab cakes is very simple – no filler! In a large bowl, mix the crab and egg with a fork.  Then, mix in the lemon zest as well as sea salt and pepper to taste.  Add the bread crumbs last, using your hands to mix the ingredients and feel for the amount of bread crumbs necessary to bind the crab.  Shape the mixture into 4 cakes, and chill on a plate in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to set.  Heat 3 tablespoons of butter in a nonstick pan.  When the butter begins to foam, add the crab cakes and sauté until golden brown on each side (about 8 minutes total).

Plate the crab cakes topped with the salsa; or, serve the salsa in a flat serving dish alongside other summer favorites, such as slices of nectarine and mozzarella.

Corn Salsa

Pear and Meyer Lemon Tart

Looking for a Thanksgiving dessert idea to serve alongside a pumpkin pie? Try a pear tart.  This recipe showcases the tasty fall fruit along with the zest and a slice of a lovely Meyer Lemon.

For the Crust:

2 cups flour

5 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/4 sticks chilled unsalted butter

1 egg, beaten

Iced water

For the Filling:

4 pears (I like Green Anjou)

7 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

5 tablespoons apricot preserves

1 Meyer Lemon

Lemon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Mix the flour, sugar and baking soda in a large mixing bowl.  With a sharp knife, cut the butter into small cubes and add to the dry ingredients.  Rub the pieces of butter and the dry ingredients together with your fingers until the butter is broken into tiny pieces.  Make a well and add the egg and drizzle in the iced water.  Begin to knead the dough quickly into a ball.  Add more iced water until the dough is just wet enough to form a ball. Wrap the dough in waxed paper and chill for several hours until it is firm.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough and add flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin and the work surface.  Roll the dough until it is about ¼ inch in thick and large enough to cover the bottom and sides of a tart pan.  Prick the crust with a fork in several places to prevent the bottom from bubbling.  Pre-bake the crust in the middle level of the oven for about 10 minutes.

Remove the crust from the oven and prepare the filling. Peel and cut the pears into thin slices.  Sprinkle halt the sugar in the bottom of the crust.  Arrange the pears over the sugar in a decorative pattern.  Sprinkle on the rest of the sugar and dot with 2 tablespoons of butter.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes until the fruit is golden and the crust is lightly browned.  Remove the tart pan and place it on a cooling rack.  Heat the preserves in a saucepan over medium low heat until thick enough to coat a wooden spoon.  While still warm, spread the preserves on top of the tart using a pastry brush.

Top with the zest and a slice of a Meyer Lemon, the sweet citrus treat that is so refreshing this season.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pear Tart

French Women Love Les Pâtes

Everyone knows that French women love wine and cheese, but did you know that they also love pasta?

French Women Pasta, a mother and daughter team based in Newark, Delaware, is a  local distributor for Pappardelle’s Pasta produced in Colorado.   You may have spotted French Women Pasta at local farmers’ markets during the summer months along with their over fifty flavors of pasta.  Although most farmers’ markets have ended for the year, French Women Pasta will participate in several fall and winter events as listed on their website at www.frenchwomenpasta.com (and will accept orders!)

My husband and I have tried several flavors, including the Lemon Chive Angel Hair, Orange Szechuan and Spicy Thai Linguine.  The pasta is packaged in eight ounce containers, ideal for serving three or four.

Pasta

The Lemon Chive Angel Hair had a subtle, fresh flavor – a perfect pairing for shrimp and scallops.  To prepare, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the pasta and stir.  While the pasta is cooking (which will only take a few minutes), heat a nonstick pan over medium heat and add several tablespoons of butter.  Allow the butter to foam, and tilt the pan around so that the butter coats the bottom.  Place the shrimp and scallops in the pan, cooking for about two minutes per side until opaque.

When the pasta is ready, drain the water and add the pasta to the sauté pan of seafood. Using a wooden spoon, blend the pasta and seafood and coat the pasta with the butter and oil.  You will likely need to add additional butter.  Plate the shrimp and scallops atop the pasta and season with freshly squeezed lemon juice, ground pepper and sea salt.  If you would like additional heat, try a dried red pepper!

Pasta and Seafood

Look for French Women Pasta and their unique flavors this fall…from Lavender to Porcini Mushroom to Lime Cilantro.

Concord Grape and Ricotta Pie

Everyone remembers enjoying Concord grape juice and peanut butter and Concord grape jelly sandwiches as a child.  Although these are two of the most comforting ways to appreciate the sweet yet tart grape now available in farmers’ markets, there are so many other preparations – chutneys, jams, pies…

I detected the unmistakable fragrance of Concord grapes at a farm stand this weekend and could not resist buying a bunch.  As I still had some ricotta in the refrigerator from recent ravioli making, I decided on a Concord grape and ricotta pie.

Ingredients:

3 eggs

1 pound ricotta

1/4 cup sugar

Pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup Concord grapes, halved and seeded

Zest of one lemon

Ricotta Pie Batter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9 inch tart pan or pie dish.  Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl, and then mix in the ricotta, sugar, salt and vanilla.  Fold in the grapes and lemon zest.  Pour and smooth the batter into the tart pan, and bake for about 40 minutes until the top is golden brown.  Garnish each slice with additional grape halves and lemon zest.

Concord Grape Pie

Drop a few grapes into a glass of Prosecco to celebrate autumn with this Concord grape dessert.

Sardines – The Tastiest of Small Fish

Sardines are underrated.  Not only are these tiny fish packed full of nutrients, including Vitamin D and protein, but they are also tasty and meaty.  Whenever I see them in a fish market, I buy them.  Although I have scaled and gutted them myself, my preference is to have the fishmonger do it for me.

My favorite preparation is an easy one.  Simply rinse the sardines under cold water and drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil.  Grill them whole – this should only take a few minutes per side, depending on their size.  To serve, top with freshly squeezed lemon juice and season with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.  For a light appetizer, garnish with fresh herbs or serve over shaved fennel.

Sardine

Some End of Summer R & R – Raspberries and Ricotta

I have been back in the classroom for two weeks, yet I am trying to soak up every last bit of summer, including summer berries.  This easy dessert incorporates raspberries, my favorite berry, and ricotta, one of my preferred cheeses.

Simply scoop some ricotta into each dessert bowl and gently blend in a small quantity of honey.  I used honey infused with lemon from a local farmers’ market.  I also drizzled a bit of chocolate infused olive oil on top of the ricotta, but you could substitute with some chocolate shavings.  Top with a few raspberries and garnish with a fresh sprig of mint.

On a recent trip to San Francisco, I purchased some delicious pâtes de fruits (fruit jellies) in Tout Sweet Pâtisserie.  The Negroni flavor is most interesting with its ingredients of blood orange, grapefruit and Campari.  So, for a little bitter to balance the sweet, I placed a few of these tasty jellies on the side.

Cheers!

Ricotta and Raspberries 1

Still in Need of Comfort Food? Roast a Chicken.

With a chill still in the air, I was in the mood for comfort food last night. Thus, the inspiration for roasted chicken with potatoes and carrots.

For this recipe, I use a roasting chicken of about 5 pounds. Remove the giblets and stuff with half a lemon and several sprigs of fresh thyme. Slice Yukon Gold potatoes (I use three medium ones for two people) and peel and slice a small bunch of carrots.

Chicken1

Drizzle the chicken and vegetables with the juice of the other half of the lemon and extra virgin olive oil. Season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper as well as additional sprigs of thyme. Roast in an oven preheated to 425 degrees for about 1½ hours. While the chicken is roasting, use a large spoon to move around the vegetables so that they become coated with the pan juices, and spoon the juices onto the chicken. Determine whether the chicken is cooked by cutting between the thigh and breast to see if the liquid runs clear.

Chicken Thigh

My husband and I typically eat the thighs and legs and a small amount of white meat for dinner, leaving most of the white meat for lunches. To use the remaining chicken for a salad, pick the meat from the bones and pull it apart into chunks. Squeeze some balsamic glaze on the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Also, mix in some pecans for a little crunch. Store in the refrigerator until ready to toss with some arugula for a light lunch.

Enjoy your roasted chicken for dinner and beyond!

 

 

Whole Fish for Dinner

One of my favorite dinners to prepare as the weather gets warmer is whole fish on the grill.  Most recently, I purchased two different fish – a branzino (the fish featured on most Italian restaurant menus these days) and a daurade (I prefer to use the French name for what those in the U.S. call sea bream).  I ask the fishmonger to scale and gut the fish but to leave the head and tail.  My husband and I prefer leaving the head and tail on as they help to make a nice fish stock later.

To prepare the fish, make a pocket using aluminum foil and season the fish with sea salt and fresh ground pepper along with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  Also add freshly squeezed lemon juice and place several slices of lemon and herbs in the cavity.  After seasoning the fish, close the pocket of foil tightly to prevent any steam from escaping and drying out the fish.  Fish the size of the branzino and daurade should take about 12 – 15 minutes to cook on medium heat on a gas grill.

Branzino

For a sweet starch to accompany the fish, I sliced and sautéed a ripe plantain in extra virgin olive oil until the slices turned golden brown on each side.  And, for a peppery green on the plate, I added fresh watercress tossed with a hot pepper oil and sea salt.

Plaintains

The next time you see a whole fish at the fish market – whether a branzino, red snapper or Spanish mackerel – consider this simple but tasty preparation.

Cooked Fish

Spicy Merguez and Mango

This weekend I was happy to find Merguez sausage at Whole Foods.  The red, spicy lamb sausage called for a perfect pairing – couscous, rice, beans? I decided to go with a French theme and prepared French green lentils.   I added some sweetness to the spiciness of the sausage by adding a few slices of Champagne mango, my favorite variety of mango.

MangoTo prepare this dish, simply sauté the lamb sausage in olive oil in a non-stick pan.   (Were we enjoying spring weather, I would have grilled the sausage outdoors; however, we in the Northeast are still experiencing snow events!) The links are thin, so they only take a few minutes per side.

To cook the lentils, place one cup of lentils and four cups of water in a medium pot, bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer for about 20 minutes.  Taste the lentils to make sure that they do not become mushy and fall apart. Drain the lentils into a bowl and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice.   Season with salt and pepper and stir together.

Plate two scoops of lentils with a sausage link sliced into two.   Add some fresh slices of Champagne mango and a slice of lemon.   The bright yellow of the mango and lemon alongside the red sausage makes for a vibrant plate.

LambLentil