YaYa's Potatoes

Lemon Roasted Potatoes

Did You Know? In 1995 the potato was the first vegetable grown in outer space.

As you all know, my best friend, Brittany, comes from a large, Greek family. Picture "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," and then you'll get a sense of what I'm talking about. There's no time to be shy around these people, as hugs and kisses are passed out like you were one of their own. Although we might give Britt a hard time about the resemblence her family has to the previously mentioned, none of us can complain when she's cooking us dinner.

I had never been a very adventurous eater as a kid, but growing up with Brittany definately improved my taste buds. I hated pretty much every vegetable, and had never experienced such a variety of flavor combinations until I started eating dinner at her house. One of our all time favorite meals comes from her YaYa, but lucky for me, Brittany has mastered the technique of recreating all of her grandmother's delicious recipes. Known as Avgolemono soup to most, and YaYa's soup to us, it blends lemon and orzo into a creamy egg-whipped broth. And although we could finish off an entire spaghetti pot between the two of us, it's these potatoes that really steal the show. Dotted with rich, caramelized onions, the potatoes are roasted in a lemon-spiked broth to a deep golden finish. You've never had roasted potatoes until you've had these. And if you don't have a Greek best friend now, I suggest you find one.

Potatoes & Onions

I know you'll all be wondering about that soup I mentioned, and I promise it will be posted in the future. Britt and I just moved back to school, so once we get nice and situated, we'll definately be cooking up a batch. Until then, here's the potatoes...

Lemon Roasted Potatoes

YaYa's Potatoes
2 pounds potatoes, peeled & cut into large chunks (I usually use Yukon Gold, but all I had was Idaho, so that's what was used here)
2 onions, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon oregano
3 garlic cloves, minced or grated
2 lemons, zested & juiced
Dried Parsley
Sea salt & pepper
Paprika powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the cut up potatoes and onions in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish (I forgot about the onions, which is why I added them after everything was mixed in the above picture). Set aside while you make the lemon dressing.

In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice, zest, broth, oregano, garlic, and a little salt and pepper. Whisk in olive oil, in a slow steady stream. Pour the dressing over the potatoes and onions, and give everything a good toss.

Sprinkle with additional salt (for crunch), paprika (for color), and parsley (for presentation), and put into your preheated oven.

Bake for 30 minutes, give the potatoes a toss, then bake for an additional 45-50 minutes, tossing every 20 minutes or so.

Lemon Roasted Potatoes


Leek & Mushroom Quiche

Leek & Mushroom Quiche

Did You Know? Just like humans, mushrooms can produce Vitamin D upon exposure to sunlight and UV radiation. A four-ounce serving of Maitake mushrooms, produced by the Hokto-patented methodology, contained 85% of the Daily RDA for Vitamin D.

I was recently contacted by Suzanne Hardy of Edelman Public Relations, on behalf of my stuffed mushroom post a while back. Their Mushroom Council division was going to be launching a new site, The Mushroom Channel, and she was wondering if they could feature my recipe. I was so thrilled to help out, as mushroom are one of my favorite foods, so of course I said yes.

The Mushroom Channel is all about uniting the mushroom lovers out there while speaking to their versatility and nutrition. It's about sharing delicious, existing content, in a user-generated way. I've already spent hours gawking at delicious recipes, and thumbing through interesting information on their former site, so I know this new channel, with your help, is going to be great. It's an amazing site, so I encourage all of you to check it out and upload some recipes, while you enjoy some of this Leek & Mushroom Quiche.

Leek & Mushroom Quiche

Of course I had to post another mushroom recipe in honor of The Mushroom Channel, so after scouring the web for something delicious, Deb from Smitten Kitchen pulled through, as always. I've spent countless days drooling over everything she posts, not to mention her appearances in and on Martha (both magazine and television). This particular quiche, was adapted from Julia Childand came together beautifully. Filled with slightly caramelized leeks and mushroom, enveloped in a creamy custard base, and finished with a wonderfully golden and cheesy crust, it's brunch fare at its finest. In fact, we ate this quiche for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, feeling a little empty when the last crumb was gobbled up. This was the first quiche I had ever made, and I hate to say that I don't think it can be outdone. When you're on the hunt for a delicious, simply, and satisfying dish, look no further. Served with a simple arugula salad, I'll definately be making this again very soon.

Leek & Mushroom Quiche

Leek & Mushroom Quiche
Pate Brisee (freeze 1/2 for later use)
4 leeks, white & light green part only, sliced
1/2 cup water
Salt & Pepper
3 tablespoons butter, divided
6 large white mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups whipping cream (I did 1/2 skim milk & 1/2 heavy cream)
1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Using half of the pate brisee, roll out the dough to fit a 9-inch tart pan (with a removable bottom). Press into pan, and trim edges flush with the sides using a rolling pin or knife. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork to prevent it from puffing up.

Line the crust with a layer of aluminum foil, and then fill the tart shell with pie weights, rice, or dried beans. Bake for 8-9 minutes, remove the foil and weights, and bake an additional 3 minutes, until the crust just starts to color. Set aside to cool.

Lower oven temperature to 375 degrees.

Boil the leeks over moderately high heat in a heavy-bottomed, covered saucepan with 1/2 cup water, two tablespoons butter and a teaspoon of salt until the liquid has almost evaporated (watch carefully so it doesn't burn), this takes about 8-10 minutes. Keep covered, lower heat, and stew gently for 20 minutes until leeks are very tender, stirring occasionally. Set aside in a separate bowl.

Add a tablespoon of butter to the pan along with the sliced mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and vinegar. Cover pan and cook over moderately low heat for 8 minutes. Uncover, raise heat, and boil for several minutes until liquid is completely evaporated and mushrooms are beginning to saute in their butter. Stir cooked mushrooms into leek mixture.

Whisk the eggs, cream/milk, and a little salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl to blend. Gradually stir in the leek and mushroom mixture. Pour into the pastry shell, and sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake in upper third of the oven for 30 minutes until puffed and golden-brown.

*You'll definately have extra filling leftover. I put mine in the fridge, and made scrambled eggs with it the next morning after adding a couple more eggs.*

Leek & Mushroom Quiche


I just moved back to school for second semester, so I'll try my best to keep the recipes coming. I never stop reading your pages, and I do look forward to all of your lovely comments, so don't go anywhere. Happy cooking, and wish me luck in the dorm kitchen!


Oh She Glows has another tasty and wholesome food giveaway (ends the 29th).
Diet, Dessert, and Dogs has a giveaway for both U.S. and Canadian residents (ends the 30th).


Caramel Toffee Cheesecake

Caramel Toffee Cheesecake

Did You Know? Milton Hershey did not initiate his chocolate empire with chocolate, but with caramel. The chocolate took off in his search for new coatings and toppings for his caramel candies.

It was my best friend's 22nd birthday the other week, so I knew I had to make something sweet and special to celebrate the occasion. She always goes above and beyond for me, so I really wanted to make something she would love. I remembered bringing her home dulce de leche cheesecake one year from The Cheesecake Factory, and how she completely loved every bite of it. She had never ordered that flavor, and it quickly became her new favorite. Upon remembering all of this, I knew I had to start my quest for the dulce de leche cheesecake recipe, or something very close to it.

I was surprised at how few caramel cheesecake recipes came up when I Googled it. There was an overload of caramel apple cheesecake recipes, but only a few plain old caramel ones. I noticed that Tarah, from Genesis of a Cook, had one posted, so I clicked on hers first, mainly because I like to support blogs I read, but also because all of her recipes are really amazing. "I remember the first cheesecake I ever had was a Caramel Cheesecake...at the Cheesecake Factory..." was how she started out, and I knew from there this was the recipe for me.

Although my camera doesn't like when I cook or bake at night, I love it, so I made this cheesecake a couple nights before the big day (I think the flavors develop so nicely when made a couple days in advance). I've made a lot of cheesecakes in the past, but none with my new Kitchen Aid, so I was really excited. I don't know if it's my undying love of this new mixer, but somehow it makes baking a whole lot easier.

Caramel Toffee Cheesecake

As for the cheesecake? I think it stole the show. Sorry Britt, but it was too good. Smooth, rich, and sweet, this cake was definately the crowd favorite. Blanketed by a layer of silky caramel, and flecked with buttery pieces of toffee, I don't think you could ask much more from a dessert.

So as you might have guessed, the cheesecake provided us with a solid stomach to combat our long night of bar hopping with. All in all, a perfect 22nd birthday if you ask me. Until next year...

Caramel Toffee Cheesecake
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted

2 lbs. cream cheese
2 cups sugar
2 tbsp. flour
4 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup toffee pieces

Caramel Sauce
1 cup sugar
6 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, 2 tbsp. of sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 10 inch spring form pan. Bake crust for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.

For the filling, mix the cream cheese and sugar with a paddle attachment on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Add in the flour on low speed. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides and the bottom after each egg. Add the egg yolks and vanilla. Fold in the toffee pieces.

Wrap aluminum foil around the outside of the spring form pan, then pour the filling over the crust. Bake in a water batch for approximately 1 1/2 hours. A knife inserted should come out clean when cake is done. Cool the cheesecake to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight. Don't remove the aluminum foil until you are ready to serve, and top with the caramel sauce.

Caramel Sauce
Heat sugar on high heat in a heavy-bottomed 2 quart sauce pan. As the sugar begins to melt, stir constantly with a whisk. As soon as the sugar crystals begin to melt (should be dark amber in color), add the butter to the pan (if you don't do this immediately, the caramel will taste burnt). Continue to whisk until butter has melted.

Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat. Count to three, then add the cream to the pan and continue to whisk to incorporate. Whisk until caramel sauce is smooth. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then pour over the cheesecake. You'll have a good amount, which you can serve alongside, or save for ice cream later on. Just microwave any extra caramel for a few seconds to loosen it up again (after being refrigerated).

Caramel Toffee Cheesecake

Try your luck at a few awesome giveaways from around the web:
Oh She Glows is having another Honest Foods Giveaway (ends today)
All About Cakes is giving away a Cake Decorating Set (ends the 30th)
Veggie Belly is giving away your choice of Malbec Jam or Dulce de Leche (ends the 24th)


Seasonal Eating: Meyer Lemons

Meyer Lemon Blossoms courtesy of David Schexnaydre

So here it is! Our Meyer lemon round-up, a collection of lemon recipes of all sorts. I thought this would be a fun way to end our week of all things citrus. I am so thankful for all of you wonderful cooks in the blogging world, as this post (or Buff Chickpea) would not have been successful without all of your help, generosity, and kind comments (they really do keep me cooking). A huge thanks to all of you who submitted your recipes and ideas, I really love to hear what others are doing in the kitchen. And remember, if it's not a Meyer lemon specific recipe, I'm pretty sure the two are completely interchangeable. Just add a little more juice or zest than what the recipe calls for (if you like), as Meyer lemons have a more subtle taste. So here they are, in no particular order...

Have some Meyer lemons? Maybe you should make...

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes ...from Lindsay & Taylor of Love and Olive Oil (pictured above)

Meyer Lemon Cupcakes with Blueberry Buttercream Frosting ...from Melissa of The Boastful Baker

Meyer Lemon & Clementine Margarita ...also from The Boastful Baker

Meyer Lemon Custard Cups ...from Beryl of Cinemon Girl

Meyer Lemon Curd ...from Nate-n-Annie of House of Annies

Candied Meyer Lemon Peel ...from Phoo-D

Roast Chicken with Meyer Lemon & Sage ...from Phoo-D

Meyer Lemon Martini ...also from Phoo-D

Coconut, Meyer Lemon, & White Chocolate Cakes ...from Aran of Cannelle et Vanille (pictured above)

Spice Crepes with Meyer Lemon Applesauce ...from Lara of Cook & Eat

Preserved Meyer Lemons ...from Dayna of Vegan Visitor

Tofu & Chickpea Tagine ...also from Vegan Visitor

Meyer Lemon Icebox Cake ...from Marc of No Recipes

Lemon Icebox Cake Ice Cream ...from No Recipes

Pomegranate Lamb Tagine with Preserved Meyer Lemons ...from No Recipes

Bright & Sunny Lemon Linguine ...from No Recipes

Meyer Lemon Curd ...from No Recipes (pictured above)

Lemonhead Cupcakes with Lemon Cream from Julia of Dozen Flours

Christmas Iced Lemon Rounds ...from Sharon of Culinary Adventures of a New Wife

Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Yogurt Cake ...from Maggie & Shiv of Pithy and Cleaver

Mario Batali's Lemon Goat Cheese Cheesecake ...also from Pithy and Cleaver

Meyer Lemon Grain Salad with Asparagus, Almond, & Goat Cheese ...from Faith of the kitchn

Lemon, Chicken, & Leek Pot Pies ...from Aimee of Under the High Chair

Meyer Lemon & Fresh Cranberry Scones from Kristin of the Picky Cook

Meyer Lemon Kisses ...from Bron Marshall (pictured above)

Baked Lemon Cheesecake with Fresh Passionfruit ...also from Bron Marshall

Pasta & Vegetables with Warm Lemon Vinaigrette ...from the Picky Cook

Myer Lemon Marmalade ...from Simply Recipes

Meyer Lemon Sorbet ...from Elise of Simply Recipes

Perfect Lemonade ...from Simply Recipes

Lemon Tart ...from Simply Recipes

Meyer Lemon-Glazed Madeleines ...from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Lemon Tarragon Pasta ...from Rob of Big Caprese Salads

Lemon-Drenched Lemon Cake ...from Joy the Baker (pictured above)

Meyer Lemon & Fresh Cranberry Muffins ...from Everybody Likes Sandwiches

Frittata with Lemon Braised Green Beans ...from Ilva of Lucullian Delights

Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze ...from Esi of Dishing up Delights

Chicken a la Dexter ...from Anna of Chef Wanabe

Poppy Seed Butter Cake with Warm Blueberry Sauce ...from Sue Doeden's All About Food

Lemon Torte with Strawberries Limoncello ...also from Sue Doeden's All About Food

Lemon Bars ...from Micha of Scraping the Skillet (pictured above)

Chicken with Roasted Lemons, Green Olives, & Capers ...from Kalyn's Kitchen

Greek Chickpea Soup with Lemon & Olive Oil ...also from Kalyn's Kitchen

Salted Meyer Lemon & Garlic Green Beans ...from Chas of it ain't so bad

Lemon Yogurt Cake (3 Ways)...from Mandy of Fresh from the Oven

Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp ...from Dragon's Kitchen

Roasted Vegetable & Lemon Orzo with Baby Spinach ...from Dragon's Kitchen

Lemon Butterfly Cupcakes ...from Dragon's Kitchen

Banana Blueberry Lemon Muffins ...from Dragon's Kitchen

Martha Stewart's Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake ...from The Food Librarian (pictured above)

Creamy Broccoli Lemon Soup ...from Nina of Veggie Wedgie

Lemon Meringue Tartlets ...from Anita of Dessert First

Lemon Poppyseed Shortbread ...from Dessert First

Lemon Mousse with Citrus Compote and Caramel Snaps ...from Dessert First

Lemon Frozen Yogurt with Raspberries ...from Dessert First

Meyer Lemon Tuiles ...from Peanut Butter and Julie

Meyer Lemon Cake ...from Peanut Butter and Julie

Meyer Lemon Semifreddo ...from Lisa of dandysugar (pictured above)

No Knead Lemon Rosemary Bread ...from Peanut Butter and Julie

Lemon-Thyme Popovers ...from Peanut Butter and Julie

Lavender Poundcakes with Lemon Glaze ...from Susan of Savoring Time in the Kitchen

Lemon Snow Balls ...from Savoring Time in the Kitchen

Limoncello ...from Savoring Time in the Kitchen

Lemon Cream Tart ...from Sara of Cupcake Muffin

Lemon-Chamomile Cream Pie ...from Cupcake Muffin

Meyer Lemon Cheesecake ...from Kristin of The Kitchen Sink (pictured above)

Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade ...from Cupcake Muffin

Triple Lemon Cupcakes ...from Cupcake Muffin

Tart au Citron ...from Annie of Yes, I want to see the dessert menu!

Shrimp Gratin with Panko Bread Crumbs, Lemon and Rosemary ...from Jenn of Chocolate Shavings

Fine Cooking's Tips and Suggestions for making Lemon Curd ...suggested by Kathy of 60-or-Bust

Fine Cooking's Lemon Curd Recipe ...also suggested by Kathy of 60-or-Bust

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Meyer Lemon Mousse from Helen of Tartelette (pictured below)

Lemon Risotto ...from Deb of Smitten Kitchen

Lemon Bars ...from Smitten Kitchen

Lemon Layer Cake ...from Smitten Kitchen

Lemon Pound Cake ...from Smitten Kitchen

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Sauteed Apples ...from Smitten Kitchen

Whole Lemon Tart ...from Smitten Kitchen

Paula Wolfert's Hummus ...from Smitten Kitchen

Shaker Lemon Pie ...from Smitten Kitchen

Lemon Yogurt Anything Cake ...from Smitten Kitchen (pictured below)

And don't forget my recipes!

Meyer Lemon Sorbet

Lemon Ricotta Muffins

Iced Meyer Lemon Cookies

Meyer Lemon Olive Oil

Meyer Lemons

Thanks again to everyone who participated. Enjoy citrus season!


Meyer Lemon Sorbet

Meyer Lemon Sorbet

Did You Know? Legend has it that the Roman emperor Nero used to send his slaves scurrying to the mountains to collect snow and ice to make flavored ices, the precursors to ice cream, in the first century.

I was so excited to try this recipe out. My ice cream maker attachment just came in the mail, and this was my first shot at homemade ice cream...well sorbet actually, but you get the idea. I assembled all of the individual parts, and made the lemon/syrup mixture early in the day, and just stuck it in the fridge to chill for a while. Then when my Dad came home from work, I had him set up the actual ice cream maker, so all I had to do was pour the juice into the machine. I was too lazy to read the instructions, so I just decided waiting for someone else to would be better. So for all you "do ahead of time" people, this recipe is perfect.

It couldn't have been any easier. I was so surprised at how quickly and effortlessly homemade sorbet comes together. A perfect excuse to make this frozen treat all the time. I can't wait to try out some real ice cream and frozen yogurt recipes. The possibilities for mix-ins seem endless. I would love to hear some of your favorite concoctions.

Meyer Lemon Zest

As for the sorbet? It was really tasty, but very strong. I recommend this for the lemon lovers in your life. I might leave out the zest the next time I make something like this, but all of that aside, it really was good. I would definately make this again, if not only for the feelings of warm, Summer months it brought with every spoonful. The texture was so smooth, and the flavor was tart, sweet, and refreshing all at once. I imagine you could substitute any fruit juice here with excellent results, but going with our lemon kick, I went for the Meyer.

Meyer Lemon Sorbet
1 cup water
2 tablespoons Meyer lemon zest (about 2 - 3 lemons)
2 cups Meyer lemon juice (about 10 lemons, some you zested)
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup limoncello (vodka is ok to substitute)

Place water, zest and sugar into small saucepan and bring to a boil. Let boil for one minute and then remove from heat.

Pour lemon juice through a chinois or sieve to remove the seeds and pulp. Add 1/3 cup of limoncello to the juice and place in an ice bath to chill. Pour cooled zest and sugar mixture through chinois or sieve, and into the ice bath with the juice. Stir to mix and chill mixture in the ice bath (or freezer) until less than 45° F. Pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to your maker's instructions.

Once chilled, remove the sorbet from the ice cream maker and place in an odor-free container. Chill the container of sorbet for several hours in the freezer. Because of the alcohol, it will always be a tiny bit soft (which I love).


Don't forget to send me your links for all those lemon recipes you have stashed away! I've already received so many, and I can't wait to show you all. Thanks again to everyone who has participated, and if you don't know what I'm talking about, read the end of this post.


Lemon Ricotta Muffins

Lemon Ricotta Muffins

Did You Know? Ricotta, meaning twice-cooked, is made from the whey that is drained off while making cheeses such as mozzarella and provolone, and is technically not a cheese at all.

I first made these muffins a few years ago, when my sister, best friend, and I were creating a full on lemon-inspired meal. We had a flavorful lemon spaghetti for dinner, accompanied by a lemon dressed salad, and finished off with these fluffy biscuits. The whole meal, courtesy of Giada de Laurentiis, was so tasty, and these Lemon Ricotta Muffins were definately our favorite part. I love what ricotta cheese does to baked goods. It lightens, and fluffs, and imparts such a lovely consistency to the batter. I had had a lot of success adding it to our favorite pancake recipe, so I was almost positive this recipe would prevail. And whatever you do, don't substitute for the almond extract. The intense flavor it provides works so beautifully with the fresh lemon.

When I decided to dedicate a week or so to the seasonal Meyer lemon, I immediately thought of these, and the flavor that this hybrid citrus of sorts would provide. They were a favorite of my sisters, so I thought I would surprise her with this fresh and fluffy breakfast treat...

Lemon Ricotta Muffins

They turned out to be a huge hit with my whole family, especially the girls. There's just something about a tiny cupcake, wrapped in pale pink paper, and sprinkled with sugar crystals. These would be perfect for a Mother's Day brunch, or just a get-together with girlfriends. And that doesn't mean the men in your lives won't love them just the same, I just don't think they'll appreciate the delicate daintiness of them.

Lemon Ricotta Muffins

Lemon Ricotta Muffins
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar for sprinkling
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon finely grated Meyer lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 tablespoon fresh Meyer lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup thinly sliced almonds

Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners, and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup sugar, butter, and lemon zest in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the ricotta. Beat in the egg, lemon juice, and almond extract. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended (the batter will be thick and fluffy).

Using an ice cream scoop, divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops with almonds and then the remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar. Bake until the muffins just become pale golden on top, about 22-24 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Lemon Ricotta Muffins


Don't forget to send me your links for all those lemon recipes you have stashed away! I've already received so many, and I can't wait to show you all. Thanks again to everyone who has participated, and if you don't know what I'm talking about, read the end of this post.


Iced Meyer Lemon Cookies

Iced Meyer Lemon Cookies

Did You Know? Lemon trees bloom and produce fruit year-round. Each tree can produce between 500 and 600 pounds of lemons in a year.

I asked my mom to clean my bathroom the other day, and in return, I promised her a batch of these Iced Meyer Lemon Cookies. Pretty fair trade right? We were browsing through different recipes that would use up some Meyer lemons, and I am so glad we settled on this one. Just because it's the season of perpetual dieting, doesn't mean we all don't deserve a break. These cookies are so light and refreshing. They remind me of a spritzer, not that I have ever had a spritzer cookie, but the name just seems right, don't you think?

I made two variations of these. Both use all the same ingredients, I just played with the baking time on each, and the thickness of the cookie. Now usually I am a big fan of the cookie that stays soft for days, but with these, I must admit I loved the crispy version. I flattened the dough out really thin, and baked them a few minutes longer so that the edges got nice and golden. They were unbelievable! Hot from the oven, or cooled and iced, they were a really nice accompaniment to my Nutcracker Sweet Tea.

Iced Meyer Lemon Cookies

Everything about these cookies was so bright and tasty, and a much needed pick-me-up from these cold, snowy days. Flecked with bits of Meyer zest, and drizzled with lemony-fresh icing, they filled my head with memories of Summer. So if you, like me, are in need for a brief moment of sunlight, make these cookies, I promise you'll love them!

Iced Meyer Lemon Cookies

Iced Meyer Lemon Cookies
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated Meyer lemon rind (3 lemons)

2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely grated Meyer lemon rind (2 lemons)
1 cup powdered sugar

Meyer Lemon Icing

Mix butter on high speed until fluffy, then add the sugar and egg. Continue mixing on medium speed adding vanilla extract and 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon rind.

In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Mixing on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture until blended, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Gather dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

While the dough is being chilled, juice the lemons you removed the zest from earlier. Add the remaining lemon rind to the powdered sugar, then slowly add the lemon juice. You want the icing to be thick enough to form stripes, but runny enough to drizzle out of a baggie (leave it on the thicker side if you're unsure - you can always add more lemon juice or water).

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees at some point before the dough is done chilling.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and using a mini ice-cream scoop, scoop the dough balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten the cookies with a glass or measuring cup, coating the bottom of the glass or cup with sugar between flattening. The flatter the cookie, the crispier they will be. I made both crispy and cakey to suit either preference (but like I said crispy was better).

Bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges are golden brown. If you want really crispy cookies, don't pull them out of the oven until the edges are really nice and brown. Remove from the oven and tranfer to racks to cool completely.

When ready to frost, pour the icing mixture into a plastic baggie. Snip the corner off of the plastic bag and pipe stripes along the cooled cookie tops. Let the icing harden fully before transferring to storage container. The original recipe said it made around 24 cookies, but I made 45 using my mini ice-cream scoop.

Iced Meyer Lemon Cookies


Don't forget to send me your links for all those lemon recipes you have stashed away! I've already received so many, and I can't wait to show you all. Thanks again to everyone who has participated, and if you don't know what I'm talking about, read the end of this post.


Meyer Lemon Olive Oil

Meyer Lemon Olive Oil

Did You Know? The word "ascorbic," as in ascorbic acid (the name for Vitamin C), means "no scurvy"?

It's citrus season, and the Meyer lemons are plentiful, not to mention gorgeous. Unlike their more common counterpart, the Eureka, the Meyer variety are thin-skinned, much less tart, and very delicious eaten raw like a clementine. They're smooth and sunny, and so very fragrant. Smelling almost rosemary-like, these small gems are something you definately want to take advantage of while you can (be it just to brighten up these dreary days).

Besides the beauty of the lemons, consider your own beauty. The health benefits of citrus fruit is remarkable. I find it quite synergistic that cold season goes hand in hand with citrus season, providing ailing patients plenty of Vitamin C to combat with. Besides reducing the duration of colds, Vitamin C has been shown to protect against stroke and heart disease. Citrus fruits in general are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, and are essential for normal growth and development. Also found in citrus fruits, are non-nutrient compounds called phytochemicals, which have been shown to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases.

So because citrus season is in full swing, I thought I would devote this next week (or two) to all things Meyer lemon. Up first is this simple olive oil infusion that can transform any of your dishes. From salad dressings, to baked goods, to alfredo sauce, the possibilities are endless. The oil is subtly infused with the delicate scent Meyer lemons provide, and is in no way overpowering.

Stay tuned all this week for recipes, tips, and suggestions for those piles of lemons you'll see at the market. Until then here's the oil...

Meyer Lemon Olive Oil
1 cup olive oil
Peel from 2 Meyer lemons

Warm the olive oil and the peel over very low heat for 20 minutes. Allow to cool for half an hour. Strain and pour into an antique stoppered bottle, or any bottle you may have.


I would love to do a round-up of a bunch of different recipes or ideas for Meyer lemons, and I want you all to participate. If you would be so kind to submit any recipe/suggestion/etc. for what you do with Meyer lemons, I would be so appreciative. That way we can have one big post to turn to when we might be a little stumped, and a big list is such a good way to get the creative juices flowing. Even if you don't have a Meyer lemon specific recipe, a lemon recipe of any kind will work, as we can substitute extra Meyer lemon juice or zest to equal things out. Just email me or leave a comment with a link to your lemon post, and I'll post them all for our round-up. If you have yet to post a lemon recipe, try to this week, or send me the full recipe and I'll post that, giving you credit of course. I think it will be a lot of fun. Thanks in advance, I can't wait to read them!


Panko-Pecan Asparagus


Did You Know? Under ideal conditions, an asparagus spear can grow 10" in a 24-hour period, and will continue to produce spears for 15-20 years without being replanted.

We had some leftover breadcrumbs from a dinner my mom made the other day, so I thought I would put them to use in a quick side dish that would be a good addition to any meal. I used asparagus here, because if I kept it in the fridge any longer it would have gone bad, but I'm sure any vegetable would work. Broccoli is always nice with a little crunch, brussels sprouts (now that I've convinced you how tasty they are), potatoes (roasted or twice-baked), squash, any pasta dish (mac & cheese anyone?), you get the idea.

Usually I try to look for spears that are on the skinny side. I think they taste better and they crisp up a lot nicer, but they only had pretty thick ones at the grocery store, so that's what I ended up with. Anyways, this is a really simple dish, but the flavors are in no way lacking. I love the crunch that panko provides. They are a much needed upgrade from regular old crumbs. If you're not familiar with panko, they are a Japanese breadcrumb, with a much coarser texure than its Italian counterpart. The toasted pecan bits round everything out, giving this side a real roasted flavor. So if you're in need of something simple to finish off your next meal, I suggest you start here...

Panko-Pecan Asparagus

Panko-Pecan Asparagus
1 bunch asparagus spears (around 15 or so)
2 tablespoons walnut oil (feel free to use olive or grapeseed, I just took this whole dish down the nut route)
1/4 cup panko crumbs
2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans
1 teaspoons dried parsley
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse asparagus under water, pat dry, and snap off the tough ends.

Arrange spears on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil, salt, and pepper.

In a separate bowl, combine panko, pecans, parsley, and a little more salt and pepper.

Sprinkle the panko-pecan mixture over the spears, and transfer the baking sheet to the oven. My asparagus was on the thick side, so I roasted mine for about 20 minutes. If yours are more slender, I would only do about 15 minutes or so.


Roasted Winter Vegetables

Roasted Winter Vegetables

Did You Know? According to a 2002 survey, Brussels sprouts are the most hated vegetable in Britain.

I started this post with the intention of making a roasted Brussels sprouts and carrot dish, but I has so much varying produce on hand, I just had to throw in the lot. I serve sprouts and carrots at almost every holiday meal, with the goal of converting family members into Brussels lovers. So far so good. I don't know what it is, the name perhaps? Maybe cartoons of our youth highlighted the fear of this unknown vegetable. Whatever it is, that awful perception needs to change.

Roasting makes everything so much better, so why would Brussels sprouts be any different? I highly recommend starting a skeptic with a roasted version before any other cooking method you may want to try. The caramelization process brings out their inner sweetness, and when paired with already sweet carrots, your fearful diners are sure to hop on board. The crisp, golden-brown crust, and the tender inside have become my new favorite texture combination, and I'm pretty sure I've made these every week since Thanksgiving.

Roasted Winter Vegetables

Eggplant and cremini's are what I had in the fridge, so I tossed those into the mix as well (the asparagus was hidden in the back of my fridge, but I wish I had thrown that in too). Feel free to use whatever vegetables you tend to buy or just love the flavors of. I'm positive any combination would work perfectly. Just don't forget the Brussels sprouts, because wasn't that the idea of this whole post anyways? If not for the low calories, do it for the ample amounts of Vitamin A, C, and beta-carotene.

Roasted Winter Vegetables

Roasted Winter Vegetables
30 Brussels Sprouts, outer leaves removed, stems trimmed, and halved
4 large carrots, peeled and chopped into 2-inch chunks
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, halved or quartered
2 medium eggplants, chopped into 1- or 2-inch chunks
Olive Oil
Herbes de Provence
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Arrange vegetables on a couple of baking sheets and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with herbs, salt, and pepper, and toss to distribute the flavors.

Bake for about 30 minutes (depending on how tender you like your veggies - I don't like them too soft), tossing halfway through.

Roasted Winter Vegetables

I made this dish the other afternoon right around lunch, so I added them to a nice salad. Baby spinach, the roasted veggies, steamed broccoli I had in the fridge, chickpeas, toasted pecans, and dried cranberries, all tossed with a sesame ginger dressing - so good. I'm going to add them to some pasta tonight for a light primavera, any other ideas?


Supernatural Brownies

Supernatural Brownies

Did You Know? The brownie, also known as the Boston Brownie, traces all the way back to the 1800s. And although sources aren't clear on the exact date the first brownie recipe was published, they do know the recipe stemmed from a Boston-based cookbook.

The name says it all. My sister needed to bring a dessert to a dinner party she was attending, and of course she turned to me to create something for her. If it hadn't been for the fact that I had just received a KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer for Christmas, I might have told her to bake something herself. But I just had to use that new mixer again. It has made cooking and baking so much more fun, and it is just so pretty. Now I hope I can crack my parents into buying a Vita-Mix, they seem to be all the rage in the blogging world, and I desperately want to whip out some homemade nut butters. Until then...

Now, back to the brownies. My sister has always been a fan of the cakey brownie, while I, along with the rest of my family, enjoy a fudgy one. Since it was for her and all, I decided to make a cakey version. So Monday night, I cranked out a batch of Moosewood Fudge Brownies, that I saw on 101 Cookbooks. Yeah, yeah, fudge brownies. But all the comments revealed how cakey these were, and with 5 eggs, I knew fudgy was one thing these probably were not.

Supernatural Brownies

It turns out my intuition was right. These were the cakiest (?) brownies I have ever tasted. In fact, they sort of just tasted like little squares of rich chocolate cake. They didn't taste like brownies at all, but strangely, we all really enjoyed them (especially my sister). I wouldn't recommend baking these if you're really in the mood for a brownie, but if you're looking for a different spin on a classic, and you love the cakey texture, try these out. Fresh from the oven, they have a really nice bite, and the chocolate flavor slowly develops - it's really quite strange.

White & Brown Sugar

So because the brownies didn't turn out as I had hoped, I had to make another batch. The perfectionist in me wouldn't let me settle on the Moosewood version if people other than my family were expecting to eat a brownie. Here's where I turned to David Lebovitz for some inspiration. His post for Supernatural Brownies, is from the book "Chocolate: From Simple Cookies to Extravagant Showstoppers," by Nick Malgieri, and it happens to be the best brownie I have ever eaten. It's fudgy, but still light enough for those cake lovers to enjoy as well. It's rich and flavorful, and the chocolate, oh that chocolate. How could you go wrong adding a bowlful of melted chocolate and butter. Trust me, you must bake these. Warm and wrapped with slowly melting vanilla ice cream, these brownies are dessert at its finest. So much for that "eat healthy" New Year's resolution. One brownie won't hurt, but good for you if you only need one.

Supernatural Brownie Making

Supernatural Brownies
2 sticks unsalted butter, each cut into thirds
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (I used 4 ounces of each), broken into pieces
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
One 13x9x2-inch pan, buttered

Set the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

Combine the butter and chocolate in a heat proof bowl and microwave in intervals of 30 seconds or so, until melted (stir in between heatings).

Whisk eggs together in a large bowl, then whisk in the salt, sugars, and vanilla. Stir in the chocolate and butter mixture, then fold in the flour.

Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for about 45 minutes, until top has formed a shiny crust. Cool in pan, or enjoy hot from the oven.

Cakey vs Fudgy

Now I'm guessing I don't have to tell you which is which, but just in case...the left is Moosewood (cakey) and the right is Supernatural (fudgy).

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