Showing posts with label lemon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lemon. Show all posts


Lemon Lime Sprig Cookie

What are you having for dessert with your Easter dinner? 
Do not say jelly beans. Or Cadbury eggs. 
You had those for breakfast. And lunch.
Have you made ABK's  (Almost) Swig Cookies? Or my chocolate version of the Almost Swig, The "Swagg Cookie" ? If so, you are an old pro at making this type of cookie.
Last week, my SIL, Diane asked me about a dessert suggestion for a dinner she was having with a Mexican-theme menu.  I suggested she try adding some lime or lemon to the Swig recipe for a sweet that would compliment her meal. Then I experimented at home. I tried putting lemon and lime in the frosting, but didn't love the way the frosting looked with flecks of green. So I grated a bit of lime zest  in the cookie dough, then made a  fresh lemon-sour cream frosting to top off the cookie.

Make sure to use fresh lemon juice in the frosting. The difference between bottled lemon juice and fresh squeezed in this recipe is kind of like the difference between a can of orange flavored juice and a glass of fresh squeezed OJ.
I know you're going to love this cookie.
Taste tester comments ranged from "OMG WHAT IS IN THAT COOKIE??!!!!!!" to "Best cookie I've ever eaten".
Get busy.
Happy Easter weekend, friends. 

Lemon Lime Sprig Cookie
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

1/2 cup butter
!/2 cup shortening ( I use butter flavored Crisco)
1 cup sour cream
zest from one to two limes, grated fine
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract (or vanilla)
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
sugar  for top of cookies

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 tablespoon sour cream
4 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
zest from one lemon, grated fine
dash of salt
1 drop lemon food coloring
1-2 tablespoons milk**

Preheat oven to 325 convection or 350 regular bake.
Take butter out of refrigerator and microwave for about 15 seconds. Place butter, shortening, cold sour cream and lime zest in a mixing bowl. Mix for about one minute. Add sugar and almond or vanilla flavoring, mix until smooth. Add all dry ingredients at once. Mix just until flour disappears and the mixture comes together in a ball of dough, about 1-2 minutes on very low speed. 
Spray the cookie scoop with a little cooking spray. Scoop the dough onto a cookie sheet. I use either a 1 3/4 inch or a 2 inch scoop. A two inch scoop will produce a cookie similar in size to the Swig cookie. If you don't have a cookie scoop, roll the dough into a ball about the size of a golf ball. 
Place about 1/4 cup sugar into a small bowl. 
Flatten the cookies with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar (press the bottom of the glass against the cookie first, then dip it in the sugar so the sugar will stick) . Press the cookies so they are flattened a bit, twisting the glass as you press to produce a jagged edge. 
Bake in oven for about 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly golden and cookies are slightly firm to the touch. Remove from oven, let cool. Place the cookies in the fridge and chill. 
Prepare the frosting:
Beat together the butter, sour cream, powdered sugar, lemon juice, zest and salt. When all ingredients are incorporated, add the drop of food coloring and milk if the frosting needs to be thinned. 
Frost after the cookies are completely chilled. 
Makes about 18  large cookies.

-If you want the cookies to taste more like the Swig cookies make this adjustment to the dough:
 omit the almond flavoring and reduce the sugar to 1 cup. I prefer the cookies to be a bit sweeter, so I liked 1 1/2 cup of sugar in the dough.
-I use a microplane grater to grate the zest.
-The Swig cookie is frosted with quite a thin layer of frosting. I prefer my frosting to be a bit thicker. If you want to frost the cookie with a thinner frosting, add about 3-4 tablespoons of milk to the frosting.
-This cookie stays quite well in the fridge for two weeks  if kept in an air tight container. I almost always have a cookie sheet filled with these in my fridge for emergencies :)  They taste as good after two weeks as they do on the day they are made.


Lobster and Shells

If you want to splurge on Mom for Mother's Day, try this salad from Ina Garten, aka the Barefoot Contessa.  Ina says it's important to use small shells in this salad so the corn kernels can get stuck inside of the shells. These things are important. Yes, they are. 
If you are as anxious for summer to get here as I am, you'll love this recipe. It tastes like a bite of summer in a salad. 

Lobster and Shells

Kosher salt
olive oil
1 pound small pasta shells, such as Ronzoni
Kernels from 8 ears of corn (about 6 cups) cooked, or about 1 1/2 small bags frozen corn*
12 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
2 yellow or orange or red bell peppers, seeded and small-diced
2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 pounds cooked fresh lobster meat, medium-diced, about 2 medium size lobster tails
1 1/2 cups Best Foods or Hellman's mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream, regular or light*
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2-4 lemons, depending on how juicy)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4-1/2 cup minced fresh dill*

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt and some olive oil. Add the pasta and cook it for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente.  Drain the pasta pour into a large mixing bowl.  Add the frozen corn. Add the scallions, diced pepper, tomatoes, and lobster, tossing gently to combine. Allow to cool slightly.

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, 4 teaspoons salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper until smooth. Pour over the pasta and mix well to bind the ingredients. Stir in the dill. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for up to 6 hours to allow the flavors to develop. Check the seasonings and serve chilled or at room temperature.

-*Fresh corn is always best. Cook the cobs of corn for about 4 minutes in a pot of boiling water. Cut the corn off the cob and let cool before adding to the salad.  If fresh is unavailable, use frozen corn, unthawed. The corn will thaw in the salad and help keep the rest of the salad ingredients cool.
-*Sour Cream-I used regular sour cream, but thought the dressing was a bit heavy. This salad could use a little lightening up, next time I make it I will use light sour cream.
-If you make this ahead of time and set in the fridge, you may need to thin the dressing a bit  by whisking in a tablespoon or two of milk. 
-Fresh dill- If at all possible, use fresh dill. If fresh is not available, 1 tablespoon of dried dill will work. 

Here's the link to Amazon and Ina's "How Easy is That?" cookbook. It's the perfect Mother's Day gift. 


Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Day three of our CCE; this recipe won the LDS Living Best Cookie Recipe Contest in 2011. If you are baking for a lemon lover, they’ll love this treat. Some people say you either are a chocolate or lemon lover.
It’s like choosing which child is your favorite.
Always a fun discussion to have with your children.
Oh reminder, Christmas is 20 days away!
You’re welcome.
Happy baking :)

Lemon Crinkle Cookies
adapted from LDS Living Magazine
print recipe

Makes 1 dozen cookies ( I recommend doubling this recipe)

½ cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 whole egg
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cup cake flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (I use the convection setting).
Grease light colored baking sheets lightly with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. Or use parchment lined baking sheets.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whip in vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and juice. Scrape sides and mix again.
Stir in all dry ingredients slowly until just combined, excluding the powdered sugar. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly.
Pour powdered sugar into a bowl.
Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough (I use a 1 ½ inch cookie scoop) into a ball and roll in powdered sugar.
Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.
Bake for 8-9 minutes* or until bottoms begin to barely brown and cookies are set.
Remove from oven and let cookies cool completely.

*If using a non-stick darker baking tray, reduce baking time by about 2 minutes.
-The original recipe calls for 1 ½ cups all pupose flour. I baked these several times and found the cookies were not as puffy as I would like. We live at about 4400 ft above sea level and have to add additional flour to achieve a cookie that is not completely flat after baking. I tried adding additional all purpose flour, but found using a total of 1 ¾ cups of cake flour produced the result I wanted- a cookie that was still chewy and moist, but not flat.
-If you are baking in an oven that is a professional model (Wolf, Viking, etc) made for home use, bake at 325 convection, 6-7 minutes.
-My friends Jo, Diane and Nan made a recipe similar to this for a shower in our neighborhood. My other friend Jo (yes two friends named Jo) made lemon sorbet to go with the lemon cookies. YUMMY. Click on their names for links to some truly wonderful recipes :)


Fresh Blackberry and Lemon Yogurt Muffins with Warm Vanilla Yogurt Glaze

Grant, Corrine and I lived in Portland while Grant went to school at Lewis and Clark back in the (should I say it??) 80's. Gasp! We are old. Last summer, my mom and I took a little trip back to the Oregon Coast.
We loved our three years in Portland. We especially loved that in about two hours, we could be at the beach. My favorite place in the world. What is it about the ocean? The sound of the waves is so soothing. The Oregon coast is not the trendiest spot as far as beach destinations go. If you are looking for bikini-clad hotties and muscle bound bodies, you are probably going to be a bit disappointed. We went last August, and I wore a jacket most of the trip.

The Oregon coast probably attracts more folks who are on the Eddie Bauer/Birkenstock/granola side of life. More for families, and people who really enjoy long stretches of deserted beaches, fresh air, and a laid back coastal lifestyle. Big sigh. I love it there. Did I already say that? Back to the trip. Mom and I spent days driving, walking, and stopping at every little fruit stand, bakery, restaurant, antique shop, roadside marker and beach along the way.

I love to travel with people who will indulge in my road trip crazy. Meaning, we need to stop at every bakery/quaint restaurant/gas station that might sell funky junk and home made treats.

We drove to Tillamook one day. Sound familiar? Yes. The Cheese people. Actually Tillamook is more than just cheese. It's ice cream, yogurt, cheese, and butter. Yum.  We drove through Tillamook,  to the beach at Cape Lookout and also to the Cape Meares Lighthouse. Serene and absolutely beautiful.

    Cape Lookout, Tillamook, Oregon

Recently, I received an email from Kelly, who represents Tillamook asking if I would be interested in developing a recipe using their new line of  yogurt, Tillamook Light. It's the first light yogurt on the market naturally sweetened with Truvia, has 100 calories and is made with no artificial junk. No artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, high fructose corn syrup or growth hormones. Wow. Now you know I'm not a health nut, but this was intriguing to me. After enjoying Tillamook cheese for years, and honking at cows while driving through valleys in Tillamook, last summer,  I had to try it. It's really, really yummy. If you want to read more about this line of yogurt go here.

A couple of mornings later, I got up started writing a recipe for yogurt muffins. I tried to stay with a light and (semi) healthy theme, so I used 1/2 cup of canola oil (instead of butter) and only 1/2 cup of sugar (this is almost sugar free to me). Fresh and light, but enough sweet to qualify as a yummy breakfast treat. Wouldn't your mom love these on Sunday?? You remembered, right?
Yes people.
Next Sunday is Mother's Day.
This year I'm posting a Mother's Day Brunch menu. I'll have quiche and salad posted later this week.
See you soon.
After you finish your Mother's Day shopping.
Yes, I'm talking to you.
P.S. I my next life, I'm definitely living on the beach.
P.S.S. I did not receive any payment for this post. I did receive a box of Tillamook yogurt for testing purposes. And some gift certificates for more yogurt that I will( in the near future) include in a giveaway to you on this blog :)

Oh, the recipe!  Here it is...

Fresh Blackberry and Lemon Yogurt Muffins with Warm Vanilla Yogurt Glaze
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
zest from 1 lemon
1- 6 oz container Tillamook Light Vanilla yogurt*
1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup blackberries, rinsed

for glaze/topping:
1- 6 oz Tillamook Light Vanilla yogurt*
2 tablespoons granulated or powdered sugar

Grease a 12 cup muffin tin, set aside.
Preheat oven to 400, set rack in center of oven.
In a medium size bowl, whisk together the eggs, and 1/2 cup of sugar.  Add the canola oil, lemon juice, zest and vanilla yogurt.
Place the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a small bowl and whisk together with a fork. Pour dry ingredients into the bowl with wet ingredients. Mix with a large spoon or spatula just until all of the wet and dry ingredients are incorporated. Fold in the blackberries.
Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin cups.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-17 minutes or until center springs back when touched lightly.
Remove from oven.
Heat the remaining 6 oz of yogurt in a small pan over medium-high heat on stove. Whisk and heat to a low boil for about one minute. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of granulated or powdered sugar.
Dip each warm muffin top into the pan of heated yogurt. Set aside to cool for a few minutes. If there is enough yogurt glaze remaining, you may dip the muffin tops again to create a second layer of glaze, or spoon on the remaining glaze.
Muffins are best served while warm, but may also be served at room temperature.

-*You may use any flavor/brand of yogurt. This recipe would also work well with a lemon or berry flavored yogurt. I recommend using a lemon or vanilla flavor for the glaze/topping.
-You may also use any type of fruit. I suggest fresh blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc.


Blueberry-Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes

My October Secret Recipe Club assignment is: CRUMB, a blog written and photographed by Isabelle, a "thirty something from Canada".  Isabelle loves food. She loves cooking, eating, writing about and taking photos of food. She also loves collecting vintage cookbooks, talks about food almost non stop (her words) and even dreams about food. I think it's safe to say, Isabelle is a foodie. Too bad we don't live closer to each other, I have a feeling she would be a great lunch date!
Confession time. I totally forgot about this assignment until I checked my email Sunday night at 6 pm. Yikes! It was a crazy month. My dilema (back in September, when I received my assignment) about which of Isabelle's wonderful recipes I would try out, was changed to- what could I make in 5 minutes or less, and photograph before it was dark! Naturally, I turned to breakfast items. Isabelle volunteers at a local museum on Sundays and treats herself to these pancakes before heading off to her volunteer job for the day. I'm sure the oatmeal in the pancakes not only make the cakes more healthy, but more filling too. Thanks Isabelle! Great recipe.

Blueberry-Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes
Adapted from Crumb
print recipe

1 1/2 cups quick cook oats
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
zest of one lemon
1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries

In a small bowl, mix together the buttermilk and oats, let sit for about 5-10 minutes until oatmeal is softened.
After the oats are soft, add the eggs and oil, and whisk together.
In a large bowl mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients in large bowl. Mix wet and dry ingredients together just until ingredients are incorporated, batter should be lumpy.
Fold in lemon zest and blueberries.
Heat griddle or pan to 350 degrees. Grease pan with butter or oil spray. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop batter onto heated and greased griddle. Let cook until bubbles start to appear, then flip pancakes ONE TIME. Let the pancake cook until pancake springs back when lightly poked in the middle. Do not pat the pancake down. Do not flip pancake more than once.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with  pure maple syrup and additional fresh or frozen berries on the side.

**Remember to enter A Bountiful Kitchen's amazing KitchenAid Stand Mixer giveaway sponsored by South Fork Hardware! Go here to enter!**


Barefoot Contessa Lemon Yogurt Cake

Final installment of our Mothers Day Dinner, 2011.
What's a dinner without dessert?  Since most moms are watching their weight, I chose this yummy, simple,  Lemon Yogurt Cake.  It's made with yogurt and oil, instead of butter, is moist and delish, without being too high in calories.  It's wonderful served with fresh berries of any kind.  You can make it today or tomorrow and it will still be fresh on Sunday*.  I recommend storing it covered in the fridge,   then just slice and serve on Sunday.  Want some extra fat? Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Oh - side note, One of my bff's sent an email around asking: what we loved most about being a mom, or what you have learned by being a mom.  I loved the responses- here are a few for your pondering, laughing and crying pleasure...

-What my children do, is not as important as who my children are.
-Sometimes, all you can do is tell them that you love them, and that you'll love them no matter what.
-When you're a mom, your life and time are not your own, but that's OK, because I'm having the time of my life!
-Just when you know all the answers, there are no more kids at home to try them on!
-Just when you know all of the answers, all of the questions change!
-If I don't want the blame for their mistakes, I can't take credit for their successes.
-The capacity for human love is, evidently, unlimited.
-This whole mothering thing is a giant set up for heart-break, they will never love us as  much as we love them. We give them our hearts for a couple decades, and then they run off with them!
-There could never be a more important job than taking helpless babies and helping them to grow into good and happy people. Nor a more difficult, more thankless, more more rewarding, or more fulfilling one in all of humanity.
-I am happy I am over one of the worst mothering days ever.  The day I tried to use a book called "Potty Training in a Day" to train my twins.  That is bunk. When my husband got home, I was sitting on the kitchen floor, with the two little potty chairs, books, food and all the items needed to train the children. As he came through the door, I began to cry and yelled "I am worth more than this!" Oh how wrong I was. Being a mother is worth it all. 

I am blessed to be surrounded by women who, just like my mom, are examples of courage, integrity, virtue, charity, kindness, hope and love.  From my close childhood friends, to my sisters in law, to my neighborhood friends, each has taught me something about mothering, by the way they live and love each day.  They've mothered my kids and loved them no matter what, and my kids have felt their love.
Thanks for being you.
Happy Mother's Day.
love you,

Lemon Yogurt Cake
Barefoot Contessa- At Home
print recipe

for cake:
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1 cup sugar
3 extra large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil

for syrup:
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (for syrup)
1/3 cup sugar

for glaze:
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/4 x 2 1/2 inch loaf pan.  Line bottom with parchment paper.  Grease and lightly flour the pan.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt into one bowl.  In another bowl, whisk the yogurt, 1 cup of sugar, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla.  Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  With a rubber spatula, fold in the oil, making sure all ingredients are incorporated.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a pick inserted comes out clean.
Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small sauce pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear.  Set aside.  When the cake is done, allow to cool in pan for about 10 minutes.  Carefully turn cake out onto rack that is place on top of a baking sheet, to catch excess syrup and icing.  Place cake right side up, and pour syrup over cake, allowing the syrup to soak into the cake.  Combine the glaze ingredients, and pour over cake after cooled a bit more.

-Serve with fresh berries and cream, if desired.
-You could also bake this in a 9 inch Spring form pan.
-*If you are making this ahead, prepare to the pouring syrup over the cake stage.Cool, then, place the cake in a Ziplock in the refrigerator. On the day you are serving, Make the glaze, pour over and serve.


Laurie's Lemon Bars

These two have been best friends for a long time.  We are neighbors, belong to the same church and they went to the same schools- elementary through high school. Now the one on the left is getting married. We love Lauren. She and Brookie have spent hours sitting at my kitchen counter laughing, talking and eating. Lauren's parents Mario and Karen have been our friends for years as well.  Mario is a high adventure kind of guy. Wired. Intense. Up at the crack of dawn, flies helicopters,  loves extreme skiing in the winter and water skiing in the summer. His closet looks like he's in the military, every shirt in place, all the hangers facing the same way (just like my closet :)  Karen is a mom, wife and has her PhD in psychology.  Karen is calm, pensive, patient, loving, an amazing teacher and always willing to listen.  Lauren is the perfect blend of both. She's kind, thoughtful, organized, smart, bright, cheerful, funny, hard working, sincere, charitable, honorable, down-to-earth, naturally beautiful and filled with light! Lucky Brayden.  
So, what do you do when one of your favorite kids gets married?  Have a shower, of course. We served mostly sweets, since it was from 7-8:30 PM. Laurie (click here to read about her chocolate cake and carrot cake) called and offered to make lemon bars.  No skimpy thin layer of lemon here. One full cup of fresh lemon juice. I've tried a lot of lemon bars in my day. These have to be one of the best.  If you love thick, chewy, tangy-sweet bars, they're calling your name. 
Congratulations Lar and Brayden!  We love you.

Laurie's Lemon Bars
print recipe

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
For the crust, cream together:
2 sticks (1/2 lb) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar

2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Mix until just blended and then press into bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a 9x13 pan. Chill for about 30 minutes.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned. 

For the filling, whisk together:
6 extra large eggs, at room, temperature
3 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
Pour over hot crust and bake 30-35 mintues or until set (not liquid in the middle when jiggled). Let cool and dust with powdered sugar. 


Eggs Benedict 101

Spring. It's coming. Easter brunch. Just around the corner.
Grant's favorite dish for breakfast/brunch? Eggs Benedict. A few weeks ago, I decided to give it a try. How complicated could this be? Eggs, ham, a few English muffins and some sauce. 
Oh, helloooo,  sauce. 
Hollandaise. Turns out, this is the crux of the dish. 
I like this word. 
crux  (krks)
n.  crux  The basic, central, or critical point or feature

Here's what I learned while making Eggs Benedict, or Si's EB 101:

1. Rich, rich, rich. The two essential ingredients for making a great smooth Hollandaise are egg yolks and BUTTER. Eight ounces. Yes.  One.  Full . Cup.
2. The butter must be cold.
3. You don't need an instant read thermometer.  The key is whisk, whisk, whisk.  I whisked my arm off and my sauce was perfecto
4. There are about 1001 ways to make EB. And 1001 varieties such as California Benedict, Veggie lovers Benedict, Seafood Benedict, Curry Benedict,  etc. most available on the www.
5. Not a dish to make when you are in a hurry. Definitely a Saturday or Sunday venture. 
6. I didn't keep my sauce in a thermos as suggested, just turned the heat off, and warmed the sauce up at a low heat again when plating the last few servings (about 30 minutes from the first serving to the last... yes I'm a short order cook).
7. You may make either the eggs or the sauce first, and keep one heated, while preparing the rest of the dish.  I preferred making the sauce first. 
8.  If you want to watch simple tutorials about EB  for poached eggs, Hollandaise and overall assembly, look up any of these on YouTube.  Amazing how many folks are willing to share their knowledge. 
9. Hardly anyone makes their own Hollandaise anymore. Most restaurants and home cooks use mixes and/or the blender method.  
10. This is worth the time. And calories. About once a year. Promise.

Eggs Benedict
A Bountiful Kitchen

8 slices Canadian Bacon, warmed 
8 eggs, poached
4 English muffins, sliced in half, toasted and lightly buttered, if desired ( I thought 1 cup of butter in the sauce was enough)
Hollandaise Sauce

Prepare Hollandaise Sauce and set aside to keep warm.  
Place a two slices of toasted English muffin on a plate.  Place Canadian Bacon on top of English muffin halves. Spoon a poached egg on top of the meat slice. Top with about 2 tablespoons of Hollandaise Sauce.  Serve immediately, or if serving family style, lay all bread slices on platter and follow directions for assembly. Cover pan with foil and keep in oven on low until ready to serve, not more than an hour before serving. 

Alton Brown's Hollandaise Sauce
Food Network

3 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne, divided
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice, strained, divided
8 oz cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon size pieces
1/4 teaspoon sugar

Whisk together the egg yolks, water, salt and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a 2 quart pan (preferably a saucier) for  1 minute.
Put the saucier over low heat and whisk vigorously, moving the pan on and off the heat every 10 to 15 seconds, bringing the mixture to 140 to 145 degrees F, on an instant read thermometer, approximately 3 minutes.  Add 1 piece of butter at a time, every 30 seconds, while continually whisking and moving the pan on and off the heat. Maintain temperature around 120 to 130 degrees F throughout the remainder of the cooking process.  Once half of the butter, or 8 pieces have been added, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.  Add the remaining 8 pieces of butter, 1 at a time, every 30 seconds while continuing to move the pan on and off the heat maintaining 120 to 130 degrees F. After the last piece of butter has been added, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon cayenne.  Add the sugar and whisk for 1 to 2 minutes.  
Taste and add more lemon juice, as desired.  Move immediately to a short, wide mouthed thermos to hold sauce for up to 2 hours.  Reheat over low heat for 45 seconds. 

Perfect Poached Eggs
Cook's Illustrated

1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons white vinegar
8 large eggs, each cracked into a small cup
ground black pepper

Fill an 8-10 inch skillet nearly to rim with water, add 1 teaspoon salt and the vinegar and bring mixture to boil over high heat. (I filled to within about an inch of the top of pan)
Working in two batches, cooking 4 eggs at a time, lower the lip of each cup into water at once, tip eggs into boiling water, cover and remove from heat.  Poach until yolks are medium firm, exactly four minutes, or for extra large or jumbo eggs, about 4 1/2 minutes. For looser egg yolks, poach 3 minutes. 
With slotted spoon, carefully lift and drain each egg over skillet. Set on warmed plate or platter and cover  with foil until ready to use. Keep in a warm place or in oven set to 275 degrees.

-I did not remove the pan from the heat off and on as Alton suggests. I simply placed the butter in the pan one tablespoon at a time, when the butter melted, I would add another pat of butter, and so on. 
-Did not use a thermometer. Just whisked until all of the butter was melted and incorporated as the recipe suggests. 
-If you are preparing the eggs first, cook the eggs for 3 instead of four minutes, properly poached eggs will still have a bit of a runny yolk.  If you are keeping the eggs warm for later use, the egg will continue to cook a bit in the oven. 
-The sauce in this recipe will be enough for 8 English muffin halves. 


The World's Best Fresh Blueberry Muffins

My baby (6'1") turned 14 today. When I asked what kind of cake he wanted, he asked for blueberry muffins. Since it was for his bd, I wanted to make something extra special.
I found this recipe on The Bitten Word. I've made dozens of blueberry muffins over the past 30 years. Same old , same old .
These are different. Here's what sets them apart: Home-made blueberry "jam" on top of the muffin. Seriously yummy. Top that with sugar and a heavy dose of fresh lemon zest. Fit for a birthday treat.
Happy bday Jake. Love, your Mother.

The World's Best Fresh Blueberry Muffins
Cooks Illustrated

printable recipe

Yield: 12 muffins

Lemon-Sugar Topping

1/3 cup sugar
2-3 teaspoons finely grated zest from 1 lemon


2 cups (about 10 ounces) fresh blueberries, picked over
1 1/8 cups (8 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups (12½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk *
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

*If buttermilk is unavailable, substitute 3/4 cup plain whole-milk or low-fat yogurt thinned with 1/4 cup milk.

FOR TOPPING: Stir together sugar and lemon zest in small bowl until combined; set aside.

FOR MUFFINS: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to ¼ cup, about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk remaining 1 1/8 cups sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until combined, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. (Batter will be very lumpy with few spots of dry flour; do not over mix.)

Use ice cream scoop or large spoon to divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly). Spoon teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter. Using small spoon, gently swirl berry filling into batter. Sprinkle lemon sugar evenly over muffins.

Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17 to 19 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

-I just mixed all of the dry ingredients in a bowl, then mixed the wet ingredients together, and folded the dry into the wet ingredients. Then folded in the blueberries.
-I was concerned that the mixture would overflow, but they baked up perfectly.
-Best when eaten warm or with in 12 hours of baking.
-This recipe makes 12 large beautifully shaped muffins.


Mother's Day Menu 2010 -Part 4 Mama's Pound Cake with Berries and Lemon Cream

I know you are thinking, really, you want my family to make a pound cake from scratch and serve it to me as part of my Mo Day dinner this Sunday??
Have you heard of Good, Better, Best? Totally applies here.

Good: Buy some fresh berries and ice cream. Wash and cut up the berries, serve over vanilla ice cream. Preferably Haagen Daz.

Better: Buy a package of Costco Pound cakes, sold in the 3 pack for $6. About 8 slices per cake, times three, makes 24 servings. Foolproof. The extra loaves freeze well. Add some fresh whipped cream. Note: Costco's Pound Cakes are remarkably good. I mean, better.

Best: Make this incredibly delish, easy pound cake. Cut up fresh berries, top with lemon cream.

Mama's Pound Cake with Lemon Cream
adapted from Paula Dean

1/2 pound (2 sticks or 1 cup) butter, plus more for pan
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 1/2 cups sugar
5 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

With a mixer, cream butter and shortening together. Add sugar, a little at a time. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Stir dry ingredients together in a bowl and add to mixer alternately with milk, starting with the flour and ending with the flour. Mix in vanilla. Pour into a greased and floured tube pan or two 9 inch loaf pans and bake for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool completely before topping with berries and cream.

For Lemon Cream:
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 -6 oz container Yoplait or other good quality lemon yogurt
grated lemon zest, optional

Whip cream until stiff in a large bowl. Add about 1/2 cup powdered sugar, gradually. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Just before serving, fold in the lemon yogurt. Top cake and berries with lemon cream sprinkle with lemon zest, serve.

- Many reader reviews called for using 1 1/2 cups butter. I followed this part of the recipe and used 1 cup butter and 1/2 cup Butter Flavored Crisco.
-The original recipe calls for 3 cups sugar, I cut it to 2 1/2 and felt like it was still very sweet.
-The original recipe call for baking 1 1/2 hours. Mine was done in just a little over one hour.
-I like to use Costco's Tri Berry mix frozen with a little sugar sprinkled on top, and slice fresh strawberries into the mixture.