Archived entries for lemon

Our New Christmas Favorite: Lemon Cranberry Sandwiches

These delicate cookies are my absolute new favorite holiday treats!  The light sugary wafers with a bold dash of cranberry are topped off with a very lemony cream center.  What could be better!  Lets get baking!

Lemon Cranberry Sandwiches

  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 1 c. shortening
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 c. flour
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c. dried cranberries

    Filling

  • 2/3 c. butter, softened
  • 2-3/4 c. confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 Tbs lemon zest

Make dough: In a large bowl, cream the butter, shortening and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, cream of tartar, lemon peel and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in cranberries. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Bake Cookies: Roll dough into 1-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten with a glass dipped in sugar. Twist glass after flattening to keep cookie from sticking.  Bake at 350° for 12-14 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Assmeble Cookies: In a small bowl, combine the filling ingredients; beat until smooth. Spread on the bottoms of half of the cookies; top with remaining cookies.

Escape Winter Blues With Three Lemon Cheesecake

I don’t know if its because I’ve got cabin fever in a major way, but for the past week or two, I’ve been in a cranky mood.  I’m craving a bit of sunshine.  Unfortunately I don’t have a magic weather wand to whisk this winter far away.  Instead I’m going to settle for substituting some natural light for a delicious disk of citrus sunshine in cheesecake form!  This 3 Lemon Cheesecake my sister Emily turned me onto is one of my favorite light (in texture, not fat!!) desserts.  A slice of this is a great remedy to chase away the winter blues!

3 Lemon Cheesecake
Recipe Courtesy of Group Recipes

Cheesecake

  • 1 pound regular cream cheese
  • 3 medium lemons, washed and dried
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • Piecrust
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (7 or 8 whole crackers)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Glaze

  • 1/2 cup strained fresh lemon juice (from the 3 lemons)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Instructions

  1. First, remove the cream cheese from the refrigerator so that it can soften. It will be about the right temperature by the time it’s needed.
  2. Remove the zest from the lemons with a zester or grater. Reserve the lemons for later, leaving them out at room temperature, and put the zest in a small saucepan.
  3. Add the cream to the zest and heat just until the cream starts to bubble. Watch the pan carefully, since cream goes from bubbling to overflowing in a split second. Remove the pan from the heat,cover it, and let the zest steep for 45 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the cheesecake’s crust.
  4. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  5. Stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt. Stir in the butter until the mixture is uniformly moistened. With the bottom of a glass, press the crumbs into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake the crust for 4 to 8 minutes, until it is barely browned at the edges. Let it cool.
  6. When the zest/cream mixture has steeped for 45 minutes pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees F.
  7. Using a stand mixer or a powerful hand-held mixer, beat the cream cheese at low speed until smooth. Add the sugar and continue beating until smooth, scraping down the bowl regularly.
  8. Increase the speed to medium-high and add the eggs one at a time. Then beat in the flour. Finally, strain the lemon zest cream and add the cream, beating until the mixture is smooth and uniform.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared crust. Place the pan in a cake pan.  Fill the pan around the cake with an inch or so of water to act as a water bath to help keep your cheesecake moist.  Bake the cheesecake for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 200 degrees F and bake the cheesecake for another 10 to 20 minutes, until it is light brown on top, cracked, and just barely set in the center.
  10. Cool the cheesecake on a rack until it is slightly warm to the touch, then prepare the glaze.
  11. Juice the reserved 3 lemons and strain the juice to remove any pulp and seeds. Measure out 1/2 cup of the juice (if you don’t have 1/2 cup, add enough water to make 1/2 cup).
  12. Put the cornstarch in a saucepan and whisk in the lemon juice. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens to the consistency of pudding, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. While the glaze is till hot, spread it evenly over the cooled cheesecake.

Cover the cheesecake and chill it thoroughly before serving.

Personal Lamb Meatloaves with Lemon Gravy

Meatloaf is the ultimate comfort food (unless you’re vegetarian). For all of us meat eaters, there’s nothing like a good meatloaf to warm the belly on a cold winter night. To fancy this homey dish up a bit, I decided to use lamb meat instead of ground beef and fill it with an array of herbs and vegetables to add to the flavor and texture as well as make the meal slightly more healthy. Everyone loves personal portions, so using a muffin pan will allow for small circular loafs perfect for a solo serving. This way you’ll be sure to have enough for each member of your party, but I warn you to make a few extra because with a dish like this people often want seconds.

Lamb Meatloaf Medallions

  • 1 1/2 lb ground lamb
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 c. bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. labna. You can also use yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sumac (optional)
  • 1 onion diced
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme (remove stems and use only leaves)
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary (remove stems and roughly chop needles)
  • 1 large carrot diced
  • 1 small head of broccoli with flowerettes cut in small pieces
  • 1 Tbs cumin seed
  • 2 Tbs olive oil

Lemon Gravy

  • 1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
  • 3 Tbs flour
  • 1 clove of garlic chopped
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet heat oil over medium heat. When hot, add cumin seed and allow to toast for a minute or so until slightly browned. Add carrots and cook for a couple of minutes, then add broccoli. Cook until slightly soft but not thoroughly. Remove from heat.

In a bowl, mix ground lamb and ground beef using your hands. Lamb is a lean meat, so adding a bit of beef will help the meatloaf to be moist. Add all ingredients including the carrots and broccoli and mix together with your hands.

In a sauce pan, melt butter and saute garlic for a couple of minutes. Over low heat, mix in flour, and cook until bubbly. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Cook over medium low heat stirring constantly until sauce thickens. When you first add milk and lemon sauce will appear curdled, but will cook out as sauce thickens. I based this recipe off this recipe which I found to be too salty, so I cut down the amount of butter and salt. So season to taste.
Tips on the gravy:

  • If gravy is too thin, add more flour and stir.
  • If gravy is too salty, add more milk and add flour to help thicken extra liquid
  • If you have a gluten allergy you can substitute corn starch for the flour.

Spoon the meatloaf mixture into your muffin tins creating a small well in the center with your finger. Add 1 Tbs of lemon Gravy into the well. This will help keep your meatloaf moist.

Bake @ 350 for 25-30 minutes. Lamb has a slightly red coloration when cooked, so your meatloaf when done may be slightly pink looking. Don’t be alarmed by the color and overcook.

I served my meatloaf over a bed of beer braised fennel and red potato mash and drizzled with the lemon gravy. (Stay tuned for that recipe tomorrow!) This dish was savory and comforting, but slightly exotic with the Mediterranean / Middle Eastern spices and flavors.

Not long after I’d planned this for my menu, excited about what I thought was a very maverick form of serving meatloaf, Ira sent me a link to this Chicago Gluttons review of the Meatloaf Bakery in Lincoln Park.

“Seriously, I give this place 5 stars for even existing. A bakery full of meatloaf? A cupcake of… MEATLOAF?” -Emily S

Any time I think I am being original, I realize there is someone else doing it as well. I guess great minds think alike!

Notes on the recipe: I have used Labna which is a tart form of Middle Eastern yogurt cheese. You can easily substitute plain yogurt or even sour cream. Sumac has a lemony tart flavor, which when eating the meatloaf on its own, sets off the savory lamb flavors. The sumac is an additional flavoring which can be eliminated if you don’t have it without compromising the general flavor of this dish.



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