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Lemon and Raspberry Bars

My friend, Mandy, recently sent me a website called www.foodgawker.com and let me tell you, I took gawking to a new level.  It is completely drool inducing, and really gets me excited to get cooking and baking!  It is a compilation of some of the best food pics out there.  The best part is that it links the picture to the blog, so you can easily get the recipe!  The recipe I kept going back to was for lemon and raspberry bars.  It was posted by a great blog called Live Love Pasta, and I will definitely be checking back often for new recipes and inspiration!

We had a little family picnic on Sunday, and I thought these would be the perfect end to the meal!  Luckily, I had the cutest little helper to make these!  My 2 1/2 year old niece, Claire, helped me crush the crackers and pour them into the bowl.  That did get a little messy more than once, but she did a great job.

The only adaptation I made was doing a bit more graham crackers, because we didn’t have an 8×8 pan so we used an 8×13.  I increased the crust to about 1 3/4 cups or maybe even 2 cups of the itty bitty gritty sweet crumbs.

Make these.  Tonight.  They are simple and amazing!

(I’m posting this with the original recipe measurements)

Crust

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 1 1/2 packs)

6 tablespoons salted butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar

zest of 1 lemon

Filling

2 large egg yolks

1, 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (which will probably take 4 or 5 lemons)

1 tsp lemon zest

6 oz fresh raspberries

Preheat your oven to 350.  Spray your pan.  (Don’t forget this step.  I did, but luckily remembered before it went in the oven, so the crumbs went back in the bowl, sprayed and then back to the pan.  If you like to make a simple recipe take longer like I do, follow this step 😉 )Crush the graham crackers and put in a bowl.  Mix in the butter and lemon juice until all of the crumbs are slightly wet.  Press the crumbs into the greased pan and slightly up the side.  Bake the crust for about 10 minutes.  Remove and let cool.

Crack the eggs and place the yolk only in another medium size mixing bowl.  Add the sweetened condensed milk and stir until well combined.  Mix in the lemon juice and lemon zest until slightly thickened.  Gently stir in the raspberries.  Be careful not to break the raspberries, so you have the pretty pops of pink in the yellow and that the pink does not bleed into the bars.

Pour the filling over the graham cracker crust and smooth so it’s evenly covered.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until it’s just set (with no wiggle in the middle).

Cool to room temperature and then chill in the fridge for several hours.  I ended up freezing them for a bit to make sure that they really set.  I didn’t make them far enough in advance to get the right texture just in the fridge.

They were delicious!  A perfect sweet and tart summer dessert!

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Warm Crab and Lemon Dip

I got this recipe from a new “Finger Food” cookbook.  It took slightly more time to prep than anticipated, but luckily I had extra hands in the kitchen to be able get everything done (thanks Mandy, Sarah and Heather!).

1/3 cup butter

2 cloves garlic, crushed

3 shallots, thinly sliced

1 tsp ground mustard

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (I didn’t have cayenne, so I used chili powder)

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

2/3 cup cream cheese

1/2 cup cheddar cheese

11 oz crabmeat, drained

2 TBS lemon juice

2 TSP Worcestershire sauce

3 tsp chopped tarragon (I omitted this)

1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs (I used panko)

1 TBS chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 350.

Melt half the butter in a sauce pan, then cook the garlic and shallots for 2-3 minutes or just until softened.  Add the mustard powder, cayenne or chili powder, and whipping cream.  Bring to a simmer and slowly whisk in the cream cheese, a little at a time.  When the cream cheese is completely incorporated, whisk in the cheddar and allow to cook , stirring constantly, over very low heat for 1-2 minutes or until smooth.  We had to add a bit more whipping cream, because the mixture was too thick.  Remove from the heat and add the crabmeat, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and 2 tsp of the tarragon.   Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Mix then transfer to a small baking dish.

Melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan, add the breadcrumbs, chopped parsley and remaining tarragon, and stir until just combined.  Sprinkle over the crab mixture and bake for 15 minutes or until golden.  It wasn’t getting golden enough for me, so I put the dish under the broiler for a few minutes.

Serve warm.

Lemon Chicken

This meal is nice and fresh and perfect for spring and summer, and is a snap to prepare!

1 chicken breast per person

1/2 cup flour

2 lemons

1/2 -3/4 cup dry white wine (I used a sauvignon blanc)

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.  Cut half of one of the lemons in slices.  Combine flour and a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl.  Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour and place in the pan.  Brown the chicken on each side (should take about 4-5 minutes per side).  When the chicken is browned, squeeze the other lemon over the chicken and then pour wine over.  Cover each chicken breast with a slice of lemon.  Reduce the heat to medium and cover the dish.  Let the chicken cook through for another 8-10 minutes, or until the juices run clear when cut into.  That’s all there is to it!  I served it with herb and butter rice and sauteed zucchini and summer squash.