Recently I made a batch of my favorite Meyer Lemon Curd. http://dinneratsheilas.com/post/14642659492/meyer-lemon-curd
Besides slathering it on toast, scones, or muffins, it is also delicious sandwiched between gingersnaps or other cookies of your choice.
For an elegant dessert set out bowls of assorted fresh berries along with a bowl of lemon curd for dipping, or fill mini or small tart shells with a spoonfull or two of the lemon curd and top with a little whipped cream or meringue.
But, if my husband has a vote those last couple of jars will be used to make a Lemon Meringue Pie with a Graham Cracker Crust.
Fill a graham cracker crust (store bought or homemade), with the Meyer Lemon Curd. It is already cold cause it’s been in your fridge, so no waiting for it to cool before you whip up a mile high meringue. Slather it on, making little peaks which will brown nicely when you place it in the oven for about 10 minutes at 375 degrees.
The hardest part of this whole recipe is waiting for it to chill thoroughly for a few hours before digging in !
I have begun planting on the deck of our new home. On an early visit to one of the local nurseries I spotted this beautiful olive plant. It is more of a shrub than a tree, and I’m pretty certain it won’t bear fruit, but I absolutely love it!
As for the olives, I can buy them weekly at the olive stand at the local farmer’s markets! And I do, cause I adore olives, any size, shape, or color!
I can’t express how happy it made me to come home and plant that beautiful greenery in one of the urns I brought with me from Maryland… a little bit of my east coast garden transported to my new west coast one.
San Luis Obispo has a Mediterranean climate, perfect for so many of my favorite plants…lavender, rosemary, hydrangeas to mention a few.
I am looking forward to learning more about the plants native to the area including some of the endless varieties of succulents that thrive here.
And I think I might finally be in the perfect place to plant that Meyer Lemon tree I have always wanted.
I had a craving for a bran muffin recently, but a homemade one.
Since we have moved I am surprised ( and almost ashamed) at how little baking I have done these past couple of months…
There was the chocolate cake with chocolate frosting I made for my son’s birthday which we celebrated Thanksgiving weekend, just a couple days after moving into our newly constructed home.
Actually, now that I think about it, I had baked the cake layers the night before we moved out of our rental, froze them, and transported them to the new house knowing full well I wouldn’t even have a mixing bowl unpacked by that weekend. I made the frosting at the same time and kept that in the fridge.
So when it was time I defrosted the cake layers, let the frosting get to room temperature before beating life back into it, and spread it on the cake.
We had our birthday cake, and we could eat it too! And, in our new house!!!
The only other baking I have done was a huge batch of these Crisp and Chewy (big) Chocolate Chip Cookies which I have previously posted in this blog, and made numerous times.
I discovered this time that leaving the unbaked cookie dough in the fridge for several hours or even overnight, and scooping them onto the sheet while still chilled results in an even crispier and chewier cookie.
And although the recipe suggests making them extra large (use a full size ice cream scoop to drop them) this time I made several additional sheets of small ones, and they were also really delicious.
The best part is you can eat more and feel a little less guilty…either way you won’t be disappointed.
I’ve shared some with various tradesmen who have been coming and going these past months tending to all the details to be dealt with in new construction, and they seemed to agree with me!!!
So now that I have lamented my lack of baking in my new kitchen (…it takes a long time to make a new home feel like home, and I guess I’ve been spending a good deal of my time doing just that), I am happy to report that I did make those bran muffins you see cooling on the rack at the top of this page!
This is a fabulous recipe from the renowned baker and restauranteur Nancy Silverton, and I happened upon it while looking on David Lebovitz’s blog.
These bran muffins are very light, very moist, and not overly sweet. The orange zest is a wonderful addition. As the recipe suggests it is best to use paper baking cups inside those muffin tins to allow for nicely shaped muffins as well as ease of removing them from the tin.
However, I had no paper baking cups (still in the process of stocking the pantry), but I was not about to let that stop me from making these delicious yet healthy muffins. So they probably aren’t as pretty as they could have been, but pretty isn’t everything! Here’s the recipe…
Nancy Silverton’s Bran Muffins (from David Lebovitz’s blog)
Adapted from Pastries from La Brea Bakery by Nancy Silverton
These muffins are quite different than other muffins. For one thing, they’re much, much lighter in texture. And for another, they’re not very sweet.
Be sure to fill the molds so that the batter is mounded up in each tin. Next batch, I’m going to try baking them at a higher temperature, 400F (200C), and see if that gives them more height and oomph. I’ll revise the recipe if I do.
- 2 cup (125g) wheat bran
- 1 cup, plus 1/2 cup (190g total) dark raisins
- 1 cup, plus 1/2 (370ml total) cup water
- 1/2 cup (120g) buttermilk or plain low- or non-fat yogurt
- a few swipes of fresh orange zest (unsprayed)
- 1/2 cup (105g) packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (125ml) vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg white
- 1/2 cup (65g) flour
- 1/4 cup (35g) whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Line a 12-cup muffin tin (with 1/2-cup indentations) with paper liners.
2. Spread the wheat bran on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for six to eight minutes, stirring a few times so it cooks evenly. Let cool.
3. While the bran is toasting, heat 1 cup (135g) of the raisins with 1/2 cup (120ml) of the water. Simmer for ten minutes, or until the water is all absorbed. Puree the raisins in a food processor or blender until smooth.
4. In a large bowl, mix together the toasted bran, buttermilk or yogurt, 1 cup (250ml) water, then mix in the raisin puree, orange zest, and brown sugar.
5. Stir in the oil, egg and egg white.
6. Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and sift directly into the wet ingredients. Stir until the ingredients are just combined, then mix in the remaining 1/2 cup (55g) raisins.
7. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, making sure the batter is mounded slightly in each one. Because muffin tins can very in size, if your tins are larger, make fewer muffins.
8. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the muffins feel set in the center.
For the past couple of weeks I have been more or less housebound. An awful cold/bronchitis not only has kept me in the house, but has kept me out of the kitchen as well.
The return of my taste buds, and my desire to get in the kitchen and make up for lost time are the best indicators that I am on the road to recovery.
Losing the ability to taste is one of those things we take for granted until we are reminded by a bad cold or flu what it is like to be without them.
So I was excited today to spend some time rambling around my still new to me kitchen cooking and tasting as I went along.
I made a turkey pot pie with some leftover turkey breast, and was able to use up that extra piece of puff pastry that was in the freezer as the topping.
There always seems to be carrots, celery, and onions in the fridge so that along with some frozen corn and peas all went into the filling for the pot pie.
A roux of butter and flour thickened some store bought chicken stock. I added a bit of home made turkey gravy from the freezer for some turkey flavor, and ended up with a delicious sauce to envelop the pieces of turkey and veggies.
Although I was hoping to serve the potpie for dinner the smell was so intoxicating my husband and I decided to have it for lunch.
That turned out to be a really good decision!
Turkey Pot Pie (makes one 9x13 pan)
1 tablespoon water
5-6 cups cooked turkey, cut into large dice
2 tablespoons salted butter
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup diced celery
2 cups chicken broth or stock
3 tablespoons of turkey gravy, optional
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup unbleached flour
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 of a 17.3 oz package (1 sheet) of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry, thawed according to pkg directions
2 -3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley and thyme
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Beat the egg and water in a small bowl to make the egg wash.
Saute the diced carrots, celery and onions in the 2 tablespoons of salted butter in a large skillet on medium heat til somewhat translucent.
Add the turkey to the veggies in the skillet. Turn the heat off.
In a 2 quart saucepan heat the 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat.
Add the 1/2 cup flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring with a whisk.
Gradually stir in the chicken broth /stock.
Continue cooking until the mixture boils and thickens, about 5 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the optional gravy to the mixture if using.
Pour over the turkey and vegetables.
Pour the mixture into a 13x9 inch baking pan.
Unfold the pastry sheet onto a lightly floured surface.
Roll the pastry into a 13x9 inch rectangle, and gently place over the filling, sealing the edges around the rim of the pan.
Brush the pastry with the egg wash and sprinkle the chopped fresh herbs on top.
Cut several silts in the top of the pastry to allow the steam to escape.
Bake in the preheated 400 degree oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling hot.
Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before cutting.
If you love cooking like I do it doesn’t seem like work to make things from scratch versus buying a prepared mix.
After all, cooking enthusiasts love the process of creating a dish from start to finish. Call us crazy, but we thrive on it.
Cooking and baking from a packaged mix is a convenience and time saver, especially in today’s fast-paced world, and sometimes it makes a lot of sense, but it does come at a cost…and that cost is usually a less flavorful result than what a homemade version produces.
This recipe which comes from fellow food blogger, In Jennie’s Kitchen, for homemade waffles is a win win. It is convenient and quick, and the ingredients are most likely in your pantry already.
The waffles are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, and whether dripping with real Vermont maple syrup and/or topped with delicious berries you will want to make them over and over again.
Here is the recipe from Jennie herself…
Quick & Easy Homemade Waffles
Makes 5 to 6 Belgian-style waffles
You’ll never use a mix again after you try this super easy recipe.
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups milk
2 large eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. In another bowl, beat the milk, eggs, melted butter and vanilla extract. Pour the milk mixture over the dry mixture and stir with a fork until just combined. Let sit five minutes to “develop” (just a fancy word for letting the baking powder activate).
Meanwhile, heat your waffle iron. Pour, or ladle, enough batter to cover about 2/3 of the surface (the rest will spread once you close the top). Most waffle irons have a handy light that goes on or off, signaling the waffles are ready. A sure sign of doneness is once you see all the steam has stopped shooting out.
It’s hard to believe that it is officially 2014, and I am still trying to catch up with blogs I wanted to post in 2013.
It has been a little over a month since we moved into our house. While many things have not found their permanent home as yet, at least they are unpacked and the boxes are thrown out. There is still much to do to make it home.
We took a break from it all for a couple of weeks to welcome my sister who came to spend the holidays with us, her first visit here to San Luis Obispo.
Leaving the cold and snow in Pennsylvania behind her, she enjoyed, as did we, our first Christmas and New Year’s in this beautiful Mediterranean climate we are lucky enough to now call home.
Since we had just moved in two days before Thanksgiving, and I wasn’t able to cook what is my most favorite meal, Thanksgiving Dinner, I decided that I would make a Thanksgiving Dinner for Christmas.
For years now,during the weeks before Thanksgiving I love to listen to the Martha Stewart Show on XM Sirius radio. The format always involves guest chefs and callers sharing their holiday menus, both traditional as well as familiar dishes done with a new twist.
This year Martha Stewart Living test kitchen introduced a new way to roast a turkey that I found very intriguing and had wanted to try.
It involved roasting your turkey slathered in butter, but wrapped completely in parchment for several hours, then raising the oven temperature, unwrapping the turkey and putting it back in the oven to brown.
Wrapped in the parchment for the majority of the roasting time really seals in the juices resulting in a deliciously moist bird.
Removing the parchment and continuing to cook the turkey at a higher temperature for 45 minutes to an hour ensures an especially golden brown crispy skin.
Although Martha roasts her turkey stuffed I prefer to roast my Mom’s Stuffing in a separate casserole dish.
If roasting the turkey unstuffed you will want to lessen your cooking time accordingly.
Be sure to check the temperature with an instant read thermometer.
My sister, husband and I all agreed this was a wonderful way to roast a turkey, and I’m certain I will be doing it again.
Here’s the link to the recipe…
Here’s Martha herself showing how it’s done on The Today Show…
I have much to be thankful for.
We moved into our new home two days before Thanksgiving. As much as I had hoped to cook Thanksgiving dinner here it was not to be. And even I had to accept that, try as I might to figure a way to do it.
We just cut it a bit too close. The days before the move we spent moving out of the rental apartment, and the day of the move was a very long day, to say the least.
And Wednesday we began unpacking the first of the 300 boxes that made the trip from Maryland the end of June, and were finally released from the confines of the warehouse where they have been stored these past five months.
The important thing is our children were with us, and we had a wonderful dinner at an excellent restaurant located at a beach resort overlooking the Pacific Ocean . We ate on the lovely patio and watched the sunset from our table.
Dining in this astonishingly beautiful setting and looking into the faces of our sons sitting across from us both my husband and I realized the journey we began a couple of years ago which has had more than a few twists in the road was complete.
And we couldn’t be happier.
After many years of being on two different coasts we are now within several hours of each other.
We are in a brand spanking new (as my son says) home, in a storybook town, and we are very eager to make it ours.
As you probably may have heard, this year Hanukkah began the evening before Thanksgiving so for the first time in very many years we lit the menorah with our children. On Friday morning I decided to make potato latkes for breakfast with homemade applesauce. I had made the applesauce at the apartment the night before we moved.
It was my first time cooking on the new gas range and I had two skillets going. It felt great!
And while I was busy with that both of my sons and my younger son’s girlfriend were helping us with the monumental unpacking. In fact I couldn’t mix the latkes until my younger son finally located the box with the mixing bowls. Miracle of miracles!
We spent several hours in the afternoon at one of the the local vineyards (10 miles from our door) , and again I felt like I had to keep pinching myself as we shared a wine tasting together overlooking the vineyards.
So in the next weeks we will be continuing to unpack, and I will be learning my way around this new kitchen. Can’t wait to share some new recipes with you very soon!
Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukkah !
It is everywhere here in San Luis Obispo - numerous stands at the weekly Thursday night farmer’s market serve it up grilled in a sandwich, complementary platters of grilled tri tip are served to all season ticket holders at the Cal Poly Football games, and it has a prominent place in the meat department of all the food markets and groceries here. You’ve heard of steak and eggs…in SLO it is not unusual to see tri tip and eggs on the breakfast menus.
I don’t have access to a grill in the apartment so I roasted the tri tip we had for dinner the other evening.
It was super delicious, and I think the key was marinating it overnight and not overcooking it.
Here’s the marinade I used:
For a 2 and 1/2 to 3 # tri tip mix together:
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup canola oil
2 T sugar
2 T soy sauce
1 T freshly ground black pepper
2 T garlic salt
2T chopped fresh garlic
Place the tri tip in a plastic bag and pour the marinade over.
Place the sealed bag on a large plate and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.
When ready to cook, remove from plastic bag, and wipe off excess marinade and discard the marinade from the bag.
Season with some coarse kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper.
Roast in a preheated 450 degree oven. Turn when brown, and continue roasting until thermometer registers medium rare, anywhere from 25 to 35 minutes depending on the size of your roast.
Allow to sit covered loosely with foil for 10 to15 minutes.
Serve with sautéed mushrooms.
Here are some facts about tri tip…
For years the beef tri-tip found itself being ground into hamburger or cut into cubes and sold as soup meat. The reason for this is that there is only one per side of beef and in the days when butchers carved their own meat it was considered a waste of display space to sell the tri-tip by itself. Now that the carving is done by packers you are much more likely to find the tri-tip at your local butcher. If you don’t see it, ask for it. This often overlooked piece of meat is not only relatively inexpensive, but also very flavorful and has become a favorite amongst those in the know.
The tri-tip roast or steak (also called a triangle roast) is the 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 pounds of meat that sits at the bottom of the sirloin. Not only does it have a rich flavor, but also tends to be lower in fat than most other cuts. Of course, this means that it can dry out faster, but with a good marinade you really can’t go wrong with this cut. Good seasonings and marinades for tri-tip are those inspired by Southwestern or Asian flavors.
The versatility of tri-tips is another factor that makes them great. Uncut, it’s a fantastic roast that should be grilled indirectly for 30 to 40 minutes. You can also cut the tri-tip into 1-inch steaks, that grill up in about 8 minutes over a low to medium direct heat. As always, let your steak (or roast) sit for 5 to 10 minutes before you carve or serve it. This allows the juices redistribute and evens out the heat.
Because tri-tip is lean, be careful not to over cook it, particularly when preparing the full roast. Medium is as far as you should go with this cut. Use a meat thermometer to make sure you get it right where you want it. If you are used to grilling other cuts, this one can throw some grillers off by appearing underdone when it is ready to serve.
The calendar reads November, daylight savings time has ended, and there is an appropriate chill in the air, all facts confirming we have entered the pre-holiday season.
First up will be Thanksgiving which will arrive this year just a week from this Thursday!
And if that is not enough, this year Hanukkah arrives especially early, with the lighting of the first candle on the menorah taking place the evening before Thanksgiving.
Normally, by now I would have been happily immersed in holiday planning, but this year that planning was to occur in my new home, the cooking in my new kitchen, and the dining around our new dining table.
Now I’m not saying it won’t happen, I’m just saying…we are not there yet.
So we are anxiously awaiting our final walk through, or should I say run through, so we can get the keys, arrange the move in date, unpack the kitchen (kinda) and sit down to Thanksgiving Dinner with our children in our new home here in downtown San Luis Obispo!
Keep your fingers crossed. You will know almost as soon as I do !
In the meantime we are still enjoying life in our studio apartment, and I have managed to continue to prepare meals for us most of the time.
Here are a few of the dinners I have made lately.
While my current kitchen is well equipped with the basics it is compact and lends itself to simpler meals.
Many of them are dishes from my blog which I made in my east coast kitchen, with one big difference…there I could spread out, here, not so much.
So, as with life we make adjustments. And I have.
There are the Pan Fried Pork Chops with Sauteed Apples…
Season the chops generously with kosher salt, pepper, and some minced fresh rosemary. Bring the chops to room temperature before browning both sides in a pan on the stovetop in a small amount of olive oil and a bit of butter.
To the same pan I add thick slices of peeled apples (which have macerated a bit in a little sugar and lemon juice).
Continue to cook them in the pan with the chops on moderate heat, and they will soak up the yummy juices. Continue cooking til they begin to caramelize, but are not mushy, and they will be a stellar accompaniment to the pork chops.
With just 3 russet potatoes I made a quick rendition of mashed potatoes, substituting some of the pan juices from the pork and apples for gravy.
Then there was the Chicken Tenders Parmesan…
…using chicken tenders instead of boneless breasts the breading process was quicker and took up less room.
I made a quick tomato sauce with some good quality canned tomatoes. I simply mashed them with a fork and potato masher since there is no food processor or blender here.
I added the tomatoes to some sauteed onions, garlic, and oregano, added a splash of white wine, and cooked slowly til thickened.
For the breading:
1st…dredge lightly in flour seasoned with salt and pepper
2nd..dip in lightly beaten egg
3rd…dip in Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) to which you have added grated Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan) cheese. Press gently so crumbs adhere.
Note: For more detailed directions on breading and frying see blog post on Chicken Milanese.
When ready to serve, spoon some tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan, as well as on top of each piece of chicken, and sprinkle with some shredded mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle some extra Pecorino on top. Return to oven and remove when cheese is melted and the chicken is heated through.
Serve with pasta and some extra sauce.
I also made the Chicken with Olives and Tomatoes…
This is a one pan dish if you have prepared the roasted tomatoes in advance. There will be enough roasted tomatoes left to use for some other meals… as a sauce for pizza, bruschetta, or pasta.
I’ve previously posted the recipe for it here.