Hellooooo my darlings! It’s been awhile, but you know what? IT’S MY BLOG I CAN DO WHAT I WANT!
…but no really I’m sorry it’s been so long. So many things going on! But here. Here’s an apology for my absence:
These aren’t particularly pretty to look at, but these things are good – especially considering there’s no chocolate in them.
My future sister-in-law’s brides maids threw her a Wedding Shower this last weekend! Unfortunately due to time limits and crazy-expensive plane tickets (the shower was in Virginia), I was unable to attend. However, while I wasn’t able to make the party, I was able to bake-up some cookies commemorating the occasion!
The theme to the party was “tea”, since Stevie (aforementioned future sister-in-law) is a particular tea-fiend; the bridesmaid hosting the party requested that we each bring some of our favorite tea to share. Since anyone who knows me also knows I’m a coffee lady, I volunteered to bake and mail cookies instead. Hence, lemon tea cookies!
I’ve never made cookies like these before, both in terms of flavor and cookie style. Typically I steer away from any type of cookie that doesn’t let me drop the dough onto the pan before baking. But the recipe for these is so straight forward (and since Stevie is a special lady) I went ahead and gave them a try. Talk about being delightfully surprised!
Above you can see the 3 “extra” steps these cookies require: rolling into a log, wrapping before refrigeration, and then slicing before baking. These cookies were a snap to assemble, cut, and bake. The recipe recommended keeping the dough in the fridge and just slicing off a few cookies to bake at will – not a bad idea if you found them particularly pleasing!
The cookies are very light, and surprisingly addictive – even the dough (not that I can personally attest to that >.>)! They’re both lemony and buttery at the same time…which turns out is a fabulous combination. In the future I think I”ll definitely use fresh lemons and the suggested zest, but in a pinch, the lemon juice you have in your fridge will do just fine.
I”m looking forward to trying some more light cookies like this. Anybody have some suggested recipes?
Adapted from My Madison Bistro.
Makes ~30 cookies
This week we’re back off of Sugar-Top Mountain and back onto…I dunno…”Good For You Lane”. Hokey enough for you? Good, let’s continue.
Since I’ve been discussing good post-run foods recently, salmon is a food that immediately comes to mind. I love salmon and if I could put up with its cost, would probably eat it a lot more often. But since it does tend to be a little pricier, I have to put it to good use when I can afford it!
It’s summer here in Georgia (actually it’s Spring, but Spring is basically Summer), so it’s time to fire up the grill! There’s free-to-use grills around my apartment complex, and even though I’m really bad at getting charcoal lit, it turns out it’s tough to screw up those single-use bags where you just light the whole damn thing on fire. Go team go!
Salmon is apparently packed full of protein as well as omega-3 fats (which are the good kind of fat, not the kind you get from a terrible-yet-delicious Royale with Cheese). According to Runner’s World, “These essential fats help balance the body’s inflammation response, a bodily function that when disturbed appears to be linked to many diseases including asthma.” Basically, salmon has the goods to help your body recover after a run. Which is awesome, because it is also DELICIOUS.
So when my beloved Bon Appétit magazine emailed me a recipe for “Spiced Salmon Kebabs”, I immediately bookmarked it and went out that afternoon to buy some salmon. I was looking forward to dusting off the proverbial grill and tossing some fish onto it. ALL THE NOMS.
My family used to make kebabs all the time growing up, though most of the time it was with steak or chicken. This recipe remains as simple as it was when I was a kid: drizzle your kebabs with olive oil, sprinkle with a handful of spices, and grill! It also includes folded up slices of lemon between the chunks of salmon, which actually added a recognizable flavor. I’m not sure why I found that surprising, but it added a delightful zing to the crispy fish.
In addition to the standard kebabs (seen above!), I skewered some mushrooms, red bell pepper, and brussels sprouts (I’ve been big into brussels sprouts recently. They are so choice).
Everything turned out wonderfully, both the fish and the vegetables. I feel like I could’ve been significantly more liberal with the spices; admittedly I made a 1/2 pound less salmon than the recipe called for, but even so I feel like the spices were relatively abundant. Regardless the salmon was crisp and a little smokey, with a tang of lemon and delicious flavors of oregano and red pepper accompanying it. If you have time in an afternoon, definitely try this recipe out.
As far as how good this is for a post-run meal, it clearly contains the the vitamins you need. Unfortunately, grilling after even a short run is not particularly appealing. This is definitely the type of thing you’d want to make before-hand (either that day or the day before) and then pop it onto a salad after your run with, say, some avocado. Oh man, that sounds amazing.
From Bon Appetit
This post really should have gone up about a week ago, but my other blog has been eating up some of my life – sorry! Luckily for you I spent Sunday working on writing about some things I’ve been baking over the last month, so we shouldn’t run dry for awhile. Hooray!
But on to my Easter baking!
I had a very nice Easter Sunday with my parents, and as usual took the opportunity to do some serious baking. Dessert was my responsibility again, and additionally I had an itch to make a traditional Easter bread ring that I’d been seen popping up all over blogs in the last few weeks. Hey, if one baked item was good, two must be better, right?
The Lemon Chess Pie recipe I used was another recipe from a cook book I’m loving more every day: A New Turn in the South. I wanted something light and springy (relating to the season, not texture) for our dessert, and this seemed like a perfect solution. The actual recipe is for Lemon Chess Pies – plural, with tartlet pans – but apparently tartlet pans are not for sale anywhere in the Atlanta area, so I finally gave up and figured everybody would be just as happy with a pie. Luckily, I was correct.
The recipe also suggested adding blackberry compote on top, something I thought sounded delicious. A quick cup of blackberries and a good slosh of a sweet dessert wine and I was in business. Sorry for my low-caliber pictures this post…I think I should really start saving for a new camera. >.>
So the pie and compote I finished the evening prior to Easter (how unusually expeditious of me!) and mixed the bread dough to rise for the braided Easter ring I had set in my sights. By that time, though, my resolve faded and I lapsed into “I’ll finish it tomorrow” mode. Alas, alas.
The next day at my parents’ phase 2 of bread-making went really well. I divided the dough into the right portions and even got my braid on. Once I successfully connected the ends together into a loop (amazing!), I seated some delightfully colored eggs and added sprinkles. After popping it in the oven, it became clear that this bread was going to be awesome.
And it sure looked that way when we took it out of the oven. It smelled amazing and despite some leaked color from the sprinkles, the bread looked wonderful. I was so proud of myself.
Then, of course, we tried it.
Yikes, I don’t think I’ve had worse bread in my life. It’s not like it was boring or the texture was wrong…it just tasted terrible. It was bland and tasteless except for an odd lemony after-taste that left a question on your face while swallowing. And I’m pretty sure it was my slacker habits that did me in. Blast!
First, while the bread called for orange juice and zest I decided to replace it with lemon since that’s all I had in my kitchen. “It’s all citrus!” I thought to myself. Second, I’m pretty sure I let the dough rise and sit out for way too long. I left it out for hours the previous afternoon, not paying attention to how long it’d been rising. After sitting in the fridge all night, the “second rise” after creating the braided loaf basically never happened.
Basically, I killed a beautiful loaf of bread. It was a sad day. At least the eggs were tasty. >.>
But on the bright side, the Lemon Chess Pie turned out great! It was light and sweet and I didn’t take any short cuts that screwed it up. Between the two things I baked on Easter, I’d definitely suggest the pie…not the loaf. Unless, of course, you’re not chronically allergic to following directions like me.
Adapted from A New Turn in the South
Makes 2 standard pies
This recipe is for the filling…get the book for the crust and compote recipes!
1. Either grind together the sugar and lemon zest in a food processor, or rub them together with your fingers.
2. IN a large bowl, beat the butter and salt with the sugar and lemon zest until well blended.
3. Add the eggs and corn syrup, then milk.
4. Add the cornmeal and flour.
5. Add the lemon juice.
6. Fill 2 pie crusts and bake the pie at 350F for 30-45 minutes; the pies should be slightly golden on top. Place a cookie sheet underneath in case the pies drip.