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Posts tagged ‘lemon recipes’

always on the sunny side

22 March 2010


a sunny day: a decided cause for celebration in the scenic but often damp northwest, where i’ve become as weather-obssessed as Washington’s television forecasters. on this first formal weekend of spring, i took a drive north for a little adventure. donning my favorite Oakley’s to kick off the season and to temper the bright sun (which i’m clearly no longer accustomed to), i swung out of my driveway—lined with fragrant, pink-blossomed plum trees—and sped (conservatively, of course) up to La Conner, Washington to see the daffodil crop in bloom.

as i continued to meander north, i spotted several flocks of snow geese chowing down in a farm field—all completely unaffected by admiring tourists stopping for a photo op. next, i winded along the Padilla Bay Estuarine Reserve, where a great blue heron emerged majestically—as if on cue—during the late-morning high tide. in short order, i arrived in Edison and was drawn into the lot of Farm to Market Bakery (hardly a surprise. me. a bakery. screeching brakes.). the shop is tiny, but the flavors and portions? HUGE. i happily immersed myself in a generous piece of rhubarb pie (the first of the season, nicely layered, with a dense consistency, wonderful blend of spices and a light, buttery crust) and a glass of whole milk. i heaved a contented sigh.

i’m ushering in spring with a few sunny lemon recipes: a Meyer lemon curd tart, topped with hefty California raspberries and whipped cream. and a skillet corn cake with stewed cherries. both dedicated to my friend, Anne-Marie. bright, funny and eternally optimistic, whenever A-M is tossed the proverbial lemon, she consistently and graciously squeezes it into lemonade. may i grow up to be just like her.

Meyer Lemon Curd Tart
a combination of recipes from Cook’s Illustrated and The Martha Stewart Cookbook, the latter adapted by Marisa and found in her Food in Jars blog.


for the crust
1 3/4 cups unbleached organic white flour
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons butter, at very cool room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces

for the curd
6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
3 Meyer lemons (you need a generous 1/2 cup of juice; it took me 9 lemons to get there; make sure you strain the juice to remove the seeds)
the zest from the lemons
1 stick butter, cut into chunks


  1. preheat oven to 350F.
  2. in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, pulse the flour, confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch and salt.
  3. add the butter, and process to blend, 8 to 10 seconds.
  4. pulse until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal.
  5. sprinkle mixture in a 10- or 11-inch tart pan, and press in firmly with your fingers into an even, 1/4-inch layer across the bottom of the pan and up the sides to the edge of the rim.
  6. refrigerate for 30 minutes, then bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes; set aside.
  7. to make the curd: in a medium heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.
  8. add the lemon juice, then begin to stir with a wooden spoon so you won’t aerate the curd.
  9. stir continuously for 10 to 15 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed so the curd doesn’t come to a boil.
  10. when the curd has thickened and coats the back of your spoon, drop in the butter, and stir until melted; remove from heat.
  11. to strain the curd, position a fine mesh sieve over a glass or stainless steel bowl.
  12. pour the curd through the sieve, and remove any bits of cooked egg.
  13. whisk in the lemon zest.
  14. pour the curd into the cooled tart shell, and smooth the top.
  15. refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

serve topped with whipped cream and fresh raspberries. or just plain. really. it’s great either way.

Skillet Corn Cake with Stewed Cherries
a recipe from Emeril 20-40-60 Fresh Food Fast


1 cup unbleached organic white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (i cut this back from the original recipe and used salted butter)
6 tablespoons yellow cornmeal (medium grind)
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 10-ounce bags frozen, pitted cherries (i used a mix of sweet, dark cherries and pie cherries)


  1. place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven, and preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. in a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; stir in the cornmeal.
  3. in another medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, milk, olive oil and lemon zest until frothy. add 3/4 of the sugar, then whisk to combine.
  4. pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, and mix just until the batter is smooth.
  5. swirl the butter in the hot skillet (be super careful not to burn yourself) until melted.
  6. pour the batter into the skillet and bake until the center is set, about 25 minutes.
  7. while the cake is baking, set a 10-inch skillet over high heat.
  8. add the lemon juice, cherries and remaining 3/4 cup sugar.
  9. cook until the cherries have released most of their juice, 10 to 12 minutes; remove from heat, and set aside.
  10. when the cake is done, allow it to cool in the skillet for 5 minutes.
  11. slice into wedges, and serve with the stewed cherries spooned over the top.

the combination of the lemon flavor, olive oil and cherries: surprisingly, totally delicious! i served as an accompaniment to some crock pot pulled pork and mashed maple-sweet potatoes.

don’t be a sourpuss

19 January 2010


a cooler filled with bologna sandwiches, made with Wonder bread and slathered in French’s mustard. brightly colored pails and shovels. ditto beach towels. Bain de Soleil and zinc oxide. diametrical sun-exposure philosophies. four little girls and two moms in one-piece swimsuits and flip flops, all tucked snugly in an aqua-colored 1963 VW Beetle. headed for an adventure at a nearby lake, it was apparent someone in the back seat wasn’t very happy.

arms crossed over her chest and bottom lip stuck out in a pout, our next-door neighbor’s eldest daughter—then about age seven—wedged herself against the tiny rear window of the car and squinted at the passing scenery. don’t be such a sourpuss, her mom teased. the squint turned into a glare. i didn’t know what had transpired prior to our departure to warrant this gloomy state.

it took us only a few minutes to arrive at our destination, not enough time for a 180 on the mood. we piled out of the VW, grabbing beach gear and running toward the water with it. our sourpuss lagged behind, her mom grabbing her around the waist in an attempt to tickle her into happy submission. no dice. when you are ready to be civil, you can join the rest of us, her mom said quietly, applying a calm, matter-of-fact approach.

i got into the water and began to swim; my sister and her younger friend dug holes in the sand. a very exciting proposition for a three- and a four-year-old. the moms kept their eyes on us, as they chatted incessantly. sourpuss remained on the periphery, kicking a little sand up with her feet, lip still protruding. soon it came time for lunch, and even she could not resist the fabulous meal the moms extracted from the cooler. i actually think she became weary of solitary confinement. we all ate and laughed and went for a walk on the beach to comb for whatever. it was, after all, a manmade lake.

the six of us shared many wonderful adventures over the years. yes, we all had our little quirks. but they never tarnished the sheer joy of hanging out together. to celebrate sourpuss memories, i baked a tart and tangy, yet sweet, coffee cake. filled with robust lemon flavor and that zing of tart cherries. then i sat back with a cup of tea, a moist piece of cake drizzled with icing and wrapped myself in those good times. hope you can take some time to do the same.

Lemon–Sour Cherry Coffee Cake
a recipe from Leslie Mackie’s Macrina Bakery & Cafe Cookbook


for the cake
1 1/2 cups dried tart cherries
4 cups unbleached organic flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
5 eggs
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (i had Meyer lemons, so used those)
1 cup plain yogurt

for the glaze
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. preheat oven to 325F.
  2. oil a 12-cup bundt pan.
  3. place the dried cherries in a medium bowl, and cover with hot tap water.
  4. let the cherries soak for 10 minutes, then drain thoroughly; set aside.
  5. sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl; toss with your hands and set aside.
  6. combine the butter, sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  7. using the paddle attachment, mix on medium speed for 5 to 8 minutes, until the mixture becomes smooth and pale in color.
  8. add the eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding another.
  9. after all the eggs have been incorporated into the batter, slowly add the lemon juice, and mix for 1 more minute.
  10. scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix for 30 more seconds.
  11. remove the bowl from the mixer (i actually didn’t do this, and the cake seems perfectly swell), and alternately add small amounts of the flour mixture and the yogurt to the batter, mixing with a wooden spoon until add dry ingredients are incorporated.
  12. set aside 10 – 12 cherries for garnish, then gently fold the remaining cherries into the batter. be careful not to overmix.
  13. pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan, filling two-thirds of the pan.
  14. bake on center rack of the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown.
  15. check the center of the cake with a skewer; if it comes out clean, the cake is done.
  16. cool the cake on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes.
  17. loosen the sides of the cake with a sharp knife (i didn’t need to do this; it fell right out of the non-stick NordicWare bundt pan), the place a serving plate upside down, on top of the cooled bundt pan.
  18. invert the pan to remove the cake, and let it cool completely.
  19. sift the confectioners’ sugar into a medium bowl; add the lemon zest and lemon juice.
  20. mix with a spoon until smooth, then drizzle over the cooled coffee cake.
  21. top with the reserved plump cherries.