When Life* Gives You Lemons

Seriously, this is a lot of lemons. Like, twenty two of them. Just look.

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(It’s one of the many things I enjoy about being in the Bay Area. 🙂 )

Now that I have an unreasonable number of lemons in my life, I have two options.

Option 1:

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(Image from SnorgTees, but the sage advice is from Portal 2. Scene below.)

Option Two:

Make delicious things.

I think I’ll be going with option 2. There are just so many tasty paths to take.

There’s the G*d Damn Lemon Tart:

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Summer Lemon Breakfast Rolls:

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Lemon Bars:

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Meyer Lemon Crinkle Cookies:

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And the entirety of Pinterest. Now to work up the energy to clean up after all that baking.

—–

*The mom of one of your dear friends. Thanks, Riley!

Fresh Blueberry Pie

Fresh Blueberry Pie

My parents came down from Montana for a visit over the Fourth of July weekend. It was wonderful hanging out with them, and I made a point of stuffing them silly with all kinds of food.

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My mom and dad are the politest people on the planet, so it took forever to convince them to let me know what they wanted to eat while they were here. (My dad is the one who cracked – but don’t tell my mom).

Their requests included fresh blueberry pie. Not a problem!

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This recipe is quite simple, and it’s modified slightly from this one at AllRecipes.com.

Flakey Pie Crust (Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
 
Prep time
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Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks of frozen butter
  • Refrigerated water
Instructions
  1. If you're making the pie crust from scratch, start early. Place two sticks of butter into the freezer at least two hours ahead of time.
  2. Whisk together 2½ cups flour, Tablespoon sugar, and teaspoon of salt in a large bowl.
  3. Grate two sticks of butter from the freezer.
  4. Using a pastry cutter, work butter into the flour mixture until the grated butter pieces are well-coated with flour. Do not overwork.
  5. Drizzle ½ cup of the refrigerated water into the flour mixture and gather the dough together.
  6. Work water another Tablespoon at a time into the mixture (you'll probably end up adding about ¼ cup total) until the dough just barely sticks together in one solid lump.
  7. Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for at least two hours.
  8. Remove dough from fridge, roll out both halves into large circles.
  9. Place one half of the dough into a pie pan and gently press into place.

Fresh Blueberry Pie
 
Prep time
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Fresh blueberry pie is the perfect summer dessert.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Pie
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 prepared crust (recipe above)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Remove any stems from the blueberries, rinse and dry.
  3. Mix together sugar, corn starch, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
  4. Sprinkle over blueberries.
  5. Pour mixture into crust.
  6. Dot butter over the top of the blueberries.
  7. Use remaining pastry to cover the pie (make sure there are air holes to serve as vents).
  8. Bake for 50 minutes or until the crust is golden.
  9. Let cool and serve (maybe with some vanilla ice cream!).
  10. Enjoy!

 

Coconut Jasmine Rice With Mangoes, Strawberries & Honey

Coconut Jasmine Rice With Mangoes, Strawberries & Honey

I was having trouble thinking up what to serve alongside the Thai Steak Salad last Friday. Luckily, I realized I could continue with the mango flavor and pair it with coconut rice. coconutricewithfruit2 The dessert ended up being perfect. A nice, creamy coconut flavor, fragrant rice, and *just* enough sweetness from a drizzle of honey. coconutricewithfruit Mango is the traditional pairing for coconut rice, but then again, most people usually make this with sticky rice. I guess I’m not terribly great at being traditional. 🙂 coconutricewithfruit3 If you’re out of strawberries and/or mango, consider ripe pears or even just forgoing the fruit entirely. The rice (and a touch of honey) is such a lovely, light, subtle dessert. I could eat mountains of it. And really, I, along with the rest of the Qwerty crew, did. I am so grateful that our group is open to new flavor combinations, and mango and strawberry seemed to be a hit. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Coconut Jasmine Rice With Mangoes, Strawberries & Honey
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 3 cups jasmine rice
  • 2 15 oz cans of thick (not light!) coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Honey, for drizzling
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 mango, peeled & cubed
Instructions
  1. Rinse rice well and drain.
  2. Place in a large pot and add coconut milk, salt, and 2 cups water.
  3. Turn heat up to medium high and wait for it to come to a boil.
  4. Immediately after it comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 20 minutes.
  5. After twenty minutes, turn off heat and allow to sit, covered, for an additional 15 minutes.
  6. Fluff with fork and serve with fruit and generous drizzle of honey.
  7. Enjoy!

 

 

Thai Steak Salad

Thai Steak Salad

Back when I lived in Los Angeles, Mark and I used to go to restaurant called Houston’s. It was perfect for special-but-low-key occasions – like when family came out to visit or Valentine’s Days where we didn’t want to deal with another night of having our car accidentally locked away in a Hertz Rental Car lot because the swanky/upscale Italian place didn’t have their valet on duty when we tried to figure out parking. Grumble. Anyway. The main draw of Houston’s, for me, was their Thai Steak salad.

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I finally decided to try and attempt it myself for one of our Qwerty nights. This recipe features a whole array of different flavors that, on paper, sound a little scary (Brie was admittedly a little worried, but says she ended up loving the result). It was all complicated by the fact that one of our crew is allergic to mango, others hate cilantro, and others still hate bell pepper.

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I ended up combining cabbage, avocado, romaine, and freshly chopped mint (OH GOLLY did that smell good!) in a large bowl, and then served the mango, strawberry, cilantro, marinated and grilled steak strips, bell pepper, and peanut dressing all in their own separate bowls, assembly line style.  I realize that strawberries aren’t part of a traditional Thai Steak Salad, but it ended up being the perfect substitution for our Mango-allergic Qwertyer while also adding a nice element for the rest of us.

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It turned out really lovely. Admittedly, there was a lot of chopping and prepping all the fruits and veggies, but Mark is a pretty wonderful sous chef. 🙂

This makes for a really wonderful special occasion meal that’s definitely lighter than our usual Qwerty fare. Hope you enjoy it!

Thai Steak Salad
 
Prep time
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A multitude of flavors combine for a light, fresh, and delicious salad that works nicely as a main dish.
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Thai Fusion
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 2 mangoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2 avocados, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • ½ cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 4 cups cabbage, shredded
  • 6 cups romaine, shredded
  • 4 Tablespoons peanut butter
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons Olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • Juice of four limes
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 pounds of sliced flank steak
  • 1 additional Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons squeeze-bottle ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons squeeze-bottle garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • Cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Combine 1 Tablespoon sugar, ginger, garlic, hoisin, and soy sauce in a large plastic bag. Add in steak and massage bag until well combined. Refrigerate/marinate for at least one hour.
  2. Whisk together peanut butter, 4 teaspoons sugar, olive oil, sesame oil, lime juice, pepper flakes, and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside (or refrigerate until it is time to serve).
  3. Once the steak is done marinating, coat a pan with cooking spray and cook the steak to preferred doneness (we tend to like it medium, but the flavor sticks around even if you like it well done).
  4. Combine mangoes, avocados, strawberries, bell pepper, green onions, mint, cilantro, cabbage, and romaine in a large bowl.
  5. Separate out equally onto desired number of plates, then distribute steak evenly and drizzle well with dressing.
  6. Serve & enjoy!

 

Cinnamon Streusel Banana Bread

Cinnamon Streusel Banana Bread

When I see bananas in the store I almost always crave them. So I end up buying a bunch, while they are still slightly green. I eat maybe two or three, then a week and a few days later remember I still have bananas somewhere on the counter.  Into the freezer they go. Half of the time I forget they are in there and when I want to use them I think they have been in there to long. I end up throwing them away and the cycle begins again.

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The smell of fresh banana anything right out of the oven smells so good to me. I just want to eat it all right away.  I don’t have a ‘go to’ banana recipe so I almost always try something new. This recipe is really good, the bread is soft and banana-y. I love the cinnamon and the idea of crumb topping.  But in my opinion this is where the problem is, the crumb topping. I’ve made a lot of crumb toppings in my baking life but I’ve never had any of them turn out so hard and crunchy. Crumb topping should be pretty light and soft. Not hard and crunchy. I’ve never made a crumb topping with melted butter before and so I think this could be where the problem is? Maybe I added to much butter? I plan on making it sometime again in the near future and I will try cutting in the butter like I have in other crumb toppings to see how different it turns out. I think this will be my ‘go to’ banana bread recipe, with or without the topping.

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Cinnamon Streusel Banana Bread
 
Ingredients
  • FOR THE BREAD:
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, At Room Temperature
  • ½ cups Buttermilk
  • 2 whole Overripe Bananas Peeled And Mashed
  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • ½ teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • FOR THE CRUMB TOPPING:
  • ½ cups Powdered Sugar
  • ½ cups All-purpose Flour
  • ½ teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Butter and flour a standard size (9×5) loaf pan.
  3. Beat together sugar, egg and vanilla. Add the butter and beat until completely smooth and the butter is fully incorporated. Beat in the buttermilk and bananas until combined. Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet until all the flour is incorporated then pour the batter into the pan.
  5. Make the crumb topping by combining the powdered sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt and melted butter. Using your hands, crumble the mixture over the batter in the pan.
  6. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

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Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

This was my first time making lemon bars. I’ve made crusts of all kinds, and lemon curd many times. How hard can it be? I’ve eaten many different lemon bars, all tangy and delicious. After searching through dozens of recipes I finally settled on one from Smitten Kitchen.  The recipe wasn’t complicated, and there was an option for ‘full size’ or ‘half size’ lemon bars.  So in other words, a filling to crust ratio of 2:1 or 1:1. I naturally had to go with the ‘full size’ batch.

 

 

Sometimes when I make new recipes I get impatient and my logical baking brain stops.

What’s supposed to happen: Bake the crust, till it’s done. Let it cool. Make the filling, add it to cooled crust and bake.

What really happened: Bake the crust, not quite done but i’m going to take it out anyways. Mixed the filling 10 minutes ago, and even though the crust has only cooled for maybe 5 minutes i’m going for it!

Despite my impatient and forgetful new recipe brain they turned out amazing.  I wasn’t quite sure at first because they developed this brown weird textured skin on top, but it was fine after they were refrigerated. For the 2:1 ratio you have to really love love love lemon. They were big, tart, and extremely lemony. I cut them into tiny 1/4 inch squares and that was a good one bite. Next time I will make the 1:1, because as much as I love lemon flavor it was too much for me.  I took them to some friends and family and they disappeared quickly.

 

Lemon Bars
 
Ingredients
  • For the crust:
  • ½ pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the full-size lemon layer (2:1 ratio):
  • 6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 2½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup flour
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  • [OR]
  • for a thinner lemon layer (1:1 ratio):
  • 4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 1⅔ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (3 to 4 lemons)
  • ⅔ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ⅔ cup flour
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet.
  2. For the crust: cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into the greased baking sheet, building up a ½-inch edge on all sides.
  3. Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
  4. For the lemon layer: whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour.
  5. Pour filling over the crust
  6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (less if you are using the thinner topping), or about five minutes beyond the point where the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.
  7. Cut into rectangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

 

Meyer Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Meyer Lemon Crinkle Cookies

As much of a chocolate lover I am, I really enjoy a good lemon recipe.  I’ve only seen chocolate crinkle cookie recipes, so when I saw this I knew I had to try them out.

 

Whenever I do anything with meyer lemons it reminds me of my grandma. She always loved everything about lemons, the color, the smell, and the flavor. Every time she cut open a lemon she would smell it and just be so happy.  And happy is what these cookies make me. They are soft and airy, sweet lemony with just the right tartness. She would have loved them!

 

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Meyer Lemon Crinkle Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 meyer lemons, zested
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh meyer lemon juice
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Sift the powdered sugar into another bowl to ensure there are no lumps and set aside.
  4. Cream the butter for about a minute and then slowly stream in the granulated sugar. Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes.
  5. Scrape down the bowl
  6. Add the eggs one at a time, and mix on medium until incorporated.
  7. Add the lemon juice and vanilla and beat until blended.
  8. Slowly add the flour mixture until it disappears.
  9. Scoop out about 1 tablespoon of batter, and roll in the powdered sugar.
  10. Place on parchment lined, or silicone mat lined baking sheet about 1½- 2 inches apart.
  11. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, until the surface of the cookies have cracked and puffed up. Cool the cookies on a wire rack and serve.

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The happiest little ball of lemon dough ever