Blueberry Lemon Crumble

I have a confession to make.  I’ve been kind of holding out on you guys just a little bit, and the guilt is too much for me to take anymore.  You see, the last time my mom came to visit, she brought with her the most prodigious amount of peaches and blueberries from my favorite orchard back in CT.

I completely swooned over this mountain of produce, and immediately started divvying up the goods: some for eating, some for baking, some for cooking…and then the race was on between me and the heat of my kitchen ripening the fruit.  Who would win?

Well I did, and I just can’t keep the results to myself anymore.  The first thing I knew I wanted to make was a crumble or crisp of some kind.  Something simple that would let the natural sweetness and flavor of the berries really shine.

I also wanted a hint of tang, so I decided on a blueberry lemon crumble, baked in ramekins.  I really should bake things in ramekins more often, individual desserts are so much fun.

Anyway, this crumble fit the bill exactly and really hit the spot.  The lemon complemented the blueberries perfectly, and the crumble topping added texture and just a touch more sugar.  And butter.  But you can never have too much of that, right?

Blueberry Lemon Crumble

Adapted from The Pastry Affair

Makes 4 individual servings

¼ cup whole wheat or all-purpose flour
¼ cup rolled oats
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cubed
zest of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 ½ cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, rolled oats, and brown sugar. Add the cold, cubed butter and, using your fingers, mush the butter into the flour until the whole mixture resembles coarse sand and holds together when squeezed. Set aside.

In another bowl, combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, and blueberries and toss.

Divide blueberries equally between four ramekins.  Sprinkle the oatmeal topping evenly over each. Place ramekins on a baking sheet in case the crumbles overflow and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until topping is browned and the crumbles are bubbly and fragrant. Let cool for ten minutes before serving (the fruit will be very hot). The crumbles may also be enjoyed at room temperature or chilled (or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream).

 


Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts

This could possibly be our last full week in our apartment.  While this thought is incredibly exciting, it’s also a tiny bit unnerving.  It will be our first move with actual furniture, (moving in and out of dorms really don’t count) since when we moved into the apartment we didn’t have a bed or couch.

Now we do.  We’ve also just got a lot more stuff, not to mention our precious livestock.  Starting today, I have to get moving (hah!) on our packing, though I can’t say I’m looking forward to it.

Needless to say, I’ll be packing all the kitchen equipment last, and it will most likely be the first thing I unpack at the new house.

I can just picture it now, I run straight into the kitchen to hang my beloved pans on the pot rack and arrange my various small appliances in the cupboard space while my clothes sit wrinkling in their suitcases and Izzy cowers in her pet carrier.

Just kidding.  I’d at least let Izzy out to explore her new domain.

But let’s return to the present where we have some fabulous donuts waiting for us.  Lemon and poppy seeds are like the chocolate and peanut butter of the breakfast world to me.  Not that I wouldn’t mind eating the later combo for breakfast.

Anyway, these donuts are a prefect manifestation of the “proper” breakfast combination, topped with a sweet, but tart, lemony glaze.  Basically sunshine encapsulated in donut form that would look great on your breakfast table.

Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts

Adapted from The Novice Chef

Makes about 12-15 donuts

1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp milk (whole or 2% is preferred)
2 Tbsp sour cream
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 large egg
zest of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp poppy seeds

For the icing:
juice of 1 lemon (about 2 Tbsp)
1 ½ cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease donut pan(s).

In a small bowl, whisk together milk and sour cream; set aside.  In another small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In large bowl, or stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and lemon zest.  Beat for 30 seconds, scrapping down the bowl as needed.

Add in the flour mixture, alternating with the milk mixture, stirring only until just combined after each addition. Do not over mix. Fold in the poppy seeds.

Fill each donut indention 2/3 full. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the donuts are slightly browned and spring back when touched. Remove from oven, transfer to a cooling rack, and cool completely.

For the icing:

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and powdered sugar until smooth. Dip the top of each donut into the glaze and transfer to a wire rack to dry. Lay a cutting board or wax paper underneath to catch drips.  Let set for 10 minutes and serve!


Lemon Pudding Cakes

So maybe today’s Hop Day with Izzy pic isn’t as cute as previous weeks.  Hey, I can’t make her strike cute poses, no matter how much I beg.  I always think it’s adorable when it comes time to feed her.  She gets so excited, runs in circles, and then shoves her entire head in the food bowl even before I can get it on the ground.  You’d think she wouldn’t be that hungry, since when she’s not sleeping, she’s eating hay or vegetables, but I suppose I can’t speculate on what goes inside that bunny brain of hers.

Ok, enough about bunny, because today is a very special day.  Which obviously calls for a very special dessert.

Today is my Nana’s birthday.  Who is Nana, you ask?  Nana is my paternal grandmother, and without a doubt, one of the most supportive, nurturing and loving people in my life.

Even if she does have a photo collage in her bathroom of my brother and myself at various stages of potty training…that all my boyfriends ended up seeing, much to my extreme embarrassment.  But that’s just part of her charm.

Her house is a kind of shrine, dedicated to those she loves, and believe me, this lady loves fiercely.  But the good kind of fierce. The kind that saves old poems and valentines sent before I could write them without my parent’s help.  The kind that sends you little notes every week, as well as the Sunday crossword puzzles cut out from the newspaper.

The kind that offers you anything you want the minute you walk through her front door.  The kind that makes you feel special, no matter what.  Well, I wanted to share a special dessert that I made in her honor.

Nana loves lemon, so of course I made her something citrusy and bright.

Although it looks like pudding when it goes into the oven, (in a water bath, of course) the top layer comes out as a lemon sponge cake that provides a great texture contrast to the layer of pudding hiding beneath it.

Hopefully someday soon I’ll be able to make these for my Nana in person, but in the meantime, I’ll wish her all my love on her special day.  Happy Birthday Nana!

Lemon Pudding Cakes

Adapted from Jo Cooks

Makes 6 individual servings

1 cup sugar

3 Tbsp all-purpose flour

3 large eggs, separated

¼ cup (half stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest

½ cup fresh lemon juice

1 ½ cups 2% milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a small bowl, sift together sugar and flour; set aside.

Place egg whites in a medium bowl.  Using an electric hand mixer, beat on high speed for 4 to 5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Transfer whites to another bowl.

Add egg yolks to the same bowl.  Beat on medium-high speed until the yolks are thick and lightened in color. Reduce speed to medium and add butter, lemon zest and juice; beat for 1 more minute. Alternately beat in flour mixture and milk, making 5 additions of flour and 4 of milk.

Fold in egg whites. Pour batter evenly into 6 ramekins. Place them in a large shallow roasting pan (I used my 9×13” pan). Add hot water until it reaches half way up side of the baking dish.

Bake in the center of oven for 50 to 55 minutes.   Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes, then remove ramekins from water bath and allow to cool 10 minutes more.


Fruit Filled Lemon Cupcakes

Crudmuffins! (worst breakfast ever) I can’t believe I forgot about Hop Day with Izzy.  Many apologies to all you bunny fans out there.  Look at her straining so hard for her hay…do rabbits have lips?  Kinda looks like she does in this photo.

When I arrived home yesterday afternoon, I was unpleasantly surprised to find the little bun outside of her pen and hopping around the living room.  Somehow she had pried the pen away from her cage and gotten free, though thankfully she didn’t run under the couch when I went to pick her up. Bunny crisis averted.

Yesterday was also my good friend’s birthday.  So let’s dedicate these cupcakes to her, though hopefully when I finally see her to celebrate, I’ll make her something even more awesome.  Don’t be fooled though, I’m gonna have to really outdo myself because these cupcakes were pretty awesome to begin with.

I’m kind of obsessed with filled cupcakes, so you’ll probably be seeing more of them around here.  I mean, they’re amazing little desserts packed with the most creative combinations.

This combo of a lemon, coconut cupcake stuffed with a homemade jam, topped with lemon frosting is a great choice for spring baking.  I made these for Easter dinner at Luke’s parent’s house, and they were well enjoyed.  I can’t wait to make another recipe like this soon!

Fruit Filled Lemon Cupcakes

Adapted from Love and Olive Oil

Makes 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup oil
1 cup full fat coconut milk
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice

For the fruit preserves:
1 pint fruit (strawberries, blackberries, or other berry)
2/3 cup sugar
1/8 – 1/4 cup lemon juice, to taste
1 tsp lemon zest

For the frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice (or more to taste)
1 tsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add sugar and brown sugar and mix. Whisk together oil, coconut milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until relatively smooth. Fill cupcake liners with a scant 1/4 cup of batter (should be just under 2/3 of the way full). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden, and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

To make fruit preserves, add the berries to a medium heavy saucepan along with sugar, lemon juice, and zest. Lightly mash berries and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Cook over low heat for 20 minutes or until preserves coat the back of a spoon. They will seem a bit runny. Remove from heat, transfer to a heat-safe container, and allow to cool at room temperature for 15 minutes. Move to refrigerator and chill for 1 hour or until set.

For frosting, cream butter with an electric mixer for 1-2 minutes until fluffy. Slowly add confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until mixture is smooth. Add lemon juice and zest and mix until combined. Add creamer and mix at medium-high speed until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes).

To assemble, cut a cone-shaped piece out of the tops of cooled cupcakes, approximately 3/4″ in diameter and set aside. Fill cavities with chilled preserves, and replace tops of cupcakes. Pipe on frosting, being sure to cover the seams, and serve!


Shrimp Scampi

Monday, oh Monday.  How quickly you sneak around the corner and leer at me.  I’ve seen a posting fad on other blogs that make Monday more interesting, it’s called Meatless Mondays.

Bloggers try to cook tasty, easy meals without the use of meat at least one day a week.  Seems simple enough, and I would totally do it…if the man of the house would eat any sort of meat alternatives.  I’m not exactly a lover of tofu or tempeh myself, but I’d eat them.

I love beans and lentils and other foods like that, but trying to sneak a chickpea past Luke would be difficult.  So I don’t try.  I fantasize about all the awesome lentil recipes I’ll make one day with my legume loving children, but until that day, I’ll be making my dishes with meat.

Or shrimp.  Another fun fact: Luke loves shellfish but hates fish, and I love fish but hate shellfish.  The only overlap in our venn diagram is shrimp.  I do like shrimp, but only if it’s cooked.  I don’t do shrimp cocktail…cold shrimp creeps me out.

And shrimp scampi is just so good.  I like this version because it is light and lemony, while still maintaining a good balance of garlic and shrimp flavors.  Plus it’s easy to prepare and is on the table in less than 30 minutes.

Shrimp Scampi

Makes 3-4 servings

Adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

12 oz linguine (or any other pasta really)

3 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound large shrimp (about 16 shrimp), peeled and deveined

1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1/2 lemon, zest grated
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Boil a large pot of salted water, add the linguine according to the directions on the package.
Meanwhile, in another large skillet, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic. Saute for 1 minute, stirring constantly to keep the garlic from burning.  Add the shrimp, salt, and the pepper and saute until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, lemon zest, and lemon juice.  Toss to combine.

When the pasta is done, drain the cooked linguine and then put it back in the pot. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, and serve.


Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Yesterday I got some very sad news.  I did not get my dream job.  It was quite disappointing, and upset me greatly, but as you can read, I’m being quite judicious in my reaction.

Though this throws a monkey wrench into the life plans Luke and I were tentatively forming, we’ll get through it.  With lots of mutual love and support and cookies.

I still have a couple small embers of opportunity out there in the teaching world, but I’m not getting my hopes up.  Instead, I’m going to focus on what I can do to be more hirable in the long term, and work on personal projects that give me purpose in the short term.

So I’ve got my positive face on.  Also, I just whipped up a batch of extremely tasty cookies, full of lemony goodness, so how can I be sad?

I just need to keep channeling some good vibes and not get down on myself.  And bake like crazy.

Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1/4 cup (half stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 lemon, zested

Glaze:

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 ½ Tbsp lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until ingredients are combined. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine butter and the sugar. Beat the until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine.

Stir in the dry ingredients. Spoon the dough (about 1 tablespoon for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

To glaze the cookies: combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let glaze harden for about five minutes and serve.


Lemon Poppy Seed Waffles

So it’s St. Patrick’s Day, and I’m posting yellow waffles.  That’s close enough to green right?

I’m not really the type to decorate/make holiday specific treats, except for maybe Thanksgiving and Christmas, but that’s because of how integral food is to celebrating those holidays.

Yes, I know about corned beef and cabbage, and adding Guinness or Stout to practically any baked good, but none of those appeal to me.  For the record, I am 0% Irish, so I’m ok with not being into St. Patrick’s Day food.

It’s Saturday though, so that means a more elaborate breakfast is on the menu.  Since it’s finally spring-ish, the lemony freshness of these waffles is sure to revitalize you if, like where I am, it’s been dark, cloudy and drizzly the last few days.

Of course you can still make them if the sun’s been shining, you lucky person you.  I shouldn’t complain though.  I finally got a pair of real rain boots about a month ago and I’ve been waiting to use them.

Whatever the weather on your St. Patrick’s Day, I hope you have a lovely time, whether you do anything festive, or not.  You could always add a swirl of green food coloring to these waffles, I bet that would look just dandy.

Lemon Poppy Seed Waffles

Adapted from The Nesting Project

Makes about 10 square waffles

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

6 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp poppy seeds

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

3 large eggs

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 Tbsp lemon zest

 Whisk first 6 ingredients (flour-salt) in large bowl to blend. Whisk eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and lemon peel in small bowl to blend. Add buttermilk mixture all at once to flour mixture and whisk until just blended. Let mixture stand for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat waffle iron according to instructions.  Spoon batter into waffle iron and cook until done to your liking. Top with your favorite toppings.  I love mine with blueberry jam.