Tag Archives: lemon

Hummus

Hummus definitely falls into that category of foods where you ask yourself, “Is it worth making this or should I just buy some?”  There are plenty of good brands of hummus to purchase, especially if you doctor it up with a drizzle of olive oil or a sprinkling of zatar spice.  The thing is you can never quite buy yourself the super smooth, fresh tasting, garlicy punch of your own homemade hummus.  There are a zillion of hummus recipes out there and once again I have practically tried them all to try and find the right combination of teqniques.  Most purists will tell you to start with dried chickpeas, soak them over night, cook them with baking soda etc etc but at that point, for me at least, the scales of why can’t I just buy this and dispense with the hassle starts to tilt into convince’s favor.  So canned chickpeas it is.  That doesn’t mean there won’t be some work involved.  I found the somewhat tedious task of taking the skins off of the canned chickpeas makes for a substantially smoother and better tasting hummus.  It’s not as easy as just dumping the can into the food processor but at least it’s not a multi day effort.  To peel them, drain and rinse the canned chickpeas.  Then take the chickpea between your fingers and gently squeeze – you will find the weird white casing comes right off.  For a can of chickpeas it took me about 15 minutes – just turn on your favorite cooking show and get lost in the mindless task.

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From my research I learned that the other benefit of cooking your own chickpeas was that when they are warm they take on the other ingredients better.  Well here we can easily cheat that by quickly nuking the skinned chickpeas in the microwave for a couple of seconds before adding them to the food processor.  After that its just a matter of taste with the amount of tahini, lemon juice and garlic.  The recipe below is how I like it but play around and see what you like best – some people really want more of that sesame tahini flavor, others really hate lemon juice and replace it with water.  The method is the key and once you have that down the sky’s the limit.  Hummus away!

Hummus (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  simple but not too simple method of making hummus
Special Equipment:  food processor

  • 15.5 ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed, drained with the skins removed (see above)
  • 5 -6 tablespoons warm water
  • 3 tablespoons tahini sauce
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • olive oil and zatar for serving (optional)

Once all the chickpeas are peeled (see above on how to remove the skins) place them in a  microwave safe bowl and microwave them on high for 20 seconds.  Add the warmed chickpeas to the food processor along with the rest of the ingredients.  Puree until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides.

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If its not as smooth as you would like add more warm water.  Chill for at least 1 hour to let the flavors meld – serve room temperature with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of zatar (optional).

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Hummus

  • Servings: 2 cups
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Special Equipment:  food processor

  • 15.5 ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed, drained with the skins removed (see above)
  • 5 -6 tablespoons warm water
  • 3 tablespoons tahini sauce
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • olive oil and zatar for serving (optional)

Once all the chickpeas are peeled (see above on how to remove the skins) place them in a  microwave safe bowl and microwave them on high for 20 seconds.  Add the warmed chickpeas to the food processor along with the rest of the ingredients.  Puree until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides.  If its not as smooth as you would like add more warm water.  Chill for at least 1 hour to let the flavors meld – serve room temperature with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of zatar (optional).

Hummus Potatoes

Poor hummus has become so popular that everyone has bastardized it to the point where you can barely recognize it!  Carrot hummus made with no chickpeas (delicious by the way), garlic-less hummus (NOT delicious), beets swirled into hummus (so pretty) and on and on.  Well if everyone else can do it why not me?  I love the classic flavors in hummus – garlic, tahini (sesame paste) and lemon – and thought it would make a great sauce.  So I roasted up some baby potatoes and tossed them with this lightened up hummus-like sauce.  SO good, like scoop up the rest of that sauce with whatever you have handy, good.  This is the perfect side for a roasted chicken as you can roast the potatoes right along side it.  Or pair it with some lamb burgers for a healthier version of fries.  Hummus purists be damned…

Hummus Potatoes  (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  hummus
Special Equipment:  none

  • 1 1/2 pounds baby yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced or grated
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup water
  • chopped parsley for garnish

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Cut the baby yukon golds in half (unless they are really small, you can leave those whole) and toss with the olive oil and some salt and pepper on a cookie sheet.

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Cover the cookie sheet tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes.  Carefully remove the foil, toss the potatoes with a spatula and return to the oven, uncovered for another 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are golden and tender inside.

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While the potatoes are cooking combine the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt and pepper.  Whisk in water a little bit at a time until you get a saucy consistency.  Put the potatoes in a serving dish and drizzle on the sauce.  Serve any extra on the side for dipping and sprinkle the dish with parsley.

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Hummus Potatoes

  • Servings: 4-6
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Special Equipment:  none

  • 1 1/2 pounds baby yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced or grated
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup water
  • chopped parsley for garnish

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Cut the baby yukon golds in half (unless they are really small, you can leave those whole) and toss with the olive oil and some salt and pepper on a cookie sheet.  Cover the cookie sheet tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes.  Carefully remove the foil, toss the potatoes with a spatula and return to the oven, uncovered for another 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are golden and tender inside.  While the potatoes are cooking combine the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt and pepper.  Whisk in water a little bit at a time until you get a saucy consistency.  Put the potatoes in a serving dish and drizzle on the sauce.  Serve any extra on the side for dipping and sprinkle the dish with parsley.

White Bean and Arugula Salad

One last no cook dish before the summer is over!!  I actually make this year round since the ingredients are pretty season-less.  This dish is a great side to roast chicken, pistachio crusted pork tenderloin, or as part of a picnic.  Since its no cook it can also be served at room temperature.  I actually like the beans after they have sat in the vinaigrette for a while – let it sit for at least 15 minutes but overnight is even better.

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I would hold off on adding the arugula as it will wilt, until right before you serve.  I like to bring the left overs in as lunch even with the wilted arugula, it doesn’t change the taste it just doesn’t look as pretty.

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I know a lot of you are wondering why I used canned beans – the main reason is convenience, with them this dish takes 5 minutes.  However, I have to be honest with you all – I cannot cook dried beans.  Every time I try I end up with a mushy mess or under cooked beans.  Perhaps someday I will conquer them along with fresh pasta but until then, thankfully we have the can!  Check back in on Thursday where I am posting the PERFECT way to say goodbye to summer.

White Bean and Arugula Salad (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  Labor day picnics
Special Equipment:  none

  • 1 can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallot, around 1 small shallot
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 a lemon zested and then the whole lemon juiced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt, pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 handfuls of arugula

In a large bowl toss the beans with the shallot, thyme, lemon zest and juice and olive oil.  (Remember my trick and use the back of your zester to catch the lemon seeds as you juice it.)  Season with salt and pepper and the red pepper flakes.

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Let the beans sit in the vinaigrette for at least 15 minutes or up to overnight in the fridge (let the beans come to room temperature if you are storing in the fridge).  Don’t worry if it looks like there is too much liquid – the beans will take on some of it and it will leave some to coat the arugula.  When you are ready to serve toss in the arugula and serve.

White Bean and Arugula Salad

  • Servings: 3-4
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Special Equipment:  none

  • 1 can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallot, around 1 small shallot
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 a lemon zested and then the whole lemon juiced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt, pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 handfuls of arugula

In a large bowl toss the beans with the shallot, thyme, lemon zest and juice and olive oil.  (Remember my trick and use the back of your zester to catch the lemon seeds as you juice it.)  Season with salt and pepper and the red pepper flakes.

Let the beans sit in the vinaigrette for at least 15 minutes or up to overnight in the fridge (let the beans come to room temperature if you are storing in the fridge).  Don’t worry if it looks like there is too much liquid – the beans will take on some of it and it will leave some to coat the arugula.  When you are ready to serve toss in the arugula and serve.

 

Thyme for Vodka Lemonade

I am taking next week off for a little R&R but wanted to leave you all with some great ideas for the 4th of July.  We usually go see the Nationals play in the morning and then have people over to grill and relax until the fireworks start.  An informal BBQ like that will be just fine with a cooler of beer and some chilled wine but I always like to have a signature drink as well.  Pitcher drinks are a girl’s best friend in the summer.  Even better if the recipe makes two pitchers!  This spiked lemonade is perfect for the 4th when you have lots of people coming and going.  Also feel free to omit the vodka so it’s good for all ages (or do an adult friendly and a kid friendly pitcher.)

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I love lemonade – really anything made with lemons – but sometimes it can be a little cloying.  The addition of thyme adds a nice herbaceous note that compliments the fresh (yes fresh!) lemon juice perfectly.  I make a thyme simple syrup to infuse the whole drink with the thyme flavor but also have some extra fresh thyme on hand to garnish the drinks.  Simple syrup rather than straight sugar ensures that the lemonade mixes together perfectly – just make sure to use really cold water and a decent vodka.  After juicing all those lemons it would be a shame to use crappy vodka.  I used a new favorite from a local DC distiller, District Made Vodka from One Eight Distilling.  Right in our neighborhood, this distillery takes its vodka making seriously by using a special Russian technique to get a nice smooth finish.  Check back in on Thursday for a whole menu ideal for a 4th of July BBQ to pair with this drink.

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Thyme Vodka Lemonade (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  Summer BBQ’s
Special Equipment:  juicer (optional)

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 bunch thyme (extra for garnish)
  • 2 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups ice cold water
  • 3 cups vodka

In a saucepan combine the sugar and 1 1/2 cups water over medium high heat.  Stir occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved, usually a couple of minutes.  Turn off the heat and add the thyme.  Let the syrup steep for 10 minutes, then remove the thyme and place in the fridge to cool.

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While the simple syrup is cooling you can juice the lemons – make sure to use fresh juice.  In two pitchers or 1 large drink dispenser combine the chilled syrup, the lemon juice, 3 cups of cold water and 3 cups of vodka.  Stir to combine.  The lemonade can be made earlier in the day and stored in the fridge – serve over ice.

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Thyme Vodka Lemonade

  • Servings: 2 pitchers
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Special Equipment:  juicer (optional)

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 bunch thyme (extra for garnish)
  • 2 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups ice cold water
  • 3 cups vodka

In a saucepan combine the sugar and 1 1/2 cups water over medium high heat.  Stir occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved, usually a couple of minutes.  Turn off the heat and add the thyme.  Let the syrup steep for 10 minutes, then remove the thyme and place in the fridge to cool.

While the simple syrup is cooling you can juice the lemons – make sure to use fresh juice.  In two pitchers or 1 large drink dispenser combine the chilled syrup, the lemon juice, 3 cups of cold water and 3 cups of vodka.  Stir to combine.  The lemonade can be made earlier in the day and stored in the fridge – serve over ice.

 

 

Veal Saltimbocca

I often get in the trap of boneless chicken breasts, flank steak and pork tenderloin on repeat for weeknight dinners.  They are all quick, easy and pretty lean but when I saw veal cutlets or scallopini the other day I thought them perfect for a break in my routine.  These cook super fast so really the only hassle is “sewing” the prosciutto and sage to the cutlets.  Set up a little assembly line like below and  do it in the morning or the night before and then just dredge and cook, cutting the time to dinner even more.  This would be delicious all sitting over a bed of pasta or rice to sop up the sauce, or served with a green salad and some crusty bread (uh again to sop up that sauce).  I always order this when I see this on a menu but now I may just add it to my own weeknight repertoire!

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Veal Saltimbocca (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  mixing it up, veal style
Special Equipment:  toothpicks or short skewers

  • 1 pound veal scallopini
  • 5-6 ounces prosciutto
  • several sprigs of sage
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • zest of lemon
  • juice of lemon

First prepare the scallopini – salt and pepper the veal then top with a slice of prosciutto (you may have to cut the slices to fit.  Lay several sage leaves on top.  Using a toothpick or small skewer (a regular skewer cut in half works as well) thread in between the veal and the toppings to affix them to each other.

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Do this for each piece of veal – it doesn’t really matter what it looks like, just make sure the veal can lay pretty flat and that the prosciutto wont fall off the veal.  Dredge in the flour and shake off the excess.  In a large skillet heat over medium high 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan.  Add as many veal pieces that comfortably fit in the pan and cook for 2 minutes, flip and cook for 2 minutes more.

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Remove to a plate and repeat with the rest of the veal, adding more olive oil if needed.  Once all the veal is cooked reserve it on the plate covered with foil.  Add the white wine to the plan and deglaze any browned bits.  Swirl in the butter, lemon zest and juice and let cook together for about 3 minutes until it thickens a bit and comes together as a sauce. Carefully take out the skewers, pour the sauce over the veal and serve.

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Veal Saltimbocca

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

Special Equipment:  toothpicks or short skewers

  • 1 pound veal scallopini
  • 5-6 ounces prosciutto
  • several sprigs of sage
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • zest of lemon
  • juice of lemon

First prepare the scallopini – salt and pepper the veal then top with a slice of prosciutto (you may have to cut the slices to fit.  Lay several sage leaves on top.  Using a toothpick or small skewer (a regular skewer cut in half works as well) thread in between the veal and the toppings to affix them to each other.  Do this for each piece of veal – it doesn’t really matter what it looks like, just make sure the veal can lay pretty flat and that the prosciutto wont fall off the veal.  Dredge in the flour and shake off the excess.  In a large skillet heat over medium high 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

Add as many veal pieces that comfortably fit in the pan and cook for 2 minutes, flip and cook for 2 minutes more.  Remove to a plate and repeat with the rest of the veal, adding more olive oil if needed.  Once all the veal is cooked reserve it on the plate covered with foil.  Add the white wine to the plan and deglaze any browned bits.  Swirl in the butter, lemon zest and juice and let cook together for about 3 minutes until it thickens a bit and comes together as a sauce.  Pour over the veal and serve.

Lemon Chicken

There was a time, that my family never lets me forget, that I basically only ate pasta with lemon.  I know most kids go through a “white food” phase but this was pretty specific and weird – I would bring in cold pasta and lemon wedges in my lunch box to school every day!  Luckily my palate has expanded since then but I must admit, a squeeze of lemon makes almost any dish better in my opinion.  I started making this dish back in college, looking for an quick dinner that didn’t require having a ton of ingredients on hand.  Make sure to get thinly cut chicken cutlets for this recipe or alternatively use your knife skills to cut a regular chicken breast in half or pound it out to an even 1/4 inch thickness.  You want to really quickly cook the chicken without it getting tough and then just zip up the quick pan sauce.  This is delicious with rice and some roasted veggies – I had it the other night with pasta tossed in Giada’s Spicy Pesto which went really nicely with the acidity of the lemon.  Either way this is a great one to have in your weeknight rotation, lemon lover or not.

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Lemon Chicken (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  lemon everything!
Special Equipment:  none

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 pound chicken cutlets (i.e. thin cut breasts)
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • splash of white wine, approximately 1/2 a cup
  • 2 lemons, one halved the other sliced thinly

In a shallow bowl mix the flour with salt and pepper.  Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon each of butter and olive oil.  Dredge the cutlets and add to the skillet (do in two batches if your skillet isn’t big enough).  Really make sure to shake off the excess flour so they are just lightly coated.

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Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the chicken browns then flip for another 2 to 3 minutes until chicken is cooked through.  Remove to a plate and keep warm until foil.  If you need to do a second batch add more butter and olive oil and repeat.

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Once the chicken is all cooked add the lemon slices and cook for 1 minute until they get a little color.  Splash in the white wine and squeeze over the other lemon to deglaze the pan.  Add the chicken back in and cook all together for another minute.

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Lemon Chicken

  • Servings: 3 to 4
  • Print

Special Equipment:  none

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 pound chicken cutlets (i.e. thin cut breasts)
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • splash of white wine, approximately 1/2 a cup
  • 2 lemons, one halved the other sliced thinly

In a shallow bowl mix the flour with salt and pepper.  Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon each of butter and olive oil.  Dredge the cutlets and add to the skillet (do in two batches if your skillet isn’t big enough).  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the chicken browns then flip for another 2 to 3 minutes until chicken is cooked through.  Remove to a plate and keep warm until foil.  If you need to do a second batch add more butter and olive oil and repeat.  Once the chicken is all cooked add the lemon slices and cook for 1 minute until they get a little color.  Splash in the white wine and squeeze over the other lemon to deglaze the pan.  Add the chicken back in and cook all together for another minute.

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