Posts Tagged ‘lemon’

Steak Diane

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

Usually when we make steaks, it’s the Alton Brown method. (Man I’m talking about him a lot lately, sorry about that!) We don’t have a grill, though, which makes his pan-roasted steaks a great idea for apartment-dwellers like ourselves.

This time I felt like doing something a little bit different, and a recipe for Steak Diane from Cooking Light is what caught my eye. This recipe is also pan-roasted, but has you create a steak sauce out of the pan drippings. The sauce was tasty, and David really enjoyed it, but I’d be just as happy with A1. The creating your own sauce is a nice touch for entertaining, I suppose.

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Cooking Light’s Steak Diane

  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt, divided
  • 1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 6  (4-ounce) beef tenderloin steaks, trimmed (about 1 inch thick)
  • 1  teaspoon  butter
  • 1/2  cup  finely chopped shallots
  • 1/3  cup  water
  • 2  tablespoons  Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  dry sherry
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper evenly over steaks. Add steaks to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from pan; cover and keep warm.

Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Add shallots, and cook 2 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add water and remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute. Stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spoon sauce over steaks, and sprinkle with parsley.

Lemon Bar Tart

Monday, July 20th, 2009

One more Fourth of July recipe, this time a twist on another recipe.

When I made the Strawberry Tart, I made a double batch of crust. I did this for two reasons. One, I wasn’t confident in my ability to roll it out and get it into the tart pan on my first try. Two, I wasn’t 100% sure what size my pan was or what size my tart crust recipe really was. Of course, as it turns out, the recipe made exactly twice as much tart crust as I needed, and I was able to put together my tart with no troubles at all, so there was no need for the backup crust after all.

Which is how I found myself with an extra ball of tart crust dough in the fridge, and how I decided to make another tart for the 4th of July. When I started thinking tarts, I honestly was thinking strawberries and blueberries and cream, in some variation of the red, white, and blue dessert that shows up at every 4th of July barbecue.

When I thought about what I had–a flaky, rich, buttery crust with just a touch of sweetness–I tried to come up with things that would go well inside, and after a while, I realized what the crust reminded me of: the bottom of a lemon bar. Yum! So I decided to make a lemon bar filling to bake inside my tart crust. I read through several recipes before coming up with the method below.

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Lemon Bar Tart

For the Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 10 tablespoons frozen or cold unsalted better, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons ice water

For the Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cup plain sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice

Make the tart.

1. Combine flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse once or twice. Add the butter and process for about 10 seconds. Add in the egg yolk and process for a few more seconds.

2. Transfer the mixture into a mixing bowl. Add 3 tbsp. ice water and mix with your hands until you can form the dough into a ball. You can add a little more water if necessary or a little more flour if it’s too wet. Wrap tightly in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

3. Spray your tart pan with a non-stick cooking spray made for baking, or grease and flour your tart pan. Roll the dough into a round about a half an inch thick, then transfer into your tart pan. Using your fingertips, press the dough into the pan evenly, spreading it out all the way to the edges and up into the fluted sections of the pan. Refrigerate for about an hour.

4. After the crust is properly chilled you need to prebake it. Heat oven to 425 (F). Sufficiently prick the entire bottom of the crust with a fork. Take a large piece of foil and butter one side, press the buttered side into the crust and up along the sides. Weigh the foil down with a pie weights (or if you don’t have pie weights, a few cups of raw rice or dried beans will do the trick) Bake for 12 minutes.

5. Now remove the tart from the oven and reduce the temp to 350 (F). Take off the weights and the foil and put the crust back in and bake until it’s a nicely browned, 10-15 minutes. Take out and cool completely on a rack.

Make the Filling.

1. While crust is baking, prepare the lemony filling. In a larger bowl, add sugar, flour, and baking powder.

2. In a small bowl, beat the eggs lightly with the lemon juice, and poor into the flour mixture. Mix well, and pour on top of warm baked crust.

3. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the tart pan, on a cooling rack. When cooled, dust with sifted confectioner’s sugar and refrigerate.

4. Serve chilled.

Note: This was very good, but I have a few  improvements for next time. First, I need to be more careful with the tart crust, because mine ended up with a hole in it, and that lead to lemon filling leaking all over the place. I made this work, but it would’ve been easier if my tart crust had been liquid proof. Second, I didn’t have fresh lemons on hand to juice, so I used bottled lemon juice. I think it would’ve been better with fresh. Finally, I didn’t have enough time for the bars to truly chill, and I think they got eaten so quickly that even the “leftovers” didn’t get chill time. Oops. :)

Strawberry Tart with Lemon-Vanilla Pastry Cream

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

I whipped this up for a family cook-out a couple of weeks back. My cousin was home from the Air Force for a visit, and it was nice to see him and meet his new girlfriend. (They’ve been together for a while, of course, but she’s new to me. 😉 ) My aunt asked me to bring a dessert, which I was happy to do, but the challenge was that dinner was after work on a Monday afternoon, and so I was trying to think of something that could be made ahead but would still be fresh and tasty after hanging out all day while I worked.

David also bought me a tart pan that weekend. I can’t say that didn’t play a part. It did. So I decided to make a fruit tart with fresh strawberries and a homemade pastry cream.

Strawberry Tart with Lemon-Vanilla Pastry Cream

For the Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 10 tablespoons frozen or cold unsalted better, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons ice water

For the Filling:

  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 cups cream
  • 2 teaspoons butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

For the Fruit Topping:

  • 2 – 3 cups of fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and halved (or any other fresh berries you would like to use, really)

Make the tart.

1. Combine flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse once or twice. Add the butter and process for about 10 seconds. Add in the egg yolk and process for a few more seconds.

2. Transfer the mixture into a mixing bowl. Add 3 tbsp. ice water and mix with your hands until you can form the dough into a ball. You can add a little more water if necessary or a little more flour if it’s too wet. Wrap tightly in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

3. Spray your tart pan with a non-stick cooking spray made for baking, or grease and flour your tart pan. Roll the dough into a round about a half an inch thick, then transfer into your tart pan. Using your fingertips, press the dough into the pan evenly, spreading it out all the way to the edges and up into the fluted sections of the pan. Refrigerate for about an hour.

4. After the crust is properly chilled you need to prebake it. Heat oven to 425 (F). Sufficiently prick the entire bottom of the crust with a fork. Take a large piece of foil and butter one side, press the buttered side into the crust and up along the sides. Weigh the foil down with a pie weights (or if you don’t have pie weights, a few cups of raw rice or dried beans will do the trick) Bake for 12 minutes.

5. Now remove the tart from the oven and reduce the temp to 350 (F). Take off the weights and the foil and put the crust back in and bake until it’s a nicely browned, 10-15 minutes. Take out and cool completely on a rack.

Make the pastry cream (You can do this while the crust is baking)

1. Mix together egg yolks and cream. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Whisk the egg mixture into the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk every minute or so at first, but as it heats up and starts to boil and thicken, you will need to whisk constantly. This should take about 10 minutes.

2. Turn the heat to low/medium-low so that mixture bubbles gently and cook until it coats the back of a spoon, or when you can draw your finger through it and the line stays there. Stir in the butter and vanilla, and two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.

3. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve/strainer to remove all lumps. Because the mixture is very thick, you may have to help the mixture through the strainer by pushing gently with a spoon.

4. Set aside and let cool to room temperature. Then place in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, with plastic wrap pressed gently against the surface of the cream.

Assemble the tart. (I did this part the next day, at the party)

1. Spread the cooled pastry cream inside the cooled tart crust. Arrange the strawberries on top of the cream in whatever pattern you like.The more fruit the better, of course, so try to keep it in a close pattern.

Note: My original plan was to use a lemon glaze to finish the tart, but that never really came to fruition. I didn’t have time to do it right before the party, and I was afraid to start it ahead of time, as those things tend to solidify quite a bit, and I didn’t know how to keep it smooth and fresh all day.

I made a double batch of the tart crust, and refridgerated it to use at another time, which was nice. It was nice to have on hand for a quick dessert later on. If wrapped well, it could certainly be frozen for later use as well.

Lemon-Rosemary Chicken with Herbed Chicken Couscous

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

I make this chicken & couscous dish every so often. It’s actually very nearly the recipe on the back of the package of Near East Herbed Chicken couscous. There are a few reasons I like this dish: First, it’s very easy to make. Second, it’s very tasty, with bright, fresh flavors. Third, it’s  healthy (very little oil is used, and one chicken breast with a serving of couscous is less than 350 calories, combined).

I’ve been making this for awhile–it’s actually one of my dad’s favorites out of all the dishes I make.

Lemon-Rosemary Chicken with Herbed Couscous

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon fresh or dried rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon lemon juice, divided
  • 1 package Near East herbed chicken couscous

1. Bring 1 & 3/4 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. When the water comes to a boil, add the couscous, spice sack, 1/2 teaspoon of rosemary, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and cover. Set aside.

2. Pound chicken breasts to 1/4 inch thickness. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and rosemary. Dredge in dried bread crumbs. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken breasts and cook, turning once, until the chicken is browned on all sides and heated through (about 9-11 minutes).

3. Mix white wine and lemon juice together in a small bowl. When chicken is cooked through, carefully add the wine/lemon mixture to the pan. Cook for 1-2 more minutes until liquid is gone.

4. Fluff couscous with a fork and serve with chicken.