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Baked Feta Cheese with Olives and Lemon

If you should get invited to a Spanish ‘tapas’ party, this makes a perfect dish to bring. Okay, in English we might say appetizer, in French hors d’oeuvres ??? No matter it was another great find on Pinterest. It was also quick to prepare.

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Baked Feta Cheese with Olives and Lemons

Ingredients

  • one block of sheep’s milk feta (sold in the brine) about 10-14 ounces
  • 1/3 cup good extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 large lemon
  • 1 – 2 cups mixed olives* (recipe calls for whole and pitted) see below
  • a few sundried tomatoes chopped
  • 3 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • a few coarse grindings of black pepper

Instructions

  1. Set oven to 350F
  2. Put the feta in a gratin dish or other small ovenproof dish that you will also serve out of.
  3. Pour the olive oil into the dish, followed by the lemon juice. Arrange the olives* (I would suggest using ONLY sliced olives as they whole ones fall off when you lay them on the cheese when serving) around the cheese, with the rosemary.  I quarter the squeezed lemon half and throw that in as well. Sprinkle the red and black pepper over all. I also added some slices of sundried tomatoes.
  4. Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbling. I loosely laid a sheet of foil over mine. You can finish under the broiler if you like for a little charring effect.
  5. Serve hot with toasted bread
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Limoncello Tiramisu

Some of you are aware of my recipe posted some time back for homemade limoncello liqueur. Recently I was asked to bring a dessert to a potluck and I decided to make a limoncello tiramisu instead of the traditional one with espresso and Grand Marnier. What follows is this very tasty but time consuming recipe…thanks to Coleen, the Redhead Baker for sharing this recipe on Pinterest.

Limoncello Tiramisu                                         Author: Coleen, The Redhead Baker

Serves: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 5 large eggs, divided
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1½ cups limoncello, divided (1/2 and 1 cup)
  • Zest of 3 Meyer lemons
  • Juice of 5 to 6 Meyer lemons (enough to yield ¾ cup)
  • 1 cup water
  • 16 oz. mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 40 ladyfinger cookies

Directions

  1. Line a 9×13 baking sheet with wax paper, letting it hang over the edges on two sides.
  2. Fill a large saucepan with about an inch of water and set it over high heat until the water comes to a steady simmer. Reduce the heat to keep water at a steady simmer.
  3. Place two cups of ice in a very large mixing bowl and fill with about 2 inches of water.
  4. Place the egg yolks, ¼ cup of sugar and ½ cup of the limoncello in a medium mixing bowl. Place the mixing bowl over the simmering water, and whisk vigorously until the mixture thickens (about 5 minutes).
  5. Take the mixing bowl off the double boiler and place the mixing bowl in the ice water.
  6. Empty the simmering water from the saucepan. Place the 1 cup of water, the remaining 1 cup of limoncello, the lemon juice, and ½ cup sugar in the saucepan. Heat over high heat until boiling, and cook at a boil for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, with a hand-held mixer or whisk, beat the mascarpone cheese until softened. Add the lemon zest and beat until light and fluffy.
  8. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until frothy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until the whites form medium peaks.
  9. Fold a third of the egg yolk mixture into the mascarpone cheese, then fold in the rest of the yolk mixture. Then fold in the egg whites, a quarter of the whites at a time.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Perfect Lemonade

Time to make my annual limoncello drink, which takes 15 yellow lemons. The only problem is that I have the fruit of 15 lemons left after I remove the necessary peel. When life gives you lemons (or Costco), the only thing to do is to make lemonade, right? Pinterest to the rescue once again… It was great…you be the judge of how much sugar to add….

 

Perfect Lemonade Recipe (Simplyrecipes.com)

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6.

For more intense lemon flavor, grate the zest from one fresh lemon and add the zest to the simple syrup as you are making it. Once the sugar has dissolved in the water remove from heat and let the zest seep in the simple syrup for several minutes, then strain out the zest when you add the simple syrup to the lemon juice.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white, granulated sugar (can reduce to 3/4 cup) I used 1/2 cup
  • 1 cup water (for the simple syrup)
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 2 to 3 cups cold water (to dilute)

Method

1 First make a “simple syrup”. Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir so that the sugar dissolves completely and remove from heat.

2 While the water is heating for the simple syrup, juice your lemons. Depending on the size of the lemons, 4 to 6 of them should be enough for one cup of juice.

3 Pour the juice and the simple syrup sugar water into a serving pitcher. Add 2 to 3 cups of cold water and taste. Add more water if you would like it to be more diluted (though note that when you add ice, it will melt and naturally dilute the lemonade). If the lemonade is a little sweet for your taste, add a little more straight lemon juice to it.

Refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes.

Serve with ice, sliced lemons.
Read more: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/perfect_lemonade/#ixzz4BwfxF5jH

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup (Avgolemono)

As my wife and I had Greek neighbours, we often had Greek food with them or at the ethnic festivals each summer. Across the border from us in Detroit there was Greektown with wonderful restaurants (before the casinos moved in)…nothing like flaming cheese and OPA followed by this great soup!

From Wikipedia…Avgolemono or egg-lemon (from Greek: αυγολέμονο or αβγολέμονο), is a family of Mediterranean sauces and soups made with egg and lemon juice mixed with broth, heated until they thicken. In Arabic, it is called tarbiya or beida bi-lemoune ‘egg with lemon’; and in Turkish terbiye. In Sephardic Jewish cuisine, it is called agristada or salsa blanco, and in Italian cuisine, bagna brusca, brodettato, or brodo brusco. It is also widely used in Balkan cuisine.

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

Ingredients

2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons shredded carrots
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped celery
1 tablespoon and 1-1/2 teaspoons chicken soup base
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 tablespoon margarine
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cooked white rice
1/4 cup diced, cooked chicken meat
4 slices lemon
2 egg yolks

Preparation
1. In a large pot, combine the chicken broth, lemon juice, carrots, onions, celery, soup base, and white pepper. Bring to a boil on high, then simmer for 20 minutes.
2. Blend the butter and the flour together. Then gradually add it to the soup mixture. Simmer for 10 minutes more, stirring frequently.
3. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks until light in color. Gradually add some of the hot soup to the egg yolks, stirring constantly. Return the egg mixture to the soup pot and heat through. Add the rice and chicken. Ladle hot soup into bowls and garnish with lemon slices.

Shrimp and Artichoke Linguini

Always great to have dinner with longtime friends. Made even better by this great tasting dish! Know you will enjoy it. Test out some of the optional ingredients at the end…

Shrimp and Artichoke Linguini a la Chuck

This recipe is great for pasta and shrimp. I think I might even try the sauce over cooked chicken, served with rice!

500 grams linguini pasta

2 T olive oil

1 large onion chopped

4 cloves garlic crushed

1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined

 

Sauce:

1 can artichoke hearts

½ cup white wine

4 T lemon juice

4 tsp. lemon zest

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

½ cup chicken stock

Corn starch

4 T fresh chopped parsley

 

Optionals: 1 T capers and/or ¼ cup diced red peppers and/or 1 T Dijon mustard and/or crushed red pepper flakes

 

1.       Cook pasta in boiling water.

2.       Sauté onion and garlic (and red pepper) in oil for about 5 minutes while pasta is cooking. Remove to a bowl.

3.       Add shrimp to drippings and cook for about 3 minutes. Stir in artichoke hearts, wine, lemon juice, zest, salt, pepper and cooked onion and garlic. Heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer, cover for 4 minutes.

4.       Thicken with cornstarch.

5.       Toss with pasta and parsley. Serve immediately.

 

Limoncello Liqueur

We first tasted limoncello while in Sorrento and fell in love with it. You can buy it at the liquor store but it can be pricey and a little too sweet. Just in case you are wondering it is a great after dinner drink served in small liqueur glasses, ICE COLD. I apologize for not sending this sooner, but honestly thought had…que lastima! If any of you are interested I have a great cake recipe for using this…mmm…

Italian Limoncello – How To Make Limoncello

Prep time: 20 min           Total time: From 40 to 80 days

Ingredients:
15 lemons*
2 (750 ml) bottles 100-proof vodka or 1 (750 ml) (we only get 40 proof here)
4 cups granulated sugar
5 cups water (filtered tap water or distilled water)

* Choose thick-skinned lemons because they are easier to zest. The lemons must be yellow and not tinted with green.

Step One:

Wash the lemons with a vegetable brush and hot water to remove any reside of pesticides or wax; pat the lemons dry.

Carefully zest the lemons with a zester or vegetable peeler so there is no white pith on the peel. NOTE: Use only the outer part of the rind. The pith, the white part underneath the rind, is too bitter and would spoil your limoncello.

Step Two:

In a large glass jar (1-gallon jar with lid), add vodka. Add the lemon zest as it is zested.

Cover the jar and let sit at room temperature for at least (10) ten days and up to (40) days in a cool dark place. The longer the mixture rests, the better the end taste will be. (There is no need to stir – all you have to do is wait.) As the limoncello sits, the vodka slowly takes on the flavor and rich yellow color of the lemon zest.

Step Three:

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and water; bring to a gentle boil and let boil, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and let the syrup cool before adding it to the Limoncello mixture.

Add cooled sugar mixture to the Limoncello mixture (from Step One).

Cover jar and allow to rest for another 10 to 40 days.

Step Four:

After the rest period, strain the Limoncello; discarding the lemon zest.(I leave the zest in) Pour strained Limoncello in bottle/bottles (of your choice) and seal tightly.

NOTE: Coffee filters or cheesecloth work great for straining the mixture if you don’t want the zest in the drink. Moisten the filters before beginning the straining process.

Keep your bottle/bottles of Limoncello in the freezer until ready to serve. Serve ice cold from the freezer. If it freezes hard, run it under a little warm water for two minutes.