Tag Archives: Lemon

Cumin-Dusted Pork Cutlets with Citrus Pan Sauce

Cumin-Dusted Pork Cutlets with Citrus Pan Sauce

Do you know what you are making for dinner tonight?  Is your menu written out on your big wall calendar so you know what you are making for every night of the week?  Perhaps you aren’t as nutty as we are about menu planning, but that’s okay.  You can still have an amazingly delicious dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes if you make this pork recipe.

Gathering the ingredients

This recipe is great for many reasons.  1) most people have the ingredients on hand, 2) it uses pork cutlets which are super thin, thaw quickly (if you forgot to take them out of the freezer the day before), and cook quickly, 3) the pan sauce takes less than 5 minutes to make but tastes so good that you will want to pour it on everything in sight.  The sauce is tart and tangy with the citrus juices, the honey adds a hint of sweetness to round it out, and the garlic and olive oil keep the whole thing from being too syrupy-tasting.

Cooking the pork

If you find yourself with boneless pork chops instead of cutlets, you can still make this work.  Simply cut the chops in half cross-wise and pound them to 1/4 inch thick between two sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap.  This is an excellent way to let out the day’s frustrations.  Serve with rice and black beans and some greens and you have yourself a meal in no time flat.

Scrumptious pan sauce

Cumin-Dusted Pork Cutlets with Citrus Pan Sauce

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Ingredients:

2 tbls all-purpose flour

2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

3-4 pork cutlets (about 12 ounces total)

3 tbls olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

3 tbls fresh lemon juice

1 tbls honey

To Make:

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Combine flour, cumin, salt and pepper on a plate and mix well.  Coat each pork cutlet in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.  Add the pork to the skillet and cook through, turning once, about six minutes.  Transfer the pork to serving plates and tent with foil to keep warm.

Add the last 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the skillet.  Add the garlic and cook until just golden (about 30 seconds), stirring often.  Add the orange juice and the lemon juice.  Bring the juices to a boil, whisking often until reduced and slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.  Whisk in honey.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Pour the sauce over the pork.

To Serve:

Serve warm with whatever sides strike your fancy.  If you put rice on before starting the pork, everything can be done at the same time.  I recommend doubling the sauce recipe.  The amount outlined above makes just enough to lightly cover the pork.  The sauce is so darn good that we find ourselves licking our plates to get every last drop… well, maybe that’s just me.  In any case, consider making extra to drizzle over rice or vegetables.  Serves 2-3.

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Filed under Dairy-free, Dinner, Meat, Recipes

Scallops in Lemon-Basil Cream Sauce

Scallops in Lemon-Basil Cream Sauce

Did you make your preserved lemons yet?  If not, what are you waiting for?  If you had started your preserved lemons a month or two ago, you could make this for dinner tonight!

As the weather turns nicer and the sights and smells of spring are all around, my thoughts turn to lighter fare like seafood, fresh herbs, and pasta dishes.  Don’t let the “cream” in the title fool you, this sauce is lovely and light with the salty-sour taste of preserved lemon mixing with fresh basil.  It is fast and easy to put together, making it perfect for a weeknight dinner.  We used small Maine bay scallops in this recipe but it would be equally lovely with larger scallops.  Please just make sure to source your ingredients carefully.  Don’t go buying farmed seafood from Asia… there aren’t a lot of regulations and lord only knows what kind of stuff might end up in your scallops.

Seared Scallops

P.S., if you don’t have preserved lemon but want to make this anyway, use the zest of a regular lemon instead.  It won’t have quite the same flavor but is will still be fresh and tasty.

P.P.S., if you don’t have any basil laying around, you could substitute fresh thyme or dill for a different, but still lovely taste

Fresh ingredients

Scallops in Lemon-Basil Cream Sauce

Ingredients:

8 oz spaghetti, cooked and drained

8 oz bay scallops

4 tbls butter, divided

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup half-and-half

1 cup chicken stock

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

lemon peel from 1/2 a preserved lemon, finely diced

2 tbls cornstarch

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Grated parmesan cheese (optional)

To Make:

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When the butter just begins to brown, add the scollops.  Cook for 1 minute, turn over and cook for another minute.  Remove from pan and set aside.

To prepare the preserved lemon, remove it from the jar and rinse well.  Scrape out the pulp and white pith and discard.  Finely chop the peel and set aside.

Wipe out the skillet that you cooked the scallops in.  Using that pan, melt remaining two tbls butter over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and sautee until just starting to brown, about 30 seconds.  Add the half-and-half, chicken stock, and preserved lemon.  Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half, about 8 minutes.  In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and cornstarch.  Pour into the sauce and cook for about 2 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from the heat.  Add the scallops and cooked and drained spaghetti.  Add a small amount of pasta water as needed to thin the sauce.  Stir in the basil just prior to serving.  Top with grated parmesan cheese, if desired.

To Serve:

Serve immediately.  Serves 2-4, depending on how hungry you are.

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Filed under Dinner, Fish, Pasta, Recipes

Preserved Lemon (Lemon Confit)

Lemon Confit

I miss fresh produce.  I miss it a lot.  Oh sure, we have root vegetables left over from our last winter CSA distribution and I picked up some local spinach the other day, but it just isn’t the same.  Spring is finally here, the weather has been getting warm, and the sun has been showing itself again.  Shouldn’t that mean that fresh produce abounds?  Sadly, it is still too early here in New England to get more than some early lettuce and spinach.    This time of year makes me especially happy that we managed to preserve some of our summer bounty when we had the chance.

Cutting the Lemons and Salting the Lemons

In fact, preservation is the theme of this post… preserved lemons to be more precise.  Now, living in New England we unfortunately did not happen upon organic lemons growing on lemon trees.  We picked these up from Trader Joe’s.  But that doesn’t make them any less delicious or amazing or any of the other adjectives that could be used to describe the awesomeness of preserved lemons.  If you have never had them before, preserved lemons (a staple of Middle Eastern and Moroccan cooking) are beguilingly complex.  They add lemony tang coupled with saltiness and a hint of sweetness to whatever they are in.  They are also tremendously easy to make.  Simply cover lemon halves packed in a clean jar with lots of salt and let them sit around for a month or two.  It doesn’t get much easier than that.  Just be sure to use organic lemons because the rind is what you end up eating and you don’t need to be ingesting all those nasty chemicals.

Finished lemons

Preserved Lemons

There are tons of “recipes” for preserved lemons out there.  Some call for packing the lemons in a brine while others, like this one, call for packing the lemons in salt.  Technique from Charcuterie

Ingredients:

Kosher salt to cover, about 2 lbs

12 small lemons, cut in half

To Make:

Clean and sterilize a 1 quart glass mason jar.  You can sterilize it by running it through your dishwasher’s sanitizer cycle or by immersing the clean jar in a bath of boiling water for 10 minutes.  Let it cool before you add anything to the jar.

Thoroughly scrub clean ~12 small lemons.  Cut each lemon in half crosswise.  Place a 1 inch layer of salt in the bottom of your jar.  Top with a layer or two of lemons.  Try to pack the lemons in pretty closely (don’t cram them in there but try to get rid of excess space).  Cover with another layer of salt.  Repeat, alternating lemons and salt, ending with a layer of salt, until the jar is full.  Thump and jiggle the jar to make sure all the lemons are covered in salt and that there aren’t any spaces that aren’t filled.  Keep adding salt as needed.  Seal the jar and set it in a cool dark place.  Let the lemons sit for at least 1 month, preferably 3 months, before you dig in

To Serve:

Pull a lemon half out of the jar.  They will be more tan than bright yellow and will have a slightly leathery appearance.  This is normal.  Use a spoon to scrape out the pulp and pith and discard.  Rinse the rind well, chop, and add to whatever you are cooking.  If you find it is too salty, you can blanch the rind in boiling water for a minute or so to get some of the excess salt out.  If you find that your jar now has some air spaces from removing your lemon half, you can top it off with additional salt.  The remaining lemons will keep indefinitely in their jar.

What to do with your lemons?  We will be posting a few different recipes in the coming days so keep your eyes peeled!

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Filed under Gluten-Free, How To, Recipes, Vegetarian

Flourless Almond-Citrus Cake

Flourless Almond-Citrus Cake

I have been on a cake bender lately.  My cakes of choice have been those that have copious amounts of citrus and/or nuts.  There is something about this time of year that begs for tea and a simple, elegant cake.  I started with this one and was totally hooked on the simplicity but depth of flavor provided by toasted walnuts.  Then, I made this one and thought I might pass out from the sheer deliciousness of the bright-tart-sweet-slightly-bitter flavor of whole oranges and lemons.

Almonds ready to grind

My recent cake obsession culminated in this Flourless Citrus-Almond cake.  This cake cuts to the chase and dispenses with flour in favor of blanched almonds finely ground in the food processor.  There is no butter or oil.  Instead, egg yolks provide richness and some fat while whipped egg whites are folded in to create a lovely light texture.  The flavoring is equally as simple, lemon and orange zest and a hint of cinnamon.  The result is a flavorful cake that makes a delicious breakfast treat in place of the usual coffee cake, pairs beautifully with afternoon tea, or can be served to guests as a sophisticated dessert.

Almond, egg yolks, and peel

If you source your ingredients carefully, this cake is gluten-free.  You can serve the cake unadorned with a small scoop of almond ice cream, with some whipped cream, or make a simple citrus glaze to spread over the top.  I served mine with a glaze made from the juice of an orange and a teaspoon of lemon juice.  I mixed the juices with about 8 tbls of powdered sugar, until it reached a spreadable consistency.  I spread it on top of the cooled cake before serving.

Whipped egg whites

The only other modification I might make the next time I make this cake is to cut back on the sugar.  There are only 8 tbls of sugar but the finished cake was pretty sweet.  I think it would be nice to reduce the sugar by a couple of tbls to let the flavor of the citrus and almonds shine through even more.

Ready to bake

Flourless Almond-Citrus Cake

Adapted from Bon Appetit “Tastes of the World” Cookbook*       

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups blanched slivered almonds

8 tbls sugar, divided

4 large eggs, divided

3 tsp packed grated lemon peel

2 tsp packed grated orange peel

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt

To Make:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Butter a 9-inch diameter cake pan with 1 1/2-inch high sides.  Use almond meal to “flour” the cake pan.  If you don’t have almond meal, you can use all-purpose flour (however, the cake will not be gluten-free any more).  Line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment or waxed paper.

Place the almonds and 2 tbls of sugar in a food processor and process until the almonds are finely ground (you want the mixture to be the approximate texture of sand).  Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine egg yolks, 2 tbls of sugar, orange and lemon peel, cinnamon, and salt.  Beat until thick and smooth, about 2 minutes.  Stir in almond mixture.  Using clean beaters (and a spotlessly clean large bowl) beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Gradually add remaining 4 tbls sugar, beating until stiff but not dry.

Fold a large spoonful of the whites into the almond mixture until combined.  Gently fold in remaining whites.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake until a tested inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes.  Cool in pan on a wire rack.  Turn out onto platter and remove parchment paper. 

To Serve:

Glaze, top with whipped cream or jam, or serve plain.  Makes about 8 servings.

* This is not the actual Tastes of the World cookbook, this is the small, free version Bon Appetit sends when you get a new subscription

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Filed under Baked goods, Breakfast, Dessert, Recipes