Baker’s Delight: Lime Shortbread

First, don’t forget to enter our great giveaway! It ends tomorrow!

This weekend I needed to make a quick dessert and so I turned to one of my newest cookbooks, Bon Appetit Dessert. Heather actually gave me this amazing cookbook for my birthday and I just couldn’t wait to start trying the delicious recipes! This recipe was for Lemon Shortbread Squares but I switched it up to to make them lime. We LOVED them! I doubled the recipe and put them in a 12×18 bar pan which made them thinner than the original recipe but it was perfect for us. These are just so good and so incredibly easy!

LIME SHORTBREAD
(Adapted from Bon Appetit Desserts)
Print This Recipe

1/2 c. sugar
1 Tb. finely grated lime peel
3/4 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tb. fresh lime juice
2 Tb. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. flour

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spray pan with nonstick spray.

Using fingertips, rub sugar and lime peel together in large bowl to release essential oils in peel. Add butter. Using electric mixer, beat until mixture in light and fluffy. Beat in lime juice, then cornstarch, and salt, Add flour and beat just until blended. Using fingers, press dough firmly and evenly over bottom of prepared pan. Pierce dough all over with fork.

Bake shortbread until cooked through and just golden brown, about 50 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 10 minutes. Cut and enjoy. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

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Off the Shelf: April Magazine Reviews

Bon Appetit (Stephanie): The advent of spring is celebrated throughout the pages of Bon Appetit with recipes highlighting ingredients like asparagus, radishes, peas, strawberries, leeks. After the long winter months, it’s such a pleasure to cook with fresh seasonal produce again. So many recipes sounded tempting: Garganelli with Asparagus, Artichokes, Favas, and Peas; Soba Noodle Salad with Salmon and Asparagus Radish, Arugula, and Red Onion Salad with Tangerines; Orange-Flower Pavlovas with Strawberries; Bacon and Leek Risotto with Poached Egg; Ginger-Pecan Scones. Doesn’t all of that sound springy and delicious?!

My pantry ingredients enticed me to make the Chickpea Salad with Lemon, Parmesan, and Fresh Herbs. I didn’t have the fresh parsley or basil on hand, so I did substitute 1/2 tsp of the dried herbs, though I’m certain fresh would have been better. Still, this made a nutritious, delicious, inexpensive lunch. I served it on a bed of shredded romaine. This will definitely become a standby recipe.

CHICKPEA SALAD WITH LEMON, PARMESAN, AND FRESH HERBS
Bon Appetit, April 2011
Print This Recipe

1 15- to 15 1/2-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, pressed
1/3 cup (packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Coarse kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Combine rinsed and drained chickpeas, chopped fresh basil, chopped Italian parsley, fresh lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, and pressed garlic clove in medium bowl. Add grated Parmesan cheese and toss gently to blend all ingredients thoroughly. Season chickpea salad to taste with coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

DO AHEAD Chickpea salad can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Serve salad chilled or at room temperature.


Everyday Food (Stephanie): Every couple of months I get my hands on an issue of Everyday Food, and while I’m not wowed by every page, there are always several recipes that pique my interest. In this issue I did find recipes I hope to try sometime: Sauteed Collards with Bacon; Raspberry Cornmeal Crumble Bars; Shredded Chicken with Kale and Lentils; Mushroom Risotto with Spring Herbs. Overall though, I felt like a Celebration of Spring theme seemed rather absent (other than the Easter Dinner menu: Salmon with Brown Sugar and Mustard Glaze; Salt and Pepper Rolls; Asparagus and Green Beans with Chili-Orange Oil; Balsamic Red Onions; Simple Lemon Cake). I would have enjoyed more lightened-up, spring produce featuring recipes.
We don’t eat much cereal in our house, but I love a bowl of granola now and then. So, I decided to try two variations of granola recipes: Pistachio-Apricot Granola and Cherry-Lime Granola. Both were quite tasty! (Though I didn’t have enough of the lime zest, so the lime flavor didn’t come through as strong as I would have liked.) I make my granola with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Rolled Oats, so my husband can enjoy the bounty as well. These recipes are a little on the pricey-side as the nuts and dried fruits can be expensive, but it’s fun to experiment with different flavors. The basic quantities are endlessly adaptable to your pocketbook and palate.
PISTACHIO-APRICOT GRANOLA
Everyday Food, April 2011
3 cups rolled oats (not quick oats)
1 cup unsalted, shelled pistachios
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cardamom (I used 3/4 tsp cinnamon + 1/4 tsp nutmeg)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup dried apricots, diced medium
Preheat oven to 300°F. In a large bowl, combine oats and pistachios. In a small saucepan, combine butter, honey, cardamom, and salt over medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter melts, 1 to 2 minutes. (Or, place ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until butter melts, 1 to 2 minutes; stir until combined.)
Pour butter mixture over oat mixture and toss until oats and nuts are completely coated. Transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and spread in an even layer.
Bake until oats are lightly golden, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Let cool completely; stir in apricots. (Store in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 3 weeks.)
CHERRY-LIME GRANOLA
Everyday Food, April 2011
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup agave nectar or honey
1 packed Tablespoon fresh lime zest, finely grated
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup dried tart cherries
Preheat oven to 300°F. In a large bowl, combine oats and pistachios. In a small saucepan, combine butter, agave, lime zest, lime juice, and salt over medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter melts, 1 to 2 minutes. (Or, place ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until butter melts, 1 to 2 minutes; stir until combined.)
Pour butter mixture over oat mixture and toss until oats and nuts are completely coated. Transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and spread in an even layer.
Bake until oats are lightly golden, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Let cool completely; stir in apricots. (Store in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 3 weeks.)
Saveur (Alaina): This is consistently a great magazine full of information and great recipes. They nearly always include international recipes which I really like.
Sandwiches was the tantalizing theme of this month’s issue. You may recall, that I am crazy about sandwiches. So, of course, I had to feature this magazine in the review. I made two of the over 40 sandwich recipes. It was a little hard to narrow it down! They were quite different but both were popular with my crew.
The first was the Elena Cruz – yes, I partly chose it because it shares my name and also because it sounded delicious – it was. The second was the California. Yum. I made it as written and then after I tried it that way and loved it, I added some bacon and loved it even more. Sigh. Sandwich Nirvana. There are so many more to try…
CALIFORNIA SANDWICH
Saveur, April 2011
Print This Recipe
¼ cup buttermilk
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp. finely chopped chives
1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
½ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. onion powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 slices multigrain sandwich bread
2 slices Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup alfalfa sprouts
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 ripe tomato, cored and thinly sliced
Whisk together buttermilk, sour cream, mayonnaise, chives, parsley, and garlic and onion powders in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and spread on all bread slices. Place 1 slice cheese each on 2 slices of bread and top with sprouts, avocado, and tomato. Season with salt and pepper, and cover with remaining 2 slices of bread.
Makes 2 sandwiches (You will have extra sauce, which would be delicious as a salad dressing.)

ELENA RUZ (Cuban Turkey Tea Sandwich)
Saveur, April 2011
Print This Recipe
1 Cuban roll or brioche bun
2 tbsp. cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp. strawberry jam
3 oz. sliced turkey breast
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
Split roll, spread cream cheese on bottom half, and top with turkey. Spread jam on top half of roll and close sandwich. Heat butter in a 10″ skillet over medium heat; cook sandwich, weighing down with a cast-iron skillet and turning once, until golden brown and heated through, 3–4 minutes. Cut in half, and serve hot.

Healthy Living: Black Bean Dip

Looking for a healthy dip alternative? I was – I wanted a guilt free dip that I could enjoy with vegetables or for a treat with tortilla chips. This recipe is the result and I was so pleased with the delicious, easy, healthy dip created with such simple ingredients!

BLACK BEAN DIP
Print This Recipe

2 cans black beans (1 drained, 1 not)
1/2 c. cilantro
1/2 tsp. lime zest
juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeno, cut into large chunks
1/2-1 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth and creamy. Chill before serving or serve at room temperature. Serve with prepared vegetables or tortilla chips. Enjoy!

My Kitchen View

We have just finished celebrating the fourth of July! My family and I have enjoyed a carnival with heavy, indulgent fair food (cotton candy, lemon shake-up, fried potatoes, and corn dipped in way-to-much-butter – shared between the five of us), a symphony that we brought our own picnic to (bbq pork sandwiches, pasta salad, fruit skewers, jello stars, chips & cookies),  a baby shower for a friend, a parade, a graduation open house, an evening of games and fireworks with neighbors, and finally a bbq with some family and a few friends at our house yesterday! It’s been a very full and very delightful few days. As I write this, the kids are settled into bed and probably won’t know what hit them when our normal schedule goes back into effect. 🙂 But this is what makes summer so delightful and fun.

It was so much fun to host the bbq. We’ve had enough going on that I’ve really missed entertaining lately. Our menu consisted of:

– Black Bean, Avacado Salsa & Tortilla chips (as an appetizer)
– Brats & Hotdogs (with an assortment of toppings)
– Baked Beans
– Savoy, Lime & Cilantro Coleslaw (recipe below)
– Bowtie Pasta Salad
– Blueberry Mixed Green Salad
– Salt & Vinegar Chips
(a personal favorite)
– Watermelon
– Brownies
– Lemon Bars
– Rice Krispie Treats
– Blueberry Cobbler
– and finally…Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice cream

Everyone pitched in and the food was wonderful! Really, just delicious. I love sharing food – I think it’s alot of what cooking is all about for me…creating tasty food and enjoying it with others. (Happy Sigh!)

Anyway, I’m giving you a preview of our post for tomorrow! I made two recipe from the July issue of Food Network Magazine and decided to share one of them today. This slaw was so good! I decided I absolutely had to try it when I noticed that an almost identical recipe appeared in the July issue of Bon Apetit. So interesting that they feature the same slaw and now I know why – it’s different and unique, very pretty, and completely delicious!

SAVOY, LIME & CILANTRO COLESLAW
(Food Network Magazine, July 2010)
Print This Recipe
 
1 head Savoy cabbage (I used napa)
4 scallions
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, torn
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 limes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Shave the cabbage with a sharp knife or mandoline so you have thin ribbons. Cut the scallions long and on the bias so you have pieces similar in shape to the cabbage. Toss the cabbage, scallions and cilantro in a large salad bowl.

Make the dressing by combining the sour cream, mayonnaise, sugar and the zest of the limes in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and finish with the juice of the limes. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to combine.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend! 

Market Fresh: Sweet Corn

Ah, corn. Doesn’t it make you think of summer?!! My parents always thought it was the sweet corn on Long Island that was the best. No matter where we got it, it certainly seemed better when bought from a stand by the side of a hot, dusty road.

My favorite corn memories are from my teenage years when an older friend would invite me to lunch with him and his wife. His first question always was, “How many ears can you eat today?” I think my record was five. We always ate the corn with plenty of salt, pepper and butter (which this friend mixed together on the side of his plate first) and accompanied by a huge cantaloupe, a plate of sliced tomatoes, and another plate of sliced cucumbers soaked in vinegar. It couldn’t have been more simple, nor more delicious.

This recipe for Mexican-Style Corn on the Cob is bursting with summer flavor. It is super easy and looks beautiful.

MEXICAN-STYLE CORN ON THE COB
(William-Sonoma Comfort Food)
Print this recipe

1/2 cup butter at room temperature
2 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
zest of 1 lime
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

6 ears fresh corn

pure ancho chile powder or other chile powder for serving (optional)

kosher salt

Using a rubber spatula, in a small bowl, mash together the butter, cilantro, lime zest and juice. (Note: I could not get the lime juice to incorporate into the butter so would leave it out next time.) Cover butter and let stand while you prepare the corn. (The butter can be prepared, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

Remove the husks and silk from the ears of corn. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add the corn and cook until the kernels are tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a serving platter.

Serve the corn piping hot, with the cilantro-lime butter, chile powder, and salt on the side for diners to add as they like.

Serve 6.

Creamed corn is absolutely delicious made from fresh corn. A friend made some for us after the birth of one of our children and I couldn’t believe she had gone through the trouble of making it from fresh corn. But, after tasting it, I also couldn’t believe how good the corn was and decided any effort was worth the results.

This dish would be better made with fresh corn that has very tiny kernels. The corn I used had large, salt and pepper-type, kernels and I felt it was just a bit tougher than it should have been.

CREAMED CORN WITH CHIPOTLE CHILES
(adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Vegetables)
Print this recipe

6 ears fresh sweet corn
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup finely diced white onion
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced plus 1 tsp. adobo sauce (optional)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. sugar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream

Remove the husks and silk from the corn. Using a large, sharp knife, carefully cut the ear in half crosswise. One at a time, stand the halves, flat end down, on a cutting board and cut the kernels from the cob. Transfer the kernels to a bowl. Using the dull edge of a knife, carefully scrape the wet pulp from the corn cobs into the bowl.

In a large saute pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and saute until soft and translucent, 5-6 minutes. Add the chipotle chiles, adobo sauce, corn kernels with pulp, oregano, and sugar. Pour in 1/2 cup water and add a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn is tender but still has a bit of crunch, 10 minutes. Uncover and cook until the water evaporates, 2-3 minutes.

Add the cream to the pan, raise the heat to medium-low, and cook until the liquid is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 2-3 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Transfer the corn to a warmed serving bowl and serve right away.

Serves 4.

My Kitchen View

Welcome to the first edition of My Kitchen View. My hope is to include recipes, garden reports and produce pictures, food or restaurant reviews, and more. It’s literally my view from the kitchen and figuratively my perspective on the happenings in and around the kitchen.

The kitchen is truly the heart of our home. We spend a lot of time there preparing food, eating, and sharing around the table. It is where the delicious smells emanate from and my creative juices flow. When the weather is warm, we eagerly move out to the deck and enjoy the outdoor table and grill overlooking the backyard and neighborhood pond. 

Garden Report:
I’m a little late on starting to plan our garden but time has gotten away from me! I’m looking forward to my annual plant purchasing trip – something about wandering through the rows of plants, gazing at the packets of seeds, and just smelling the dirt is incredibly motivational. This year, I’m planning 3-4 varieties of tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, onions, green beans, cucumbers, zuchini, and yellow squash as well as a several different herbs. I’m sure there will be a few more things added to that list.  

My favorite part is the herbs! I love cooking with fresh herbs and most of them are fairly easy to grow. I get so excited to plant them. I’m not sure what all I will grow but it will definitely include cilantro, rosemary, basil, mint, parsley, and oregano. My chives and thyme have come back every year. I may also add sage and dill to that list. I can’t wait to add the fragrant plants to my backyard garden!

What’s Cooking:
A couple of weeks ago, I shared a recipe for Key Lime Coconut Cupcakes which I loved but I couldn’t help but continue developing that recipe in my head. And so for Easter, I made a 4 layer Key Lime White Chocolate Cake. I filled two of the layers with homemade lime curd and I filled the middle layer with white chocolate lime frosting. I iced it in a lime buttercream and garnished it with lime zest and white chocolate curls. It was a bit of work but it was completely worth it! Everyone enjoyed it and I discovered how much I like making cakes from scratch!

KEY LIME WHITE CHOCOLATE CAKE
Print This Recipe

1 1/2 c. (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 c. granulated sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tb. grated key lime zest
1/4 c. fresh key lime juice
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. buttermilk
1 oz. white chocolate, finely grated

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 2 – 8 inch cake pans and if desired, line bottom with parchment paper.

Using an mixer, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla extract, key lime zest and juice and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 5 parts total, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in the white chocolate.

Divide batter between two greased 8-inch cake pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the tops begin to brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then turn out on a baking rack to cool completely. Makes 2 – 8 inch layers.

WHITE CHOCOLATE KEY LIME FROSTING
(you may not need all of this)

3 oz. white chocolate
1/4 c. butter, room temperature
 2 – 2 1/4 c. powdered sugar
Pinch salt
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. fresh key lime juice
1/8 c. sour cream

In a small bowl, melt the white chocolate in the microwave. Let cool until just slightly warm. Meanwhile, using a hand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar until well combined. Add the salt, vanilla extract, key lime juice, and sour cream and mix until very smooth. Add the melted white chocolate and mix just until incorporated.

KEY LIME CURD 
I wanted to eat this lime curd with a spoon. It was absolutely delicious! I adapted a lemon curd recipe from Ina Garten into this wonderful, creamy lime curd. (Note: This makes a lot – I cut the recipe in half and had more than enough for the cake!)

4 limes 
3/4 cups sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
4 extra-large eggs
1/2 c. lime juice (about 3 to 4 limes)
1/8 tsp. kosher salt

Completely zest all three limes – avoiding the white pithy areas. Stir into sugar. Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lime mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lime juice and salt. Mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lime curd will thicken just below simmer. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd before refrigerating.

KEY LIME BUTTERCREAM1 1/4 c. butter, room temperature
2 1/2 lb. (about 10 c.) powdered sugar
1/2 c. key lime juice
2 Tb. grated key lime zest

Beat butter until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar alternately with key lime juice until light and creamy. Add lime zest and beat until combined.

To Assemble:
– Cut the two layers in half crosswise so you have 4 equal layers.
– Place the bottom layer on a plate and spread with lime curd.
– Top with the next cake and spread with white chocolate lime frosting.
– Top with the final layer and spread with lime curd.
– Frost the cake with lime buttercream icing.
– Swirl the frosting and top with white chocolate curls and fresh key lime zest.

Baker’s Delight: Citrus Desserts

I LOVE citrus desserts. I grew up enjoying lemon glaze cake, lemon meringue pie and more. The combination of sweet and tart is delightful.

These orange brownies were unbelievable!There is no chocolate in them – they are simply a dessert bar. We will definitely make them again for a wonderful treat!

ORANGE BROWNIES
(slighly adapted from Paula Deen)

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
4 eggs
2 tsp. pure orange extract (I didn’t have this so I used 2 tsp. orange juice and 1 tsp. of a citrus extract)
Zest of one orange
1 recipe Orange Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 pan.

Stir together flour, granulated sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add butter, eggs, orange extract, and orange zest. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until light golden brown and set. Remove from oven, allow to cool and pierce entire cake with a fork. Spread the Orange Cream Cheese Frosting over completely cooled brownies. Cut into squares. Store in the refrigerator.

ORANGE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
4 Tb. butter, softened 
1 (1-lb.) box confectioners’ sugar (3-4 c.) 
 zest of one orange 
2 Tb. fresh squeezed orange juice

In a large mixing bowl, whip the butter and cream cheese together with a hand-held electric mixer. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until it is all combined and smooth. Beat in the orange zest and juice. Spread over brownies.

I’ve not been a huge fan of key lime desserts until the last few years. This key lime cheesecake is delicious. It’s light and creamy and the fresh squeezed limes make it so fresh. I like to garnish this with fresh whipped cream, fresh lime slices, and white chocolate curls.


KEY LIME CHEESECAKE

CRUST:
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
6 Tb. butter, melted

FILLING:
24 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c. white sugar
1 Tb. cornstarch
3 eggs
1 Tb. grated lime zest
2/3 c. key lime juice

Combine cookie or graham cracker crumbs with butter or margarine. Press into bottom and partially up sides of 9 inch springform pan. Refrigerate.

In a large bowl, beat with an electric mixer the cream cheese, sugar, lime peel, and cornstarch until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, blending just until smooth. Add key lime juice with mixer on low. Finish mixing by hand. Do not overbeat, or cake will crack during baking. Pour batter into prepared crust.

Bake at 300 degrees for 55 to 65 min., or until set. To minimize cracking, place a shallow pan half full of hot water on lower rack during baking.

Turn oven off, and let cheesecake stand in oven 30 min. with the door open at least 4 in. Remove from oven. Refrigerate cake overnight, and up to three days.

This cake is so lemon-y! We all loved it! I served it topped with blueberry sauce but it’s great by itself, too. It’s like a pound cake.

LEMON CAKE
(Ina Garten)

1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 c. granulated sugar, divided
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 c. grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
3/4 c. buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

GLAZE:
2 c. powdered sugar, sifted
3 1/2 Tb. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (8 1/2 x 4 1/4 x 2 1/2-in.) loaf pans. You may also line the bottom with parchment paper, if desired.

Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, about 5 min. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and the lemon zest.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 c. lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 min. to 1 hr., until a cake tester comes out clean.

Combine 1/2 c. granulated sugar with 1/2 c. lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and set them on a rack set over a tray or sheet pan; spoon the lemon syrup over them. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.

BLUEBERRY SAUCE
3 c. fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4 c. sugar
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tsp. cornstarch

Combine all ingredients and cook over medium heat until bubbly and thickened.

Market Fresh: Grapefruit

Walk into the supermarket just now and you will see piles of large, round, yellow “softballs” stacked in pallets or on display at the end of the citrus aisle. Grapefruit — one of the quintessential winter fruits.

I distinctly remember my mother getting up morning after morning to cut grapefruit, carefully winding her knife around each little section, so we could sit down to breakfast with half a grapefruit each. I also remember the day we watched a guest take a whole grapefruit and carefully peel the skin away to reveal a beautiful, pink ball that could be plucked apart and eaten like a peeled orange. It opened a whole new realm of grapefruit eating for us.

Nowadays I am too lazy to do as my mother did and I just cut our grapefruit in handy little wedges for easy eating:

Don’t just get stuck in a rut though. Think outside the morning breakfast bowl. Think salads, desserts, juice, and cake. I’ve sectioned grapefruit and added it to spinach salad instead of an apple or mandarin oranges. Squeeze the leftover juice to replace lemon juice in the salad dressing. Recipes for grapefruit cake can be found, and of course one can always squeeze the fruits to make juice.

For a delicious and healthy dessert, why not try this salad?

ORANGE AND PINEAPPLE PLATED SALAD
(from www.bbcgoodfood.co.uk)

1 medium pineapple
2 pink grapefruit
1/4 c. sugar
small bunch mint, leaves only

Use a sharp knife to top and tail the pineapple, then stand it upright on a chopping board. With the sharp knife, carve the skin away and discard. Rest the pineapple on its side, then cut into wafer-thin slices. Repeat with the grapefruit, cutting away the peel and pith, then cut into slices. Arrange the fruit on a serving platter, catching any juices, and set aside.

Using a pestle and mortar, pound the sugar and mint together until completely blended. Scatter the mint sugar over the fruit and serve on its own or with yogurt (preferable Greek yogurt).

NOTE: I loved this salad. I’m also eager to try substituting lime zest for the mint and also trying it sometime with shards of crystalized ginger over top, or even a little fresh ginger grated into the sugar.