Dec 11, 2011

How To Love Lemons: A Scrumptious Dinner Menu!

As the saying goes, 'When life gives you lemons...make lemonade'.   



So, when I was given a huge bag of unbelievably fragrant grapefruit-sized lemons fresh off a friend's tree, instead of stopping at lemonade, I summoned my taste buds.  

I tweaked some already fabulous recipes and created a simple three course scrumptiously mouth-watering dinner menu, featuring what else...the LEMON!


The lemon, an inexpensive staple item that most households have sitting in a bowl, just waiting to be used.

I felt so Iron Chef, 'and the secret ingredient is..'  

Initially I thought, 'shit', great that I've got the lemons, and now I have lemon for my tea, but what else can I make other than lemon meringue pie?  

So, I played it safe and churned out three lemon meringue pies, each one with a varying height of meringue, each one more delicious than the last and each one increasing the size of my...everywhere! 

That's when I decided to create a simple family friendly menu featuring lemons...shit I had enough of them!  



Classic Virgin or Vodka Lemonade
Let's start with the classic!  This Best Lemonade Ever recipe, combines a simple syrup with water and lemons and is sweet enough for the kiddies, yet packs enough lemon tartness, especially when you add a cup dash of Vodka, that will make you (the adult) wish it were Summer every day.  

Note: Although the recipe suggests a (20) person serving, it actually only made enough for us to gulp down in minutes.  I would suggest doubling the recipe and what you don't drink, freeze for Lemonade Slushies or Granita.  

So, whether you decide on the virgin or Vodka infused option, be sure to serve in martini glasses rimmed with lemon juice and sugar for that extra 'wow'.

A GOOD OLD FASHION ROAST CHOOK (CHICKEN)  

I've always loved a good roast chicken but have always found them to either be too tough and without any real flavor other than a salty chewy skin, or too 'gooey', which is just gross. 

So, I decided to create my own roast chicken recipe and instead of using oil to cook the chicken, I use an unsalted butter bath which is then used to make a Lemon Butter Jus that is addictive.

This recipe aint' exactly the healthiest, considering you drizzle or in my husband's case, pour the Lemon Butter Jus over the chicken, roast potatoes or whatever side you desire, but for a once a month taste explosion, this recipe is beyond delicious and truly worth the expanded waistline.

Roasted Chicken with Lemon Butter Jus

Ingredients
1 whole chicken (insides removed)
2 large lemons (sliced)
2 sticks unsalted butter (chopped into 2 inch chunks)
1 stalk celery 
3 cloves garlic (left whole)
1 teaspoon dried Rosemary 
2 teaspoons Kosher salt/regular salt ok
1 teaspoon ground pepper
2 teaspoons cornstarch/cornflour

For Chicken:
1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C).
2. Place whole chicken in large glass baking dish.  Rub salt and pepper over chicken and pat into skin.
3. Stuff inside with celery, 1/2 stick chopped butter, garlic, Rosemary, 1 lemon (sliced).  
4. Place remaining butter chunks around chicken in glass baking dish.
5. Place remaining lemon slices on top of chicken.
6. Place thermometer inside thigh and bake for about 1.5 hrs (inside temp should be 175 min).
* After 30 min, baste with melted butter every 20 min (keeps juicy and tasty)
7. Let chicken rest for 5-10 min before serving (make Lemon Butter Jus below while chicken resting)

*Yes these are limes from another attempt.  Camera died for lemons!

For Lemon Butter Jus:
1. Remove chicken from baking dish and pour all liquid including any chunks into small fry pan.  
2. Whisk in cornstarch and bring to boil.
3. Serve over chicken from the bottom (all the chunky good stuff).

Serving Suggestion
Roast potatoes, pumpkin and honey carrots...oh and of course lemonade!

SAVE ROOM FOR DESSERT!

Lemon Bars Cockaigne
*Fancy talk for Lemon Curd Bars, but way fancier in taste!
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking
(Makes about 18 3-inch by 2-inch squares...or not enough)

Ingredients

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup confectioners/icing sugar
pinch salt
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, sliced

For the filling:
6 large eggs
3 cups white sugar
zest of 2 lemons
1 1/2 cup lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Confectioners/icing sugar, for dusting.

Directions
1. Sift flour, sugar and salt into food processor (or bowl)
2. Blend or cut with pastry knives until mixture in little clumps
3. Press mixture into bottom of 9"x 13" baking pan.  Press up the sides also.
4. Bake at 325 degrees for about 20-30 minutes until golden brown.  Set aside to cool.

Filling:
1. Whisk eggs and sugar together until well combined. Add zest and juice; mix well.
2. Sift flour over top and stir until well blended.  Pour filling over cooled crust.
3. Bake until set, about 35 minutes. (Should jiggle a wee bit)
4. Let cool completely before cutting into bars.  Dust generously with powdered/icing sugar

So, there you have it, a simple and delicious family menu featuring LEMONS! 

Crikey!
























4 comments:

  1. Dorsi Hughes-BarreraDecember 16, 2011

    These recipes are great! I am a total foodie and love to cook! Will def be trying that chicken recipe and pass it on to my girlfriend..who is an actual chef. Thank you..hope to be posting soon with great recipes myself. Nice to meet you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the comment, truly appreciate. If your friend is a chef, she may be able to refine it even more.. Have a good one.

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  3. YUM. I am totally going to make these Lemon Bars for my Christmas Brunch.... My friend just gave me fresh lemons off the tree, and this menu is awesome!

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  4. Thanks. I found that if you cook them for (30) min (fan forced oven) the let set room temp 1 hour, then fridge for 30 min..THEN cut and dust with powered sugar, that they are perfect.

    Have a wonderful Christmas

    ReplyDelete

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