So, now that I’m finally settled in the apartment where I am for realsies living now that I am down in Chicago, I figure it’s time to break in the kitchen. And let me tell you, it’s an amazing kitchen. Big fridge, gas range and oven and microwave, undermounted sink, lots of cabinets, a pantry, it’s everything I’ve wanted in a kitchen, ever. 

It’s been a damn long week, and these were already on the docket for me to make in the near future. But last night, I decided to move it up because it’s been a REAL shitty week at work, and I wanted something nice for me and the boyfriend to wake up to. This recipe is going to need some tweaking for the future (imagine this with brown butter!), but for a first try, this was a real good thing to have for breakfast while cuddling and playing Borderlands 2. 

Lemon Sticky Buns with Lemon Glaze
Makes appx 10 – 12 buns, depending on how you cut them

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 package active dry yeast (appx 2.5 t)
  • .75 c milk, warmed
  • .5 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • .25 c white sugar
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4.5 c flour
  • .5 t salt
  • .25 t nutmeg

Sticky Lemon Filling

  • 1 c sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 T (half stick) unsalted butter, very softened, but not fully melted
  • .25 t ground ginger
  • 1/8 t nutmeg
  • .25 c fresh lemon juice

Glaze

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • .25 c fresh lemon juice
  • 1 c powdered sugar

Take your milk and microwave it for about 45 seconds, so that it’s warm, but not scalding hot. Mix it together with the packet of yeast, and let stand for a few minutes, until it’s nice and foamy. Then, in a large bowl, mix together your softened butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and 1 c of the flour, until you have a nice, sticky dough base. Then, add the salt and nutmeg, and slowly, the rest of the flour, until you have a good sized sticky dough ball.

Then, take your dough ball, lightly flour the surface you’ll be working on, and knead the dough for five minutes, until you have smooth, stretchy ball of dough. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with a towel, and let sit for about an hour, until the dough doubles in size. 

While the dough rises, make your lemon filling! For this, be sure that your butter is very, very soft, but not to the point of melting; my butter was partway melting, which is probably why my filling didn’t quite turn out perfectly, I think. Anyways, start out by rubbing the lemon zest and sugar together, until well combined. Then, slowly mix the butter in, until the mixture is thick and creamy. Then, add your nutmeg and ginger in, followed, slowly, by the lemon juice. The lemon juice will thin out the mixture, but it should still be creamy. (As you can see in pic 4, this didn’t happen for me, but it still worked.) Toss the filling in the fridge, and be sure it chills for at least a half hour; ideally, you work on the filling immediately after you start the dough rising, and let it chill for that full time. 

After your dough has doubled, take it and use a rolling pin to roll it out to roughly a 10 x 15 rectangle on a lightly floured surface (see pic 5). Take your lemon filling, and spread it evenly over the dough. Start rolling from the top long edge of the dough, and work your way down, rolling it as tight as possible and pulling the dough taut to keep the filling in. If your filling is too thin, it’ll leak out the ends, like mine did (see pic 6). Then, take a pan (I used a round cake pan), and cut your roll into twelve even pieces (I only got ten out of mine), and put your rolls into them, nestling them together (see pic 7). If you end up having the mixture leak out the ends, just brush it over the tops of the buns. 

At this point, if you’re me, you cover the pan with a towel, and throw it in the fridge over night. The next morning (or right away, if you decide to make it all at once), let the buns rise for at least an hour, until they’re puffy and doubled in size (see pic 8). While the buns finish rising, preheat your oven to 350. Then, put the buns in the oven for 35 minutes, until they’re golden brown (see pic 9), and a toothpick inserted into the doughy parts comes out clean. 

While the buns bake and cool, combine the lemon juice and cream cheese until light and fluffy, and then slowly whisk in the powdered sugar, until you have a nice smooth glaze.

Once the buns have cooled a bit, but are still warm, spread the glaze over the buns, cut into them, and enjoy the glorious lemon goodness!

Advertisements

So, this right here? I’m not gonna lie, this is a bit more complex than I usually do my dinners. You’re gonna be doing a lot of stuff in order to get it to work. However, the end result is pretty fucking spectacular, so, if you need to impress someone? This is the meal to make.

Made a few alterations – I’m not that big of a fan of nuts, so I took out the walnuts in the brie stuffing. And yours truly picked up boneless skinless chicken breasts for this, because they were what was on sale – and the recipe needed skinned. If this happens to you, no worries! There’s a workaround from the pepperoni stuffed chicken that I make that works here. The end result is still tremendous.

One Pan Apricot-Glazed, Brie Stuffed Chicken with Potatoes
Lasted for a week’s worth of meals with the breasts split in half

Ingredients

Potatoes:

  • 1.5 lbs mix of roasting potatoes, halved (one of the stalls at the local farmer’s market sells a roasting mix of various potatoes, I just used that)
  • 3-4 T olive oil
  • dash sea salt
  • pinch pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated (I went minced)
  • zest of 1 lemon

Chicken, Stuffing, and Glaze:

  • 4 boneless, skin-on chicken breasts (accidentally got skinless? there’s a work around)
  • 1 c fresh basil (got it from the plant in my garden, hee)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated (I went minced)
  • 2 T olive oil (may need to increase to better blend depending on your basil)
  • 6 oz brie, cubed and rind removed
  • 2 T cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • dash sea salt
  • pinch pepper
  • pinch crushed red pepper
  • 3 T apricot preserves (if you can find some at your farmers market, great)
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar

Preheat your oven to 400 F. In a large glass pan, combine your potatoes, olive oil, sea salt, pepper, garlic, and lemon zest, and toss to coat and combine thoroughly. Roast for ten minutes, or until you’re ready to add the chicken to the pan. 

To make the stuffing, combine the basil, olive oil, egg, brie, garlic, and cream cheese in a blender, and blend until combined into a thick cheesy mixture. If you need to add more olive oil to make it blend better, do so!

If you have skin-on chicken breasts, pull up the skin and stuff 1-2 T of cheese mixture underneath. If you’re like me and got skinless breasts, all is not lost. What you do is take your knife, slice the breast in half diagonally, so you have two diamondish looking shapes, and then cut a pocket in the middle of the breast, but not all the way through, so you can stuff the chicken with the mixture (see pics three and four for what this looks like).

At this point, take the pan out of the oven and slide the potatoes around so that you can nestle the breasts in them in the pan (see pic 6). Sprinkle your sea salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper over the chicken breasts. Mix together your apricot preserves, balsamic vinegar and an additional T of olive oil, and then brush the resulting glaze over the chicken breasts (see pic 7). Put the pan back in the oven and roast for another 30 to 40 mins, until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are golden (I went 35, and the final picture resulted).

(If the potatoes are cooking faster than the chicken, feel free to remove them early.) And then? Impress the fuck out of someone with this really delicious one pan meal. 

This is a very quick, very simple recipe, especially if you’re lazy like I was and decide to use a pre-made graham cracker crust. But it’s the perfect spring/summer dessert. It’s lemony, just a little bit alcoholic, and doesn’t involve the use of an oven at all, just your fridge. 

(There’s also a whipped cream recipe that goes with this, but I just saw a neat trick that I want to try out using it. Will report back on its success or failure.)

Limoncello Pie
Lasts 1 to 2 weeks

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 1 premade graham cracker crust (see linked recipe if you want to make the crust from scratch)

Filling:

  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 28 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • .5 c limoncello
  • .5 c fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 t lemon zest

Whipped Cream:

  • Will be updated with a link once I’ve tried the trick

To make the pie’s filling, whip all ingredients together with an electric mixer until fluffy. Then, pour the filling in the pie crust and leave to set in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours before serving. 

Boom. Simple, lemony, delicious. Enjoy!

This is a very approximate recipe, especially as originally done by areyoutryingtodeduceme, but damn if it isn’t a great nightcap to a day of cooking, unexpected fridge cleaning, and tearing apart the lid of a sealed mason jar to unwedge it from my sink disposal. There are no particulars for this recipe; use whatever beer you want (I used a bottle I was gonna use for another recipe but ended up not), and whatever cheese you want that melts well (I went with an Irish stout Dubliner cheese).  It’s also very adaptable to whatever variation you want to put on it.

Beer Grilled Cheese
Makes one sandwich, with plenty of beer cheese left over

  • cream cheese
  • dijon
  • beer
  • (optional: garlic powder)
  • bread (definitely go thick if at all possible)
  • butter
  • cheese (I went with the Kerrygold Dubliner with Irish Stout, because don’t you want some beer cheese with your beer cheese?)

Have both your butter and cream cheese out for at least a half hour before hand, to soften up.

Take your cream cheese, dijon, garlic powder (if you use it), and mix it together. You should have more dijon and cream cheese than beer, but not by much. This will leave you with a large amount of beer cheese, to be used for future beer grilled cheesiness.

Take your butter, spread about a third of it on the outside of the bread, leave the buttered sides face up, and melt the remaining butter in a small pan over medium high heat.  Once the butter is melted, take the non buttered side and spread beer cheese on it. Put it in the pan, and then layer the cheese on top of it (see pics two and three). Spread more beer cheese on the other non buttered side of the other piece of bread, and then sandwich it on top.  Flatten the bread, and then grill it like you would a normal cheese, until a golden brown.

And then, enjoy, for yea, you have beer and grilled cheese.  And you can drink the leftover beer with it for even more beerception.

All right, so, I’ve technically had the component bits of this made since sometime last week (the cupcakes were made sometime late last week, the frosting was made shortly thereafter), I just hadn’t put the frosting on one of the cupcakes for the final shot. And since they’ve been stored in the fridge, they’re not that pretty, and are kinda sticking together.  So, the final result isn’t exactly the prettiest thing in the world, but, deal.  😛 

Also, if you don’t like pumpkin, you might want to tune out of this blog for a bit – I got three big cans of pumpkin puree last shopping trip, and there will be much baking of things involving pumpkin in the near future. 😛

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes appx 14 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter at room temp
  • 1 c packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 c white sugar
  • 2 c flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 t ground ginger
  • dash ground nutmeg
  • pinch ground cloves
  • .5 t salt
  • pinch black pepper (I think I forgot this)
  • 2 large eggs
  • .5 c buttermilk mixed with 1 t vanilla
  • 1.25 c pumpkin puree

Frosting

  • 16 oz (2 8 oz packages) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick butter at room temp
  • 2 c powdered sugar
  • .25 c pure maple syrup (I used closer to .5 c)

Cream your butter and sugars together until they’re nice and fluffy (usually takes about 5 minutes). Meanwhile, combine the remainder of your dry ingredients (flour, baking soda and powder, spices) in a separate bowl.  (I didn’t do this by accident, and just ended up adding all the dry ingredients in stages into the bowl, and added the wet ingredients last.)  Then add your eggs to your creamed butter and sugar, and switch between adding your dry ingredients and the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Add your pumpkin last, and beat the mixture until it’s smooth.

Preheat your oven to 350 (mine was at 325), and start scooping the batter into the cupcake tins – try to get each cup at least ¾ths of the way full, these will puff up.  Bake your cupcakes between twenty to thirty minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean (mine tended towards the thirty minute mark).

While your cupcakes are baking, make your frosting!  Basically, throw all your ingredients into a bowl and mix it until you have a wonderful, smooth frosting!

I kept my frosting in a separate, smaller container to frost my cupcakes as needed, and just to have a spoonful of every once in a while. And you will need to store the cupcakes in the fridge – the buttermilk makes them a bit more susceptible to mold.

So, I prepped this recipe last night while I was making the tomato basil feta soup, and I can honestly say that this, combined with what I already have of the baked pumpkin pie oatmeal should be pretty awesome for breakfast at work (which is good, as I usually do not have breakfast).  This recipe comes from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, which I really recommend getting if you at all can.

New York Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs bagels (I used two packages of Bagels Forever maple cinnamon frozen bagels), chopped into cubes
  • 8 oz whipped cream cheese
  • 1.5 lbs cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2.5 c milk
  • dash salt and pepper

Spread a third of your bagel cubes on the bottom of a 9 x 13 glass baking dish, and dot them with a third of the cream cheese, spooned out in bits (see pic 1).  Repeat in two or so more layers.  Mix your eggs with the milk, salt, and pepper, and then pour them over the bagel and cream cheese mixture. Cover your dish tightly with plastic wrap, and then refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, heat your oven to 350 (mine was at 325), and then put in your casserole (removing the wrap, obviously) for between an hour and an hour and fifteen minutes (I went for the full hour and fifteen minutes).  The final product should be puffed to double its size, golden brown, and cooked through.  (Good test is cutting into the center and seeing if any egg liquid is released).  Let it rest ten minutes, and then nom, or, if you’re me, save for your breakfasts for the rest of the week!

Deb recommends serving with capers, lox, and/or bacon if you have access to any.