So, I’ve been saying I would finally catch the hell up on this blog. This is me finally committing, entirely too late in the year for my liking. I’ve mostly been sticking to stuff I know this year, with the occasional new recipe here and there, and getting back into the swing of cooking in general, and finally getting my depression and anxiety under control (meds are great, kids, as is therapy). This is me catching up on my recipe backlog.

I’ve only made these once, and that’s a damn shame, because come on – browned butter AND chai spices AND pumpkin? This is the perfect fucking fall waffle.

Browned Butter Pumpkin Chai Waffles
Makes: waffles. I honestly don’t remember how many.

Ingredients

  • 6 T unsalted butter
  • 2.5 c flour
  • .33 c dark brown sugar
  • 2.25 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • .5 t salt
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t cardamom
  • .5 t ginger
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 c milk
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 c canned pumpkin

In a small pot/pan, melt the butter over low heat (pic 1). Continue cooking the butter until it turns amber and starts to smell nutty and get little brown flakes at the bottom (pic 2 is the end result of this). Pour into a separate small bowl to stop cooking, and let cool.

While the browned butter cools, whisk together your dry ingredients (everything from flour down to ginger). In a separate small bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (the browned butter, and everything from the eggs down to the canned pumpkin). Then, pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold together until the batter just barely comes together (pics 3-4).

Heat up your waffle iron, and make the waffles according to the waffle iron’s instructions, and enjoy!

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Looking for a quick dinner to throw together in under a half hour – or, if you’re me, the night before you roll out to a vacation you only just got approved for the day before? Or for something super simple? Or super cheap? Or summery feeling? Really, you can’t go wrong with this. I didn’t quite have all the ingredients for this, or follow the directions exactly, but it still worked out pretty damn well, I’d say. 

Spaghetti with Lemon and Olive Oil

Ingredients

  • 1 lb spaghetti (if you can find pot-sized spaghetti, it’s going to help lots)
  • sea salt
  • 3 lemons, zested and juiced (about .5 c lemon juice)
  • .25 c olive oil
  • .25 c heavy whipping cream (I tried to substitute just milk, forgot to add melted butter to thicken it, whoops)
  • .5 c grated Parmesan cheese (or parmigiano reggiano, if you have it on hand)
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • dried Greek oregano

Heavily salt your water, bring to a boil, and cook according to your pasta’s directions. While the water comes to a boil/the pasta cooks, zest and juice your lemons. 

Once the pasta’s done, drain your pasta, but retain about 1.5 c of pasta cooking water (I didn’t do this. whoops.)  Take the same pot you made the pasta in, dry it out, and then boil the olive oil, whipping cream, lemon zest, and 1 c of the reserved cooking water together for two minutes. Return your drained pasta to the pot, and toss until completely coated. Add the cheese and lemon juice back in, and toss to coat completely again, adding in a bit of extra sea salt, pepper, and the oregano, if you’re so inclined. 

And then, enjoy your simple, citrusy, summery pasta!

This, however? This was a HUGE mistake. Pro tip kids: Do not eat salmon you got on sale raw on the second day after you unwrap it. It ends with you throwing up in a Loop restaurant on the way home. Writing the recipe down because maybe I’ll overcome my aversion to it down the road. 

Marinated Salmon Sashimi Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 lb salmon (seriously, make sure it’s sashimi grade or it will end poorly), sliced into thin strips
  • 1 T miso
  • 1 T mirin
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • pinch shichimi
  • dash lemon juice

Whisk together all of your ingredients except for the lemon juice, pour it over your sliced salmon and toss, and top with a bit of lemon juice. 

I was able to find this roast for $.99/lb quite a while ago, and it’s just been hanging out in the freezer waiting for the perfect recipe. This is definitely it. I would’ve never thought of using lemon zest in a rub, but as it turns out, it goes really well, especially with all the spices mentioned here. Definitely going on the keeper list.

Roast Chicken with Plums

Ingredients

Roast Chicken

  • zest of 2 large lemons
  • 2 T ground sumac
  • 4 t sea salt
  • 1 T fresh ground pepper
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 t allspice
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, grated or minced (I went minced)
  • whole chicken (original recipe recommended 2 4ish lb chickens, I went with one big almost 10 lb one)
  • 1 bunch thyme (or ground, if you’re me and don’t want to get the fresh herbs)
  • 1 T lemon juice (fresh squeezed ideal)

Plums

  • 2.5 lbs plums, halved, quartered if on the larger side
  • (original recipe mentions shallots, I omitted them, didn’t want to make the grocery run)
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 T olive oil
  • .5 t cinnamon
  • pinch allspice
  • 1 bay leaf torn in half
  • 2 T water

Take your lemon zest, and mix in the sumac, salt, pepper, cinnamon, allspice, the minced garlic, and 3 T of the olive oil. The resulting mixture should feel like wet sand. Rub the mixture all over the chicken, including the insides. Take your thyme bunch and rest it inside the cavity (or if you’re me, just sprinkle a bunch of thyme in the cavity). Let the rubbed chicken marinate in the fridge for a minimum of one hour, or up to 24 hours. 

Either way, once you’re ready to roast the chicken, take it out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature, letting it sit for about 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 450.

While the chicken sits and the oven preheats, take the plums, honey, water, olive oil, cinnamon, allspice, and bay leaf, and toss together in a roasting pan. Spread the mixture evenly on the bottom of the roasting pan. Once the oven is preheated, transfer the chicken to the roasting pan, resting it on top of the plums, and roast for 30 minutes to start.

After 30 minutes, take 1 T of lemon juice and the remaining 1 T olive oil from earlier, mix it together, and drizzle over the chicken. Put the chicken back in the oven, and continue to roast for another 45 minutes, until cooked all the way through. 

Let your chicken rest under a foil blanket for 10 minutes once it’s been removed from the oven, and then enjoy!

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!

This is a neat little recipe. Didn’t really notice that it was billed as “skinny”, but eh. The recipes in the original are a little vague, so I tried to spell things out as much as possible. Nice, hearty recipe, though. 

Chicken Saltimbocca
Makes however many chicken breasts you use

Ingredients

  • boneless skinless chicken breasts (either packaged, or however many you may want to get if you have a good meat counter)
  • sea salt 
  • fresh ground pepper
  • sage leaves (didn’t have any, used a liberal dash of ground sage per breast)
  • slices of prosciutto (get as many as you have chicken breasts)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • .25 c white wine (I used Cupcake Winery’s Angel Food)
  • .5 c chicken stock
  • 4 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 T capers
  • .5 T butter

Season your chicken with sea salt and fresh-ground pepper. If you have the sage leaves, take two leaves, and if you don’t, season both sides with ground sage. Wrap the prosciutto slice around the chicken breast, and secure with a toothpick, securing the sage leaves if using just under where the slice ends meet. 

Heat your olive oil in a large skillet over medium high, and sear the wrapped chicken for six to ten minutes a side, until golden brown and the prosciutto is crispy. (Original recipe recommends shorter and lower temp, but that doesn’t get it done all the way through.)  Remove to whatever you will be serving/storing the chicken in.

Deglaze the pan with your white wine, and then add your chicken stock, lemon juice, and capers, bringing to a simmer. Simmer until the sauce is reduced by half (about 6 to 8 mins), and then add in your .5 T of butter, and cook until melted and the sauce has thickened a bit, an additional 2 to 3 mins. If it’s not thickening enough, throw a dash of corn starch in. 

Then, pour the sauce over the chicken, and nom!

Here’s a nice summer trick for you. Go down to your local farmers market. Right about now, there will be at least one stall that is selling shelled peas. Buy several pounds worth, and take them back home. Snack on at least a good chunk of them. And then? Take the rest, put them in a freezer safe bag, and toss them in the freezer. Congratulations. You now have frozen peas, and if you stock this right, you shouldn’t need to buy any for… call it at least a good few years. (I’ve got three pounds in the freezer after this recipe, all from last year or the year before.)

And since I’m growing mint this year, this is a ridiculously cheap recipe. All of this was either in the freezer, in the garden, or in the pantry. And the lemon and mint do amazing things to the peas. Try this, you won’t regret it.

Minty Pea Salad
Lasts two meals as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 lb frozen peas (2 c)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • (original recipe recommends shallot, I skipped it)
  • juice of 1 lemon (about .25 c tops)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • dash sea salt and pepper (freshly cracked pepper if you can get it)
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh mint (I used peppermint from the garden)

Take your peas, rinse them with cool water to speed the thawing process, and let them rest in a dish to thaw. (This should take no more than a half hour. Drain off the extra moisture at the end. Pics 1 and 2 show the difference between beginning and end of thawing.)

While your peas thaw, whisk together your lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Zest a bit of the lemon into the dressing, but zest the rest into the peas towards the end of the thaw time. Take your mint, and tear it and put it into the peas. Toss together to combine. Then pour the vinaigrette over the minted zested peas and toss again to fully combine.

You can eat it right away or toss it in the fridge to let the flavors combine further; I chose the latter route.