This recipe comes from Nancy Singleton Hachisu’s Preserving the Japanese Way, and is a variant on a recipe from an earlier cookbook of hers. I added my own twists to the recipe, and the end result is pretty damn good. I need to follow my own advice from earlier in this blog for poaching eggs, though – I tried rushing it here, and ended up with an egg blob. ^^;

Country Miso and Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

  • 2.5 c dashi
  • 1 medium daikon (about .25 lbs), scrubbed
  • 1 medium carrot, scrubbed
  • 2-3 spring onions (negi if you have them)
  • 1.5 T awase miso paste (blend of red and white miso)
  • lemon (or yuzu if you can find it you lucky bastard) zest
  • poached egg to top (if you’re so inclined)
  • (I also added some fried tofu chunks)

Take your daikon and carrot, and make sure they’ve been scrubbed (they won’t need to be peeled unless there are blemishes, or they’re too tough). Half the carrot lengthwise, and then slice into thin half-moons, and set aside. Take your daikon, halve it lengthwise, and then halve those halfs (so that you wind up with quarters), and slice into thin wedges. Take the spring onions, cut the white and pale green parts into thin slices (save the tops for garnish), and then toss with the daikon pieces.

Warm your dashi (if you didn’t make it right before starting the soup, that’s what I usually do), until it comes to a gentle simmer. Then, add your carrot slices, and cook for three minutes over medium heat. Add the daikon and spring onions right after, cooking for another three minutes.

Nancy recommends thinning the miso paste with a small bit of the broth at this point separately, but I just whisked the miso right into the broth. Remove from heat, and add the spring onion tops and lemon zest to the broth. I also added in fried tofu at this point. If you’re so inclined, add a poached egg to top it all off, and enjoy the amazing flavor combinations!

This is a great, simple recipe that also happens to be healthy and light on the effort. And since green beans are in season and in glut at the farmer’s market, this is also excessively cheap – all you should need is a lemon, butter, and sea salt and pepper besides the green beans. 

Lemon Butter Green Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 lb green beans, destemmed (I probably got closer to two lbs and doubled the recipe accordingly)
  • 1 T butter
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 T lemon juice
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Take your green beans, and destem them. If they’re particularly long, halve or third them. Once destemmed, rinse the beans in a colander. 

Put your beans in a large pan, and add about an inch of water (it will likely just barely cover the beans). Cover the pan, and heat over medium high heat, allowing the water to just barely come to a boil. Steam/simmer the beans for three to five minutes, until bright green and just barely tender (see difference between pic 1 and 2). Remove the beans from heat, turn the burner off, and drain. 

Return the beans to the pan and the turned off burner, and add in the butter, sea salt, pepper, and a pinch of the lemon zest and juice. Toss to coat, and let the butter melt using the residual heat. Once melted, add the remaining zest and juice, taste, and add more sea salt and pepper depending on your taste.

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!

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, when I originally made this, I didn’t have quite the right quantities for doing so (I think I only had half the necessary rice and tried to reduce accordingly), but what I got out of it was pretty good, and I definitely want to try making this again. Seems like a perfect spring type recipe, with the lemon, and especially with the herb garden I want to get going out here. 

Baked Risotto with Finnes Herbes and Lemon

Ingredients

  • 3 T butter, divided
  • 1 large leek, white and pale green parts finely chopped and well washed
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2.5 t sea salt
  • .5 t fresh ground pepper
  • 1.5 c arborio rice
  • 1.25 c dry white wine
  • 3.5 to 4 c chicken stock, warmed
  • .5 c Parmesan cheese (I used parmigiano reggiano)
  • .5 t fresh lemon zest
  • (original recipe recommends .25 c fresh parsley, 3 T finely sliced chives, and 1 T coarsely chopped fresh tarragon, I think I did a bunch of dried parsley and tarragon, going to try that again once fresh herbs are more in season)

Preheat your oven to 425. Keep your chicken stock warm in a separate nearby pot. While your oven preheats, take a large (roughly 2 qt, I used this to break in my new dutch oven) baking dish, and lightly butter it. If you’re me, what you’ll do is just use that dutch oven for everything, making this a one-pot meal. If you don’t have a baking dish that’s stovetop usable, grab a separate pot. Whatever you end up cooking in, melt 2 T butter over medium heat. Once melted, add your chopped leek and onion, sea salt, and pepper, and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally, which should take around 10 minutes.

Then, add your rice. Stir to coat in the butter, and cook until the rice starts toasting (you’ll get a nice nutty smell, and it sizzles and pops a bit), about two minutes or so. Then, add your wine, increase the heat to medium-high, and simmer until almost completely absorbed, about three minutes total. (And yes, in accordance with the other risotto recipes, you absolutely need to drink the rest of the bottle of wine for science.)  Then, add 3 c of chicken stock, bring everything back to a simmer, and either just put it straight in the oven, or, if you needed a separate dish, put it in that. 

Bake your risotto for five minutes at a time, stirring every five minutes, for fifteen minutes total, until the stock is completely absorbed into the risotto. (See the difference between pictures 3 and 4.) Remove from the oven, and stir in your herbs of choice, the remaining 1 T butter, the parmesan, and the lemon zest. Then add the remaining .5 to 1 c chicken stock slowly, and stir until the rice is creamy. Season to taste with more sea salt and pepper, and enjoy!

This is a recipe I’d been wanting to try a while back in… January, I want to say, and peaches came on a good sale, so I decided to try to make this. The yeast I used for this was a bit old, so it probably didn’t rise properly, so I’ll want to give this another shot again soon. Macreating the peaches, though? Incredibly good idea, and definitely a thing I want to do again, especially when the Japanese peaches come into season at Mitsuwa. This may not have been perfect, but it was still real damn good.

Salty Peach Vanilla Focaccia

Ingredients

Dough

  • .5 c milk, warmed to lukewarm (microwaved about 30-40 seconds)
  • 2 t sugar
  • 1 t active dry yeast
  • 1.5 c flour
  • 2 T sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg
  • half a stick (.25 c) unsalted butter, softened

Topping

  • 1 large peach (or 2 medium ones), pitted and sliced
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 T dark brown sugar
  • 1 t vanilla bean paste
  • flaky sea salt

To start the dough, take the warmed milk, 2 t sugar, and active dry yeast, and mix together in a small bowl, until foamy. Whisk together the flour, 2 T sugar, and lemon zest, and then slowly add the egg and yeast starter, until you have a dry, kind of shaggy dough. Add the butter all in one go, and then work your dough together until you have a smooth, elastic dough. Cover your bowl, and then let rise for 1.5 to 2 hours, until it’s roughly doubled in size. 

Meanwhile, while the dough rises, toss your peach slices with the maple syrup, dark brown sugar, and vanilla bean paste, and cover and set aside to macreate while your dough rises. 

After the dough has doubled, punch it down and spread it out on a baking sheet into a rectangleish shape (or as close as you can get to one). Pour the juices over the bread, and then press the peach slices into the dough. Cover with plastic, and then let rise again until doubled in size, roughly another 45 minutes. 

In the last ten minutes, preheat the oven to 400, and bake the bread for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and cooked all the way through. Sprinkle the bread with sea salt, and then enjoy your ridiculously good dessert bread!

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!