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.

Spring is here, which means it’s asparagus and citrus season! Looking for something to combine those two things? Then look no further than this. You can pick up asparagus from the farmer’s market for super cheap, along with an orange and lemon for cheap, and with the juices they release while roasting, combined with the butter and olive oil here, and the end result is pure amazingness. Hell, you could also probably do this well on a grill. 

Citrus Butter Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients

  • 1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed (original recipe recommends two bunches, may try it with 2 lbs next time)
  • 1 lemon, sliced thin
  • 1 blood orange, sliced thin (I used tarocco, because it was on sale, cara cara and clementines also work)
  • 4 T butter, split into 1 T pieces
  • 2 T olive oil
  • .5 c grated parmigiano-reggiano (or parmesan)
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400. Take your lemon and orange slices, and asparagus, and lay it together on a foil-lined sheet pan. Drizzle the olive oil over it, and layer the butter slices on top of it, while sprinkling with the parmigiano-reggiano, sea salt, and pepper. 

Place in the oven and roast for 25 minutes, tossing occasionally, until your asparagus is tender, and ever so slightly charred. And then, enjoy the citrusy asparagus goodness!

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!

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!

As we start to edge into summer here, my tastes start running a bit Mediterranean. Lately, I’ve been really into lemons and olives, and this recipe came up on a friend’s page. There was a really great sale on chicken thighs not too long after that, and so this happened. 🙂 

Cast iron skillets continue to be pretty awesome, especially since you can start something on the stovetop and then just pop it into the oven, like so. 

Braised Chicken Thighs with Garlic, Lemon, and Greek Olives
Lasts between 4-6 lunches, depending on how many thighs you have per serving

Ingredients

  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 large onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lemon, sliced thin and seeds discarded
  • 2 T fresh oregano, plus more for garnish
  • 1 c mixed Greek olives
  • Juice of one lemon (if you can find it fresh squeezed, about .25 c)

Bring your chicken to room temperature about twenty minutes before you start cooking it, to remove the chill, and season on both sides with sea salt and pepper. Preheat your oven to 350 while you do this.

In a cast iron skillet, heat your olive oil over medium high heat.  Once heated, add the chicken skin side down, and sear for five to six minutes, until your chicken turns golden brown. Quickly flip the thighs, and add the cloves of garlic nestling them between the thighs. (Wow that sounded dirty.)  Cook two to three more minutes, until the garlic turns golden brown and gets fragrant. Set the chicken and garlic aside on another plate to rest. 

Immediately add your onions, lemon, and oregano, and season with a bit of sea salt and pepper. Cook for six to eight minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions start to wilt, and any brown bits from the chicken cooking start to come off the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat, and nestle the cooked thighs skin side up in the onion mixture. Pour the olives and garlic cloves over the chicken, followed by the lemon juice. Put the pan into the preheated oven, cooking between forty to fifty minutes (the final picture is after 45 minutes). 

Take your pan out of the oven, and then sprinkle some additional fresh oregano over the chicken for garnish, and enjoy!

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!

On my continuing citrus kick, I decided to make limoncello earlier this week. This is where all my leftover lemons came for the various other recipes I’ve been making.   I went for the shorter end of infusing this time around, as I wanted a quick turn around time for using this in other recipes, but would be interested to see what a longer infusion time would do to this.

Limoncello
Makes 1 750 ml bottle

Ingredients

  • 10 Meyer lemons, washed and dried
  • 1 750 ml bottle of vodka (I used closer to 2 c, New Amsterdam vodka)
  • 1.5 c sugar
  • 1.5 c water

Take your Meyer lemons, and peel them so that the outer peels, and as little of the pith as possible, are removed. Take the peels, put them in a quart jar (or in a 750 bottle like I did), pour your vodka over them, and then seal the jar. Place the jar in a dark place, and let sit for four days at minimum, up to a month. The difference between pics two and three is what the vodka will look like after four days infusing.

After your four days, run the vodka through a mesh strainer (and additionally through a coffee filter if you have one) into a bowl.

Meanwhile, combine equal amounts sugar and water and heat over medium high heat, simmer until the sugar is dissolved, and then remove from heat to cool.  Once cooled, mix with the vodka, and taste to decide whether or not you would like more sugar syrup in your limoncello. The recipe suggests starting out with 1 cup, and going from there to decide if you like the taste enough before adding more; I did this, and ended up adding a half cup more.

Once you’re at your ideal taste, run the limoncello through a funnel into your bottle, seal, and put in the freezer to chill. (You can put it in the fridge, but it will keep longer in the freezer, and will bring out the flavors better as it rests.)