Rosemary Lemon Cake

Hello there–  Love this quirky little cake.  To start with, I pretty much adore anything topped with lemony cream cheese frosting.  Add a tender cake with a whisper of rosemary and hints of lemon peel and it’s pretty luscious.

ROSEMARY LEMON CAKE

Cake:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 tab. lemon juice*
2 tsp. grated lemon peel
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter milk**
1 cup + 2 tab. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tab. rosemary, chopped very fine

Frosting:
4 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tab. lemon juice
2 tsp. lemon peel, grated
garnish: lemon slice, rosemary sprig

To make the cake, beat together the 1/2 cup butter, sugar, lemon juice and lemon peel with an electric mixer until they are all creamed together.  Then beat in the eggs and buttermilk.  Finally beat in the flour, baking powder, salt and rosemary.  Continue to beat the batter with the mixer for 2 minutes.

Scoop all the batter into a 9″ cake pan than has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake it at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until the cake is firm to the touch.   Let the cake cook completely before you frost it.

To make the frosting, use the electric mixer to beat together the cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon peel.  When it is thoroughly blended and creamy, frost the cooled cake.  Garnish with a twist of lemon and a sprig of rosemary.  So pretty!

*I used 1 large juicy lemon and got enough juice and grated peel for the cake and frosting.
**In place of buttermilk, pour a tablespoon of vinegar into the measuring cup and fill it to make 1/2 cup.

Orange & Rosemary Salmon

Hello all– There are some old recipes that are standards (That’s you, coconut cake!).  And I’m just sticking with them.  But there are some foods that are always open for improvement.  I’m always wiling to try a new chocolate chip cookie or a new spin on meatballs and because we’re trying to eat more fish, I’m always up for a new version of salmon.

Here’s the latest– sweet and tangy.  And that smokey paprika!  I was entranced as it spilled out of the jar onto my measuring spoon.  I think you’ll love this easy dish…

ORANGE & ROSEMARY SALMON
1 orange
2 tab. olive oil
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced
1 pound salmon filets
2 tab. brown sugar
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. sea salt
garnish: orange wedge, sprig of rosemary

Take an orange and grate off all the peel. Set that aside.  Then cut the orange in half and extract all the juice.

Mix the orange juice, olive oil & rosemary in a baking dish to make the marinade. Put the salmon filets into the marinade, turning to coat both sides and let it sit in the fridge for an hour.*

While that’s marinating, in a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, paprika, sea salt and the peel of the orange you grated off.

When the salmon is done marinating, pour the extra marinade out of the baking dish.  Then spread the paprika mixture evenly over the top of the salmon and pop it into a 400 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes depending on the thickness of your filets.

P.S. We had ours with roasted red potatoes since they both bake at 400 degrees.  Add a little steamed broccoli.  Dinner!

Beef & Eggplant Ragu

img_6939

Hello Pasta Loving Friends– We were talking about–“If you had to eat just one ethnic cuisine for the rest of your life, what would you pick?”  There were Vietnamese fans (those noodles!) and Chinese (so much variety!), but I was torn between Italian (pasta & gelato, of course) and Mexican (just because that’s what we eat in So Cal).

So for you who love pasta as much as I do, here’s a rich, thick, savory sauce to pour over the top of your favorite angel hair or rigatoni.

And thanks to Suzanne from A Pug in the Kitchen for this recipe — been reading her warm and friendly posts for years…

BEEF & EGGPLANT RAGU
2 tab. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound ground sirloin
salt & freshly ground pepper
1 Chinese, eggplant, cut to small pieces
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 cup red wine
3 bay leaves
1 tsp. finely minced rosemary
16 oz. pasta
garnish: parmesan romano, grated

img_6958

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and then add in the chopped onion.  When it starts to wilt, add the garlic and cook a minute more.

Then add in the beef, chopping it in the pan with a wooden spoon, until it is all crumbled.  Cook until it is browned and then add the eggplant.  Cook 4 minutes more.

Pour in the crushed tomatoes, red wine, bay leaves and rosemary.  Leave it uncovered on a low simmer or 20 to 30 minutes until the flavors are melded.

While that’s simmering, cook your favorite pasta according to the directions on the package.

Drain the pasta and layer it on a large platter, topped with the ragu.  Sprinkle on the parmesan romano and serve it steaming hot.

img_6933

Lemon Rosemary Baked Chicken

img_1917

Hey there– Dinner time.  When our kids were growing up, it was everyone in their place, sitting around the table, talking through the day–the one time in the day we were all together.  Now it’s just Larry and me.  Sometimes we just grab a plate and sit in the kitchen, sometimes pull up to the coffee table and watch tv.  But it’s still a time to connect.

And the best connects are with friends who come in and sit down to the table with us.  Last week it was with Esther, an amazing young woman we’ve gotten to know.  Heard her heartwarming story of an encounter with a young shepherd boy on her trip to India for a cousin’s wedding.  Talked about her future plans…  It was more about the conversation than the food.

But- we did eat!  And dinner was centered around this Lemon Rosemary Chicken.  Easy to pop in the oven so you have time to pull up a salad and a pot of rice. It’s savory and fresh tasting.  I think you’ll like it– and I hope it comes with good talk around your table…

LEMON ROSEMARY BAKED CHICKEN
6 chicken thighs
2 tab. live oil
2 lemons
3 tab. honey
2 tab. olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 sprigs of rosemary
6 sprigs of thyme (optional)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
garnish:  a little more rosemary/thyme

Heat the olive oil in a skillet.  Brown the chicken thighs in the skillet, cooking on medium high heat for 3 minutes on each side.

Cut one lemon in half and juice half of one lemon.  Slice the remain 1 1/2 lemons into thin slices.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, honey, olive oil and garlic.

Then spray a baking dish with cooking spray.  On the bottom of the dish lay out half of the lemon slices. Top them with the browned chicken thighs and spoon the pan juices over the chicken and sprinkle with the salt and pepper.  Then layer on top the remaining lemon slices and the rosemary and thyme sprigs.  Finally spoon the honey/lemon juice mixture over the top of the chicken.

Pop the baking dish into a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes.  Then lay the chicken out on a serving dish, top with the juices from the baking dish and the lemons, plus a couple fresh sprigs of rosemary.

img_1915

Tomato Rosemary Chicken with Polenta

IMG_3584

Hello there– Have you ever cooked up something and thought–“why did I wait so long to try this?”  I’ve had polenta eating out, but never stirred it up at home.  And guess what– It’s so easy and (if you love corn like I do) it’s super delicious!

This little Sunday lunch was packed with flavor from the comforting homey polenta to the tender chicken, the savory tomatoes and the briny olives.  With a bright fresh salad–perfect.  I’m imagining who we could invite in for supper to make this dish again…

TOMATO CHICKEN WITH POLENTA
1/2 cup polenta
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup parmesan romano
4 chicken thighs**
2 tab. olive oil
salt
freshly ground pepper
sprig of rosemary
sprig of thyme
(plus more rosemary & time for garnish)
1 small onion, chopped finely”
2 cloves garlic, minced
14 oz. can petit cut tomatoes with garlic & herbs
1/3 cup well brined olives

Start the polenta cooking according to the package directions (mine called for 2 cups of water, 1/2 tsp. salt).  When it’s done cooking, sir in the parmesan.

While that’s cooking, heat the olive oil in a skillet.  Salt and pepper the chicken thighs and drop them in the oil meat side down to brown for about 8 minutes.  Then remove them from the pan.

In that same skillet, drop in the the chopped onion and sauté 2 or 3 minutes until it starts to brown.  Add in the garlic and cook a minute more.  Then stir in the tomatoes, rosemary and thyme.

Put the chicken back into the pan with the tomatoes and simmer it on low for 12 minutes more until it is cooked through.  Stir in the olives.

At last, spoon the polenta* from the pot onto a platter and top it with the chicken and spoonfuls of the tomato sauce.  Garnish with sprigs of rosemary and thyme and set it hot on the table.

*If the polenta seems a bit thick, stir in a few spoonfuls of hot water before you serve it up.
** The recipe I worked from said to cook the chicken thighs with the skin on, but I removed it and it was just fine.

IMG_3596

Tomato Ricotta Tart

IMG_2993
Hello all– Since we are tardy tomato planters around here, we still have a bit of a crop coming in out back.  So when the teachers at school had a TGIF last Friday to celebrate the first two weeks of school completed with no major mishaps, I grabbed a few tomatoes from the yard (And some orange ones from the market) to make this happy tart.

You know all those bright colors just look like cheerful food.  And the salty feta, pungent rosemary and flaky pastry.  It’s just fine to go with a glass of wine and lots of frenetic, noisy conversation.  (thanks Kim for making us all laugh and Maryann for having us all in– it was the best!)

TOMATO RICOTTA TART

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (1/2 package)
4 oz. feta cheese
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped to bits
1 tsp. chopped rosemary (or your favorite herb)
plus a sprig of rosemary for garnish
1 pint cherry tomatoes,* sliced in rounds
a couple shakes of garlic salt
2 tab. olive oil
1/4 tsp more chopped rosemary

Defrost the sheet of puff pastry (I left it overnight in the fridge)– and then carefully unfold it and set it onto a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Score a border about 1/2″ in from the edge of the pastry.  And poke the center inside the border all across with the the tines of a fork.

Then pop the pastry into a 400 degree oven for just ten minutes until the pastry browns.

Take if from the oven and sprinkle on the feta.  Top that with the roasted red pepper bits.  Sprinkle the 1 tsp. chopped rosemary over the top and then settle on the sliced tomatoes.

Sprinkle on a few shakes of garlic salt and put it bake into the 400 degree oven for about 5 to 10 minutes more.

Take it out and drizzle on the olive oil.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 tsp. of chopped rosemary and garnish with a fresh sprig of rosemary.

Good served hot or room temperature.  Enjoy!!

IMG_2964

 

Dijon Rosemary Chicken

IMG_1875Hi there all–We’ve had the same old faithful rosemary plant in the side yard for the last 20 years in the house.  But finally, it got all woody and not so healthy and out it went.  So sad.

So when I wanted make this rosemary chicken, I ran straight to Armstrong Nursery (thanks for the help Mark!) and got sprightly new little rosemary plant and it’s going back in the side yard, hopefully for the next 20 years!

Anyway, I think you’d like this savory tend chicken.  It is full of flavor and the sauce is nice if you serve it over rice.

DIJON ROSEMARY CHICKEN
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt & freshly ground pepper
1 tab. olive oil
1 tab. butter
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup cream (or half & half)*
2 tsp. rosemary, chopped fine

Filet the chicken breasts, slicing them horizontal to produce 2 flat filets from each breast.

Add the olive oil and butter to a medium hot skillet.  Don’t let the butter burn!  Drop the chicken breasts into the skillet in two batches and liberally salt and pepper them.  Cook for 2 minutes on each side until they are browned, but not cooked through.

Remove the chicken to a platter.

In the hot pan, add the wine and mustard, and simmer for 1 minute.  Shake the chicken stock with the cornstarch in a small container with a tight fitting lid until there are no lumps.  Stir the stock into the wine mixture until thickens, just a couple minutes.

Sitr in the half and half and rosemary.  Then nestle the chicken back into the pan and cover it with a lid.  Simmer on very low for about 5 minutes until the chicken is tender.

Remove the chicken to a platter and top with the sauce from the pan. Serve it hot and savory.