Tag Archives: recipe

Lemon Bars

I like you, a shop here in Minneapolis that sells handmade goods from local and regional artists had copies of this print in their shop recently:


Image from Etsy

I’ve always loved this print because it’s so true – there’s nothing that a lemon bar can’t fix.  That and because my absolute favorite VVG recipe from Grandma has always been lemon bars.  Life hasn’t been giving me many lemons to speak of lately, but that didn’t stop me from making three batches of these to celebrate the end of the spring semester.  I brought them in for one my classes this semester and promised my students that I would post the recipe.  It’s a little late in coming to them, and to you, but I hope you’ll all enjoy some lemon bars soon!

Lemon Bars
1 c. butter
2 c. sifted flour
1/2 c. sifted powdered sugar
4 eggs
2 c. sugar (you can reduce this by half and still be adequately sugared up, I promise)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
1/2 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. sifted flour
1 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350˚.  Cream butter.  Add flour and powdered sugar and mix.  Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9″ x 13″ pan.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Combine well beaten eggs, sugar, salt and lemon juice.  Mix together baking powder and flour and add to egg mixture and mix well.  Spread on the hot crust layer.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Cool completely. Cut into squares and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

lemon bars


Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup

This was a wonderfully food-filled Thanksgiving weekend.  I made the trek back to the motherland for some delicious turkey on the grill, maple-glazed brussel sprouts, roasted sweet potatoes, corn-bread stuffing, cranberry-cherry chutney, home-baked dinner roles and maple-pecan and pumpkin pie.  Earlier today, I dined on some delicious pot-au-feu (recipe to follow later this week, I hope).  Tonight, I wrapped up my incredibly relaxing holiday weekend with this carrot and sweet potato soup.

First, I have to tell you that it was not my intention to make this soup.  I was intending to make Moroccan carrot soup instead.  But alas, it turns out I didn’t have enough carrots and I wanted some leftovers to get me through the first half of this week’s lunches.  So, this slightly heartier soup was born.  Find some delicious bread to go with it, and you’ve got yourself a wonderful winter meal!

Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 c. carrot, sliced
1 medium-large sweet potato, cubed (about 3 cups)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. minced ginger
1 tsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. 33rd and Galena Penzey’s Spice Mix **
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
4 c. water
1 14oz can coconut milk

Saute onions and garlic in oil until onions are translucent.  Add carrots, sweet potatoes, ginger and dry spices, and mix until coated.  Add water, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar; bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for 20 minutes, or until carrots and sweet potatoes are soft.  Stir in peanut butter.  Transfer mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth.  Return to low heat and stir in coconut milk.  Serve with bread and enjoy!

**The 33rd and Galena spice mix was included in a very kind gift I received from my aunt this week.  As I was cooking the soup, I realized it was lacking something.  Aunt J. to the rescue with a little Penzeys!  The pepper and nutmeg in this mix gave just the warmth we were looking for!

Carrot Sweet Potato Soup

Grilled Peach and Red Pepper Salsa

I don’t have a good story to go with this recipe so I’ll keep it short and sweet and instead suggest that you run to your local grocer, farmer’s market or garden and collect the ingredients listed below.  Then, chop quickly so you can do your cooking out of doors and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Grilled Peach and Red Pepper Salsa (adapted from Epicurious)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. fresh basil, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh mint, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 small peaches, halved or 2 large
1 medium to large red bell pepper, quartered
2 rings purple onion
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Mix oil, garlic, basil and mint together.  Brush peaches with oil mixture and grill cut side down over a medium high heat 5 – 8 minutes, or until just browned.  Remove from grill and cool.  Brush onions with oil mixture and grill until done, about 5 – 10 minutes.  Brush pepper with olive oil and place peel side down on grill.  Grill for 8 – 10 minutes, or until peel is blackened.  Place pepper in a paper bag for 10 minutes.  Peel skin off.
Cut peaches, pepper and onion into 1/2″ cubes.  Put cubed fruits and vegetables in oil mixture.  Add vinegar and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Serve over grilled chicken or enjoy with chips.

Chicken Salad

A few weeks ago my friend and I went out for dinner and she proclaimed that she was on a chicken salad kick (she’s since moved on to French dips, oh well).  I don’t order chicken salad very often because it’s usually just a little too goopey for my tastes, but then I ran across this recipe in Cooking Light and thought I’d give it a whirl.  The poached cooking method for the chicken was perfect.  Plus, with a few adaptations, it was a great way for me to use up some CSA goodies.  I think now I’m on a chicken salad kick!

Chicken Salad (adapted from May 2011 Cooking Light)
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 c. chopped radish
1 c. chopped green onion
1/4 c. dried currants
1/3 c. coarsely chopped almonds

1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. plain yogurt
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. honey
salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Fill a stockpot two-thirds full of water; bring to a boil.
Step 2:  Wrap each chicken breast half completely and tightly in heavy-duty plastic wrap. Add the chicken to boiling water. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165°. Remove from pan, and let stand for 5 minutes. Unwrap chicken and shred; refrigerate for 30 minutes or until cold.
Step 3:  Combine dressing ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add chicken, radishes, onions, currants, and almonds; toss well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve over salad greens.

Chicken Salad

Venison Kebabs

Back in November, my brothers butchered a deer for me.  Well, maybe the whole deer wasn’t intended for me, but I did come home with a cooler full of venison with my name on it.  Literally:

Frozen venison roast

It's not for you. It's 4 ME!!

So since November I’ve been trying out a variety of different meat recipes.  I never was a big meat eater, in large part because I don’t know how to cook the stuff.  I call my mom with lots of questions.  “Do I really have to “roast” a roast?  Because my apartment is already roasting.  Can I grill it instead?”  To which the answer was, as I was hoping, yes.

And you know what?  I think I stumbled upon a VVG recipe for venison kebabs that had the added benefit of using up some of our CSA loot.  If you or your loved ones killed a deer and need to think of inventive ways to eat it, I highly recommend trying it.

Vension Kebabs
1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. red wine
1/4 c. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves chopped garlic
3/4 c. chopped green onion
1/2 c. chopped basil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 – 2 pounds cubed venison (I really don’t know how much that roast with my name on it weighed.  I also had a little loin that I used.  I’m guessing it was about 2 pounds)

Mix all ingredients except venison together.  Place venison and marinade in a shallow pan or ziploc bag and mix thoroughly.  Refrigerate overnight or for 8 hours.  Place on skewers and grill over a high or medium high grill for about 10 – 15 minutes on eat side.  Enjoy!

Venison Kebabs

MMM Day 6: Maple Pecan Salad Dressing

To celebrate the warm weather (it’s over 50º!!), I think a light salad is in order for day 6 of March Maple Madness.

I’ve been enjoying this salad dressing over greens and roasted vegetables like sweet potatoes and beets.  Add a little goat cheese, some dried currants or whatever else suits your fancy and you’ve got yourself a meal!  Or a nice side salad at the very least.

Maple Pecan Salad Dressing
1/3 c. pecans, finely ground
1/3 c. olive oil
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic

Whisk together all ingredients except pecans and garlic until smooth.  Stir in garlic.  Stir in pecans.

Salad with Maple Pecan Salad Dressing


MMM Day 5: The Noreaster

I’m in the process of shopping for a new car.

Thus, I think you can understand why today for March Maple Madness I present to you a maple recipe that features bourbon as the primary ingredient.  Use Irish whiskey and I think you’ve got yourself a St. Patty’s Day drink, my friends.

The Noreaster (from The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – thanks to my aunt for the tip!)

1 jigger bourbon
1/2 jigger lime juice
1/2 jigger maple syrup
ginger beer or ginger ale

Shake bourbon, lime juice and maple syrup over ice.  Strain into a glass.  Add ginger beer or ginger ale.  Garnish with a lime slice.  Drink cares away!

noreaster cocktail with whiskey and maple syrup in background

Note that I am running low on provisions! This is the last of my maple stock!!