A little flame

A couple recipes over the past week have involved egg yolks but not egg whites. I suppose I could have done something with meringue again, but been there, done that this month. So instead, today I took a couple of those leftover whites and turned them into marshmallows.

Making marshmallows is actually very similar to making meringues, in that you start with a boiling sugar syrup, which is poured slowly into well-beaten egg whites, then whisked until smooth and fluffy. But where things differ is that marshmallows also require gelatin, in order to hold their shape. So instead of juggling two separate things (egg whites in mixer; syrup on stove), you are juggling three (egg whites in mixer, syrup on stove, gelatin soaking in tiny pan). All three eventually come together, and then you pour the whole mess into a foil-lined pan which has been well-sprinkled with powdered sugar and cornstarch. Those sit out to dry overnight (or in my case, all day, since I made them this morning), and then you turn the block out onto a well-sugared board and cut them into pieces.

But what, you might ask, does one then *do* with a pile of lemon marshmallows? Well, how about lemon marshmallow s’mores?

We tried a couple variations, all in the name of science. We used saltines instead of graham crackers, because I figured they would need the little kick of salt. And instead of dark chocolate, we tried two different things: white chocolate, and lemon curd.

The combination of marshmallow, saltines, and lemon curd was a definite hit – as long as we didn’t go overboard with the curd. But the white chocolate just didn’t do it for us. Maybe if the chocolate had melted a little, it might have been better, but… eh, someone else can give that a try.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, homemade marshmallows do not toast up like store bought. They have more of a tendency to just melt, without getting that lovely outer shell that a regular toasted marshmallow achieves when you introduce it to flame, and they do that at much lower levels of heat (which is probably one reason why the white chocolate didn’t melt).

Lemons used: 2
Total lemons this month: 40

Making a lemon thing a day for Thingadailies.

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All things good

After last night’s double fail with both cake and fondue, tonight was a welcome relief. Because tonight, I made risotto, and it was soooo good.

I am not sure if I have actually made risotto before, as usually the only rice we have in the house is the brown variety, but I have seen it made oodles of times on various cooking competition shows. It is not a quick meal, since you are basically cooking the rice very slowly in a skillet, but it’s worth it.

This particular recipe starts with a finely chopped onion, includes lots of lemon juice, and ends with butter and parmesan cheese, and a dash of cream, and honestly, there is just no way this could have gone wrong.

The recipe for the risotto claims it makes only two servings, but they must be feeding giants, because this could easily feed two to three times that many people.

In deference to health, we had it with a side of broccoli, steamed and then tossed in a lemon, garlic, onion, butter sauce. The sauce recipe came from a collection of vintage recipes which also includes this particular gem.

Someday I may have to make this, just for the amusement factor, because how could I *not*?

Lemons used: 2
Total lemons this month: 38

Making a lemon thing a day for Thingadailies.

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Taking a dip

Today’s lemon thing is quite possibly the weirdest one for the month, but when I stumbled across the recipe, I knew I had to try it. And now none of you have to, because I fell on that sword for you. You’re welcome.

So what is this weird thing, you ask? Fondue. Lemon fondue, to be exact.

It sounded like such an intriguing concept, and it seemed pretty straightforward. Water, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and butter. I figured it would be a bit like a lemon curd. What could possibly go wrong?

Ha. First of all, it was really runny. Sure, the cornstarch-sugar mixture thickened, but not very much, so that at the end, we were left with this anemic slightly sweet lemon water sort of concoction.

As for what to dip in the fondue, I have this recipe for lemon pound cake, and pound cake goes well with sweet fondue, and I have made it several times before with no issues. But this time the cake crumbled into bits once I tried to dump it out of the pan.

Mmm, doesn’t *that* look appetizing.

Oh, we did try to make this work, carefully dipping chunks of cake into the runny lemon stuff, but….yeah, no.

Ah well. At least the cake was tasty, even if it was in pieces.

Lemons used: 3
Total lemons this month: 36.

Making a lemon thing a day for Thingadailies.

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Side effect

While making the ravioli yesterday, I got frustrated with how poorly they were turning out, but there was still a lot of dough left. So instead of fussing about with more of the stupid ravioli, I turned it in to spaghetti.

It turns out spaghetti is super easy to make if you remember to flour the dough in between each step of feeding it through the pasta roller (it’s also far less likely to clump later). Coincidentally, guess what I *didn’t* do when assembling the ravioli. Hmm, I am sure there is no connection to how those turned out.


Four servings of fresh pasta.

This ended up being the perfect accompaniment to tonight’s lemon-themed dinner, which was Lemon Chicken Piccata.

This was a pretty simple dinner to throw together. Chicken is cut into smaller pieces, then dredged in flour and pan fried. Then you make a sauce of lemon juice, garlic, and broth, which is finished off with butter and capers.

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We followed this rather delicious dinner with a bonus lemon thing – Lemon Mug Cake. I’ve made that before, and it’s a lovely way to use up another lemon, and to end a meal.

Lemons used: 2
Total lemons this month: 33

Making a lemon thing a day for Thingadailies.

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I shall call them ‘artisanal’

Today is President’s Day, and for the first time in more than a decade, I actually had the day off. So I decided to celebrate by making something fiddly and time-consuming (because this is what weird people like me do for fun): I made ravioli.

I was feeling pretty confident about this because last year’s tortellini turned out so well, so surely ravioli wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Yeah…. let’s just say it didn’t go as well as expected.

Making the dough was easy – just follow the directions. Then I mixed up the filling, using the remains of that underwhelming lemon cheese I made earlier, and I started rolling out the dough and that’s where things started to get a little tense. The dough kept tearing, the filling was probably too runny, and I am apparently completely incapable of cutting out uniform raviolis. Plus I am pretty sure that not a one of these sealed completely on the sides.

Shh, it’s not that I can’t make ravioli; it’s that they are…uh… rustic.

I let them dry and then popped them all into the freezer. And then, because I was worried they would all just burst open in the boiling water, I decided we should try baking them instead. So half of them got coated in bread crumbs and tossed in the oven for about 10 minutes, and then we had that for dinner with the lemon sage butter sauce from the original recipe.

I think that on their own, or maybe with a simple red sauce, they would have been fine. And the sauce by itself, with some plain pasta, would have been fine. But the combination of the two was just not that great. On the plus side, though, they used up two more lemons, so at least there’s that.

Lemons used: 2
Total lemons this month: 31

Making a lemon thing a day for Thingadailies.

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Snacky

What do you do when you are having a bunch of people over to play board games and you need to make something with lemons, but you really aren’t in the mood for something sweet?

You make dip, of course. Or more specifically, this Lemon Garlic Chickpea Dip.

It’s basically a hummus, except without the tahini, which I am perfectly okay with because tahini smells absolutely revolting. You rinse and drain a can of chickpeas, then toss those in the blender with some garlic, the juice and zest of one lemon, and (since this is a Rachel Ray recipe, this next ingredient is a given), a couple splooshes of extra virgin olive oil. Blend it all together and poof, you have dip.

It was probably not as smooth as it should have been, but everyone seemed to like it, so I am calling it a win. And should I ever be in need of a quick party food and happen to have a lemon lying about, I could certainly see making it again.

Lemons used: 1
Total lemons this month: 29

Making a lemon thing a day for Thingadailies.

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Lightning round

This morning I had my decorating class (we’re playing with gum paste this time around), but I always wake up super early regardless, so I figured I would have plenty of time to whip up these Sticky Lemon Rolls with Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze. Even though it was a yeast dough, I figured it’d still be fine! So as soon as I got up, I poured myself some coffee and then I mixed up the dough, and set that up in the microwave with some heated rice pads to speed things along. While it went through its first proof, I took care of the usual chores and made sure I had everything ready to go for the class. Then I rolled out the dough and mixed up the filling and huh, this filling’s awfully runny…oops, I was supposed to let that chill for about half an hour. Except I didn’t have an extra half hour to wait, so instead I kind of poured the liquid filling all over the dough, rolled it as best I could, arranged the rolls in a springform pan, and then poured all the remaining liquid over the top (figuring it’d just soak down into the nooks and crannies). Those went into the oven to rise, and when they’d nearly puffed out of the pan, it was time to bake them.

Naturally they took longer to bake than anticipated, because that is exactly the sort of thing that will happen when one has to leave at a certain time and doesn’t have any extra minutes to spare. So as soon as they were finally done I whipped off the ring on the springform pan, smacked the cream cheese glaze willy-nilly all over the rolls with no thought whatsoever to how it might look, then pulled off a roll and pretty much inhaled it as I was dashing out the door. We shall not speak of how fast I was driving, but I did at least make it to class only 2 minutes late, so there’s that.


Notice how the cream cheese glaze cleverly covers up the fact that these aren’t spiraled so much as randomly folded due to the aforementioned issue with the filling leaking out all over the place.

Anyway, these are incredibly delicious, despite how long they take to make, and I highly recommend that you give them a try, although perhaps set the dough up the night before, though, (which is what I should have done if I’d had half a brain) so you’re not stuffing super-hot-from-the-oven rolls into your gaping maw as you run out the door, and instead have time to properly enjoy the combination of lightly lemon-touched dough, a delicate lemony filling that somehow thickened up during the entire process despite my oops, and a lovely rich cream cheese glaze.

Two (sticky) thumbs up – would definitely make again.

Lemons used: 3
Total lemons used: 28

Making a lemon thing a day for Thingadailies.

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The lemon version

A lot of the recipes I’m using this month came from me doing a Google search to the tune of ‘I wonder if there’s a lemon version of ‘, which is how I stumbled across today’s recipe: Gooey Lemon Blondies. I found this one when I asked Google if there were a lemon version of a brownie, and lo, did Google provide.

While technically brownies always include chocolate, these did fit the bill – they’re a little bit chewy and they get a little crispy on the edges, and in all things except flavor, they do mimic a brownie fairly well – albeit a rather thin brownie (it’s not very much batter for even an 8×8 pan, and I did wonder about the distinct lack of any rising agent in the recipe).

I found the glaze a little overwhelmingly lemony, but Richard liked them, so that just means I get the edges and he gets the middle pieces (which have lots more glaze) and we’re both happy. This recipe’s definitely a keeper.

Lemons used: 1
Total lemons used: 25

Making a lemon thing a day for Thingadailies.

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In paper or the equivalent

Today’s recipe comes from something that came in a Hello Fresh box years ago. We saved all the recipe cards from the ones we really liked, and quite a few have become part of the normal dinner rotation, but for some reason this one has languished at the bottom of the pile until now.

The recipe is titled ‘Cod en Papillote’, which translates to ‘cod in paper’, although amusingly the original recipe had us do this in aluminum foil. This time around we used tilapia, because any mild white fish would be appropriate.

Anyway. You spray the center of a square of parchment paper or foil with some non-stick spray, and then you top that with a filet of fish. Sprinkle with dill and minced garlic, top with thinly sliced lemons, then fold the top of the paper or foil together and curve the sides so the juice doesn’t escape, and pop the packets into the oven on a sheet pan for about 10 minutes, or as long as it takes for the fish to cook through.

We had it with a side of roasted brussel sprouts and some roasted potatoes, and topped it with a lemon butter caper sauce.

Cooking ‘en papillote’ basically steams the fish, so it had a lovely, buttery texture and just flaked apart when touched with a fork. This was even more delicious than we remembered.

(Oh, and in case you were wondering, lemon lava cake is just as good the next day.)

Lemons used: 2
Total lemons used: 24

Making a lemon thing a day for Thingadailies.

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Molten

Hey, remember how we were going to make Lemon Lava Cakes earlier but it turns out we didn’t have all the ingredients? Well tonight was going to be something else but neither of us felt like making it, so instead I made the Lemon Lava Cakes, because the missing ingredients had been acquired.

This recipe is pretty straight-forward. You melt some butter and white chocolate together, and then stir in flour and sugar and a shockingly large number of eggs (four whole eggs plus four yolks). To that you stir in some lemon juice and an entire tablespoon of lemon zest, plus half a cup of lemon curd (and hey, conveniently, I have a jar of homemade curd in the fridge!). Then you pour the batter into some small ramekins and pop those into the oven, and bake them until they are just set.

Here they are, out of the oven.

After letting them set for a couple minutes, you then carefully invert them out onto a plate, and sprinkle with a little powdered sugar. And then the moment of truth – you take a bite. If all went well, the cake should have an outer shell, but a molten center, which should ooze out upon cutting.

Oh hey, look at that! You can actually see the outer cake ‘shell’ in this picture – it was perfectly uniform all the way around. I am always pleased when recipes turn out exactly as they are supposed to, and this one definitely did.

Verdict: SO VERY YUMMY. The cake part is very light and the filling is creamy with a lovely light lemony flavor. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

But now I have another four egg whites that need using up. Hmm. What *shall* I do with those…..?

Lemons used: 2 (they were small)
Total lemons used: 22

Making a lemon thing a day for Thingadailies.

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