I got the best surprise in my mailbox this week - A box of beautiful Meyer lemons and satsuma oranges from the kids! The best part is - they picked them from the fruit trees in their own backyard! 🍋🍊#southgeorgialiving Freshly picked citrus in the middle of winter? - yes, please.
The moment that I opened the box and saw that delicious fruit, I instinctively went into menu planning mode. My brain automatically started generating ideas about what I would make with this precious gift. Pastas tossed in a buttery lemon sauce, fish cooked in a lemony wine sauce and of course breads and desserts bursting with bright lemon flavor. 🤩 So many lemon recipes - so little time.
One Pot Shrimp Piccata Pasta was the lucky recipe to be chosen as the first recipient of a South Georgia Meyer Lemon. The inspiration for this decadent dish came from America's Test Kitchen.
I love the idea of treating the pasta more like a risotto that absorbs the rich sauce that it cooks in. Cooking the entire dish using just one pot and having fewer dishes to wash is pretty appealing too. Who doesn't love fewer dishes?
One Pot Shrimp Piccata Pasta
1 pound extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined (reserve shells)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled (5 smashed, 1 minced)
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 1/2 cups water
3 1/2 cups (12 ounces) orecchiette pasta
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Stir vigorously 1 minute. Serve with parmesan cheese.
I didn't specifically identify this recipe as dairy free but guess what dairy free friends? This recipe is perfect for you! Unlike most lemon sauces, this one has NO butter and only a sprinkling of parmesan over the top if you like. But trust me when I tell you that you will never miss the butter or the cheese in this super delicious shrimp and pasta dish.
Snow!! ❄️ I used to dread the winter when I lived in the Northeast. Winter meant and snow and snow storms meant shoveling, bundling up uncooperative babies and dangerously icy roads. But ... now that I live in an area that only sees snow once every couple of years, I miss it. Turns out - snow is way more fun when you don't have to shovel or drive in it. 🛷⛄️ ⛷ ⛸
Last week we drove up to Ohio to visit my parents and we were hoping to see some wintery precipitation while we were there. ❄️Much to our dismay, other than a few piles on the side of the road and a few flurries swirling around the air, there wasn't much snow to be found. Although our visions of bundling up and careening down a snow covered hill on a toboggan didn't become a reality - we did have a manage to have a snowball (aka. iceball) fight in the driveway. 😅
Don't be fooled by the lack of precipitation in Ohio last week. It was C.O.L.D. 🥶 This girl who moved South 18 years ago isn't used to those bone chilling temperatures anymore. I think I drank more tea and hot chocolate that week than I do all year in Georgia. 😅🍵 I've learned that the best way for me to warm myself up is from the inside out. Hot tea, hot coffee, hot chocolate, hot soup - the sooner it get's in my belly - the quicker I warm up. 🍲
I'm going to be honest - It's NEVER occurred to me to squeeze fresh grapefruit juice into my homemade chicken soup. And that is exactly the reason that I HAD to make this Chicken and Lime Soup. I figured it was either going to be really, really great or just really wrong. Either way - I had to find out. 💁🏻♀️
Chicken and Lime Soup
2 Tablespoons oil
3 pounds bone in, skin on chicken breasts or thighs
2 white onions, thinly sliced
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, chopped
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 bunch cilantro, stems minced and leaves chopped
28 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 quarts chicken broth
3/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice
3 Tablespoons lime juice
Tortilla Chips, for serving
Turn off heat and stir in grapefruit and lime juices. Season with salt and pepper.
There was a split decision on this soup. Before I added the lime and grapefruit juices, I decided to make a couple of "test bowls." I let my 22 year old be the judge. She tasted both the "juiced" and the "unjuiced" soups and she very politely (and quickly) told me that she preferred the soup without the citrus. 😅I, on the other hand, really liked the soup with grapefruit juice and trust me - no one was more surprised about this than me. Chicken soup with grapefruit juice - who knew?
I have pantry envy. I decided last month that the same pantry that's been adequately storing my food for the last 15 years was suddenly insufficient. 🤷🏻♀️ Soo... I devised a plan to break through the kitchen wall in order to find some more pantry space. (Do we really need a coat closet anyway?) I envision a giant walk in space with beautifully organized shelves and labelled bins. #pantrygoals
I think that I was uber focused on my pantry last month because I was storing a ridiculous amount of ingredients for my holiday baking. You'd be surprised how much flour and sugar I can go through in a week. 😬 In addition to the massive amounts of flour and sugar, I also bought and stored a LOT of meringue powder to make the royal icing for my Christmas sugar cookies.
Although storing my dry ingredients was an issue, I never had any trouble buying meringue powder. They sell the brand that I like on Amazon, at Wal Mart, Michaels and Jo Ann Fabrics. It never even occurred to me that I wouldn't be able to buy it when I needed it most. And then my meringue powder supply started to dwindle and I was forced to spend an entire afternoon running around from store to store looking for more. 😬
I have so many questions about this apparent shortage of meringue powder. Most importantly, why on earth is everyone buying it and what in the world are they making? 🤷🏻♀️I keep a supply of meringue powder home because I use it to make the royal icing for my sugar cookies but that is the only thing that I use it for. I'm genuinely curious about what everyone else is making with it.
You'll be glad to know that I finally found meringue powder at a Wal Mart in Ohio. I'm still not sure why it was available there but not here. Maybe Northerners don't use it as much as Southerners. Do you add meringue powder to grits?
Anywhoo... the panty project is on hold. i've got to work up my nerve to break through the wall. 😬 I'm also not sure I'm ready to render my kitchen unusable while a new pantry is constructed either. So while I work on building my courage to tackle that project, I'll just bake some chocolate chip cookies.
Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups dairy free chocolate chips
Place on silicone baking mat. Bake 10 minutes at 350.
A really big, warm, homemade chocolate chip cookie is like a hug from the inside out. 🍪 It's comfort food at its finest and... it requires no meringue powder. 😉
Baking is always more fun when I get to do it in someone else's kitchen --- and my mom's kitchen is one of my very favorite places to bake. She's the one who taught me to bake so it makes sense that I would find comfort in her kitchen.
I spent last week at my parent's house and since the weather in Northeast Ohio was less than cooperative (aka. cold and windy) - we spent a lot of our time inside making yummy meals and scrumptious desserts. (Not so good for the waistline but oh so good for the soul.) 😉
Biscotti is one of my family's favorites. We eat it for breakfast with a cup of tea. We snack on it in the afternoon between lunch and dinner and we eat it for dessert with a cup of coffee after a big meal. Biscotti is the perfect excuse to eat cookies - all day long.
Dairy free biscotti has really peaked my interest lately. Sometimes, leaving the butter out of a biscotti recipe can make the cookies super ... "crunchy". 😅(like - hard as rocks.) I've also experimented with swapping the butter for oil in my favorite recipes with only marginal success. So when I ran across this recipe for a Dairy Free Double Chocolate Biscotti - I was super excited to give it a try.
Double Chocolate Chip Biscotti
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup olive oil
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg yolk
⅓ cup unsweetened dairy-free milk beverage
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
Ahhhmazing. The cinnamon, the brown sugar and the balsamic vinegar all worked together to deepen the flavor of the chocolate to create a beautifully rich and decadent biscotti. I absolutely loved these chocolate biscotti and I can say with all honesty - they weren't too "crunchy". 😂
I don't normally blog a new recipe when I'm cooking for guests. I don't think that people would necessarily object to waiting an extra 15 minutes for their meal while I take a ridiculous number of pictures but they might be offended when I put their dinner plate outside on my back porch in 30 degree weather in order to get the best lighting. 🥶 There's nothing like serving ice cold steak and mashed potatoes to a house full of hungry dinner guests. 😅
Time is also a factor when I'm preparing more than one thing at a time. My brain gets so consumed with getting the meal on the table that I forget to take pictures along the way. It's one thing to prepare and blog a perfectly roasted tenderloin, it's a whole new level to try and do it while also making sure that my potatoes don't burn, the asparagus is cooked to perfect crispness, the cesear dressing gets made added to the salad at just the right time to prevent wilting, the yeast rolls are given time to rise and bake, the carrot souffle is warm but not overly hot and and the apple pie is cooked at precisely the right time so that it's the perfect serving temperature at the end of the meal. In case you're wondering - that perfect dinner scenario almost never happens at our house. There's always at least 1 thing that gets overcooked or even catches on fire. 😂
I actually made this beef tenderloin twice last month just so that I could capture the steps and put it on my blog. If I write a recipe down, I'll probably forget where I put it so blogging is really the only reliable way for me to record recipes for future use. 🤷🏻♀️ The first time I made it - I got so wrapped up in the rest of the meal that I forgot to take about half of the pictures for the blog. The second time - I tried to fill in the gaps but I still never managed to get a picture of this beautiful beef on the dinner plate with all of the colorful sides. 💁🏻♀️ Oh well.
When the company of my dinner companions takes priority over taking photographs of the food - I know it's was a special meal. I love making fancy dinners but I love the people that I get to share them with even more. After the food is long gone, it's the memories of our time together that I'll remember.
I adapted this recipe from a recipe that I found in a Cook's Illustrated magazine. Full disclosure: I didn't eat any of this beef - on either occasion. I'm just not a beef eater. 💁🏻♀️ Anywhooo - What I can tell you is that everyone that I served it to, really enjoyed it.
Beef Tenderloin with Madeira Dijon Sauce
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 (1 pound) center cut beef tenderloin filets
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1/4 cup minced onion
1 thyme sprig
1/2 cup Madeira wine
3 cups beef stock
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
Thinly slice beef and serve with sauce.
An accurate meat thermometer is really key in this recipe. It's really the only way to tell when the meat reaches that critical 125 degree temperature. Serve the center of the tenderloin to guests who prefer their meat more rare and the ends to guests to like their beef a little more well done.
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