Lemon Polenta Cake

lemon-polenta-cake-recipe

had a lot of pots on the fire this week and I was hoping to share some of the contents with you. And I will… but today I want to keep it simple. So here’s a favorite dessert recipe from my file. It’s a rustic Italian cake made with lots of lemon and crunchy stoneground cornmeal – ¬†polenta.

It’s the sort of peasant-style dessert I love. You could cut it into squares and eat it with your hands like a bite of coffee cake, or sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve alongside a generous pile of whatever summer fruit is the sweetest at the moment.

lemon-polenta-cake-recipe

Lemon Polenta Cake

Serving Size: serves 8 - 10

Ingredients

1 cup polenta, or coarse-ground cornmeal

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 egg whites

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 cup plain yogurt

2 tablespoons grated fresh lemon zest

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place an oven rack in the center of the oven.
  2. Line the bottom of an 8-inch cake pan or standard loaf pan with lightly oiled parchment paper to fit.
  3. Whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Beat the eggs, egg whites and sugar in a heavy-duty stand mixer until pale and creamy. On low speed, mix in the oil. butter, yogurt, lemon zest and juice.
  5. Stir in the dry ingredients until just blended. Pour the batter into the pan and bake 35 - 40 minutes, or until the top feels firm (not hard) and a toothpick inserted in the center of cake come out clean. Cool completely before serving.
http://familystylefood.com/2011/06/lemon-polenta-cake/

Marry Me Roast Chicken – A Recipe For Every Girl (& Guy)

Marry Me Roast Chicken

Glamour Magazine’s cult recipe for Engagement Chicken made the rounds over the past few years, but I just got around to seeing it the other day.

I saw a promo for the new book, 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know, which includes this “iconic” roast chicken; reputedly the impetus for dozens upon dozens of proposals as well as what I’m guessing is an infinite number of unreported but nonetheless passionate, chicken-fueled moments.

Kimberly Bonnell, a former editor at Glamour, takes credit for the popular dissemination of the recipe.

Here’s the thing: I noticed right away that the recipe was almost the exact replica of an unbelieveably simple, ultra-classic one from the Italian cooking teacher and author, Marcella Hazan. I first came across it in 1992, when it appeared in the Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, a book I’d most certainly grab on the way out of my house if it was burning down.

I cut my chicken-roasting teeth on Marcella’s foolproof chicken. It’s undergone an evolution in my own kitchen; still very true to the basic original but tweaked to my taste.

Over the years, I’ve added garlic and handfuls of fresh herbs to the chicken, and reversed the oven temperature steps: Marcella starts her chicken in a preheated 350 oven, but I like to get my bird nice and hot right away to ensure crisp, golden skin – 425 degrees – before turning it down to finish roasting.

The smell that comes out of the oven while this little bird is cooking will draw everyone into the kitchen- if not begging for your hand, than at least drooling for a bit of juicy leg.

Marry Me Roast Chicken

Yield: Serves 4, or 2 with leftovers

Ingredients

1 (3-4 pound) whole chicken

5 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 small head garlic, sliced in half

1 small lemon, punctured about a dozen times with a skewer

1 handful mixed fresh herb bunches - rosemary, thyme, tarragon and/or lavender are good

Instructions

  1. Pat the chicken dry with towels and place on a small rack on a shallow casserole or roasting pan. I use a quarter-sheet pan, which is the perfect size.
  2. Put 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 the pepper, garlic, lemon and herbs into the cavity. Rub the remaining salt and pepper all over the skin; front, sides and back. Tie the legs together firmly with a piece of kitchen string.
  3. Turn the chicken breast side down, and let it sit out at room temperature while you preheat the oven to 425 degrees, for at least 20 minutes.
  4. When the oven is hot, put the chicken in and roast for 25 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and carefully turn it so the breast is facing up. Put it back into the oven, turn the temperature down to 350 and roast for about 25 more minutes. The chicken will be sizzling and spitting, the legs joints will wiggle and skin should be golden and crisp. You can take its temperature if you're unsure - 160 -165 degrees before resting is my preference.
  5. Take the chicken out of the oven and let it rest, loosely covered with a piece of aluminum foil for 15 minutes. Carve and serve with reserved juices from the pan and the inside of the chicken.
http://familystylefood.com/2011/05/marry-me-roast-chicken-a-recipe-for-every-girl-guy/

Luscious Lemon Squeezer

I try not to share recipes that require specialized gadgets or unneeded kitchen appliances, but I’ve been loving my juicer so much lately that I’m hoping to inspire you to go out get one of your very own.

Yes, freshly squeezed citrus and vegetable juices can be found in lots of grocery stores, but they are no comparison to the fine stuff you can juice up at home and drink on the spot, which still tastes vibrant, fresh and alive. Another bonus is that you can be much more creative in experimenting with various combinations of your favorite fruits and vegetables.

Most commercial juice is pasteurized, which destroys some vitamins and the other good stuff in the process. There seems to be small chance that the produce we buy – organic, local or otherwise – will have some invisible, bacterial nasties living on their surfaces, so it’s always a good idea to wash the fruit or vegetable you plan to juice if you’re going to throw them in the machine skin-on.

The recipe below is very, very flexible and happens to be what I like to drink right when I’m thirsty, especially after exercising, and depends on what I have on hand. Sometimes I go crazy and add some green leaves to my juice, but I understand if that sounds too hardcore.