rosemary Lemon Polenta Cookies

Rosemary lemon polenta cookies
My go-to holiday cookie recipes are the ones that are the most unfussy. As much as I tend to be all hands-on in the kitchen, I possess a serious lack of patience when it comes to decorating food. Especially cookies, cakes and other sweet things- it’s just not my style. People who can spend hours on the finer details of beautiful desserts – I am in awe of them.

I’m pretty sure that same impatience gene seeps into other aspects of my life, but I’ll skip that story for now. All I can say is that yoga breathing is something I’m grateful to know and practice. Even with those deep breaths going in and out, I don’t see a future designing wedding cakes.

However, I do love to share some baking during the holidays and that’s why these cookies are a favorite. They have that rustic crunch from the cornmeal, an amazing lemon scent and a hit of piney-fresh rosemary.

Rosemary lemon polenta cookies

Rosemary Lemon Polenta Cookies

Yield: about 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 10 tablespoons butter, softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon extract (optional)
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup coarse ground cornmeal (polenta)
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus a few sprigs for garnish
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup pinenuts, plus extra for garnish
  • Glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Beat the butter and sugar in a standing mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes on medium high speed. Add the lemon zest and the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Stir in the lemon extract, if using.
  2. Mix the flour, cornmeal, rosemary, baking powder and salt in a bowl until blended together.
  3. Add the dry mixture to the butter on low speed in 2 parts, just until the dough comes together. Stir in the pine nuts. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for an hour or two, until the dough is firm and scoopable.
  4. Heat the oven to 325 degrees and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Scoop the dough into tablespoon-sized balls (I like to use a cookie scoop) and arrange on the cookie sheets.
  6. Bake 12 minutes, or until the cookies are puffed and slightly golden on the edges. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
  7. To make the glaze, stir together the powdered sugar, cream and lemon juice until smooth. Spread some glaze on each cookie; put a few rosemary sprigs and a pine nut on the top.
http://familystylefood.com/2012/12/rosemary-lemon-polenta-cookies/

Toasted Orzo Salad with Lemon and Chickpeas

Toasted Orzo Salad with Lemon and Feta

I could cook pasta every night of the week and make everyone happy. But at the same time I like to make a meal that falls under my definition of “healthy” and “delicious”.

Orzo is familiar as a side dish or floating in soup, but I find that toasting it first and mixing it with lots of vegetables makes it ten times more complex and interesting.

I’ve played on the Greek heritage of orzo in this recipe and borrowed from the Mediterranean pantry by using chickpeas, cumin, lemon and tangy feta cheese. I would serve this on a pile of arugula and call it lunch or dinner.

Toasted Orzo Salad with Lemon and Chickpeas

Serving Size: serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup chopped seedless or Persian cucumber
  • Baby arugula greens

Instructions

  1. Warm a dry 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat; add the orzo and toast until golden brown and nutty-smelling, about 10 minutes, tossing the pan frequently. Remove from the heat and cool.
  2. Bring 3 quarts salted water to a boil and cook the orzo until al dente. Drain and transfer to a bowl along with the butter, stirring until butter melts completely.
  3. Whisk together the lemon juice, zest, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper; pour over the orzo. Add the chickpeas, pine nuts, dill and cucumber to the bowl and gently toss together. Top with the cheese and serve over the arugula.
http://familystylefood.com/2012/05/toasted-orzo-salad-with-lemon-and-chickpeas/

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/