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lemon curd cake

lemon curd yogurt crumb cake not much left

This is the dessert I made with that microwave lemon curd I posted yesterday. The recipe said to serve it warm or at room temperature. I served it warm. That was a mistake.

I had a piece the next morning (yes, for breakfast – don’t judge!) that was at room temperature -

So. Much. Better.
Do not serve it warm!

As with the curd, this recipe comes from the February issue of Southern Living. I only altered it slightly; using Meyer lemons instead of regular lemons, honey yogurt instead of plain, and adding a bit of garnish.

lemon curd yogurt crumb cake slice

The one other change I’ll make, when I make it next time, is to cut the crumb topping in half. Not that it was overwhelming or that it was not wonderful, just to cut down on the fat and calories. It’s just that half a stick of butter seems like a better bet than a full stick when you can do with less, you know?

If you love lemon, lemon curd, lemon bars… yeah, any sort of lemony-goodness, you’ll love this. It’s a keeper!

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January 20, 2013   1 Comment

a dinner party story

Earlier this week I told you that we were having, Karen, my long-time friend, who was a bridesmaid in our wedding, and her husband, Bob, over for dinner on Friday night.

As of Thursday night, I had not a clue what I’d make for dinner the next evening. I wasn’t too worried, I knew I’d figure out something, so I went to bed.

In the wee hours, the house phone rang.

That really is the worst thing, isn’t it? Nothing good can come of that, no good phone calls occur at 3:53 AM!

I rolled over, grabbed the phone and looked, through very blurry eyes, at the caller ID.  “Starnetpaetec” is what it read. I immediately pressed “Talk” and then “End” and said a choice curse word or two.

Starnetpaetec, whoever you are, what the heck? It’s 3:53 AM, what could you possibly think you could sell me at that hour?!?

Thank you for ending my much needed sleep for the night.  Yep, that was it. For the next hour, try as I might, I was not able to fall asleep, too many aches and pains in my leg prevented it. Finally, I relented and decided to get in the Jacuzzi tub to relieve the pain.

And that is where and when I came up with my menu and shopping list for the dinner party that was, by now, only 12 hours away.

I love to read books or peruse magazines in the tub. I had a stack there already and pieced together the menu from the February issues of Food & Wine, Cooking Light, and Southern Living. Today’s recipe comes from Southern Living.

Southern Living 2-13

On the cover this month, there is a gorgeous Lemon Bar Cheesecake.

Lemon! Yay! Inside, there are several recipes using lemon curd to make different desserts. Lemon Curd! Triple YAY!

The thing is, there was a new way of making the lemon curd that intrigued me. Using the microwave. I was curious as to just how that would turn out as compared with the usual stove-top method.  Turns out, pretty darn well.

Personally, I will probably use the standard method from here on out, because I found having to go to the microwave every minute, and then every 30 seconds, to stir it, more annoying than just standing there and stirring constantly, as you usually do. That could be attributed to the fact that I’m a bit ADD and find it difficult to keep track of all those time intervals.

post it

Need proof of that? I had to put a Post-it note on the microwave to keep track of the times I stirred it.

5 minutes and 90 seconds

Seriously! If I didn’t do this, God only knows how many times I would have cooked and stirred this for 1 minute, could have been 4 or 10 – most certainly not the correct amount!

But, if you’ve been afraid to try making lemon curd before, stop being afraid and make this recipe. It works perfectly and you’ll finally have homemade lemon curd you can be proud of!

The rest of the recipes from the dinner will be posted throughout the week to come, including the dessert I used this curd for.

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January 19, 2013   No Comments

meyer lemon pasta

This was my horoscope on Tuesday.


How perfect is that? Oh, here are the last few words you can’t see, “… nourishment and warm feelings.”

It’s perfect because I already had on my calendar two dinner parties this week.

Peggy and Anne were over last night and my dear friend, Karen, who was a bridesmaid in my wedding 27 years ago, and her husband Bob, are coming over for dinner tomorrow night. Got to Love It!

Are you ready for the onslaught of Meyer lemon recipes? I hope so, that is what I’ll be making for quite a while now!

Don’t have Meyer lemons? Not to worry. You can use regular lemons in any of my recipes that call for Meyer lemons.

meyer lemon pasta in trifle bowl

I saw a photo of a version of this salad on Pinterest and was inspired by the use of a trifle bowl to serve it in. I created the recipe from scratch but stole the visuals and serving idea. If you don’t have, but have always wanted, a trifle bowl – Crate & Barrel always has them in stock.

It’s so pretty and springtime fresh and it turned out to be a delicious main course salad. I’m sure Peggy and Anne will attest to that. It would be lovely as a side salad on a buffet too.

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January 17, 2013   2 Comments


1 pound muffins

It doesn’t make sense that this recipe did not appear on my blog long ago.

I developed it back in the late 1990′s and it was published in “Reflections Under the Sun: The Brightest Collection of the Best Recipes from the Junior League of Phoenix” in 1999.

I remember being so pleased when the JLP requested a recipe from me. I hadn’t been a member for a couple of years by then.

I had become a member in 1992, back when the previous cookbook was being published, joining too late to participate in that project.

white pitchers

Anyhow, everyone loves these muffins. We often make them for our graduation luncheon during summer cooking classes with the teens and there is never a crumb left. How they have been so elusive and not yet appeared here, is beyond me.  Make a batch now and thank me later!

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January 13, 2013   1 Comment

Third Day of Christmas Gift

Thanksgiving is over. It is time to get serious about my Twelve Days of Christmas Gifts from the Kitchen!

With only 29 days till Christmas, I’m going to have double or triple my efforts to get you all the “days” in time for you to make them. So be prepared for an onslaught in the next couple weeks! Here is the third installment.

On the third day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:
Lemon-Sugar Hand Scrub
Cranberry Citrus Vodka
and a bottle of Tomato Dust

I love lemon! The aroma, the color, and above all, the flavor. So it’s no surprise that the dish soap, the hand soap, and the counter spray that I use in my kitchen is the Williams-Sonoma Meyer Lemon Collection. The large refill bottles are the annual gift I ask for every Christmas from my family.

Another favorite is this lemon scented sugar hand scrub. I use Queen Creek Meyer Lemon Olive Oil to make it.

If you don’t have lemon olive oil on hand or don’t want to go to the trouble or expense to purchase it – regular olive oil is fine and dandy.

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November 25, 2012   3 Comments

Second Day of Christmas Gift

The second installment of Twelve Days of Christmas Gifts from the Kitchen.

On the second day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:
Cranberry Citrus Vodka
and a bottle of Tomato Dust

This crimson cranberry vodka is easy to make, just a little time consuming because you must poke each cranberry to open it up so it will impart its goodness into the vodka. But it is time easily spent.  I used a wooden skewer and did the chore while I watched television. I was done in no time.

Make whatever quantity you want, but I can share with you that 3-pounds of fresh cranberries, 2 lemons, 2 limes, 3 tablespoons sugar, and a 1.75 liter bottle of vodka will make three 1-liter bottles of Cranberry Citrus Vodka.

You need to put this together at least 2 weeks before you plan to use it or give it away. When giving as a gift, it would be ever so thoughtful to include a Crantini recipe card with your gift. The recipe for the Crantini is at the end of the post.

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November 20, 2012   5 Comments

lemon drums

I developed this recipe for two reasons:

  1. I wanted to use up a jar of homemade lemon marmalade that was open in my refrigerator.
  2. I wanted to make crispy chicken wings for Connor. Connor loves his wings.

Problem was – when I went to Costco to buy the chicken wings, I accidentally picked up a huge package of chicken legs instead. And when I say huge … I’m talking 30 chicken legs, aka drumsticks.

Solution – I made crispy drums instead and Connor loved them just as much as he loves his wings.

Problem – I only used 10 of the 30 legs for this recipe.

Solution – I threw the remaining 2o legs in the freezer so I’ll  just have to come up with another leg recipe the next time Connor comes home for the weekend.

This recipe can be easily be changed to accommodate chicken wings… just use wings instead of legs.

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October 8, 2012   1 Comment

vinegar + panko = succulent pork chops

Several techniques help keep these pork chops tender and juicy. First, pounding the chops thin helps the acid (vinegar) penetrate the meat right to the center. The vinegar not only acts as a tenderizer but also adds a delectable level of flavor. Next, by dredging in flour, egg, and panko – the juices are sealed in and a crispy delicious crust puts these chops over the top. Lastly, by using a instant-read meat thermometer, you are sure to not overcook.

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May 23, 2012   No Comments

the definition of summer

Can you tell that summer is weighing hot and heavy on my mind? The last few posts have been Gazpacho, Panzanella Salad, Peach Pizza, Baba Ghanoush, Mojitos, etc. 

I know that for many of you, summer does not begin until June 21 (actually June 20th is officially the first day of summer this year – don’t ask me why).  But here in the Arizona desert, summer hit on the first 100 degree day, which was April 21st this year.  Yes, a full two months before it’s “official”.  And yes, that sucks royally! Today’s forecasted high temp is 108 degrees! UGGGGG!!!

But I can’t deny that I do love summer foods; tomatoes, zucchini, peaches, plums, radishes, watermelon, cherries, cucumbers, eggplant, corn, basil, and, maybe most of all… berries! 

“Boo” to 100+ Degree Days!
“Hip Hip Hooray” for Summer Produce!

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May 21, 2012   3 Comments

luxurious spa waters

grape and citrus spa water


After our luxurious and relaxing day at the Willow Spring Spa at the Scottsdale Princess Resort on Friday, the very first thing I wanted to do when I got back home was to make a huge pitcher of spa water. You know what I’m talking about – the glorious fruit and herb infused waters they always have available to you at a luxury spa.

My absolute favorite flavor is one that I call “Summer’s Splendor”.  To make it -  find as huge a pitcher or dispenser as will fit in your refrigerator. Throw in several handfuls of fresh basil leaves, peel and then thinly slice one English cucumber and add it to the basil. Then take 1 or 2 lemons, wash really well, thinly slice, and add to the mix. Fill the picture with cold water and refrigerate.

I like to make this just before I go to bed and then enjoy it for the next day or two. Be sure to give it a good 12 to 18 hours to macerate and let the flavors blend.

Below you’ll find another 12 flavor blends to give you a nice baker’s dozen.

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May 6, 2012   1 Comment