Monday, April 27, 2009

Creamy Lemon Tart

I've had a hankering for lemony goodness this week.  It all started when I went out to dinner at Sweet Tomatoes with my family and their were featuring lemon everything for the month.  I had some yummy lemony pasta and a salad with some sort of lemony dressing and finished it off with lemon cobbler topped with a dollop of lemon whipped cream. It. was. divine.  yum.  

So I rushed to the store and bought a bag full of lemons.

My first lemon recipe was a creamy lemon tart.  

There are few desserts as light and refreshing as those with lemon in them.  This is one of my favorite.


1 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter -- cold, cut into squares


5 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about two large lemons)
2 eggs
1 tbs grated lemon zest


1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tbs confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla

For the crust: Combine in a food processor--flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and pulse until pastry starts to form clumps.  

Press dough into tart pan.  Pierce bottom with fork to help prevent bubbles while baking.  Freeze for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F while waiting for dough to chill.
Bake 13 - 15 minutes, until crust is golden.  

For the Filling: In mixer, process cream cheese until smooth.  Add sugar, mix.  Add one egg at a time until combined.  Add remaining ingredients, mix until smooth.  

Pour into tart shell.  Bake 25 - 30 minutes, until filling is set.  Cool on rack, then refrigerate until chilled.

Topping: In mixing bowl, beat whipping cream until peaks form.  Add powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until incorporated.  Either pipe over top of tart, or add a dollop to each individual piece as served.  

I added a little lemon zest to the top for fun. . . while it was still a little warm.   This tart didn't last 24 hours.  Yum.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Blackened Salmon

The approach of summer always brings out a need to eat more fish and fresh produce.  I am sure the salmon is good all winter, but I almost never go to the sea food market during the winter.  I pulled out my favorite blackened salmon recipe today and heated the grill, despite the dreary clouds.  I figured we would invite summer by grilling salmon and making a spring dessert. . .something lemony.  Having eaten blackened salmon a couple times at restaurants, I was determined to find a good recipe for making it at home.  I found one I liked. . .then I tweaked it of course.

For the Spice:

2 tsp paprika
4 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbs sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp oregano
3/4 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Mix all the seasons together and store what you don't use in an airtight container.

Traditionally, blackened Salmon is fried in melted butter.  But I decided to grill it today.  To fry it you simply melt a  couple tablespoons of butter  in a pan, coat your fish with it before seasoning and fry it on each side until blackened and cooked through (2-5 minutes on each side).  

To grill it, I didn't even coat with butter first, though you certainly could.  I simply piled on the spices nice and thick and then grilled it on grilling pan set on the barbecue grill for about seven minutes, or until cooked through.  

It is a spicy dish, they way I like it! And easy, which is always a good thing. Enjoy.

**In case you were wondering where I have been for nearly two months--a large part of that time my kitchen was torn out and under construction.  But now I am back baking and cooking in my nearly complete, beautiful kitchen.  To see some of the process I have been going through, feel free to visit my home and garden blog.**