Category Archives: Recipes

Lemon Bars Always Make It Taste Like Summer

lemonsThe other day it hit me as I stepped outside just how close winter is. The weather was scraping the bottom of the 50s and I knew that windy frigid days were just around the corner.  The doom and gloom of short winter days made me wish for something that reminds me of summer to keep me warm.  That is when it hit me.  I need to make something leaves me with a feeling of a warm Charleston summer day.

So when I wrote out my grocery list that day, it was full of fresh, summertime food that would be at home on our little charcoal grill. Asparagus, meat for burgers and chicken for grilling were at the top of the list. For dessert, I wanted something equally refreshing to ring in the new season. I decided on the sour-sweet, sunny flavors of lemon bars, and then wanted to add blueberries, which I thought would add a nice tart burst of flavor. So, I had planned to do a nice grill-out for our Sunday evening dinner, and follow it with the lemon bars for dessert.

I love lemon bars – they’re so easy to make, and they have a nice, clean flavor that gives you the sweetness of dessert without the overwhelming flavor of heavier treats with chocolate, caramels or creams (not that I don’t like them!)

I accidentally left my lemon bars in the oven about 2 minutes too long. At first I was worried when I saw them, but the top layer actually got this really delicious meringue like taste (the part that is toasted and a little crusty), and below was the traditional creamy lemony goodness, with the addition of sunny, fresh blueberries.

I definitely recommend trying them – they’re delicious – even in the dead of winter 🙂

Ingredients

  • 1 c. butter @ room temperature
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1/3 c. lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp. flour
  • 3 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. rosewater
  • 1 c. blueberries

Directions:

  • preheat oven or toaster oven to 325
  • combine butter, 2 c. flour, salt and powdered sugar in a stand mixer
  • press dough into greased 13x9x2 pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown
  • while crust is baking, beat eggs in a large bowl, and add all other ingredients except blueberries
  • stir until thoroughly combined, then gently fold in blueberries
  • remove crust from oven, and pour lemon mixture on top of crust
  • return to oven and back for another 25-30 minutes, until mixture is “set” (2 minutes or so more if that meringue topping appeals to you)
  • cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar
  • eat!

While they won’t do anything to take the chill out of the air, having something that reminds me of warmer days helps to remind me that this weather is only temporary.  That is the great thing about food.  Whether it is a smell or a taste, it can take you to a different time or place and bring back wonderful memories and feelings that make today seem not so bad.  For me, lemon bars are what do the trick, hopefully they can help you too.

Charleston Desserts That Will Leave You Wanting More

dessert-cookiesDessert is something that we never take lightly.  The perfect sweet indulgence after your meal that will stay with you for a few days is something that you should strive for when you are in the kitchen.  And of course, you cannot forget to add some alcohol into the mix.  Below are just some of our favorite recipes to help satisfy that raging sweet tooth.  You can use less or more of certain ingredients to account for your taste.  Experimentation is half of the fun.  Hope you enjoy!

Granola Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 c granola (I used Kellogg’s low fat without raisins)
  • 3 tbsp butter

Directions:

  • combine ingredients in food processor until finely crumbed
  • spoon tablespoonfulls of mixture onto greased cookie sheet, flatten with the bottom of a glass
  • bake on 325 for about 15 minutes, until slightly hardened but still a little soft to the touch
  • cool

Poached Pears

Ingredients:

  • 2 Bartlett Pears, skin on, halved and seeds removed
  • 2/3 c wild turkey honey bourbon (here is where the liquor comes into play)
  • 2/3 c bourbon (I used basil hayden’s)
  • 1/3 c water
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 large sprigs of basil (about 8-10 – or more – large leaves)

Directions:

  • combine all ingredients except pears in a shallow saucepan
  • bring to a low simmer
  • add pears flesh side down, poach for 15-20 minutes (a knife should go cleanly through, but pear fleshy should not be mushy)
  • remove pears from liquid and cool, remove core
  • continue simmering sauce another 20-30 minutes until thickened
  • remove basil leaves
  • cool and store in a small bowl

Basil Infused Creme Anglaise

Ingredients:

  • 1 c heavy cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp bourbon
  • 3 large sprigs of basil (about 8-10 – or more – large leaves)
  • 1/3 c sugar

Directions:

  • combine cream, vanilla, bourbon, basil and sugar in a pot over low heat (don’t simmer this too quickly or the basil flavor will not have time to infuse)
  • cook liquid until small bubbles begin to form around the outside of the pot
  • remove basil
  • take 1/2 c of the cream mixture and whisk vigorously into egg yolks
  • slowly pour egg yolk mixture back into cream, whisking thoroughly
  • continue cooking liquid until slightly thickened – liquid is ready when mixture coats a back of a spoon heavily. remove spoon from pot, run finger down center. if line where you ran your finger stays clean and liquid does from above on the spoon does not drip into it, you are good to go.
  • remove from heat and place in a cold water bath
  • spoon 1/4 c custard into bottom of martini glasses, place in freezer for 1 – 1 1/2 hrs until texture of softset custard
  • top with pear slices, granola cookie and drizzle of bourbon liquid

You really cannot go wrong when you combine sugary sweets with liquor and in this neck of the woods, this is the quickest way to someone’s heart.  After a long hard day at work you deserve to relax and treat yourself to something decadent.  It is alright to splurge a little and hopefully some of these recipes will do the trick.  Cooking is a wonderful way to bring friends and family together and this is what it is all about.  Check back soon as we have some more tasty recipes for you to have fun with in the kitchen.  Celebrate life with food.