Friday, November 27, 2009

The Way You Squeeze My Lemon...

Happy Black Friday to everyone! Hope you went out and bought lots of stuff you didn't really need/want, but got it anyway because the deal was too good to pass up :) Or maybe, instead, you stayed home/in bed all day still in a food coma? I had trouble sleeping last night, probably because I was too full and was really tired when it was time to get up for work this morning.Nae's food was amazing, as expected. The big highlight for me was this spinach salad with apples and candied pecans with a citrus vingarette that Nae whipped up both last night and tonight. I could eat that salad all day, everyday. I've got a dark picture of it, but it really doesn't do it justice.

I think she got her recipe inspiration from something she saw on the Food Network website and then tweaked it by adding some fresh squeezed orange juice in to the dressing, as well as some lemon zest and rather than doing the walnuts, she did the candied pecans instead.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 5 ounces baby spinach leaves (about 5 cups lightly packed)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple
  • 1 tablespoon of orange juice
  • Pinch of orange zest
  • Candied pecans

In a small bowl whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, orange juice and zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss the spinach with the dressing until evenly coated then divide the spinach among 4 serving plates. Core the apple and slice it into matchsticks. Sprinkle a quarter of the apple pieces on top of each salad. Follow with the pecan pieces. Serve immediately.

She also made up a double batch of lemon bars and I had a peak at the website she was consulting while making it and it was from another Food Network friend, Emeril! These are always a big hit, but seem pretty time consuming as you have to squeeze and zest lots of lemons (my job yesterday) and bake the bottom layer before you then rebake it with the lemon layer added. Here is the recipe and a picture from the site, as well as a picture of our slice (can you spot the difference in picture quality? haha)

I thought this lemon looked kindof neat after it had been zested.

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks), plus 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt plus a pinch
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice, strained
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons limoncello, or other lemon-flavored liqueur, optional


Lightly butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with 2 teaspoons of the butter and line with 1 sheet of parchment or waxed paper. Butter the top of this sheet of paper with 1 teaspoon of the remaining butter and then lay a second sheet of parchment or waxed paper crosswise over the first sheet. The parchment should be cut large enough so that the sides are even with the top of the baking dish; this extra paper will function as handles to help you remove the lemon squares from the pan later. Set pan aside.

In a large bowl combine 1 3/4 cups of the flour, 2/3 cup of the confectioners' sugar, the cornstarch, and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt and mix thoroughly. Cut the remaining 12 tablespoons of butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Using your hands, 2 forks, or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer the butter-flour mixture to the prepared baking dish and press into an even 1/4-inch layer along the bottom and partly up the sides of the pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

While the crust is chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the crust until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.

While the crust is baking, assemble the filling by combining the eggs, granulated sugar, flour, and lemon zest in a medium bowl and whisking until smooth. Stir in lemon juice, milk, limoncello, and remaining pinch of salt and mix well.

When the crust is golden brown, remove it from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Stir the lemon mixture again, then pour onto the warm crust. Bake until the filling is set, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Grasp the waxed paper that lines the 2 longest sides of the baking dish and remove thebars from the pan by pulling up gently. The entire dessert should easily dislodge and come away from the pan.

Transfer to a cutting board and, using a clean knife, cut into squares, wiping knife after each cut. Place a small amount of confectioners' sugar into a small sieve, and sprinkle the bars with the sugar. Serve immediately, or refrigerate, wrapped with plastic wrap, up to 2 days, until ready to serve.

And just in case you aren't sick to death of turkey and all Thanksgiving related goodness, here are pictures of our dinner last night:

Sorry about the glare, I didn't even notice it until uploading it earlier and it's the only picture of a full plate I got.

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