2015-07-17 / Columns

Cooking on Purpose

Pucker up, please
By Connie Wendell Special to the Post

I’m not talking about kissing, I’m talking about the tart, tangy, crisp, light, cool and smooth lemon.

What says summer more than a tall, dew drenched glass of ice cold homemade lemonade? And how can you drive by children with their lemonade stands without stopping and having a glass. You’ve got to admire their entrepreneurial spirit. The lemon is a powerhouse of health, too - it’s loaded with vitamin C and other good for you vitamins and minerals.

To celebrate the lemon I have included some of my favorite light and summery lemon recipes. Lemons are plentiful so now is the perfect time to give these recipes a try. Enjoy.

Lemon meringue melon

3 cantaloupes; 2/3 cup berries of your choice; 3 peaches, peeled and sliced and/ or 1 ½ bananas, sliced; 1 ½ cups lemon yogurt; 3 tbsp. honey or sugar; 3 large egg whites; dash of cream of tartar; and 1 tbsp. vanilla extract.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut cantaloupes in half crosswise; slice off rounded ends so melons can stand on a plate. Remove seeds. Make cavity about ½ inch larger by removing some melon. Chop removed melon; place in a medium bowl. Add berries, peaches (and/or bananas) and yogurt to chopped melon; blend well.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites, honey or sugar and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Fold in vanilla.

Fill melon cavities with yogurt mixture and top with meringue. Bake until browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves six.

Sour cream lemon pound cake

Cooking spray; 3 tbsp. dry breadcrumbs; 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour; ½ tsp. baking soda; ¼ tsp. salt; ¾ cup butter or stick margarine, softened; 2 ½ cups sugar; 2 tsp. lemon extract; 3 large eggs; 1 ½ tbsp. grated lemon rind (about 2 lemons); ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, divided; 1 8-ounce carton of sour cream; and 1 cup powdered sugar.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 10-inch tube pan with cooking spray and dust with the breadcrumbs.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl; stir well with a whisk. Beat the butter in a large bowl at medium speed of a mixer until light and fluffy.

Gradually add the sugar and lemon extract, beating until well blended. Add eggs, one at time, beating well after each addition. Add grated lemon rind and 2 Tbsp. Lemon juice, beat 30 seconds. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with sour cream, beating at low speed, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack, remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Combine 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice and powdered sugar. Drizzle glaze over top of cake. Serves 18.

Lemon swirled cheesecake

Crust: 2/3 cup all-purpose flour; 2 tbsp. sugar; 3 tbsp. chilled butter or stick margarine cut into small pieces; 1 tbsp. ice water; and cooking spray.

Filling: 5 (8 Ounce) blocks cream cheese, softened (mixture of full fat, less fat and fat-free work s great); 1 ¾ cups sugar; 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour; 2 ½ tsp. grated lemon rind; 2 tsp vanilla extract; ¼ tsp. salt; 5 large eggs; and 1 cup lemon curd.*

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

To prepare crust, place 2/3 cup flour and 2 Tbsp. Sugar in a food processor or blender and pulse 2 times or until combined. Add chilled butter and pulse 6 times until mixture resembles coarse meal. With processor on, slowly pour ice water through food chute, processing just until blended (do not allow dough to form a ball). Firmly press mixture into bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan, coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, cool on a wire rack.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

To prepare filling beat cheese at high speed of a mixer until smooth. Add sugar, flour, lemon rind, vanilla extract and salt. Beat well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour cheese mixture into prepared pan. Spoon mounds of Lemon Curd over filling and swirl together, using the tip of a knife. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cheesecake is almost set. Remove cheesecake from oven and cool to room temperature. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours. Serves 16.

*Lemon curd

¾ cup sugar; 1 tbsp. grated lemon rind; 2 large eggs; 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 large lemons); and 2 tbsp. butter or stick margarine.

Combine sugar, lemon rind and eggs in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a whisk. Cook until sugar dissolves and mixture is light in color (about 3 minutes).

Stir in lemon juice and butter, cook for 5 minutes or until mixture thinly coats the back of a spoon, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cool. Cover and chill (the mixture will thicken as it cools). Makes 1 ½ Cups.

Lemonade – the real thing

Ingredients: 1 cup dugar (can easily reduce to ¾ cup); 1 cup water (for the simple syrup); 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4-6 lemons); and 3 to 4 cups cold water.

Make the simple syrup by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved completely.

While the sugar is dissolving, juice 4 – 6 lemons, enough for 1 cup of juice. Add the juice and the sugar water to pitcher. Add 3 to 4 cups of cold water, more or less to the desired strength. Refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes.

If the lemonade is a little sweet for your taste, add a little more straight lemon juice to it. Serve with ice and sliced lemons.

Serves six.

Until next time, Keep Cooking on Purpose.

Connie Wendell can be reached at conniewendell27@gmail.com.

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