Saturday, April 30, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake Baked Alaska

I was looking for new and exciting Easter recipes ...scrolling through my favorite food blogs and web-sites...and seeing so many beautiful things that my head was spinning...

...everything eas so ornate...delicate...spring-y...artistic...

...and WAY too complicated for the insanely busy Easter weekend I had laid before me. I decided on some simple, but slightly altered, versions of things I would've cooked anyway...and had resigned myself to making a bundt cake or something for dessert when I stumbled upon THIS...

Strawberry Shortcake Baked Alaska

A decadent, delicious, and SIMPLE dessert that would turn heads and seem special without being especially hard to make.

I made just about all of this the day before...getting the ice cream in it's mold, making the cake on Easter all I had to do was slice strawberries and whip up meringue.

Talk about easy.

Strawberry Shortcake Baked Alaska

  • 4 cups strawberry ice cream, softened (I used a whole carton of Blue Bell's Strawberry)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, cubed
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar

1. Spoon ice cream into a foil-lined 1-1/2 qt. bowl ; pack firmly with back of spoon. Freeze for several hours or over night (I went with the overnight option).

2. Heat oven to 425F. Mix flour, 3 TBS sugar and baking powder in a medium bowl. Cut in cream cheese with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in milk until mixture forms a dough. Pat dough into bottom of 8-inch round cake pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake 12-13 minutes or until lightly browned. Meanwhile, toss sliced strawberries with 1 TBS sugar.

Note: Now...if you do this the way I'd skip slicing the strawberries and just skip to the next step. When the cake is cool, you wrap it up tightly and save it for assembly...whenever that may be. 

3. Cool cake 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack and cool completely.

4. Heat oven to 500F. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar with mixer on high speed 1 minute or until foamy. Gradually add remaining sugar, beating 3 minutes or until stiff peaks form.

5. Place cake on an ovenproof plate; top with strawberries and juice. Un-mold ice cream; place, flat side down, over cake. Frost ice cream with meringue; swirl with back of large spoon. Bake on lowest oven rack 3 minutes or until meringue in golden brown. Serve immediately.


I'm told you can alter this recipe to host a myriad of different ice cream and cake flavors.

Don't think I won't try it... 

courtesy Kraft foods

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Italian Sausage and Cabbage Stew

Before we start, and before you whine about it being ANOTHER's not a's a stew.

So there.

And before we even GET to the recipe...I just wanted to share how much I LOVE cooking with my husband. He has Mondays and Tuesdays off, and that often means we get to cook dinner together. He usually does most of the work, being that he's so much more adept in the kitchen. But I always step in to do the stuff he doesn't like to chop onions and prepare know...the prep work.

But cooking together highlights the many differences we have. For example, I obsess over missing an item from a recipe and will run to the store...whereas he will just simply substitute it for something else.

We also speak a different language. Or the same language, for which we assign different words. I don't know...

...but the point is that like all men and women...our communication skills leave a little something to be desired. It's not that we don't's that we don't LISTEN. And then we THINK that we know what the other person is saying because it's what we would be saying if we were them...not taking into account that we are NOT them and therefore would NOT be saying whatever it was we think they would've said.

Confused, yet?

Here...let me give you an example...

Jason and I were making a new recipe, called Italian Sausage and Cabbage Stew. I had to go and pick up kids, so he offered to stay home and get it started. I said: "Grab a couple pounds of sausage from the freezer and thaw it, break the links from their casings and brown it up, and by then I should be home."

When I got home, I smelled something wonderful cooking...something spicy and mouth-watering...but something that was definitely NOT Sweet Italian Sausage. Sure enough, I went into the kitchen, and Jason is faithfully browning 2 pounds of....chorizo.

"Hey," I said, as I picked up the recipe that was placed strategically next to the stove, "That's not Italian Sausage".

"You didn't say Italian said sausage, and I saw this and thought it was what you meant."

"No...I didn't say Italian sausage, but the recipe is called 'Italian Sausage and Cabbage Stew'...see?" I pointed purposefully at the paper.

"Well," he sighed, rather exasperated, "I thought this is what you meant. Want me to stop?"

I checked the menu. I hadn't been planning on using that chorizo for another two's at the END of my menu. But it was already 3/4 browned.

"Can you finish cooking it, and then I can freeze it?" I asked.

"Yeah," he answered, "Go get the right stuff and I'll fry that up next."

So...on the bright side...I have my chorizo all cooked for when I make enchiladas in a couple weeks.

All cooked up and ready for...

Upon further discussion and banter, Jason admitted that he had opened the freezer, and the chorizo was the first thing he saw, so he assumed that's what I wanted. The packages of Italian sausage were right below that, but he didn't actually look around.

It reminds me of a book a friend of mine has called Pat the Husband...a satire based around the premise of the children's book Pat the Bunny. Just like the children's book, it has flaps to lift and things to touch...and it supposedly "teaches" adults the differences between women and men. My favorite page is when the husband is looking for big gallon of milk, but it is behind the little jar of ketchup, so he can't "find" it. So you have to pull the tab over so the ketchup slides out of the way and viola! He sees the milk!!

Cooking with Jason also reminds me that I have to be very specific when I speak, and not be so vague. After all...chorizo IS a type of's Jasons FAVORITE OF COURSE he was instantly drawn to it.

And I can't get mad even if I was specific because that doesn't mean my speaking mixed magically with his listening. We are different people...programmed different ways, and have different methods of understanding. It's something I'm sure we'll work on all our lives...and still never get perfect.

But this is why I love cooking with Jason. It gives us a chance to talk, listen, matter how imperfectly. And I love that time...

This is a simple stew.The broth is rich and flavorful. Changes I'd make next time include chopping the cabbage into smaller bits...

No need to double (although I did...just for fun, and because I wanted leftovers)...


Italian Sausage and Cabbage Stew

  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 pound SWEET Italian sausage, bulk, or removed from casings
  • 1 large yellow onion, half sliced and half minced
  • 2 garlic cloves. minced
  • 1-1/2 cups white wine
  • 1 15-ounce can of cannellini beans
  • 1 quart vegetable or chicken stock 
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 tsp salt, more to taste
  • 1 2-pound savoy cabbage, quartered, then sliced into 1/4-inch slices (I would then cut those slices in HALF width wise)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup chopped Italian parsley, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup to a cup freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
1. Heat the olive oil on medium high heat in a large (8-quart), thick bottomed stock pot. Add the sausage, breaking it up into pieces as you put it into the pot in a single layer. When the sausage has nicely browned, remove it with a slotted spoon and set aside.

2. Add the minced onion (save the sliced onion for later) and saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Once the onions give up some of their water, use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

3. Add the white wine and the beans and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. If you want, for a thicker base, use a blender to blend some (or all) of the beans and onions. (note: I did this...and honestly, I couldn't tell much of a difference in the soup's consistency. So it's entirely up to you.)

Baby...can you pour me a glass of wine?
 4. Add the water, stock, salt, cabbage, sliced onion half, bay leaves and browned sausage. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, then uncover and continue cooking until the cabbage is tender, about 10-20 minutes.

 5. To serve, sprinkle on chopped parsley and grated cheese.

Serves 8-10 people

courtesy Simply Recipes

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Leek Soup with Dill Oil

My love affair with soup continues!!!

I can't help it...

But I'm changing it up a bit...I discovered a new cooking website that I have fallen in love called 101 Cookbooks. 101 Cookbooks is based off a lady named Heidi who was a self-proclaimed impulsive buyer of cookbooks. She always purchased them with the very best intentions...and she read them...and dog-eared the pages and marked favorite recipes with post-its...and then stuck those cookbooks on her shelf and never actually cooked anything from them.

Heidi's Own Cookbook, based on her own recipes...just recently published!!

One day, she looked up and realized that she had over 100 different cookbooks...and decided right then and there that it was time to stop buying, and start COOKING.

Heidi focuses on cooking with all-natural ingredients. Since our family is becoming more and more healthy, this appeals to me. Having a large family, I cannot afford to always purchase organic or raw foods. I try to do my best, but it's mostly unfeasible for me to go completely raw.

Heidi is also, of course, primarily a vegetarian.

We, on the other hand, are carnivores. However...I do try to make at least one vegetarian (or even vegan!!) meal a week...if not more. But since it is not my primary mode of cooking, I often run out of ideas...and tend to focus on what's easy...which is usually soup.

But I have a good friend named Jenn Charron...and she is a vegetarian. I introduced her to the 101 Cookbooks website, and she loved it. And we have since decided to get together at least once a week and make dinner for our families together from 101 Cookbooks, or other healthy, vegetarian sites.

Jenn and I in my kitchen (it was Halloween...hence the horns on my head. They're not really there...I swear...)

I figure that since she's a veggie-head herself, she will assist and enlighten me on all things vegetarian...helping me branch out fro my stand-by vegetarian staple...soup (but I LOVE soup...)

And she figures that since I am always tying new recipes and making stuff that is foreign to me, I will help her break out of her own cooking ruts.

It's a win-win.

So I made my first recipe from 101 Cookbooks last night. It was, as you can tell by the title, a soup (give me some time!! I'm working on it!!). Its called Leek Soup with Dill Oil.

I have a recipe for Potato-Leek Soup which is very good...but thanks to the addition of a large amount of cream cheese, it is not AS healthy as this broth-based soup. This soup also focuses more on leeks than potatoes. And I have to say, I love the addition of the "toppings"...the Dill Oil makes the soup actually taste's fresh and like eating a piece of spring. The toasted sliced almonds give it a pleasant crunch, and the Gruyere cheese gives it a bit of pluck.

In other words...I fully enjoyed it...and my kids liked it too (they couldn't wait to eat something with a bright green "sauce" drizzled all over it). This is the original recipe, it makes 8-10 servings, so there's really no need to double unless you plan on freezing some for later. The chef, Heidi, suggests serving leftovers over scoops of cooked farro or brown rice.

I only changed up the style a bit...I've included my notes, so feel free to use the original or my adaptations.

Leek Soup with Dill Oil

  • 1 small bunch of fresh dill, about 5 ounces
  • 9 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-5 pounds leeks
  • 6 TBS unsalted butter
  • fine grain sea salt
  • 2 large, thin-skinned potatoes, thinly sliced (I used Yukon Golds)
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 6-1/2 cups + good-tasting vegetable broth, preferably HOT
  • Toasted almond slices, for topping
  • Grated Gruyere cheese, for topping
1. Use a blender or food processor to puree the dill and olive oil into a creamy green emulsion. Set aside.

Yummy grass green...
2. Cut the dark, tough green leaves from the leeks, trim off the roots, and wash/rinse well. You can slice the leeks lengthwise to get in between the layers, or make a few rough chops and give them a quick soak...whatever method you prefer. You can also chop by hand (which is what I did).

It's A LOT of leeks...
3. In a large soup pot, heat the butter and 5 TBS of the dill oil over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted and is bubbling, stir in the leeks and a couple big pinches of sea salt. Stir well, then cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks soften up and collapse, about 6-8 minutes.

4. Now, stir in potato slices and garlic slices and cook, uncovered, stirring regularly, until the potatoes are very, very soft. If the leeks at the bottom of the pot are getting too much color, dial back the heat a bit and be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan while stirring.

Yukon Golds...
At this point you can mash everything with a potato masher or large fork. If you prefer a smoother soup, use a hand blender, but this soup is great a little on the chunky side. Stir in the hot broth, adjusting the amount based on whether you like a thick, or thin, soup.

( is where I deviated. I mashed with a potato masher, as suggested, and added the broth...but I didn't feel it was creamy I ladled out a third of the soup into my blender, and blended it until it was thick and smoother, although still with a little texture. I poured it out into a waiting bowl, and did the same thing with ANOTHER third of the soup. Then I poured the creamy, almost-but-not-quite-mashed-potato-consistency soup back into the third that was in the pot and still primarily broth-y and stirred well. The broth thinned the thickness of what I had blended perfectly...making a fabulously creamy, but still mildly chunky, soup. This is the same method I use for my Potato-Cheddar Soup...and it worked great.)

5. Bring back to a simmer, serve topped with almonds, grated cheese, and a generous drizzle of the remaining dill oil.

Soup with dill oil, before other toppings...
courtesy 101 Cookbooks

Friday, April 8, 2011

Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork

I'm a little late getting this up...being that I was uploading all the Iron Chef recipes. For that I apologize...because it is just a shame that this shouldn't have been immediately shared.

I also think I need to stop sharing Pioneer Woman recipes...because I am never, ever, EVER going to find one that isn't amazing, delicious, scrumptious, and just down right PERFECT...and frankly, you can go to her website and find all the wonderful recipes yourself, and all with MUCH prettier pictures.

But before I do that, I want to share this little gem...called Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork.

I love recipes that use soda...because we hardly ever have soda in the house...and it makes it a lovely treat for my poor, soda-deprived children.. A couple Easters ago, I used soda to not only glaze my ham, but make a wonderful cake that is from my own childhood.

This is an all-day recipe...requiring hours to slowly roast in the oven. Roasting food for hours is my FAVORITE way to cook (which you already know if you know anything about me)...the effort is incredibly worth it.

No need to'll feed firsts, seconds, and thirds, and have leftovers, too...

Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork

  • 1 whole large onion
  • 1 whole Pork Shoulder - 5 to 7 pounds
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 can (11 Ounces) Chipolte Peppers in Adobo Sauce (my store only had 7-ounce cans, so I used two)
  • 2 cans Dr. Pepper
  • 2 TBS Brown Sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Peel the onion and cut it into wedges. Lay them in the bottom of a large dutch oven.

Generously salt and pepper the pork roast, then set it on top of the onions in the pan.

Pour the can of chipolte peppers over the pork (include the sauce).

Pour in both cans of Dr. Pepper. Add brown sugar to the juice and stir it in.

Place lid tightly on pot, then set pot in oven. Cook for AT LEAST 6 hours, turning roast two or three times during the cooking process. Check meat after 6 hours, it should be absolutely falling apart (Use two forks to test it). If it's not falling apart, return to the oven for another hour.

Remove meat from pot and place on cutting board or other work surface. Use two forks to shred the meat, discarding large pieces of fat. Strain as much of the fat off the top of the cooking liquid as you can and discard it. Return the shredded meat to the cooking liquid, and keep warm until ready to serve.

note: You can also refrigerate meat and liquid separately, and remove hardened fat once it's cold. Then heat up the liquid on the stove top and return the meat to the liquid to warm up.

Serve on warm flour tortillas. Top with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, grated cheese, avocado slices, and whatever else floats your boat.

Sorry I don't have any pictures of the tacos we made...frankly...we couldn't stop eating long enough to take any!!

courtesy Pioneer Woman

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Iron Chef Pembroke Pines: April 2011 - Lemon Fusilli with Arugula

Bonnie is a newer member of our Iron Chef team...a friend of Tinas from Atlanta...she brings fresh variety to our little group. We love having her...

...especially if she keeps bringing stuff like THIS.

An adapted Barefoot Contessa was a wonderfully fresh dish to balance out all that sugar at Iron Chef.

Lemon Fusilli with Arugula


  • 1 TBS good olive oil
  • 1 TBS miced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 lemons (2 juiced and zested)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound dried fusilli pasta
  • 1/2 pound baby arugula (or two bunches of regular arugula, stems removed and leaves cut into thirds)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook for 60 seconds, then add the cream, the zest and juice of two of the lemons, 2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until it starts to thicken.

Bring a large pot of water to boil, and add 1 TBS salt and the pasta, and cook al dente according to the directions on the package, about 12 minutes, stirring occassionally. Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Immediately add the cream mixture and cook over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, until the pasta has absorbed most of the sauce. Pour the hot pasta into a large bowl, and add the arugula, Parmesan, and tomatoes. Cut the last lemon in half lengthwise, slice it into 1/4-inch thick slices crosswise, and add a few slices to the pasta. Toss well, season to taste, and serve hot.

Courtesy Bonnie, adapted from the Barefoot Contessa

Iron Chef Pembroke Pines: April 2011 - Lemon Buttermilk Sheet Cake

Don't let this cake fool looks simple...unassuming...even plain.

But then you TASTE it.

Afterall...with all the absolutely DIVINE things at a Lemon-themed Iron Chef...this cake won.

And it deserved to.

So don't judge a book by it's cover...or in this case, a sheet cake by it's rectangular shape. Just make it...and you'll see...

Lemon Buttermilk Sheet Cake
Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup buttermilk, room temp
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon zest
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (3 lemons)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 12 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk, room temp

Cake Directions:

1. Preheat oven 325 degrees F. Grease and flour 13x9 inch pan.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, soda, and salt in medium bowl.
3. Combine buttermilk, lemon juice, and vanilla in large measuring cup.
4. In large bowl beat lemon zest with sugar until moist and fragrant (1 min.). Set aside ¼ cup of sugar mixture for later. Add butter to remaining sugar mixture and beat until light and fluffy (2 min.).
5. Beat in eggs and yolk until combined. Then mix in 1/3 of flour mixture, then half of buttermilk mixture. Repeat with half of remaining flour and all of remaining buttermilk mixture. Add remaining flour and mix until smooth.
6. Pour batter into pan, and bake until golden brown, 25-35 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Then transfer to wire rack and cool for 10 minutes.


  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp buttermilk

Whisk all ingredients until smooth. Gently spread glaze over warm cake and sprinkle evenly with the reserved sugar mixture from above. Let cake cool 2 hours. Serve.

courtesy Heather Wangeman

Iron Chef Pembroke Pines: April 2011 - Lemon Bars

This was a PERFECT Lemon every way...exactly what a lemon bar should be. The crust was thin, firm, and delightful. The lemon was sweet, but just enough tart to not overpower. This is what every Lemon Bar should aspire to be...

Lemon Bars


  • 1 cup butter at room temperature 
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar 
  • 2 cup sifted flour 
  • 4 eggs powdered sur for topping 
  • 2 cup granulated sugar 
  • 4 tablespoon flour 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 4 tablespoon lemon juice 

1. Cream butter and powdered sugar, blend in flour, mix well. Press evenly into an 11 x 17 inch jelly roll pan, bake in a preheated 350 oven for 15 minutes.
2. Beat eggs slightly, add remaining ingredients and beat until well mixed. Spread evenly over crust. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until set. Do not brown. Filling may puff during baking, but flattens when cooled.
3. Sprinkle top with powdered sugar while still warm. Cut in squares. Store in refrigerator or freezer.

courtesy Teri Metts

Iron Chef Pembroke Pines: April 2011 - Lemon Posset

I absolutely LOVED this was so delicious and creamy and so absolutely perfect... the kind of little dessert that actually makes you sigh with contentment and drift away into some kind of bliss...

Rachel said these would be perfect served in darling little shot glasses, and I think she is 100% correct.

But, since she's LDS, and shot glasses are in short supply in her house, she served it in paper cups...but I am totally going out and buying shot glasses (my LDS status be darned)...just so I can make these pretty little pieces of heaven at home, and have them look as perfect as they taste...

Lemon Posset


  • 3 c. heavy cream 
  • 1 1/4 c. sugar 
  • 3 lemons, juiced 
  • fresh berries of choice for garnish 


In a saucepan stir together cream and sugar. Bring to a boil, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice. Pour into serving glasses and refrigerate until set, about 5 hours. Top with fresh berries to serve.

courtesy Rachel Quinton

Iron Chef Pembroke Pines: April 2011 - Lemon-Orzo Salad with Veggies and Chicken

This is another recipe that I have no pictures for...because at the last minute, Jeneice's poor baby got sick and she couldn't come. I'm including it anyway...just so I can make it someday.

And Hey!! Bonus!! It's a Weight Watchers no guilt!!

Lemon-Orzo Salad with Veggies and Chicken 

  • 3/4 C uncooked orzo pasta 
  • 1/4 tsp grated lemon rind 
  • 3 Tbs fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt 
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic 
  • 1/4 tsp honey 
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper 
  • 1 C cooked shredded or diced boneless, skinless chicken 
  • 1/2 C diced cucumber 
  • 1/2 C diced red bell pepper 
  • 1/3 C sliced green onions 
  • 1 Tbs chopped fresh dill, or 1 tsp dried dill 
  • 1/2 C crumbled feta cheese 


Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water until pasta feels cool to the touch. Drain and place in a large salad bowl. While orzo cooks, combine lemon rind, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, garlic, honey, and black pepper. Whisk to combine. Add chicken, cucumber, bell pepper, green onions, and dill to pasta. Drizzle with dressing and toss to combine. Divide onto 4 plates and sprinkle with feta.

Nutrition Facts per Serving (1 1/4 C)
Calories: 275 Fat: 9.7g Protein 18.2 g Weight Watchers Points: 6

courtesy Jeneice Fernandez

Iron Chef Pembroke Pines: April 2011 - Lemon Pepper Shrimp

Tina made these absolutely delicious Lemon-Pepper Shrimp...and everyone LOVED them. But Tina is one of those people that knows her frecipes by heart, and has such an immensely busy life, that she can hardly be bothered to write them down.

And she's like me...we don't really care about winning...only hanging out and enjoying good food with she makes awesome stuff, but not to really compete.

Anyway...this is NOT Tina's recipe, because she never gave one. This is Heidi's Lemon Pepper Shrimp recipe...which she says is significantly less pepper-y than Tina's.

But it is the closest we've here is Tina's PICTURE...and Heidi's recipe.

Lemon-Pepper Shrimp


  • 1 lb xl shrimp (16-20 count), peeled
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 lg cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp red-pepper flakes
  • ¼ c. + 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
  • 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp white wine(or a substitute white grape juice)
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 2 Tbsp drained capers, chopped (optional)
  • Lemon wedges (optional)

1. Put first 6 ingredients in bowl. Add ¼ cup lemon juice and 1 Tbsp parsley. Marinate 15-30 minutes.
2. Heat grill to medium. Bring wine, butter, 2 tsp lemon juice, and capers to a boil and remove from heat. Put shrimp on grill and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until bright pink, about 2 min.
per side
3. Transfer to bowl and stir in warm butter mixture. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp parsley. Garnish with lemon.

courtesy Heidi Tyler

Iron Chef Pembroke Pines: April 2011 - Candied Citrus Peel

I actually don't have pictures of this, because Ann arrived fairly late, and almost everyone had gone. I DID, however, grab a couple and eat them on the way out, and they were so good, that I decided to include the recipe anyway, even without I can make it again at my leisure!!

Candied Citrus Peel

Orange, lemon, or grapefruit peel can be candied to make a deliciously fresh, zesty treat. This recipe specifies four oranges, but you can substitute two grapefruit or eight small lemons or limes. The general rule I go by is to use 8.5 ounces of water and 4.5 ounces of sugar per orange, and I count a small lemon as half of an orange, while an orange is half of a grapefruit.

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 6 hours


* 4 oranges
* 4.25 cups water
* 2.5 cups sugar, plus more for coating


1. Use a knife or a citrus peeler to score the peels of four oranges into quarters. Peel the oranges carefully, trying to keep the peels intact as much as possible. Set the peeled oranges aside and reserve for another use.
2. Using a sharp knife, cut away the bitter white pith from the underside of the peels. The remaining peel should be approximately 1/8” thick. Do not worry if small amounts of white pith remain.
3. Slice the peels into long, thin strips approximately ½” thick.
4. Combine 4.25 cups of water and 2.5 cups of sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar, and heat, uncovered, until the sugar boils for 5 minutes.
5. Add the strips of peel and turn the heat down to low, until the mixture is just at a simmer. Cook, uncovered and simmering, until the syrup reduces to a quarter of its original volume (the syrup will barely cover the tops of the peels). Do not stir during this process, as that might cause the formation of large sugar crystals. The simmering will take approximately 2 hours.
6. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool. Once cool, drain the peels in a colander. At this point, turn your oven to 200 degrees.
7. Place about one cup of sugar in a small bowl. Dredge the peels in the sugar until they are coated, and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Add more sugar if necessary.
8. Place the sugar-coated peels in the warm oven and allow them to dry out. This should take approximately one hour, but check them every 20 minutes to ensure that they are not burning or cooking in any way. Alternately, they can be left to sit overnight on a drying rack instead of placed in the oven.
 9. Once peels are completely dry, scrape off any excess sugar clumps. Store them in a dry location and they should keep for weeks. Candied peels can be dipped in melted chocolate and enjoyed plain, or used in cake, cookie, candy, or bread recipes.

Courtesy Ann Merrill

Iron Chef Pembroke Pines - April 2011 - Lemon Chicken Piccata

This is such a bittersweet Iron Chef...because this is the last time Heidi will be our hostess. Her family is moving to North Carolina...and I am so sad to lose one of my first friends from here in South Florida.

Heidi made an amazing dish...easily the best Chicken Piccata I've had outside of Jason's restaurant. I cannot wait to re-create this...

Lemon Chicken Piccata 

Prep Time: 20 Min
Cook Time: 30 Min
Ready In: 50 Min
Yield 4 servings


* 3 large skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1/2-inch medallions
* salt and pepper to taste
* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, or as needed
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
* 1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
* 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
* 2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
* 3 tablespoons butter
* 2 tablespoons minced Italian (flat-leaf) parsley


1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C). Place a serving platter into the oven to warm.
2. Season the chicken breast pieces with salt and pepper and dredge them in flour. Shake off excess flour. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet; pan-fry the chicken pieces until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Work in batches and do not crowd skillet, adding oil as needed . Place the chicken pieces onto the warmed platter in the oven. When finished with all the chicken, drain most of the oil from the skillet, leaving a thin coating on the surface of the pan.
3. Cook and stir the minced garlic in the skillet until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Pour in the chicken broth. Scrape and dissolve any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. Stir in the lemon slices and bring the mixture to a boil. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce reduces to about 2/3 cup, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the lemon juice and capers; simmer until the sauce is reduced and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes more. Drop the butter into the skillet and swirl it into the sauce by tilting the skillet until the butter is melted and incorporated. Add the parsley; remove from heat and set aside.
4. Arrange the chicken medallions on serving plates and spoon sauce over each portion to serve.

courtesy Heidi Tyler, adapted from

Iron Chef Pembroke Pines: April 2011 - Lemon Pineapple Extravaganza Cake

What Jason wanted to do was take MY Lemonade Extravaganza Cake, and make it even better...which I thought was a fairly daunting task, since, in my opinion, there is NOTHING better than my Lemonade Extravaganza Cake.

But leave it to Jason to absolutely and solidly prove me wrong.

This cake has a lot of steps...or Luckily, all the parts can be done way in advance. He took two days to completely assemble this cake, making the actual cake, candied lemon slices,  lemon curd, and caramelized pineapples on Day One. Then he chilled everything overnight, and the next day made from-scratch whip cream to fold into the lemon curd, and then assembling the cake right before we left for Iron Chef. need time...but other than that...nothing is HARD.

Lemon Pineapple Extravaganza Cake

Part One: 

Candied Lemon Slices 


* 1 large lemon
* 1 cup sugar


1. Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, cut lemon into 12 paper-thin slices; discard seeds and ends of rind.
2. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Remove from heat, and add lemon slices; stir until softened, about 1 minute. Drain, and immediately plunge slices into ice-water bath. Drain.
3. Bring sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium skillet, swirling to dissolve sugar. When liquid is clear and bubbling, reduce heat to medium-low. Add lemon slices, arranging them in one layer with tongs. Simmer (do not let boil) until rinds are translucent, about 1 hour.
4. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment. Let stand until ready to serve.

I was out of parchment we used foil sprayed with Pam...

Part Two:

Lemon Curd 


*3 large eggs
*1/3 cup (80 ml) fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons) (do not use the bottled lemon juice)
*1 tablespoon (4 grams) finely shredded lemon zest
*3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
*4 tablespoons (56 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
*Heavy Whipping Cream
*Confectioners Sugar
* 1 tsp vanilla

Notes: Room temperature lemons provide more juice. After squeezing, strain the juice to remove any pulp. Zest is the yellow, sweet-flavored outer rind of the lemon. A zester or fine grater can be used to remove the rind. Cold lemons are much easier to grate. Grate lemons just before using as the zest will lose moisture if it sits too long.


1. In a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice until blended. Cook, stirring constantly (to prevent it from curdling), until the mixture becomes thick (like sour cream or a hollandaise sauce) (160 degrees F or 71 degrees C). This will take approximately 10 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and immediately pour through a fine strainer to remove any lumps. Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk into the mixture until the butter has melted.
3. Add the lemon zest and let cool. The lemon curd will continue to thicken as it cools.
4. Cover immediately with plastic wrap, and make sure the wrap sits directly on top of the curd (so a skin doesn't form) and refrigerate for up to a week. Makes 1 1/2 cups (360 ml).

Note: If you want a lighter lemon curd whip 1/2 cup (120 ml) whipped cream (made from the heavy whipping cream, confectioners sugar, and vanilla...mixed together at high speed in a mixer until stiff peaks form) and fold into the lemon curd (which is what he did the next day). 

Part Three:

Roasted Pineapple Slices


*1 can sliced pineapple
*6 TBS butter, melted
*1 cup dark brown sugar


1. Preheat oven to 250
2. Place Pineapple Slices in a well-greased baking dish.
3. Mix brown sugar in melted butter. Pour over pineapple slices.
4. Bake until carmelized, about 30-45 minutes.
5. Cool and chill until ready to use.

Your pineapple Slices should look like this...

Part Four: 
Lemonade Extravaganza Cake

Ingredients for Cake:

* 1 pkg. lemon cake mix
* 1 small (4 serving) Jell-O Lemon Flavor
* 1-1/4 cup water
* 3/4 cup oil
* 4 eggs

Ingredients for Topping:

* 2 cups powdered sugar
* 1/3 cup lemon juice


1. Mix all cake ingredients and pour into two 8x8 round cake pans greased with cooking spray.
2. Bake at 350°F for about 30-45 minutes or until done.
3. Remove from oven and pierce holes all over with a fork.
4. Mix powdered sugar and lemon juice and pour over the top. Spread evenly.
5. Chill until cold (a couple hours).
6. Chill remaining cake until eaten.

Notes: This cake can be served at any temperature, but chilled, it gives it an extra cool and refreshing "lemonade" feeling. Its our favorite way to eat it on those hot summer nights.

Part Five:

1. Remove one cake from pan and place on plate.
2. Top with lemon curd/whipped cream mixture
3. Top with carmelized pineapples
4. Top with 2nd cake layer
5. Top with another layer of curd/whipped cream
6. Top with candied lemon slices and additional pineapple, if desired.
7. Chill until ready to eat.

courtesy Jason Johnson

Iron Chef Pembroke Pines: April 2011 - Lemon Snowdrop Cookies

I actually made two things for Iron was a total flop.

I was so bad I won't include pictures, recipes, and I will never, ever, EVER make it again.

I will, however, create my own, and infinitely BETTER, recipe for it to try another time.

The other thing I made were these cookies...and they were okay. Half my kids loved them, the other half didn't.

They remind me of Mexican Wedding cookies...but with lemon. And they are awfully pretty to look at...

Lemon Snow Drop Cookies


* 1 cup butter
* 1/2 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
* 1 teaspoon lemon extract
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup white sugar
* 2 tablespoons cornstarch
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup water
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 2 teaspoons lemon zest
* 3 tablespoons lemon juice
* 3 drops yellow food coloring


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degree C).
2. Cream 1 cup butter or margarine and 1/2 cup sifted confectioners' sugar. Add 2 cups flour, lemon extract, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; mix well.
3. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.
(now...I should tell you that mine baked up in perfect balls...making them hard to make into sandwich I smushed them slightly with a spatula when they came out of the oven, so they would be flatter).
4. Put together with filling. Roll in confectioners' sugar.

 To Make Filling: Mix 1/2 cup sugar, 2 Tablespoons cornstarch, and dash of salt. Add 1/2 cup water, 2 Tablespoons butter or margarine, 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind, 3 Tablespoons lemon juice, and 3 drops of yellow food coloring. Bring to rolling boil, stirring constantly; boil and stir 1 minutes. Cool. Frost flat side of one cookie and put together with another cookie, sandwich-like. Roll in confectioners' sugar.

courtesy Shannan Johnson

Iron Chef Pembroke Pines: April 2011 - Angel's Lemon Cheese Squares

This was the creamiest, yummiest, lemon bar ever. It was like little danish squares. It was beautiful, and I cannot WAIT to make these myself...

Angel's Lemon Cheese Squares
  • 1 yellow or lemon cake mix
  • 1/3 c vegetable oil
  • 1 egg 

1. Mix 1-2 min til crumbly, reserve 1 cup for topping,
2. Press the rest into a 9x13 pan and bake til golden 14min at 350
 3. In same bowl (so no need to rinse) mix :

  • 1 8oz block cream cheese
  • 1/3c sugar
  • 2tbsp fresh lemon juice
4. When well combined, spread over baked crust.
5. Scatter reserved topping and bake an additional 14 min until golden brown and filling sets
6. Let cool 30min... then cut into bars.

courtesy Angel Anderson