Lovely Lemons

I am so, so excited about today’s post. Little lemon kick? Yep. Better than boring lemonade? Absolutely.

Let’s start with the dessert I made the night before, shall we?

This, I am in love with. LOVE.

(Disclaimer: This dessert is in no way low fat, low sugar or low guilt! It is excellent for sharing with company, because you could easily devour it alone!)

Lemon Ripple Cheesecake Bars

For the crust:

1 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/16 tsp salt
1 stick (1/2 c.) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, chilled

For the lemon part:
1 tbs. plus 2 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 c. cold water
2 large egg yolks
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice, about the juice from one ripe lemon
(I added a little extra for a more tangy flavor)
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

For the cream cheese part:
20 oz. (2 and a half bricks) 1/3 fat (or fat free) cream cheese
1 c. sugar
2 tbs. all purpose flour
3 large eggs at room temperature
1/4 c. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Step 1: Prep

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and position a rack in the center. Butter a 9-inch-square nonstick baking pan. I used an 8 x 11 and that turned out fine too.

Step 2: Make the Crust

In a food processor, or with a pastry cutter mix the flour, sugar, lemon zest, salt and butter until a soft, crumbly dough forms. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and a scant 1/2 inch up the side of the pan. Bake the crust for 20 minutes, or until golden and firm.

Step 3: Make the Lemon Part

In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water. In a medium sauce-pan, whisk the egg yolks with 3/4 cup of the sugar and the lemon juice. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and cook over moderate heat, whisking gently, until the sugar is dissolved and the lemon mixture is hot, about 4 minutes. Boil over moderately high heat for 1 minute, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick and glossy. Strain the lemon mixture into a heatproof bowl. Stir in the lemon zest and let cool.

Step 4: Make the Cream Cheese Part

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup of sugar until smooth. Beat in the flour until blended. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well between additions. Add the sour cream and the vanilla and beat until the batter is smooth. Pour the cream cheese batter over the crust and smooth the surface with a spatula.

Step 5: Put it all Together!

Dollop the lemon mixture on the cheesecake batter and carefully swirl it into the batter; take care not to cut into the crust. (Here it is, just going into the oven!) Bake the cheesecake for about 40 minutes, or until golden around the edge and just set. Run the tip of a knife around the edge to loosen the cheesecake from the side of the pan. Let cool on a wire rack for 1 hour, then refrigerate the cheesecake until thoroughly chilled. Cut into 16 bars and serve.

There was a little bit of spatula licking here and there… so I knew this was going to be fantastic!

Rewind to the meal.

I don’t eat much pork, but this recipe for Southwest Pork Cutlets from Women’s Health Magazine piqued my interest.

I seasoned the pork with this seasoning called Dillo Dust (randomly sent to us with an order from LaRue tactical in TX) which is basically celery salt, sugar, paprika, chili powder and garlic powder. I browned both sides, and then added the carrots and some minced garlic on highish heat so they slightly caramelized. I put the lid on and cooked on low to finish cooking the pork Served this with some rice pilaf on the side.

We also had a colorful green salad made from Romain lettuce, spinach, halved grape tomatoes, diced avocado, sliced mushrooms, clamata olives and cucumber topped with a sprinkle of fresh Parmesan cheese and fresh ground pepper. Served with Galeo’s miso sesame dressing or a homemade lemon salad dressing.

Lemon Salad Dressing

3/4 c. olive oil
Juice from two ripe lemons
4 tbs grated Parmesan cheese (I just used the stuff from the bottle for this)
1/4 tsp salt (I skipped this)
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp sugar
dash or two of paprika

1 garlic clove, peeled (I halved mine for more garlic flavor)

Place all ingredients in a jar. Shake it up and store in the fridge for about 24 hours before serving.

I was a little unsure about how this would be, but it was citrusy and light. Lovely!


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