Come along with me as I journal about my latest cooking and gardening adventures. Discover what grows in my zone five garden, and see what new recipes I try from my cookbook collection each week.

As I share recipes and information from my kitchen, I invite readers to comment and share ideas along with me in this blog. I am looking to increase followers to my blog, so that I may learn more about cooking and gardening.

Since moving to Midland, Michigan, I have been reading and researching many cooking journals, cookbooks and collected recipes from the past thirty years. Organizing pictures of gardens I enjoy has also been a joy for me, as I continue to learn about garden design and horticulture.

angel food cakes

angel food cakes
this kitchen is seasoned with love

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

lemon dill sauce for fish

this is a wonderful sauce to make to accompany any type of fish, prepared at home.  it is much tastier than a store-bought tartar sauce and very delicious served with baked, broiled or fried fish.  i used this sauce last week, when i made a crispy panko baked trout for dinner.  the sauce recipe comes from cooking light magazine april 2010.

mix 1/4 cup of low fat canola mayo, with 2 tablespoons chopped dill pickles, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon dill.  i used dried dill from my pantry instead of fresh dill, and it was equally delicious.

summer shrimp boil

every summer i make this dish at least once, as it reminds me of classical new england summer cooking.  the whole dinner is made in one pot and served on a large plate family style. a variety of seafood can be added to the recipe, such as clams, mussels, lobster, or even scallops.  we prefer just having large shrimp, and find the meal quite hearty without adding more seafood.

a large pot of water is started on the stove, with the pot filled to just over one-half.  as the water comes to a boil, i squeeze in two lemons that have been sliced in half, and drop them in.  at this time, i also add the sliced onions. they are rough cut in half.  this weekend, i used both shallots and small yellow onions.  i also add at this time, one packet of shrimp and crab boil seasoning.  after the mixture has boiled for ten minutes, i add the small red potatoes.  they are added whole, and boiled for 15-18 minutes. then, the fresh corn on the cob, which has been sliced into smaller thirds, is added to the boiling pot.  the corn boils for about 5-7 minutes, and then the peeled and cleaned shrimp are added.  i leave the tails on for presentation.  the shrimp boil for 3-5 minutes depending on their size.  when everything is cooked, i use a very large wire strainer to remove the meal from the pot.  i serve coleslaw and fresh herb bread with the meal. a small dish of melted margarine can be used to drizzle over the meal as desired.

lemon madeleines

one of my favorite desserts is found in the pastry shops of France, but can be easily replicated in the home kitchen.  unlike most desserts, this recipe does require a special type of baking pan, however; they can be easily found in most cooking stores today.  i have three different types of madeleine sheet pans, all made of tin, but of different shapes.  the classic shape is the elongated shell, with the traditional shell being the next typical shape.  my third pan makes smaller bite-sized madelines, and i didn't choose to use it this past week.

there are several important steps to making madeleines.  the first is to follow the recipe exactly using the recommended ingredients.  cake flour is essential to having the madeleines puff up and bake appropriately.
another important step is to thoroughly grease the tin sheets while placing them on baking sheets prior to baking in the oven.  this works much better than simply baking the sheets directly on the oven racks.
madeleine recipes are quite versatile, since these cookie cakes can be flavored many ways.  lemon is my favorite, but orange, almond, anise or even vanilla could be substituted for the recipe. when using the powdered sugar prior to serving, it is best that the madeleines are cooled some.  most recipes will say to serve these cookies while still warm, so there is a timing element to the powdered sugar step.

one final critical step is noted, but might be often skipped during the cookie preparation.  and, that is to rest the batter, after mixing, for thirty minutes.  if this step is overlooked, the batter will be too thin and will not have the proper texture of a madeleine when baked. as the batter rests, it thickens in the mixer, as can be seen in this photograph.

i used martha stewart's recipe from her current most recent cookie cookbook.

madeleines must be served and eaten in a couple of days, or they will store well in the refrigerator.  they can be served with tea or coffee, whipped cream or ice cream. i find the taste of fresh lemon peel in the cookie makes the difference in taste, texture and flavor.