I’ve been teaching a lot of Italian cooking classes lately. While I love teaching all types of cuisines like Middle Eastern, Greek, Thai and French, Italian is just in my DNA. This week we ended one Italian cooking class with this luscious, gorgeous dessert called a Lemon Ricotta Cake with Fresh Blueberries and Whipped Cream. It’s fun to whip up—a cake batter with the classic European hint of lemon zest and a smooth, creamy and rich ricotta. (We made our own homemade ricotta in class for this cake!) It works well in a spring form pan. Just pour the batter into the pan, top it off with fresh blueberries and a little sprinkling of sugar and bake. If you’re not using a spring form pan, you will turn the cake over onto a plate and flip it over to reveal the berries on top. If you’re curious why lemon and blueberries pair so week in many desserts, this cake will satisfy your curiosity!
I taught a fabulous Provence cuisine class today that let us all channel our inner Julia Child. Two star recipes emerged and I wanted to share them with you! Please enjoy a gorgeous, eye-appealing and tantalizing salad with light and delicate homemade French rolls. C’est Manifique!
We are right in the middle of Greek Carnival Season known as Apokries. Greek street foods are, of course, a big part of the celebrations. So this week I wanted to feature one of my favorite Greek appetizers, Kolokithokeftedes. Ok, that may seem Greek to you, but really, they are just delicious deep fried zucchini balls paired here with a fantastic dipping sauce, and pronouncing the word correctly is not part of the recipe, so don’t worry about a thing! (For the record, it’s pronounced Kolo-Keetho- Kef-ted-es.) You’ll love the crunch and the fabulous flavor combination of zucchini, cheese, onion, garlic and a hint of white truffle oil, made even more delicious by dipping them in a zesty red sauce. There’s only one more thing to say about this delightful Mediterranean treat, “Nostimótatos!” ( Delicious!)
If you didn’t get your fill of lemonade, lemon cake or lemon anything this summer, Labor Day weekend is your chance to indulge in citrusy, bright and tangy Lemon Bars. It’s the perfect way to say goodbye to summer! Although lemon loaf, lemon curd, lemon cakes, pies and cookies have been around for centuries, the lemon bar or lemon square is apparently a relatively new creation. In fact, the website joepastry.com, credits the R&D department at Betty Crocker Inc. with dreaming up the very first lemon bar and printing the first known recipe in 1963. In 1993, Betty Crocker added the Lemon Bar to its Supreme Dessert Bar line of baking mixes, but nothing compares to making lemon bars from scratch. A four ingredient crust and a few more ingredients to make a filling and you’ve got a fantastic dessert that is delicious chilled or room temperature and travels well for your Labor Day weekend celebration! Where did I get the recipe? I adapted it from my 1992 Betty Crocker’s Ultimate Cookie Book, of course!
This week I’m offering up a tasty treat to celebrate the abundance of citrus-laden lemon trees in the Valley. It’s a Lemon Cream Loaf Cake and I found it in a cookbook called Old Favorite Recipes from St. John’s Lutheran Church in Des Moines, Iowa. It’s super moist and if you’re a lemon lover, this sweet and tangy loaf cake will definitely satisfy. I don’t know what’s more enticing or intoxicating – the fragrance of Arizona’s spring citrus blossoms or a lemon pie loaf coming out of the oven. The both have a peel!