Friday, June 28, 2013

Bake Sale Lemon Bars

I was on the docket to make cookies for the social hour after church last Sunday. I'd signed up weeks before and carefully picked the date, considering what I knew we had going on. We'd be back from our fishing trip, hay making should be over, no company visiting, no parties to attend. Perfect. No stress timing.

Trouble was, we were right smack dab in the middle of making hay. We had lots of volunteer helpers who needed food and drink. And granddaughter Emma wanted to come visit and help with hay. So, I got up extra early Saturday morning and started baking these lemon bars.

I chose the lemon bars because a new magazine, Taste of Home, had just come, and these just grabbed me. I love lemony things; Mr. Rosemary doesn't. He's a chocolate, peanut butter and nuts fan. I like those, too, but I also crave something lighter and tangy once in a while. The church social is a great excuse to get to make something I want to sample.

But something about the date kept nagging at me.   Maybe it was next Sunday, I worried, not tomorrow!  I checked the calendar on my iPhone. (I'm really surprised at how much I really use the phone for more than phone calls and games!) 

Yep. Said it was next Sunday all right. But still I don't trust myself. Maybe I entered it wrong. So I called a woman from church who assured me it was indeed the following Sunday.

So I had lots of extra cookies to share. My volunteer farmhands were happy. And I think I'm going to be making these again. On the right Sunday.

Bake Sale Lemon Bars
from Taste of Home, June-July 2013
contributed by Mildred Keller, Rockford IL 1996

3/4 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
Additional confectioner's sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, beat butter and confectioners' sugar until blended. Gradually beat in 1 1/2 cup flour. Press into bottom of greased 13 X 9 baking pan. Bake 18- 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Meanwhile,, in a small bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, lemon juice and remaining flour until frothy. Pour over hot crust and Bake 20-25 minutes or until topping is set and lightly browned.
Cool completely on a wire rack. Dust with additional confectioners' sugar. Cut into bars. Refrigerate leftovers.
Makes 4 dozen (if you cut them that small!)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Better than Average Broccoli Salad -- and a Blog-cation

Broccoli salads have become pretty standard fare at summer picnics and parties, sharing the classic rung with the likewise ubiquitous macaroni, pasta and potato salads. And there's nothing wrong with the classics . . . but every once in a while, I itch for just a little twist that makes people go, "Hmmmm . . . . what's in here?"

I was inspired to break out of my broccoli-salad-comfort-zone by "The Meaning of Pie," one of my favorite food blogs. Kelly Yandell has a knack for making ordinary things special . . . and photographs everything so well. Please pay a visit.

Often, you'll find broccoli salads swimming in a creamy mayonnaise dressing and laden with cheese and bacon. (Who doesn't love bacon?)  This version has bacon but a more spare coating of dressing,.a tang from fruit juice, crunch from nuts and onion, and a touch of sweet from cranberries.

The salad that inspired Kelly, she shares, came from her Aunt Jane, who used yogurt in the dressing, but Kelly opted for sour cream because that's what she had on hand. I love a recipe, and the cook, that is flexible enough to take advantage of what's in the refrigerator and pantry.

Better-than-Average Broccoli Salad
only slightly adapted from The Meaning of Pie

4 cups fresh broccoli florets, stems copped and florets cut into tiny pieces
6 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 stalks of green onion, chopped fine
1 cup dried cranberries

For the dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
3 tablespoons apple juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar

Cut the broccoli into small pieces, using both the florets and the the stems.

Combine the broccoli, almonds, cranberries and onion in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients, combining well. Pour over the salad and mix. Keep refrigerated .

Makes about 6 servings. (Easily doubled!)

* * * * * * * * * * *
Now -- about the blog-cation. I didn't plan to be absent, just happened. We've been busy remodeling. (See the barn wood in my pictures? It's from our old barn and is now siding our fireplace wall. And my kitchen is now painted a beautiful red, outfitted with new appliances. Lots going on; and not quite done.) And then there was the 10-day fishing trip to Canada. And then there was . . . well, you get the idea. Plus, I was feeling I had nothing interesting to write about and, in the midst of remodeling, couldn't find my stuff! Anyhow, I'm calmer now and back in the saddle. Thanks for visiting. Come back again soon!