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Pistachio Lemon Bars #SundaySupper

 

This week’s Sunday Supper is brought by Anne from Simple and Savory. The theme is Easy Spring Recipes. There are so many spring vegetables that I would love to write about, but this is Maine. Spring doesn’t hit until June and we’re pretty lacking in local produce at the moment. I haven’t even begun to think about the garden yet! I am dreaming about it … but in the meantime …

There’s a little happy dance being done here – a very tentative happy dance, mind you. This is, after all, Maine. The snow has started to melt (hard to believe 2 1/2 weeks ago there was 4 FEET of snow out there), seems as though the grip of winter has started to ease. I realize, that merely typing these words can bring upon us another snowmageddon, but we’re hopeful.

We have a short growing season here, so vegetables that take a longer time to mature grow in our greenhouse, all else in the garden. I CAN NOT WAIT!

I’m not quite sure why lemons and pistachios remind me of spring, but they do. Perhaps it’s my Greek roots. Perhaps it was my Papoo’s love of pistachios and sneaking handfuls out of his night stand drawer – though, those were the red dyed ones. Not easy to be sneaky when your fingers and lips and tongue are dyed bright red!. Perhaps it was his idea that lemons were good for everything – softening your hands, flavoring things, making you feel better, taking away unpleasant smells.

So, Papoo, this one’s for you …

THE CRUST:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup shelled unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped

THE FILLING:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  •  cup shelled unsalted pistachios
  •  Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper (if using foil, lightly butter it). Place flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add butter and process until well combined. Stir in chopped pistachios. Firmly press mixture into the bottom of the lined pan using the flat bottom of a glass or measuring cup (if it sticks, place a piece of parchment paper on the dough before pressing).

Bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the filling ingredients. When the crust is baked, pour the filling into the pan and bake until set, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely.

Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and cut into 2-inch squares.

Breakfast

Cakes, Pies, and Sweets

Cookies and Bars

Main Courses

Pastas

Seafood

Veggies and Sides

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Artichoke Lemon Spread

Done

Silence is deafening, they say.

And, by the same token, words can be weapons.

I’ve been having a terrible time getting started blogging again. And I really do miss it. I have at least 20 recipes from 2014 that I never blogged. It isn’t that I don’t want to .. or that I don’t think about what I’d like to write about. I have still been cooking up a storm (get it, get it, haha), photographing dishes, getting them ready. I hadn’t been quite able to put a finger on the reason. AND THEN …

… while listening to This American Life one fine (SNOWY) Saturday, there was an entire segment with Lindy West on just the topic of internet trolls. I suddenly realized that a situation that had happened to me beginning in November of 2013 and finally ending at the end of February 2014 had emotionally and artistically crippled me. What had happened to Lindy was slightly different, but the sentiment was the same. At the beginning we agreed on one basic tenet … DON’T FEED THE TROLLS … which is why I never made the hurtful comments public, nor ever responded to them. Linda realized that silence is what best feeds a troll, giving them more power, giving them exactly what they want. Silencing the person at whom they aim their vitriol.

I don’t think … or at least I truly hope … the people leaving snide comments or sending snarky tweets realize the damage they do to the people they campaign against. While cloaked in the perceived comfort of anonymity, perhaps even giggling, the person reading these messages is hurt, cut to the quick, and left wondering WHY. Why me?

Just as an aside, let’s just touch on the illusion of anonymity on the internet. For this is truly an illusion, there’s no such thing as anonymity on the internet. Everything and anything you put out into the universe over the internet really does go out into the universe … FOREVER.

For me, dear readers, this is just food. Nice photos, good recipes (I hope), sharing with a community of like-minded foodies. There’s no political agenda, I’m not skinning cats, and I’m not polluting the world by burning vast amounts of fossil fuels to get my own point across. I write this for me. It’s nice to have readers, but even without a single reader, this would still be something I do for me. A form of expression. Coupling three of my joys in life … cooking, photography and writing.

Sadly, there had certainly been fear and a bad taste left in my mouth regarding blogging, something I really love to do. The thought that my personal words and thoughts could be used against me again, by someone who knew nothing about me had proven to be daunting.

I keep coming back to WHY. Why me? What did I do to cause this and what could I have done to avoid it?

I thought about giving up my blog entirely. I thought about starting a brand new blog. After listening to Lindy, realizing I wasn’t alone in this dilemma, I decided to sit down,w rite this post, get it all off my chest and continue soldiering on. I’m not giving up what I like to do. I’m not changing myself or what I write for acceptance. This is who I am. I have been basically the same person since I popped out of the womb (thanks Mom & Dad). I live my life trying to leave no carnage in my wake, treating people the way I would like to be treated.

While it still smarts, I challenge all internet trolls and stalkers out there … get to know the subject of your attack. You may just find you like them. Think before you push that button … if someone did this to me, how would I feel.

Linda has given me renewed strength where my public, blogging life is concerned. I will not allow someone else to rule my life, I will not live in fear.

I have come too far in my life, given up too much to be where I am right now to be stopped by anyone or anything.

Hello, World, I’m back and hopefully better than ever.

You’ll have to pardon a number of ‘off-season’ posts while I catch up. Thank you.

So with that in mind …

While poking around online for some yummy before dinner nibbles, and being tired of the ones I was using over and over and over again, I came across this recipe for Artichoke Lemon Pesto from Ciao Chow Linda.

It’s fabulous! It’s easy!

Vegetarian, filling, slightly tangy.

Everything goes into the food processor and with a whirl is finished!

Try it, you’ll be hooked.

  • 1  14-ounce can of artichoke hearts  in water (unseasoned)
  • 1/4 C parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 C finely chopped parsley
  • a few small sprigs of thyme, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 t lemon peel, finely minced
  • 2 t lemon juice
  • 3 T olive oil
  • salt, pepper

Mince the parsley and thyme roughly with the garlic and lemon peel. Place the artichoke hearts, the parsley and thyme and all the remaining ingredients into a food processor. Pulse or whir until everything is chopped finely and blended. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.

NOTE: I roughly chopped the parsley, thyme and garlic. I mean, it’s going in the food processor, after all. As for the lemon peel, I used a zester instead of peeling and didn’t need to mince it further.

 

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting

Done

At times it’s hard to believe that just one year ago, I was living in New York City, working as a paralegal and not always happy.

Here I am a year later, living in Bar Harbor, Maine, reinventing myself work-wise, and very happy.

Work had been a struggle. I knew I didn’t wish to be a paralegal any longer. I wanted time to do many things, mostly revolving around cooking.

I give cooking lessons. I work as a prep cook in a friend’s restaurant.

I also work for my friends Chris and Lisa at their fabulous movie theater, Reel Pizza. What a concept! Watch a movie, eat pizza, drink wine … does it get better than that?

By day, I am mild mannered office staff – pay bills, enter info into box office and sales reports, payroll, giggle with Lisa.

By night, though, and just a few nights, mind you, I am sassy box office girl.

The questions, oh, the questions by customers. It takes everything at times not to just burst into laughter! This is particularly difficult when my boss is standing behind these folk laughing!

Let’s see …

To a couple on a busy night – “I’m sorry, folks, there are only singles left.” The woman looks at me, then her husband, and then at me again and says, “But we’re married.”

To a particularly grumpy senior citizen – “Tickets are $6 each.” “No, senior citizen discount?” “Ma’am, the tickets are $6!” “But, I’m a senior. I should get a discount!” “Ma’am, where are you from?” “New York. Why?” “You pay at least $13 for a full price ticket. Seniors don’t get half price, but a discount. So $6 is less.”

Then there was another grumpy senior (imagine!?), arguing about the $6 admission, and no senior discount – “I want a senior discount!” “Okay. Today, seniors pay $12 with a 50% discount. So, $6.”

Ah, the couple when told there were only single seats left. He, “Well, that’s okay. We want to see this movie. And who talks through the movies anyway?” She, glances at him sideways, “Well, I’ll be able to watch the movie in peace! You never STOP talking through the movies!”

The time goes by REALLY quickly with this entertainment!

Well, the entertainment and the GREAT gals I work with! Justine and Grace make getting through 5 hours a pleasure! It doesn’t hurt that Justine makes the BEST nachos and snacks for us!

So, long way around to why I made these cupcakes …

Justine showed me the ropes when I started in the box office. She explained everything in an uncomplicated way, held my hand, made me laugh and fed me. When I found out she had a birthday coming up AND had to work on her birthday (!) I decided we needed to have a little celebration at work.

What to make? What to make? Something with chocolate! Nope. She doesn’t like chocolate. Oh, stop gasping out there! Not liking chocolate is not a deal breaker in life!

I started searching for something fun and festive, omitting chocolate. That’s when I stumbled up these great Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting over at Sally’s Baking Addiction. I knew this was the recipe for me!

They were fabulous!

LEMON CUPCAKES

  • 1/2 C unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature preferred
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 C  milk
  • zest + fresh juice of two medium lemons

RASPBERRY FROSTING

  • 3/4 C unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 and 1/2 C confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 T heavy cream
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t salt, to taste
  • 1/2 C thick raspberry preserves or jam
  • fresh raspberries and lemon slices to decorate, optional

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line 12-count muffin pan with paper liners. Set aside.

Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed in a large bowl until creamed. About 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until everything is combined, about 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Set aside.

Ready t0 Bake

In a medium bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 additions, beating on low speed after each addition. Batter will be thick. Beat in the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice on low speed until just combined. Do not overmix this batter at any point. Spoon batter evenly into 12 cupcake liners. Bake for about 20 minutes. Check at 18 minutes, then again at 20. A toothpick inserted in the middle will come out clean when done.

Baked

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat softened butter on medium speed for about 3-4 minutes until completely smooth and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running. Increase to high speed and beat for 1 minute. Add the raspberry preserves and beat until thick and creamy, about 2 full minutes. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin, is separating (due to the fruity jam) or looks too wet. And then add more salt to offset added sweetness.

FIlling

Before frosting I filled a few of the cupcakes with some frosting before frosting. To fill the cupcakes: use a sharp knife, cut a circle/hole into the center of the cupcake to create a little pocket about 3/4 inch deep. Place about 1 teaspoon of raspberry frosting inside and top with the piece of cupcake you removed to seal. Then frost the entire cupcake.

Frosted

I couldn’t find my piping bag, so I put all the frosting in a zip-lock bag, cut a corner and frosted away!

I toped each with a fresh raspberry (from my freezer stash) and a lemon slice.