Double Lemon Scones

My niece is marrying a boy from England so, it’s time to brush up on some culinary delights from across the pond! This one comes courtesy of Justin Chapple at Food & Wine Magazine.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (can add more to zing up the lemony goodness) plus 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds (optional)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled
  • 1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor, pulse the 2 1/4 cups of flour with the granulated sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, salt and 2 teaspoons of the poppy seeds. Add the butter and pulse until it resembles coarse meal. Add the 1 cup of heavy cream and pulse until evenly moistened.
  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, gather any crumbs and knead a couple of times until the dough just comes together. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 9-by-6-inch rectangle. Using a large knife, cut the dough into 8 scones. Transfer the scones to the prepared baking sheet and brush with heavy cream. Bake in the lower third of the oven for about 25 minutes, until firm and lightly golden. Let the scones cool.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar with the lemon juice and the remaining 1 teaspoon of poppy seeds. Brush the scones with the glaze and let stand until set, about 15 minutes.

Make Ahead 

The scones can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

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An Extra Set Of Hands

This is a totally unsponsored endorsement for a product I love and couldn’t do without. As we come into holiday season with the inevitable pre-prepping of ingredients for the big meals, post meal clean-up, storage, and divvying up of the coveted #leftovers, there’s always need of help to hold those storage bags open. Well, I stumbled upon the perfect solution a couple of years ago and this has become my favorite hostess, white elephant, and stocking stuffer gift ever since. Trust me, once you use it you’ll wonder how you ever did without it!

Feast your eyes upon the Jokari adjustable baggy rack stand. This miracle assistant firmly holds open every size zip bag, from snack size to gallon, without losing grip while you fill it!

This folds down flat for easy storage in a drawer, so it’s not another awkward gadget that takes up space in your cupboards. Two of these cost about $12 on Amazon and, to me, it’s money more than well spent! There are lower priced knock-offs available, but, for me, and the guaranteed cleanliness of my kitchen the sturdiness of these bag racks provide, I swear by the original.

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The Best Way to Cook Steak

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Matzo Ball Soup

I wasn’t raised in a Jewish family so wasn’t ever given the chance to experience some of the best, most flavorful, dishes that, thankfully, I was able to enjoy when I began visiting #TheRollAndRye deli in Culver City, CA with my father-in-law. Latkes, sweet noodle kugel, and matzo ball soup, if you haven’t had them made by a good Jewish cook, are treats you need to taste to appreciate!

When I married into the family I, not his Jewish daughter or granddaughter, was gifted with his Mother’s 80+ year old Jewish cookbook with his single request that I make noodle kugel for him. #DoneDeal

Fearing I couldn’t duplicate the soups he loved so well, until I came across this recipe in #Delish Magazine, I never attempted matzo ball soup. The lightness of the matzo balls makes them better than any I’ve ever tried.

SERVES 8 • TOTAL TIME 2 HR 30 MIN

FOR THE CHICKEN SOUP

  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Onion, quartered
  • 2 Carrots, cut into appx. 4” pieces
  • 4 stalks celery, cut into appx. 4″ pieces
  • 1 Turnip, quartered
  • 1 Parsnip, cut into appx. 4” pieces
  • 1 whole chicken, about 2 1/2 to 3 lb.
  • 6 Cups (48 oz) homemade chicken broth
  • 4 Sprigs fresh dill
  • 4 Sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

FOR THE MATZO BALLS

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 Cup melted chicken fat (shmaltz)
  • 1/2 Cup Seltzer water
  • 1 Cup Matzo meal
  • 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

1. Soup: In a very large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Cook onion, carrots, celery, turnip, and parsnip, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Place chicken on top of vegetables and toss so chicken gets slightly covered in veggies and oil. Add broth and enough water to just cover chicken. Add dill and parsley; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, 2 hours.

2. Remove chicken (shred for soup or reserve for another use). Reserve a few carrot pieces (to be sliced and added to soup later), then strain broth into a large bowl or measuring cup; season with salt and pepper. Discard remaining vegetables and herbs.

3. Matzo balls: In a medium bowl, beat eggs. Add fat and seltzer and mix well to combine. Add matzo meal, salt, and pepper and mix well, ensuring all matzo meal is incorporated into egg mixture. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. 4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Using a cookie scoop (for medium matzo balls) or ice cream scoop (for large matzo balls), form mixture into balls, smoothing by rolling between slightly wet hands. Drop each ball into boiling water. (They will sink initially but rise as they cook.) Cook until centers of balls are fully cooked through, 25 to 35 minutes. They’ll look dense and dark yellow in the center if they’re not done.

5. Add matzo balls to soup, or place into serving bowls and top with soup. Top with chicken (if using), reserved carrots, and dill.

TIP** Double the recipe and make a second batch of #MatzoBalls to freeze. After cooking the matzo balls, place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, you can transfer to a resealable plastic bag. To prepare, drop frozen balls into boiling broth and cook until heated through.

TIP 2** Matzo balls are sponges for flavor: They soak up whatever is around them. All the more reason to make sure the stock they’re sitting in is as good as possible.

Recipe courtesy of JOANNA SALTZ – Delish Magazine, April 2022

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Low-Carb Bread Machine Bread

One of the biggest complaints I, and many others, have about Keto Bread is that it tends to taste too eggy.  I’ve been on a mission to eliminate that and discovered that, with my new bread machine, I can bake #KetoFriendly, #EggFree, loaves of bread. 

Of course, buying a new bread machine means yet another tool I need to find a home for in my #StorageChallengedKitchen.  But #ThisGirlLovesToEat, so I’ll find a corner somewhere. 😉

My machine is a Cuisinart Convection Breadmaker and does have a low-carb setting, so that is a bonus.

Keto Bread Machine White Bread

  • 2+1/2 tsp Bread Machine Instant Yeast
  • 1 + 1/3 Cup 90º F Tap Water
  • 2 TBLS Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Neutral Oil (Vegetable or Canola) – unless you want the flavor in your bread, then you can use Olive Oil (I like to use a blend of Olive-Avocado Oil)
  • 3 tsp Vital Wheat Gluten
  • 3 Cups/300 g (weigh it if you can) Carbalose® Lo-Carb Flour (I have used Bob’s Paleo Flour as well)
  • Salt or other seasonings as desired (I always add a bit of salt)

Using a paper towel, lightly oil the inside of your bread machine pan and the kneading paddle.  Plug in your bread machine (but do not preheat), add your yeast, sugar and warm water to the pan and close the machine lid.  Set a timer for 12 minutes to allow your yeast to activate (start bubbling).

As soon as your yeast is nice and foamy, add (in this order) your oil, the wheat gluten, any spices you are using, and the flour.

Close your lid and set the machine to Low Carb setting (if it has one) or bake at basic mode for a 1.5 pound loaf.

**Tip:  To keep your loaf from having a hole in the middle, when the rise cycle starts, remove the paddle and center your loaf back in the pan without handling it too much.

Allow loaf to cool in the pan then slice into 12 slices.

Nutrition Information Per Slice (with Canola Oil)

    • Calories   120
    • Protein     8.25 g
    • Carbs        4.83 g
    • Fat             7.42 g

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Homemade Red Wine Vinegar

Realizing that #leftoverwine is an oxymoron, the occasion did present when a high quality bottle was opened at the end of a multi-bottle evening and not finished, then said bottle was put into the wine cellar and forgotten for a week past it’s drinking window. Shit!

Time to make some red wine vinegar! I left the bottle, corked, in the dark, cool cellar for an additional month then set to starting my kitchen #chemistryexperiment.

Vintage Red Wine Vinegar

  • Up to 750 ml leftover Red Wine of any variety – in this case, I used: 3/4 bottle Eighty Four Wines 2013 Malbec out of Napa, CA + about 1/4 bottle Bodega Y Vinedos Catena 2019 Malbec out of Argentina
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) 3% Hydrogen Peroxide (if wine contains sulfites)
  • 1 cup (237 ml) Unchlorinated Water
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) Raw, Unfiltered, Unpasteurized Vinegar, or a Vinegar Mother – I used Bragg Organic Raw-Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar With the Mother

Pour the wine into a dry, sanitized, wide-mouthed, sealable (canning) jar that holds at least a quart. If the wine contains sulfites (it will say so on the back of the bottle), stir in the hydrogen peroxide and let the wine sit for about a minute to neutralize them. Stir in the water with a wooden spoon.

Stir in the raw vinegar well to oxygenate the wine.

Cover the jar with either tightly-woven, quadrupled cheesecloth or a piece of muslin, even a thick paper towel, securing with rubber band/string/a screw on metal canning band, or, like I used, 😉 a zip tie to keep fruit flies out. You can cover it with a paper coffee filter for extra protection from fruit flies if desired. The jar needs to breathe (vent its Carbon dioxide) so do not, under any circumstances, put the metal inner jar canning lid or glass clamped vacuum lid on to seal.

Place your jar on the counter, out of direct light, or in a cupboard, where the temperature stays between 65° and 75°F. The longer you leave it alone to fully develop it’s acidity, especially if you have blended more than one type of wine, the better. Ideally, leave it alone a minimum of one month before checking your acidity level. Your ph should be 4.0 or below.

Bottle half of the vinegar, in a pressure resistant bottle, leaving headspace and replace with the same amount of wine for another batch. Or, you can bottle it all, storing the mother (1/2 C) for another batch or to share with a friend to make her own.

Amazon carries many suitable bottles for storing vinegar

The vinegar can be used immediately (stored in the refrigerator if you like the flavor as it is) or aged longer in your cupboard or on the cool counter top to allow it to mellow further and the flavors to develop more fully.

  • Troubleshooting: Most fermenting problems with vinegar come from trying to ferment in temperatures that are too warm for the fermentation process. Try to keep your jars in a room that’s between 55 and 75°F.
  • Surface growth: If you see anything “scummy” starting to grow on your vinegar while it’s fermenting, scoop off the surface growth. If it smells fine, it is fine.
  • Over-Fermenting: If your vinegar develops an awful smell (like rotting garbage), toss it out. If it smells a little funky (like vinegar), it’s probably fine.
  • Mold Growth: If you’re having problems with mold growing on the vinegar (not simply white scum on the top), toss out the vinegar. Next time, make sure your vinegar is fermenting in a room that’s not above 75 degrees, and is in a place with good airflow.

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When is it OK to Eat Food With Mold On It?

In this season of food gifts and party leftovers, this article, previously published by My Recipes, is particularly important and worth sharing & re-sharing. #ThisGirlLovesToEat

“We’ve all let something languish in the fridge a bit longer than we realized. It’s not unreasonable to look at a single patch of mold on a strawberry and wonder if the whole lot has to be tossed. But what about a block of cheese with a quarter-sized fuzzy spot? Is that safe to trim and eat? Or does it have to go, too?

Fortunately, this handy guide from the U.S. Department of Agriculture can have the final say on what stays and what goes when you spot mold on your food.

4 Moldy Foods You Can Eat:

Hard salami or dry-cured country ham

It’s A-OK for hard salamis to have a thin white coating on the outside of the meat. This mold is put there on purpose: to produce flavor and protect the cured meat from bacteria. It’s safe to consume, as is any mold that grows on dry-cured country ham. Large slabs of the super salty pork are often used in restaurants as part decor, part conversation starter (and also a tangy topper to everything from pasta to avocado toast). If you buy one of these delicacies, don’t fear a little mold growth on the crust. Scrub it off (be sure to dry the ham well) before eating. 

Cheeses made with mold

The mold in blue, Gorgonzola, Stilton, Brie, and Camembert is to be expected. After all, these cheeses are injected with mold before they ripen—that’s why they’re so funky and delicious. But not all molds are made to eat, so you can’t assume all molds on cheese get the approval. Hard cheeses, like Gorgonzola and Stilton, aren’t harmed by a little extra mold. Cut the spot away—half an inch to one inch all the way around—and enjoy. Softer cheeses, like Brie and Camembert, have to go if you spot mold growing on them. The fingerlike organisms of mold can reach deep into these softer cheeses and may develop into toxic substances.

Hard cheeses

Even cheeses that aren’t made with mold veins are safe to eat if you spot a speck of mold growing on them. Cheddar, for example, just requires you to trim an inch around the moldy spot (some experts argue you only need a half-inch buffer; do what feels safest for you) and toss that before diving in. Be sure to use a clean knife, and keep the blade away from the mold to prevent cross-contamination. When you’re finished slicing for your sandwich or burger, be sure to rewrap the cheese in a fresh covering so you don’t reinfect with mold spores.

Firm fruits and vegetables

Tough vegetables and fruit, like carrots, potatoes, and turnips can take the mold in stride. The mold threads have a hard time penetrating deep into these dense plant foods. Trim off an inch around the mold, and eat or cook as you planned. Softer fruits and vegetables, like cherries, strawberries, and corn, should be tossed. Mold can easily spread to nearby areas, even if you can’t see the spores with your naked eye.

When can molds be toxic? 

All molds can cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems. That doesn’t mean they’re toxic. However, in the right conditions, some molds can turn into mycotoxins, poisonous substances that can make people physically sick. These substances are produced by certain molds that are most commonly found in grain and nut crops. However, they’ve also been known to show up in apples, grape juice, celery, and other fresh produce. That’s why, when in doubt, throw the moldy foods out.

Which moldy foods should I always toss? 

The USDA says these foods are no good when you spot mold. Their high moisture content or porous nature makes them prime for rapid mold development. Don’t risk getting sick just to finish up Tuesday night’s pot roast. Toss it, and fry up a grilled cheese instead.

Foods you should always toss:

  • Luncheon meats, bacon, and hot dogs
  • Cooked leftover meat and poultry
  • Cooked casseroles
  • Cooked grains and pasta
  • Soft cheeses, like cottage cheese, chevre, cream cheese, and Neufchatel
  • Yogurt and sour cream
  • Jams and jellies — Mycotoxins can spread in these foods easily, so it’s not enough to scoop out a mold part and keep going deeper into the jar.l
  • Soft fruits and vegetables — They’re porous, which means mold can spread rapidly, even if you can’t spot the spores.
  • Baked goods and bread
  • Peanut butter, legumes, and nuts — Any foods processed without preservatives are at a high risk of developing mold spores. Be extra cautious and keep them stored appropriately.”

Holiday Bites: Naughty But Nice Peppermint Fudge

I was honest when I said that I abide by the adage that calories, fat, and carbs don’t count in December, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t try, where I can, to trim all of them to try and stay loyal to my Keto lifestyle.  So, this is the Chocolate Peppermint Fudge from a couple of days ago, just slimmed down a bit… As written, each of the 36 pieces clocks in at 77 Calories, 5.6g Fat, and 2.6g Carbs.  Because this fudge turned out so rich, and was so thick from the 8 x 8 pan, I cut each piece in half again so the nutrition information in that case would be: 38.5 Calories, 2.8g Fat and 1.45g Carbs.  My sweet tooth was completely satisfied with one piece halved. #ThisGirlLovesToEat

naughtybutnicefudge

Naughty But Nice Peppermint Fudge

  • 1 TBLS Melted Butter
  • 1 Cup Truvia
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 3 TBLS Keto Light Corn Syrup
  • 2 TBLS Water
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 4 Ounces Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
  • 2 Ounces 60% Bittersweet Baking Chocolate
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 4 TBLS Butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp Peppermint Oil (to taste – see tip below)
  • 2 Ounces Peppermint Candies, finely crushed

Line an 8×8″ baking dish with foil, overlapping the edges.  Melt 1 TBLS Butter and brush the foil with it thoroughly.

Heat Truvia, cream, corn syrup, salt, and 2 Tbsp. water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves.  Add chocolate.  Stir until melted and mixture is smooth, then bring to a boil.  Fit saucepan with candy thermometer and increase heat to medium-high.  Cook, brushing down sides of saucepan with a wet pastry brush as needed to dissolve sugar crystals, until thermometer registers 238° F.

Immediately pour mixture into a large bowl.  Dot top of mixture with butter; do not stir.  Rinse thermometer, removing any sugar crystals, pat dry, and fit on bowl.  Let mixture sit until thermometer registers 110° F, 30–45 minutes.

Remove thermometer.  Add vanilla extract and peppermint flavoring to mixture and beat with a hand mixer (I admit I used my stand mixer…I don’t own a hand mixer :|) on high speed until mixture is light and thick like frosting and has lost its high gloss (will still have a slight sheen), about 4 minutes.

Scrape into prepared pan; smooth surface, then top with peppermint candies, pressing gently into surface.  Cover with plastic and cool in refrigerator until set, at least 3 hours.

Using foil, remove fudge from pan, peel away foil, and cut fudge into a 6×6 grid to make 36 squares.

Nutrition Information: (Makes 36 Squares – 1 piece per serving)

  • 77  Calories
  • 5.6 g  Fat
  • 2.6 g  Carbs
  • <1 g  Protein

Do Ahead: Fudge is best stored in a tightly sealed container, between layers of waxed paper, in the refrigerator.

Tips: 1) Crush the candies in a zip bag using a rubber mallet or rolling pin, 2) Peppermint oil is quite strong so, for less intense peppermint punch, you can easily cut it to 1/8 tsp, and 3) A hand mixer is better than a stand mixer for this recipe, but I do admit that I got lazy this time and used the stand mixer and it turned out just fine.

Creole Spiced Mahi-Mahi with Lime Sauce

AirFriedMahiMahiI love my air fryer and have, so far, only experimented once with cooking seafood in it.  I did Salmon in it, which turned out so yummy!  Tonight I was behind the 8-Ball, having forgotten to get something out for dinner, so seafood attempt number two, with frozen fillets no less, is commencing as we speak!

Creole Spiced Mahi-Mahi with Lime Sauce

  • 2 – 6 Ounce Frozen Wild Caught Mahi-Mahi Fillets (I got mine from Whole Foods)
  • Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning
  • 4 TBLS Butter (room temperature)
  • Juice and Zest of 1 Lime
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray

Lightly spray the inner basket of your air fryer with olive oil spray.

Liberally sprinkle both sides of your mahi-mahi with the Creole seasoning and lay in the air fryer basket.  Lightly spray the top of the fillets and close the tray.

Cook at 380° F for 10 minutes then turn the fillets over and cook another 8 to 10 minutes, or until fish flakes and inner temperature registers 145° F.

While the fish is cooking, stir the lime juice and zest into the butter and set aside.

When the timer goes off, remove mahi-mahi from the air fryer immediately, cut each fillet in half, and spoon 1/4 of the lime butter over each serving.  Serve with a green salad and a steamed vegetable for a quick & healthy weeknight meal.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

AFMahiWithPuffs

Nutrition Information: (4 – 3 oz servings with 1 TBLS Lime Butter Sauce)

  • 170 Calories
  • 11.5 g Fat (7 g Saturated Fat)
  • 0 g Carbohydrates
  • 16 g Protein

Low-Carb Homemade Corn Syrup

There’s no way to avoid it, if you’re baking or making candy: you are going to need light corn syrup at some point to get a good result.  After a few trials (and errors), I finally came up with a corn syrup recipe that is close enough to maintain the integrity of the recipes without adding any weird after tastes or textures!

lightcornsyrup

Low-Carb Light Corn Syrup

  • 3/4 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Cup Truvia
  • 3/4 tsp Vanilla
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 3/4 tsp Xantham Gum

In a small saucepan over medium heat, mix the water and Truvia.  Bring to a low boil and stir in the Vanilla.  Reduce Heat to low.

Spoon out 1 TBLS of the hot Truvia mixture and, in a small bowl, stir in the Xantham Gum.  It will be quite thick and sticky.  It’s ok if it’s not entirely smooth.

Stirring continuously, add the Xantham gum mixture to the saucepan.  Return the heat to medium and bring the mixture back to a low boil.  Cook for one minute until the mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat.

Pour the corn syrup thru a fine mesh strainer, pressing the corn syrup thru while leaving any unincorporated Xantham gum solids in the strainer.

Allow to cool slightly before using.  As this cools further it can become crystallized, although mine did not.  Mine just thickened into a jelly like consistency.  If either happens, just put it in the microwave for 10 – 15 seconds and stir it again before you’re ready to use it.  Makes about 1/2 Cup and doesn’t keep real long, so plan to make it when you will be likely to use it up.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Are you on Facebook? You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: food news, recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. If so, visit my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood