Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: lemon

I served the grilled swordfish with a green bean salad and a Caprese salad.

For two servings

Ingredients

Dressing
1 lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
Fish
Olive oil
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted and halved
One – 12-ounce skinless swordfish fillet (sustainable)

Directions

For the dressing
In a medium bowl, whisk together the mustard and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Whisk in the olive oil, basil, garlic powder, and salt. Set aside.

For the fish
Brush the fish with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Press the panko crumbs onto one side of the fish.

Outdoor grill
Heat an outdoor grill to medium. Place a piece of foil on the outdoor grill or use a grill mat. Place the swordfish panko side up on the foil or mat. Close the lid of the grill and cook the swordfish for 8-10 minutes. The fish will turn white and the crumbs will toast..

Grill pan
Heat a stovetop grill pan over medium-high heat
Grill the fish until golden brown and the fish releases easily from the pan, 3 to 4 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the fish. When turning the swordfish over, use a wide spatula and try to keep the crumbs intact.

Remove the swordfish to a serving platter. Spoon the dressing and olives over the swordfish and serve.


Ricotta Cheesecake

Makes one 8-inch square cheesecake, to serve 12

Cheesecake Ingredients

2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup sugar substitute ( I use monk fruit)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 eggs
Zest of 1 orange

Blueberry Topping
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (10 oz)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons low carb sugar substitute
2 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder mixed with 2 teaspoons water

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Grease an 8-inch square baking pan with butter or cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time until well incorporated. Stir in the vanilla and orange zest. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until set. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Cover. Refrigerate overnight. Serve chilled with the blueberry topping.

Directions for making the topping:
Put the blueberries, water, lemon juice, and sweetener into a small saucepan or pot and simmer over medium heat until the blueberries swell up and are cooked through. This will take a little longer for fresh blueberries. Add the cornstarch slurry and simmer until thickened. Cover and chill.

Banana Bread

Ingredients

1 banana
11/2 cups + 1 tablespoon almond flour
3 eggs
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup low carb sugar substitute
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts plus 15 walnut halves

.Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Mash the banana with a fork.
Process the eggs together with the mashed banana and the melted butter with a hand
blender or hand mixer to a smooth dough.
Mix the dry ingredients in another bowl. Pour into the bowl with the egg and banana
mixture and stir well.
Add the chopped walnuts and fold into the batter.

Line an 8-inch bread/loaf pan with baking paper/parchment with the paper extending over the ends of the pan. Coat lightly with cooking spray. Pour in the bread dough into the pan and place the walnut halves in five rows across the top of the dough.
Bake the bread for 45 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Check the bread after 30 minutes. If the top is brown, cover it loosely with aluminum foil to prevent the low-carb banana bread from burning.
Let the banana bread cool and then lift out with the aid of the parchment paper. Cool completely before slicing.


Baked Salmon

2 servings. Double the recipe for 4 servings.

Ingredients

1/3 cup plain panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons good olive oil
2 (6- to 8-ounce) salmon fillets, skin removed
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Lemon wedges, for serving

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In a small bowl, mix together the panko, parsley, lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle with the olive oil and stir until the crumbs are evenly coated. Set aside.

Place the salmon fillets, skin side down, on a plate. Generously brush the top of the fillets with mustard. Press the panko mixture thickly on top of the mustard on each salmon fillet. The mustard will help the panko adhere.

Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or large heavy, ovenproof pan. When the oil is very hot, add the salmon fillets, skin side down, and sear for 3 to 4 minutes, without turning.

Transfer the pan to the hot oven for about 10 minutes until the salmon is cooked and the panko is browned. Remove from the oven, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve the salmon with lemon wedges.

Crispy Baked Potatoes

Ingredients

4 russet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt
Butter
Sour Cream and chopped chives for serving

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Scrub potatoes to remove any dirt or debris. Dry with paper towels.
Poke holes over potatoes with a fork in about 5-6 places per potato.
Coat the outside of each potato with olive oil and salt.
Place potatoes on a baking pan.


Place the potatoes in the oven, and roast for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the potatoes, until they offer no resistance when a knife is inserted in their centers.
Remove the potatoes from the oven, slice them open down the middle, add a tablespoon of butter and sour cream with chives to each one and serve immediately.

Sautéed Leafy Greens

4 servings.

Ingredients

2 cloves of garlic
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 lb. leafy greens (kale, chard, or collard greens)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste

Directions

Chop the garlic and onions, and then set aside. With a knife, remove and discard the stems. then chop the leaves into small pieces and set aside. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onion, garlic, and black pepper. Heat for 2minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are soft. Add the leaves and cook, covered, for 3-5 minutes until the greens are tender.
Add salt to taste and serve.


Roast Lamb Chops With Potatoes and Broccoli Florets  – the Italian Way

2 servings

Ingredients

4 loin lamb chops
2 unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes, about 12 oz total
2 large garlic cloves, sliced and divided
1 lemon zested and cut into quarters
1 cup white wine
2 chopped sprigs fresh sage leaves and 2 sprigs fresh oregano, divided
2 chopped fresh rosemary sprigs, divided
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
Coarse Sea Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
10 oz pkg frozen broccoli florets, defrosted

Directions

Place the lamb chops in a plastic ziplock bag, add some salt, the lemon zest, 1 sliced garlic clove, 1 sprig of rosemary, 1 sprig of sage, 1 sprig of oregano, a sprinkle of black pepper, the white wine and 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. Marinate for about 2 hours turning them occasionally.

Cut the potatoes into long wedges and put them in a bowl or bag with cold water and let rest while the lamb marinates. (This helps remove the starch and creates a potato that does not get mushy).

Using a slotted spoon, drain the potatoes, transfer them to a roasting pan, large enough to also hold the lamb and broccoli; add salt to taste, 1 sliced garlic clove, the remaining chopped rosemary, sage, and oregano sprigs, a pinch of black pepper and 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. Toss well and roast for 20 minutes at 400 F.

Remove the pan from the oven, tuck the chops in among the potatoes reserving the marinade, and scatter the broccoli florets around the outside of the potato/lamb mixture.

Sprinkle with the lamb marinade and roast another 15-20 minutes, depending on how you like lamb cooked. Serve with lemon wedges.


My Meyer lemon tree produced its first ripe lemon this week. The sea bass recipe was a good way to start using these delicious lemons.

Pan-Fried Sea Bass

Ingredients

For the sea bass
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, divided
Two 6- to 8-ounce fillets sea bass
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Flour
1 small shallot, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
Juice and zest from half a Meyer lemon.
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup heavy cream

For the asparagus
1 lb asparagus, stalks trimmed
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Roasted garlic powder

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the asparagus in a shallow pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and roasted garlic powder. Bake for 15 minutes.

Heat a large skillet with olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Season the fillets with some salt and pepper and lightly coat in flour. Place fillets in the skillet with the minced shallots and cook the fish for 5 minutes on each side. Stir the shallots but keep them to the sides of the pan as the fish cooks. When the fish is cooked, place the fillets on a plate and deglaze the pan with the wine, add the thyme and lemon juice. Cook until it’s reduced by two thirds. Add remaining butter and lemon zest. Whisk followed by the heavy cream and heat through.

Divide the cooked asparagus between two serving plates. Place a sea bass fillet on top of each plate. Divide the sauce evenly over the fish and serve.


I recently saw Katie Lee prepare this steak dish on an episode of “The Kitchen” and decided to adapt it for our dinner. The marinade gives the steak great flavor.

Skirt Steak with Plum Sauce

Ingredients

3 ripe plums, a combination of red and purple, diced
1 cup teriyaki sauce/marinade, homemade (see recipe) or store-bought
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons sriracha
1 pound skirt steak
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Directions

Puree the chopped plums in a blender until smooth. Stir together the pureed plums with the teriyaki sauce, sesame oil, Dijon and sriracha in a large ziplock bag. Add the steak, tossing to coat in the marinade, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.


Preheat a grill pan to medium heat.

Remove the steak from the marinade letting most of it drip off the meat into the bag and pat dry on paper towels.
Pour the marinade in the bag into a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Salt and pepper each side of the steak and grill over medium heat on each side for 2 to 3 minutes. Once grilled on both sides, remove from the heat to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes.

Slice the skirt steak against the grain and brush some of the boiled marinade on it.
Save some of the marinade to serve with my baby back rib recipe that will be posted Monday.

Teriyaki Sauce

Ingredients

1 cup of water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons mirin
5 teaspoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove minced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

Directions

Combine all the ingredients except the cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until nearly heated through, about 1 minute.
Mix cornstarch and 1/4 cold water together in a cup; stir until dissolved. Add to the saucepan. Cook and stir sauce until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside.

Italian Pan-Fried Lemon Potatoes

Ingredients

1 pound whole small potatoes
2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 lemon, cut in half
Kosher salt
Olive oil

Directions

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add garlic, rosemary sprigs and one lemon half to the water and season well with salt. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Drain well and reserve the lemon half, garlic cloves and rosemary.

Let potatoes cool to room temperature and peel them. Cut potatoes in half. Place on a plate until ready to cook.
Zest the lemon half that was not cooked with the potatoes. Chop the reserved garlic and rosemary and mix together with the lemon zest. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the skillet and heat. Add the potatoes cut-side down to the skillet. Cook until the bottom of the potatoes are a deep golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a metal spatula, turn the potatoes and cook on the second side for an additional 3 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and drain well. Place the potatoes in a serving bowl. Squeeze both lemon halves (cooked and uncooked) over the potatoes and sprinkle with the garlic, rosemary reserved mixture.

Green Beans with Shallots and Almonds

Ingredients

Salt and black pepper to taste
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds
2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 cup almond slices, toasted

Directions

Bring a saucepan of salted water to boil. Add green beans and cook until just tender, 4-5 minutes. Drain in a colander. Set aside.
Heat the butter in the empty saucepan over medium heat. Add the sliced shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and light golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Return the drained beans to the saucepan and add parsley, almonds, and black pepper and toss gently. Transfer to a serving bowl.


 

I make freezer jams because they are easy to make, don’t need packaged pectin and last a long time in the freezer. The secret ingredient is lemon. Lemon has natural pectin in it, but it needs sugar to gel. I also use a natural sugar substitute because we try not to eat sugary foods and it works just fine in the jam.

Freezer Blueberry Jam

Ingredients

4 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup sugar or sugar substitute (I use Lakanto Monk Fruit)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

Mix blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla in a large saucepan; cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until thickened and reduced by about half, about 30 minutes. Using a potato masher crush the berries several times during the cooking process. Pour the jam into clean freezer jars. Cool to room temperature. Store the jam in the freezer. When ready to use a jar, place in the refrigerator overnight.

Strawberry Preserves

Preserves are cooked the same way jam is, however, the only difference is that the fruit in preserves is cut into chunks, whereas with jam, the fruit is crushed. The texture of preserves is not as stiff as jelly or jam. It is easy to spread and makes a great topping for ice cream or pancakes.

Ingredients

1 quart of strawberries
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar or sugar substitute (I use Lakanto Monk Fruit)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 long strip of lemon zest

Directions

Fill 4-pint jars with boiling water and place the lids in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside while you make the preserves.

Wash the strawberries and remove the leaves. Cut them in half and place the berries in a large saucepan. Add the sugar, lemon juice, and zest. Stir well.

Bring the mixture to a boil and stir occasionally until mixture thickens, about 20-25 minutes or a candy thermometer registers 220 degrees F.

Remove the pan from the heat. Empty pint jars and remove the lids from the water.

Fill the jars with the preserves and place the lids on the jars. Cool for a few hours at room temperature. Store the jars in the refrigerator for a few weeks or freeze them for future use.

Fig Jam

Makes about 2 ½ cups

Ingredients

1 lemon
1 orange
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 whole thyme sprigs
2 pounds ripe fresh figs, stemmed and quartered

Directions

Remove the strips of rind from the lemon and the orange using a vegetable peeler, avoiding the white pith. Combine the rind strips and the remaining ingredients in a large, heavy saucepan or large Dutch oven.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce the heat to medium; and cook 50 minutes or until the mixture thickens, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. (If testing with a candy thermometer, it should read 220°F.) Discard the thyme and citrus strips.

Pour into refrigerator or freezer storage jars. Store in the refrigerator for several months or the freezer for up to six months.

Blackberry Jam

For 2 1/2 pints

Ingredients

3 pounds ripe blackberries
2 cups sugar or sugar substitute (I use Lakanto Monk Fruit)
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions

Using a potato masher, crush the fruit until soupy. Measure this puree and note the quantity. Put the puree in a large, wide, heavy-bottomed, non-reactive pot. The puree should be no more than 1 inch deep in the bottom of the pot. I placed half of the blackberry puree in a strainer to remove seeds before proceeding with the recipe. For every two cups of fruit puree, add to the pot one cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Bring the fruit-sugar mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. After it boils, continue to cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for 12 to 14 minutes, or until thickened.
Check the consistency by turning off the heat and putting a spoonful of hot jam on a chilled
When the jam is set, ladle it into clean half-pint jars or other air-tight containers. Allow to cool, then store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Easy Homemade Peach Jam

4 cups

Ingredients

4 cups (1 kg) fresh peaches, pureed
2 cups (400 grams) white sugar or sugar substitute (I use Lakanto Monk Fruit)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions

Using a sharp knife, peel the peaches and remove the pits. Transfer to a food processor and process until smooth. You can do this in batches.
Pour the peach puree in a large and deep pot and add the sugar and one tablespoon of the lemon juice. Bring to a light boil and cook for about 20-25 minutes stirring very frequently. The jam will be ready when it reaches 221 °F/105 °C or when it’s thick enough when dropped onto a cold plate. Add the rest of the lemon juice, stir, and remove the pot from the heat.

Transfer the hot jam into pasteurized jars, making sure not to fill them all the way to the rim. Using thick gloves or a towel, secure the lids, invert the jars upside-down, and let them cool. Refrigerate or freeze.



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