A little lift from a lemony loaf

Lots of lemon zest and lemon juice helps to make this lemony loaf delicious.

Around the nation, and for that matter around the world, COVID-19 restrictions are slowly being lifted.

Some restrictions are being lifted more quickly than others. Being able to enjoy some of the liberties we have often taken for granted like playing tennis,hiking, shopping and dining at a restaurant (under safety guidelines) have given us all a much needed lift after being on lock down for nearly three months.

This is a lemony load bread of lemony proportions.

A bit of a lift is what we all need, and this lovely lemon loaf recipe will lift your taste buds right out of the doldrums.

This easy to make lemon loaf bread is filled with lemony goodness from the lemon zest and fresh lemon juice folded into the batter to its delightful lemony frosting that is so darn lemony good.

Listen to me on 94.7 The Wave website as I step you though this easy recipe.

This recipe doesn’t require a fancy stand mixer or an electric hand mixer. A good old fashioned mixing spoon will do the trick because the secret to this recipe is not to over mix the batter. And if you love a good food hack, this recipe has a mock buttermilk trick you will never forget and can always use.

If you love lemons, this light and luscious lemon loaf bread must be on your “quarantine bake list.”

A single slice? It won’t be enough.

So the next time your neighbor, co-worker, or family member asks you if you want some lemons,  don’t pause – take them and get baking.

Lemony Lemon Loaf Bread

  • Servings: 8 to 10 slices
  • Difficulty: Easy
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A luscious and lemony loaf bread .

Ingredients

For the lemon bread:
1 3/4 cups unbleached flour, leveled
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil or canola
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup evaporated milk with 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice added.
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (this juicer makes it easy)
1 tablespoon lemon zest (I use a microplane grater)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons extract (2 teaspoons lemon, or 1 teaspoon lemon and 1 teaspoon vanilla – your call)

For the lemon glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×5 loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Pour 1 cup of evaporated milk into a bowl and add 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. Let stand at least 10 minutes until thicken. You are creating mock buttermilk.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
    In a separate mixing bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, evaporated milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, eggs, and extract (lemon/vanilla) until fully combined.
  4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients together and mix until just combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread it around into one even layer.
  6. Bake at 350°F for 40 -50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If needed, tent with foil for the last 15-20 minutes of baking to prevent excess browning on top of the bread.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes in the loaf pan. Carefully remove from the loaf pan and transfer to a plate or wire rack to cool. Make sure lemon bread is completely cooled before frosting.

To make the lemon frosting

  1. Whisk together powdered sugar and lemon juice. If the glaze is too thick, add more lemon juice as needed. If the glaze is too thin, add more powdered sugar.
  2. Pour the glaze on the bread and spread it around to fully cover the top of the bread. Allow the glaze to set 15-20 minutes before serving.
  3. This tasty loaf can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can also freeze it for 2-3 months. Just thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.

You can have your greens and eat them too

3 Greens Mediterranean Salad and Marinated Grill Chicken.

Those in-between-meal snacks are so comforting as we shelter in place to help flatten the curve of COVID-19. You’ve probably enjoyed just about every one of your favorite snacks since the shelter in place orders were enacted. While those crunchy, salty and sweet treats are a delight, we cannot subsist on snacks alone.

Marinated grill chicken, sliced and ready to plate.

So when your conscious says it’s time to ascend from snack heaven, try this easy Kale and Cabbage Mediterranean Salad with Kalamata Olives and Romano cheese, and pair it with a simple grilled chicken breast. The salad greens are a combination of curly and flat leaf kale and cabbage dressed in an easy and delicious homemade vinaigrette that does double duty as a marinade for the chicken breast featured in this recipe.

It’s a dinner combinhttps://collardgreensandcaviar.files.wordpress.com/2020/04/capture-the-wave-show-2.pngation that will leave you wanting more and thanking yourself for this act of self-care.

Listen to me in the kitchen on my new podcast on 94.7 The Wave.

Join me in the kitchen making this recipe on my new podcast Cooking with Collard Greens and Caviar now available on 94.7 FM The Wave. Just click on the the picture above.

  • Difficulty: Easy but lots of prep time
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A delicious salad with an Italian inspired vinaigrette.

Ingredients

2 cups shredded cabbage
2 cups kale cut in ribbons
1/3 cup Kalamata olives slice in half
¼ cup grated Romano cheese (use cheese wedge)

Directions


The best way to mix these hearty salad greens is with your hands. So get in there and make it happen.

Cabbage:

  • Rinse the cabbage under cold running water and pat the outside dry or use a salad spinner.
  • Remove outer layers of cabbage and discard any wilted or damaged outer leaves.
  • Place the cabbage on a cutting board and cut it in half, vertically through the core.
  • Remove the core with the knife.
  • Place the cabbage half face down on a cutting board.
  • Shred the cabbage by making ¼ – ½ inch slices along the vertical edge.

Kale:

  • Rinse kale and pat dry or use a salad spinner.
  • Remove stems and center ribs of kale and discard.
  • Stack kale leaves and roll into a cigar shape.
  • Cut kale crosswise into thin strips about ¼ – ½ inch wide.

Assembly

  1. Place cut kale and shredded cabbage in a serving bowl and overturn greens with your hands to mix them.
  2. Drizzle with dressing, a little goes a long way, so make sure taste so you don’t – overdress.
  3. Add half slices of Kalamata olives and Romano Cheese over salad.
  4. Mix in dressing, olives and a cheese with your hands until well incorporated. Add more dressing if needed.

Easy Italian Vinaigrette /Marinade
Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon dried Italian herbs
¼ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon chopped garlic
Cracked pepper

Directions

  1. A wire whisk works best to mix this recipe. But a fork will work too.
  2. In a small bowl add all ingredients.
  3. Mix well with a wire whisk.
  4. Use as a salad dressing or marinade. Can be stored 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Marinated Grilled Chicken
Serves 4
Ingredients:
2 medium-sized chicken breasts, sliced in half
Vinaigrette marinade recipe
2 tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil

Directions

  1. Slice 2 chicken breasts in half.
  2. Place 4 chicken breast slices into a plastic zipper bag.
  3. Add vinaigrette marinade (see recipe above).
  4. Massage marinade into the chicken breast slices. Let chicken marinate in bag 20 minutes.
  5. Add oil to a skillet or grill pan skillet set to medium heat.
  6. When oil is hot, add chicken breast to skillet two at a time.
  7. Cook for 3 minutes on each side until brown or until grill marks appear.
  8. Remove from heat and place slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.
  9. Place in oven set a 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 7 to 10 minutes
  10. Remove from oven, let stand for 5 minutes and serve.

A soulful hummus to warm your soul

Soulful Hummus made with black-eyed peas and red beans.

There is nothing like the dutiful humming of a well-used food processor.

I love Beatrice – that’s my faithful food processor. She’s been with me for over 10 years.

Old Beatrice got down in the kitchen the other day and at the end of her soulful solo, she whipped up the most amazing hummus I have ever had.

And her timing could not have been better. So many of us across these United States are safe at home, quarantined, and snug as a bug in a rug as we observe the directives from our local, state and federal officials to cool our heels at home to help stop the spread of COVID-19 or Coronavirus.

Listen to me in the kitchen on my new podcast on 94.7 The Wave.

With so some many of us at home, we are eating an array of in-between meals, crunchy, salty and deliciously fat filled snacks.

Well put down that bag of chips and sour cream onion dip! My tasty and Soulful Hummus recipe is not only a healthier alternative, it’s creamy and savory deliciousness will warm your soul. You will love the marriage of black-eyed peas and red or light kidney beans in this hummus remix.   The easy to make tortilla chips are a bonus (you are welcome) and they are figure friendly too.

Stay home, stay safe and be well my foodie friends.

Soulful Hummus

  • Servings: 6 to 8
  • Difficulty: Very easy
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This recipe is not only easy to make, it will warm your soul.

You will need a food processor for this recipe. If don’t have one, try a blender but be sure to smash your peas and beans in a mixing bowl with a potato smasher before adding them to the blender.

Ingredients

1 heaping teaspoon jarred minced garlic or 2 fresh cloves finely chopped
1 (16-oz.) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 (16-oz.) can red beans or light kidney beans, drained and rinsed
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ to 1 teaspoon salt (I used a teaspoon)
¼ to ½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper (use 1/4 teaspoon if you love the heat)
¼ teaspoon dried thyme (not ground thyme)
Lemon zest
2 tablespoons olive oil
Fresh chopped parsley, cilantro, chives or green onion (your choice- optional)

Directions

  1. Gather all your ingredients before you start.
  2. Add all the ingredients to a food processor.
  3. Grate a little lemon zest over the top of the mixture in the processor.
  4. Process until smooth.
  5. Spoon hummus into a lovely plate or individual sized pasta bowl.
  6. Smooth out the surface and in a circular motion, drizzle 2 tablespoon over the hummus.
  7. Lightly sprinkle top of hummus with smoked paprika or sumac.
  8. Top with fresh chopped herbs of your choice (parsley, cilantro, chives or green onion) or lemon zest.
  9. Serve with pita chips, vegetable strips like bell peppers or my easy oven tortilla chips below.

Easy Oven Tortilla Chips
You will need a parchment lined baking sheet for this recipe

Ingredients
4 tortillas
Non stick cooking spray
salt – pain, seasoned or Cajun

Directions

  1. Set oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Gather all your ingredients before you start.
  3. Stack tortillas on top of each other.
  4. Cut them in half, quarters then eighths.
  5. Spread the cut tortillas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Spray the tortillas with non-stick. Turn them over and spray the other side.
  7. Place baking sheet in the oven and bake 9-10 minutes.
  8. Remove when done and season with salt right on the baking sheet.

Dishing and grilling with Chef Daria

Daria Vegetables

Vegetable medley from the grill of Daria Le Sassier of  Le Sassier Catering.

There’s nothing like the sound of women in the kitchen.

Their laughter and voice inflections are almost lyrical. Their animations and antics are enlivening.

And no matter what race, creed or color, when women gather around food, it’s always a magical experience bathed in warmth and richness.

The end of the summer is near, and the last big summer holiday is approaching. My friend, and Los Angeles based caterer Daria Le Sassier of Le Sassier Catering,  gathered a few sister friends together for a little pre-Labor Day celebration.

Pat Karani Daria and me

The girls. Left to right: Yours truly along with: Daria Le Sassier, Owner Le Sassier Catering; Pat Prescott, broadcaster and Morning Show Host of  LA’s  94.7 The WAVE; Karani Johnson,  Los Angeles based writer and television editor.

Daria has been a caterer in this town for over 30 years. She has a vast client list that ranges from individuals, social organizations, politicians and the entertainment industry.

She is one of the most sought after caterers in Los Angeles largely because of the authentic New Orleans style influences in her menu offerings.  Her “food to tablescape” approach always elevates ordinary dining experiences to casual elegance.  Paella, jambalaya, ribs, red beans and rice, catfish and crab cakes are among her most requested items.  And she has a flare for transforming basic “comfort food” into coveted cuisine.

Early lessons learned

“Growing up in New Orleans, everything was about the food,” reflected Daria. “Sunday was our food day with family, cousins, and close friends.  Everybody would get together with their kids, and we all cooked together.”

Those early experiences showed Daria the important role food plays in deepening and strengthen family ties.  When she became a parent, she said those lessons learned were more defining than she ever imagined.

“My son loved to eat.  When we sat down to have a meal together, I had his attention,” said Daria.   “So it was easy to have a conversation with him and he was always open to listening.  While it was just a conversation, we worked though a lot over a meal.  Food is important. It absolutely matters.”

After years of experience as a caterer, her artistry and mastery of all aspects of her profession have been at the center of her success.  And let’s not forget about the food.  It’s certainly her calling card and what sets her apart from so many.

Daria PicMonkey Collage

Daria says simple, fresh ingredients always work best. Left: Daria preps vegetables for the grill. Right top: seasoned ground turkey burger destined for the grill. Right bottom: boiled potatoes for potato salad.

Daria dishes about food

In this age of epicurious intrigue, food adulation and culinary stardom, Daria remains true to her passion for cooking “good food” and remains unfettered by the latest gastronomic movement.

“I think people are getting away from the simplicity of making good food and mixing too many foods together,” said Daria in reference to some of the wild and whimsical mash-ups she’s seen of late.  “They are over doing the  combinations in an attempt to make the dish sound exotic and look intriguing.  I like food to look good and taste good. But everything doesn’t go together.”

Our pre-Labor Day feast

When planning our pre-Labor Day menu, Daria focused on the favorites – all which were fit for a girls day dinner.  Baked beans, baby back ribs, boneless chicken breasts and wings, corn salsa, Texas caviar, grilled catfish, potato salad and peach mint sweet tea. It was a menu that left us wide eyed and speechless.

Darias spead

Our pre-Labor Day spread. Barbecue ribs and chicken wings, baked beans, grilled turkey burgers and boneless chicken breasts. Not shown: Grill catfish, potato salad, corn salsa and Texas caviar.

We dished, slipped and watched as she prepared these Labor Day delights. She even enlisted our help in chopping, stirring and helping out.

Daria Pat Karani plated dish tablescape PicMonkey Collage

Top: Pat Prescott, Daria Le Sassier and, Karani Johnson enjoying the meal.  Bottom left: a plated delight. Bottom right: holiday place setting.

Planning is the key to success

The execution of our pre-Labor Day feast was flawless.  Daria shares a few basic tips for making your special event or holiday bash a success:

  • Plan your shop time.  Shop for your ingredients at least three days prior to your event. The selection is better, there aren’t as many people in the store and it’s less stressful.
  • Prep ahead.  Cut vegetables and meats and store them in the refrigerator. This way you aren’t doing everything on the day of your event, tiring yourself out.
  • Season everything at least two days before your event. The longer it sits in the refrigerator seasoned, the better it is going to taste.
  • Ask for help.  Have a family member or friend come over and help cut, dice and help with your prep.
  • Use catering services.  Some menu items you many not want to cook like ribs, appetizers or desserts.  But plan ahead because holidays are peak seasons for caterers.
  • Pace yourself on the big day. Get an early start, get your grill going and ease into cooking now that most of the prep work has been done.  Remember the secret to great ribs is to cook them on low heat and slowly.
  • Set up a buffet or serving table.  This allows guests to serve themselves. Just keep it replenished and freshened up.

How to grill vegetables

In this video, Daria shares how you can create a grilled vegetable platter that has the “wow factor” in taste and presentation.

With the wealth of great family recipes that have become the cornerstone of her business, Daria says they may find their way in a cookbook someday. But for now she’s focused on her business and perhaps expanding her brand into the realm of event consulting.

But in the meantime, Daria shares a quick and easy baked bean recipe. The food hack is to use canned beans. The method is to cook the beans in a cast iron skillet slowly in the oven,  stirring them frequently, and adding more barbecue sauce, butter and yes pancake syrup to keep them moist and saucy if they begin to dry out. Daria says, “The more love, time and care you put into your food preparation, the better it is going to taste.”

You can follow Daria on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LeSassier-Catering-Events-242470832545353/.  Now – get cooking!

Chef Daria’s Easy Baked Beans

Darias baked beans

Ingredients
48 ounce can of Bush Vegetarian Baked Beans
½ cup barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons  mustard
½ cup pancake syrup
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup diced brown onion
3 tablespoons of melted butter

Method
In a bowl, mix all of the ingredients together and pour into a cast iron skillet. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour until the beans become thicken.  Stir them several times during the hour.  If beans start to become dry, add more barbecue sauce, syrup or butte, to  your taste.