Double Lemon Poppyseed Bread

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? After the Holidays: Double Lemon Poppyseed Bread! Everyone has their favorite flavors and foods that remind them of happier times. A good friend of mine recently lost her husband, after challenging years with a slow-progressing disease. When I stopped by to visit her with a gift of food, it created an unexpected see-saw of emotion. At first, she was happy and delighted because it brought back memories of early morning get-togethers for Bible study at a local coffee shop. We’d laugh, chat, share, or reflect on scripture over coffee and pastries before heading off to work. It was a wonderful way to begin the day, often shifting gears from a trying mindset to a positive outlook. The emotional see-saw tipped from high to low that day when she realized how uncertain her future has become in consequence of widowhood magnified by isolation during a pandemic. Let us strive to remember the Golden Rule: “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.”

DOUBLE LEMON POPPYSEED BREAD

Ingredients for Bread:

16.25-ounce box white cake mix

3.5-ounce vanilla flavored instant pudding, powdered

4 eggs, room temperature

1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup hot water

1 tablespoon lemon citrus peel

2 tablespoons poppyseeds

Ingredients for Icing:

2 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon butter, softened

1 teaspoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2-4 tablespoons light cream, slightly warmed

Lemon zest, for garnish

White nonpareil sprinkles, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Line two loaf pans with parchment paper. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine white cake mix, vanilla pudding mix, eggs, lemon juice, vegetable oil, and hot water. Beat on Low speed for 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl. Increase speed to Medium setting; beat 2 minutes longer. Fold in lemon citrus peel and poppyseeds. Pour batter into prepared loaf pans. Bake 35-40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool loaves in pans for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. To glaze, combine powdered sugar, softened butter, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Stir to blend. Slowly add the warmed cream, stirring constantly for a smooth consistency. Drizzle over Lemon Poppyseed Loaves. Garnish with lemon zest and nonpareil sprinkles.

Lavender Lemon Meltaways

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Elevated Edibles: Lavender Lemon Meltaways! Are you still on the fence about tasting the flavor of lavender? Is it possible you believe it’s way too close to air freshener or bath soap? Think about this a moment…one of the most popular cooking staples in France is dried herbes de Provence. Lavender is in there. It’s a distant cousin to rosemary, which is one reason the leaves can appear similar in young plants. The taste of lavender has a slight undertone of fresh mint, making it a perfect partner for lemon in homemade cakes, creamy frostings, and sprinkled on ice cream. Now I see I have your full attention.

LAVENDER LEMON MELTAWAYS

Ingredients:

3/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon lemon citrus peel

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 eggs

Lavender Glaze Ingredients:

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon lavender extract

2 tablespoons lemon zest

Lavender buds, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9”x9” square baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside. Combine flour and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside. Using a hand mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, lemon citrus peel, and lemon juice until light and fluffy. One at a time, beat in eggs. Gradually add the dry ingredients; mix until combined. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake 25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out with moist crumbs. Do not over bake. Allow cake to cool completely on a wire rack. To make the lavender glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Add lavender extract and lemon zest. Stir until smooth. Pour the glaze over the lemon cake and spread evenly. Sprinkle with lavender buds. Allow glaze to harden before cutting into bars.

Zesty Citrus Salad

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Clean Eating: Zesty Citrus Salad! “If you build it, they will come.” That familiar quote may spark a flicker of remembrance from a popular movie years ago, Field of Dreams. Kevin Costner was the actor who had an idea and went with it. Cooking is like that, in my opinion. For example, build a better salad. It’s pretty simple, actually. Choose garden greens for the foundation, layer on fruits or vegetables for flavor, toss in some crunchy nuts, and slather on the sauce to dress it up. Of course, you can include cheese, meat, and eggs to bulk it up into a meal if you’d like. May as well go ahead and make your own salad dressings. There’s no comparison; being naturally better than bottled, they serve nicely as dips if you have any leftover. No promises on that note, because they’re that good.

ZESTY CITRUS SALAD

Ingredients:

2 cups lettuce, gently torn

1/4 cup celery leaves

1 naval orange, segments cut into thirds

6 strawberries, quartered

2 tablespoons red onion, sliced

2 tablespoons almonds, sliced

Ingredients for Dressing:

1/4 cup garlic wine vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons Tupelo honey

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Dash sriracha

Instructions:

Place torn lettuce into salad bowls. Divide celery leaves between them. Arrange the orange segments, quartered strawberries, and red onion slices. Scatter almonds over all. Set aside to chill in the refrigerator. To combine dressing, whisk together garlic wine vinegar, olive oil, Tupelo honey, Dijon mustard, toasted sesame seeds, and dash of sriracha sauce. Mix well. Drizzle over salad before serving.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter E

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking: Elderflower Raspberry Muffins! If you are a citrus lover, you will think you have died and gone to Heaven. The elderflowers from the St. Germain region of France are harvested into a delectable liqueur every Spring. Their delicate flavor is a blend of lemon, peach, and pear with a slight floral nature. When added to the ripe taste of raspberries with lemon zest, this fruity muffin becomes delightfully pleasing to the palate.

ELDERFLOWER RASPBERRY MUFFINS

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup Greek yogurt

1/4 cup milk

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 lemon for zest strips

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray the muffin tin with a nonstick oil. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside. Using a food processor, combine lemon zest strips and sugar. Pulse to finely chop the zest into the sugar. Add yogurt, milk, butter, egg, and extracts. Pulse until blended. Mix the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture and fold until almost blended. Gently fold in raspberries. Divide the batter into the muffin cups. Bake the muffins 18 to 25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for five minutes before covering with glaze. Serve warm.

Elderflower Glaze

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup elderflower liqueur*

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

Directions:

Combine sugar and elderflower liqueur in microwave-safe bowl. Add butter and microwave for 45 seconds. Whisk until smooth, eliminating lumps. Let sit for a minute or two before pouring over warm muffins.

*Elderflower liqueur may be substituted by using lemon juice instead.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter L

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Lemon Citrus Cookies. With the arrival of Springtime comes the refreshing citrus flavor of this season’s lemons. Even if you’re not a fan, think about the benefits to your immune system. And then have another cookie…..or two. 
LEMON CITRUS COOKIES 
Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened 

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 1/4 cups flour
Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add egg and beat well. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. When blended, add salt, baking powder, and flour. Mix together into dough. Roll cookies into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden on the edges of the cookies.
Lemon Icing:

3 cups sifted powdered sugar

1/3 cup butter, softened 

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract

2 tablespoons milk
In a large bowl, beat butter and powdered sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in lemon extract and milk; beat until frosting is smooth and of spreading consistency. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel. 

Spread evenly on cooled cookies; top with yellow sprinkles. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet; Letter L

Letter L – What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Lemon Citrus Cookies. With the arrival of Springtime comes the refreshing citrus flavor of this season’s lemons. Even if you’re not a fan, think about the benefits to your immune system. And then have another cookie…..or two. 

LEMON CITRUS COOKIES 

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened 
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/4 cups flour
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add egg and beat well. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. When blended, add salt, baking powder, and flour. Mix together into dough. Roll cookies into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden on the edges of the cookies.

Lemon Icing:
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened 
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
2 tablespoons milk
In a large bowl, beat butter and powdered sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in lemon extract and milk; beat until frosting is smooth and of spreading consistency. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel. 
Spread evenly on cooled cookies; top with yellow sprinkles.