Lemon Raspberry Plum Galettes

I’m going to paint you a picture here, so let’s visualize together. I want you to pretend for a second that this post has no butter or sugar in it. Take those two ingredients away, and we’re left with nothing but fruit. Healthy, unadulterated fruit. Well, if we’re getting technical, we’d also be left with flour, salt, a few almonds and some ice water, but that’s neither here nor there. That’s if we’re getting technical, which we’re not. So we’re just left with fruit. Delicious, guilt-free fruit. That isn’t so bad right? The point is that this is a healthy post. Or as healthy as it’ll get around this here parts. This isn’t a rich dessert by any means. It’s not too sweet, heavy or decadent, which is the kind of desserts my mamma loves. She tells me all the time, “Jon I really like this. It’s not super sweet, heavy or decadent, which you know I love.” Yeah I know that (because she tells me all the time) and because I don’t really like sweet desserts myself. She must get that from me. She also tells me, every time she eats anything I make, “This is why you’re my favorite son!” I have to remind her that I’m her only son, so it totally doesn’t count. I guess what I’m getting at is that you should take advantage of this sort of healthy-ish dessert while you can. They don’t come by too often but when they do, they look something like this. And if they don’t, they should.

Now I’m no fool. I’m not saying that this recipe is so healthy it will cleanse you and make you lose weight. No dessert has that sort of magical power, or else I don’t think it would be considered a dessert at that point. Don’t go around telling people that Jonathan created a healthy weight-loss dessert. Although how cool would that be? Don’t get me wrong, this is still a treat because of the butter and sugar and flour all up in it. But when you look at it in perspective to other things in life, like cookies and cakes and doughnuts and ice cream. Well this here galette is a diet drink compared to all that. So I reiterate my statement from earlier, this is a healthy dessert. I strongly believe that everything should be eaten in moderation. We should be able to eat what we want, when we want. Granted, just as long as we can control ourselves. It shouldn’t matter whether something is too rich or decadent. Don’t go into it asking, how many calories is in this? Go into it with the mindset that that you’ll enjoy just one or two small pieces and not feel guilty about it. Life is worth enjoying every now and then with a few guilty treats. When you deprive yourself from something, that’s when you want to eat it all and all at once. So if you have a small sliver of something rich and decadent that you love every now and then, you’ll learn how to have self-control because you won’t want as often. Food is too good to have a bad relationship with. We already overthink and worry too much about so many other parts of our life, like dating. Food shouldn’t be an added stress to your life on top of everything else. So that’s my two cents on the entire matter. I know you were just dying to read about it. I’ll get off my soapbox now. Arms raised in the air; union union UNION! Oh wrong demonstration.

The other day I was sitting around thinking to myself, “Self, you really need to have more fruit desserts on your blog. I’m sure people would enjoy it. Give them some variety.” So I decided to listen to myself. I’m very smart, what can I say? I took a step back from all the chocolate and peanut butter and frosting and cookies and cake, as of late, and came up with this not-too-sweet-not-too-rich-not-too-decadent dessert. Did you know that’s my mamma’s favorite kind?

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Lemon Bars

We are so often told that if life hands us lemons we must make lemonade. I agree with the saying. Lemonade is actually very delicious on a hot summer’s day, loaded with ice, perhaps with a few raspberries thrown in and drunk through a straw while we lounge and someone fans us and feeds us grapes. It hits the spot and allows us to cool down. It helps us fight the blazing summer heat. But what do we do with those unwanted lemons—that life has so graciously thrown at us—during the winter? When it is extremely cold and we do not want icy cold lemonade, what are we supposed to do with the lemons then? I do not think the people who made up the saying thought this one through completely. They cannot expect us to make cold lemonade when it is freezing outside. It’s not like we get to decide when life throws us these metaphorical lemons.

Well I’m here to change things. I say that when life hands us lemons during a cold winter’s day we slap life in the face, get in the kitchen, turn on the oven, and bake up a slew of lemon bars. We are writing our own saying and making up new traditions. Let’s pass this advice along and get the saying on t-shirts and mugs and what not. We will build it up and become famous in our own right. Lemon bars are actually just as easy to make as lemonade, and they both have one thing in common—other than their tasty deliciousness—the hardest step of each is squeezing lemons. So if you can handle a squish squish here and a squish squish there, then you are already halfway there. You are golden. You have this whole making of lemon bars in the bag.

What is it about the holidays that makes bars so appealing? Not just lemon bars, but bars in general, as a whole. Perhaps people make and eat them on a regular basis throughout the year, and I do not know about it. Maybe I’m just finding this all out now, and I am late in arriving to the bar making party. I however, do not get a craving for them until December. Maybe Thanksgiving, but that would be pushing it. Which means that everyone must think the same way I do right? Perhaps it’s because they are so reminiscent of pie, with their delicious crust at the bottom and everyone knows pie is the holiday dessert of choice. Perhaps it’s because they are so easily giftable (Look at me, I’m making up words here)? Or maybe it’s even because they are ridiculously easy to make and even easier to eat, just grab and go. Either way, whatever the reason might be, bars are fun to make during the holidays. I will even go on record to state that they taste better during the holidays. It’s a proven fact. You can quote me on that. Jonathan said that bars taste better during the holidays. Now I know what you must thinking, “How can you state this as a fact?” But never you worry, I have conducted various, intricate, and precisely planned out research to back up my statement. It mostly involved me eating large amounts of bars. It was very tasty research to say the least. So you heard it here first, folks. When life hands you lemons during the holidays, ditch the lemonade and make yourself lemon bars. It’s a new thing. It will catch on in no time.

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Apple Blueberry Turnovers

What’s the best part of autumn? Besides the cool weather, the crisp air, the mere fact that summer is over? Is it the rain? Close, but nope. The smell of cinnamon? Oooh good, but no, not quite. Apples. Yes, bushels and bushels of apples. So many apples I hardly know what to do with them. Usually during this time, I’m putting apples in everything. Making apple pie every other weekend. I dream about apples. I wake up with ideas in the middle of the night, scheming on how to cook them next or incorporate them into my diet. One can say that I’m addicted to this fruit, especially during their peak season, so much so that my family gets tired of eating so many of them in everything I make. Candy Apples, Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake, Apple Crumbles, Apple Tarts, Apple Butter…you name it. To celebrate the start of my favorite season, I decided to make Apple Turnovers. I just happened to have blueberries on hand, thanks Trader Joe’s for having them on sale, so I thought, “Why not just add them? Sure, throw them in Jonathan. You’re a genius!” Yea I talk to myself all the time, usually complimenting my good ideas. Patting myself on the back. It’s a sight to see.

My friend, whom I mentioned in the previous post, has been wanting to start cooking, so I decided to develop a quick and easy recipe for her! Its a great fake out dessert, where we take a little help from the store with the puff pastry. It’s a perfect treat any beginner can make that’ll make them shine like a star! Let’s get started.

Here’s the cast of this Autumn Tale:

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Hummus

Hummus…Hummus…Hummus. Where do I even begin with this one? It’s really simple to make, yet packed with so much great intense flavor. I know many of you might be tempted to buy this dip/spread at the market, like at Trader Joe’s. You know who you are. Now I don’t have a problem with the hummus at Joe’s, I actually think its pretty good, but I definitely would choose the homemade one any time. I think the hardest part about this recipe is trying to figure out how to put the lid on the food processor right, and turn it on. Seriously, it’s a challenge for me at times. I’ll spend 10 minutes struggling with the lid and trying to turn it on, before I realize that the bowl isn’t locked in properly. Its actually a funny sight. But this one is extremely easy. Just dump it all into the food processor and pulse it until creamy and smooth. Make sure the bowl and blade are locked in properly. Easy right?

This actually happens to be one of The Canadian’s favorite snacks. He eats it at work, on breaks. So here’s another vegetarian one for him, and all you out there who don’t eat meat, and want a healthy snack packed with protein. Make it for yourselves just once, and you wont go back to Joe. Want to make it even healthier? Skip the pita bread that I served it with, and place carrot and celery sticks around instead. But come on….you have to give me a break here. I’m already not having meat, you gotta let me still have my bread. I need my carbs.

I thought, for some weird reason, that it would be cool if I shot this one entirely in vertical shots. So that’s what I did, all for except two, other than the first one and one of the very last, each shot is vertical and from up high. It was a nice change, I’m usually stuck with a horizontal mindset.

Okay enough of my yapping:

Once you have all your ingredients ready, grab your food processor.

Again, make sure its locked properly before you pour in the ingredients. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve placed all the stuff inside and then tried turning it on, only to find out the blade isn’t hooked properly. Which then forces me to empty all my ingredients and fix the blade. And pour everything back in.

Me and electric gadgets and gizmos don’t always see eye to eye.  They like to mess with me.

Open your canned garbanzo beans, drain and rinse under cold water in a sieve.

Reserve some of the liquid of the beans, for later.

Dump them into the food processor bowl.

Throw in some Tahini paste. Which is just ground up sesame seeds. This is a classic hummus ingredient, you can find it anywhere now.

Next, peel three garlic cloves and add them to the mix.

You need garlic, another level of great flavor. Don’t skip it, if you’re not a big fan of raw garlic, just use less.

Grate in some lemon zest.

Only the yellow part of the skin, once you start going into the white pithy part, it gets bitter, and we don’t want bitter hummus. So only grate the yellow part.

Now juice some lemons and throw it in.

Please, please, please, DO NOT use that already juiced “lemon” product in a bottle. Squeeze out some fresh lemon juice. You’ll see, it provides much better flavor than that supposed lemon juice from the green bottle.

Season with Salt and Pepper, Paprika, and Cumin.

Throw in some Parsley, olive oil and a little bit of Rosemary.

My sister and her friend would be happy campers right about now. One is obsessed with garlic, and the other is addicted to rosemary. It’s in everything they make.

No kidding.

Everything.

Place the lid over the food processor.

Now turn it on and blend until everything is smooth and combined and the hummus is creamy.

It might take a bit for it all to come together, especially if you packed it up to high heaven like I did.

If you find that it isn’t blending, grab that reserved garbanzo bean liquid we saved earlier.

Add it to the hummus, slowly, while the processor is on. Stream it in, until it’s creamy and smooth. You don’t have to use the garbanzo bean liquid. If you’d like, you can use water instead.

I like that little bit of added flavor, so I just use that reserved liquid.

Take off the lid and scrape down the sides of the bowl, with a spatula, to make sure everything gets well blended.

Oh and look at that. What do you know…..

He’s baaaaaaaack!!!

I think it’s my duty, now, to feature him in some way, shape or form, in every post….or at least until you guys get bored of seeing him.

Let me know if his little precious face starts to bug you. I’ll stop.

What?!? I can stop. But why would you want me to? Just look at him.

Once he scrapes down the sides, replace the lid.

Pulse once again until smooth and creamy.

Look how much fresher this looks rather than the store bought one.

No artificial flavors, additives or preservatives, thank you very much. Just pure, fresh, and simple ingredients that we can all pronounce.

Try a spoonful, no one will know. And if they do catch you, just tell them you’re head of quality control.

You’re doing them a favor. Tasting it to make sure it’s good enough for them to eat.

Pour it into a bowl and make it presentable for your guests.

Even if you’re the only one eating it, make it presentable for yourself. You count. You deserve it.

I sprinkled it with a little paprika, just for color. And put a sprig of parsley. Go all out. Be fancy.

I couldn’t resist having at least two horizontal shots. Oops.

Make yourself a little plate. I served it with warmed pita bread. You can toast them in the oven as well and make them into Pita Chips.

Or like I said earlier, you can serve it with fresh cut veggies.

Although I do have to pass on something to you all. The Canadian shared with me his secret way of eating hummus. Apparently I was eating it wrong. He gave me some useful tips. Even photographed it for me so I wouldn’t get lost.

I’ll reenact it for you, and share his secrets. Don’t tell him I told you though.

The Canadian prefers eating it with a cracker. Triscuits to be exact.

**This is a reenactment**

Grab yourself a cracker, like a triscuit or a wheat thin will do just fine.

This was my first mistake, I ate it with pita bread. What was I thinking?

You then schmear it with the hummus. Don’t dip it, spread it. That is very important. You want to make sure to coat the entire cracker.

That was my second mistake, I’m a dipper from way back.

And then you eat it. Take a bite.

So there you have it, The Canadian’s secret. It’s genius. That’s the only way I’m eating hummus from now on.

Go on and make it, it’s great for parties and family get togethers. Your guests will love it.

Enjoy.

Hummus

Ingredients:
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 cups canned Garbanzo Beans, drained, liquid reserved
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 8 tablespoons freshly squeezed Lemon Juice (3 lemons)
  • 4 tablespoons water or liquid from the garbanzo beans
  • 2 tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 Paprika, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tbs Parsley
  • 1 tsp chopped Rosemary
Preparation:

Drop in all the ingredients into the food processor, fitted with a steel blade. Blend until smooth and creamy.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, with a rubber spatula, periodically to make sure you get all the ingredients well incorporated. Taste seasoning and adjust accordingly.

Serve chilled or at room temperature with warmed pita, crunchy pita chips, or fresh veggies.

Enjoy.