Cooking, Crafting, Creating, Living

When Life Gives You Lemons….. December 13, 2010

When life gives you lemons… What do YOU do?

I make Chicken Piccata and Lemon Yogurt Cake

Both of these recipes are inspired by my new favorite cookbook, “Barefoot Contessa at Home”

Chicken Piccata


1 1/2 lbs Chicken Breast Cutlets, or 4 split, boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 cup all purpose flour

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups plain panko bread crumbs

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

crushed red pepper

ground black pepper

Olive Oil

1/2 cup butter, at room temp.

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), lemon halves reserved

1/2 cup dry white wine

sliced lemon for serving

chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for serving

1 box spaghetti or angel hair pasta

2 cloves garlic

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.

If using whole chicken breast, place each breast between parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound it out to 1/4 inch thick.

Place flour on shallow plate, beat the eggs in shallow bowl.  Place bread crumbs on third plate and mix in 1/2 tsp coriander, 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt, crushed red pepper and ground black pepper.  Dip each breast/cutlet first into the flour, shaking off any excess, and then dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large cast iron pan over medium heat.  Once oil is hot, add two chicken breast/cutlets and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned.  Place on the sheet pan while you cook the rest of the chicken.  Heat more olive oil in the pan and cook the remaining chicken.  Place on the same sheet pan and transfer to hot oven.  Allow to bake for 5-10 minutes while you make the sauce.

Meanwhile, bring pasta water to a boil.  Add a pinch of salt and 1/2 tbls olive oil.  Cook pasta al dente, drain and toss with chopped garlic and remaining butter.

For the sauce, wipe out the cast iron pan with dry paper towels.  On medium heat, melt 1 tbls butter and add lemon juice, white wine, and reserved lemon halves, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp ground pepper.  Boil over medium-high heat until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.  Discard the lemon halves.  Off the heat, add the remaining 2 tbls butter and swirl to combine.

Serve one chicken breast on each plate, spoon on the sauce, and serve with sliced lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.



Lemon Yogurt Cake


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (I like Stonyfield Organic Cream on Top)

1 1/3 cups sugar, divided

3 large eggs

2 tsp grated lemon zest (2 lemons)

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the glaze:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tbls lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 8 1/2 x 4 1/4 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a small mixing bowl.  In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest and vanilla.  Slowly whisk dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  Gently fold vegetable oil into mixture until well incorporated.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a inserted toothpick comes up clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar disolves and the mixture is clear.  Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan.  While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in.  Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and pour over cake.