Lemon Poppyseed Breakfast Quinoa

Springtime in Montana can be a bit….wintery. Around my mid-March birthday is usually the time I stop dreaming about skiing and start wanting to get on the trails again. Unfortunately Montana is more of the “maybe let’s snow until May” mindset which is great for extended ski seasons and less ideal for the hikers and runners.

It also makes it challenging to match meals to the season when the season is January in the morning and June by the afternoon. My brain says citrus and the snow says soup, which can be matched successfully but not without a lot of sighing involved.

Most of the year I start my day with a bowl of oatmeal or a veggie scramble, but as summer gets closer I start looking forward to something new to switch it up. I still want something warm since it’s often chilly in the mornings, but my standard peanut butter and banana oatmeal can feel a bit heavy some days. Having recently seen a couple recipes for breakfast quinoa, I decided to give that a try.

Springtime always means lemon to me, and since I’ve been craving poppyseed muffins lately that seemed like the route to go. Fresh and light with citrus but still a bit sweet and cozy with poppyseeds, it turned into an easy breakfast perfect for those days when I am just not feeling the oatmeal vibe. Much like all porridge creations, there is a lot of subjectivity to what makes a perfect bowl, so use my recipe as a guideline to get you started and then play with it to your heart’s content. I keep mine pretty low sugar and I will not be upset if you want to add more sugar or more lemon juice to bring it up to your par.

I added sliced almonds for a little crunch and a protein boost, and a drizzle of my favorite Meyer Lemon Vinegar on top. An ardent Olivelle fan, I use their products whenever possible, but I understand you may not have access. (Although they do have sellers all over, and they also ship. I’m just saying. They should really give me a commission.) It is not a necessary addition but it does add a boost of flavor and a touch of sweetness that I found complimented everything nicely.

If you, too, need to mix up your mornings a bit, give this a try. With around 15 grams of protein per serving it should satiate you nicely, while feeling fresh and light for spring. Hope you enjoy it!

Lemon Poppyseed Breakfast Quinoa
Makes one serving

Ingredients

1/2 cup quinoa (uncooked)
1-3 Tbsp lemon juice (Meyer lemon if you can get it, otherwise regular is great)
enough water to total 1 cup
1-2 Tbsp sugar (or simple syrup)
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
1/2 tsp almond extract (or vanilla)

2 Tbsp sliced almonds
Meyer Lemon Vinegar (optional but fun!)

Directions

  1. In a small pot, briefly whisk together quinoa, lemon juice, water, sugar, poppyseeds, and extract.
  2. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook until water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy, about 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in half the almonds, then transfer to bowl. Top with remaining almonds, and, optionally, a drizzle of Meyer Lemon Vinegar.
  4. Serve immediately.

Notes

Pour desired amount of lemon juice into a measuring cup, then add water until the total is one cup.

For reference, I used 1 Tbsp sugar with 2 Tbsp lemon juice because I don’t like my porridges to be very sweet but I prefer a decently strong lemon flavor. If you like a sweeter experience definitely up the sugar and/or reduce the lemon juice.

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Lemon Basil Ice Cream

[Welcome to July AKA National Ice Cream Month! To celebrate, each Friday I will be posting a new delicious ice cream flavor alongside my regularly scheduled posts. Hope you enjoy the series!]

Once again we have arrived at the final week of National Ice Cream Month. It’s been a whirlwind of a month (at least for me) and hard to believe August is nearly upon us. With three weddings and two extremely intense races ahead of me, the next five weeks are set to be pretty crazy. Here’s hoping I make it out alive and unbroken. In the meantime, we can enjoy one more ice cream recipe together.

This one is easily my favorite of this year’s ensemble. Although I’ve really enjoyed the other three, this is the one that really struck home for me. Light and refreshing lemon with the herbal notes of basil, it’s a concoction more often found in a savory entrée than sweet desserts, but I assure you it works extremely well in both situations. I originally tasted this pairing at a gelato shop in Boulder, Colorado last summer, during a work trip. I loved how the basil added a different note to the whole experience, without being overpowering.

This year I attempted to create my own version to share with all of you. Although it took a few tries to get right, it was worth those mediocre batches to get to the final product. The superbly creamy texture is brightened with a pronounced lemon flavor without it tasting sour. The basil comes as a surprise since there’s no indication in the pale yellow coloring (unless you miss a few leaves when you strain it…which I did), so I recommend warning consumers ahead of time. The two are a flawless pairing and perfect on a hot summer day, but might be shocking if you aren’t expecting it.

Like the blueberry lavender from a few weeks ago, this ice cream tastes much lighter than it actually is, but I assure you it’s as high in fat and sugar as ever. I portioned mine into small 4-6oz servings as it’s very easy to get carried away, and then I can just grab them straight from the freezer. This makes it easier to serve, and to make sure it’s a reasonable amount – it’s also much faster to serve to guests! I will admit the containers I use have a tendency to fall over, but I’ve yet to find stable ones that are both small enough and not crazy expensive. The search continues.

This ice cream is delightful all on its own, but I think it’d also be lovely with a scoop of blueberry crisp. Lemon and blueberry are always a sure bet, and I think the basil would blend wonderfully into the whole shebang. The next time I make crisp or cobbler I will definitely make a batch of this to pair with it.

I hope you have enjoyed this month’s series and have some fun new flavors to try, or at least drool over. We will now resume our regularly scheduled programming, with plenty of deliciousness ahead!

Lemon Basil Ice Cream 

Makes ~6 cups

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups whole or 2% milk
1 oz fresh basil leaves (a large handful), chopped
zest of 2 lemons

3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup egg substitute
juice of 2 lemons

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, lightly muddle basil and lemon zest. Add milk and heat to a light simmer.
  2. Remove milk from heat and let steep at least 15 minutes.
  3. In medium bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients until completely combined.
  4. Slowly stream in milk with the basil and zest, whisking constantly.
  5. Cover bowl and chill in the refrigerator at least 4 hours, or overnight. (Mixture will likely be rather thicker than normal – this is expected!)
  6. Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain mixture to remove leaves and zest.
  7. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions, then place in a cold freezer-safe bowl to freeze overnight, or until firm.

“Almost Spring” Lemon Kale Soup

While other parts of the country have lovely breezes and tree blossoms, springtime in Bozeman varies from 65 and gorgeous to torrential rain and 20-mph winds. As the wettest and most temperamental time of year, April and May can see the entire weather spectrum in the span of just a few hours. This means while my morning ride might be delightful, my commute home is just as likely to be a drenching headwind. Such is life.

Because of this, however, my food desires can also change at a moment’s notice, which makes it challenging to do my normal weekly lunch and dinner prepping. If I make soup on Sunday, by Wednesday it could be 75 degrees (which is what happened this week); if I plan out some tasty salads, Tuesday will be met will a blizzard. Clearly this isn’t a huge crisis but as someone who likes to eat with the weather it does pose some difficulty.

In light of that, this soup spans the spectrum of weather, equally warming on a chilly day as it is fresh and spring on a warmer ones. A light broth (either vegetable or chicken) surrounds a light but filling mix of white beans, vegetables, and a touch of lemon. I have used both vegetable and chicken stock and they are excellent, so don’t feel you’ll be missing out by going the vegan route here.

Any white beans you have around will work nicely here, so I used a mixture of cannellini and butter beans for interest. Great northern beans would also be great, or whatever your favorite one might be. It takes 3 cans so mix and match to your heart’s content. For interest I added some grated zucchini and yellow squash, which won’t overpower the flavor but gives it some texture and an always-welcome veggie boost. Celery would also work nicely, although personally I rarely buy it.

I’m of the opinion that it’s highly challenging, if not impossible, to have too many leafy greens in a soup, so I don’t honestly measure. Just keep adding handfuls until it looks like enough. I probably added around six cups here, but there’s no rules with kale (or spinach, or chard, or whatever you want) so add as much as or as little as you like. The way I look at it is the more you add the more you’re basically eating soup and salad in one go, which seems like a win in my book.

The added lemon juice brightens the flavor without really tasting very lemony, but start with half the amount if you’re unsure about it. It gives a freshness and a springtime note to what could just as easily be a winter soup. As an added bonus, this soup comes together in just over 30 minutes, so if on those days you’re home late and starving because you completely underestimated how long you’d be out with your coworkers, you can still make a warm and healthy meal in a pretty reasonable amount of time.

Complainy carnivores in the house? This soup would be excellent with some cooked and shredded chicken and it’s easy to add that to individual bowls if you have a mixed crowd to please. It’s also extra delightful with bread, so pick up your favorite focaccia or crusty baguette (great for dipping) to have on the side.

“Almost Spring” Lemon Kale Soup

Adapted from Fork Knife Swoon
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano

6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
juice of 1 lemon
3 (15 oz) cans white beans1, drained
1 medium zucchini or yellow squash, grated (about 1-2 cups)
salt and pepper, to taste

3-6 cups baby kale2, to taste (I like a lot of greens, so I used closer to 6 cups)

Directions

  1. Add olive oil to a large pot, and heat over medium until warmed.
  2. Add onion and garlic and sauté until onion is softened and translucent.
  3. Stir in herbs and continue to sauté until onion is just starting to brown.
  4. Stir in stock, half the lemon juice, beans, and zucchini, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 15 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper if desired. Taste, and add more lemon or spices as desired.
  5. Carefully stir in kale and continue to simmer until softened, 5-10 minutes3. Serve hot with a tasty bread for dipping.

Notes

I’ve used two cans cannellini beans and then one can of either butter beans or great northern beans. Feel free to mix and match and substitute your favorite white beans.

If you’re not a fan of kale, substitute any dark, leafy green of choice. If you’re using something more delicate, like spinach, add it just before serving as it does not keep its shape as well as a heartier leaf like kale.

Although kale holds its shape nicely it does darken into a muddier green over time, so for the bright green color it’s best to serve fairly promptly.

Meyer Lemon Raspberry Spinach Salad

I feel a little silly even posting this as a recipe, and I don’t normally post recipes that require possibly hard-to-find ingredients, but I love this so much I just have to share it.

Last week I took a cooking class at Olivelle, a local store in Bozeman that sells olive oils, vinegars, salts, and spices. I’d never actually been in the store before I took the class on making crepes, and I’m guessing that was a solid financial decision as it’s very easy to spend a lot of money there.

Lemon Raspberry Spinach Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

One of the recipes in the class used a Meyer lemon balsamic vinegar, and it is possibly one of the most amazing things I’ve ever tried. Sweet and tangy, I knew it would be delicious all on its own as a salad dressing. Although I managed not to buy the crepe pan (yet), I did walk out with this Meyer lemon vinegar and a caramelized garlic olive oil.

Lemon Raspberry Spinach Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

I always buy giant bags of spinach for my breakfast smoothies, and I recently discovered Costco carries pretty reasonably priced sliced almonds as well, which are perfect for salad toppings. All that wonderful flavor and crunch without the giant pieces or the tedious chopping.

As my raspberry bushes are finally producing in abundance this year, I can’t just eat them all straight off the bush before they get overripe. Although I will probably freeze some, mostly I enjoy them fresh as a topping on salad, yogurt, ice cream, and probably soon, waffles. They add a wonderful burst of color and flavor to a salad, and change it up from my normal mandarin oranges or strawberries.

Lemon Raspberry Spinach Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

This salad is bright and tangy, and would go great as a side dish for almost any summer meal. I wrote out measurements for one, as that’s what I am usually making, but you can obviously increase it to feed several people at once. Make sure your spinach and your raspberries are reasonably dry and you are good to go for whatever quantities you like.

If you’re looking to make this into an entree, I think some chopped chicken or fish would be an excellent addition. I’ve eaten it as a side dish most days since I bought it, but if I ever bought chicken I’d certainly give the entree a try. If you do, let me know what you think!

And if you’re a local Bozemanite, get thee to Olivelle, pronto.

Lemon Raspberry Spinach salad
Serves 1

Ingredients

2 cups spinach, rinsed and dry
2-3 tsp Meyer Lemon balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup fresh raspberries, rinsed and dry
1 Tbsp sliced almonds

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine spinach and vinegar, and use a rubber spatula to gently stir until spinach is well coated.
  2. Gently fold in raspberries and almonds (or add them after it’s plated if you want to make sure they are visible.)
  3. Enjoy immediately.

Lemon Pie Spoons

Summer!

Just kidding, until last weekend it has mostly been pouring rain and howling winds here. I will admit it’s made for some pretty challenging runs during my marathon training. Turns out 20 miles in drenching rain and/or 20-mph headwinds is not super awesome. I know, shocker. Regardless, around March I started thinking about lemons again, partially because my grandmother loved lemon meringue pie and her birthday was in March, and partially because Costco starts carrying giant bags of the wonderful yellow fruit around April. With the closing of ski resorts and the flowering trees, lemon just seems like the right flavor for the season.

Lemon Pie Spoons {{Baking Bytes}}

After making a large batch of granola, I was left with several egg yolks chilling in my fridge. My usual go-to for egg yolks is just to throw an extra one in scrambled eggs, but I didn’t think I’d get through them all that way very quickly. Secondary method is always pudding, but pudding sounded a bit heavier than the dessert I was really looking for. Enter: mousse!

Lemon Pie Spoons {{Baking Bytes}}

Substantially lighter in texture without compromising the ka-pow of flavor, mousse always feels like the summery version of pudding. Obviously lemon was the way to go. I cut Mandy’s recipe in half, very slightly adjusted it, and was on my way to a tasty treat. Her recipe called for a graham cracker crust that I’m sure is delightful, but I wanted to test an idea I’d been pondering.

Lemon Pie Spoons {{Baking Bytes}}

Last fall I’d seen some great ideas (on Pinterest, of course) using cookie spoons, which I thought were super cute. However, I am not a huge fan of sugar cookies and even more importantly, I don’t enjoy making them. I was curious whether the same idea would work with pie crust, and that seemed like the perfect delivery mechanism for lemon mousse.

After texting my mom and asking whether she thought my spoons are oven safe (which I’m sure made her raise an eyebrow), I made some pie crust, made a mini spoon template with parchment paper, and begin cutting away. They baked up super cute and although they are a bit fragile, they work great for a dollop of mousse or for dipping. Although it didn’t take terribly long to cut by hand, for round two I bought a cookie cutter on Amazon, which was not only faster, but allowed me to be more efficient with the dough. Plus now I have a reason to make more spoon desserts.

Lemon Pie Spoons {{Baking Bytes}}

These lemon pie spoons are small, light, and require no cutting and slicing and plating, which makes them great for potlucks. Big lemon flavor and flaky pie crust come together in a delicious bite-sized treat. It’s important to use a pie crust recipe you like the flavor of, as it’s rather prominent given the somewhat higher crust:filling ratio. I’ve linked mine below, but feel free to use your own.

Lemon Pie Spoons {{Baking Bytes}}

This would be a fun confection for a summer barbecue where you don’t want to worry about fridge space. You can make the spoons and the mousse a day or two ahead of time (store the spoons on the counter, and the mousse in the fridge), then assemble shortly before you head to the party. They’ll be fine on the counter (inside, if it’s hot) for several hours, leaving you free to enjoy the party. Although they might droop a bit, they are definitely safe to eat.

Fair warning: they are addicting! Make a batch to share, assuming you don’t eat them all yourself.

Lemon Pie Spoons

Adapted from Mandy’s Recipe Box
Makes about 5 dozen mini spoons

Ingredients

Pastry for single-crust pie (unbaked)

4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
zest of 1 lemon (optional)

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions

  1. For the spoons: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. On a large baking sheet, arrange as many oven-safe spoons as you can fit. (A silicon mat will help them slide around less, if you have one.) Set aside.
  2. On a floured surface, roll out your pie crust to about 1/8″ thick. Use a cookie cutter (or a paper template and a sharp knife) to cut out as many spoons as possible. Pile all trimmings together, then gently roll out again and cut more spoons.
  3. Carefully transfer each pie crust spoon to a real spoon on the prepared baking sheet, pressing the dough into the real spoon’s indent.
  4. Bake 10-15 minutes, until crust is golden and slightly puffy. You may want to rotate the pan halfway through if your spoons are of different heights.
  5. Let cool a few minutes on the spoons, then gently and carefully (the metal spoons are hot!) remove them to a wire rack to cool completely, and repeat until all pie crust is used. Store on the counter until ready to use, up to 3 days.
  6. For the mousse: In a small saucepan, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest (if using.)
  7. Stir with a wooden spoon over medium heat until mixture thickens and turns cloudy. Continue cooking until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (although it’ll look clear).
  8. Use a mesh sieve and strain the lemon curd into a small bowl. Refrigerate at least one hour, stirring a couple of times if possible, or until ready to use. Mixture should be cool to the touch. Also place a large mixing bowl and your beaters (or KitchenAid whisk attachment) in the fridge at this time.
  9. When curd is sufficiently chilled, remove large bowl and beaters from the fridge. Beat heavy cream on medium/high until stiff peaks form.
  10. Gently fold in the curd to the whipped cream until it’s not streaky.
  11. Return mousse to fridge until ready to serve, up to 3 days.
  12. For assembly: Arrange pie crust spoons on a tray or serving platter as desired.
  13. Transfer mousse to a frosting bag with a star tip (or a Ziploc), cut off the tip, and carefully pipe onto the spoons. (You may have extra mousse.) Serve as soon as possible!
  14. Alternate assembly: Place mousse into 4-oz serving dishes and add a pie crust spoon. Serve with extra spoons for dipping!