Looking for something tart and refreshing to serve on a hot summer's evening with a great meal? Try a batch of homemade lemonade. It is a bit of a project, but it is so worth it as your guests take their first sip, and the "ahhh" comments begin to flow and they insist on refills.
Light and airy lemon flavors are particularly appealing after a rich meal. The homemade lemon mousse is spectacular, and when served in an elegant stemmed glass, it makes the perfect ending to a romantic meal.
Yes, there is such a thing as bottled lemon juice, but the secret of these recipes is using fresh lemon and fresh lemon zest. (So, leave the bottled lemon juice in the refrigerator for these recipes.)
Jennifer’s “The Real Deal” Homemade Lemonade
3 large lemons
1 cup sugar
1 quart hot water
Peel the rinds from the lemons, and cut them into 1/2 inch slices. Place rinds in a mixing bowl and put sugar over them. Let stand for one hour, so that the sugar begins to soak up the lemon oil. This is a very important step, and without this step the lemonade will not be as flavorful. Carefully pour the hot water over the sugared lemon rinds. Stir and allow this mixture to cool, then remove the rinds. Squeeze the lemons through a strainer into a 2-quart pitcher. Pour the sugar mixture through the same strainer into the pitcher. Stir well. Store lemonade in the refrigerator, and serve over ice cubes. You will not taste better homemade lemonade than this one.
Carol’s Easy Lemon Angel Food Cake
16-oz. package angel food cake mix
1 cup water
1/4 cup frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
2 tsp. grated fresh lemon rind
1/8 tsp. yellow food coloring (optional)
Prepare cake mix according to package directions, substituting the other ingredients above. Bake according to package directions. I usually leave out the food color, but some people like a lemon cake to look lemon-y.
Homemade Lemon Mousse
6 eggs, separated
Zest and juice of 4 lemons
1/2 cup, plus 2 and 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
Real whipping cream and thin lemon slices for garnish
Combine beaten egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan and cook until very thick and custardy, stirring occasionally so as not to scorch. Be careful not to let it near boiling or it will curdle. Cool thoroughly. Whip cream until thick. Fold into cooled lemon/egg mixture. Whip egg whites until slightly thick. Add 2 1/2 Tbsp. sugar and continue whipping until thick and firm, but not dry. Fold this very gently into the whipped cream/lemon mixture. Serve chilled with a small dab of whipped cream and a slice of lemon on top. This dessert will hold in the refrigerator for up to two hours before serving.
Salvatore’s Easy Lemon Chicken
4 skinned and boned chicken breast halves
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup good quality bread crumbs
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
Vegetable cooking spray
4 heaping Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
Fresh chopped parsley and fresh, thin slices of lemon
Place chicken breasts between two sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, or a freezer-bag-weight plastic bag, and flatten to 1/2-inch thickness, using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Combine egg, salt, and peppers. Dip each piece of chicken in egg mixture, and dredge in bread crumbs. Melt butter in a large non-stick skillet pre-coated with non-stick spray for extra protection from sticking. Add chicken and cook over medium-high heat on each side until browned and done. (Watch carefully—chicken begins to dry out when it is overdone.) Remove chicken and keep warm. Add lemon juice and zest to skillet, and increase heat to de-glaze, scrapping the bits of what is left on the bottom of the skillet. Pour this immediately over chicken and serve. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and fresh lemon slices.
Lemon Sauce for Baked Fish
1 lb. your choice of white fish filets
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Coat a baking pan with 2 Tbsp. butter and bake your choice of fish filets until done. While fish is baking, combine lemon juice, chopped parsley, minced garlic, lemon zest, salt, black pepper, and olive oil in a bowl and whisk until well blended. As you remove the fish from the baking pan to a serving platter, drizzle the lemon sauce over the top, and serve with a garnish of fresh parsley leaves.