Lemon Pudding Cakes

(from America’s Test Kitchen)

Cooking with Sonnie

From America’s Test Kitchen Season 15: Springtime Sweets

Serves 6

To take the temperature of the pudding layer, touch the probe tip to the bottom of the ramekin and pull it up 1/4 inch. The batter can also be baked in an 8-inch square glass baking dish. We like this dessert served at room temperature, but it can also be served chilled (the texture will be firmer). Spoon Blueberry Compote over the top of each ramekin or simply dust with confectioners’ sugar.


1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons grated lemon zest plus 1/2 cup juice (3 lemons)
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
1/4 cup (1 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, separated, plus 2 large whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Bring milk…

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Judy Joo’s Krazy Korean Burgers

This recipe is based on Judy Joo’s Korean Food Made Simple on Cooking Channel.  The recipe was not posted on the network website, so my daughter, Alycia, & I estimated the ingredient amounts while re-watching the episode – we think they turned out great!  These burgers are tender and wonderfully seasoned. 

Servings: 4

1/4 lb pancetta or bacon
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp grated ginger
1 lb ground beef
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
2-3 tsp gochugaru (Korean chile flake)
1 Tbsp gochujang (Korean fermented chile paste)
1 Tbsp doenjang (Korean fermented soybean paste)
1/4 cup carbonated water

  1. Combine pancetta or bacon, onion, garlic & ginger in  a food processor and pulse until finely ground.
  2. Place in a bowl & add remaining ingredients.
  3. Mix gently with hands until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Form into patties and grill.
  • Judy serves this with Korean Ketchup (1/4 cup ketchup mixed with 1 Tbsp gochujang) and Asian Mayo (Korean mayo thinned with kimchi juice). I have not tried the mayo yet, but the Korean Ketchup is my new favorite burger topping! 
  • If you haven’t used gochugaru or gochujang before, this may seem like a lot of chile, but it is not a very spicy chile. You can reduce the amount if you like. 
  • We like to make these as sliders – it makes about 10.  Hawaiian rolls make delicious buns for these. 

Irish Seafood Chowder

After my daughter Alycia came back from a semester abroad at Cork University College in Cork, Ireland she wanted to recreate some of the wonderful food that she enjoyed there. She found this recipe on the website for Poachers Inn in Bandon, Cork. This is a wonderful, rich chowder with salmon, shrimp & crab.  I have added conversions from grams & liters to cups & ounces as well as instructions for a few of the steps that they assumed you would know how to do.

Servings: 4-6

150g (⅔ cup – about 2 ½ Tbsp each) carrots, fennel, celery & onion, diced
1 liter (≈ 1 quart) milk
500ml (≈ 2 cups) cream
1 Tablespoon fish bouillon powder or 2 shrimp bouillon cubes (see notes)
salt, to taste
Roux, to thicken (equal quantities of oil & flour mixed to a paste)
1 ½ lemons (zest & juice)
6 star anise (wrapped in cheesecloth for easy removal)
½ teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
250g (½ lb) salmon, cut into ½” pieces
150g ( lb) firm white fish (e.g. cod, haddock) , cut into ½” pieces
3 Tablespoons white wine
100g (¼ lb) crabmeat
100g (¼ lb) prawns (shrimp)
1 Tablespoon chives, chopped

  1. Heat skillet over low heat. Add enough oil to just cover bottom of the pan. Add carrot, fennel, celery & onion. Cover pan. Stir occasionally, cooking until veggies are translucent and soft, but have not started to brown – about 5 minutes.
  2. Place the salmon & white fish on an oven tray and place in a pre-heated 180 ℃ / 350 ℉ oven for 10 minutes. It should be slightly undercooked, since it will be cooked further after adding to the chowder.
  3. Place the cream, milk, bouillon, salt & garlic in a pot and place on full heat and whisk well.
  4. When the pot is just at boiling point (be careful here not to let it boil over as it can “split” the milk) add a tablespoon of roux and whisk it well for a couple of minutes and leave to cook for a further 5 minutes to allow the flour taste to cook out (add more roux at this point if you think it needs more thickening).
  5. Add lemon juice & zest, whisking as you add.
  6. Add salmon & white fish and stir well, then add star anise.
  7. Add white wine and cook for 10 minutes. If it is too thick, whisk in some hot water to thin it out.
  8. Add crab & prawns. Cook just until done.
  9. To finish, remove star anise and stir in cooked vegetables.
  10. Garnish with chives and serve with fresh homemade brown bread.


Southwestern Chicken Salad

The creamy, spicy sauce from Southwestern Chicken Pasta also makes a great salad. Great for hot summer days.

Servings: 4

1 cup salsa
1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1 tsp chipotle pepper, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lb chicken, cooked & cubed
2 cups tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 avocados, chopped
salad greens – optional

  1. Combine salsa, sour cream & chipotles.
  2. Combine chicken, tomatoes, onions, cilantro & avocado.
  3. Toss salsa mixture & chicken mixture.
  4. Serve alone or over a bed of greens.
  • I usually use yogurt in place of sour cream.
  • You can reserve some of the salsa mixture to be added separately if this is too hot for some.

Southwestern Chicken Pasta

I wrote this recipe out from a magazine, but unfortunately, I did not make note of the magazine name. I love this creamy, spicy sauce with pasta.

Servings: 4

1 cup salsa
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp chipotle pepper, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lb chicken, cooked & cubed
2 cups tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 avocados, chopped
1 lb pasta, cooked & drained

  1. Combine salsa, sour cream & chipotles.
  2. Combine chicken, tomatoes, onions, cilantro & avocado.
  3. Toss salsa mixture, chicken mixture & pasta.
  • I usually use yogurt in place of sour cream.
  • I like to use farfalle (bow-tie) pasta for this recipe, but you can use any short pasta.
  • You can reserve some of the salsa mixture to be added separately if this is too hot for some.

Mexican Wedding Cakes

These are another cookie that we make every year at Christmas time. It is similar to many of the “tea cake” cookies, but I’m not sure where my mother got the recipe.

Makes 36 cookies

1 cup butter
green food coloring
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup nuts, ground or chopped very finely
powdered sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 325℉.
  2. Beat butter until fluffy.
  3. Add food coloring.
  4. Mix in remaining ingredients until well combined. The dough will be a little dry.
  5. Roll in 1/2 – 3/4″ balls (they will expand when baked). Place on ungreased baking sheets.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom.
  7. Remove from pan and roll in powdered sugar while hot.
  • You can omit the food coloring if you like, or use a different color, but we always color them green.
  • We usually use walnuts or pecans, but you can use any nut you like. 

Bisenchitos / Biscochitos

This is New Mexico’s traditional cookie. My mother made them for as long as I can remember. She never said where she got the recipe. We always called them “bisenchitos”, but that is probably due to misinterpretation from “biscochitos” by the person who wrote this recipe.  I keep trying to change, but I tend to fall back to “bisenchitos” when I am not thinking about it and then have to correct myself. Whatever you want to call them, they are delicious and one of my favorite cookies.

1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp anise extract
3 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
cinnamon sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350℉.
  2. Cream shortening and sugar.
  3. Beat in egg and extract.
  4. Mix flour, baking powder and salt.pinwheel_folding
  5. Blend into sugar mixture.
  6. Add enough brandy to hold the dough together.  If it seems dry, add more brandy.  If it crumbles when you roll it out, add more brandy.
  7. Roll out about 1/8″ thick to make pinwheels.
  8. For pinwheels, cut dough into squares. Cut from each corner halfway to center of square. Lift alternating corners and press gently into the center.
  9. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  10. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • This does not need expensive brandy, but avoid flavored varieties such as apricot brandy.
  • I used to make these with lard, but I have adjusted the recipe to use shortening instead.  It tends to need more brandy, but we’ll suffer through. 
  • We always made them into pinwheels, but you can cut them into simple shapes if you prefer.   Roll out 1/4″ thick to cut into shapes. This will make a softer cookie. 

Vi’s Fruitcake

This recipe was developed by my friend Judy Begley Trimarchi’s mother, Violet (Vi) Begley.

Don’t be afraid! 

Yes, it’s fruitcake, but not the kind of fruitcake that your parents warned you about. This cake is full of raisins, dates, and walnuts with some candied fruit, held together by a moist spice cake flavored with molasses, apple jelly, coffee, cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves.

Try it, you will be surprised!  When I was first offered a piece of this fruitcake, I was reluctant to try it, but I quickly changed my mind and ate two more pieces.

Servings: 48 cupcakes

1 cup shortening
2 cups brown sugar
6 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup brewed coffee
1/2 cup apple jelly
1/2 cup molasses
1 lb raisins
1/2 lb currants
1/2 lb dates, chopped
1/2 lb nuts, coarsely chopped
1 lb candied fruit

  1. Cream shortening and sugar.
  2. Beat in eggs.
  3. In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt & spices.
  4. Stir in flour mixture alternately with liquids (coffee, jelly & molasses) until well combined.
  5. Stir in fruit and nuts.
  6. Pour into greased and floured loaf pans or lined cupcake pans, filling almost to the top.
  7. Bake at 300℉ until a toothpick comes out clean. Cupcakes about 25 minutes, 2″x 4″ loaf about 45-50 minutes.
  • You can substitute other dried fruit for any of those listed.  This year we used dried pineapple & dried cherries instead of the candied fruit – yum!
  • You can substitute another mild-flavored jelly if you prefer.


3 types of lentils Lentils (lehn-təlz) – The lentil (Lens culinaris) is an edible pulse [sometimes called a “grain legume”, an annual leguminous plant yielding from one to twelve seeds of variable size, shape, and color within a pod], known for its lens-shaped seeds.

Lentils are low in fat (just 230 calories for a whole cup of cooked lentils) and high in protein and fiber.  They are used in soups, curries, salads & more.

Lentil colors range from yellow to red-orange to green, brown and black. They also vary in size, and are sold in many forms, with or without the skins, whole or split.

Lentils require a cooking time of 10 to 40 minutes, depending on the variety — shorter for small varieties with the husk removed, such as the common red lentil — and have a distinctive, earthy flavor.

What’s the Difference? Brown, Green, and Red Lentils

more about Lentils

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Cranberry, Rosemary & Pecan Dip

adapted from Cheeky Kitchen

8 ounces Neufchatel cheese or cream cheese
1/4-1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt (depending on how thick you want it)
1/2 – 1 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped

  1. Combine the Neufchatel cheese, Greek yogurt and garlic until smooth. Add the cranberries and rosemary.
  2. Serve immediately or cover and store in fridge up to overnight – the flavor gets better over time.
  3. Sprinkle pecans over dip just before serving.
  • You can substitute 1 clove garlic, very finely chopped for the garlic powder. This was in the original recipe, but I used garlic powder so that I did not have any chunks of garlic.
  • You can mix the nuts in if you like, but I leave them until the end so that they stay crunchier.
  • You can used untoasted nuts, but toasting them for a few minutes in a skillet adds a lot of flavor.
  • The recipe was originally designed to be served with Kettle Chips, but I have only tried it with crackers. I have used Ritz and another unseasoned cracker. If I remember to buy some Kettle Chips, I will try that next time.