Posts Tagged 'lemon juice'

Memphis Mustard Slaw

Down in Memphis, we prefer a tangy mustard cole slaw with our barbeque rather than the traditional mayonnaise variety.

Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous Ribs makes the best in town.  To me, their slaw should be just as “World Famous” as their ribs! Their tangy mustard dressing is perfectly balanced by a hint of vinegar. This slaw’s bold flavors perfectly compliment their legendary dry ribs.

When I was writing my cook book Simply Salads, I knew I needed to include a version of my hometown’s famous slaw.  I couldn’t get the secret recipe from the Vergos family … but I did learn that the base is good old French’s® Yellow Mustard. Nick Vergos told me that the Rendezvous has been using only that mustard since day one.

So with that tip as my start, I started playing around with the recipe.  After a few trials (and errors!), I am happy to say that my bright yellow slaw is pretty close to what’s serve at the Rendezvous.  Sometimes, I even give it a dash of the Rendezvous’ Dry Rub Seasoning just like they do at the restaurant.

So whether you are grilling ribs or chicken at your next barbecue, consider whipping up a batch of this tangy Memphis Mustard Slaw.


Memphis Mustard Cole Slaw
From Simply Salads by Jennifer Chandler

For the dressing:
1/4 cup French’s® yellow mustard
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ½ cups sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
1 bag (16 ounces) Classic Cole Slaw blend
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons celery seed
Hot sauce, to taste

For the dressing:
In small bowl whisk together the mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, and sugar until the sugar has dissolved.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad:
In a large salad bowl toss together the slaw, green bell pepper, and celery seed.  Add the dressing to taste and gently toss until well combined. Season with the hot sauce to taste.

Watermelon and Arugula Salad

I don’t think any fruit says summer and back-yard barbecues like watermelon. I love, my kids love it … a juicy, refreshing slice of watermelon is just hands-down a quintessential favorite.

Most people only think of serving watermelons sliced  … but one of my favorite ways to enjoy this juicy treat is in a salad.  I just love the whole “savory versus sweet” thing that goes on when you match ripe, sweet fruits with savory ingredients.

For this salad, I toss watermelon with spicy arugula. I find that a flavorful green like arugula provides a great contrast to the sweet fruit.  (Spinach would be a good substitute if you can’t find arugula.)

In the South, we like to salt our watermelon slices. (Don’t make a face if you haven’t tried it!) The piquancy of the salt actually enhances the melon’s sweetness.  To get that same experience in this salad, I add crumbled Feta cheese.  This salty cheese works the same way Kosher salt would on a cold slice of watermelon. Yum!

So for the next time you buy a watermelon … think salad rather than slices.


Watermelon and Arugula Salad
From Simply Salads by Jennifer Chandler

For the vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
1 small watermelon, seeded, rind removed, and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 package (5 ounces) Baby Arugula salad blend
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

For the vinaigrette:

In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice and red wine vinegar.  Slowly add the oil in a steady stream, whisking to emulsify.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad:

In a large salad bowl toss the salad blend, watermelon, feta cheese, and pine nuts. Add the vinaigrette to taste and gently toss.

Makes 6 appetizer or side salads.

Tip:  Add fresh mint leaves for an interesting zing to this refreshing salad.

Double-Decker Peach Cobbler

When my friend Laurie Major told me about her grandmother’s peach cobbler I just had to give it a try. 

Mrs. Mohler made it with 3 layers of crust!  I am all about the crust, but am a little lazy at times. I have made this into a double-decker cobbler. But if you have an extra 10 or 15 minutes, you can add that third layer of pastry.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  I thought it was so good I included it in my new cookbook Simply Suppers!


Double-Decker Peach Cobbler
From Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra to grease the baking dish
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
2 bags (16-ounce) frozen peaches, thawed, or 12 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced (about 5 to 6 cups)
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons bourbon
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 unbaked pie crusts (9-inch), homemade or store-bought
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 pint vanilla ice cream (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish with butter and set aside.

In a large saucepot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add 3/4 cup of the sugar and water and cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Add the peaches, lemon juice, bourbon, 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have melded, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, stir to coat, and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Evenly spoon 1/2 of the filling into the prepared dish. Top with a layer of pie crust. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and spoon the remaining 1/2 of the filling evenly over the crust. Top with the second pie crust. Brush the top crust with the beaten egg. Evenly sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of the sugar and the remaining 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon over the top. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly, about 18 to 20 minutes.

Serve warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Serves  8.

Cooking Tip: To make the third layer, place a pie crust on the bottom of the pan. Par-bake the bottom crust for 10 minutes. Then layer as directed in the recipe above.

Time-Saving Tip: I love fresh peaches, but they can be a hassle to peel. Frozen peaches are in-season year-round and work just as well in this dish…without the extra work!

Freezes well.

Glazed Lemon Pound Cake

My good friend Kristen Keegan won “Best in Show” at the Mid-South Fair with this cake.  Moist and delicious, it has just the perfect amount of lemony flavor. Serve it on its own or with freshly whipped cream and fresh berries.


Glazed Lemon Pound Cake

For the cake:
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened, plus extra to grease the loaf pan      
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra to flour the loaf pan
1/4 teaspoon baking powder                                 
1/4 teaspoon salt                                                
1/4 cup butter flavor all-vegetable shortening                     
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest 

For the Lemon Glaze:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted                              
1/2 cup granulated sugar                                             
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons water

To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9- X 5-inch loaf pan.

In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix until well combined. Add the reserved flour mixture and mix until well blended. Add the milk, vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon zest and stir to blend. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about  60 to 70 minutes. While it is still in the pan, pierce several holes in the cake with a knife or skewer. Prepare the glaze and top before the cake is completely cooled or removed from the pan.

To make the glaze: In a small bowl combine the melted butter, sugar, lemon juice, and water. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the glaze over the cake and let the cake sit in the pan until the glaze is fully absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the pan and transfer to a serving plate. Serve at room temperature.

Serves 8. 

Cooking Tips:

Cooking for a crowd? You can easily double this recipe and bake it in a Bundt pan.

For 1 tablespoon of freshly grated lemon zest, you will need 1 large (or 2 small) lemons. For no waste, first zest your lemons and then juice them. 

Freezes well.



Mixed Lettuces with Strawberries, Red Grapes, and Almonds

This is of my favorite salads.  It has the perfect combination of tastes and textures. I could wax poetic about how each element of the combination … the sweetness from the fruit, tartness from the lettuces, saltiness from the cheese, and crunch from the nuts … compliments the others.  But I will spare you the rhetoric and just tell you in plain terms … it’s darn good!

The Blush Wine Vinaigrette is my homemade version of Brianna’s Blush Wine Vinaigrette.  When I was writing my cookbook Simply Salads, I took some of my favorite store-bought dressings and did my best to imitate them. At times my kitchen resembled a strange sort of vinegar and oil laboratory! Some attempts worked; others didn’t.  But I am proud to say that I may even like my homemade version of this dressing better than the original. It’s brighter in flavor (thanks to the freshly squeezed lemon juice), has no preservatives or MSG, and costs so much less than the bottled original.

Hope this becomes one of your favorite salad combos too!


Mixed Lettuces with Strawberries, Red Grapes, and Almonds
From my cookbook Simply Salads

For the Blush Wine Vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
1 bag (8 ounces) Mediterranean salad blend
1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
2/3 cup red grapes, halved
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (preferably Maytag)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Blush Wine Vinaigrette:

In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice and sugar until the sugar has dissolved.  Slowly add the oil in a stream, whisking to emulsify.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad:

In a large salad bowl toss together the salad blend, strawberries, grapes, scallions, almond slices, and crumbled blue cheese. Add the dressing to taste and gently toss.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 6 appetizer or side salads.

Cooking Tip:  Mix and match this colorful salad using your favorite ingredients.  Try substituting spinach or using green grapes or dried cranberries. Goat cheese is also a nice substitute for the blue cheese.

Blackened Catfish

If you like a little kick in your food, blackening should be in your cooking repertoire.

It is so easy. It really isn’t a cooking technique at all … but instead is the use of a spicy seasoning.

Blackened seasoning is a fiery mixture of herbs and spices.  You can always pick up a pre-made blend at your local market. But if you would like to make your own blackened seasoning, it’s really not hard to do.  Just whisk together 2 teaspoons paprika and 1/2 teaspoon each of dried thyme, cayenne pepper, granulated sugar, salt, and black pepper. For a little less heat, reduce the amount of cayenne and black pepper. (This mixture will store for several weeks, tightly sealed, in your spice cabinet.)

Delicious on fish or chicken, I like to generously season the meat with the blackened seasoning and then either sear it in a skillet over the stove-top or grill it.

This recipe is the basic technique for blackening fish. Feel free to substitute chicken or your favorite fish for the catfish. Tilapia, salmon, and swordfish all taste delicious blackened.


Blackened Catfish

In Memphis (my hometown), Soul Fish Café may be known for its fried catfish, but my favorite item on their menu is the blackened catfish.  This is my homemade version along with the not-so-traditional remoulade they serve on the side to cut the heat.

For the Remoulade Dipping Sauce:
3/4 cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely sliced scallions

For the Blackened Catfish:
4 catfish fillets (6 ounces each)
4 tablespoons blackened seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil

To make the Remoulade Dipping Sauce:

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, ketchup, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the scallions. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To make the Blackened Catfish:

Season both sides of the fish with the blackened seasoning. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pan. Sear the fish on one side until the meat is well browned and releases easily from the pan, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn over the fillets and cook until desired doneness, about 5 more minutes. Serve warm with a spoonful of the remoulade dipping sauce.

Serves 4.

Do-Ahead: The remoulade dipping sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate until just before serving.

Lemon Salmon

If you have ever been nervous about cooking fish, this is the recipe to help you overcome your fear.

Despite popular belief, cooking fish is probably one of the easiest kitchen skills.  When armed with a few basic facts, you will be cooking fish like a pro.

Smell it!

When buying fish, ask to smell it.  The fish should smell more like the ocean than dead fish. If it smells overly fishy, that means it is past its prime and will taste overly fishy too.

Don’t overcook it!

Fish should be treated like red meat.  It is best served at medium-temperature. Overcooking will give your fish a strong fishy taste and odor.

I like to remove my fish from the heat (whether oven, stove-top, or grill) just before I think it’s done and let it finishing cooking in the hot pan.

Marinate it!

Marinating fish will add moisture and flavor. However, keep in mind that fishes are delicate.  Fish should never be marinated no longer than 1 hour.

In this recipe, baking the salmon in the marinade helps the fish stay tender and moist.

Ready, Set, Fish!


Lemon Salmon

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced into rounds
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
4 boneless salmon filets (4 to 6 ounces each)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a shallow non-reactive baking dish whisk together the lemon juice, white wine, and oil. Scatter the shallots, lemon slices, and thyme sprigs evenly across the bottom of the pan. Place the salmon filets, flesh side down, into the pan. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes but no longer than 1 hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 385 degrees.

Remove the pan from the fridge, and let it stand until the fish is to room temperature, about 10 minutes on your kitchen counter. Turn the fish over, so the flesh side is up and the skin side is down, and place it back in the marinade. Generously season the fish with salt and pepper. Bake the fish in the marinade for 30 minutes, or until cooked to desired temperature.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tips:

This lemony marinade is also delicious with other types of light and flaky fish (such as tilapia, orange roughy, and halibut) as well as shellfish (scallops and shrimp). The cooking times may vary slightly depending on thickness.

When marinating anything in an acid such as lemon juice, wine, or vinegar be sure to use a non-reactive container. Cookware made from glass, ceramic, plastic, or stainless steel are all non-reactive and safe to use. (Plastic storage bags are also a great, mess-free option.) Avoid cookware made from aluminum or copper when marinating because those metals will react with the marinade and give your food a metallic taste.

Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Candied Walnuts & Citrus Vinaigrette

Beets are one of those things that I used to always turn my nose up at.  Well…to be honest…that’s putting it mildly.  I’d say for the first thirty-something years of my life, they would have been listed at the top of my “Yuck!” list.  “Why would anyone want to eat those slimy canned red things that seemed to just languish on the salad bar?” was my sentiment.

Then one day…it all changed.

I was at my favorite NYC restaurant (Balthazar) and when my salad arrived, there were beets!  How I missed that on the description I have no idea.  I would have never ordered anything with beets!   

My friend laughed at me as I forked through the lettuce leaves like a picky toddler.  She dared me to eat a beet and, never one to turn down a food challenge, I took a bite. 

I am sure there was a look of shock on my face.  What I tasted was nothing like the beets I had eaten so long ago in my high school cafeteria.  These little red slices were sweet, earthy, and … surprisingly delicious. 

Since that fateful day, I have become a huge fan of fresh roasted beets.  (I still won’t touch the canned variety!) The simple process of roasting these little orbs brings out their almost candy-like sweetness.  Just wrap them in foil, pop them in the oven, and 45 minutes to an hour later…you have a delicious treat.

Give beets a try in this Roasted Beet Salad from my cookbook Simply Salads.  The orangey citrus vinaigrette complements the beet’s sweetness and the tangy goat cheese adds a nice contrast.


Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Candied Walnuts, and Citrus Vinaigrette

Makes 4 dinner salads or 6 appetizer salads   

Roasting beets brings out their natural sweet and earthy flavor. They will taste nothing like the canned beets that you find in the self serve salad bar.

For the Citrus Vinaigrette:

1/2 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:

1/2 pound small to medium beets, stems trimmed and scrubbed
1 bag (5 ounces) Sweet Baby Greens salad blend
1 log (4 ounces) fresh goat cheese
1/2 cup candied walnuts 

For the Citrus Vinaigrette:

In small bowl whisk together the shallots, lemon juice, orange juice, orange zest, Dijon mustard, and oil until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap the beets in aluminum foil. Place the foil packet on a baking sheet and bake until the tip of a sharp knife easily slides through the beets, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the oven and cool. Once cool enough to handle, use paper towels to peel the beets. Cut into quarters.

Divide the salad blend equally among the plates.  Top with the beets and then drizzle with the vinaigrette to taste.  Crumble the goat cheese on top and garnish with candied walnuts.

Lemon Tart

Serves 8

For the crust:                          
2/3 cup pecans, lightly toasted & cooled                   
1 cup graham cracker crumbs             
¼ cup granulated sugar                      
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted & cooled                 

For the filling:                        
2 large egg yolks                    
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk 
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice              

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a food processor, finely grind the pecans with the graham cracker crumbs and the sugar.  Blend in the melted butter.

Press the mixture onto the bottom and sides of a 9” pie dish (I prefer a tart pan with removable sides) and bake until lightly browned, about 8 minutes.  Let the pie crust cool on a rack.

In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the condensed milk.  Whisk in the lemon juice, a little at a time, until the filling is well mixed.  Spoon the filling into the pie crust.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the filling is set.  Let the pie cool on a rack.  Then chill for at least one hour.

Garnish with whipped cream and fresh berries if desired.

Jennifer Chandler

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