Lemon Risotto With Fried Halloumi Cheese & Cherry Tomatoes

Lemon Risotto With Fried Halloumi Cheese & Cherry Tomatoes

Lemon juice and zest gives this warm and comforting Lemon Risotto a double punch of flavor. Topped with pan-seared sweet grape or cherry tomatoes and pan-fried Halloumi cheese slices,  it’s a luxurious winter entrée to enjoy on a chilly day.

Lemon Risotto
4 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons butter
1 large shallots, chopped
1 cup arborio rice
4 tablespoons lemon juice
½  cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons grated lemon peel
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


Add the chicken stock to a pot and bring to simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and cover to keep warm. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté about 6 minutes or until the shallots are tender. Add rice and sauté about 2-3  minutes. Add the lemon juice and stir until absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup hot broth and simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. Add remaining broth 1 cup at a time, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until rice is creamy and tender, about 30-35 minutes. Stir in cheese and remaining lemon juice and peel. Season the risotto with salt and pepper. Transfer to warm bowls and top with the sautéed tomatoes, Halloumi cheese, and a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley. Makes 4 servings


Sautéed Tomatos & Halloumi Cheese 
1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
8 ounces halloumi cheese
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
2 springs fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dry


Slice the halloumi in slices about ¼” thick. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium high heat and fry the halloumi cheese slices for about 2 -3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil to the sauté pan then the tomatoes and oregano. Sautéing for 4-5 minutes until the tomatoes start to pop. Add the over the top of the Lemon Risotto with the fried Halloumi cheese and tomatoes.

Lemon Muffins with Blueberry Jam Filling and Lemon Buttercream

Lemon Muffins with Blueberry Jam Filling and Lemon Buttercream

Shake the winter blues with these delicious and easy Lemon muffins. They combine the juicy sweetness of blueberries with tangy notes of fresh lemon. Topped with sugar before baking, the muffins have a hollowed out center filled with sweet blueberry jam that’s  topped with a dollop of lemon buttercream icing.

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder
¼  teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling (optional)
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest plus 1/4 cup lemon juice
¼ cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
sparkling sugar
½ cup blueberry Jam

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with baking cups. In a bowl, combine together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate larger bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, zest, juice, and buttermilk. Whisk in the melted butter. Stir the wet ingredients into dry ingredients, until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly between muffin cups, filling about two-thirds full. Sprinkle with sugar and bake until tops spring back when lightly touched, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the pan and transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Hollow out a small center of each muffin two-thirds deep. Add the blueberry jam to the center of each muffin. Top each center with the buttercream icing.

Lemon Buttercream Icing
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons egg white powder
1 ½ teaspoons lemon extract
½ -1 tablespoon cream

In a stand mixer using a paddle attachment, cream the room temperature butter with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and egg white powder. Gradually beat into the butter until totally incorporated. Beat in lemon extract. Add ½ tablespoon of cream and beat for 4 minutes. If too thick, add the rest of the cream. 

Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

Kick the post-holiday blues with healthy and delicious Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas. A tasty and colorful combination of oven-roasted butternut squash, corn, red bell peppers, and onion stuffed in a tortilla with enchilada sauce, chihuahua cheese, and cilantro.  Baked and topped with more cilantro, cherry tomatoes, and thinly sliced fresh green onions.

1 pound butternut squash, cut into ½ “ cubes
1 cup frozen corn kernels, slightly thawed
1 onion, sliced into thin wedges
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½  cup fresh cilantro leaves, divided
8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
2 ½ cups shredded Chihuahua cheese or white cheddar, divided
2 cups enchiladas sauce, homemade or high-quality store purchased
5 medium green onions, thinly sliced
10 multi-colored cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Toss the squash, corn, onion, and red pepper slices with the olive oil and salt, and arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender, with slightly browned edges, and caramelized, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn the vegetables over once halfway through. Cool slightly. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

Place the roasted squash, corn, onion, red pepper, black beans, and ¼ cup cilantro in a large bowl, and stir to combine. Spread ¼ cup of the enchiladas sauce in an even layer over the bottom a 9” x 12” baking dishes

Assemble the enchiladas by placing the tortillas on a flat surface and spread about 2 tablespoons of sauce over each tortilla. Top with of the vegetable mixture and about 2 tablespoons of cheese. Roll tightly to close, and place seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas then spread the remaining sauce over the top center of the enchiladas.  Sprinkle over any remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool for 15 minutes. Top the enchiladas with the green onion, tomatoes, remaining cilantro and serve.

Sparkling Holiday Fruit Cookies

Sparkling Holiday Fruit Cookies

Who needs fruit cake when you can have this updated version of fruit jammy cookies? Our Holiday Fruit Cookies are filled with delicious apricot, cherry, and orange jammy bits along with candied ginger, pecans, and rum-soaked raisins. Rolled in sparkling sugar before baking, they have a super crispy, crunchy exterior and a soft jammy fruit filled interior.

1 cup golden raisins
¼  cup dark rum
¾  cup cherry jammies*
½  cup apricot jammies*
cup diced orange jammies*
¾ cup pecan, broken into pieces
cup diced crystallized ginger
1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
2 ½  cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 ½  cups all-purpose flour, we prefer White Lily
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sparkling sugar

Place the raisins and rum in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, tossing often, until liquid is almost absorbed about 6 -7 minutes. Cool completely gently pressing down into any remaining liquid. Add the cherry, apricot, and orange jammies to a bowl along with the pecans, ginger, and cooled raisins.Toss to combine.

Using a stand or hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then the extract. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add into creamed mixture. When completely combined, Stir in the fruit mixture.Place the remaining sugar in a shallow bowl. Shape 2 tablespoons of dough into balls; Roll in the sparkling sugar to coat. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour. 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the dough balls from the refrigerator as needed, keeping the others cold, and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake until just golden brown and set, about 15-17 minutes. Cool on the pan for five minutes then move to wire racks and cool completely.

* Fruit Jammies can be found on-line at KingArthurFlour.com

Fiori di Sicilia Butter Cookies

Fiori di Sicilia Butter Cookies

It’s our new favorite for the Holidays -Fiori di Sicilia butter cookies.  Butter dough with vanilla, citrus, and flower essences creates an addicting butter cookie we filled with a buttercream icing also flavored with Fiori di Sicilia. 

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons butter-flavored Vegetable Shortening
1¼ cups confectioners sugar sifted
10 tablespoons butter
1 large Egg
1 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia extract
½ teaspoon salt
2½ cups All-Purpose Flour

Preheated the oven to 350°F. Line two sheet trays with parchment paper.

In a stand mixer, combine the softened butter and shortening in a mixing bowl and cream until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix well to fluffy on high speed about 1 minute. Add the egg and the extract and mix well.

In another large bowl, combine the sifted flour and salt. Add to the butter mixture and mix to combine well. Transfer the dough to a piping bag and pipe the dough into 36 round shapes onto the parchment-lined cooking sheet. Refrigerate the dough the sheet trays for 30 minutes.

Bake for approximately 13-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely and fill with the Fiori di Sicilia Butter Cream.

Fiori di Sicilia Butter Cream
1 stick of butter, softened
4 cups sifted powder sugar
2 teaspoons Fiori di Sicilia extract
3 tablespoons milk

Beat the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add the Fiori di Sicilia extract and milk until incorporated and smooth. Place in a piping page and pipe on a cookie bottom and then top with another cookie half. Makes 18 cookie sandwiches.