Sunday, February 11, 2007

How Do I Love Thee?... Joyfully


It's not difficult to find reason for joy. It can be as simple as a sunny day after days of gray and rain, as happened today here in northern California.

It can be knowing the Sweetie loves me even when I make no sense as I did at lunch time today when I first told him it was OK to eat a leftover for lunch, then told him no (I hadn't had time to photograph it for the blog) then told him it was OK, then told him both pieces were OK, then said that I needed one of the pieces (wasn't sure I'd gotten good photos and was feeling insecure...know that feeling?), then told him it was REALLY OK to eat both. Poor guy! It's not easy loving a food blogger sometimes.



It can be stopping cleaning to take an afternoon break for tea and an English muffin with fresh lemon curd on it. Something about lemon is so joyful to me. Tea, too. So much so that I have at least 11 teapots. I use them often because then I have a second cup (or one for Sweetie like there was today) ready to go and hot.



As you can see from the photo, they are an eclectic assortment. The green one up front is my favorite everyday pot. It has a nice texure to it and holds the heat well. The calico one on the right is a special one from my daughter. She found it once and found an exact replacement when the handle was broken on the first one. So thoughtful! The one with violets on the far left is from my Mom and the stacked one with violets is from a local antique place. I rarely use it, but love the shape and decorations. It's also fun to have a lot of big teapots, like the one at the back, for the Christmas Tea Party that I've done for a number of years. Didn't happen this year since we were in Seattle, but maybe next year?

A great thing to have with tea is a muffin, biscuit, or scone slathered with this tart and sweet and very rich lemon curd. It keeps up to 3 months in the fridge, but rarely lasts that long around here. It also makes a lovely gift, especially for a tea loving friend, in a pint jar with a ribbon around the neck.


Zesty Lemon Curd Yields 3 Cups Stores up to 3 months in fridge

3-4 fragrant, bright-skinned lemons
1/2 Cup (1 stick) plus 2 Tablespoons butter, cut up
Pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1 1/4 Cups sugar

1) Run 2 inches of water into the base pan of a double boiler and set over medium heat to come to a brisk simmer.
2) Grate or shred enough lemon zest from washed & dried lemons to make 1 1/2 tablespoons, packed, lemon zest. Place the zest in the top pan of the double boiler. Juice the lemons and strain juice to make 1/2 Cup; add to the zest. Add the cut up butter & salt to the pan. Set aside.
3) Beat the egg yolks and whole egg together at high speed in the large bowl of an electric mixer until they are foamy; gradually add the sugar, continuing to beat the mixture until it is pale, fluffy, & very thick, about 5 minutes.
4) Scrape the egg mixture into the double-boiler top and set the top into the base containing simmering water. At once begin whisking the mixture; cook it, whisking constantly, until it has thickened smoothly and is steaming hot, about 15 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the curd; it is done when it will coat a metal or wooden spoon heavily. Remove the upper pan from the hot water.
5) Pour the curd into a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl and press it through with a rubber spatula, leaving the shreds of zest behind (discard shreds). (It is o.k. to leave the zest in the curd, but the texture is different.) Scrape the curd into sterilized jars. Let it cool uncovered. Cap jars of cooled curd with sterilized lids. Refrigerate the curd.

Note: This can be made with lime zest & juice. Use 1 Tablespoon lime zest and 1/2 Cup lime juice and follow the recipe the same way for everything else.






3 comments:

Melindy said...

14 days of 'How do I love thee'! charming! and parmesan crisps, I LOVE that idea. Three food processors, oh, you lucky lucky woman. Dried fruit- oh mi amor- my favorite being figs, figs, figs, I routinely make myself almost sick on those things, but never stop eating them. I will try those scones! :)
Happy blogging- Spring is on the way!

Deb Limacher said...

Hi Pat. I can't tell you enough how much I've enjoyed your blogs. You have such great writing abilities - drawing the reader right where you want them. Your photographs are surperb and mouth-watering. I am loving every day spent with you. Thank you so much for your time and efforts.
Debe

Elle said...

Melindy, so glad you liked the posts. Sweetie's favorite is figs, too. Not so much fresh as dried. They are sooo good for you, too. Have my first daffodil, so spring is springing! Happy blogging to you.

Deb, it's great you are reading the blogs...nice to spend the time with you. Maybe you could 'guest blog' your Green Goddess dressing when the 14 days are done?? I'll call you about it.