Friday, October 05, 2007

A Jaunt to Virginny


Mom used a boxed mix to make the lemon bars we gave to the plumbing supply guy (see below), but here is a recipe from The San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook for Zesty Lemon Bars that are very similar, but probably better since there is fresh lemon juice and zest in this recipe:

Zesty Lemon Bars
1 cup all-purpose flour
11/4 cup powdered sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled

2 tablespoons flour
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Adjust the rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
Crust: Briefly blend the flour and sugar in a medium bowl to combine. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles oatmeal. Using your fingertips, press the mixture into the bottom of the pan.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until pale gold.

Filling: Briefly blend the flour, sugar and baking powder to combine. Blend the eggs, lemon juice and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Add the dry ingredients and blend until thoroughly combined.

Pour the filling over partially baked crust and bake 25 minutes. Cool. Sprinkle powdered sugar over top and cut into bars.

Yields 18 bars

The poor blog has been neglected of late. The reason is that Sweetie and I flew back to ‘Old Virginny’ for a combination of work and play vacation.

When you return to places from your childhood it is not uncommon for rooms and yards and playgrounds that once seemed huge to now seem very small and you wonder at your memories.

I returned last week to the house in Northern Virginia where I grew up. The back yard did seem smaller, perhaps because the maple trees are now huge, but the bathroom really is small and looked about the same.

Since it is so small, it was a challenge to find a new sink to replace the old wall hung one that had become cracked over time. The bracket it was hanging on was also rusted and had broken apart at the end closest to the bathtub. Fortunately, my Mom chose a beautiful pedestal sink with nice clean lines at a home store way out Route 66.

Unfortunately, Sweetie and I discovered that installing such a sink was more difficult for us than installing a sink with cabinet combo. For one thing, you are working in a very tight space and trying to tighten up pipes with that dang pedestal surrounding them on three sides. For another thing, we didn’t have all of our usual tools, so we spent a lot of time rounding up tools in the basement and purchasing more.

Then we turned off the water to remove the old sink

and to put in new quarter turn angle stop valves for the water supply lines for the sink,

but the return of water pressure afterwards seemed to loosen up some grit and gravel from the water lines, so the flush mechanism of the toilet was damaged, so that had to be replaced, too.

Good thing that there was another bathroom downstairs. For the first 15 years I lived there we all shared one bathroom…and eventually “we” was 10 people. Now you know why I’m so good at sharing and time management!

By the third day the folks at Brown’s Hardware

knew us very well since we were in and out of there too many times to count. And just think, the entire project was done during an Indian summer bout of heat and humidity…reminding me yet again why I don’t live there year round.

We also established a relationship with a local plumbing supply store where this guy was very helpful with tools. A gift of some of Mom’s homemade lemon bars when we finished seemed a fitting thank you for such trust and generosity to strangers. He also supplied us, finally, with the proper gasket to stop the leaking that should not have been happening with all new pipes.

Mom was truly grateful and I knew that if we had not done the work that she would probably have waited until the old sink fell off the wall before she replaced it, so it felt good to get the job done.


  1. Very nice of you to thank him with some lemon bars.
    I don't think 10 people and 1 toliet works out all that well. :)

  2. For a moment I thought your title was a juant for virginity....
    I was wrong of course but you had me reading with a smile already!
    Wonderful job you both did, and very rewarding. Wow, I'm in awe that the two of you did this all yourself. Your mum must be very happy!

  3. Elle, you are back! Glad to hear something new from you!

  4. You were here, in NoVA? You were obviously quite busy helping out your mom, but please give me a buzz the next time you are in the area!

  5. Peabody, He was a very nice man. As for the 10 - 1, my Dad learned how to make that work in the Navy, then passed the skill along to us :)

  6. Karen, Glad I got 'ya smiling...never thought of virginity :)
    I was just the assistant, Sweetie is the pro. My mom is thrilled!

    Andrea, If I had even had an extra hour I would have e-mailed you before hand. Following posts will give you an idea of all the activities...the days were packed! Next time I will make time to meet with you for coffee or, maybe, pulled pork (pulled pork adventures will be the subject of another post).

  7. Ahn, Glad to be home and blogging. More post to come!

  8. Oooh, that sink is pretty! When we were back there in 2003, Ron did something (I forget what exactly) to fix the kitchen sink. He, too, went to Brown's Hardware about five times in two days. There's nothing like a friendly, small-town hardware store, much better than the big box stores.

    I look forward to more posts about the visit home.

  9. Beth, Yes, it really is and Mom made the choice, so I'm not surprised. We are so lucky to have Brown's so close to Mom. They really are a great little store. Hope that you get a chance to read the next installment...pulled pork!

    Amanda, My good friend Kathy calls me 'Pioneer Woman' when I do projects with Sweetie. Heehee