Catching Up

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I didn’t think I would be writing at this time of night.  I couldn’t stay away from Dough much longer.  So, Michael Buble (only because I need something incredibly up-ity) will keep me company through this late-night post.

Tomorrow, a bus leaves 30th Street Station for DC, then I’m Annapolis-bound for this half marathon.  My favorite running clothes, running shoes (that may retire after this race) and Birkenstocks are lumped together in my back pack. Since when am I runner?  Sometime between graduating from college and becoming a full-time higher-ed administrator. (If I’m not a college student, I might as well be consoling one.)

And yet, I couldn’t stay away from the classroom too long.  This summer, I’ll be learning why buildings like the one below can shape societies under totalitarian governments.  Kind of a downer?  Maybe.  Fascinating?  Absolutely.

Palazzo della Civilta Italiana, Rome, 2010

I also had the pleasure of having my hair done by the rising stylist, Miss Caitlin.  You can find her at American Mortals on Walnut, or you can contact her at missgray6845@gmail.com.  Like my do?  With a little salon chair therapy and a loving pair of scissors, Caitlin worked her magic.

One more update before signing off.  Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of working alongside the lovely Liz for one of her catering gigs.  This lady was saving for her first KitchenAid mixer when most of us were convincing our parents to take us for our driver’s permit.  Constructing her first wedding cake at 17 and catering her first wedding at 19, I was happy to work under her for the latest matromoninal mission.

When the party was over, our little row home was a regular produce junction.  Trimmings from the crudite and fondue fountain abounded in our living room.  To save a few strawberries and bananas, I came up with a smoothie to keep me going between training and catering.

Post-Wedding, Pre-Training Power-Up Smoothie

1 c. Kefir (Your digestive system will thank you for it.  I know, the copywriter who didn’t rename this cultured milk product did it a disservice, but don’t let that dissuade you from giving it a try.)

1 ripe banana

1 c. strawberries, or whatever berries you find at your farmer’s market (for an icy smoothie, freeze them first!)

1 tsp ground flax seed (for the omega 3′s you didn’t get that day)

1 Tbs honey (for a natural boost of energy)

Pinch of sea salt

Combine ingredients in a food processor to your desired consistancy and enjoy!

Is it pretty? No, but neither was running 10 miles the morning after catering a wedding. It’s all about perspective.

For those who’ve followed Dough for in its short existance, here are some photos that didn’t make the cut in previous posts.  Why share them now?  It’s late.  I’m feeling adventurous.

The colors I recently painted my room make an interesting back drop.  Enjoy.

This winter, I attended a dinner at The Pickle Heron that publicized the new Kensington Co-Op.  These photos are sub-par, but can be fun.

The featured beer was from Saint Benjamin Brewing Company.

The humble kitchen at The Pickled Heron. House-made bread was one of the dinner’s highlights.

The goat cheesecake was to die for.

Dinner was family style: serving dishes filled with locally-grown products were passed around the long tables.

Beads and Baked Goods

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In my last post, I was side-stepping gallons of paint and tattered drop cloths.  For a week, I would come home to shake cans of paint then and continue to roll the warm colors over the dull white that plagued my walls.  My roommate’s air mattress was pretty inviting by the end of one of these evenings.  As promised, here are some photos of my finished room.

Of course, a modest baking project fell into my lap around the same time.  Did you meet my friend, Kristy?  She and her husband, along with their three bouncy children, are moving to Rwanda as missionaries.  Learn more about their journey here.

Kristy is already helping the families effected by the 1994 Rwandan genocide by selling Hope Beads.  (I can’t help showing off my own necklace, shown below.)  An organization called The Good Samaritans teaches families living poverty how to make jewelry from recycled magazines and calendars.  Most of the members could not finish school and are HIV+.  Thanks to the work of The Good Samaritans, these families are loved and taught to read and write in their native language.  Check out the newest pieces for sale on Kristy’s blog.

Recently, the Marlins raised support with a bowling and bake sale benefit.  The recipe below is my creative adaptation of Alice Water’s biscotti from The Art of Simple Food.

Send the Marlins Biscotti

1 1/2 c. whole hazelnuts

2 1/4 c. AP flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

3 eggs

1 c. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. of semi-sweet chocolate chips (If more chocolate falls into your mixing bowl, that’s fine too.)

Preheat the oven to 350.  On a baking sheet, spread out the hazelnuts and toast in the oven for 5 minutes.  Allow to cool and chop coarsely.

Combine flour, baking powder, and cinnamon in one mixing bowl.  In a larger bowl, beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla together.  In small portions, add the flour mixture and finally incorporate your hazelnuts and chocolate.

On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, divide the dough in to two loaves.  You may want to dampen your hands to shape the loaves.  Bake for 25 minutes at 350.  The loaves should be lightly golden.  Remove them from the oven, and allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Lower the oven temperature to 300.  Cut the loaves into individual cookies — about 1/2 inch thick.  Place biscotti, cut side down, on 2 baking sheets.  Cook for 10 minutes, then turn them over, and finish for another 10.

**Depending how hard you like your biscotti, you may want to pull them from the oven a few minutes early.  If you do over bake them, you’ll just need to brew more espresso.  That’s not much of a loss.

A painter’s lunch

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I’m painting my bedroom.  Yesterday was part II of the saga.  Part I consisted of my roommate and I getting Korean take out, cheap wine and a few rollers to get the project started.

Excuse the mess; I’m working in tight quarters!  I’ll post more pictures when the room is finished.  A deeper orange will be the focal color of the space.  The color scheme was supposed to be reminiscent of a market in Marrakech or an agriturismo in Tuscany.  Whatever it looks like, I like how natural light reflects off the walls.Lunch time rolled around, and I needed some sustenance.  Ingredients for arugula almond pesto by Naturally Ella have been sitting in the fridge all week. (I also recommend the sea salt and honey almond butter recipe from her blog — so good!)

My DIY project was a good excuse to whip up a satisfying lunch.  Unlike the traditional pesto from this post, I opted for the food processor rather than my mortar and pestle.

I dressed leftover pappardelle with the peppery, yet bright, pesto.  Squeezed lemon juice added some extra zing.  A floppy fried egg lounged on top of the heap.  Finished with a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper, this dish hit the spot to return to my painting project.

The Tastings Project, Part I: Brunch

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I mentioned in this post that I was looking forward to receiving my copy of La Tartine Gourmande in the mail.  After its arrival, I became quickly capitvated by the author’s colorful photography and lovingly-penned anecdotes.

Peltre’s book became an inspiration for my own side project.  I’m calling it The Tastings Project.  The concept is simple: to host a meal of multiple dishes of which I have never prepared previously.  What will this require? 1. To lay my self- consciousness aside in order to share my love for food with others, and 2. Diners whose friendship will not be questioned if the meal is less than satisfactory.

I decided to hold a brunch — a meal open to some interpretation.  My diners would be those close to me: my three housemates and a friend from high school who recently relocated to Philadelphia.  I do owe my roommates some form of gratitude — for offering comforting words after a bad day, to borrowing a car, to sharing their friends.  I was pleased to invite my high school friend, with whom I endured years of band camp and awkward marching uniforms, to my table.

Two dishes on this brunch menu were both from Peltre’s book.  The first was a ratatouille tartlet with poached egg.  I even experimented with the author’s gluten-free pastry dough.  How can ingredients like quinoa, brown rice, and buckwheat flours substitute the those in a traditional pate brisee?  Though gluten-free isn’t the most cost-effective route, it can be a good alternative for the health-conscious baker that wants to steer away from relying on enriched AP flour.  The nutty, grainy textures blended well with the cornerstone of any respectful pastry – farm-fresh butter.  I thought the resulting dough presented itself well in tartlet form.

Aromas of thyme and garlic complimented the ratatouille in the finished product.  (I didn’t even break any yolks in the poaching process!)

The second experimental dish was petite pots de creme.  Each diner had their own ramekin of vanilla-infused custard.  I’m not going to lie — this was a little labor intensive.

The homemade applesauce created a light base,

and the hot water bath baked the little cremes through and through.

After bustling around table settings, properly-set custards, and carefully-timed eggs, our party of five dined together with ease.  Bites of stewed vegetables mingled with spoonfuls of pillowy custard.  Choosing between sweet and savory is always the diner’s inner-conflict over a brunch menu, but today every palate’s battle was resolved.  Aromas of vanilla and hazelnut billowed from our piping cups of tea.  We chewed, laughed loudly, and listened to one another.  The chewing only stopped when every plate was bare and every ramekin’s porceline bottom shined back at us.

Afterwards, the diners dispersed throughout the living space — some occupied comfy couches while others propped their feet on previously occupied dining chairs.  Several rounds of “What year was that Disney film made?” was played as our meal settled.  I thought I had a thorough knowledge of the 90′s, I was proved sorely mistaken.  The afternoon progressed and our mid-day break had to end.  To-do lists lingered and studies were waiting for their proper attention.

-A

Jack Jack joined the post-brunch lounge.

A root and some herbs

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I met celery’s ugly sister this week — her name is celeriac.  In the US, she is better known as celery root.

One would barely associate them together — celery’s leggy limbs and fresh coloring is always eye catching.  She’s the petite soprano that gets the solos every year.  Her sister has a stout and bulbous figure, washed out color, and the only thing she’s remembered for is her solid oompa beat in the tuba section.  If not buried, certainly forgotten – celery root is the tuba player of vegetables.

I’ve been browsing Yotam Ottolenghi’s highly acclaimed Plenty and wanted to try one of his recipes.  On my weekly perusal through Reading Terminal market, I collected the listed ingredients, including our sister root.

When I first stumbled upon Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi, I thought, “Big deal, a cookbook full of vegetable dishes.”  Despite its praised reviews, I’ve been attracted to other London restauranteurs’ cookbooks, like this couple who recorded their culinary adventures while living in Andalusia or the Brit who thinks he has a handle on Italian fare.

I was sold on Ottolenghi’s book when I paged through it in Barnes and Noble.  Exceptional photography, innovative flavor combinations and interesting ingredients won me over pretty quickly.  The recipes are a reflection of the food he ate as a child: “European at home and Middle Eastern all around.”

So I tried my culinary skill at a recipe entitled ‘celeraic and lentils with hazelnut and mint’.  Breaking down the root made me a little more appreciative of her.  While peeling away the knobby, uneven skin, familar wafts of bright fresh celery filled my nose.  Meanwhile, aromas from the thyme and bay leaf filled the kitchen as they simmered with green lentils on the stove.  These flavors married well in the final dish.  Toasted hazelnuts added a coarse texture with subtle smokey notes.  Mint brightened the dish as red wine vinegar contributed its distinct zing.  Olive oil’s silky texture rounded out all the flavors on my palate.  Although this dish was not conventional for my kitchen, I’m looking forward to trying more recipes from Ottolenghi’s cookbook.

This week’s warmer weather inspired me to start a potted herb garden.  What do I know about cultivating herbs?  Well, I could tell you just as much about the Phillies as I could about growing an herb garden.  I have friends that would be disappointed by that confession.

I got a little over-excited at this project — seven little pots line my bedroom window.  Four plants I’m growing from seeds, and three I purchased together in a starter pot.  I had no reason for buying already-grown plants other than boosting my gardening morale.

On particularly sunny days, I take my herb garden outside to get extra sun exposure.  The sweet basil and red basil is already budding.

Reader, I’ll only keep you posted on positive results on my garden.  I may stick to market-bought herbs if this project doesn’t bode well.

-A

Pesto and Pass times

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Confession: I have a fetish for cookbooks.

I should say that my fetish is for researching cookbooks.  Scouting out favorites lists like the ones found here or there can turn into a distracting pass time.

Then I turn to the opinion of the average home cook.  This is why I am thankful for Amazon.com customer reviews.  The occasional commentor posts something like, “I didn’t like this cookbook because of all the Spanish recipes.  Since I lived in Spain for several years, I didn’t find this cookbook helpful.”  So, the researcher has to be discerning in the reviews with which she is conducting her study.

This careful process reminds me of my former researching days – only in college I sat in musty corners of the library paging through Arthurian romances.  Now, I find myself rummaging for the haute coutoure of cuisine.  Tomato, tomahto.

Discovering Beatrice Peltre’s highly acclaimed new book La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for an Inspired Life was a fun find.  I first came across the book when Heidi Swanson featured Bea on 101 Cookbooks.  As reflected in her own blog, Bea values vibrant, natural qualities in cuisine that are only honored by using whole foods as her ingredients.  Influenced from her childhood in France, previous life in New Zealand, now and the U.S., her culinary point of view carries a unique international flair.

I am very much looking forward to recieving my copy in the mail.  I’m sure venturings from La Tartine Gourmande will surface in later posts.

Creating in the kitchen this week required a slower pace.  Whether it was making pesto for a crowd in a Japanese suribachi,

Pesto in Suribachior blending citrus flavors into homemade curd, everything required a little extra love.  Previously idle glass jars became vessels for grapefruit lemon curd and freshly-brewed raspberry mint tea.

Speaking of pesto, I found this film from Kinfolk to be inspiring.  A skeptic may be thinking, Why not use a food processor?  Less time, less elbow grease.

Basil, olive oil, pine nuts, and parmeggiano reggiano will thank you for your time.  Sweet, lingering aromas of basil and the wonderful fattiness of olive oil have the chance to meld and mesh with these manual methods.  For a simple application, dress linguine for a lunch dish.  Adorning gnocchi with pesto and a glass of Orvieto Classico always makes me sentimental.  Here are a few photographs from a day I strolled through the little hill town.

The next time you make pesto, pair it with a white wine from your favorite Italian hill town.  I imagine the measurements from the Kinfolk film would yield a favorable result.  I use Alice Waters’ recipe from her book.  If you’ve been following me for a while, you can tell that this book has become a very close to friend to me in the kitchen.

-A

Saffron and Ceramics

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Walking through South Philadelphia gives me a cozy feeling — like when you walk into your mother’s house and scents of butter, strawberry, and rhubarb greet you at the front door.

It begins with the houses.  Colorful doors smile at passersby.  I can’t help but stopping to take a picture.  Unfortunately, my camera cannot do the doors justice without the surrounding houses in view.Blue Trap DoorPurple South Philadelphia DoorVenturing to this area clears my mind of background noise.  While strolling down Ellsworth, then 9th street, my senses are reawakened from a week’s worth of dulling drugdery.  All the gray my eyes endured now feast on urban life.  I cannot smell stale copier paper or hear the incessant clicking of computer keys.  Phone calls cannot interrupt my every train of thought.

Sitting in an empty coffee bar, I can detect delicate scent of anise from a pizzelle, and the correct creaminess of a cappuccino.

Pizzel and Cappuccio from Anthony's

As I wandered further down 9th Street, I finally stopped at a store front that I’ve been passing for years.  I should learn from this recurring pattern — the businesses I merely pass by countless times are some of the most rewarding gems I uncover.  The afternoon was slightly overcast, so walking into the colorful studio of The Expressive Hand was a pleasant occurence.  The shop owner gave me a tour of the space, the tools, and the paints.  A young couple had an open bottle of wine at their craft table.

A modest soup bowl would be my creation for today.  I pulled up a chair, and preceded to stipple, swirl, and stroke paint unto the ceramic surface.  Before I realized the time, a few hours had passed by and I wasn’t finished with my piece.  I learned that day that pottery is my strong artistic medium, but photographing the paints and my lowly bowl was a fun part of my experience.Plenty of brushesBowl and Paint

My soup bowl

Before I digress too far, I should tell you about saffron.  I’ve searched in a few stores for this coveted spice.  I never cooked with it before, but I knew my risotto (which has been sub par, I will admit) needed a face lift.  I was pleased to find it at the Italian Market Spice Company on 9th street.  Ask for saffron at the counter, the owner doesn’t stock it on the shelf.

After making last night’s dinner, I agree with words the of Alice Waters when it comes to risotto.  To sum up, a successful result is from a few basic but crucial ingredients:

1. Good chicken stock.  If you just use what’s in the box, your risotto will taste like it’s from a box.  When I made this fatal flaw, my ending dish took on an unfortunate yellow color rather than maintaining arborio rice’s pearly white color.

But making my own chicken stock requires buying and cooking down an entire chicken you’re thinking.  It can, but not necessarily.  Julia Child includes a quick fix in Mastering the Art of French Cooking that merely calls for white wine, the aromatics (onion, celery, carrot, parsely, bay leaf), and thirty minutes.  This recipe is a permanent part of my repertoire.

2. Freshly-grated parmeggiano reggiano.  Please don’t degrade your risotto with the substance in the plastic shaker container.

3. Fresh butter.  Cut a slab from a block of local farm butter (15 grams in a tablespoon), and swirl with wooden spoon.

And what of the saffron?  Well, this will promote your risotto from peasant fare to an aristocrat’s first course (or an administrative assistant’s entire dinner).  Just fold a pinch into the pan, after your last bit of butter and parmeggiano is incorporated.  The delicately floral scent distributed throughout the risotto bianco invites the diner to forget about the week passed.  You can take off your shoes, pull your warmest blanket over your lap and conclude the evening with a ridiculously sentimental film like Moonstruck or Nodding Hill.

-A

Bread, Part II

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I can’t help myself.  Bread is a wonderful thing, and it is worthy of two posts.

There are a few inspirations for this post.  First, I recently discovered a food blog called Nectar, whose photography and artistry I admire.  The author’s account of a trip to Morocco caught my eye — not only the photographic retelling of her experience, but the culinary perspective as well.

The author includes a recipe for Moroccan bread, or kesra, in this post.  This recipe immediately took me back to a personal excursion of mine.  I visited Tunisia a few years ago, and my traveling group had the pleasure of being hosted by bedouin natives in the Sahara Desert for a night.Sunset on Sahara

Bedouins are a desert-dwelling people of Arabic descent.  Their family raised and tested them on surviving the desert’s elements.  Our welcoming group prepared a dinner of curried couscous and lamb.  We dined under canvas tents around a bonfire.  The evening’s entertainment consisted of pottery balancing acts and dancing under the Saharan stars.

Shortly after my group’s arrival by dromedary caravan, one of our hosts gave bread making demonstration.  A simple combination of flour and water, the baker furiously mixed up a firm dough.  A bed of heated coals stood by, and which served as the oven.Bedouin and Bread

Bedouin and BreadBorrowing in the coals with some desert brush, the baker made a bed for this lump of dough and enclosed it with the heated embers.

When the bread was ready, the baker uncovered his creation.  A desert bush served as a primitive counter space.  Beating off the ash and sand grains, our group stood amazed at the baked delicacy taken from the ground.  Wedges of the dense, chewy loaf were passed around in baskets during dinner, where we reclined at lowly tables in a banquet fashion.  Fresh loaves were baked for breakfast the next morning.  We lathered generous slices with fig jam and washed it down with coffee.

Desert bread was one of the culinary delights of my stay in Tunisia.  Needless to say, I was delighted to come across a similar variety.

Of course, the bread I had in Tunisia had fewer ingredients.  Rosemary and sesame were not in the bedouins’ recipe.

Mixing Kesra DoughThese additions left a favorable perfume in my house, however.  As the round loaves baked, the scent of rosemary crept up the stairs to the second floor.  Roasted cornmeal’s earthy bright flavor married pleasantly with the herb accents.

Risen KesraTwo issues concerned me throughout this process: 1. I substituted half of the bread flour for all purpose (the idea of exhausting my roommate’s supply of bread flour made me feel bad), and 2. I was worried that the recipe didn’t allow for enough baking time.

The loaves favorably increase in size during the suggested hour of rising time.  This slightly alleviated my bread flour concern.  When I took the sheet pan from the oven, the loaves were still pale on the top, but accrued a golden crust on the bottom.  I tapped the underside slightly; the hollow sound reassured me that the suggested baking time was accurate.

Front Kesra, Back Kesra

After cooling, slicing into one of the loaves was nothing short of a delightful experience.  The interior was pillowy, with a tender crumb.  Notes of rosemary made a pleasant palate-to-nose tasting experience.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have fig jam to relive my Saharan night.  Pear butter will certainly do for now.

-A

Bread, Part I

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It was time for a day of rest.  The passed week was full of conversation, meeting, and eating.  Time with roommate, time with coworker, time with family away from home.  All these meetings were beautiful in their own way — to laugh, to listen, to learn.

Today had to be different.  The weather even had to decide it’s course of action — would it be sunny and blue-skied like Thursday, or cold and overcast like Friday?  After a clear beginning, a surge of blustery flurries, and sporatic gusts throughout, the sun finally set on a seasonally chill Saturday.Kitchen Window

Today had to be slower.  Things like making my own tomato sauce and bread for the week were all in order.  Issues like how to cut a pineapple or how do I know if a turnip should be peeled were in the forefront of my mind.

Bread was inspired by a few different sources this week.  On several occasions, I reached to my high, humble pantry shelf, and upon patting my hand on the sinthetic wood surfance, a bag of Hodgson Mill bulgur was discovered countless times.

I had a tabbouleh-making phase a few months ago.  With a fresh squeeze of lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, and plenty of curly parsley, the Lebanese salad makes a refreshing, whole grain dish.

Making another batch of tabbouleh in the midst of late February weather barely seemed appetizing.

Perhaps there could be a baking application for this whole grain.  After all, a winter diet needs to be nurished by bulgur as well.  Thoughts of a steamy, fresh from the oven loaf of bread could be a possibility.

This recipe from Eating Well seemed to fit my agenda.  I suppose I put my own personal touch to it by substituting 1/2 c. of whole wheat flour with rye flour that had been floating around in the kitchen.Baked Bulgur Bread

My grainy-wheat loaf is baking as I write; its warmth is fending off the February chill.  I am pleased with the preparation process thus far – I usually have a difficult time getting a loaf to rise to an attractive height and volume, but this recipe has given me favorable results (that is, before actually baking it).

(Confession: I will truly appreciate this recipe if the end result is satisfactory.  Having not read the directions carefully, I neglected to mix the wet and dry ingredients separately!)

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A training run and a few laundry loads later, this bread baking venture is a success.  Slicing into the cooled loaf, I hear the faint crackling of a well-developed crust.  Reader, you may know that a good crust can be difficult to develop while making homemade bread.  With a sturdy yet delightfully chewy crumb, a smooth, velvety flavor is an unexpected surprise.  The honey must have added this trait to the resulting loaf.

My palate needs to be reminded of the flavors in my bulgur bread.

-A

Lemon

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The one o’clock hour on Friday was somewhat gloomy.  Lowly-hanging clouds shadowed the sky; needless to say that the light coming through the office’s tinted windows was minimal.

Ready to stretch my legs during my break, I knew at trip to Reading Terminal Market would brighten my spirits.  Some might consider heading downtown to be a little ambitious for an hour lunch break, but I consider the trek well worth my time.Fair Food Farm

I do my usual lap between stalls — passed the mountains of colored produce at Iovine Brother’s and the daintily-adorned cakes and cannoli at Termini bakery.  The line at Basset’s Ice Cream was growing with tourists and grandparents with their eager grandchildren.  There was not a single empty seat at the breakfast bar at the Dutch Eating Place.

I slowed my pace at the Metropolitan Bakery, and peered into their display case.  After considering the applebran tartlet, I chose the lemon bar.  The bright, happy color seemed appropriate for this occasion.

Taking up a chair amongst the crowded tables, I listen to the pianist as I unwrap my Friday treat.  I don’t recognize today’s featured musician; she could have been a retired music teacher.  There was no concrete reason to play the piano anymore, but she still needed listeners for her music.  Interpreting the score through the bottom half of her bifocals, she only looked away at the end of the aria, leaning into the major chords just to perpetuate their majesty.

Now that my auditory senses were comforted, my tastebuds needed their own TLC.  The lemon bar did just that – the peppy color translated to into a zest-fest on my palate.  The crust  bunched and crumbled pleasantly — didn’t flake like shortening lends itself towards.

Getting up to throw away the empty bag and parchment, I see a few middle-aged ladies seated at a table poking and proding at the same lemon bar I downed by myself.  How their mouths could be as happy as mine was, I couldn’t tell you.

These few moments over a lemon bar inspired me to attempting my own lemon dessert.  I’d been pouring over Alice Waters’ lemon curd recipe for some time, so this would be my means of recreating this culinary love treatment.

Reader, please do not be disappointed by my unseasonal choice.  After all, lemons are readily stocked in markets and grocery stores year round, so why not bring a little summer to the mid-winter months?

Slowing cooking the curd over medium heat, I waited until the mixture coated my wooden spoon.  I have to say — the creamy, zingy curd that filled my mouth with a bright satisfaction is indebted to a few simple ingredients.  Farm fresh butter (courtesy of Trickling Springs Creamery) brought a delightfully smooth and fatty texture.  I used the measurment index in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking to ensure my butter measurement was accurate.  Farmer’s butter isn’t portioned to the perfect tablespoon measurements like factory-manufactured butter. Local free-range eggs guaranteed the curd to bond and stiffen to a quasi-custard state.  Utilizing the lemons’ juice and zest gains the full attention of your palate.

The only question now is how to apply this delightful spread — on humbly toasted bread or poured into a tart crust?

-A

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