Tag Archives: lemon

meyer lemon curd bars cockaigne

9 Mar

Every spring, Christina takes a trip to California for a treacherous dose of karaoke, wine tasting, and girly shenanigans. Fortunately, “Girls Gone Wineland” has become an annual affair — three years and counting. Rosie invites us to stay in an adorable guest house, near the citrus groves of her family vineyard. After a night of hot tubbing and Kinect-enabled dance competitions, we begin the day picking perfectly yellow Meyer lemons. At home, I pile the fruit basket high with a bounty of at least 2 dozen!

What better way to celebrate these sweet citrus gems than a batch of luscious lemon bars? This recipe is a favorite of mine from Amanda Hesser’s charming biography (and cookbook), Cooking for Mr. Latte, a gift from my friend Bifen. I love the decadent shortbread crust, which brims with tangy and creamy golden goodness.

meyer lemon curd bars cockaigne
for when life gives you lemons

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
* 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
* 6 large eggs
* 2 1/2 cups sugar (3 cups if using regular lemons)
* grated zest of 2 meyer lemons (1 lemon if using regular lemons)
* 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 5 lemons)

Preheat oven to 325-degrees. Sift 1 1/2 cups of the flour with the confectioners sugar into large bowl. Cut in the cubes of butter (I used a food processor) until mixture is the size of small peas. Tip into a 13″x9″ pan, then use your fingers to pat and press into the base and 3/4″ up the sides to prevent leaking. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool on a rack, reduce oven temperature to 300-degrees.

Whisk together the eggs and sugar in a small bowl. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Sift remaining flour into the mixture and fold together until smooth. Pour batter into baked crust and put in oven. Bake until top is set, about 35 minutes. Remove pan to rack to cool completely before cutting into 3″x2″ bars. Makes 18 bars.

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“otsu” ginger sesame soba

30 Jun

Living in San Francisco, it’s easy to forget what it’s like to sweat through a shirt in the stifling summer heat. Thankfully this weekend I traded in the crummy June fog for the blue skies and rolling vined hills of wine country, not to mention 96-degree temps… Pulsing swollen mosquito bites… Hands singed on a hot steering wheel… Fleeting notions of removing one’s sweaty bra…

There are few things that will cool a body’s internal temperature down on stifling days like those. A cold shower, iced tea and “Otsu” Cold Soba Salad.

Grated ginger and Japanese pepper powder add heat to a soy vinaigrette that’s emulsified with sesame oil. Tossed into a chilled bowl of soba noodles, fried tofu, cilantro and scallions, the combo of cool, spicy, crunchy and smooth is enough to trick the body back into perfect equilibrium.

“Otsu” Cold Soba Salad
Adapted from Pomelo restaurant

Serves 4

Ginger-sesame dressing:
* zest of 1 lemon
* 1 1/2 oz. cleaned ginger, thinly sliced
* 1 T. granulated sugar
* 3/4 t. cayenne (I used Nanami Togarashi Japanese Pepper instead)
* 3/4 t. salt (I skipped the salt)
* 1 T. fresh lemon juice
* 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
* 1/3 cup soy sauce
* 2 T. canola oil (I used olive)
* 2 T. pure sesame oil

Soba Noodle Salad:
* 1 package (9-10 oz.) soba noodles, cooked and rinsed in cold running water
* 1 block firm tofu, cut to 1/2″ cubes
* 2 T. canola oil
* 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
* 3 scallions, green and white part, cleaned and thinly sliced
* 1/2 cucumber, peeled and cut in half lengthwise then cut across into thin half-moons
* Sprinkle sesame seeds + cilantro sprigs for garnish

In a food processor, combine lemon zest, ginger, sugar, cayenne, and salt and process to a smooth puree; add lemon juice, rice vinegar and soy sauce. Blend well. Slowly add canola oil and sesame oil until well combined.

Add tofu to a large non-stick skillet without any oil and toss over high heat until all water has evaporated; add canola oil, reduce heat to medium-high and fry, tossing frequently until tofu is firm and bouncy; beware of possible splattering; drain over paper towels; in a large mixing bowl combine drained soba noodles, cilantro, scallions, cucumber and 2-3 oz dressing, toss well; arrange salad in center of large plate and top with fried tofu. Garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro sprigs.