Tag Archives: meyer 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.

Advertisements

quinoa two ways

11 Feb

I don’t know how many times I’ve accidentally given a lecture about quinoa. First off, no one seems to know how to pronounce it properly. No, it’s not QUEE-NO-AH, it’s more like KI-NWA. After that, I tend to launch into quinoa’s historic context as the “mother of all grains,” how it was the sacred food of the Incas, and the fact that it provides all of the essential amino acids of a complete protein.

Usually people let me finish my rant before they declare, “oh yeah, I’ve tried that before and it tastes like birdseed.”

Yes, it can have that crunchy texture, but if you cook it properly with lots of flavors, it can serve as the base for a hearty vegetarian main course, or refreshing grain salad similar to tabouleh. Here are two of my favorite ways to cook quinoa.

#1: main course
quinoa with mushrooms and peppers

adapted from bon appetit (photo above)

* 1 cup quinoa, rinsed thoroughly in cold water
* 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (salted water also works, but will be more bland)
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 1/2 cups onion, diced
* 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
* 1 garlic clove, chopped
* 1 8-ounce package sliced crimini (baby bella) mushrooms
* 6 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, sliced
* 3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
* 1 cup dry white wine
* Sprig of flat leaf parsley, chopped
* Grated Parmesan cheese

Bring 2 cups of chicken broth to boil in medium saucepan. Add quinoa, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender and water is absorbed, about 13 minutes. If there is left over water, drain it off.

Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until onion begins to brown, 5 minutes. Add garlic; stir 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and thyme. Saute until mushrooms are tender, 6 minutes. Toss in bell peppers; sauté for another minute or so. Add wine; stir until wine is reduced and liquid is syrupy, 2 minutes.

Mix quinoa into mushroom mixture and add parsley; season with salt and pepper. Pass cheese separately. Serves 4 as a main dish.

#2: side dish
mediterranean quinoa salad

a chef crissy weeknight special

* 1.5 cups quinoa, rinsed thoroughly in cold water
* 3 cups salted water
* 1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved
* 4 oz of feta cheese, crumbled or cut into tiny cubes
* handful of kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
* handful of fresh mint, torn
* handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped

dressing:
* juice of 1-2 meyer lemons (taste as you go)
* 2 tablespoons olive oil (approximate, taste as you go)

Bring 2 cups of salted water to boil in medium saucepan. Add quinoa, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender and water is absorbed, about 13 minutes. If there is left over water, drain it off. Cook quinoa in a medium mixing bowl.

Once quinoa has cooled to room temperature, add the rest of the ingredients. Toss with the  dressing — no need to mix the oil and lemon juice together first. Taste and add more oil and lemon juice accordingly. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or chill for a few hours to let the flavors develop. Serves 6 as a side dish.