- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.eVyALSMd.dpuf born and raised: February 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

When Life Gives You Lemons... Part II

We have a counter full of lemons.  Our neighbors give us lemons, my mom gives us lemons, and now our little lemon tree has flower buds on it.  Our friends down at Blue Label restaurant (can't wait to try their fixed menu for restaurant week) recently hosted a Meyer Lemon cook off, and Nick and I had the day off, so we used the opportunity to make some wild things we have never made before (lemon ravioli, lemon coriander vodka,  lemon steak noodle salad, lemon candy...) and still we have a ton of lemons, not to mention very full bellies.
Experimenting is really important, as well as really fun, unfortunately it's not always palatable (my raviolis were too bitter, and my vodka was not as lemon-y as I would have liked).  After experimenting for days, I just want something easy, classic, and promised to be delicious.

Lemon Bars!

Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet.
For the crust, cream 1/2 lbs. butter and 1/2 cup sugar.
Add 2 cups flour and 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt and mix until just combined

Gather the dough into a ball.  Flatten the dough (with floured hands) and press it into the greased baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides.  Stick it into the refrigerator to chill for 10 to 15 minutes.
Pre-bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned.  Take the crust out of the oven to let it cool off and leave the oven on.

For the lemon, whisk together the 4 eggs at room temperature, 1 2/3 cups sugar, 1+ tablespoon lemon zest (3 or 4 lemons), 2/3 cup lemon juice, and 2/3 cup flour.  Once smooth pour the lemon mix into the crust and bake for 25 minutes, just beyond the when the filling sets.  Let cool to room temperature and dust with powdered sugar.

A good lemon bar can't be beat.  They are so easy to make, easy to transport, everyone seems to like them, AND four more lemons bite the dust!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Salads For Breakfast, Breakfast For Dinner

I like a big breakfast, and I have one almost every day.  Eggs in the morning are more essential than coffee, which I love, but believe it or not, I could take or leave.  My love for breakfast extends beyond breakfast and can easily spill into lunch or dinner. 
One of our favorite anytime breakfasts is tonight's dinner : poached egg salad.

Make any sort of simple green salad, fry some bacon and then chop it up.  Dress your salad with whatever dressing you like (we make a vinaigrette), then toss in the bacon.  Poach an egg and place it on top.  Toast a hunk of your favorite bread, serve it on the side, and voila:  Breakfast Dinner is served.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I Love, Love And Apples

Apples are so romantic.  There are dozens of myths and lore and superstitions all over the world involving apple, yet I find them romantic because they are candy sweet and common place.  If you have been reading this blog you know I love simple things.  It is the simple and common that can be so extraordinary when it is, what it is.  For example, the satisfaction one experiences when biting into a ripe, beautiful, apple.

Apples are a wonderful dessert.  I wanted to make, a really special dessert without doing anything to our perfect apple.  An apple tart.  It looks incredible, and the apple is truely the star.

Preheat the oven to 400
Peel, core, and thinly slice approximately 3lbs of apples (make sure your apples are ripe and delicious, I like mine slightly tart)
Roll out some of the best tart dough (see previous post).  I rolled mine into a rectangle, but maybe you prefer circles, or maybe even a heart shape?  In any case, transfer the dough to a baking sheet, and put it in the icebox to firm up (10 minutes or so)
Remove from the refrigerator and arrange the apple slices fanned out overlapping each other
Brush the top of the apples with melted butter and lightly dust with sugar.
Bake for 45 minuets.
When the tart comes out it is quite common to brush the apples with an apricot jam glaze, I didnt have any (but if you have an apricot tree, I would be happy to help you use your fruit, let me know!) so I decided to brush the apples with my apple rosemary jelly. 
Simply warm the jam or jelly in a water bath to make it runny enough to brush on.

Once cool offer a slice to someone you love (yourself, maybe?).  These are sexy apples.  

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Joyeux Anniversaire

French food is easy.  All you need is butter and thyme. 
We were happy to have my aunt and uncle over for dinner to celebrate my aunt's birthday.  I decided to make a savory tart, a "French" onion tart.
My aunt loves France- she used to live in Paris, and she taught me to (maybe unintentionally) associate delicious, fashionable, and lavender (the herb) with France.  When I was younger we would have tea parties with rose tea and cream, little cakes, and pastries.  When I got older we had tea parties with stinky cheese, mustard, rosé, and violet liqueur.

French food had a long and complicated reputation.  I'm not so interested in soups, sauces, and meats that take days to prepare.  I'm interested in the fresh, simple, and delicious French "bistro" food.  Easy, hearty, and served with wine.  The way real French people eat.

My onion tart starts with a simple pastry dough:

2 cups flour
1 1/2 sticks of cold butter
1/4 (or less) cup of ice cold water

Mix the butter and flour together until it is crumbly, I do it in the stand mixer for less than a minute.
With the mixer still running, slowly pour ice cold water into the flour mixture until it just comes together.  Let the dough rest for at least an hour in the refrigerator.
The secret to good tart dough is keep it cold before you cook it.  The cold butter creates steam in the oven and that gives you a lovely flaky dough.

Nick cut 4 beautiful onions for me, because they were making me cry, and then I sauteed them with some olive oil, salt, and herbes de Provence.  When the onions were soft I piled them on a very cold, rolled out tart dough.  Then I dotted the onions with fresh goat cheese and prosciutto.  Then they went into the oven at 350 for 20 minutes.  Until everything looks golden and delicious.

Bon Appetit!