Friday, December 31, 2010

When Life Gives You Lemons

The possibilities are endless.

A few days before Christmas, the Dumbplumber and I were driving around the 'big city' that is closest to us in the Sacramento Valley below our home in our Mountainous Valley Paradise. We were there to do our last minute shopping. Because of the difference in elevation (3400 ft where we are and about 400 ft in the valley) it always feels like we have migrated into another climate, spring like instead of snow and ice....even in December.

On the AM radio, there is a Swap and Sell channel. Very cool. People can call in and describe items they want to buy, items they want to sell, stuff they are giving away for free. One guy was giving away a piano because he was moving. Suddenly, my ears prick up. A quavery little old lady voice says she has fresh lemons from her tree at 50 cents a dozen. 50 CENTS A DOZEN. Just come by her place and take some, put money in the tip jar.

"Did you hear THAT!!" I say. "Do you know where Shady Lane is? OMG we have to get some lemons!!"

"Why can't you buy lemons in the store?" replies The Dumbplumber grumpily, because he is on a man's Christmas shopping mission. Get the stuff and get the hell out of town.

"Yes. 50 cents EACH. Not 50 cents a dozen." Says I.

Soooooo....we go get lemons. I was now on a mission too. And surprise surprise, they are Meyer Lemons. You would think that I had found gold nuggets.

So....when life gives you lemons and not just any old lemons.....COOK....make

Buttery Lemon Squares, Lemon Curd, Lemon Creme Brulee Tart, Candied Lemon Zests.


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 6 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Make Crust: Cream butter and powdered sugar. Add in 2 cups of flour (reserve the other 1/3 xup) and beat until blended. A food processor works well for this. Pulse on and off to process. Spread and pat firmly into a greased 9 x 13 metal pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until starting to brown at the edges. You are basically making a shortbread crust.

Filling: Meanwhile beat eggs until light. Gradually add the sugar. Beat until thick. Add zest, juice, remaining 1/3 cup flour and baking powder and blend. Pour over baked crust. Cook at 350 for 20 minutes until golden on top.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and let cool completely before cutting into squares.

Should equal about 20 squares.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Snow Day: Time to Bake Yeast Raised Corn Bread

I love snow days!! They present the excuse to do things in the house, to cocoon, to relax and in the spirit of this recipe bake something.

Having been a recipe junkie for years, I have clipped and hoarded recipes. Consequently there is a huge pile of recipies that have have put into the "it might be good, I think I'll try it someday" category. There is a great software program Living Cookbook, that I use to organize and sort recipies and to turn them from scraps of paper into electronic files. This helps to to keep my office from looking like something on the Hoarders television show. If I didn't keep myself organized, my husband says they will someday find my withered body covered in old cook book magazines,craft magazines and clippings....along with a collection of art deco pottery, fiestaware and kitchen wares.

So.....snow day. Time to test out a new recipe on my ever lovin' patient hubby. Who knows how it will turn out, but you won't know until you try. If it is good, the recipe moves from the "it might be good" file into the "my favories" category.

We are using the last of the Thanksgiving ham, bones and meat that was frozen to make bean soup which is usually accompanied by cornbread. Today, something different.

Yeast Raised Corn Bread

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 pkg yeast
  • 4 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 cup forzen corn kernels thawed

1. Mix 2 cups warm water, sugar and yeast in large bowl of heavy duty electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes

2. Add 2 1/2 cups of flour to yeast mixture an beat on low speed until well blended, about 5 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic and clean kitchen towel. Let rise in warm area until doubled in volume. Mixture will be very spongy. About 45 minutes

3. Stir down yeast and flour mixture. Stir in 1 1/4 cups flour and 1 cup cornmeal and salt. Turn dough out onto generously floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, adding more flour if dough is sticky about 5 minutes. Knead in corn. Lightly oil large bowl. Add dough to bowl and turn to coat in the oil. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

4. Punch down dough. Turn onto floured surface and knead briefly until smooth. Divide dough in half. Roll each piece between palms and work surface into 10 to 11 inch long by 2 1/2 inch wide log.

5. Sprinkle large baking sheet with some cornmeal. Transfer loaves to baking sheet. Using small sharp knife, cut 4 diagonal slashes about 1/2 inch apart. Cover and let rise until almost doubled about 45 minutes.

6. Preheat oven to 350. Bake until crust is very crisp and loaves sound hollow when tapped on bottom. About 50 minutes. Cool on racks.

Source: Bon Appetite February 1997

See....told you I was hoarding recipies. 13 year old recipe and today is the first time I'm trying it!! About time, doncha think?

If this works out, I might try to put some cheese in the mix. Romano or Parmesan sounds good.