01.31.11

Lemon squares

Posted in baking, dessert, food at 1:15 am by wingerz

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The Meyer lemon tree in our backyard has been calling out to me for the past few weeks. Today I harvested 10 lemons and doubled-up this recipe (that’s right, i used 18 eggs). I love lemon curd; I really should make it more often because it is amazingly good. I made the curd in a double boiler since I’m paranoid.

Lemon squares
from The ATK Family Baking Book

Crust
1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 ounces) all purpose-flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and softened

Filling
7 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1 cup (7 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup grated fresh lemon zest (about 4 lemons)
pinc salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
3 tablespoons heavy cream
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat to 350 degrees. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with a foil sling and grease the foil.
2. Crust: Process the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt together in a food processor to combine, about 3 pulses. Sprinkle the butter over the top and pulse until the mixture is pale yellow and has the texture of coarse sand, about 8 pulses. Sprinkle the mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer with the bottom of a measuring cup. Bake the crust until fragrant and beginning to brown, about 20 minutes.
3. Filling: While the crust bakes, whisk the egg yolks and eggs together in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the granulated sugar until combined, then whisk in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. Add the butter and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly and registers 170 degrees, about 5 minutes. Strain the mixture immediately into a bowl and stir in the cream.
4. Pour the filling over the warm crust. Bake the squares until the filling is shiny and opaque and the center jiggles slightly when shake, 10-15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.
5. Let the bars cool completely in the pan, set on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Remove the pars from the pan using the foil, cut into square, and dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

01.03.11

Food resolutions for 2011

Posted in food, home cooking at 3:17 am by wingerz

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This year I’d like to:
Eat more whole grains and vegetables. Going to have to wean myself off of white bread.
Try more new recipes. I’ve been kind of stuck in a rut where I make the same dozen things for ourselves and for dinner guests. The good news is that I’m good at making those things now.
Waste less. Need to control myself at the market. We let food hang out for too long in the fridge sometimes.

Last year:
Keep the kitchen clean/organized as I cook. This one is really tough when I’m cooking alone. I think I’m doing better though, especially when it’s a small group for dinner.
Be more creative. I think I do an ok job of putting together menus and doing variations of recipes that I really like.
Post more recipes. Whoops, kind of dropped the ball on this one. Another thing to blame on Camille!

Holiday gaming

Posted in games at 2:59 am by wingerz

Camille’s sleep schedule has been a bit erratic over the holidays, so we still need to be vigilant about going to sleep at a reasonable hour – at least on most nights. Over the past month or so I’ve been kept up past our bedtime to play a couple of games – Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii) and Heavy Rain (PS3). Both were totally engrossing in their own way, and I’ve gotten enough of a gaming fix to last me for a while.

Donkey Kong Once you die 8 times in a level a pig shows up and asks you whether you want to skip the level. He mocks you by waving a little white flag. I’m happy to report that I beat the levels myself but saw the stupid pig a handful of times. I hate that they didn’t include a non-motion-controlled option because that would have saved me a lot of frustration. Other than that, this game is fantastic and unforgiving, even if you don’t try to collect all the hidden stuff.

Heavy Rain This is more like an interactive movie (with lots of different endings) than a traditional game. If you don’t replay chapters, you basically have one shot at completing each scene – if something ‘bad’ happens you just continue and the events get woven into the storyline. The story is pretty good, the atmosphere is haunting, and the action sequences are intense. There are a lot of mundane activities, like feeding and changing a baby – what happened to video games being an escape? Definitely worth a play-through though.