So. Lemon curd straight from the spoon is nice. But you know what’s even better? Putting it in a cake.
Oh, I’m sorry. Make that a lemon olive oil cake filled with lemon curd and frosted with honey buttercream.
I know, right?
Hello, lemon curd. Fresh, familiar, decadent, springy. I like you very much.
I’m still relatively new to making custards, but curd is a cakewalk even for a newbie like me. It’s fruit juice or puree, sugar, butter, eggs, cooked gently until thick and glossy. This is the lemon inside a lemon danish; the sunny yellow spread on top of a scone; the gooey-soft filling between the layers of a cake.
This lemon curd is rich and luxe, and a little goes a long way. It looks adorable in a glass jar, and goes down smoothly enough to be downright dangerous.
Well. Seems I’m making a habit of being late to things. Here’s a post about five-layer dip, two weeks after the Super Bowl.
Layer dip is a bit of a Pavlovian thing for me. When I was in high school, a theater geek among theater geeks, every cast party we threw had multiple tubs of the stuff: a Meximurrican mishmash of refried beans, guacamole, salsa, sour cream and shredded cheese. To this day, digging straight down with a tortilla chip brings me right back to those parties, when we were young and loud and silly and weird.
Well, the weird part hasn’t changed. But the point is, I love layer dip.
I can’t believe I let Valentine’s Day go by without posting about this.
The other day, I was digging around in Sam’s fridge, and found a bottle of rosé wine I’d bought ages ago and never used. I opened it and poured myself a glass; it was gently floral, floaty-light, sweet without being syrupy. Then I did some more digging, and found a bag of frozen raspberries in the freezer. Then the wheels started turning…and the result was a delicious and slightly different take on raspberry sauce.
When Sam was a kid, he spent summers at his grandparents’ house in Maine. It was there that he got well and truly schooled in the art of eating lobster: the cracking of the shell, the careful extraction of the meat, the gentle dunk in a sunny pool of butter. His eyes still shine when he talks about it.
But we don’t live in Maine. Sam doesn’t often get to eat lobster anymore. Except on special occasions, like, whatever’s happening tomorrow.
It’s not really a surprise that lobster shows up often around Valentine’s Day. It’s the kind of sweet, succulent indulgence most of us only get very rarely, if at all. And very little needs to be done to it to make it sparkle.
So, in honor of my lobster-loving boyfriend, here’s a nifty twist I came up with on a classic special-occasion splurge: lobster “risotto” made with orzo pasta and lots of champagne.
Sometimes, cooking is just manipulating ingredients. And sometimes it’s thisclose to alchemy.
For example. Say, for Valentine’s Day, you decided to make chocolate mousse. You could melt chocolate, separate eggs, whip cream, beat egg whites, fold airy ingredients into melted ones, and chill for hours before serving. Or you could whip up a lush, impossibly light mousse in about five minutes, with just two ingredients: chocolate and water.
I’m astounded that this works. But it does.
I can’t believe it. This blog is well into its second year, and I haven’t written about onion jam yet.
This is the secret recipe I keep in my (metaphorical) back pocket. It’s my chosen way of winning friends and influencing people. I think I’ve made it for every shindig I’ve hosted for the past two years. My friend Anthony is so smitten with it that he brings a bag of onions every time I invite him to a party.
Onion jam is, well, my jam.