Thursday, December 27, 2007

Meyer Lemon Curd: The Cure for Nightmares

I had a whole list of things I was assigned to do tonight. Dave went off to the hockey game and made me promise that I would sharpen knives and research steam cleaners and cameras, that I would do laundry and figure out what to do with the black truffles that Santa brought us yesterday.

Did I do any of those things? Maybe a couple. The truffles I took care of (and I even grocery shopped for the dinners these truffles have shaped.) But that's where it stops.

Let me tell you about the dream I had last night. In my dream, I was running. Not running FROM something, just running for fun. I remember it was on a college campus, and the buildings were old, the trees full and leafy. I remember the thrill of the run, how much I was enjoying myself. And then I took a wrong turn, a shortcut down a "dark alley." I made another turn down another alley... thought nothing of it. Until I saw the gang of unsavory men. Of course it was dark outside and I was alone. I turned around and tried to flee out the way I came. When I arrived to the first alley's entrance, I found the men had blocked my path. I was trapped.

To escape, I climbed a fence and over a wall. I found myself on a strange woman's roof. She'd seen what was happening and offered to hide me. She did.

She turned me into a cookie. And I was terrified.

I woke up at that point. Scared to pieces that I was trapped in a cookie. I relayed this dream to my husband hours later, and then wondered aloud if that's how the Gingerbread Man felt... and he just patted my knee and said, "O, honey."

Thank goodness the holidays are over! :)

My point with that silliness is that if you ever need to snap out of a weird dream, a bad day, traffic, whatever... I highly suggest this lemon curd! (Totally round-about way of getting here, eh?) My in-laws were kind enough to gift me with Alice Water's The Art of Simple Food for Christmas, and the first recipe I chose was a lemon curd. I can't explain why, because I don't know. I saw it and it called to me. I wish you could have been with me in the kitchen.... you could see the oils as I grated the lemons (and my hands are still scented with them) or the way the steam seductively rose off the pan as I stirred... As I listened to my (also new, but from my mom) Amelie soundtrack, I really felt... happy... safe... You know you've had those cooking moments.. when everything works and you're just so present to be almost in love with what you're doing? Ah.

Alice Waters suggests swapping out three Meyers for regular... and says that you only need 1/2 cup juice... my lemons were so big, I only needed two. This means I have two spare for something else... I'll keep them on my bedside table, in case I have any more bad dreams.

Lemon Curd
c/o The Art of Simple Food, by Alice Waters

Makes 2 cups

Wash and dry:
4 lemons

Grate the zest of one of the lemons on the small holes of a grater. Juice the lemons; there should be about ½ cup juice.

Beat until just mixed:
2 eggs
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons milk
1/3 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)

Stir in the lemon juice and zest and add:
6 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces.

Cook the mixture in a small nonreactive heavy pan, stirring constantly, over medium heat until it is thick enough to coat a spoon. Do not boil or the eggs will curdle. When thick, pour into a bowl or glass jars to cool. Cover and refrigerate.

With their sweeter juice and perfumed peel, Meyer lemons make an especially good curd. Make the recipe with the juice of 1 regular lemon and 3 Meyer lemons and the grated zest of 2 Meyer lemons.
To make frosting, fold lightly sweetened whipped cream into lemon curd. I usually use equal parts whipped cream and curd.


Deborah said...

I have never made lemon curd, but now I want to!

I always have very strange dreams. My husband thinks I am a bit crazy because of the dreams I have.

chou said...

Lemon curd is my favorite dessert ever. I hated lemon as a child, and now find it similar to eating sunshine. It's a great wake-me-up on rainy mornings stirred in with a little plain yogurt and some blueberries.

DaviMack said...

Yum! And I happen to have lemons! Thanks!

A suggestion on the camera hunt: check out Adorama for your purchase, as I've found them to be very good both in price and in service (they've called me up to ask me if I was sure about something I ordered which wasn't right for my camera, for example).

Marjie said...

I love lemon curd with English muffins, English muffin bread, scones, etc. Here's my recipe:

It's amazingly easy!