Sunday, February 27, 2011

RECIPE: Lemon Curd

There is NOTHING quite like a little lemon curd spread on a cookie, or IN BETWEEN two cookies)... or slathered on shortbread, or on a scone, or ... oh, so many ways to enjoy this!

It's quick and rather easy... and so, so worth it!

Zest a lemon...

Juice a few lemons...

In a double-broiler, whisk together the eggs, sugar and lemon juice... cook into a thick "sauce".

Strain the lemon mixture...

Remove the lemon mixture from the heat and melt the butter by whisking it into the lemon mixture.

At the very end, mix in the lemon zest and allow to cool.

And when you can't stand it anymore... spread it on top of SOMETHING, just about ANYTHING.

Lemon Curd

3 large eggs
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons) (do not use the bottled lemon juice)
1 tablespoon finely shredded lemon zest
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

In a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice until blended. Cook, stirring constantly (to prevent it from curdling), until the mixture becomes thick (like sour cream or a hollandaise sauce). This will take approximately 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and immediately pour through a fine strainer to remove any lumps. Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk into the mixture until the butter has melted. Add the lemon zest and let cool. The lemon curd will continue to thicken as it cools. Cover immediately (so a skin doesn't form) and refrigerate. Can stay in the refrigerator for up to a week.

If it will last that long...

enjoy your time in the kitchen...

RECIPE: French Macarons

I present to you... bliss...

Lori's disclaimer: I made lots of mistakes through this recipe (my first time throught it). And I'll share those with you throughout this post. Follow the instructions below and you'll be fine.

Here's where I started... almond flour (blanched almonds that have been very finely ground), powdered sugar, granulated sugar, water, cream of tartar, salt and egg whites.

Start by running the powdered sugar and almond flour through the food processor for about a minute. This will help remove any clumps and mix them together well.

Next, sift the two (a time or two) to make really sure that you've got out any large pieces of the almond flour. (Note from Lori: you may find the need to discard about a tablespoon worth of almond flour - or try running it through the food process/blender again to break it down a bit more.)

In a stand mixer bowl, combine the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt ...

But first dissolve the sugar in the water and boil until it reaches approximately 240 degrees F.

While the sugar is boiling, whip the egg mixture (on high, for a few minutes) until soft peaks begin to hold.

Slowly drizzle the hot syrup into the egg mixture, still beating the meringue. Beat until it again holds soft peaks. It should be glossy and look very smooth.

Using a spatula, gently fold in the almond flour/powdered sugar mixture.

Using a spatula, stir the meringue mixture until the batter runs in ribbons... (

Here was my first mistake (which led to mistake #2): I don't think I stirred it long enough... when I would hold up the spatula to watch for the "ribbons", the mixture was dropping, not running like a ribbon. I believe that stirring for a bit longer would have created the "ribbon" affect I was needing.

So the next problem happened when I was dropping the meringue on to the cookie sheets... the dough wasn't thick enough, so it was runny. Mistake #2 was... I placed the cough too close together, so they meringue ran together ... you'll see what I mean in the next few images.

And do you see an ever-so-slight change in color in the row of meringue closest to you? I scooped up the first half of the dough and then decided to add just 1 small drop of yellow food coloring (for a 2nd version of the macarons - filled with lemon curd).

Note to self - next time add 2 drops of yellow food coloring.

And so I prepared a second sheet tray. (You will need to use 2 large sheet trays.)

The meringues will need to sit out on the countertop for about 2 hours... and then bake them off.

Allow them to cool completely on the sheet trays... when they are ready remove them carefully with a very thin spatula. (For the macarons that were "joined" I simply cut them apart with a paring knife... they weren't as pretty, but they tasted just as good.)

Then accessorize as you like... for the plain macaron I used a very soft carmel filling. And for the yellow macaron I used lemon curd.

The lemon macaron was the first to go...

And then it got ugly real quick... pardon me. I need to find a napkin.

French Macarons
Recipe courtesy King Arthur Flour Co
link to website: French Macarons

1 ½ cups almond flour
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
3 large egg whites, room temp
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cream of tartar
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon water
½ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

In a food processor, process flour and confectioner’s sugar for approximately 20 seconds. Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl. Set aside.

Put 3 large egg whites, pinch of salt and cream of tartar into large bowl. Set aside.

In a small saucepan heat water and sugar over medium heat, until sugar dissolves. Then bring to a rapid boil. Boil for 2 mins. The temp of the syrup should reach between 235-240 degrees F. When it does take the syrup off the heat.

Immediately start whipping the egg whites, using an electric mixer. When they hold a soft peak on the end of the beater stop, grab the hot syrup, resume beating and pour the syrup steadily into the whites as you beat. Stop to scrap the sides of the bowl midway through.

Continue beating until the meringue is smooth, glossy and forms soft peaks. Fold in the almond flour/sugar. Once everything is fully incorporated, stir with a spatula until the batter runs in ribbons that disappear back into the mass in 10-20 seconds. Test frequently and stop stirring when you reach this point.

Using a teaspoon cookie scoop or pastry bag to deposit a generous teaspoon-sized round blob of batter onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Test cookie should flatten out, rather than remain in a tall blob. If it doesn’t spread, stir the batter some more.

Want to tint some? One or two drops of a gel-paste color. Add at this stage.

Allow to rest in a dry place with good air circulation (a counter top is fine) until you can gently touch the tops and come away with a clean finger, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Bake the cookies for about 25 – 30 mins, until firm on top. They’ll develop a “fuzzy” ring around the center; that’s a good thing. Remove them from oven, and cool completely on sheet.

Use a thin spatula to separate them/remove them from parchment.

enjoy your time in the kitchen...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sinful (perfectly sinful) Cheesey dip

I don't really know who to say THANK YOU to ('cuz I'm not real sure where this recipe actually came from)... so thank you to Campbell's, Kraft, Pace and Jimmy Dean!!! They create the perfect marriage of cheesy-spicy-creamy goodness!

(On a personal note, a huge shout out to Mardee for introducing me to this dip! You're going to make me look really good today when I take this to the Superbowl party today! And I just know my hero-of-a-hubby will LOVE it!)

Here's where I started...

I know, I know... it's not the healthiest (nor is it fancy or something you want to brag about, really...) And thankfully no one cares about calories on Superbowl. But this will also be great for Fight Night, poker night, a kid's birthday party... the list goes on.

Stir together the condensed coup and salsa...

Cube the cheese block... and throw it in the crock pot, on high heat to start with.

Top the cheese with the salsa mixture, and toss the cooked sausage on top.

Place the lid on top and cook on "high" heat for about an hour (depending on your crock pot). Here you'll see I have another crock pot going as well... I'll do a separate post on that Superbowl dish later...

After about an hour, give it a stir. If you don't see any cheese chunks then lower the heat to "low".

When ready to serve, drizzle over tortilla chips (or pour into a bowl and serve up with chips) ... and get ready to fall in love with the most sinful cheese dip you never knew you needed to make!

What you need:
2 lbs Velveeta Cheese
Pace Picante Salsa, medium heat
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1/2 lb breakfast sausage, cooked

In a Crock Pot, heat on "high" for about an hour. Stir well and adjust heat to "low". Serve over tortilla chips...

enjoy your time in the kitchen...


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