I have taken a bit of a break. Unexpected and unintentional….
Nights where I would normally plop down and flip on the TV to something mundane and focus most of my attention on editing photos – just a bit of a tweak…up-ing the contrast or brightness – not a whole lot, because in all honesty, I don’t understand photoshop one bit. And then I try to write something down … generally the thoughts in my brain flood these pages….and more often than not, the words and thoughts have nothing to do with the recipes I post. Which is fine. And that is why I love blogging…there are no rules. You can over share, under share. It is up to you. Or me. More me than you…unless, you too, have a blog…which in that case you probably totally agree with me.
These nights of blogging haven’t been happening as of late. Vegging out on the couch with a bourbon cocktail of some sort (or hot chocolate because it is still freaking freezing here in the great state of Ohio) and watching Skyfall one more time or trying to watch Downton Abby Season 2 - which I just can’t get into. I am a minority on this one, aren’t I? My mind won’t stay focused. Half way through and I am on Twitter. Or find myself cleaning the kitchen. Or looking for brownies in the freezer. ADHD anyone? Ugh. I need Ritalin to watch Downton Abby. I think I am calling it quits. On to the next series. I am taking recommendations. Anyone?
But here I am …getting back into some sort of routine.
WIth routine comes lemon tart, naturally. There may be snow on the ground or freezing rain falling from the sky (ugh, really Ohio?)…but my daffodils are peeping through the ground and my mind is thinking spring. As is my stomach.
Lemons are full on spring. Right? Bright and sunshiny….being that they are yellow. Just makes sense.
Gather ingredients for your shortbread crust. Carry them around in your favorite pie plate you may have swiped from your grandma. The crack on the far edge makes me smile. I am a lover of imperfections.
Your crust will need a lightly beaten egg.
Egg is like food spackle. I work great with food spackle. Real spackle. Not. So. Much.
Fingerprinted crust. You will need to Instagram this bad boy. Normal, right?
I have a tendency to Instagram my weekend baking moments.
Bear with me.
Bright. Sunshine. Happy.
And if I must be honest…this tart was epic, if I may say so myself.
And I will.
Tart. Bright. Sweet.
Just what this dreary March is in desperate need of.
- 1+1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- ⅛ Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Stick Butter (1/2 Cup), Room Temperature
- ¼ Cup White Granulate Sugar
- 1 Egg, lightly beaten.
- 1 Cup Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice (about 6 lemons)
- Zest of 1 Lemon, finely grated
- 1 Cup White Granulated Sugar
- 12 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces
- 4 Large Eggs
- 4 Large Egg Yolks
- Prepare the crust first. Whisk together salt and flour. Set aside.
- Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, gradually add beaten egg. Mix until incorporated.
- Add flour and mix until ball forms – it will be crumbly at first, but it will eventually come together.
- Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 or 10inch removable bottom tart pan. Place the dough into the prepared pan and with your fingertips, evenly press the dough onto the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Poke the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork. Place crust in freezer for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Place tart pan on a baking sheet and bake crust for 5 minutes at 400F. Decrease oven temperature to 350F and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let cool while you prepare lemon curd filling.
- Prepare filling. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together eggs and egg yolks. Set aside. Also, have a mesh strainer at the ready.
- in a medium sized saucepan, combine lemon juice, zest, sugar, and butter. Place over medium-low to medium heat and cook until butter melts. Stirring occasionally.
- Once butter is melted, slowly whisk about ½ cup of the warm lemon mixture into the eggs, stirring constantly, to warm(or temper) them.
- Scrape the warm egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining lemon mixture and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens – about 20 minutes.
- Place mesh strainer over a medium sized bowl and strain mixture, pressing the mixture through with a rubber spatula.
- Pour mixture into pre-baked tart shell and place in oven (at 350F) for about 5 to 10 minutes to set the filling.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely before serving. Serve with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
* lemon curd filling adapted from David Lebovitz
It’s the little things in life …
Little things, simple things… that occur every day. They (whoever they are…) say it’s the secret to happiness…enjoying the little things. And I agree…completely and whole heartedly. A day can be made great by noticing the small things.
Big, grandious things are awesome, don’t get me wrong….
But let’s get real, vacations, birthdays, holidays, weddings, and parades…they don’t happen every day. But the simple things, the small happenings, they DO occur every day… that is what it is all about….I am a huge fan of these little pieces of joy that life tosses in our path ….and this week, there have been many things to smile about…
A few simple things I have enjoyed this week…Read More
Tomorrow is Labor Day (well when you read this, it will be Labor Day) … So happy Labor Day! Can’t believe summer is unofficially over, seems crazy. But I like fall, so bring it on.
How did you fill your holiday weekend? A final pool party, trip to the beach, or lake? Cookouts and cornhole? Did you catch some college football?
I was pretty low key all weekend, hanging out with some friends at the lake, and not doing much of anything. Today, on the actual holiday, I am running a 5k Bier Run, at the local Oktoberfest. I think its a fundraiser for Alzheimer’s disease, but I am doing it mainly for the t-shirt. Its reason enough for me to run 3.1 miles. I will let you know how it goes.
When I get home from my run, toting my t-shirt proudly, and hopefully proud of my time…I will eat a thick slice of this here bread. I think it will be well deserved (kinda). This here bread is my final salute to summer. I know, peaches and apples are more in season right now, but I needed one last bright, refreshing taste of summer, before I dive stomach first into fall!
Lemon blueberry bread is my answer. For a taste of summer, lemons will always be my answer, Oh! and blueberries…well they are my all time favorite. So, in my world, this is a match made in heaven. Over the weekend, we didn’t know if this lemony loaf should be called a cake or a bread. Its like a muffin loaf. Call it what you want, I’ll call it good.
Lemon Blueberry Cake/Bread
adapted from Ina Garten
Makes 1 Loaf
1 +1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Tbsp Flour, extra
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Greek Yogurt
1 Tbsp Lemon Zest – 3 Lemons
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2/3 Cup Melted Butter, cooled slightly
1 Cup Blueberries, fresh, rinsed, and picked over for stems
1/3 Cup Lemon Juice – 4 to 5 lemons
1/3 Cup Sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray/butter loaf pan. Fitting a piece of parchment paper into the bottom of the pan,will ease removal.
In a mixing bowl, sift together 1 + 1/2 Cups flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together, eggs, 3/4 Cup sugar, yogurt, lemon zest, vanilla. Slowly whisk in flour mixture. Fold in melted butter until incorporated.
Toss blueberries with 1 tbsp of flour and then fold blueberries into the batter.
Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan and place in oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Or until toothpick comes out clean. If loaf is getting too brown on top, loosely tent with a piece of tinfoil.
While cake is baking, place 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup lemon juice in small saucepan over low heat and cook until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool.
When cake is done, remove from oven, and let cool for ten minutes. After ten minutes, remove cake from pan, and place on a cooling rack over a sheet pan. Take a toothpick or skewer and poke holes evenly all over the cake and using a pastry brush, brush the lemon-sugar mixture over the warm cake. Let it soak in. (you can pour the mixture over the cake, but brushing it on works best). Cool completely before slicing.
I have this new found love for Jeff Bridges. The drunken, dried up, cowboy/country singer is played well by him. I am not sure if that is a compliment or not, but I liked him in Crazy Heart and just finished True Grit and I have to say I enjoyed that as well. Who knew? Well, a few people, since he was an Oscar nominee for both and won once…
I suppose I should have known.
I bet Jeff Bridges likes berry crisps. He looks like a lover of crisps. I like guys that like crisps…keeps me from eating the whole crisp. Which my thighs thank you for, by the way. I have used the word crisp a lot in the last 3 sentences…Crisp, one more for good measure.
This crisp is super easy to make. Trust me, I wouldn’t lie to you. Not my style.
I was raised with crisps that were topped with a combination of white and brown sugar, flour, and butter. No oats. Oats were not allowed. Oats were not included. Oats were forbidden. But with some careful consideration I now, sometimes add oats…they are nice every now and then. However, my mom’s apple crisp – that, by tradition, can not, will not, should not ever contain oats. It just wouldn’t be the same. A chilled fall night with apple crisp that contained oats would feel foreign and wrong. So very wrong. I am pretty serious about my crisps.
So are you ready to make a crisp?
You will need 8 cups of mixed berries. I used strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. I also tossed in an apple because it was sitting there…
Mix berries with corn starch, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and zest…pour into a DEEP dish pie plate. Set aside.
Butter, brown sugar, white sugar, flour, oats, salt…mix until it looks like this…
Sprinkle it over the berries similar to the above…
Bake until it looks like this…Oh, how I love thee
Serve it up or…when no one is looking, eat straight from the dish. Its best that way. Just say that there was a lingering berry or the edge needed straightened if you are caught in the act…or just give ’em a fork and have at it – they will thank you for the gesture because they too were dying to dig in. Fact.
Serves 6 to 8
*I used a 10 inch deep dish pie plate. If you are using a shallow dish, then halve the filling…simple as that.*
8 Cups Mixed Berries. I used strawberries (sliced), blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and a sliced apple (because it was there)…you pick the mix.
3 to 4 Tablespoons Corn Starch – Juicy berries require more cornstarch.
2/3 Cup White Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
1 Cup All-Purpose White Flour
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup White Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats ( instant is fine too)
6 Tablespoons Butter – chilled and cut up into chunks.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Wash all berries and pat dry.
In a large bowl, toss together berries, corn starch, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Pour them into a deep dish pie plate. Set aside.
In another large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, white sugar, oats, salt, and butter pats. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour and sugar until butter is pea-sized. You can pulse everything in a food processor if you are in a hurry – but oats will not remain whole, so proceed with caution.
Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the berries. Place on a cookie sheet and then place in oven. (cookie sheet will catch anything that may boil over the edge…therefore preventing smoke from rolling out of your oven)
Bake in preheated oven for 1+1/2 hours (deep dish pie plate) or 30 to 40 minutes (shallow pan). The berries will be bubbly along the edges and the top will be golden brown.
Let cool for 30 minutes before serving.
*I do not like a runny crisp, so I baked mine about 20 to 30 minutes beyond the bubbling edge stage, ensuring that the cornstarch thickened the juices.
*If the top gets too brown, then loosely cover with tin-foil.
*If you remove from the oven and let it cool and then realize that it is too runny for your liking, toss it back in the oven. No harm, no foul. This is a very forgiving thing, this crisp.
I wore a white tee shirt to Target today and within seconds of being in public, I dribbled coffee down my front. I do this constantly. I have this problem even with straws…Lord help me.
From here on out I am only wearing shirts that match the color of my beverage.
So today, I ran errands with coffee stains on my shirt. I wanted to explain to everyone what had happened, that the shirt wasn’t dirty when I put it on, that I am just a clumsy 28 year old.
Actually, it might be a bit of karma kicking me in the butt. See, I am generally grossed when I see people who could have possibly used their shirts as place mats. Grease stains, ketchup stains ( I pray its ketchup), pop, chocolate (again praying its chocolate), coffee – you get the idea. Maybe they too are clumsy or have small children with sticky fingers or they hit a pot hole while they were drinking their morning coffee. It is all possible and I need to cut them some slack, because today I needed that same slack.
Where does cake come into this? It doesn’t. Nope not at all other than I was at Target buying a cast iron skillet because my old one grew legs and ran away. Why a cast iron skillet? Because that is the only thing I bake upside down cakes in. You can use normal cake pans, but I love how the cast iron skillet bakes evenly and creates a bit of a crispy edge. So if it wasn’t for this cake then I wouldn’t have been in public today and the coffee on my shirt wouldn’t have mattered. However, I wouldn’t have been reminded to cut people some slack…
Anywho…lessoned learned. Lets back this rad (I miss that word) cake.
You will need some butter.
Some sliced strawberries…
Layer the strawberries over the butter and brown sugar.
Spread the batter evenly and pop it in the oven.
It will look something like this once out of the oven and you will brush on the glaze like so.
Inversion…this can be tricky. Watch out for that handle – its screamin’ hot!
Give it an old flip-a-roo. Don’t you like my mickey mouse pot holder? They make me smile.
Upside Down Strawberry Lemon Cake
Lemon Cake adapted from Ina Garten -Barefoot Contessa Parties! and inspired by Joy the Baker
1 stick plus 5 Tablespoons Butter – at room temperature
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 + 1/2 Cups Strawberries, sliced
1/4 Cup Lemon Zest – about 4 to 6 lemons
1 Cups Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 + 1/2 Cups All-purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Buttermilk
1/3 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Lemon Juice – about 2 to 3 lemons
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- In a 10 inch cast iron skillet (or cake pan), melt 5 Tablespoons of butter either on top of the stove or in the oven. Be careful – the skillet handle will be hot!!!
- Scatter brown sugar over melted butter and stir to incorporate. Spread mixture as evenly as possible over bottom of pan…it will be patchy.
- Arrange strawberry slices over brown sugar and butter in a single layer. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together lemon zest, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Cream together 1 stick of butter and 1 cup of sugar.
- Beat in eggs ,one at a time, to the butter and sugar combo – mix well. Then mix in vanilla and 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice.
- Beat in the flour mixture alternating with buttermilk. Begin and end with flour mixture. ( i.e. add half the flour mixture and blend until just combined. Add all the buttermilk – blend to combine. Blend in remaining half of the flour.
- Spread evenly over strawberries.
- Place in preheated oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes – or until toothpick comes out clean.
- While cake is baking – make glaze. Combine 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup lemon juice in a small sauce pan and place over low heat and cook until sugar dissolves. Set aside.
- When is cake is done, remove from oven and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Poke holes all over cake with a toothpick.
- With a basting brush, brush the lemon glaze over the cake.
- Once this is complete, invert the cake onto a cake stand ( try to center it – I failed at this! ) If baking in a cast iron skillet – do not grab the pan handle , it is still screaming hot and no one looks good with a burn on their palm in the shape of a pan handle – trust me!
- Eat warm or let cool.