pavlova = edible cloud

As I said before, I feel strongly that lemon curd is best utilized when topping pavlova. The awesomeness is all about the texture combinations: the creamy tart of the lemon curd and the weird (in such a good way), crunchy airiness of the little pavlova. Steve who had never tried it before said that “it changed his world-view,” so you know it’s gotta be good, even life-changing if your expectations are low enough.

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curd’s the word

Lemon curd! So seductive in its flavor promises, but it’s one of those things that once I get it home (inevitably from some over-priced grocery store that convinces you with tasting samples), it can be tricky to find the right use for it.

Put it on toast? Slightly too sweet.
Put it on a muffin? Yea, but realistically, when do I ever make muffins?
Put it on ice cream? Eh, gotta wait for the right flavor combo.
Put it on pavlova? YES.

Before the pavlova though (which maybe you’ll be lucky enough to get a post about), we’re making our own lemon curd, people.

lemon zest and lemons

Most of the recipes I found called for an alarming amount of eggs/egg yolks. While I recognize that using a ton of yolks would only help when it came time for pavlova later, I couldn’t commit! Ultimately, I went with this recipe that walked the line of being manageable but not totally lazy.

butter

Lemon Curd (adapted from Epicurious)

Needs:

1/2 c. fresh lemon juice

3 tsp lemon zest

1/2 c. sugar

3 eggs

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small chunks

To do:

Off the heat, whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, and eggs in a large saucepan. Place saucepan over low heat and continue to whisk.  One tablespoon at a time, whisk butter chunks into the mixture. After first round of butter has melted, continue to add the remaining butter. Continue to whisk (almost constantly) until the mixture has a custard-like consistency (about 5-7 minutes).

Strain the lemon curd into a small bowl to remove any lumps and rogue pieces of lemon zest. Cover the lemon curd with a piece of plastic wrap (so the plastic is touching the surface of the curd – keeps that funky skin from developing) and chill for an hour before use.

lemon curd

The result should be tart and sweet, slightly custardy, but mostly saucy. Keep it in your fridge for up to a week, but don’t be surprised if you find that it’s gone before then.

apple butter jeans

I get seduced by farmer’s markets. If I see a cluster of white tents that even hint to a promise of produce, I’m probably heading that way. Most of the time I don’t even need to buy anything; I get a contact high from just being there. Sometimes I buy too many things though, and that’s how I found myself with a growing population of apples living in my kitchen.

With only two of us in the apartment, making a pie seemed a little excessive (and I need to work on my pie crust confidence and today was not the day), so I needed a recipe that would let me use up the apples without resulting in a huge dessert. Enter, apple butter.

apple butter mess

Since this recipe suggested using  a slow cooker, I had the added bonus of making my apartment smell f’ing great all afternoon.

Slow Cooker Apple Butter (adapted from Dinner a Love Story)

  • 10 apples peeled, sliced (I had a hodge podge of varieties and mixed them all together because I’m fearless like that)
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • slice of lemon
  • 1/2 c. water

To do:

Peel and slice your apples. Please try not to peel the tip of your thumb in the process (guilty as charged). Drop the apples as well as all other ingredients into your slow cooker. Turn it on low and stir occasionally. It’s probably recommended to stir as little as possible so that the slow cooker retains the moisture, but if you want to stir yours so that your kitchen gets hit with some appley perfume, be my guest. Make sure the lid is cracked a little open so that moisture can escape and the flavors can really concentrate down.

Once the apples have broken down and are taking on that distinctive apple butter brown color, turn off the slow cooker to let them cool. Remove cinnamon stick and what’s left of your lemon slice, and puree (immersion blender, food processor, whatever you have).

cinnamon

pumpkin seeds dressed up

The idea for these pumpkin seeds was less about needing to participate in celebrating fall (though scarf-wearing and Bean Boots are getting me pretty revved up) and more about needing a seasonably appropriate vehicle for Old Bay. I spied that little yellow bottle in the back of my cabinet earlier this week and it’s been singing a siren song for the last few days. So with that, here are some snackin’ seeds.

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