Lemon Curd

I know, people. It’s been about six weeks since my last post, and I’m sure you’re all suffering from the loss of my witty diatribes. But try and put yourselves in my shoes– I haven’t eaten since that damn gumbo! It’s been rough. But what better way to wrangle myself out of this pity party than with a nice, comforting batch of….

Lemon curd?
Yes, by Jove! Lemon curd! For those of you without British grandmothers (apologies for what must have been a dull and love-less upbringing) or who are victims of just sheer ignorance, you should know that this curd, this lovely curd, is one of the most beloved treats of yours truly.
Why should you care? Because this is my blog and I say so, that’s why.

For those of you who think: this stuff is so good when I get it from a jar! Why should I bother?
Hmmm, with that logic, why cook at all? Go grab yourself some ground-up cow and a box of your new best friend, Hamburger Helps-you-Vomit, and you’ve got yourself a grand ole’ party for….well, just you, because no one will want to speak to you again.
This recipe, courtesy of Martha with a couple of tweaks by moi, is extremely easy and delicious. I use it for cake fillings (it’s nothing like those gross, grocery-store made lemon cake monstrosities with the corn-starch enriched sugar fest stuffed inside) or folded in with whipped cream for a mousse-like heaven. Perfect in Martha’s Stone-Fruit Trifle (recipe here) or on top of pancakes. Or on a spoon. Or your finger.
So let’s get crack-a-lackin’!
You will need:
1/4 c + 2T granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
2 T bourbon
2 t lemon zest (chopped fine!)
1/4 c + 2 T lemon juice
Pinch salt
6 T butter (embrace the fat, it is your friend)
In a small/medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the sugar, yolks, bourbon, juice, and salt over medium high heat.
Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, and let cook for 3-5 minutes.
It will look like bubbling yellow lava. Pass through a strainer into a bowl (this may seem minor, but it makes for a much, much smoother final result).
Add zest and butter, stirring until butter has melted. Place in a shallow bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic onto the top of the curd.
Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. Eat directly out of bowl with no utensils (I told you to make it a shallow bowl!)
Or, as I did, put it inside a yellow cupcake and top with lime cream cheese frosting and a candied lime peel:
To answer your question: yes, it was amazing.

Creamy Lemon Chick Peas with Garlic Polenta

 

I know it will be hard, but try not to be too jealous of this awesome meal I just consumed. I can feel your efforts straining across the world wide web, and I pity you.

I felt inspired by a friend’s description of his Tuscan dinner as the best dinner this year, so I decided to grab that metaphorical bull by his gnarly horns and craft my own. It almost proved impossible as my cupboards are fairly dismal, but being resourceful and so fabulous, I made the most of what I had. The result?

The Odd But Delicious Creamy, Lemony, Chick Pea, Spinach, and Arugula over Garlic Polenta. That is the full title.

If you know me at all kitchen-wise, you know it’s very difficult for me to use recipes. Cooking is like Jazz music, baking is like Classical. There is a time to improvise and a time to follow the rules, and cooking with rules is like drinking non-alcoholic beer: where’s the fun? Tonight was no different: I looked at what I had, closed my eyes, and ate the result.

Half-way through this experiment I was thinking it might be one of those nights where I try and feed my cat one of my failed attempts at genius, but I was so very wrong. My thinking all along was to have a creamy, garlic-y polenta with some form of chick peas on top. To make it saucy I mashed up about half of the peas and added lemon juice, wine, and cream. The greens gave it color and a good bite from the arugula. And it all took about 10 minutes. If you’re into meat then I would add some grilled chicken, possibly marinated in some garlic-rosemary-buttermilk.

For the chick pea extravaganza:

1 shallot, diced
2 T olive oil
1 15oz can chick peas, drained and rinsed
4 artichoke hearts, cut in half
1 handful spinach
1 handful arugula
1/4 c white wine
1/4 c lemon juice
3/4 c cream

Mash about half of the chick peas.

If you want this to be really smooth I would recommend blending them with the lemon juice. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over med-high heat.

Saute shallots until translucent and add the chick peas.

Cook until hot, then add the wine and reduce a bit. Toss in the lemon juice and continue cooking until everything “comes together”; ie when it starts to look like a cohesive mass and not separate ingredients, about 3 minutes. Add the cream and artichoke hearts and let cook until thickened.

Turn off the heat and add the greens, mixing until it’s one dreamy mass of delicious.

For the polenta:
3/4 c dry polenta
2 cups hot water
1/2 c cream
1 head garlic
Salt to taste

Cut the top of the head of garlic off (a few millimeters worth, just to expose the meat inside), drizzle on some olive oil, and wrap in foil. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

Pop them out of their little sleeves, then mash with some salt and olive oil until it forms a paste.
Bring the water and cream to a boil in a medium sized pot. Reduce the heat to a simmer and slowly whisk in the polenta.

Simmer and stir constantly until it is thick and creamy, 3-5 minutes. You’ll know that it’s done when you look at it and say, “wow, I want to eat that right now.”

Stir in the garlic paste.

Dish up some grub and dive in.

NOM…NOM NOM!