Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lemon curd

Recently I made the lemon meringue tart from Susan Loomis's book (which I borrowed from nice people). The crust was a bit too hard, but the lemon curd was fantastic. And the whole thing was quite pretty, too. Lemon curd may have just a couple of AOSs—think lemon meringue pie, lemon parfait—but it has lots of AOCs. Pancakes. With fruit. Made into a mousse. In a cake.

7 tbsp. butter
1 cup sugar
4 whole eggs
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (or less, depending on how tart you want it)
zest of 1 lemon

Melt butter and sugar in the top of a double boiler. When the butter has melted, add the eggs, one at a time, and whisk well after adding each one. Add the fresh lemon juice, whisk to combine, and then cook over gentle heat (i.e., simmering water) until it has thickened, 5-10 minutes. (It took 10 minutes for me.) While it's cooking, stir frequently. When it has thickened to the consistency of not-yet-chilled pudding, or creamy yogurt, let it cool and then add the lemon zest.

If you're making a lemon meringue tart, spread it into an already-baked crust and refrigerate for a few hours. Before serving, spread meringue on top (3 egg whites and 1/3 C sugar) and broil for a minute or two.

Endive salad

Today, for lunch, I really didn't want to turn on the stove. It's hot and insanely humid here, and though the air conditioning makes it generally pleasant inside, the kitchen can get very warm when things are cooking. So I put together salads from what we had on hand. I like endive salads with blue cheese (especially stilton), but I didn't have any today and used pecorino instead. Any sharp and lively cheese will do, but you don't want it to overpower things, so crumble it well or shave it with a vegetable peeler. For the dressing I went with Paul Newman's Lighten Up! Italian, which is the one store-bought dressing I use. It's excellent—very nearly as tasty as freshly made.

Endive salad
(serves 2)

2-3 Belgian endive, sliced crosswise
a handful of walnuts, chopped
1 pear, peeled and chopped, or a few red grapes sliced in half
crumbled blue cheese (or thinly shaved pecorino or Manchego or whatever)
lemony vinaigrette