Meyer Lemon Bars

Yep, Lemons for Easter. I just cannot help myself. It is citrus season, at least here (i.e. in Florida). My own little Meyer Lemon Tree, as I have said before, is a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree sort of lemon tree. This year it gave me my biggest crop ever – 3 Meyer Lemons. Sounds paltry, but I’ve raised this baby from barely a seedling to something that produces fruit and I feel a strong, but undeserved, sense of accomplishment. I think we (me and the tree) are about ten years in now.

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Meyer Lemon Shortbread Bar

Meyer lemons are just so lovely. I have waxed poetic about them before. It is blooming right now for the next season and I need to take photos as the year goes along. The deluge this past week, I hope, will help, but I’m not sure. We will see. The Meyer lemon blossoms smell like orange blossoms. So nice …. There is just nothing like that.

Crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
Ice cold water

Filling:
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tbs Meyer lemon zest – 1 Meyer lemon
3/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

Topping:
3 Tbs confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 baking pan, line with parchment to overlap all the edges and spray the parchment too.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt. Pulse a few times to mix. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water, one tsp at a time until dough comes together. Press dough evenly into bottom of prepared pan, pressing against the edges.

Bake crust for 20 – 25 minutes, or until golden. Golden on the edges seems to be the key.  Set pan on a wire rack and cool for about 5 minutes. Reduce oven to 300 degrees.

Whisk eggs and sugar for filling until well combined and lighter in color. Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, and a pinch of salt. Pour topping over warm crust. Bake 15 – 20 minutes or until set at the edges but still a little bit wiggly in the center.

Place pan on a wire rack to cool completely.  Remove by lifting parchment. Cut into squares. Dust with 3 Tbs of confectioners’ sugar.

25 March 2016 – Good Friday – For Easter with the family.

Source: Epicurious

Notes: This is the first time I have used this recipe.  So I’m using my treasured Meyer lemons on a total gamble. Probably not smart, but what the hell. You cannot keep them forever. No matter how much you would like to.

I pushed the crust into the bottom, but I really felt like I needed to push it up the side like you do with a graham cracker crust for pie. But I am glad I followed the recipe. Though I was worried that the lemon curd part would leak down and make a whole mess if it. But it did not. I think the key thing here is have the correct sized pan. Because it worked and was, thanks to my home-grown Meyer Lemons, just slightly stupidly amazing. Even if I do say so myself. And yes, yes, I do.

The End of Winter (for us anyway)

Well, we don’t really have a true winter here, but it does get cold for a few days at a time. Then it warms up – then it gets cold again – then it rains –  then there is an amazing amount of pollen (damn clover) – this is winter in North Florida. I only have a limited number of long sleeved shirts to deal with season – I think 6? And way more shorts than pants. Sartorial choices.

Last weekend, Sunday was going to be “cold” by our standards (cannot wear really cute open toed shoes), and I joked at Shaggy’s the rainy Saturday prior that if there would be a fire (yes for me) on Sunday, because I would be wearing socks and that is equal to winter where we live.D&D_0670

That Sunday, I was so pleased to be able to get to the beach – because it was too cold for the locals,  and sorry tourists – it is the randomness of travel and you got stuck with “cold”weather for a beach town – no, really I am sorry about that not that I could do anything to fix it. During spring break if it is sunny and warm we locals cannot get out to our beach at all – reference: 2 weeks ago. I do not like to get stuck on the 3 mile bridge between Pensacola and Gulf Breeze.  I can handle the Bob Sikes bridge traffic to the beach, but do not want to get stuck on the 3 mile. Ever.

But, last Sunday,  I felt like the happiest person when we got to Shaggy’s, There was a real wood fire. I was told it was for me. But I’m hoping all the other people who were not expecting that kind of “cold weather” appreciated it too because the place was totally packed. This is the only local restaurant that I know that has a real wood-burning fireplace and I do love it so. I am pretty sure I will not see a fire there again until November or December of this year.  We won’t talk about how the fire was started, but is was so very appreciated. I love my local. The place I am  very happy to be. Thanks you guys – you are the best!

 

Butter Usage – by month – (February 2016)

February 1 – 2 Tbs – Grilled Cheese Sandwich – yep boring, but I love a good grilled cheese. Of course with applesauce.

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Spiced Pecans

February 4 – 16 Tbs – Chocolate Chip Walnut Blondies

February 5 – 16 Tbs – Sugar Cookies

February 6 – 4 Tbs – Spiced Pecans Will be making these again even if they are a bit sticky – but we’ve had a rather damp winter  – hence, no taffy (total bummer.)

February 20 – 3 Tbs – Parmesan Rosemary Crackers

February 20 – 8 Tbs – Oatmeal Pecan Toffee Cookies

February 24 – 4 Tbs – Carrot Cake – frosting

February 27 – 16 Tbs – White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

January – March 2016 – Food “Holidays” Recap

Super Bowl – February 7

Spiced Pecans * Roast Beef Horseradish Sandwich * Bacon-wrapped Fruit Bites * Buffalo Rolls * Proscuitto Fontina Pinwheels * Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Torte *

Mardi Gras Pot Luck – February 9

Mardi Gras Sugar Cookies *  Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Torte *

Margarita Day – February 22

Leap Day – February 29

Apple Carrot Cupcakes *

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Apple Carrot Muffins – slightly amazing. And, no. I’m not bragging.

Pi Day – March 14

Apple Walnut Pie *

Butter Pie Crust *

St Patrick’s Day – March 17

Guinness Brownies *

Easter – March 27

Not sure yet, but I have a few days to sort it out. Yikes.


Easter Planning

Holy cow. Easter will be here before you know it. Sorry – this year the early food holidays have just stacked up way too much. Super Bowl Sunday smashed into Mardi Gras – literally. I’m not kidding. Two days apart.

I understand that Pi Day will always fall right in line with St. Patrick’s Day.  There is no denying the calendar on that one, but they are fixed points – unlike Mardi Gras and Easter – thank you Hebrew calendar for keeping us on our toes.

I am thinking something with lemon. But that seems to be something I do a lot.  Or Asparagus. Or fresh herbs. I won’t go all crazy and say I’ll make lamb, because I won’t. I at least know myself well enough to know that will not happen. Ham, also, will not be in my future. We’re just not big fans.

What is really strange to me is I do not remember any big food traditions for my family for Easter. I’ll have to ask my dad, but no, I’ve really got nothing.

We always dyed eggs (Paas and vinegar are always linked together in my brain), had great Easter baskets, went to church, did the egg hunt thing. But that is all I remember.

Either way, I am going to have to come up with something for Easter dinner this year

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Carrot Cake is just so tempting for Easter.

. Carrot Cake seems to be a repeating element. But, I think I am going back to my original idea –  lemons. Yep. That is what I’ll do. No surprise really.

Tomorrow is Good Friday, so I best decide.

Pecan (or Walnut) Pie Muffins

This is a recipe that I cannot help but to make over and over.  It is a combination of a great friend’s recipe and a recipe from Trisha Yearwood. Not surprising since they both grew up in small Southern towns.  I, unfortunately, grew up in a amazing large “southern” town. Nope – Jacksonville, is not really Southern, in the big picture. There are so many people from all over the world. Although, I do love the Persian influence. You have to live there to get that.D&D_0149

So … Pecan Pie Muffins – here we go.

1 cup chopped pecans 0r walnuts (either is good)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla or a little more
2 large eggs, room temperature
13.5 Tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with muffin cups and spray them with non-stick spray.  In  a bowl, whisk together nuts, sugar, and flour. Make a well. In another bowl, whisk eggs until foamy. Add cooled butter to eggs. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just mixed.

Fill muffin tin about 2/3 full.  Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Yep – awesome. I really think they are breakfast, but they probably should not be. Just saying.

National Puppy Day

I had no idea that this was National Puppy Day. But I think that is a great idea, because I don’t think anything can make you feel better than a dog – no matter what the MotH says. I’ve loved all my pups (or puppers which how I usually refer to them.)

So today, I remember all my pupper friends. Two how I miss beyond words, and my little idiot (I’m the only one who can call him that) that I am so grateful for. Hate ending a sentence that way.

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Bering – My Siberian Husky – Duke the best GSD ever

Hoodie Boy

Hood – my Border Collie / Labrador Mix – My little idiot