Sunday, August 14, 2011

This cloud has a lemony lining

Last night we had guests/dear friends over for dinner.  It was a simple cookout but I broke the cardinal rule of entertaining and decided to serve a dish I'd never made before...Lemon Berry Parfaits from Once Upon a Chef..  It looked easy so I figured it was okay, but I think my eyes were so glazed over as soon as I read,  "lemon curd," and, "whipped cream," that I didn't read the recipe very closely.  I didn't realize it consisted mostly of actually making lemon curd.  To fold into the whipped cream.  Oh dear, I think it's happening again...

Looks good, don't it?  You bet it was!
So there I was with a bowl full of freshly prepared (i.e. rinsed and/or chunked) blackberries, strawberries and peaches from the produce stand and a table full of friends and family awaiting dessert when I realized actual cooking was needed.  Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear...I didn't have time to cook!

Fortunately (and miraculously!) I had a serendipitous jar of lemon curd sitting, unopened, in the back of the fridge.  So I whipped up the cream, folded in the miracle curd, assembled the parfaits and we all enjoyed them with no one being any wiser.  Dessert, dinner, reputation and friendship saved!  Hurrah!

But I still had all the ingredients for lemon curd, including 3 eggs that I had already whipped up before I realized I was going to have to take the time to cook them.  Have I mentioned I am a very distracted cook?  So, after we had cleaned up and our guests went home, I decided I would then take the time to make that curd.

We find it interesting that in some of these photos, the flame doesn't show.  It's like Vampire Fire!

You need a double boiler but if you don't have one (I don't) put a metal or tempered glass bowl over a small saucepan containing about an inch of boiling water.

Redheaded Snippet volunteered to be my photographer.  She was literally breathing down my neck!

I believe this is 3 eggs, 1 1/2 cups sugar (I know...), 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1/2 stick of unsalted butter.  You have to stir it forever without ceasing.  Ok, it's only 10 minutes but DO NOT STOP STIRRING!  Once the goo starts to coat the back of a metal spoon (for which you will need the full 10 minutes), turn off the heat.

Redheaded Snippet says I need to explain my odd painted fingernail but I know I'm not the only one who tests nail polish before buying it...
Stir in 2 tsps lemon zest.  A microplane zester/grater makes this job super easy.  I use mine to grate whole nutmeg, too, and you can't imagine how much better freshly grated nutmeg tastes than the powdered, bottled stuff!  Especially over eggnog!  Laced with brandy...

Where was I...?  Oh yes, though the double boiler is designed to keep the eggs from curdling as they cook, it is likely that a few cooked pieces will show up.  Just use a fine mesh sieve to strain those out and it will be fine.  Then it's just a matter of patience while you wait for the goo to cool in the fridge.

Now, last night our stupid fool of a dog killed a skunk and got sprayed full in the face for her troubles.  This happened during her last visit to the backyard before bedtime.  Which meant none of us went to bed until rather late.  The stench was unbelievable!  The kids lit candles and I threw some cinnamon sticks into a pot to simmer on the stove as well as onto a cookie sheet to bake in the oven, but it was The Viking who had the unenviable task of attempting to bathe her.

In case you ever need to know, the thing to use is a solution of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dish soap.  I think it was 1 qt, 1/4 c and 1 squirt (no abbreviation for that), respectively.  Just be careful not to get it in the eyes, mouth or nose; use a washcloth to clean the face if you need to (and we needed to).  And rinse, rinse, rinse, repeat, repeat, repeat!  They will probably still smell for a good while, but the worst of it should be over.

That being said, I refused to let the fell beast back into the house so the stupid poor thing was left out all night, something we've never done before.  As a result, she barked at the back door most of the night which did not make for a very restful night's sleep.  Finally, at 6:30, I stopped fighting it and just got out of bed.

And here's where it all comes together...since I was up and knew I had homemade lemon curd waiting in the fridge, I made a batch of scones for Sunday breakfast!  Homemade scones and lemon curd!  It doesn't get much better than that!

When life hands you lemons, made lemon curd and scones!

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