Recipe: Chez Panisse Meyer Lemon Curd

I'm posting this recipe as much for myself as for all of you.  I need to record it somewhere public, so I have access to it wherever I am.  There are countless Meyer lemon curd recipes, and many dozens of them are Chez Panisse versions, but this is the version that they serve in the restaurant today, and it is perfect.  The key is balance--of sweeter Meyer and more acidic Eureka lemons, of sugar and acid, of heating the eggs enough so that they set, but not so much that they overcook.  

Since I've got that Nomiku on my hands for another week or so, I thought I'd experiment using it to cook the curd.  Instead of plastic, which I just can't bring myself to use as a cooking vessel, I just poured the raw, tempered curd into sterilized mason jars and cooked them for 45 minutes.  The results: perfect.  The smoothest, creamiest curd I have ever made.  Though it took longer than the classic method, it wasn't active time.  I washed dishes, ate snacks, and took copious photos of my eggshells while the curd cooked. 

Make the curd, and then make meringue softies with the leftover whites.  

  • 1 cup Meyer lemon juice
  • ½ cup Eureka lemon juice
  • Zest of 5 Meyer lemons
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • Pinch of salt to taste
  • 7 whole eggs
  • 10 egg yolks
  • 16 Tablespoons cold butter

Classic Method

Combine lemon juices, zest, sugar and salt in a small saucepan and heat just until the sugar dissolves.

Set up a double boiler on the stove: pour 2 inches of water into a large, wide pot and bring to a boil.  

Place the eggs and yolks in a large bowl.  Temper the eggs with the warm lemon juice mixture by adding it in slowly, in a thin stream, while continuously whisking.  

Place the bowl of tempered eggs over the pot of simmering water and whisk continuously until the curd just starts to thicken.  Remove immediately from the heat, add the chilled butter, and strain through a fine mesh sieve.

Cover immediately with plastic wrap pressed against the curd to prevent a skin from forming.  Keep refrigerated for up to five days, but it's doubtful the curd will last that long.

Sous Vide Method

Sterilize 4 pint-sized mason jars and their lids.

Set the immersion circulator in a large pot, fill to the minimum, and set the temperature to 180°F/82°C.  

Combine lemon juices, zest, sugar and salt in a small saucepan and heat just until the sugar dissolves.

Place the eggs and yolks in a large bowl.  Temper the eggs with the warm lemon juice mixture by adding it in slowly, in a thin stream, while continuously whisking.  

Divide the curd mixture evenly amongst the jars, cover, and set in the water bath.  Cook for 45 minutes, then remove the jars from the water bath and stir 4 tablespoons of cold butter into each jar.  Cover with plastic wrap or parchment pressed against the curd to prevent a skin from forming.  Keep refrigerated for up to five days, but it's doubtful the curd will last that long.

IMG_5332.JPG

And, if eating the lemon curd straight out of the jar isn't exciting enough for you, then layer it between shortbread cookies, or sugar cookies.  Spoon it into thumbprint cookies.  Spoon it into a blind-baked shortcrust tart shell and gently bake at 325°F until just barely set, about 20 minutes.  Serve a dollop alongside ginger-molasses cake, lemon pound cake, or olive oil cake.  Spoon atop ice cream.  Eat with berries and whipped cream.  The Meyer lemon sunset sky is the limit.

Recipe: Niloufer's Everydal Dal

In my opinion, Niloufer Ichaporia King is one of our terribly undervalued culinary greats.  And her book, My Bombay Kitchen, is my subcontinental reference manual.  Part memoir, part cookbook, part history lesson, it's just one of those books that never goes out of style.

This is my go-to dal, or Indian red lentil, recipe, and it couldn't be easier to make.  Plus, it's DELICIOUS.  Served with plain rice, yogurt, and mango chutney, it makes a totally respectable and comforting dinner.  Add vegetables, chicken, lamb or seafood and call it a feast.

The beauty of lentils is that they require no soaking, and they cook up so quickly.  Keep red lentils on hand for legume emergencies--I do.

photo by    Emily Nathan

photo by Emily Nathan

Everyday Dal from My Bombay Kitchen

1 cup red lentils (masur dal), husked split pigeon peas (tuvar dal), or mung beans (mung dal)

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon (or more) salt

1 onion, quartered (optional)

1 green chile (optional)

4 cups (or more) water

1 to 2 tablespoons ghee or butter

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced

1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion or shallot (optional)

Pick over the dal to remove stones and chaff. Rinse the dal and transfer to a pot; add the turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon salt, quartered onion, and chile, if using, along with at least 4 cups water. Bring to boil; reduce the heat and simmer, partly covered, until the dal is tender. (

Masur and mung dals soften in about half the time it takes to cook tuvar dal, which needs a good 45 minutes to 1 hour.) Watch out for overboiling, even with the heat down.

When the dal is soft and mushy, pass through a sieve or a food mill or liquefy in a food processor or with an immersion blender, which saves you the trouble of pouring and transferring. The texture of the dal should be thick, smooth, and pourable. Taste for salt.

To finish, heat the ghee in a small skillet over medium heat. Sizzle the seeds, garlic, and onion, if using, until the garlic begins to brown around the edges and the seeds start to crackle. These sizzling seeds and garlic are known as vaghar in Gujarati,tarka in Hindi. Tip the vaghar into the dal and stir.

Dal Soup:

Dal without vaghar makes an excellent cold soup. I've served it with a blob of yogurt and chive blossoms, or snipped chives or green onion tops.

Note: In my mother's house, it was considered good practice to send dal to the table in a tureen with the vaghar floating on top, a last-minute affair, although the flavors have a better chance to combine if you stir in the toasted spices ahead of time. If you're having dal as a first-course soup, you can serve individual portions with a little vaghar poured over each one.

Serves 6

Home Ec: Thanksgiving Basics--Fried Sage Salsa Verde

The Thanksgiving table is always shy of acid and herbs, if you ask me, so salsa verde is a great way to reintroduce a bit of that into the meal.  Delicious on roast vegetables and turkey alike, this version works in that crucial fall flavor: sage.

photo souce: sarah at

the delicious life

Fried Sage Salsa Verde

Serves 8 

2 bunches sage, leaves picked

1 bunch parsley, leaves picked and chopped finely

1 shallot, diced finely

Salt

Peanut or grapeseed oil for frying

Red wine vinegar

Extra virgin olive oil

First, macerate the shallot.  Cover with red wine vinegar and set aside.

Next, fry the sage.  In a deep saucepot, bring 2 cups of frying oil to 360°F.  Drop in a scant handful of the sage and fry for about 20 seconds, or until the bubbles slow down.  Remove from the oil and drain on a pan lined with paper towels.  Repeat with remaining sage leaves.

When the sage has cooled, it will be crisp.  You can either chop it with a knife or crumble it with your fingers.  In a large bowl, combine the parsley and sage and cover with olive oil.  Season with salt. 

When you are ready to serve the salsa, combine the shallots, but not the vinegar, with the herbs.  Taste the salsa and adjust for salt, and if needed, add some of the leftover vinegar to taste. 

Home Ec: Thanksgiving Basics--Roasted Vegetables in Agrodolce

Though this recipe is for brussels sprouts and butternut squash, it'll work with any dense root or vegetable, such as sweet potatoes, parsnips, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, onions or even green beans!

photo source

Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts in Agrodolce

Serves 8-10

1 pound Brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed

1 large butternut squash, cut into 1-inch slices, skin on , seeds discarded

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

½ medium red onion, sliced thinly

½ teaspoon red chili flakes

1 clove garlic, pounded

¼ cup fresh mint leaves

Salt

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 400°F. 

Season the squash lightly with salt, drizzle with olive oil and place in a single layer on 1 or 2 cookie sheets. 

Halve the Brussels sprouts and season lightly with salt.  Drizzle with olive oil and place in a single layer on 1 or 2 cookie sheets, cut side down. 

Place vegetables into the preheated oven and cook 20-24 minutes, until tender and caramelized. 

Meanwhile, stir together another ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, sugar, onion, chili flakes, and garlic and season with salt. 

Check on the vegetables to make sure that they are browning evenly, rotating pans to control the heat.  When you are satisfied that they are cooked, remove from the oven and mix in a big bowl.  Pour marinade over and allow to sit for 20 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Garnish with torn mint leaves before serving.  

Home Ec: Thanksgiving Basics--Cranberry Sauce Two Ways

Cranberry sauce, with its color and its acid, is one of the most important dishes on the Thanksgiving table. It's also pretty much the simplest dish to make.

Here are two versions--one basic, and one a bit more complicated. Both are perfect on that leftover turkey sandwich.

photo source: 

cranberry squircle

, by 

Muffet

Super Simple Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Serves 12

12 ounces (1 bag) fresh cranberries

1 cup water

6 tablespoons sugar

3 bay leaves

1 orange, juiced and zested finely

Pinch of salt

In a medium, non-reactive saucepan, combine all ingredients, bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Stir and taste as it cooks, adding water, sugar and salt as needed. 

Once it cools, it will set up a lot.  Add water or fresh orange juice, if desired, to thin it out.  Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.

Cranberry Sauce with Quince and Bay 

Serves 12

5 quinces (2 to 2 1/4 pounds), peeled, cored, cut into 1-inch chunks

3 cups water

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel

3 bay leaves

8 ounces cranberries

3 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Salt

Bring first 5 ingredients to a boil in heavy large saucepan over medium–high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium–low. Cover and simmer until quinces are soft, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Pour mixture into large strainer set over bowl; reserve juices.

Return quince mixture to same saucepan; mash with the back of a wooden spoon. Add cranberries; cook over medium heat until most of berries burst, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and lemon juice to taste. Transfer sauce to bowl. Before serving, stir enough reserved juices into sauce to thin to desired consistency. Serve sauce cold or at room temperature.