Sunday, March 09, 2008

Pucker Up!

OH, the JOY of having a lemon tree!!!

Actually, my neighbors have a beautiful lemon tree that so graciously falls over our common wall on the side yard! My neighbors give me carte blanche with these beauties and I am only too happy to indulge! I look forward to this perk every year and am grateful for the pickin's! I use them with grilling and cooking, lemon bread, and of course - lemonade!! Sometimes, my neighbors will also leave a gift on top of the wall by the tree...maybe a few oranges from their tree on the other side of their yard, or maybe it's a few lemons that fell on their side that they know I'd only be too happy to take off their hands!

Yesterday I was busy trying to get back on my feet from an ornery touch of bronchitis. The doorbell rang and lo and behold, a dear woman who's two children were students of mine was standing at my door - 5 gallon-bucket in hand - loaded with iris bulbs! (uh, for those of you in-the-know... an iris is really not a bulb, it's a rhizome...but I digress)

Her husband is Mr. Iris Man and has hundreds of them growing in their charming yard! This wonderful woman works at school with me and every so often I'll ask about Tony and his irises and she'll bring me up-to-date on his ventures. Well, here she was - sharing these gorgeous flowers with me!!! I only wish I had been up and at the door when she came by (I was planted in bed). So today I was digging in my gardens and making new homes for these beauties! I can not wait to see their splendor when bloom time comes!! What a wonderful, kind, generous, unexpected surprise!

So today, I decided to make an indulgent 'thank you' for my neighbor and friend for their kindness and generousity.

Homemade lemon curd!

Now, before you go wrinkling up your nose, let me explain. The 'lemon curd' that one finds in a jar in the store is SOOOO NOT what lemon curd is all about! That stuff is NA-STY! And if you have some in your fridge, get rid of it!! Here's the recipe I use for the real deal... tart, tangy, sweet and creamy! The best way that I can describe it is like this... Do you like Lemon Meringue Pie?? Well.... this is like the lemon filling...only a touch more creamier! Trust me.... you'll be spooning this out of the jar! It's wonderful on scones, toast, biscuits, english muffins, etc.. or.. like I said... straight! So indulge yourself!

Lemon Curd

3 large egg yolks
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
6 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

Combine yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan.
Whisk to combine. Set over medium heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon - making sure to stir sides and bottom of pan. Cook until mixture is thick enough to coat back of wooden spoon - 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove saucepan from heat. Add the butter, one piece at a time, sitrring with the wooden spoon until consistency is smooth.

Transfer mixture to a medium bowl (or into individual jars for giving - I used canning jars). Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface fof the curd to avoid a skin from forming; wrap tightly. Let cool; refrigerate until firm and chilled, at least 1 hour. Store, refrigerated in an airtight container, up to 2 days (although, if there is any left over after 2 days, I have found it lasts for almost a week). Makes 1 1/2 cups.

I doubled this recipe today and it works beautifully.
May an unexpected gift find its way to you this week - and may joy be your companion!


Chickenbells said...

mmmmmm...Lemon Crack.....drool.

I lurve Lemon Curd!! I lurve lemons as a matter of fact...I'm so happy that it's lemon season for you! I was also realizing today that it's strawberry season, because it's almost time for me to make my fresh strawberry pie for Easter...

But, doesn't strawberry pie with Lemon Curd sound good too???


Nonnie said...

had my mouth puckered up and watering! :) sounds wonderful....we have neighbors who also share their i'll have to try something new! how sweet.....everyone gives and receives...
have a wonderful week!

The Barber Bunch said...

Wow... that lemon curd looks and sounds YUMMY! I wish I was your neighbor!!


Jane said...

I had a friend make that for me once, it really was yummy. She served it on a buttery cracker. the sweet, salty, sour thing was a nice blend of yummy!

Hope you are feeling better!

Just Joni said...

I love lemons! You are lucky to have such a gracious neighbor. Our neighbor has a lemon tree just out of reach and every year I watch them shrivel and waste on the branches :(

I'll have to try your lemon curd recipe, sounds like something I would like.

Have a good evening ~

red tin heart said...

i am so going to try the lemon curd. i love lemon anything. one of my favorite flavors. that is so neat your neighbor has a lemon tree, and shares!
thank you for your words tonight they touched my heart greatly. love nita

Simplicity Wins said...

Yumm! This sounds amazing. Last week I was given a bunch of lemons from a co-workers yard. I juiced most of them and froze it so they would not go bad. Maybe when I return from my voyage I can make some lemon curd of my own. It sounds wonderful. And as for your iris' wonderful. I know how much you love them. Miss you!

Jolene George said...

At my old house in Mesa my neighbor had lemon trees and would share with me. I love how they how they how they taste. She also made lemon curd.
Lemons can be pricey in the store. I'm so glad you have a nice neighbor.
I wish YOU were my neighbor!

Mary Jo said...

Ooh, I can almost smell the lemons! We don't have lemon trees in the midwest. How LOVELY it must be to have one in the backyard (or the neighbors!)

Nonnie said...

i agree, vb.....i'm up to making a pledge to make changes!....maybe sharing some things we are doing every once in a give a little support might be nice! :)
i also was not eating a lot of foods that are high in cholesterol.....another reason for being surprised....but hey....i am over 50! :)
have a wonderful day!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your recipe-I have got to try it! The smell and taste of of fresh citrus is one of the best things about living in the valley. See you soon,