When I was about 10, my parents bought me an yellow dress for my birthday. It was a knee length yellow and white striped thing, with puff sleeves, and, plain yellow bib like flap on top and skirting at the bottom. The bib and skirting were embroidered - "Sweety" and "But Naughty", in sprawling cursive letters. It was my favorite dress for many years; even when it faded and frayed, and, I outgrew it in height. I loved the color, such a happy tone but more than that, at that time still an introvert, I thought the writing was terribly clever.
I felt it was such a brilliant inside joke - you see, that is how I saw myself but nobody outside knew that about me. While I left myself hidden within that introverted shell I portrayed, I thought of myself as all bright, mischievous and loving. It has taken me years, nay decades, to peel away the walls that inured the world from the real me - first the introversion, then the cheerfulness, then the mischief and after ever so long, and still a work in progress, the loving and carefree bits of me.
I thought it was terribly clever....!
Ever since that dress, yellow, and, its spectrum of conjoined colors, have been one of my favorite colors. I have rarely spoken about, preferring blues or red as my mood strikes (extremes much?!), or perhaps a cool white on occasion. But, lurking amidst was always an yellow. My wardrobe always has something yellow in it even if it is only a Summer release. My kitchen, mostly always does - bananas, lemons, the occasional jar. Today, even though I have the house in cooler, mellow pastels of blues and greens, I like to throw that bit of pop somewhere for attitude!
When we finally bought a dining table, it foretold the shining moment for permanent yellow presence at home. A brass footed antique bowl (a Paris treasure from another lifetime... still much treasured for the memories and its beauty) with delicate flowers patterned on the ceramic bowl, became the centerpiece. And, now, it is always kept filled with shiny lemons and limes. My little space of cheer in a space that is toned with dark wood and soothing blue walls. As it happens, I am actually considering printing one of the photos in this posts to brighten up the laundry room that refreshed with a deep teal blue wall paint. After all Blue and Yellow are the perfect match.. :)
Yet, despite my love for all this yellow in looks, it only rarely extended to taste. I am not a fan of tart or sour in general, and only recently developing a palate profile around it. Lemon bars, key lime pie, and all those, left me with a puckering distaste and over stimulated taste buds. I learnt recently, that this reaction was due to my 'super taster' ability, which, is not as cool as it sounds. It just means I am particularly sensitive to certain chemical compounds that enhance bitterness, tartness etc on my tongue.
But, to cut out a whole plethora of flavors for that reason seemed both a cop out as well as an utter shame! So, I have been trying to slowly get myself acclimatized with these flavors. Before I jump head first into eating bitter gourd (which for me was the epitome of unpalatable flavors), I eased in with bitter greens (good for the liver, I told myself) like dandelion, fenugreek, and am slowly working up the color palatte towards citrus heavy tones. I am still far away from relishing lemon bars but I will nibble on them, especially, if paired well with something to cut it, like a very buttery pastry.
And, then finally, it seemed time to take the plunge... Lemon Curd. It has always fascinated me for its stunning shade and apparent ease of making and determined versatility of use. Ina Garten was first to introduce me in those years of stupored Food Network viewing. She seemed to make it all the time!; For cakes, tarts, what have you. So, of course, when my time came, I turned to this Long Island Barn Kitcheness for inspiration.
Easy Lemon Curd
Lemon curd is the base for many tarts and cake fillings where you are looking for a Summer-y note and brightening palate. I find it just as good spread on toast instead of marmalade or lemon rind jam. Even better because of its fresh taste, it is a cheery morning rouser in the cold dreary days of Winter, when fortunately, the lemons and citrus fruits shine.
You can use the same recipe to make orange or grapefruit curd as well. Simply, adjust the added sugar per the sweetness of the fruit used.
Properly sealed jars of the curd can be stored in freezer indefinitely, or in the refrigerator for at least a month. Once opened though, it is advisable to eat it with a week or two. Simply judge by nose or fungus for expiry!
Lemon Curd recipe
3-4 lemons to make 1/2 cup of lemon juice
2/3 to 3/4 cup sugar
6 T butter, room temperature
Taste the lemon juice to see how 'sweet' or ripe the lemons are and add sugar accordingly.
I typically use salted butter. If you are using unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt.
Zest three lemons and reserve. Juice the lemons to make the half cup needed.
Whisk together juice, zest, sugar, and eggs in a saucepan.
Stir in butter and cook over moderately low heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon.
When the curd is thick enough to just start coating the back of the spoon (about 7-9 minutes), remove immediately from heat.
Keep stirring for a few minutes to keep the cool the curd down and stop cooking.
Transfer lemon curd to jars and let it cool for a while. While still warm, seal the jars and allow to come to room temperature before refrigerating.
Some Recipes You Can Make With the Curd
Braided lemon bread by Deb Perelman
Lemon Bars from Bakers Royale by Naomi
Lemon Poppy Seed Crepe Cake from Ful-Filled
No-bake lemon berry coconut cream tart from Bojon Gourmet by Alanna
Almond Dacquoise Cake with Lemon Curd, Cream and Berries by Zoë François
Btw, these are bloggers I constantly turn to for amazing inspirations. So, even if the recipes mentioned above don't catch your fancy, I do recommend browsing their blogs. I am sure you will find something in there that spurs you to the kitchen ASAP! :)