enjoying the harvest
How quickly the eye adapts; adjusting to the new normal of a drought-ravished landscape; forgetting the wonders of spring! Although the promised abundance of rain has not materialized, enough has fallen to make a significant difference…
bright spring green of new foliage and new fruit…
new growth where there had appeared to be only dead wood…
amazing bronze of avocado leaves
and budding apricots
and hedge roses…
boysenberry vines re-emerging…
even small patches of grass becoming a lawn once again!
Are you also enjoying the gift of green???
Always having an abundance of lemons, we have long-enjoyed lemon bars. Years ago, when they were the new favorite dessert on the block, I tried many iterations of the classic recipe. This one with the taste of sweetened fresh lemons became our favorite*. However, the flaky shortbread crust remained difficult to remove in neat rectangles from the bottom of the baking dish. Refrigerating before cutting was helpful. This past week, making another batch for a family celebration, I decided to use parchment paper.
Viola! After refrigerating overnight the entire slab raises from the pan…
the paper can be carefully pulled away from the edges…
and the bars cut easily to size.
Small pieces of parchment keep the sticky treats separated and fingers cleaner.
Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!
Shortbread crust: mix 1 cup softened butter with 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Press into bottom of 9 x 13 inch pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
Lemon filling: mix 2 cups sugar with 4 tablespoons flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Add four slightly beaten eggs, 6 tablespoons lemon juice and grated zest of 4 lemons. Pour onto baked crust and bake an additional 25 minutes until filling is set.
I’ve dreamed of being spontaneous – ready instantly for any eventuality life might bring. Alas, I am not by nature given to acting on sudden impulses. To paraphrase Webster, I am not given to acting without effort and premeditation. Consequently, I am learning to plan to be spontaneous.
I don’t know about your world, but in mine, being spontaneous with family and friends most often involves food. Having ingredients on hand is essential – a complicated recipe is not.
enamel roasting pan
add lemons, cut in wedges and squeezed
garlic cloves, peeled
lemons halved, squeezed into and put in the cavities
seasoned with salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary
partially baked, potatoes added
baked a bit longer, carrots added
served on a big platter in the middle of the table
along with arugula dressed with olive oil and balsamic,
enough to feed and appeal to a crowd of various ages.
Are you naturally spontaneous, or working on it???….I’d love to hear your stories!
URBAN rANCHING WITH A SMALL ‘r’
Lest you think that we live on unbounded acres of land……although we technically are a ranch: Webster’s definition: “a farm or ranchlike enterprise that raises a single crop or animal”, ours is definitely in the lower case. We raise lemons and belong to a co-op which harvests and sells our crop. Small and urban help to define who we are and what we do – we have limited acreage and are five minutes from the supermarket. Once home, however, we feel as though we live in the country……….
the lemon orchard
the mustard field behind the house
the metal roofed outbuilding
and the girls next door
abundant fruit in the family orchard
my ’51 Ford convertible
wreaths of barbed wire
all ingredients in the life we love.
This picture says it all………………
-deb perelman of Smitten Kitchen is my kind of cook –
relaxed, real, familial, friendly, cerebral and innovative.
I think she would heartily approve all the fingers going after the remnants of lemon glaze on the cake plate!
butter, parchment paper, flour
olive oil, ricotta, sugar, lemon zest
flour mixture added
-recipe adapted from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook-
I am counting on a good crop of boysenberries this coming summer – the frozen stock from last season is being rapidly depleted!