Lemon Curd

Good lemon curd is a at once sweet, buttery, tangy, and thoroughly lemony.
Lemon CurdIt makes one of my favorite desserts, Lemon Tart (recipe coming soon!).  It also tastes awesome on a fresh baked sconeAnd it’s really easy to make from scratch.  This fresh version tastes much better than jarred.  The key to success with this simple recipe is to use good lemons.
Lemon Curd lemonsI have the luxury of picking them off my trees, but good lemons at your produce market will work well.  This lemon curd recipe makes two cups, and stores for several weeks in the fridge.

Lemon Curd

1 cup (7 oz) white sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed, strained lemon juice**
1 – 2 TB finely grated lemon zest*
2 large eggs
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, cut into several pieces

Off heat, in a heavy, medium size sauce pan, beat together the eggs and sugar until well combined.  Add the lemon juice and lemon zest, and stir until combined.  Put the pan on the stove on medium high heat, and add the pieces of butter to the mixture.  As the mixture heats, the butter will melt into the mixture.  Stirring continually, heat the mixture.  Use a silicone spatula if you have one, as you need to continually scrape the bottom and sides of the pan to keep the thickening curd moving and preventing hot spots.  Once it comes to a boil, remove from heat and pour into a pint jar with lid.  The lemon curd will thicken to the right consistency as it cools.  Enjoy!

*Note about purchased lemons.  In all likelihood, the lemons you purchase will be coated with a thin, shiny coating of wax.  This is a totally harmless wax used to help the lemons stay hydrated, but I like to gently remove it from my lemons prior to zesting.  Just give the lemons a soak for a minute or two in a bowl of warm water, and dry off with a towel.  I use a fine microplane rasp grater to zest my lemons.  You want to see just the yellow part in your little pile of zest.  This is where the essential oils – the fragrance – of the lemon mainly lay.  The key is to avoid cutting into the white pith.

**Lemons give up more juice if they are at room temperature.

Salmon, Rice and Snap peas – One Pot Meal

Here’s a tasty, fast and nutritious one pot meal using all fresh ingredients.  I think this one may even be faster that take out, and with some substitutions can be made entirely with ingredients in your pantry or freezer.
Salmon Rice Snappeas plated Salmon Rice Snappeas panThe basic concept is that you’re steaming salmon and snap peas on top of the rice, then adding a simple flavoring sauce toward the end.  Enjoy!

Salmon, Rice and Snap peas – One Pot Meal
serves two, and is easily doubled for leftovers

8 oz salmon fillet, skin off (frozen is fine)
12 oz fresh sugar snap peas (substitution: frozen petite green peas)
1 cup short grain white rice (see note below if using brown rice)
1 1/2 cups water
2 TB soy sauce
2 TB mirin
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
optional garnish: furikake, sesame oil

Put the water and rice in a medium sauce pan with a tight fitting lid. Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.  (This is the one pan you’ll be using, so just be sure that is big enough to hold the rice, salmon and peas.)

After 5 minutes, put the salmon fillet and then the snap peas on top of the cooking rice.  Cover, and simmer for another 10 minutes.  While this is cooking, mix together the mirin, soy sauce, garlic and ginger.

After the 10 minutes is up, pour the soy sauce mixture over the peas, salmon and rice.  Use this opportunity to take a peek at the salmon — is it still raw looking in the middle, or is it lighter pink and beginning to flake?  It’s done when it is lighter pink and beginning to flake.  If it needs more cooking time, just put the cover back on and let it simmer.  If it looks done, then your meal is done!

Serve with a shake of furikake or sesame seeds on top, and a drizzle of sesame oil for more flavor.

Note:  If you would prefer to use short grain brown rice, just increase the first simmer time with just the rice and water to 20 minutes.  All the rest of the cooking remains the same.

Orange Fennel Rice Salad

Juicy navel oranges team up with crunchy fennel, slivered almonds, and brown rice to make this salad a standout addition to a meal, or a great portable lunch on the go.
orange fennel salad 2 Orange Fennel salad 1The addition of fresh mint keeps this mid-winter salad bright.  Use your best olive oil and freshly ground black pepper to add other layers of flavor.

Orange Fennel Rice Salad

1 cup raw slivered almonds, toasted and cooled
2 cups cooked and cooled long grain brown rice (1 cup raw rice = 2 cups cooked rice)
2 large navel oranges, peeled and cut up into bite size chunks
1 large fennel bulb, root end removed, cut into bite size chunks
1/4 cup best quality extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp. sea salt
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh mint

Simply toss all the ingredients together in a salad bowl.  Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.  Serve at room temperature.  Store in the refrigerator.  Makes a great packable lunch the next day.