Lemon Archive

Thursday, May 13, 2010

braided lemon bread

baked lemon braided bread

I know this is the kind of stuff that makes people without children roll their eyes, or at least would have made me roll my eyes anytime prior to eight months ago, but seriously, nothing, nothing makes you a more productive person than having a baby. How else will you learn all of the things you can do in the two minutes he is occupied with a toy and may not see his other favorite possession, Mama’s Undivided Attention, sneaking off, stage left? Hit the loo! Get a glass of water! Put hair in ponytail! Balance your checkbook! Solve the Greek financial crisis.

dough, ready for first risedough, rolled outcream cheese fillingwith cream cheese filling

And with a whole day, while the baby “weekends” with his grandparents? One can out-brunch all of their earlier brunch efforts. One can even braid a sweet yeasty bread and discover the directions on the recipe used forget to mention that your [giant, cream cheese and lemon curd-stuffed elegantly woven] soft dough will be impossible to transfer from your work surface to the parchment-lined baking sheet, call in one’s husband to help and together you two can spend the better part of a half hour getting the braid off the counter, mostly intact, without worrying that a little weeble-wobble in the next room is chewing on laptop wires (again). Baby-Free Saturday was wild, people. Please try to contain your envy.

i bought lemon curdhow to set up your braidstart braidingbraiding done

Continued after the jump »

Saturday, January 9, 2010

poppy seed lemon cake

poppy seed lemon cake

A whopping eight years ago, I joined a friend and her family for an afternoon at the then newly-opened Neue Galerie, which seriously, you should check out some time when you’re in my city. (Look at me, playing tourist guide!) The early 20th century German and Austrian art is fantastic but even more wonderful is the Cafe Sabarsky within which models itself after a turn-of-the-century Viennese cafe. But really, I don’t want to talk about the Kadinskys or the Kavalierspitz today, I want to talk about this cake. That I had there that day. That I have not shut up about since.

sevenfivethreeone

I wasn’t even the one who ordered it. Eight years ago, things called “lemon poppy seed cake” were ubiquitous, and largely nothing to write home about. I never understood what the poppy seeds were doing there, all sparse like occasional punctuations, adding… visual interest? It was generally unclear. They were lemon cakes, and not even great ones, with speckles. But this cake. THIS CAKE. (Sorry, it makes me shouty.) First its appearance: Poppy seeds clustered so densely, the cake was nearly black. I’d never seen anything like it — so intriguing, so ominous! And its texture: It managed to be one of the lightest cakes I’d ever eaten, without the blandness that’s all-too-common in angel food, chiffon and other “airy” confections. And the flavor: It tasted like lemon-scented butter, without the acidity typical in lemon cakes. This was about the perfume of the lemon, not the juice. And the poppy seeds! Did you know that poppy seeds actually do have a flavor — a slight nuttiness — should you allow enough of them in that they can actually speak up?

poppy aplentyzest, not juiceegg yolks, whipped ever-so-lightspeckled batter

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, July 2, 2009

watermelon lemonade

watermelon lemonade

As will happen from time to time (coughdaily), last week I got to longing for what I consider one of the greatest Cocktails Out There That Is Not a Manhattan, one that goes by the name Porch Swing as is served at Blue Smoke, a delicious mutt of a barbecue joint (Memphis babybacks, Kansas City spareribs, North Carolina slaw and Texas brisket, anyone?) on East 27th Street. The Porch Swing is a also a delicious mutt, with Pimm’s and Hendrick’s Gin and Lemonade and 7-Up and thin slices of cucumber (recipe over here) and omg is it October when mama can have a proper, strong drink yet?

watermelonwatermelon, read to pureelemonsloads of lemonslemons, drainedsetup

But for once, something phenomenal came out of this backyard longing, and that was (when Googling about for the official Porch Swing recipe), the discovery of something a little more gestationally-appropriate, the Watermelon Lemonade from Bubby’s, a pie and chicken noodle soup-style comfort food restaurant in TriBeCa. What brought these two drinks together was some Mix-Off event, where the Porch Swing won first prize in the boozy category and the watermelon lemonade stole my heart in the safe-for-babies zones. It had to be mine. Heck, it was mine long before I had a sip.

squeezing lemon juice

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

lemon mint granita

lemon mint granita

Granitas have never exactly captured my imagination. Flecks of flavored ice in a bowl seemed rather dull, and their place in the dessert repository was kind of lost on me. Trust me, if I’m hoping you’re going to bust out some salted caramel dark chocolate mousse and you come out of the kitchen with pale icy chips? It’s going to be hard for me to feign enthusiasm.

lemons, not intact for long

But now I get it. People, granitas are a Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine of our kid dreams. They’re the perfect antidote to the sticky, oppressive summer days to come — frosty, crunchy and tart — tossing out that annoying plastic crank in favor of the unbranded simplicity of two forks and a roasting pan, and swapping the unnatural syrups in frightening hues for fresh fruit juice.

lemons, top quarters removedscooping out the lemonscooped out lemon cupslemon cups, getting frozen

Continued after the jump »

Sunday, May 17, 2009

asparagus, goat cheese and lemon pasta

asparagus goat cheese pasta

A couple weeks ago, I had a fantastic warm asparagus salad at a nearby restaurant, one I immediately swore I’d make at home. It had segments of white and green asparagus tossed with goat cheese and a tarragon and lemony mint vinaigrette and it was piled on a bed of red endive, my favorite. It was stunning. It was delicious. Alas, this is not it. What a tease I am, right?

giant spiral pasta

After trying and failing to find all three elements — the green asparagus, white asparagus and the red endive — for the next two weeks, I gave up. Oh, and sure, you could use all green asparagus and regular pale endive, but you’ve met me, right? I’m a pain in the butt and without the visual, it was going to be no fun at all for me. It would not do.

asparagus

Continued after the jump »


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