Sunday, June 30, 2013

Lemon Curd

Nothing like homemade Lemon Curd that you so lovingly make...being careful not to let it burn or curdle because after all, you'll be wasting half a dozen egg yolks (save the whites for another use) some precious fresh butter, three lemons, a cup of sugar and all that time you've spent carefully whisking it to yummy perfection.
Don't boy store bought lemon curd because they never can compare to the luscious one you make at home. I love this even more than custard, which actually is, combined with fresh squeezed lemons and grated lemon zest.
Notice the cute wrought iron trivet...shaped like a teapot? A 'thrift find for $1.99; it even has a little hook so you can hang it...gave it to my daughter last year and it is so well made, sturdy, and beautifully glazed. I set the still hot lemon curd after I filled the mason jar that has been sanitized.

Now that its sealed with the lid I'm going to refrigerate it and fill a tart crust, or you can fill a pie crust, and top it with fresh raspberries...or, I could save it in the fridge to use it for another dessert, spread it on freshly baked biscuits. This would make a very special gift as well, for the holidays!

The recipe is found in Martha Stewart Cookbook...collected recipes for every day. This is a fantastic book where you will find your basic recipes at a moment's glance...another 'thrift find' for $2.99...also gave to my daughter.

Lemon Curd
adapted from Martha Stewart

6 egg yolks lightly beaten
1 cup sugar (caster-granulated)
Juice of 3 large lemons, about 3/4 cups
1/4 lb. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small
1 Tablespoon. grated lemon zest

In a medium stainless steel pot, combine the
egg yolks, sugar, and lemon juice. With a wire
whisk, stir constantly for about 12-15 minutes
until mixture thickens, and coats the back of a spoon. Do not allow the mixture to boil. 

Remove from heat and strain the mixture through a mesh sieve into a medium bowl, to make sure that it is completely smooth without any lumps.Stir in the butter, a few pieces at a time and fold in the lemon zest. While still warm pour the mixture into a sterilized jar, and cover tightly. Refrigerate until ready to use. 
Yields 1 1/2 cups.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Luscious Lemon Bars...and more of Italy!

The third day I was in Italy, I decided that I want to make something truly American, since the family was asking me to make a Cheesecake...which I was not too excited about making since its so time consuming and their Philadelphia cream cheese is not nearly as good, as ours and it is way more expensive. I had a torn out page from a Southern Living magazine that had the amazing Lemon Bars and since I had the American measuring cup and spoons there I decided to make it...really well worth the short time and effort.
Never, in my wildest dreams did I think that these lemon bars would be such a huge 'hit' with the family. They have never even heard of Lemon Bars...not alone taste it! I tell you, the butter there is superb and so rich, smooth and naturally sweet. I purchased the 'farmer butter' which was in the local supermarket and proceeded to make the crust first...then the filling with the freshest farm eggs, and fresh lemon juice. This is a 'failproof' recipe if you follow it correctly. For all you 'lemon lovers'...this is a huge treat!

Here's the recipe for the Luscious Lemon Bars from Southern Living

Linking to:Thursday Favorite Things @ Katherines Corner

While I was preparing my lemon bars, Teresa was busy making her traditional Italian Sweet Bread
I can't explain...but this really isn't like a Challah bread, its more of a texture of cookie dough when it is done.
Fresh out of the oven...for every day Teresa would have some kind of breads or sweets done homemade...of course.
See what I mean about the texture? Simple, just the right good with coffee or tea!
Isn't this patio the sweetest and most charming?... with all the potted plants and some herbs. Their condo is so awesome, great patio all around, and gorgeous view of the little town.
Teresa just working her 'magic' in her little galley kitchen...but then she has a larger second kitchen downstairs where she makes her homemade salami and cured hams.
I love this photo...a view from their kitchen window...such pretty little curtains, as well!

They even have door-to-door delivery for fresh produce by a local farmer.
...and here's the little open produce truck pulled up to the building entrance.
A gorgeous and serene view from the back of the building...neighbor's tree, huge fern tree which is all over growing so high, and so beautiful.
A short walking distance scene from my daily walks.

The little brook, close up!
Such a pretty scene of the brook!
I snapped this photo overlooking from the little bridge in that same neighborhood, behind is the can hear the water fall over the rocks...such a soothing sound!
 See what I mean? awesomeness!

Friday, June 21, 2013

For the 'Love of Foods' in Italy

I did not take a lot of photos of 'foods' ...simply, because the second week when I met up with my daughter. I was the official 'food photographer'...I became the 'annoying paparazzi, and tried to limit my food photos~

nothing like a casual morning walk to the local outdoor market...the freshest fruits and vegetables
grown locally!
Another fruit and vegetable stand at the outdoor market!
This is the local supermarket which is in a mall, and has other great shops as well.
You can try, and win this car while you're vacationing there!
These little mini pull baskets were very convenient!
Awesome seafood section...although I was asked not to take any in Whole Foods in the U.S., my store photos ended in the seafood isle; sad to say!
Just look at these lovely fish...all saying "hello"
Wow! Just look at the size of this octopus!
Outside the mall...all cloudy, and later in the afternoon...pouring rain. You can see the mountains in the background!

The first day for lunch I just opted for the baked fish and mixed salad...(no pasta for me)
Hard to resist a fresh homemade focaccia...right out of the oven.
Homemade olives from their farm in Calabria...just can't stop eating this, sooo incredibly good!
preparation for the next lunch...fresh farm grown arugula pesto for pasta!
Lots of freshly grated ParmigianaReggiana cheese

See what I mean? can't just eat salad? You go to Italy to eat pasta, pizza, and gelato!
...and don't skip dessert. Homemade crostata (tart) filled with homemade apricot jam...yumm!

After a great lunch a 'walk to the playground-park'...reading my novel. Park was empty, kids still in school!

Thank you for all your good wishes for speedy recovery!
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! xo

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"Stop and Smell the Roses"

 I arrived back late Sunday night, but not a very successful way. The worst summer flu, with a throat infection...a slightly sprained ankle two days before leaving (same ankle that I sprained 2yrs ago) this time missing a step down from stairway ...otherwise, I had the most relaxing and wonderful  amazing time...ever!

I actually do have a recipe for you...Lemon Bars that I made there for my Italian (extended) family and it turned out super luscious and perfect...thanks to the best and natural 'farmer butter' so fresh and sweet.

I took two great soft covered novels with me...which I read in less than one week...took long walks, ate amazing homemade foods. One thing that I took time to notice...take time to 'smell the roses' which are all around Como, and in Aosta (located very, far up northern Italy, abt. 3hrs from Como; surrounded by high mountains that some still have snow on them even in the summer...about 1 hr. drive to Switzerland, and part of France!

I will keep you posted, as soon as I feel better! xoxo

'Stop and smell the roses'... is a cliché that is widely used in the United States. We are all familiar with its meaning, which is, to take time to appreciate a situation or slow down and pay attention to what is going on around you.
'Stop and smell the roses' is commonly used when talking to someone who seems too busy to enjoy life.

Most often, this phrase is used by a well-meaning friend or family member when they become concerned that you are over-worked, or are not taking time to enjoy the pleasures of life.

This phrase can also be used just as a gentle reminder to take a few minutes for yourself each day.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Flaky Buttery Biscuits...and Italy, vacation!

So, this is Lake Como, where I will be  Italy. Leaving tomorrow morning, but did not want to leave without saying 'goodbye' to you my dear friends!
I still can't believe that I'm going to Italy, but I did want to share a last minute recipe, and a 'goodbye'!
I got this recipe from a library book which I can't remember the name, but it is really good, flaky, and buttery goodness!

Flaky Buttery Biscuits
makes 12 small, or 6 large biscuits

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
6 Tbsp.  (3/4 stick chilled unsalted butter)
cut into small pieces
3/4 cups whole milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Butter or line a baking sheet.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Using a fork or 2 table knives, combine the butter and flour mixture until they resemble a coarse meal slowly add the milk, stirring with a fork, to the desired consistency.

For softer biscuits, drop 2 tablespoon of the dough onto the lined baking sheet. For firmer biscuits, turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured surface, and gently knead just to bring the dough together,  Carefully roll out the dough about 3/4 inch thick, cut about 12 biscuits, re rolling any scraps,. Place on the lined baking sheet.

The biscuits can be frozen at this point. Freeze on the baking sheet, then remove to a resealable container or plastic bag for easier storage. Bake the biscuits for 13 to 15 minutes...add 3 to 4 additional minutes for frozen ones...until brown.. Cool slightly, and serve warm.

See you in 2 weeks...take care, and love you guys! Ciao~xo