Kitchen wisdom is sage advice

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Sending all the good vibes and healing thoughts to those caught in the terrible wildfires in the North Bay – I can’t even imagine the scale of destruction happening. I don’t even live in the thick of it, and I still can’t see the sky on account of smoke. My heart hurts for my state and for those in the middle of it all.

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These bars can bring a little sunshine to otherwise smoky, obscured days – the citrus is bright and fresh, and we all know I’m obsessed with herbs in dessert, so this is no exception. The sage in the crust is noticeable but not aggressive – just a hint of earthiness to play up the brightness of the meyer lemons (locally grown, of course!). Blueberries and almonds go with just about anything, so why not invite them to the party too?

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These do double duty as dessert and breakfast (that seems to be a theme around here, hmm) – makes some amount of sense, since my desserts are almost all whole-food and fruit focused.

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Besides, these have a hefty dose of eggs which basically makes them breakfast. See? Science!

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In other news, there are finally leaves on the ground, and of course I’m excited about a return to sweater, boot and scarf weather. I’m a little sad at the shortening days though, especially because I miss my good morning photography light! Sigh. It will be back!

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IMG_1496In the meantime, I’ll make bright, citrusy and quite probably herb-y desserts to bring some brightness to the shorter days. Happy Autumn!

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Meyer Lemon Blueberry Bars on an Almond Sage Crust

Lightly sweet, tangy, and perfect if you have a glut of meyer lemons (though regular lemons are fine too!). The sage adds such a nice earthy twist to the basic lemon bar – I love lemon with almond so these just hit all high points for me! Grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free, arguably paleo. Yield: 1 9″ pie plate or 1 8 by 8 square pan, serves 2-8 (ha – I recommend dessert and then for breakfast the next day). Adapted from my orange creamsicle bars, here!

For the crust:

1.5 c almond flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
heaping 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 + 1/8 c unsalted almond butter
1.5 tbsp pure maple syrup
1.5 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1.5 tbsp chopped sage

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease an 9″ round pie dish (must be deep) or an 8 by 8 pan.

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Add in almond butter, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, vanilla, and almond extract and stir until combined and crumbly. Stir in chopped sage. Press the crust dough evenly into the prepared pan, and poke with a fork a few times. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside when done.

For the filling:

4.5 eggs*
1/2 c pure maple syrup
zest of 3 meyer lemons, roughly chopped
1/4c + 1/8c fresh lemon juice
pinch of sea salt
4.5 tbsp coconut flour
2 tsp vanilla extract
* to achieve half an egg: crack an egg into a small bowl and whisk it; then either measure or eyeball half and use that. or just use a whole one as long as it’s small, I doubt it would affect the consistency of the bars all that much…

For the blueberry swirl:
1 c wild blueberries (preferably frozen, thawed)
1 tsp vanilla extract

While the crust is baking, make the filling! In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, maple, lemon zest and juice, sea salt, coconut flour (sifted if lumpy) and vanilla until smooth. Pour the filling into the par-baked crust. For the blueberry swirl, blend blueberries with their juice (some is released during thawing) and vanilla either with an immersion blender or a food processor. The sauce won’t be especially thick, but that’s fine. Pour the sauce into a ziplock bag (or use a piping bag, but be warned that blueberry stains!), carefully snip a really small triangle off of one corner, and pipe 5-6 lines across the lemon filling. Some will sink in, but most will stay on top (and no, the lines do NOT have to be perfect!). Take a table knife and swirl the lines gently into the filling.

Bake for 30-35 minutes. The top should be mostly firm and the filling set, with just a small amount of wiggle (it’ll firm up as it cools). Let cool completely and eat immediately or chill in the fridge for later (I like them cold!) — serve with vanilla ice cream :) Store any leftovers in the fridge.

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