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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I’ll just take everything citrus, thanks

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Hello hello internet blog friends!

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What’s new with you? Business as usual over here, still very obviously obsessed with all things citrus. If you’re like me and just can’t get enough of all varieties these days, make this! You won’t be sorry.

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Meyer lemons are still going strong (at least over here in northern California) – I’m lucky enough to have access to a full tree of them but I’m still seeing them in stores too, so you should be good to go. Meyer lemons make the most perfect curd – light yellow and perfectly lemony. I’ve reached the point where I use very little sweetener in the citrus curds that I make – I want to have the tart citrus flavor at the forefront, not the sweet!

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Eat this for dessert, for breakfast, for snacking purposes… it’s delicious any way you slice it. I just want all the citrus, all the time!! Just make sure lemon is your thing before making this — it’s not for the citrus faint of heart ;)

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Let’s see, what else…

Mother Nature has been doing some spectacular things in the sky lately!

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Happy spring! Go eat some lemon tart with your loved ones.

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Meyer Lemon Tart with Blackberry Sauce on an Almond Crust

Not for the faint of heart! If you love tart & citrus things – this is calling your name. Lemons and berries are a natural pairing, and almonds are basically the food of the gods. Tart, lightly sweet, and perfect for spring. Gluten free, grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free, paleo. A Wait are Those Cookies original recipe. Yield: 1 9″ pie plate; servings: 2-8!

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For the meyer lemon curd

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 c coconut oil
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 c meyer lemon juice
  • zest of 3 meyer lemons
  • 1 tsp vanilla

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine eggs, coconut oil, honey, sea salt, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla. Whisk to combine and continue to cook, whisking constantly for about 10-15 minutes – it should be just on the edge (but not there yet!) of a low boil. The curd should thicken and your whisk will make tracks – don’t let it boil. It will still be slightly runny but will firm up in the fridge. While it’s still warm, strain curd through a metal strainer into a glass container and let cool completely before storing in the fridge (overnight is preferable, but at least 4 hours if pressed for time).

For the blackberry sauce:

  • 2 c blackberries
  • juice of 1 meyer lemon
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

In a high powered blender or food processor, puree the blackberries until smooth. Push the puree through a metal strainer into a large bowl to remove the seeds, then stir in lemon juice and maple. Store in a glass jar in the fridge until ready to use – you’ll only use a tablespoon or two to make the swirl on the top of the tart, so keep the rest for extra tart topping.

For the crust:

  • 2.5 c almond flour
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • scant 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 c unsalted almond butter
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, and sea salt. Add in melted coconut oil, vanilla, almond extract, almond butter, and maple syrup, and stir until combined – the mixture will be crumbly.

Preheat the oven to 350, and press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ pie plate. Poke the bottom a few times with a fork, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and fill with the lemon curd. If you’re planning on the blackberry swirl, use a ziplock bag with a teeny corner cut off to pipe the sauce into the curd, and then use a knife to swirl it around (alternatively, use a pastry bag if you’re less lazy than me!). Bake for 8-10 minutes to set the curd, then let cool completely at room temperature. Top with slivered almonds and shredded coconut if desired. I prefer to chill mine in the fridge for at least two hours before serving.

Leftovers keep well covered in the fridge (though I dare you to have any!).

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My kitchen smells like sunshine!

Lemon-tastic day!

Saturday was a good day indeed… life handed me Meyer lemons! Or rather, Trader Joe’s handed me lemons. Or at least put them where I would see them and then pay for them, and THEN they were handed to me.

And then. They were mine. Citrusy goodness, miney mine mine. (And Kira’s. Sharing is caring!)

At which point I was confronted with a dilemma. What to do with these rare gorgeous lemon specimens?! Since Meyer lemons have such a ridiculously short season, I wanted to do something with them that would stick around for awhile. But what?! Soooo many options. Thus it happened that while I was dutifully thesising this morning (which, by the way, is 54 pages and winding down, hooray!) that some devious part of my brain escaped to Meyer lemon land to ponder the myriad possibilities of four lemons and a relaxed Sunday at home. At which point it apparently decided that lemon curd was the way to go! Mmmm, good work, brain. (Though I must remember to chastise it for skipping out on me, and leaving me to thesis with only partial brain cells. Psh. If I have to concentrate, EVERY cell up there has to be involved, it’s only fair)

glowing lemon curd :)

So after I finished up writing for today, lemon curd happened. And oh man, am I glad it did… there was not a drop spilled that wasn’t immediately swiped up and eaten. And the food processor that was very thoroughly “cleaned”… and the spoons…. and the spatulas… Well. You get the idea. I’ve loved lemon curd since I went to high tea with my lovely Mutti, and we found ways to put it on everything! Now all I need is some clotted cream and scones… hmm.. next weekend’s project?!

BUT. Surprise, surprise! Lemon curd only used TWO of my lemons. Which meant that I had an unexpected bonus of TWO MORE! So I made Sunday muffins… with lemons! (and chia seeds, natch) I’m sure they’ll be fab with the lemon curd. And then, when I was done with these, I realized that I still have one lemon left! Wow. This is even better than dead banana surplus… What to do?? Something to ponder in the next few days :)

mmm, sunshine in food form!

Meyer Lemon Curd

Curd. Such a *ahem* LOVELY word. Like, move one letter and it spells crud. But hey, don’t knock it till you try it: this is good enough to eat with a spoon. Oh wait, I already did that… Your turn!

From the Pastry Affair, here! I got… half a peanut butter jar’s worth?! Sorry for the inexact measurements… I would guess between one cup and 1.5 cups.

  • 1/2 c sugar (I used turbinado, which is why my lemon curd isn’t bright yellow)
  • zest of 2 Meyer lemons
  • 1/2 c Meyer lemon juice (I used the juice of the 2 I zested)
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp butter (Mine was salted), softened and cut into chunks
spoons are a perfectly acceptable vehicle for lemon curd

In the bowl of a double boiler, combine sugar and lemon zest, and rub it together with your fingers until combined and smelling tasty. Whisk in lemon juice and eggs.

Over medium-high heat, whisk constantly as the curd cooks. (Think of it as your arm workout for today). It will begin to thicken: cook it until you see whisk-tracks, and then remove from the heat and let cool briefly. This took me probably about 15 minutes.

Scrape the curd into a food processor or blender (Strain first, if you want to eliminate zest pieces—I don’t mind the zest, and I don’t have a strainer… so I skipped this), and blend until smooth. Once smooth, add in butter chunks, a few at a time, blending after each addition, until all of it is fully incorporated.

Let chill in the refrigerator before using. Keep it in an airtight container (I use jars for EVERYTHING). Eat with anything, or just off a spoon!

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Meyer Lemon, Cardamom and Chia Muffins

I made 6, as per usual: double if you want a normal sized batch! This makes 6 huuuuge muffins. They’re not very sweet, which I like for snack muffins, but I’m sure the lemon curd would add just the right amount of sweetness :) Those who prefer sweeter muffins, make sure your bananas are super ripe, or else add a few tbsp of honey or brown sugar. *Update 3/14: These need lots of work—Kira and I aren’t super fans, we’ve decided. They need more flavor and more moistness… but that’s a project for another day! Adapted from Bright Eyed Baker, here!

  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 c meyer lemon juice
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c yogurt (I used plain, lowfat)
  • judicious sprinkle of chocolate chippies and frozen huckleberries (or frozen berry of choice, blueberry would be good too)
the muffins are so BIG!

Preheat the oven to 375, and grease yo’ muffin tin.

In a largeish bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cardamom, and chia seeds. In a smaller bowl, mash bananas, and then vigorously whisk in (your second arm workout for today: your biceps can thank me later) egg, vanilla, lemon juice, and yogurt until thoroughly combined. Add wet ingredients to dry, and fold in chocolate chippies and huckleberries.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Mine went for 15 and came out perfectly.

Mmm. Enjoy your lemon-tastic day! My kitchen smells like sunshine now :) (And I have the added bonus of having sunshine in a jar in my fridge for later consumption, wheee!!)

like sunshine in a jar :)