Lime Curd

I’ve had great success with my Lemon Curd recipe and I’m quite pleased with it. When we came into an accidental excess of limes recently though, I went shopping for a new lime curd recipe at using the iPod Touch app. It was fruitful. Here are my tweaks.

1/2 cup (1 stick, 110g) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (158g) sugar
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (4 medium limes’ worth)
2 limes’ worth of finely grated peel
Pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks

Place fine strainer over a bowl glass bowl. Melt butter in heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Remove from heat. Add sugar, lime juice, lime peel, and salt; whisk to blend. Add yolks and whisk until smooth. Return saucepan to medium heat and whisk constantly until curd thickens and is steaming pretty heavily (do not boil), 10 to 12 minutes. Epicurious says to heat it to 160°F as measured with an instant-read thermometer, but I didn’t bother with that. Steaming heavily for a few minutes after thickening but before a boil develops was good enough for me. Pour curd into prepared strainer; discard solids in strainer. I don’t bother with this step when I’m making my lemon curd, but I have to admit, the cooked lime zest shreds looked kind of gross, so I’m glad I did it this way this time. They tasted pretty awesome, though; maybe I’ll leave them in next time. The curd will thicken some more as it cools; then you can spoon or scrape it into a jar. Chill overnight. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and keep chilled.

Lemon Bars

We’ve never been able to make a really good lemon bar. Maybe that’s not exactly right – we’ve never made a lemon bar that we’ve thought was perfect. Either the lemon mixture wouldn’t gel, or they were impossible to remove from the pan, or there was almost no lemon flavor, and so on. And we were following the directions to the tee, so we couldn’t understand what was wrong.

So I stopped following the directions and started tweaking.

I got this recipe from epicurious, but I’ll post what I did below.

Shortbread Crust Ingredients
3/4 c (164 g) cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) pieces
2 c (276 g) flour
1/2 c (105 g) light brown sugar, packed
1/2 t salt

Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C). Put all ingredients in a food processor and run on medium until mixture begins to form small, pea-sized lumps. Pour mixture into 9×13 baking dish and press evenly onto bottom (a metal spatula is good for this – don’t use your hands! It’ll melt the butter and throw off the texture of the shortbread). Bake shortbread on middle rack for 20 minutes and prepare the lemon mixture.

Lemon Curd Topping
4 large eggs
1 c (210 g) sugar
3/4 c (177 ml) lemon juice
1 T lemon zest (2 large lemons)
1/3 c (104 g) flour

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar. Add lemon juice, zest and flour and stir until just combined. Pour over hot shortbread base and carefully return pan to oven, turning temperature down to 300°F (149°C). Bake for 30 minutes, or until just set in the middle. Allow to cool completely (preferably overnight), then dust lightly with powdered sugar.

Dal (Indian Lentils)

Who here eats enough fiber?

only Sarah’s in-laws raise their hands

That’s what I thought. Well, if you want some fiber and something rich and spicy, eat this. I used this recipe as a guideline and for the cooking method, which turned out to be stellar. Below are my actual steps.

1 1/2 c dry lentils (I used brown, the posted link suggests black caviar lentils)
2 T butter, divided
1 T vegetable oil
1/4 t hing or asafoetida powder
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely diced or cut into matchsticks
2 hot green chilies, chopped (optional – remove seeds for less heat)
1 t curry powder
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t ground coriander
1/2 t ground fenugreek
1/2 t ground fennel
1/2 smoked paprika (hot or sweet, whatever you like)
1/2 t ground turmeric
1/2 t salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 small can tomato sauce (6 oz. or 200 g)
1 c vegetable broth

In a deep pot, cover lentils with water by 2 inches, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. While lentils are cooking, heat 1 T butter in a small skillet to medium and cook gently until milk solids start to brown and smell nutty. Add oil to skillet, add hing and fry, stirring for one minute. Add onion to skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent. Now add garlic, ginger and chilies and cook until fragrant and tender. If skillet looks dry, add a bit more oil and add curry powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, coriander, fenugreek, fennel, smoked paprika, turmeric, salt and pepper to onion mixture and stir until well distributed and very fragrant. Cook for one more minute, then remove from heat and set aside.

Drain lentils and return to pot. Add cooked onion mixture, tomato sauce, vegetable broth and 1 T butter. Bring lentils to a simmer and cook over low heat until thick and creamy, adding broth as needed. To improve texture, mash lentils occasionally with the back of a spatula while cooking. If desired, stir in a tablespoon or two of cream after cooking. Serve with naan or rice, accompanied by plain yogurt and chopped cilantro.

“We are a country of God.”

A New York Times article from September 12, 1938, which I found on

Glenn Beck’s rally unfolding on anniversary of King’s speech –

We most certainly are not.  We are a country of individuals, who are guaranteed the freedom to decide for ourselves how, when, and whether to worship.

Beck, a hero to many conservative voters across the country, said, however, that the rally is nonpolitical and its mission is to honor American troops.

Well, then he’s lying on two counts. Honoring troops would include respecting the separation of church and state, that prized principle which used to make such a strong distinction between countries like the U.S.A. and Iran. By stating that we are a country of God, Beck has thumbed his nose at all those troops who thought they were fighting to defend and preserve our separation of church and state. And you can’t tell me in the same breath that a rally at which you say “America today begins to turn back to God” is nonpolitical.

“It was not my intention to select 8-28 because of the Martin Luther King tie. It is the day he made that speech. I had no idea until I announced it,” Beck said on his radio show in June, soon after the announcement of the rally.
“Whites don’t own Abraham Lincoln. Blacks don’t own Martin Luther King. Those are American icons, American ideas, and we should just talk about character, and that’s really what this event is about. It’s about honoring character,” Beck said.

Wouldn’t honoring Dr. King’s character also necessarily mean knowing enough about the man and the movement to realize that you can’t honestly claim not to have known the significance of your own rally’s ostensibly randomly chosen date? Either you dishonor his character by not knowing enough about him to not hold your own rally on that day, in that place, or you dishonor his character by proclaiming your ignorance.

Or just come clean and admit that you’re actively trying to detract from the significance of the “I Have a Dream” rally by having your own Bullshit Party on the same day. I would have a lot more respect for that honesty.

Politics are not the reason that we moved away from the U.S., but they sure are a contributing factor toward not moving back.

Middle Eastern Culinary Magic

Got in to Detroit just fine after something like 20 hours of travel, total. Everything went smoothly — even the 1.5 hour delay leaving Newark for the final air stretch wasn’t terrible.

When my sister picked us up at the airport, we got to choose between Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine for dinner out. She lives in Dearborn, so for me the choice was obvious.

We went to Al-Ameer and feasted on Hummus, Baba Ghanouche, Falafel, Fattoush, Grape Leaves, Lamb Shawarma, Chicken Shawarma, Ghallaba, and a new favorite: Hot Sujuk. My mouth is watering just writing these out, because it reminds me that I have leftovers for breakfast.

What’s not to Like?

So there’s this music blog the Heidelbergerin turned me on to. That blog is now more or less defunct, but one of the last gems I learned about through it was The Like.

I took a listen to some of their earlier stuff after falling out of my chair sampling their album Release Me, and it didn’t appeal to me as much. It would seem Mark Ronson's and Dap-Kings' influence on their sound is a really, really good thing.

I like the sound of bands like The Cyrkle and early Who. The Rubber Souly, mid-60s, not-quite-Strawberry-Alarm-Clock sound is a good fit for a retro girl-group act like theirs.

Here’s the first track which attracted me to them:

But how did those people in the video steal all my dance moves?

And an acoustic double-header: