...a way of seeing beyond inner and outer.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Talking Lemon Bars

If I took a picture of the utter chaos that is my house, you would think a bomb had gone off.  I do not do well with chaos. I am annoyed, irritated and forcing myself to write in the middle of what appears to be a blast site because this is exactly the sort of feeling that, for years, has sent me to the kitchen with eeeeeev-ell intent.  Even now, the cookies are calling my name.
     “Aww, Tracy, you’re suffering.  Good thing we're here, huh?  We can help! Remember? We’re a team, kid.”
Wrong. "We" are not a team and I’ve already had a cookie. It was great and served a very specific purpose but I am not hungry. More importantly, in case no one else has noticed this, eating never makes "that feeling" stop. What eating under those circumstances does do is give you something else to focus on, like how much you hate yourself for eating a tray of lemon bars and how crappy your stomach feels because you ate a tray of lemon bars instead of how crappy you feel about your exploded house. Which brings me to the obvious solution: clean the house, but I’m waiting, another thing I don’t do well. In fact, I deal with chaos, clutter and talking cookies better than I can deal with waiting.  I believe it was Daffy Duck who said,
        “I’m not like other people. I don’t like waiting. It annoys me”.  
I may not have that quote exactly right, but the feeling is spot on and it’s going to be hanging around until tomorrow night.  I’m waiting for my husband to remove an unbeLEIVEable  array of objects from the living room, den, entry hall and yes, even kitchen, where they’re competing for space with dozens of cookies that will, tomorrow morning, find a home elsewhere.     
       This is waiting with a purpose.  An angel of mercy in the form of a housekeeper,  is coming, so I'm not going to stomp up the stairs and give the chief de-cluttering/cluttering officer a piece of my agitated mind. Until this morning, the only way into his office was a path, but you had to turn side ways to use it.  And it’s not as though he’s a pack rat, though he is a pack rat.  The clutter is largely a result of a child who left home without a large number of her possessions that have remained piled up our closets. The end result has been that the things we would like to put in closets have sat in his office.  As I’ve said, I can’t deal with clutter and he’s taken one for the team for about six months but this morning he began "staging" them downstairs on their way to a more orderly storage solution, goodwill, or the trash.  Unfortunately, this afternoon, he’s watching golf and I’m making myself write and reminding myself of Friday.
Friday, he saw me cleaning the kitchen floor, decided I was suffering and brought me a business card for a house keeping service.  I gave in and called when, as he handed me the card, he said,
"This will make you happy."
How do you turn down a promise like that?
When life gives you a housekeeper, endure the clutter as it makes its path from your husband’s office into its new home and keep saying thank you. (while you clean the house furiously because you don't want the housekeeper to know your family needs a housekeeper )

 Talking Lemon Bars
Two things: 
  • This is a “How I over came the cookie” blog, but overcoming the cookie means you aren’t afraid of the cookie. I ate one, because this is a new recipe, and it’s going out to clients.  No more guilt, and now that I know it’s good  (I'll-never-make-any-other-lemon-bar good ), no more cookies.
  • Buttercream is usually cooked and made with hot sugar syrup for a couple  good reasons. The powdered sugar has cornstarch in it which will leave a raw taste in the buttercream and the eggs are de-salmonellaed by the hot syrup.   Allowing the buttercream to marry (sit in a cool place while the lemon bars cook ) takes care of any really noticeable raw taste and if you aren’t comfortable with raw eggs, don’t use them, or better yet, know where your eggs come from, if you can.  Another reason to buy local, and humane.

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

I’m lazy, so I peel the lemon carefully with a vegetable peeler so as not to pull up any pith as I go, then I put the strips in the food processor with the sugar, turn it on and walk away until it grinds itself.  It takes a minute or two, but so much easier on your knuckles and faster than a grater.  After the lemon is no longer in visible chunks, I toss in the flour and whir it around minute or so more to make sure no pieces of lemon escaped the blade, only then do I throw in the butter.

Pat this crumbly mixture into a large jelly roll pan (approx 17X11) or two 9 X 12 disposable aluminum tins ( have I mentioned lazy )  allowing for a little lip to catch the filling. It makes clean up easier later ( lazy )  Bake at 325 about 10 minutes or until you just begin to see browning bits on the crust

FYI by itself this makes great lemon shortbread but I add 1 additional tablespoon of brown sugar when I intend to use it for that purpose

Three 10 ounce jars of lemon curd ( you can make this yourself, but again, lazy )
One 8 ounce package cream cheese
4 egg yolks

food process or mix this until smooth and pour into the pre-baked crusts for about 20 minutes.  Exact baking times are lies.  Your oven has a personality.  Watch it and let It tell you what to do. You’re looking for bubbles, puffiness and a loss of shininess, think cheese cake., still wiggly in the middle but set at the edges.

Lazy lemon butter cream
1 stick softened butter ( 8 tablespoons )
1 box powdered sugar ( 4 cups )
¼ cup lemon juice
2 egg yolks

Throw it all in in the mixer and let it go until it’s light and fluffy.  When the lemon bars are completely cooled spread over the top.  


    1. I cannot believe you are going to turn your back on Mamaw's Lemon Bars. I won 3rd place in the fourth grade for those. Sacrilege!
      Must be good!

    2. I did. I didn't have her recipe and after I added the lemon butter cream, there was no going back. But hers will travel better than these will. These are a bit messy and more fork friendly than finger friendly, but dang..

    3. I'd have to clean just so the housekeeper wouldn't run away screaming!

      the bar looks yum-- My mom is a lemon fiend so I'm always on the lookout for lemon desserts-- I'll make these on her next visit.

      do you have a microplane grater? if not , get one-- It is the most amazing grater ever-- fast, super fine and no pith.

      I made a choc tart recently and noticed the crust would make a great shortbread-- I bet lemon would be delicious--- another to make for mom.

      I've only made the butter cream off the cocoa can and out of my old Better home and garden cookbook--- didn't know it could call for yolks-- and I've never noticed a raw taste but I'm going to try the hot sugar syrup and see if I can tell a difference.


    I love to know what you think, "for the Sake of Blessed Connection and Exquisite Controversy"