Little bites of sunshine. That’s what these tasty mini gems are. Little bites of sunshine in your mouth. Sweet/tart organic Meyer lemon curd, buttery puff pastry and a burst of berry sweetness. Bliss. These are a sweet treat for a brunch or cocktail party. Their small size makes them easy to hold in one hand while you hold a lovely glass of champagne in the other! At least, that’s the way I would do it. I used my usual Organic Meyer Lemon Curd recipe, but I am not going to judge if you use a good quality store bought lemon curd. This recipe is all about easy. I always buy frozen puff pastry sheets, which are widely available in the dessert section of most supermarkets. I have made puff pastry by hand before while in culinary school, and lets just say that will never happen again! Ever. If you are not familiar with working with puff pastry, Pepperidge Farms has a great website with recipes and tutorials all about puff pastry.
Somehow, I have managed to not pull every hair out of my head this past week! Who knew moving a blog from one server to another could be so harrowing? Car accidents are harrowing, not blog migrations. Well, I have come out the other side, and I am a stronger woman for it! (OK, not really, but I like how dramatic that sentence reads.)
Last week I hopped on a plane headed to New York for a little relaxation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals annual conference. New York is the perfect place to hold a culinary conference, with the bounty of food there, from the street vendors making gyros to ultra high-end restaurants. While there, my blog was moved, got infected by a virus, died and was finally resurrected! (I must have Easter on my mind because that sure sounds familiar. . .)
I wanted to do a fabulous recipe for Easter, but that ball dropped as I was juggling all the other ones. This recipe was originally posted 2 years ago, but a good Leg of Lamb recipe is evergreen!
Although lamb is one of my favorite types of meat, I do not eat it that often. Whether it is a slow braised lamb shank, a succulent lamb chop or teeny lamb ribs, I like to eat it in all forms. But a nice roasted leg of lamb is always a special treat. Bone in or out, a leg of lamb is a roast often served at Easter dinner. Spring lamb signifies rebirth and renewal, not to mention Spring is when all those cute little lambs are born. I think lambs are so adorable, and you would think I would have a lot more guilt eating the darling creatures, but no. I am a true omnivore.
While browsing the aisles of my local Costco, something I do more often than my bank account likes, I found a boneless leg of lamb, all ready for the oven! It was trimmed and wrapped and calling my name. So into the cart it went, alongside the 500 rolls of toilet paper, 10 pounds of Sumatra coffee beans, multiple bottles of red wine and jumbo pack of Huggies pull-ups.
I was given a fabulous bottle of Lemon olive oil for Christmas, and decided to go really simple and just drizzle the lamb with the oil. Then I thought I should use up some of the abundance of Meyer lemons from my tree, so I zested a couple. Next thing you know my simple lamb idea was out the window, and garlic, oregano and red pepper were in. Oh well…
Lemon-Oregano Leg of Lamb
1/3 cup Lemon olive oil, or plain extra virgin olive oil
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 TB fine Meyer lemon zest (I used a microplane zester)
2 tsp dried oregano, preferable Mexican
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
4 lb boneless leg of lamb, tied
2 lbs new potatoes (optional)
2 cups baby carrots (optional)
In a small bowl combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, oregano, salt and red pepper.
Rub the lamb with the marinade, cover and refrigerate overnight, or at least 8 hours.
When you are ready to cook your lamb, remove it from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for an hour. Place the lamb into a large roasting pan. I added whole potatoes that I tossed in a little olive oil, salt and pepper to the pan also. This is optional, but does take care of one side dish with not a lot of extra effort. I like “not a lot of extra effort.”
Roast the lamb in a preheated 350 degree oven for one hour. If adding the optional vegetable, add your carrots now. You do not need to toss them with oil, just toss them into the pan.
Continue to roast the lamb for another 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature measures at least 145 – 150 degrees for medium rare. If you like your lamb more done, roast until temperature is 160 degrees. Remember, meat continues to cook even after it is out of the oven and resting. Let the roast sit for 20 – 30 minutes before you slice it, so the juices have time to reabsorb.
A bold red wine pairs very nicely with this roast. Then again, a bold red wine pairs nicely with air if you ask me…
This is a lemon. Yep, a regular old lemon. Not some fancy, schmancy lemon. . . just a lemon.
As I was walking part my neighbors house I spotted this beautiful freak of nature on a tree loaded with normal, boring oblong lemons. Gorgeous in its misfit way, freakishly reaching towards me like a hand. I had to have it. (Yes, I asked before picking it. I’m a good neighbor, thank you!)
Every angle is different, every nook and cranny unique. Mother Nature doing her thing.
I love winter in Southern California. The weather changes (it’s 78 degrees right now instead of 101 degrees) and the citrus trees are loaded with fruit. I am lucky to have two Meyer lemon trees in my front yard, and those little trees produce an abundance of fruit. Twice a year actually. I love those trees. They are only about 6 feet tall, but give me pounds and pound of lemons each year.
A Meyer lemon is a cross between a lemon and an orange, and originated in China. When you smell them they are redolent of flowers and honey. Their color when fully ripe is almost golden, like a sunset. The skin is very thin, and while the flesh is tart, it is more sweet than a regular lemon. As a child I used to pick them right off the tree and eat them while sitting on my front porch. Now my toddler does the same.
There is a multitude of things you can do with the Meyer lemon. The Los Angeles Times published a great article a couple of years ago called “100 things to do with a Meyer lemon.” I haven’t done them all, but I’m working on it! One of my favorite things to do with my lemons is make lemon curd. The flavor of Meyer lemon curd is so sublime, so intoxicating, so delectable. The best thing is that it’s easy to make, and is a wonderful gift to give to friends.
Organic Meyer Lemon Curd
8 large egg yolks
4 large eggs
1 cup of sugar
1 cup organic Meyer lemon juice
1 stick (8 TB) cold butter, cut into small pieces
Fill a medium saucepan or double boiler about 1/3 – 1/2 full with water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Have a large bowl of ice water ready to cool the curd.
While the water is coming to a boil, whisk the yolks, eggs, sugar and lemon juice in a metal bowl large enough to sit on the saucepan without falling in. Place the bowl over the simmering water, making sure the bottom doesn’t touch the water. Whisking frequently, cook the mixture until thick, about 10 minutes. If the mixture seems to be cooking too quickly, remove the bowl from the saucepan and whisk briskly, then return to the saucepan. Remember, you are working with eggs, so if it gets too hot you will make lemon scrambled eggs!
When the curd is thickened, place the bowl in the waiting bowl of ice water. Whisk in a few small pieces of butter at a time, waiting until they have melted until adding more. Strain the curd through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin. Refrigerate until completely cool.
I have been known to eat it my the spoonful, but drizzling it over pound cake, berries, or using it as a cake filing are all great ideas. But I do recommend eating it by the spoonful…