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Lemon Curd

Hello sunshine! 

 When we first got married, my husband wasn’t too keen on drinking water. Since I wasn’t too keen on buying gallons of sugary drinks, I took it upon myself to make homemade ones. I figured at least I wouldn’t be bringing home lots of plastic bottles, even if I wasn’t saving him from a sugar overload. 

So I asked my aunt to buy cases of lemons for me every now and then, to turn into lemonade. She gets things super cheap from stores around where she lives. 

Fast forward to now and I no longer need to make gallons of drinks. Occasionally, sure, but not habitually. 

So yesterday I see my aunt and she hands me a bag of lemons. Maybe it was just in memory of what she used to hand me? I don’t know but at any rate, these were discounted ones and they need used as soon as humanly possible. So far I’ve used four of them in this spoon-lickin’ goodness.   

Lemon Curd

Zest of 3-4 lemons (depending on their size), finely chopped

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 cup sugar 

5 large eggs

Pinch salt

1 stick butter 

Place everything except butter in a double boiler. I just use a glass bowl set over a sauce pot with a bit of water in the pot. 

Heat water and keep at a simmer while you whisk the lemon mixture. Cook and stir until thick, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Chill and serve however you like. I love it on toast or with vanilla yogurt. Tho if I’m being totally honest, a lot gets eaten straight from the jar with a spoon. 

Yield: about 2 1/2 cups 

Shakshuka

I have been meaning to make this for years. I’m now sad it took me so long. What on earth was I waiting for?!  

 This sauce is so simple. And then you just throw some eggs on top and breakfast is ready.

I like the hint of spice in the tomato sauce. Quite warming on a chilly winter morn. 

PS. Spellcheck keeps wanting to change shakshuka to sharks hula. I’m giggling at the thought of sharks wearing leis and dancing about.  

 Shakshuka

1 T olive oil

1/4 cup diced onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup chopped bell pepper 

1/2 t chili powder

1/2 t cumin

Pinch red pepper flakes

Sprinkle of salt

Pinch of sugar or drizzle of honey 

2 t tomato powder (or 1 T tomato paste)

1 pint canned diced tomatoes

4 eggs

Parsley (fresh is best but dried will work mid-winter)

Salt/pepper

Heat olive oil in skillet. Add onion and sauté a few minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant. Add bell pepper and sauté a bit more. Throw in spices, sweetener, and tomato products. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. 

At this point I transferred half of the mixture to a smaller skillet because I wanted a personal size serving. I saved the other half of the tomatoes for another day. 

Break eggs into the tomato sauce. Cover and simmer 5-15 minutes, depending on how hard you like your eggs. Check tomato sauce occasionally to make sure it’s not burning. 

Sprinkle with parsley, salt, and pepper and serve with crusty bread (toasted sandwich bread will do). 

Serves: 2

Cuban Black Beans

I guess I’ve been craving beans? Weird.  

 These are the simplest and most flavorful beans I’ve ever made. It was a quick lunch for Bennet and I. I’m not sure he enjoyed them but he did eat his bowlful without complaint before digging into his sugar cookie. 

I particularly loved the oregano. I never would have thought to use it, opting typically to go with cumin in such places.

They might look boring in the bowl but your tastebuds might be surprised by everything going on. Give them a try…if you don’t like them just turn them into soup!

 Cuban Black Beans

Adapted from Extending the Table

1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (frozen is fine)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 T lard or bacon fat

4 cups cooked black beans 

1/2 t oregano

1/2 t salt (if beans are unsalted) 

3 T apple cider vinegar 

Heat fat in skillet. Add pepper and sauté a few minutes. Add garlic and cook a bit more. Throw in everything else and simmer with the lid closed for about 10-15 minutes, adding a bit of water if necessary to keep them from sticking. Serve immediately with butter bread (or rice, if you are feeling authentic). 

Served: 3-4 for a light lunch. 

I had leftover rice to use up. I usually opt for fried rice but the husband had a major Chinese food craving last night and I wasn’t about to make homemade fried rice so soon after eating the “real” deal.  

 So I set to thinking. I was cooking up some chicken for chicken salad and had a bunch leftover. I pulled everything out of the fridge that I wanted used (pickled jalapeños, rice, chicken, salsa, cooked kidney beans, and chicken broth) and then skipped out to the freezer and found corn and zucchini. The basement yielded roasted tomato sauce and canned tomato chunks. Yes, soup it was all destined to be. 

I love when it comes together so easily and yields such mouthwatering results. Brad went nuts for it! 

 Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup

1 T lard 

1/2 onion,  diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 qt canned tomatoes 

1 pt tomato sauce (roasted is yummy!)

1/2 cup salsa

2 canned jalapeños, seeded and diced (green chilies would be the store-bought alternative, I believe)

1 qt chicken stock

1 pt frozen corn

1 pt frozen diced zucchini

4 cups cooked kidney beans 

1 1/2 t cumin

1 t salt

3 cups leftover rice

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

Sour cream, cheese, hot sauce, cilantro, etc,  for serving 

Heat lard in a 5-6qt soup pot. Add onion and sauté a few minutes. Add garlic and then the tomatoes, tomato sauce, salsa, jalapeños, stock, corn, zucchini, beans, cumin, and salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 20-30 minutes. Add rice and cook another 10 minutes or so. Add chicken and heat through. Serve immediately with desired toppings. A fresh loaf of sour dough doesn’t hurt, either. 

Yield: about a gallon 

Simple Muffins

  I’m not in my normal kitchen today. The pantry is a bit sparse but don’t worry, we didn’t starve.  I brought along the dry ingredients, premixed, for simple muffins to go with the jar of soup I also toted with us.   The muffins were delightfully simple and satisfying.   The type of fat you use here will really change the end flavor. I used olive oil and loved the slightly earthy undertone it brought. Butter would be delicious, too, of course. Bacon fat or lard could be nice if you want a meaty flavor.  

 And these guys could be the base for a myriad of add-ins. Fruit, veg, protein, take your pick…whatever is floating around in your fridge or pantry! 

 Simple Muffins

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup all purpose flour

2 T sugar

1 T baking powder

1 egg 

1 cup milk

1/4 cup fat, melted if necessary 

1/4-1/2 t salt (depending if fat is salted)

In a large bowl, mix flours, sugar, and baking powder. 

In a small bowl, whisk the egg, milk, fat, and salt until combined. Add to dry ingredients and only mix until barely combined, no more. A few lumps are fine. 

Divide between 12 greased and floured muffin cups. Bake at 400F for 12-15 mins or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. 

Enjoy warm with toppings of choice. 

Yield: 12 regular muffins

Guys!

We ate warm bread made into bologna sandwiches for lunch today. Satisfying. 

 But what I actually came to tell you is that I’m featured on my friend’s blog today. I talk all things money saving. Basically, it’s how to be weird. Take a look here

Kale Salad

I meant for this to travel with us to the cabin for the next two days but it didn’t make it there. When I plated it for the photo, I had to take a bite. And then I ate the whole pile. 

If it WOULD have made it to Christmas, it would have been the perfect antidote to all that sugar I know I’ll consume. 

  
Kale Salad

Told to me by my mom 

Kale (4 c finely chopped ended up giving me a pint of salad)

Salt

Lemon juice 

Sliced almonds 

Craisins

Raisins

Grated sharp cheddar (or crumbled feta)

Honey

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Black pepper

Remove the stems from the kale as well as the larger veins. Chop it very fine and place in a big bowl. Sprinkle with salt and a sprinkling of lemon juice.  Then comes the fun part. Get your hands in there and smash that kale all up. Really give it a good massage. You want it all to turn wet and dark green. 

Next toast your almonds. Use a skillet on the stove top or a pan in the oven. Whatever floats your boat. Than throw the hot nuts on top of the kale and give it a stir. Add remaining ingredients, but don’t overdue it on the balsamic. It’s a background flavor. And you don’t need much oil. Give it a stir and eat immediately or refrigerate up to a day or two. 

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