Meyer Lemon Curd

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This past summer, right after Casper was born, my mom bought me a couple of plants for the yard–a squat, red Japanese maple, a lilac, and two jasmine plants. It was our first trip out of the house and Casper was only a few days old. I wore him in my Solly wrap and wandered Portland Nursery in what I can only describe as a new-mom-haze–a mixture of emotions running from sentimental, to overwhelmed, to smitten. While we were there I spotted a wee Meyer lemon tree and always the giver, my mom bought it,  potted it, and popped in my house by our back door. It’s a glass slider door that gets a ton of afternoon light and my little citrus has been growing pretty well, I think. It sprouted a few little lemons, to our surprise, but it really won’t bear much fruit for a couple of years. Until then, I will prune the waxy leaves, try to keep Casper from eating the potting soil, and buy my Meyer lemons from the store and turn them into lemon curd until my home-grown citrus dreams come true.

Lemon curd is one if my favorite sweet-tart condiments. Meyer lemons have the faintest flavor of tangerine that balances the tartness, making this curd just a touch sweeter than traditional lemon curds. It’s amazing smeared onto a cream scone or biscuit, prefect In a pastry shell, and delicious with shortbread cookies. Next week I’ll be posting a frozen treat I swirled with this curd, so stay tuned!!

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Meyer Lemon Curd

about 2 cups curd

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

6 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

6 egg yolks

3/4 cup fresh meyer lemon juice (about 5 lemons)

zest of 1 meyer lemon

In a saucepan combine all of the ingredients, whisk to break up the eggs. Set the pan over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. The curd is thick enough when it coats a spoon so when you run a finger over the back of the spoon the curd doesn’t run back together. Remove from the heat and scrape the curd into a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl and press it through to sieve out the zest. Pour the curd into a heatproof jar to cool. Cover and store the cooled curd in the refrigerator for 1 week.

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Brown Butter Cinnamon Banana Bread with Brown Butter Honey Drizzle

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I love banana bread a lot of ways–nuts, chocolate chips, peanut butter, spices, fruit, plain? SURE! But, my favorite banana bread iteration probably involves streusel because I cannot resist a crumbly, sugary, buttery topping. I just can’t.

This version involves lots of cinnamon and everyone’s favorite darling–brown butter. It’s sweetly spiced with a crumbly topping and toffee-like notes from the browned butter. And, I went even further, I gilded the banana (that’s the saying, right?) and added a super simple brown butter + honey drizzle. It takes this bread over the top and makes it something extra special…I mean, what’s more special than a triple-brown-butter (streusel! batter! drizzle!) situation?

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Brown Butter Cinnamon Banana Bread with Brown Butter Honey Drizzle

Adapted from Betty Crocker

Makes 1 loaf

Topping:

3 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

dash of salt

2 tablespoons browned butter

Batter:

3 very ripe bananas

6 tablespoons browned butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup greek yogurt

1/4 cup milk

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350ºF and spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

Brown the butter for the topping and batter in a skillet by melting 1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons) over medium heat until the butter foams. As the foam subsides, continue heating, stirring occasionally until the milk solids become deep brown and the butter smells like toffee. Remove from the heat and scrape into a heatproof dish to cool.

In a small bowl stir together the topping ingredients, including 2 tablespoons of the browned butter.

In a bowl, mash the bananas and whisk in the remaining 6 tablespoons browned butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, greek yogurt, and milk. In a seperate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and fold until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with the topping mixture. Bake in the center of the oven for about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Brown Butter Honey Drizzle

This drizzle is totally optional, but pushes this bread over the top.

Brown 2 tablespoons of brown butter in a skillet (go ahead and brown 2 additional tablespoons with the 8 mentioned above, 10 tablespoons total). Stir the 2 tablespoons of brown butter with 4 tablespoons of honey, warm in a skillet if it doesn’t seem to be coming together. Drizzle over the whole loaf of bread or on each slice as you serve it.

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Ham and Chive Mini Biscuit Muffins

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Guys, tomorrow we are taking Casper on his first plane trip and I am just a leeeetle bit nervous (aka, a LOT nervous). Mostly about the germs and the diseases I’m convinced are lurking everywhere and since everything Casper can get his paws on goes into his mouth, I’m just freaking out a bit. On the inside. On the outside I only look mildly freaked out. I may or may not be the weirdo in seat 20b shrouding myself and my baby with a muslin blanket while Sean tries to not roll his eyes too hard. Thankfully, the flight is a short one (1.5 hours) and we’ll be landing in Reno to a happy reception of friends and family. Casper is meeting my BFF and her family for the first time! I’m so excited! She and her sister, also my good friend, have daughters a few months older than Casper, so it’s going to be a baby party! I can’t wait to see how they all interact. I’m sure it will be hilarious.

Anyway, crazy-mom-talk aside, let’s talk about carb-babies.

It’s a biscuit in a mini muffin. Revolutionary, nope. Delicious, yup.These guys are the dressed-up version of a drop biscuit, no patting out dough, flouring surfaces, or cutting, just scooping and baking, but a little cleaned up. Even though they’re small, these two-bite babes are packed with a ton of flavor–salty & savory ham, onion-y chives, and cheese (of course!) folded into tender and buttery biscuit dough. The recipe makes about 3 dozen minis, which is a lot, but they are perfect for freezing and just take a quick 15 second whirl in the microwave to reheat. They’re great as a carb-y, cheesy side for soup, chili, or stew, but would be crazy-adorbs topped with teeny little quail eggs.

[recipe]

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Ham and Chive Mini Biscuit Muffins

Adapted from this recipe

Makes about 36 mini biscuits

I used cake flour for these biscuits to mimic the much coveted White Lily Flour, which I can’t find out west. I have also used all-purpose flour for these with fine results. I would reduce the amount to 2 cups if using all-purpose.

2 1/4 cups cake flour

2 tablespoons baking powder

1 scant teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1/4 cup finely diced ham

1/2 cup shredded cheddar

3 tablespoons finely minced chives

1 cup whole milk

Preheat the oven to 425ºF and line 1 1/2 mini muffin tins with paper liners. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine. Add in the cold butter and toss to coat the cubes. Using either a pastry blender, or your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until you get coarse crumbs–some sandy bits and some pieces of butter still in small chunks (about pea sized). Add in the ham, cheese, and chives and fold gently to combine. Finally, fold in the milk until just combined being careful to not over mix the dough. Using a mini cookie scoop, or a tablespoon, scoop the dough into the mini muffin cups and bake in the center of the oven for about 12-15 minutes or until puffed and just golden. [/recipe]