September 10, 2012
Sometimes, I get infatuated with the idea of dessert recipes that are, shall we say, involved. I suppose I like the challenge. When my first-ever batch of macarons failed spectacularly, with gooey insides that stuck to the parchment paper and cracked, wrinkled tops, I ended up spending months making several batches of macarons every week until I got them perfect every time. I spent a sweaty summer day making puff pastry dough from scratch. I once made a towering croquembouche for no other occasion than that I was bored on a Saturday.
I kind of thought that lemon meringue tarts would be like that. I wanted to attempt these because the tartes au citron meringuée at the bakeries around our place are never as lemony or tart as I want them to be. My palate requires a strong acidic component to compete with that tall cloud of marshmallow-like meringue.
September 5, 2012
Okay, hear me out on this one. I know that dehydrating citrus zest isn’t nearly as widely practiced or ballyhooed as, say, making stock, but it should be. Think about all that orange juice we consume. All that fresh-squeezed lemon juice going into your vinaigrettes. The limes you squeeze over guacamole and Thai food.
Now think about how often you need lemon or lime zest for a completely different recipe, and have to go out and buy more citrus which sits in your fridge looking pale and naked after you’ve stripped it of zest.
The best way to get around this scenario is the waste-not-want-not method: just zest your citrus any time you’re going to use it for just its juice or flesh, and let the zest try out before bottling it and saving it. One minute of extra work and no fancy dehydrator necessary; since the bits of zest are so small and oily, they’ll dry out quite well on your counter. It doesn’t have the nose-smacking pungency of the fresh stuff, but it makes up for it by working its way into dishes you’d never think to pull out a whole lemon for — but since you’ve got a bottle of the stuff there on your shelf, well, why not?
Plus, it makes the house smell really good while it dries. Continue Reading