see ya kids


I'm headed to Maine for the Labor Day weekend and could not be more excited about it.

Maine is a land where fleece is widely accepted, bloody marys are normal, and windblown hair is trendy.

The last time I went to Maine I had such an amazing time that it was worthy of 3 whole blog posts... here, here, and here. I'm not sure what is in store for the next few days but all I'm hoping for is to sit with my best friend on a dock. Put a bag of pretzels between us. A few cocktails. And to feed her dog some string cheese.

Here's to making dreams come true.

avocado fries with lime aioli


This is a good news, bad news recipe.

Good news? Avocado fries are tasty. Bad news? Avocado fries are easy.

I'm getting ready to go to head to Maine for the Labor Day holiday weekend... and as a result, I'm trying to eat anything in my house that will expire. I was a little overzealous at the Haymarket market last Friday so in the next few days I've got to knock out a watermelon, a few peaches, some limes, and avocados.

I had seen a few recipes on Pinterest recently for grilled or broiled avocado ... and was planing on knocking that out for dinner tonight. But my great plans were thrown off course by my lack of cheese... which is weird given the amount of cheese I normally have in my fridge.

New plan? Avocado fries.

These suckers are pretty easy but come with the same "mess" that tags along with any sort of frying activity. I'm quite sure that they are not meant to be a dinner and I'll probably never make them for this occasion again. While I did manage to polish off all the fries, I would probably much rather have had about a third or half of the avocado ... as opposed to the whole thing.

You do want to serve these warm ... so these would make a great appetizer ... or in a taco perhaps like Adrianna did here. The world is your fried avocado oyster ... so go with it. Whatever you do, I think you need a dip. I elected to make a lime aioli (killed a lime there) but I think you could do pretty much anything you'd ever associate with guacamole. Maybe even some cheez whiz.

So ... all that being said. I'll tell you how to make these suckers now.

(Step 1) Prep your dipping bowls. You need 3 bowls and a staging plate for pre-frying.  Put the flour, scrambled egg, and panko crumbs each in their own bowls. 
(Step 2) Cut your avocado into slices that are about 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. You need them to be a little hearty so they can handle all of the dipping and transferring around. 

(Step 3) Dip the slices in the flour, followed by the egg, and lastly the panko. Be a little aggressive with the panko cause it's kind of the best. 
(Step 4) Heat up about a 1/2 inch of oil in your frying pan. I used a pot because I was not in the mood to get a splatter burn ... and figured this would yield less clean-up. I was right, but the pot made flipping these suckers a bit more challenging.

(Step 5) Gently place your avocados in the hot oil. I don't have a thermometer so I just waited a few minutes and went for it. I'm sorry I can't be more helpful but you really are going to be just fine here. If the oil is too hot, your avocado will just quick faster. No biggie. 
After about 30-45 seconds, flip the suckers over so they are evenly brown and crisp. I like my food salty so I sprinkled a little kosher salt on them after I pulled them out.

(Step 6) For the aioli, mix together the mayo, lime juice, lime zest, and season with salt.


If you are like me, you'll eat these suckers and then proceed to watch two hours of realty tv sponsored by Chris Harrison.

Shopping List
1 egg
1 cup of Flour
1 1/2 cups of Panko Crumbs
Kosher Salt

juice of one lime
as much zest as you want
2-3 tbsp of mayo
kosher salt

sometimes all you need is the ocean


.... and all your cares will just drift away.

I took the train home from the city today to the burbs. I knew from the minute I pulled into the neighborhood that the beach would be amazing. I was itching to get closer and closer to it.

I instagram'd a few shots while I was on the beach but I want to keep this post filter free.

There is something really nice in knowing that this is exactly what I was seeing ... and maybe even a little bit better than that.

In the coming weeks there will be a lot of the following:
- cakes
- pictures
- memories
- friends and family

So stay tuned....

p.s. I determined my new blog name.... and bought the domain.

pesto chicken salad


I'll probably never forget the first time I saw someone make pesto. I remember being shocked. It was very much a "THAT'S IT?" moment. 

But seriously, pesto is really that easy. 

And upon further investigation, you can pretty much make it any which was you want. I saw this great blog post that illustrated all the different ways you can really make the pesto of your dreams .... or just to suit a picky guest who doesn't like basil or arugula or life. I think I stuck pretty close to the norm for this round. 

I'm not sure what took me so long to make my own pesto but I did it today. I was home in the burbs over the weekend and managed to swipe a pile of basil from the family garden. Free basil is one million times better than store basil. But, if I can't get all my ingredients from the garden .... I'm happy enough to buy them in the North End ... which is where I got everything else. 
- pine nuts & pistachios are from Polcari's
- lemon is from the Haymarket Market
- grated parmesan is from Monica's Mercato

I knew my garden fresh basil wouldn't last super long but I was a little bit short on inspiration for what to eat with my pesto. I didn't feel like pasta. I didn't want something heavy. I wanted summer on my plate. A quick search of my Google Reader revealed this gem of a recipe for Pesto Chicken Salad. WELL HELLO THERE! And I was in love. 

See as soon as I saw that juicy big ole tomato in the recipe picture, I knew I had also found a use for one of my prized San Marzano tomatoes. I first fell in love with them when I made tomato soup and then used them again in my bolognese sauce. I mean check out how amazing and red that baby is up top....

And if you are wondering if making your own pesto is worth it. It is. After I had blended / pulsed / whatever'd the ingredients for the pesto ... I removed the cover and gave it a whiff. Smelled amazing. But, then I put a spoon in there just to give it a little taste-a-rooski ... and I literally said "now, that's the stuff" ... alone in my kitchen.

So here is how you make pesto .... and essentially pesto chicken salad.

Makes enough for 3 people? or maybe about 1 cup of Pesto?

(Step 1) Add your basil, nuts, cheese, garlic, and lemon juice to the food processor. Pulse the mixture until all the basil and nuts are well chopped. It doesn't have to be perfect since you aren't done chopping. You might have to shift the ingredients around in the food processor just to make sure everything gets a good chop. 

(Step 2) Slowly add the olive oil into the food processor while it's running. Given the tomato soup debacle where I ended up with tomato soup everywhere, I was super sensitive to not having both hands on the equipment .... but it was totally fine. Also, this gives you a chance to use that spout thing to add ingredients ... pretty much made me feel like a professional chef.

(Step 3) Pulse the mixture until you get the consistency that you like. Essentially what you are going for is loose green mud. But, it looks so delicious. Add any salt or pepper for flavoring.

(Step 4) Now you've made pesto. Just add it to some roughly chopped cooked chicken and you've got pesto chicken salad. I quickly cooked up some chicken breasts in a skillet with some olive oil before chopping them up and adding to the pesto. Easy peasy.

(Step 5) To give the meal a little more bulk, I made some bread croutons that I whipped up. In an effort to not heat up my apartment any more than necessary ... and to limit the amount of time I was spending on my feet ... I just threw them in the same skillet I cooked the chicken in with a bit of olive oil, garlic powder, and kosher salt. This is super fast, but be careful you don't burn your croutons. They cook super fast in a skillet.

Shopping List
2 cups basil
1/4 cup of nuts (any combo you want)
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 chicken breasts
Big Ole Juicy Tomato (San Marzano if you want to be my twin)

liquid summer


Oh me, oh my.

I came back to the North End today from a few days in the burbs. Nothing seemed to be more appealing than opening all of my windows and looking at some pictures from this weekend. Just as I was about to reach for a coconut water, I spied half of a big ole watermelon on my countertop.

This is the same watermelon that I used for my ladies brunch last weekend ... and I happened to have carried this sucker all the way to the burbs (via bike and train) on Thursday. I thought for sure that I'd be inspired to cut it up after sunning myself in my parent's backyard or dunking in the ocean for the umpteenth time. I didn't.

So, the sucker still lives on but now in the form of juice.

I spied the "recipe" for watermelon juice on this blog a bit ago but hadn't gotten around to liquifying one of my favorite summer treats. I use the word "recipe" loosely because you can literally get away with blending watermelon since its practically all water anyway. But where is the fun in that?

So, I made it slightly more "complicated" by adding in some seltzer and a dash of simple syrup.

Pretty sure the next time I find myself with a pile of watermelon and some company, I'm going to toss the extra in the blender because this is super refreshing and a win in my book. It doesn't hurt that watermelon is apparently pretty great for you. According to this website I read watermelon juice is apparently all of the following:
  • rich in antioxidants - help to prevent kidney stones, cancers and cardiac ailments
  • great source of potassium - helps to regulate blood pressure levels keeping your heart healthy
  • preventive against bone loss
  • excellent source of energy because it contains Vitamin B
  • helps to lower risks of age-related macular degeneration that may lead to loss of vision in elders
But, I might have erased all of those benefits by enjoying with my other hand permanently in a box of Wheat Thins.... It's fine because I'm pretty sure that's how an old lady eats and given that I was watching a parade out my window.... I was acting like an old lady.

Yep, this is how we roll in the North End. I don't even live on a main street.

So make yourself some watermelon juice and enjoy the rest of summer.

(Step 1) Cut up your watermelon into appropriate sized hunks. Toss into the blender and blend until smooth and chunk free.

(Step 2) Taste the juice. Are you happy? Then leave it alone. Otherwise add a dash of simple syrup to make it a tad bit more sweet. To make it more "cocktail-y", add in some seltzer. I went with lemon .... and it was perfect.

(Step 3) ENJOY.

Shopping List
Big ole watermelon
simple syrup
seltzer (any fruit flavor is great)

silky chocolate mousse


In planning my Julia Child Birthday Dinner, I felt like I really needed a dessert. I'm not even a "dessert person" but it felt like an occasion where you would say .... "oh we served three courses".

I'm actually not sure how you count courses .... so maybe the meal was two or maybe it was three.... but whatever the case is... chocolate mousse was the last course and it was amazing. I feel like it tasted like silk. Is that possible?

In reading one recipe for chocolate mousse, the author warned that you will use every bowl you have in your kitchen. I scoffed. Not me I thought. I hate doing dishes so I reuse things as many times as possible during a recipe. Welp, I could not have been more wrong. I now know that I do not have enough bowls to make chocolate mousse in part because I started to use pots and ended up washing two bowls twice during the process. Sweet lord.

Another issue with the mousse? It calls for whipped egg whites .... that need to be mixed in ... and folded in. I fundamentally have no idea how to fold anything into a recipe and always feel like my bowl is too small for what I'm making. 

All of these factors on the table.... this was one of the most satisfying recipes I've ever made. I feel like I legit "made something" and I love that it was because it was Julia Child's 100th Birthday. At some points I was like "AM I DOING THIS RIGHT?" but then I just wiped the chocolate off my face and kept going.

So let me tell you how you make chocolate mousse. Here is just a quick listing of things you need:
- hand mixer
- multiple spatulas
- ice bath
- individual bowls for the mousse
... never mind the measuring cups, knives, etc.

I highly recommend you read the recipe twice before you even get started so you know what's coming up next. For some reason this feels like you are "doing science" or something because of the heating and the cooling and the mixing and the cartwheels, so I became super fixed on whether or not I was going to "break" the recipe. There is one point where you have this custard-y type mixture all ready in an ice bath and then you have to melt the chocolate. I was afraid that the custard would get too cold before the chocolate would be melted - it didn't. This fear was dumb. Then after that, I had to whip the egg whites. And we know how egg whites make me feel. Answer = anxious. Please refer to the time that I made angel food cake or waffles or ice cream.

All this being said. This isn't "hard". It's just complicated and it requires deodorant and lots of bowls ... and not plastic ones. "Grown-up" metal or glass ones. No messing around.

(Step 1) Read this recipe twice. I mean it.

(Step 2) Get out your individual bowls that you plan on serving the mousse in. You get up with about 6 cups worth of mousse and need just about 3/4 cup per serving on average. So, do what you want. I chose 3 of my cereal bowls and a tupperware container. Me = classy.

(Step 3) In a bowl combine the egg yolks and ¾ cup granulated sugar. Keep the egg whites ... we need those later on. Beat the mixture for 5 minutes or until the mixture is thick and pale yellow and leaves a ribbon trail on itself when the beaters are lifted. You'll know when you've hit the mark.

(Step 4) Beat in the orange juice and continue mixing until blended. I know what you are thinking, I just got that mixture of have "ribbons" now the ribbons are gone. Don't worry about it.

(Step 5) Place the bowl over not quite simmering water and beat for an additional 3 minutes until the mixture forms tiny bubbles and is too hot for your finger. I needed more than 3 minutes here in part because I was afraid that I'd end up with scrambled eggs if the double broiler was too hot.

(Step 6) Transfer the bowl to a cold-water bath and continue beating for an additional 3 minutes until the mixture is cool and again forms a ribbon. The recipe I followed said the consistency you want here is "similar to mayonnaise". Well, I don't have mayo and I don't know the last time I ate it outside of someone else preparing a sandwich for me. I stopped when I guessed mine was a little thinner than mayo and it was fine because the ice bath thickens it up a bit.

(Step 7) Set another bowl over not quite simmering water. Add the chocolate and coffee and let the mixture sit until the chocolate melts. I was impatient and afraid of burning the chocolate which I tend to do.... so I patiently let it melt for several minutes on low and then stirred. Oh, and I used a Keurig cup for the coffee. Genius idea. Thanks Farmington Connecticut Marriott! Couldn't have done it without stealing it from you!

(Step 8) Remove the chocolate from the heat and beat in the butter a little at a time to form a smooth cream.

(Step 9) Beat the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture.The egg mixture is so thick that the chocolate just sinks to the bottom. It's practically a magic trick.

(Step 10) In an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt until they hold soft peaks. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. I totally forgot the salt when I made this by the way. At this point, I had stopped measuring and just put my hand in the sugar container ... that's hygienic right?

(Step 11) Once you get your egg whites, you end up using them two ways. One is stirring and one is folding.  Both give me anxiety. Gently stir one-quarter of the whites into the now egg chocolate mixture. Now, fold in the remaining whites.

(Step 12) You are pretty much done at this point. Spoon the mousse into the dishes. Set on a tray, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Also, I repeatedly "taste tested" the chocolate mousse from the non-dinner tupperware container... and it was delish.

Serve your mousse with fresh whip cream (you can look up how to make this) and berries. Or, just eat it from the fridge like I did for an hour before I ate my Julia roast chicken. Whatever floats your boat folks.

Also I counted as I was writing this up and here are the stats. If you don't make mistakes (which of course I didn't), you will use 4 bowls (1 is an ice bath),1 pot, and you'll rinse the electric mixer beaters 3 times.

Shopping List (based on this recipe)
4 eggs, separated
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¼ cup orange juice
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
¼ cup strong liquid coffee
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pinch of salt

heavy whipping cream
bit of sugar

Happy Birthday Julia Child

It feels like I've been doing a lot of cooking in the last week. Even now, I'm trying to figure out if it makes sense to make "bagel bombs" this weekend. They sound delicious and pretty much have all my favorite ingredients - carbs, cheese, bacon, and salt.

I feel like bagel bombs would make me sweat a whole lot less than my "Julia Child Birthday Dinner" feast. Because, I'm not joking. I was legit sweating in my kitchen as the result of cooking slash prepping for a solid 2 hours. However, it was .... amazing. I should note that we did have prosecco and we did eat on a roof deck in the North End overlooking the Boston skyline .... 

So here's what I served my guests:
In deciding what I wanted to make, I knew I wanted it to be half Julia half Jen. Julia seemed to love a good roast chicken. Jen hates bones and carcasses. So I compromised by crafting a marinade and seasoning that seemed to resemble the Julia Child roast chicken. Plus while the chicken was marinating in the cocktail I made for it, I got a chance to do all of the dishes I accumulated from making chocolate mousse from scratch.

You can read about the mousse extravaganza here

So the chicken. Super easy. I'll even try to pretend like I know how much of each ingredient I used ... even though I clearly do not. I hate measuring and for some reason measuring for a  marinade seems like a waste of numbers. I really wanted to not waste a lot of time with my oven on and to get a nice "crust" on the chicken so I went with the approach of a quick sear in the pan followed by a roast in the oven. Using chicken breast might have cut down on some flavor you'd get from the bones .... but it resulted in quick cooking and an even quicker clean-up.

Most of recipes I saw called for the following: rosemary, thyme, garlic and lemon. But since I like honey... I threw some of that in there as well. In addition to the standard olive oil, salt, and pepper that everything seems to require.

Here's how it goes. Don't blink because you'll be done before you know it.

(Step 1) Mix up all the ingredients (garlic, salt, pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice, rosemary, thyme, olive oil, honey). The best part of this type of thing is that if you like honey.... just add more of it and less olive oil. You hate thyme.... well leave it out. Do your own thing.

(Step 2) Put the mixture in a ziplock plastic bag and toss in the chicken. Give it a good shake.Doesn't look like enough liquid? Well just add a bit more olive oil. See how easy this is?

(Step 3) I read once that you should try and remove most of the air from a marinade bag, I have no idea if this really does anything but for some reason it makes sense. So just give the bag a bit of a squeeze until you have most of it out, then toss it in the fridge for as long as you can handle it. I did mine for an hour.

(Step 4) Remove chicken from the bag and toss onto a medium-high skillet with a bit of olive oil in the pan. Cook for about two or three minutes on either side .... or until you are happy with the color.

(Step 5) While the chicken is in the skillet, get your baking dish ready. I was serving the chicken with some garden fresh string beans so I tossed them in the dish with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Shook them around with my hands to get them all nice and covered.
(Step 6) Put your chicken on top of the beans and toss in an 375 F oven for 25 minutes (or so). Your cooking time will depend on how old your oven is (mine = super) and how much you cooked it in the skillet first. 

And.... you are done.

Congrats on your Julia Child faux-roast chicken. You were amazing.

If you are lucky, your dinner guests will call you Julia... mine did and it was amazing.

Shopping List
chicken breasts
green beans
1 1/2 tbsp rosemary
2 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
one more lemon cut in quarters for the baking dish
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp honey

Asparagus Pancetta Faux-tata


Yesterday was Julia Child's Birthday. That sassy tall number of a woman would have been 100.

But before I can tell you how I celebrated Julia's day, I feel like I need to close the book on the best brunch that there ever was.

Here's what I served:
  • Fruit Salad (blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, watermelon)
  • Lavender Scones with lemon curd
  • Asparagus Pancetta Faux-tata
  • Cold brewed Iced Coffee 
So, I've told you about making the lemon curd and the lavender scones. But the last fun piece was a "frittata". I put it in quotes because I'm pretty sure this is just a fancy breakfast casserole with a whole bunch of egg. Don't let that dumbed down description make you think it wasn't delish .... because it more certainly was.

Here's what I wanted to make. An egg dish that would be easy to serve, would include some meat, and wouldn't heat the living bejesus out of my apartment. See it's still summer in Boston and it's just plain ole not polite to invite people over for a fun brunch and hand them towels to catch their sweat drips. After doing some research here are a few of the "egg" type dishes you could make:
  • frittata: primarily egg based. no crust required. cooked on the stovetop first, then finished in the oven.
  • quiche: custard base (eggs plus heavy cream) comes with a crust normally. cooked in the oven.
  • "other": potentially more of a casserole. throw some bread in there. generally heartier.
I'm not totally sure where this dish ends up. I'll let you be the judge but it's probably closer to a frittata minus the whole stovetop business.

I think the best part about this type of dish is that you can do whatever your heart desires. I quite literally have no idea how much pancetta, asparagus, or onion I used. It's all up to you. Just pick your favorite ingredients and toss them in the dish and have at it. I wasn't polite enough to make a vegetarian section but you totally could have, which is in a win in my book. 

This also makes amazing leftovers so I was super pumped when my guests announced they were full and I had two slices leftover for the remainder of the week.

So here's how you make an asparagus pancetta "faux-tata"

(Step 1) I chopped up my onion and pancetta and tossed them in a skillet with a smidge of olive oil. Pancetta  didn't give off a lot of fat but it gave off enough to protect the onions from getting too well done. 

(Step 2) Once the pancetta is just about crisp, toss in the cut up asparagus. If you want to get fancy with you asparagus cutting, well have at it. I just cut it up and tossed it in. Pretty sure nobody will notice how you cut the green stuff.

(Step 3) Give the whole mixture a good stir for a minute. You just want to remove a bit of the crunch from the asparagus not cook it all the way through since it's going into the egg dish. 

(Step 4) In a bowl, crack up a 11-12 eggs. My pan was slightly smaller than 13x7 so I went with 11 but I honestly don't think it would have made that much difference. Add in the milk. I would estimate I went with 1/4 cup but it's flexible. Give the whole thing a good whisk. Note: Pancetta is super salty so I didn't add any salt here, but if you don't use pancetta toss in some salt and pepper at this point.

(Step 5) Lightly grease your pan and layer in the asparagus mixture. Liberally add cheese on top of the mixture. Pretend you are making a lasagna. Don't go crazy but be generous.

(Step 6) Pour the eggs over all the business in the pan.

(Step 7) Toss into the oven at 400 F for about 45 minutes. The top/crust will puff up and become a golden brown. I treated it like brownies and stuck a knife in there to see if the center was still liquid-y.

Now eat it. And hopefully your guests will also leave you a slice to mow on mid-week.

Shopping List
12 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
1 1/2 cups diced pancetta
1 bunch of asparagus chopped
1 small onion diced
1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese

lavender scones redux


They are were delicious. I do believe they are still romantic.

But, I made them significantly better this time and so it seemed appropriate to document the update. While I loved the first batch of scones, they weren't super light. They were also a bit flat.  These scones were the opposite of all that.

Can scones have volume? If so, these have volume.

I did some research on what I could do to improve my chances at better scones. Key tips:
  • Use cold butter.
  • The more you knead the dough, the "worse" it is for the dough.
  • When kneading, use the least amount of flour as possible.
Previously, I would have been concerned if I saw a small chunk o' butter in the scone dough... but one recipe I looked at said that was actually the goal. You want these little gems of butter to be whole and then essentially melt during the cooking process. I have no idea what this does scientifically but it was a win.

Additionally, I was a little concerned about keeping the scones "light and fresh" despite making them a day before the brunch. Go ahead and chalk up another win for this recipe because even 2 days after cooking the scone was amazingly fresh. I made the scones on Friday at 4 in the afternoon (holla for a vacation day) and on Sunday morning I would still describe them as heavenly.

Disclosure... I didn't really "document" this attempt via pictures since I honestly didn't expect them to turn out measurably better than the original go at lavender scones. All I can offer you are two pictures and a whole bunch of words. So you will quite literally just have to take my word for it as to how to make these.

Here we go.

(Step 1) Whisk 3 cups flour and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Add butter in little chunks to the mixture. I essentially just kept the stand mixer on while I slowly added in the butter in little cubes. Total success.

(Step 2) Whisk 1 cup buttermilk, zest, and vanilla in a small bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until a dough ball forms. I did switch the attachment on my stand mixer from the whisk to the paddle.

(Step 3) Given my new knowledge about scone science, I quite literally dumped the dough from the bowl on a lightly floured board. Then using my hands gently flattened and molded the dough into a rectangle (about 10x6").

(Step 4)  Cut the dough any way your heart moves you. I went with cutting into into thirds. Then cutting each third into 3 squares... then the squares into 2 triangles. If you managed to follow that you are much smarter than I am.

(Step 5) Transfer your fancy biscuits to parchment covered cooking sheets and brush with 2 Tbsp. buttermilk. Sprinkle with sugar if your spirit moves you. The spirit moved me, so I sprinkled.

(Step 6) Bake until scones are a lovely golden shade.... which is about 13 minutes at 425 F.

Last step? Devour with some lemon curd or whatever makes your heart go pitter patter.

Shopping List (based on this recipe from Bon Appetit
3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for surface
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon dried lavender buds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

making the lemon curd

I have these really organized married friends named Dave and Lara. Seriously, they are so cute and so organized and to boot... they are amazing cooks. One time this past spring they had a brunch and at this amazing brunch they served biscuits and lemon curd.

I'm a sucker for a spread whether it is for a burger, bread, or a pancake. So a lemon curd is right in my flavor wheelhouse.

This weekend I hosted a brunch for some of my favorite ladies. Lemon curd seemed to fit the bill - along with some lavender scones of course. I read a few recipes to see what I was getting myself into for this feat and found out that it was really quite easy. Like, so easy that I might start giving this to people as gifts. Hope you all like lemons and sugar.... cause that's pretty much like what this is.

Sidenote: I was telling someone about this and they said "that sounds gross". I think it's the word curd... and I'd agree. Curd doesn't exactly sound like something you want to run to. So if it helps, call it Lemon Jam. Because let's be honest that is pretty much what it is.

Here we go.

(Step 1) Crack and mix up 3 eggs with a cup of sugar in a large microwave safe bowl.

(Step 2) Whisk in lemon juice, lemon zest, and the melted butter. In order to get a cup of lemon juice, you will need 5 lemons. I kind of felt like one of those people who makes fresh lemonade in the park by the time I was done. Whatever, now my hands smell amazing.

Also, make sure the melted butter is not hot when you mix it in... because then you'll get scrambled eggs. Pretty sure that isn't one of the steps to making lemon curd.

(Step 3) Cook the mixture for 3-5 minutes in the microwave on high in one minute increments. After each minute, gift the bowl a quick stir to ensure even cooking. You'll know you are done with this step when the curd coats the back of a metal spoon. For me, this was 4.5 minutes.

(Step 4) Gently push this mixture through a sieve ... essentially to strain out any lemon seeds and the zest.

(Step 5) Put in a jar and use a lid. If you don't, you could get this slightly unappealing film on the top like you get with pudding. I'm not a fan of pudding.

This recipe will make about 3 cups of curd .... which is actually a fair amount of curd. Given the scone and curd consumption from brunch, I think you end up with enough curd for 60 scones. Which is enough to share with friends.

So share some curd. Don't you want everyone to have a moment like I'm about to enjoy right here?

Shopping List
3 eggs
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
zest of 3 lemons
1 cup of lemon juice (5 lemons)

summer in the city


I'm getting really good at handling and loving summer in the city.

Yes, it's hot. The tourists seem to multiple like fruit flies. And I'll never quite understand people who swim in fountains.

But, I've managed to fix all of these things by learning ways to be outdoors, the right beverages for each occasion, and that there is no occasion that isn't appropriate for my neon pink Uber tanktop. (Seriously, I wear it all the time).

This weekend wasn't the highest on the social radar, but it was pretty great. Every now and then Baby Sister and I have one of those terribly codependent weekends where the concept of being more than 5 feet apart seems like a rash idea. This was one of those weekends.

And. I love weekends just like this.

I love the Theo's Breakfast Special - but hold the eggs. Just bring me the carbs and the meat. Double the crispy. Double the coffee. Iced coffee.

We logged 6 hours at Gravel Beach on Saturday aided largely by sun tea with baby mint leaves. Also aided by BLT take-out from Theo's. I need to investigate whether or not I can just open a tab.

I made my first trip to the neighborhood pool. Things you should take away from this picture? The super cool old boat, the big tall Bunker Hill Monument .... and the lifeguard with the full head of grey hair. Only in the North End.

My "light" summer meat consists of oysters and meats and cheeses. I'm not quite sure that this is legitimately a light meal but it sure its delish and I hate leaving the North End.

Just some friendly Saturday brawling between Baby Sister and Rabbit the Cat.

Since two meals from Theo's isn't enough, we added a third. Grilled Cheese. Yeah, I'm sure that seems weird since it was 90 degrees out but this was oddly refreshing. I took the leftover fries from the day before ... crisped them up... added some freshly grated parmesan and truffle salt.

I refuse to go inside despite the clouds. And the rain. It's easier to just pull the towel over your head and put your phone under your chair.

Another weekend in the North End. Standard.

Dinner for one. I'm sorry but this makes me feel like a real person. Also, this is super easy... and I grew that basil. BOOM.
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