I bought several cookbooks in December, some for my birthday and others for Christmas (great excuses to get things I want for me!) and I’ve fallen in love with ‘In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite’ by Melissa Clarke who writes for the New York Times Dining Section.
And that romance started long before I even attempted my first recipe. Melissa dedicates her book…
To My Parents.
Who taught me firsthand
Just how deeply food means love
That touched me. That is exactly what food means to me. I would feed the world if I could. Feeling a bit under the weather? Just let me know and I’ll have a pot of Chicken Soup with Dumplings on your doorstep within hours. I can’t help myself…it’s just who I am and how I care for those I love.
I was the mom the neighborhood kids would come to knowing there would always be something good to eat and if not…I would whip something up for them. My daughters always brought friends home from college for the weekend and I won’t kid myself, they were all here for the promise of a good meal! Now that my children are grown and on their own; they still call and invite themselves and friends over for meals and I love having them. Last year I helped my youngest daughter’s best friend make the first cake she had ever baked (she’s 24). Not the first she had baked from scratch, no, the first time she had ever baked a cake at all and she was so excited to be able to give it to her Dad for his birthday. I was equally excited that I was there to help her.
After reading Melissa’s dedication I continued on through the Acknowledgments and the Introduction and I sort of forgot that I was reading a cookbook, I mean I was actually caught up in the reading more than the recipes! Melissa shares a lot of childhood memories and though she had experiences I did not, much of the nature of those experiences resonated with mine. Crazy I know but I find that this cookbook is a novel of sorts. A story of food, yes, but also a story of family and Melissa’s experiences and I’ve been reading the prefaces in sequence, excited to get to the next ‘chapter.’ The other night it occurred to me that it was high time I actually considered making something from the book!
As circumstances would have it I had just received a box of Meyer Lemons from a friend I’ve met on Twitter, the sweet and generous Kim with Rustic Garden Bistro. Another sweet friend of mine,Deb from Smith Bites, had received a box too and her husband Rod so accurately dubbed them ‘A Box of Sunshine.’ The first couple of days I just had them sit as close to me as possible on my desk so that I could enjoy the amazing aroma. I’m making arrangements now to go live with Kim and Barry (shh, don’t tell, they don’t know yet!).
My first inclination was to make my favoritist (don’t judge; it is too a word in the dictionary of Barb) lemon dessert, Lemon Bars, but I wanted to add a twist. I made some Rosemary Shortbread this past summer with rosemary from my garden and just LOVED them so had considered putting the two together. The rosemary ‘tree’ that I bought for Christmas was still going strong so I really wanted to use some of it before that changed and I knew providence had struck when I saw this recipe of Melissa’s combining both. I won’t deny…I love my lemon squares SO much it was a tough call to try another version but I’m glad I did!
The top layer of lemon curd is richer and makes a thinner layer of topping in relationship to the crust as opposed to my version which is the opposite with more topping and less crust. The lemon curd was more intense than I’m used to, especially with the Meyer lemons so this was the perfect pairing and I just loved the combination of my rosemary, my new BFF (well, in my mind!) Melissa’s recipe with my other BFF Kim’s home grown lemons; it was a match made in Heaven Twitter!
I certainly hope you try these and love them but more than that, you really need to buy this book and become a part of the family!
(Note: Any clicks to Amazon from this site are linked to the author’s Amazon account.)
Lemon Curd Squares with Rosemary – ‘In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite’
1 hr 15 mins
For the Shortbread
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar, plus additional for top
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
For the Lemon Curd
- 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest
- Pinch Kosher Salt
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees and lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking pan.
To Make the Shortbread:
- Combine flour, butter, both sugars, rosemary and lemon zest in a food processor.
- Pulse until mixture is a crumbly dough.
- Press the mixture into the prepared pan.
- Bake the shortbread until golden around the edges, about 40 minutes
To Make the Lemon Curd:
- In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon juice, flour, lemon zest and salt.
- When the shortbread is ready, remove it from the over and increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
- Pour the lemon curd onto the shortbread base and return the pan to the oven.
- Bake until the topping is just set, about 20 minutes.
- Allow to cool to room temperature before cutting into squares.
- Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar before serving.