Monday, March 28, 2005

When Life Gives You Lemons...

As my dearly departed friend George always said, "Life is short, eat dessert first!", so...

It's Saturday afternoon and I'm wanting to make a light dessert to go with dinner featuring grilled steak. The lemons sitting in the fridge's veggie drawer are getting rather old. Not wrinkled yet, but definitely old-ish. Lemon curd seems like a good idea.

There are a ga-jillion recipes out there for lemon curd, with slightly fewer techniques for making it. Since I try to cut carbs, I'm always tweaking desserts, using Splenda instead of sugar, ground nuts instead of so much flour and, to make desserts a little less fat, using an egg substitute instead of whole eggs. I give you the following:

Lemon Curd Becomes a (Sort of) Lemon Mousse

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. lemon zest (use a microplane)
2/3 cup Splenda (or sugar)
4 eggs or 1 cup egg substitute
6-7 tbsp. butter, cut into pieces

In a double boiler, whisk eggs and Splenda until combined. Whisk in lemon juice and zest. Stir over simmering water until mixture thickens and is quite hot. Do not bring to a boil, the eggs will curdle. This can take up to 10 minutes or more and you cannot leave this and go do something else. Trust me.

When the curd is thickened, remove from over the simmering water and whisk in the butter, a piece at a time, until completely incorporated. Allow the curd to cool then refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Having said all that - this curd did not turn out as expected. The Splenda didn't balance the astringency of the lemon juice and the whole thing didn't get quite as thickened as other curds I've made.

Well, what to do...
I took a cup of heavy cream (lo-fat just went out the window), whipped it with a bit of real sugar (ditto lo-carb), and folded it into the curd. Thus a mousse (kinda, sorta) was born and all was right with the world.

The rest of dinner went like this:

Grilled New York steaks - medium rare

A saute of mushrooms, shallots, garlic, thyme and port, reduced to a lovely sauce, went over the steaks.

Peeled and thinly sliced yams, roasted in the oven with the ubiquitous olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground tellicherry pepper, under a foil cover. After the yams were softly roasted, the foil was removed and the yams were allowed to get crispy at the edges.

A cauliflower mash with Fat Free 1/2 & 1/2 and a pat of butter. S&P to taste.

A salad of mixed spring greens, sliced red bells, hothouse cukes and baby fresh mozzarella, tossed with Roy's Italian Dressing, made in Eureka.

We poured a nice Sterling Vintner's Cab that Jennifer found at Trader Joe's in Santa Rosa. And for the second night in a row enjoyed the company of Clay's sister, sitting at the table late into the night, eating, sipping wine and talking, talking, talking.

By the way, Miles forgot that he had to work and didn't come to dinner!

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