Thursday, August 04, 2005

Nothing in Particular & Another Recipe

I've been reading some good books this week, but I need to finish before I write a recommendation. No wallbangers in this bunch, though.

I'm looking forward to next week. We have more birthdays to celebrate. I need to find out what my family wants to do for Paul's birthday. And my friends need to get their schedules worked out so they can tell me what we're doing for the three people whose birthdays are in August. Paul's is on the 8th. Two of my friends were born the same year on the same day, the 9th.

We're due for another heat wave. I think it's time for some different sandwiches besides the deli meat ones we've been eating this summer. I also think I should do a potato or pasta salad because I'm getting tired of chips. My husband dropped my electric skillet and broke the plastic leg. That means I can't do fries or one-skillet meals because using the stove or oven heats up the kitchen too much.

I'm looking for a new skillet, but not having a lot of luck. I loved this one because it had 3"-deep sides and a glass lid. Most of them have 1-1/2"-2" sides and these high dome lids. I don't need a high dome lid. I need the bottom to be deep enough to put the stuff in and not have it splash all over the counter when you stir it. It figures that replacements for mine seem to have disappeared about the time I need one. (sigh) Hmmm . . . here I am using the internet to talk about this irritant in my life and I didn't use it to look for a new skillet. I guess it's time to google.

Meanwhile, I'm going to share one of my favorite summer desserts. It goes really well as a finish for a spicy meal. It's from the book Chocolate and the Art of Lowfat Desserts by Alice Medrich. I love this cookbook. She has lots of excellent lowfat treats. But she also includes the building blocks so you can experiment and make up your own treats. Unfortunately, the book is out of print, but you might be able to find a copy used.

Lemon Bars

Makes 16 bars


3/4 cup unbleached flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 pinch salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons unsalted butter -- at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk (reserve the white for the topping)
1 tablespoon nonfat yogurt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs (+ reserved white)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice -- strained
zest of 1 large lemon, grated
1/4 cup unbleached flour
powdered sugar for dusting

1. Position the rack in lower third of the oven and preheat to 350º F. Place a sheet of aluminum foil in an 8" baking pan, leaving the edges hanging over the edge of the pan. Butter the foil or spray it with vegetable spray.

2. Crust: Stir the flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking soda with a whisk to combine. Set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat at high speed for about 1 minute, or until mixture begins to form a mass. Beat in the egg yolk, yogurt, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed just until combined. Scrape bowl and beater. Knead the mixture briefly with your hands to mix thoroughly.

3. Press the dough evenly into the pan and prick all over with a skewer or fork. If pan is lightweight, place on baking sheet. Bake until brown on top, 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and turn oven temperature down to 300º F.

4. Topping: Whisk eggs and the egg white with the remaining sugar until combined. Whisk in the lemon juice and zest. Whisk in the flour. Pour topping mixture over hot, baked crust. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until topping barely jiggles in the center when you shake the pan gently back and forth. Cool on a rack. Chill before cutting into 16 pieces. When you're ready to cut it, use the foil edges to take the bars out of the pan and place on a cutting board. This makes it easier to cut and to separate the slices.

5. Serve cold or at room temperature. Dust them with powdered sugar immediately before eating. The sugar gets absorbed into the topping when they sit overnight. Can be kept in the fridge for 2-3 days. Do not freeze.


Source: Chocolate and the Art of Lowfat Desserts
Copyright: © 1994