One beer in me and I know I have to write. One beer in me and I’m a damn poet and a maker of promises I’m not sure I will ever keep. I have a beer in me right now and I have a story for you. I gave my fingerprints and smiling face to the government one more time today and consequently had an out-of-body experience. The man held my hand, as he placed each finger on a tiny print-reading box and I stared directly at my data. My identity stared right back at me…my skin, with DSOUZA EDLYN G on the very top. The guy asking me for my hands had a huge Northwestern, lumberjack beard that was slightly shorter than when he took his ID badge photo. I observe everything in case I end up on a surprise crime show. Just moments after I was made to sit in queue facing a TV playing Madagascar, I was done. Goodbye, animated lemurs!
Don’t pardon any of my language but isn’t it fucking weird that to cross imaginary lines on this living sphere – as it spins around in a big black, endless abyss – you are compelled by this man-made law thing be documented just so you can “fit in”, drive a car, make a living? Isn’t it enough that I know I’m here and I’m good.
Nope. It’s not. So I’ll probably have to do this again in maybe 10 years. My bearded friend (yeah, we’re friends now) might be promoted or have a kickass coffee brewing job – both of which I see him excel at. Beards are unicorns on male faces. I might lose a lot but I’ll try to be here and tell you all about it. Most of all, I’ll day drink a beer because I’m a writer. And that’s what writers do.
Male unicorn beards. Haha. How did I make that up?
Citrus mess with lemon curd and candied ginger
This recipe is brought to you by the sunniest lemons of Arizona. I have never been to the state in December so I was like a kid in a candy store seeing all the citrus all the time. These lemons are the only thing I brought back home with me. This dessert is inspired by me waiting to see a doctor and the pile of old magazines that they had for people to read. I’m fine, thanks for asking.More specifically, this dessert is inspired by a Yottam Ottolenghi recipe I saw in a Bon Appetit summer issue in late November. I took photos of all the recipes in that issue and while I was looking through my phone a few weeks ago, this one jumped right out at me. I decided to make my own winter version of it in the hope that warm outsides hurry the hell up.
- While separating the eggs for the lemon curd, make sure that none of the yolk is in the egg whites. You will be using these egg whites to make the meringues. They will not turn out even if a tiny bit of yolk gets into the white.
- The cleanest way to separate an egg is to do it while its cold. But before whipping the whites for a meringue, it needs to be brought back to room temperature. 30 minutes outside on the kitchen counter is enough to achieve this.
- The candied ginger, lemon curd and meringues can all be made a day or two ahead. Just assemble when you’re ready.
For the candied ginger bits
Adapted from Good Eats
- 1 oz fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch slices
- 1 cup water
- 1 oz granulated cane sugar (approximately) + more for sprinkling
Put the sliced ginger in a small saucepan with a cup of water. Bring the water to a boil on medium-high heat. Once it reaches boiling point (in 5 minutes approximately) reduce heat to medium and let the water simmer. Cook until the ginger is tender. This should take 25-30 minutes.
Drain the ginger water into a small bowl and leave the ginger in a strainer to get rid of any extra water. Weight the strained ginger and measure out an equal amount of granulated sugar.
Place the ginger, 1/4 cup of ginger water you saved from earlier and the sugar back into the small saucepan on medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the liquid starts to boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer, while still stirring. In about 10-13 minutes, the syrup will begin to thicken, coat the ginger pieces and start to look “stringy” as you stir. Take the saucepan off the heat once you notice the syrup is barely there and the sugar has begun to crystallise.
Using tweezers, place the ginger onto a cooling rack and let it cool overnight or for about 4 hours. Once it has dried, place the candied ginger in a small glass jar with a lid and sprinkle about 1/2 to 1 tsp of sugar on top. Shake the jar to coat the ginger. Chop the ginger into smaller pieces and place it back in the jar.
For the lemon curd
Adapted from David Lebovitz
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 50 gms (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
- 85 gms unsalted butter, cut in smaller parts
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks (save the whites in a separate bowl)
Zest the lemon in a small bowl and set it aside. Place a strainer over a medium-sized bowl to strain the lemon curd at the very end.
In another medium-sized bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolks together, until barely combined.
Juice that lemon and 1-2 others until you get half a cup’s worth. Pour the juice into a small saucepan along with the sugar and the butter, and stir infrequently on medium heat until the butter melts and the juice mixture is warm.
When the lemon juice mixture has warmed, hold a whisk in one hand and gradually pour the contents of the saucepan into the bowl with the eggs, stirring continuously as you pour. Not stirring will cook the eggs so make sure your attention and stirring skills are focused at this point in the recipe. Once the lemon juice mixture and eggs are combine, pour the contents back into the saucepan.
Using a spatula, stir the mixture constantly until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. This step takes about 3-4 minutes so watch carefully. When the curd is done, take it off the heat and immediately pour it through the strainer. Once the curd is strained, stir in the lemon zest. Let it cool and then store in a glass jar in the fridge.
For the meringues
- 2 egg whites (saved from the lemon curd earlier)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Poppy seeds, to sprinkle
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and heat the oven to 200 degrees F.
Place the egg whites in a clean medium-sized bowl. Add the vanilla extract and salt to it and then beat the egg whites with a hand beater starting at a slow speed and gradually increasing it to medium high. Beat until the whites turn foamy. This should take about a minute.
With the beater still on, gradually add the sugar a little more than a tablespoon at a time. Mix well to dissolve the sugar between each addition. Once all the sugar is added, keep beating until the mixture turns dense and forms medium stiff peaks. The best way to gauge “medium stiff” is to slightly dip a finger or a whisk into the bowl and pull it back out. If it peak lifts up, stays and then falls back down, it’s done. This process should take about 8-10 minutes.
Using a tablespoon from your kitchen silverware, scoop some of the meringue onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle some poppy seeds on top and place the sheet in the upper-middle of the oven for 4 hours. Turn the baking sheet around at the halfway mark so that it cooks evenly.
At the 4-hour mark, turn off the oven and crack open the oven door halfway. Let the meringues sit in the oven for 30 more minutes. Pull out the baking sheet once the time is up and let them cool. Store in an air-tight container until you’re ready to use.
- Lemon curd
- 1 pomegranate
- 2 blood oranges, peeled and sliced
- Candied ginger bits
- Sprinkle of poppy seeds, young pine needles (optional) and lemon zest to garnish
Release the pomegranate seeds from the fruit. The best way to do this is to cut it in half across the middle and hold it over a bowl seed side down in the palm on your hand. Whack the back of the fruit with a rolling pin. The seeds will fall out easily.
To cut the blood orange, follow this simple video.
To assemble the dessert, place the meringues in the bowl. Top with a few dollops of lemon curd. Add the cut orange slices and pomegranate seeds. Sprinkle the candied ginger bits, poppy seeds and lemon zest to garnish. Eat: Immediately.