Saturday, May 30, 2009

One of my Favorite Quotes


"Life is like an ice-cream cone; you have to lick it one day at a time"

Charles Schultz, American Cartoonist.
I love ice cream and have had such a fun time experimenting with all kinds of new flavors. My new favorite is Mango!!!!

Fresh Mango Ice Cream


1 pounds chopped fresh mango
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1 quart of cream
8 egg yolks

In a saucepan, combine the mango, sugar and water. Over medium-low heat, simmer the liquid for about 5 minutes, to infuse the flavors. Remove from the heat and cool completely. In a food processor, fitted with a metal blade or blender pulse several times, where the mixture is lightly chunky. Remove from the processor and set aside. In another saucepan, add the cream. Bring the liquid to a gentle boil. Whisk the egg yolks together. Whisk 1 cup of the hot cream into the egg mixture. Mix thoroughly. In a steady stream, slowly add the egg mixture to the hot cream mixture. Continue to cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in chunky mango mixture. Cool completely. Add the mango/cream mixture to your electric ice cream mixture. Process according to manufactures directions.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Cheese Glorious Cheese!


What a fun time we had yesterday! The Red Hat Society Ladies of Sun City Center booked a private party at Rolling Pin. They selected my "Cheese Glorious Cheese" menu, which was great, since it is one of my favorites. 17 ladies were able to attend and I must admit, it was one of the most fun cooking demonstrations that I have ever done. We started off with a selection of 3 cheese, Smoked Gouda, Fontina and Camembert, served along with some wonderful Sea Salt Crackers! We had a wonderful discussion and they really kept me on my toes! While we were talking about different types of cheeses, cooking with cheese and proper storage of cheese, I began making the dressing for our salad, Mixed Greens and Goat Cheese with Bacon, Dried Cherries and Port Dressing. All the time, our 3 outstanding assistants, Marilyn, Kathy and Lynn were assembling our Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, filled with Asiago cheese, fresh basil, prosciutto and just a sprinkle of crushed red peppers, thanks gals for all your help, you were awesome!!! (just a hint, spread the outside of your sandwich with mayonnaise not butter, so much easier to do) We then browned the sandwiches, popped them in the oven to melt the cheese and to keep them warm, then moved on to making the salad. Out came the sandwiches, we plated everything and served a wonderful lunch. On to dessert, Mixed Berries with Mascarpone-Limoncello Cream. I love the versatility of mascarpone cheese and when blended with heavy whipping cream, it is out of this world. Thank you ladies for such a fun time, hope we can do it again soon!


Mixed Greens and Goat Cheese Salad with Bacon, Dried Cherries and Port Dressing

1 1/4 cups dried tart cherries
1/2 cup tawney port
5 ounces pancetta or bacon -- chopped
2 shallot -- minced
1 clove garlic -- minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 log soft goat cheese -- cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
mixed salad greens
1/2 cup pine nuts -- toasted

Combine cherries and port in heavy small saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat; let stand until cherries swell, about 15 minutes.
Saute pancetta in heavy large skillet over medium-low heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Add shallots and garlic; cook 2 minutes. Add oil, then vinegar and sugar; stir until sugar dissolves. Stir in cherry mixture.
Season with salt and pepper. Dressing can be made 2 hours ahead. Set aside in skillet at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350F. Place goat cheese slices on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until warm, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine salad greens and pine nuts in bowl.
Rewarm dressing and pour over salad; toss to blend.
Top with warm goat cheese and serve.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Everything Stops For Tea


We had another fun Lunch and Learn at Rolling Pin in Brandon yesterday!!! What a great job I have, I get to do the two things I enjoy most, COOKING and TALKING! Yesterday's class was an Afternoon Tea and what a wonderful tea it turned out to be. Since the Lunch and Learns are demonstration style classes, all the recipes are prepare during class, so some times, it gets a little hectic, especially yesterday. I had three wonderful assistants helping yesterday, Bonnie, Jenny and Ray, thank you guys for all you did, I know it was a VERY busy 2 hours.
I started off the class by making the crust for the lemon bars. Once they were in the oven, we talked a little about the proper way to brew at pot of tea and sampled one of the delicious teas Rolling Pin sells, Ginger Peach. I then made our scones using the food processor, which makes it so much easier. We took the lemon bar crust out and popped the scones in. I quickly prepared the lemon topping for the bars, pour it over the hot crust and popped them in the oven. Out came the scones, which we served with Devonshire Cream and Wildflower Honey, yummy. While the students were savoring their scones, we brewed another pot of tea and moved on to assembling the tea sandwiches.
There are so many combinations for tea sandwiches which made it very hard to decide on just 3. I wanted to combine 3 very different fillings, using some fruit, cheese, protein and vegetables. Finally, I committed to: Sliced Pear and Stilton, Lavender and Curry Egg Salad and the traditional Cucumber (to which I added chopped mint, just for something a little different). The flavors were so varied, they really seemed to pair up nicely.
For dessert, I mean everything may stop for tea, but everything must finish with dessert. We brewed another pot of tea, topped the lemon squares with some powdered sugar and mixed up a batch of mascarpone cheese, heavy whipping cream, a little sugar and vanilla. The cream filling is simply delicious when piped into large flavorful strawberries. The added bonus of this recipe is that they can be assembled a few hours in advance of serving, covered and placed in the refrigerator till you are ready for them! They make a wonderful display on any plate, alone or with an assortment of cookies or my favorite, with lemon squares. I love the combination of flavors and colors!
Here are two of the recipes from yesterday,


Strawberries filled with Cream

16 large strawberries
1/3 cup marcarpone cheese
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

You want the strawberries to sit flat. So if they are a little wobbly with the stems left on, cut the green stems off the strawberries so they will stand upright when placed on your serving tray. With a small sharp knife, cut an "X" in each strawberry, cutting almost to the bottom of each strawberry. (The cut should be such that the strawberry will open up but not fall apart.) Gently, with your fingertips, spread each strawberry apart to make "petals". Set aside while you make the cream filling.

In a medium sized bowl, whip the mascarpone cheese and whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
Spoon the cream into a pastry bag fitted with a large open star tip (I used a Wilton 1M tip). Pipe the cream into the strawberries.


Lavender Egg Salad Tea Sandwich




4 large eggs -- hard boiled
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon dry lavendar buds
white bread -- crusts removed
green olives

Chop 4 hard boiled eggs, fold in mayonnaise and plain yogurt. Mix in 1 teaspoon of curry powder and 1 tablespoon dried lavender buds. Spread on 2 slices of bread, top with remaining 2 slices. Remove crust, cut into quarters and top with a green olive.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

79 pounds, 1 mending leg, a new home PRICELESS!


The Humane Society of Tampa Bay had one of their biggest fundraisers last Saturday night, and we had so much fun!!! This year's event was a sell out and they raised over $158,000! We were very lucky to be among the volunteers that were able to help behind the scenes and also enjoy the festivities. This was our second year helping out at Tuxes and Tails and this year we brought home something very special, Arrow, a 4 year old male lab mix, who has been at the Humane Society since January (he had a broken leg and could not be adopted till he was cleared from vet) He was just one of the many Adorable Adoptables that modeled along with many local celebrities who donate their time for this awesome event. Please check out this link to a video that Talk Fusion produced to thank all the volunteers. If you choose to watch it, you may want to have a tissue handy, it so well done.
Also, if you find room in your heart and home for a new addition to your family, please check out your local Humane Society web site, Tampa Bay's is http://www.humanesocietytampa.org/adoptable-pets/
Well, now that our wonderful Belle is sharing her life with her new brother Apollo (we changed his name), she will also have to be sharing her treats, something that she LOVES! This is one of her favorite recipes!

Cheddar Cheese Dog Biscuits

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup margarine, softened
1 clove garlic, crushed
pinch of salt
milk

Let cheese stand until it reaches room temperature.
Cream the cheese with margarine, garlic, salt and flour.
Add enough milk to form into a ball.
Chill for 1/2 hour.
Roll onto floured surface,about 1/2 inch thick (biscuits will raise only slightly while baking)
Cut into shapes and bake at 375 F for 15 minutes or until slightly brown, and firm.

I tried to get a picture of brother and sister with their biscuits, but before I could even click Apollo devoured his. Here is Belle enjoying her treat from Chef Shari (mommy).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

WOW, I could have had a V-8!


I went out to the garden Sunday morning, and discovered we still have so many tomatoes. I know this is not going to last too much longer, since I was told by one of the local nursery owners, that once the temperatures start stay above 70 degrees at night, the tomatoes will stop producing blooms. I always thought they stopped producing because of the hot, hot days. Anyway, off to the kitchen with my basket of tomatoes and jalapenos, to decide what to do. I thought "How about a nice bowl of soup on a hot Florida day?" Bet you thought I had lost my mind, hot soup in 90 degree weather. Not hot soup, but a cool refreshing beginning to dinner, Gazpacho! Spicy Gazpacho, topped with Sour Cream and Shrimp. It is part of a menu that I am doing at Rolling Pin in Brandon on Thursday night. To complete the menu on Thursday night, our main course is Crab Cakes with a side of Homemade Tasty Tartar Sauce along with Confetti Slaw, and for dessert a wonderful combination of Lemon Curd and White Chocolate with Strawberries, yummy! We had just had crab cakes last week, so I decided, the gazpacho would go wonderfully with Bacon Wrapped Fillets, New Potatoes with White Truffle Oil and Steamed Haricot Verts with Lemon Vinaigrette. I think I was a little on the hungry side since I had skipped breakfast and had an early lunch. It was really very good, but there is quite a bit leftover, oh no, the "L" word again.


Shrimp Gazpacho

2 large ripe tomato -- cored and quartered
1 sweet red pepper -- cut into 1" pieces
1 cucumber -- seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 small sweet onion -- finely chopped
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
2 cloves garlic -- minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 1/2 cups Spicy V-8® vegetable juice
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/4 cup sour cream
12 cooked shrimp -- cut into pieces

Place tomato quarters in a food processor and pulse 12 times. Remove to a large bowl. Place red pepper and cucumber (I also threw in a seeded fresh jalapeno) in food processor and pulse 12 times; add to tomato in bowl. Stir in onion, vinegar, garlic, salt and black pepper; let stand 5 minutes. Add vegetable juice, 1/2 cup water and hot sauce to vegetables in bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
To serve: Divide soup evenly among 4 bowls; top each with 1 tablespoon sour cream and some of the chopped shrimp

Friday, May 15, 2009

All "Juiced Up" for the Weekend!


It is not my intention to spend to much time rambling on about different products that I use in the kitchen, but when I find one that is so affordable and so easy to use, I feel I must share! A couple of weeks ago, my husband Gordy came home and mentioned he had read an article on the Internet about the 10 things every chef needs. He said I had all but one, a juicer. I told him I had one, my trusty old manual polish pottery juicer that I have had for years!!! "But it is not electric and every chef needs an electric juicer" Well, to be honest, I love my juicer, but when it comes to making a pitcher of fresh lime margaritas, it does take a while to juice them all by "Shari" power. So, before we had our belated Cinco de Mayo celebration Wednesday night, I did some research on juicers and then went shopping! What I can home with is wonderful, the Cuisinart Citrus Juicer, I love it! The cost was less than $30 and most of the parts are dishwasher safe, which make clean up a breeze! It worked with smaller sized limes (but I must admit, you do have to keep a tight grip on them) to a large grapefruit. After playing with it for a while, I realized I had plenty of fresh juice, lime, lemon and grapefruit! Well the lime went into the margaritas, salsa and homemade guacamole and the lemon went into the salad dressing that I plan to use this evening, and as for the grapefruit juice, I had it as an afternoon pick me up.

Lemon Vinaigrette
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (can use hazelnut or walnut oil)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
3/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Pinch freshly cracked black pepper

In a jar or bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Store, covered, in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature. Shake or stir just before serving.

Yields 1/4 cup.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

An overabundance of tomatoes and jalapenos, what's a girl to do?


How about homemade salsa and margaritas? I know I am a little late to be celebrating Cinco de Mayo, but I was busy that night, so we are going to celebrate tonight!
I went out to our little garden this morning and realized I had way too many jalapenos! (I have frozen a couple earlier in the week, since I know our 2 little plants will most likely stop producing at this rate as soon as the weather gets Florida Hot!) Then I wandered down to the tomatoes and noticed the harvest was more than we could eat in a couple of days, so off to the kitchen with them! There is nothing like fresh salsa and homemade tortilla chips on a warm summer evening. Paired with a fresh lime margarita by the pool and I am in paradise. I even had some of those little umbrellas for the drinks. I would love to say I picked the fresh limes from our tree, but ours are not ready yet, so I had to use the farmer's market. The recipe below is just a guideline, I always adjust the lime juice and jalapenos as I go!

Tomato Salsa with Homemade Tortilla Chips

1 large Tomato, chopped
3 Green Onions, finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped Fresh Cilantro
1 tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice
1 tablespoon seeded and chopped Jalapeno
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Mix together tomato, green onions, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno, garlic and salt in a small serving bowl.
Set aside at room temperature for one hour so the ingredients can blend. Serve with tortilla chips or refrigerate till later use. Don't drain off the juices from the tomatoes, as the liquid helps the garlic and jalapeno infuse throughout the salsa.

For Chips
Preheat vegetable oil in deep-fryer to 360 F. Cut 12 corn tortillas (several at a time), into 8 wedges. Add tortilla wedges to the deep fryer. Fry until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with coarse salt while hot. Just a hint, to cut the tortillas, use a large pizza cutter, it works great.

Fresh Lime Margaritas
1 1/2 cups gold tequila
3/4 cup Triple Sec
3/4 cup fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons sugar
8 cups crushed ice
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 lime wedges

Combine tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and 2 tablespoons sugar in large pitcher; stir to dissolve sugar. Add crushed ice. Mix salt and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in shallow bowl. Moisten rim of 2 Margarita glasses with lime wedge. Holding each glass upside down, dip rim into sugar-salt mixture. Pour Margarita into glasses. Garnish with lime wedges. The original recipes say it serves 6, who are they kidding!

Monday, May 11, 2009

I am learning to love the "L" word....... "LEFTOVERS"

I am not always the best at making good use of the leftovers in our refrigerator, I just usually reheat whatever it was and have it for lunch the next day, how boring! Since both our children are gone, it sometimes in a real challenge to cook for two, for this reason, I have been trying hard to prepare recipes that can be "reinvented" for another meal, and make it totally different. I did this just last week, and I thought the outcome was wonderful. One of the recipes that I prepare at Rolling Pin last Friday night was Lamb stuffed with Spinach, Parmesan Cheese and Basil. When I was preparing this for our "practice dinner" at home earlier in the week, I ended up with so much more stuffing than I needed. I originally was going to feed it to our lab, Belle, but decided since there was so much, that I would put in the frig and figure it out later. A couple of evening later, I was at a lost as to what to prepare for dinner, and as I stared into the refrigerator, I notice some chicken breast I had purchased the day before sitting right next to the stuffing. What to do, what to do? I flattened the chicken breast, added some shredded asiago cheese and chopped fresh sage to the stuffing, stuffed the breast, rolled them and then wrapped them in bacon. Baked for about 30 minutes. I had used a plum sauce for the lamb, and not only did I not have enough left for the chicken, but I really didn't think it would pair properly with it, so I made a very basic chicken gravy and substituted some of the water with fresh orange juice, yummy. Served all this with a side of mashed potatoes and some corn, so easy and quick, and had a totally different flavor than the lamb. From now on when I prepare the lamb, I will also prepare extra stuffing for another meal! Just a hint if you decide to prepare the lamb, when you are securing the rolled leg of lamb with kitchen string, leave the ends long enough that you can find them after the lamb is baked. This makes it so much easier to cut the string away for the lamb before you slice it!
Stuffed Rolled Leg of Lamb with Spinach
5 pounds Leg of lamb, deboned and butterflied
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon dried tarragon, chopped
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, chopped
6 cups small size herbed croutons
1/2 cup chicken broth, heated
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup onions, chopped
1/3 cup celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs , beaten
1/4 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, rolled and sliced 1/4 inch
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Dijon Mustard
Chopped Hazelnuts

Lay de-boned and butterflied leg of lamb on a flat surface; sprinkle with lemon pepper, tarragon and rosemary; set aside. Place croutons in a mixing bowl, pour chicken broth over mixing well. Set aside.
In a medium sized skillet heat butter over medium heat and saute onions, celery and garlic until translucent stirring often.
In another bowl blend eggs, parsley, basil leaves, spinach and parmesan cheese.
Add the onion and spinach mixtures to the croutons blending well. Spread evenly over the butterflied leg of lamb.
Starting on the long side of the leg of lamb, roll up as tightly as possible and truss with kitchen string. Spread the outside of the lamb with dijon mustard and roll in chopped hazelnuts.
Place stuffed rolled lamb leg seam side down on a shallow baking pan. Insert a meat thermometer in the thickest portion of the meat; roast uncovered at 325° until thermometer registers 130°. If you prefer more well done meat, roast it longer. Remove from oven to cool 5 minutes. Slice 1-inch thick and serve.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Rolling Pin Dinner Tomorrow Night


I am really looking forward to tomorrow night! Gordy and I are doing another class at Rolling Pin, it is so much fun when we cook together. The dinner is "Make Ahead Spring Lamb Dinner" and as you may guess, everything can be prepared the day before, which leaves you time to spend drinking wine and enjoying your guest instead of laboring away in the kitchen. We will begin the meal with Yukon Gold Vichyssoise with Crème Fraîche Potato Salad and Leek Vinaigrette, a new spin on a very traditional recipe. The salad course is so fun to make, Mesclun Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette and Asparagus, we are going to arrange asparagus spears into "Lincoln Log" squares and fill the square with mesclun salad greens, easy to do, and makes a unique presentation. The main course will be a wonderful Stuffed Rolled Leg of Lamb with Basil, Spinach and Parmesan Cheese and a side of Garlic Creamy Mashed Potatoes. After a very rich meal, we will finish with Blackberry Pie in a Teacup with Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream, light and so easy to prepare. There are still seats available, if you are looking for something fun to do on a Friday night. Check out Rolling Pin's website at www.rollingpinonline.com.


Yukon Gold Vichyssoise with Crème Fraîche Potato Salad and Leek Vinaigrette


VICHYSSOISE:
6 yukon gold potatoes
1 quart half and half
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon saffron
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper -- to taste

POTATO SALAD:
1 yukon gold potato -- cooked, small dice
2 tablespoons red onion -- minced
1/4 teaspoon fresh chervil -- chopped
1/4 teaspoon chives -- chopped
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
salt and pepper -- to taste

LEEK VINAIGRETTE:
1 leek
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh herbs, assorted -- chopped
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons champagne wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
fresh herb sprigs -- as needed for garnish

To prepare the soup, simmer the unpeeled potatoes in salted water until very tender. Drain the potatoes and pass through a ricer. Place the riced potatoes in a medium sauce pot with the half-and-half, cayenne pepper and saffron. Simmer for 10 minutes and strain through a fine china cap. Place the strained soup in a medium sauce pot and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the hot pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt and white pepper to taste. Thin with additional half-and-half if necessary. Cool in an ice bath.

To prepare the potato salad, combine the diced potato, onion, chervil, chives, and crème fraîche in a small mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper.

To prepare the vinaigrette, cut the leek into 1/4-inch slices, wash well and blanch in boiling salted water for 30 seconds. In a small mixing bowl, combine the leek, olive oil, pepper herbs, brown sugar, champagne vinegar, salt and lemon juice. Mix the ingredients and let stand for 2 hours before serving.

Ladle 8 fluid ounces of the chilled soup into each chilled soup bowl. Place a small amount of potato salad in the center and cover with the leek vinaigrette. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve.

Thanks to Lynn Kessel for the great picture of the Vichyssoise!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Cooking with Pineapple


Soon we will be able to cut one more of our homegrown pineapples in our garden, I can't wait. We have 4 that should be ready to be eaten in the next couple weeks, now I just have to decide how to savor them!!!
If you have never grown a pineapple, it is amazingly simple, especially here in Florida. Gordy and I did it on a whim a couple of years ago and now our back garden out by the palms has 10 healthy plants with 4 that have all ready produced and been consumed, and 4 that are just about ready to be picked. All we do is cut the top off before we slice it. We sprinkle a small amount of "Take Root", then plant in a pot with good drainage and wait and see. Within a month or two if we start seeing new leaves growing we know it has taken root. Once it has outgrown the pot, we plant it in the garden and then patiently check them every so often hoping to see the crown growing in the center!! It is so much fun watching them grow!
Last time I used one of our pineapples to make Red Curry Shrimp in a Pineapple, it was wonderful!!! This way we enjoyed not only the fruit but used the shell as our bowls, it made a wonderful display!
Red Curry Shrimp in a Pineapple
Serves 2

1 Tablespoon Olive oil
14 Each Shrimp,shell on
1/4 Each Medium Onion, cut inot 1-inch pieces
2 Shiitake mushroom, cleaned and sliced
1 Small Pineapple, halved, hollowed out with fruit reserved and cut into chunks
2/3 Tsp. Red curry paste
1/2 Cup White wine
1/2 Cup Heavy cream
1 Cup Coconut milk
3 Tbsp. Cilantro
2 Red potato, cooked and quartered
2 Roma tomato, quartered
Fish Sauce, to taste
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste


Heat olive oil and sear the shrimp, remove the shrimp from the pan. Add onion, shiitake mushroom, and pineapple to the pan. Add red curry. Deglaze with wine, reduce, then add cream and reduce. Add the rest of the ingredients and seared shrimp, and adjust seasoning. Serve in a pineapple half.

Note: This recipe is from Wilhelm Pirngruber Executive Chef, Hilton Waikoloa Village

Friday, May 01, 2009

When Life Hands You Lemons, Make...........oh there are too many choices!!!

Another chapter of my life has closed, I am no longer working at the WineStyles in Riverview, Cheryl can no longer afford to keep me on. Oh well, it was a fun and wonderful ride while it lasted!!! I will miss many of the people that came through the door and hope to see everyone around. Maybe I'll join Wine Club:-)
Anyway, with all the free time I have now, I plan to concentrate on what I love most, COOKING! 
So, speaking of life giving you lemons, what a great time to make Lemon Curd!!! This recipe is SOOO much easier than the traditional recipes and it has NEVER failed for me. Serve it over fresh berries with biscotti crumbs, yummy. This was part of one of my dinner menus last month at Rolling Pin, and it really seemed to be a hit after a rich Herb Crusted Strip Loin with a Red Wine Reduction, Creamed Mushrooms, Haricot Verts and Small Red Potatoes with White Truffle Oil. This dessert is so easy to prepare and so versatile.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer, about 2 min. Slowly add the eggs and yolks. Beat for 1 min. Mix in the lemon juice. 
The mixture will look curdled, but it will smooth out as it cooks.  I promise!!!
In a medium, heavy-based saucepan, cook the mixture over low heat until it looks smooth. (The curdled appearance disappears as the butter in the mixture melts.) Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 15 min. It should leave a path on the back of a spoon and will read 170°F on a thermometer. Don't let the mixture boil.
Remove the curd from the heat; stir in the lemon zest. Transfer the curd to a bowl. Press plastic wrap on the surface of the lemon curd to keep a skin from forming and chill the curd in the refrigerator. The curd will thicken further as it cools. Covered tightly, it will keep in the refrigerator for a week and in the freezer for 2 months.


No Fail Lemon Curd 
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 large egg yolk, room temperature
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest, in small pieces and at room temperature

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer, about 2 min. Slowly add the eggs and yolks. Beat for 1 min. Mix in the lemon juice. The mixture will look curdled, but it will smooth out as it cooks.
In a medium, heavy-based saucepan, cook the mixture over low heat until it looks smooth. (The curdled appearance disappears as the butter in the mixture melts.) Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 15 min. It should leave a path on the back of a spoon and will read 170°F on a thermometer. Don't let the mixture boil.
Remove the curd from the heat; stir in the lemon zest. Transfer the curd to a bowl. Press plastic wrap on the surface of the lemon curd to keep a skin from forming and chill the curd in the refrigerator. The curd will thicken further as it cools. Covered tightly, it will keep in the refrigerator for a week and in the freezer for 2 months.