Tastes of summer

To me, anything rhubarb and anything lemon taste like summer. I beg rhubarb from my friends since I didn’t have a plant of my own until recently. I got a plant from a friend of mine a week ago. It is small but I think I’ll get rhubarb form it later this year. I buy lemons in bulk, at all times, just more frequently in the summer. Lemon is undoubtably my favorite fruit flavor. My favorite with sweet or savory. I add it to most anything. Its my primary flavor for kombucha(lemon ginger), its my favorite scone flavor (lemon rosemary), it’s my favorite dessert (lemon bars), it’s my favorite cocktail flavor(a ginger, lemon, and lavender delight called the house standard at the local distillery), it’s my favorite summer pasta salad flavor (lemony orzo salad) and it’s basically the only salad dressing flavor I make/eat(mustard lemon vinaigrette). All. The. Lemons.

It’s been raining all day, not summer rain that’s warm and almost muggy. No thunder, no lightning, just sheets of rain and thick grey low hanging clouds. The rain today is cold, the wet chill that gets into your bones. I made tea this afternoon, hot tea, in June. But it’s June in Montana, and anything can happen. My natural go-to’s when it rains are curling up in a blanket and watching the rain fall, reading, and baking. Earlier I made lemon bars and fed my sourdough starter. This past week I made rhubarb custard tart that i’ll talk about later. I’ll make my bread dough this evening. Today, I also made some raspberry rhubarb sauce and some simple syrups because I needed something to day while my lemon bars baked. Tomorrow I’ll bake my bread.

Lemon Bars

I make my lemon bars from Ina’s recipe with a couple tweaks. The barefoot contessa’s are hands down the best and the easiest recipe to follow too.

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1/2 t ground vanilla

Filling

  • 6 lemons, zest and juice (makes about 1 cup of juice and I don’t measure the zest, just put it all in, the zestier the better)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • powdered sugar for sprinkling on top

Preheat the oven to 350. Make the crust using a food processor. It makes it so easy. Just combine all the ingredients and pulse. Press into your pan. Bake 15 minutes.

While the crust is baking, zest and juice your lemons. Lemon bars are a velvety lemon curd/custard wrapped in a buttery crust. Eggs and lemons.Combine the lemony goodness with sugar and eggs. Whisk until combined. Slowly add the flour in being careful to mix as you add to avoid lumps. Whisk vigorously. Pour the lemon filling over the hot crust and put back into the over for 35 minutes or until set. Mine always seems to burn a little on the edges before the center is set up.

Cool and sift powdered sugar evenly over the top. I prefer my lemon bars chilled. Cut and serve. They taste like summer.

Simple Syrup

Today I made simple syrup too because I had sugar and lemons out, and I had some time.

Simple syrup reflects its name. Very easy to make, many uses. It’s one part sugar to one part water. Even ratios.

I made two different kinds today: lemon ginger and raspberry rhubarb.

On the stovetop, heat water, bring it to a boil. Add the sugar to dissolve then add whatever you want to flavor the syrup with. Simmer for about 10 minutes then take off the heat and allow to cool. I strain out the little pieces of lemon zest, ginger, rhubarb or raspberry seeds. I use the syrup to flavor my kombucha or for cocktails.

Taste summer, change the world, be smart, stay safe, wash your hands, don’t touch your face.

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