The Queen’s Citrus Curd

As always, please read the whole recipe before starting or suffer the catastrophic kitchen consequences.

1 Cup sugar or sugar substitute

6T unsalted organic butter

8 T fresh citrus juice

3 T citrus zest

1/4 tsp cardamom, ginger or mace (at festival it is either cardamom with lime or lemon; and occasionally ginger with lemon)


The following equipment is critical to create a perfect curd: a double boiler, a whisk, small grater, a juicer, and a 1 cup size wire mesh strainer, a second person to hold strainer while you whisk and pour. The recipe and process are simple, but like much simple science the timing, temperature and methods are very exact. The uncurling and binding of the protein chains of the white’s in the egg will occur to quickly in relation to the emulsion of the lemon and butter by the yolks and the consistency will not be pleasing nor the flavor correct if the eggs are not first whipped just till frothy and then poured through the strainer. Also fresh zest must be used as the pectin in the peel is another critical element of the consistency of curd, especially it artificial sugars such as Splenda or Truvia (the ones that say “good for baking” cup for cup only please) are used. Also butter must be unsalted; and organic is better in all ingredients but not necessary to make the recipe work.

Put water in the bottom and place double boiler on to begin heating. Measure out 1 cup sugar or sugar substitute and juice 8 T of fresh citrus juice-lime, lemon or orange or any combination of the three. Orange is too sweet for my palate if used alone, I find that orange does well halved with lemon juice.

Whisk 3 eggs in a pourable container just until a slightly frothy yellow color and whites  are thoroughly mixed.

Place 6 T (a bit less than one stick) of unsalted, organic butter in top of double boiler and let it begin melting.

Scrap just the colored portion of rind from either lemon, lime or orange to make 3 T (do not pack it down). (After many skinned knuckles I highly recommend Pampered Chef’s Microplane Adjustable Grater for all your grating needs) Add to pan once butter is almost melted along with juice, spice and sugar.

Stir until all sugar and spice is dissolved. Whisk briskly while pouring egg through strainer. Keep whisking until it starts to thicken and switch back to a wooden spoon. Keep stirring until you can make “roads” with the wooden spoon. Pour immediately into glass canning jars pre-heated to avoid shock. (to preheat a jar, fill with hot water and dump it all out just before filling). Add cap and let cool in fridge. Voila, perfect curd!


Velvet Vegetable Pottage (adapted from the writings of Hildegarde for moderne cooks)

This soup takes a day to complete and it requires a large (6 qt or greater) clay dutch oven; or an 11″ by 9″ by 2″ glass baking pan and a slow cooker. Rinse but do not peel any of the vegetables except the onion, buy and use organic for best nutrition and flavor, and cut into 1″ to 1.5″ chunks. Each vegetable should be approx 2-3 cups but the goal is proportionality of all but onion which is 1 cup or half the portion of other vegetables


5 Red Potatoes, a small bunch of kale (2-3 cups of cut), 2-3 small parsnips,  the outer 5 stalks and inner leafy portion of a celery bunch, 1 lb carrots, 2 sweet potatoes, 1 lb portabello mushrooms, 1 small onion.

Toss all vegetables in pan with 1/2 cup olive oil mixed with 3T spice mix. (I blend my own in a grinder spice jar that uses equally portioned dried Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, and Thyme with a half portion of red crushed pepper), I recommend using Trader Joes “Italian Herbs” or Bragg’s Herb Blend if you do not wish to make your own.

Place glass pan in 425 degree (dutch oven in 450) oven and bake 25 minutes, until lightly roasted. As soon as they are out of the oven add 1 cup of Burgundy (or another fruit forward red wine) and then allow to cool. Place in fridge over night to allow flavors to develop. If using the slow cooker then four-six hours before serving place vegetables in cooker and add approx 6 cups of water otherwise just add the water to the Dutch Oven (cover all vegetables plus 1/2 inch) and 1 tsp sea salt and stir and set crockpot  to temp that will keep it simmering, or cover and place back in oven at 275. One hour before serving taste broth and add more salt and pepper to taste, then stir in a roux of 2T organic unsalted butter/ or for vegans coconut oil mixed with 3 T of flour (white rice or wheat is best). Recover and cook for at least one more hour and serve with hearty breads.

Seeds and stuff.

Growth doesn’t happen all at once.

I have this long term goal of being a “Homesteader,” living green in a place that has solar panels and an organic garden.  I have dreamed of living this way since first reading Thoreau and Emerson as a child. The desire has waxed and waned over the years as I have transitioned through various phases of consumerism.

Today I planted my garden. Well actually I just put a few seeds in pots and watered them. Mostly all I can see right now is dirt.

There are so many things currently in my life for which this is the perfect metaphor.

Patience is a virtue that popular culture not only doe not embrace it seems to scorn as it also seems to scorn embracing the passage of time. When I scan the titles of the checkout stand magazines I realize that every single one has at least on “get it now with little effort” article for peace, health and/or happiness and at least one reference to passing as “young”.

Farming in even the small way I am participating in it is an exercise in the opposite values. Growth has a schedule of its own, tasks that must be accomplished along the way with faithfulness and diligence, and ripening is not a negative but both the point and the product of time.

Here is what my suburban homesteading efforts look like today and a week ago. Very little progress can be measured, however excited those little green leaf heads made me, mostly dirt still but anything worth having is worth working and waiting for and I take this lesson into my other pursuits today.