A long, sweaty weekend, one of the rare astonishingly hot days in San Francisco, and I’m just way too far from the beach. Ty was getting heatstroke in Laguna Seca with Valentino Rossi, and I wanted to keep myself busy…so I baked.
Well, first I ate and socialized: Jonas and Melissa came to town, and I found myself nominated once again to be social coordinator (hilarious, really, when one thinks about how socially backwards I really am). But first, dinner.
I made a bargain with some folks at work, many of whom live in lovely homes with yards in the steamy South Bay: Bring me the fruit from your tree, and I will make you treats. From Cara I got a bag of Meyer lemons (which immediately turned into lemon bars); from Jin a bag of the most enormous Eureka lemons I have ever seen. All organic, naturally, and I swear, these things are as big as Nerf footballs. I couldn’t even carry home the entire bag at once.
Jin’s lemons became lemon biscotti, as I had some citron vodka in the house. Crunchy but disappointingly not so lemony, despite the vodka, zest, and lemon oil. Round two went into an enormous batch of lemon curd (I know, I’m not terribly creative). Jin claims to love lemon curd, fortunately, so I’m hoping the jar I gave him won’t go to waste; the rest was split between a gift for Angus and a good-size scoop still waiting in the fridge for my spoon. Tonight the lemons would also become dinner.
I had crème fraîche leftover in the fridge from Kevin’s brunch, so I finally got to try Amanda Hesser’s recipe for pasta with lemon, crème fraîche, and arugula, with spinach in lieu of the arugula. (You can find the recipe in Cooking for Mr. Latte, which despite the precious title is actually a fascinating, witty, and saliva-inducing read. Don’t miss the almond cake.) It wasn’t nearly as puckery as I’d feared, since I wasn’t using Meyer lemons; but the creaminess and slight tang of the crème fraîche was set off nicely by the sweet spinach and bite of the pasta — quite wonderful, really.
The quickie dinner gave me time to eat and plan drinks in honor of the last-minute Jonas and Melissa visit (Nihon, as usual), which thankfully we kept early, so I was up in time to hit the farmer’s market the next morning.
Keeping a really long weekend story short for the moment, the market led to gift-certificate spending at Williams-Sonoma, then a well-deserved, if sweaty, nap and a lovely steak and panzanella dinner for one. Later, drinks again, this time at Medjool, until all the buttheads showed up and we had to flee to Doc’s.
Yesterday? With all those egg whites in the fridge, I had to get to work, and despite the junglelike feel of my kitchen…yep, angel food cake (it’ll go nicely with the lemon curd!). So maybe it is strange to wake up and bake a cake on a Sunday morning for no one in particular, and it’s certainly irresponsible to keep the gas on for an hour when power is at a premium, but you can’t beat a light dessert in the dead of summer.
Which is why I finished the day by making lemon sorbet.