Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lemon Curd

I've officially got the handle on making and canning homemade jam. This summer has allowed me to put up dozens of jars of strawberry, blueberry, raspberry and peach jam, so I decided it was time to tackle another canned good that I love: Lemon Curd. It's easier than I imagined, so don't be afraid to try this recipe at home, it is worlds better than any lemon curd you can get at your local supermarket.

Lemon Curd

4 whole eggs
7 egg yolks
2 cups sugar
1 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup finely grated lemon zest
3/4 cup butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled

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A few basic ingredients are all you need to make this tangy toast topper. Lemons, sugar, eggs and butter plus a little elbow power turn seemingly ordinary ingredients into some extraordinary. Start by zesting your lemons with a rasp or microplane. I used 5 big lemons to yield my 1/2 cup of zest and 1 cup of juice, but you may need more of less depending upon how big and juicy your lemons are.
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Set a medium pot with three inches of water in it on the stove to come to a simmer. Make sure you have a large non-reactive (i.e. stainless steel or glass) bowl that will sit nicely on top of the pot of water without the bottom of the bowl touching the water. While the water is coming to a simmer, carefully separate the egg yolks from the whites and place in the non-reactive bowl (do not set it over the pan of water just yet!) along with the whole eggs. Whisk together the eggs, yolks, sugar and lemon zest until smooth.
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Now add the lemon juice and finally the chilled butter pieces. At this point now you can set the bowl over the pan of simmering water.
My creation
Cook this mixture, stirring gently until all the butter has melted. Continue to cook and stir the mixture over the double-boiler until it reaches 170 degrees. It will look weird along the way, as my pictures above illustrate, until it just seems to come together and thicken. Remove the bowl from the pan of water and place on a clean towel or wooden cutting board. The bowl will be hot, so be careful when removing it from atop the double boiler.
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You can fill a jar with the hot curd and stick them directly in your fridge to be eaten within two weeks, or you can freeze the curd for longer term storage. I also had great success canning my lemon curd in a boiling water canner. First wash and sterilize your jars, fill the jars with the hot lemon curd and process in a boiling water canner for 12 minutes. Lemon curd that has been processed in a boiling water canner will keep on your shelf at room temperature for up to a year.

In addition to being a delicious toast topping alternative, lemon curd is also delicious on ice cream, as a filling for crumb bars or coffee cake and makes a great addition to your morning yogurt/granola. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Movin' On Up!

I moved to Philadelphia almost 7 years ago to pursue my doctorate in Sociology, and I've been toiling away at that goal ever since. In a strange turn of events, I recently let all of that go to turn my time and attention to food full-time. It wasn't a hard decision once I realized that nearly all of my joy lies in the kitchen instead of in an office. I figured it was about time to share this good news with all of you. Cooking and baking have been life-long loves inspired by my mother, while photography and writing about food are more recent developments that Foodaphilia has given me a chance to showcase.
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So here I am. Letting you all know that Foodaphilia is more alive than ever and that I want to make you something to eat! Working out of a friend's commercial kitchen in Northern Liberties, I'm excited to be taking orders for sweet treats of all kinds. You want two dozen of my favorite chocolate chip cookie? They can be yours. The Elvis, made with banana chocolate chip cake and peanut butter frosting sound more your speed? You can have that, too. Anything your heart desires, or any recipe you've seen on my blog can be yours, and it will bring me joy to make it for you.
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I hope to have a few menus up here soon highlighting some of my most popular desserts and cookies. Until then, wish me luck, and don't skip dessert!

Please drop me a line at using the contact link on the side bar, or call me at A Full Plate Cafe 215-627-4068.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Viet Huong

On our way to pick up a donated smoker, the Burgerbaroness and I stopped into Viet Huong to see how their Vietnamese Hoagies compared to others we've devoured in the quest for the perfect sandwich.
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As most good foodie friends do, we divide and conquer. Ordering two different sandwiches cut in half let's us each enjoy two (or more!) delicious offerings. This first sandwich is the most traditional. Crusty french style bread is sliced in half, spread with butter and stuffed with Vietnamese ham, head-shoulder roll, pork roll, pate and lightly pickled daikon and carrots. Then thin slices of jalapeno pepper and sprigs of cilantro are added on top with a sprinkle of black pepper.
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We also tried a more modern twist on the original sandwich. This one is stuffed with charbroiled pork, cucumber, carrots, daikon, cilantro and jalapeno peppers and is sprinkled with a douse of fish sauce before serving.

At under four bucks each, these sandwiches are not only delicious and filling, but a steal! You can get one to go, or sit down and have it delivered to your table wrapped in wax paper. If you like things extra spicy, siracha is nice addition, but I found the seasoning and fresh peppers on my sandwich to be plenty spicy. By far this has been my favorite destination for Vietnamese hoagies to date. They're generous with the fillings while still maintaining a budget-friendly price, and the bread is spot on, crunchy on the outside and slightly warmed before service.

Viet Huong
1110 Washington Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19147
215.336.5030
Viet Huong on Urbanspoon