Tag Archives: orange curd

Lagniappe: Is There a Perfect Choice?

FINALLY – some good weather has arrived in Glen Ellen and we’re able to get out in the yard and do some planting.  A lot of you know that we used to have a little flower business we called “MiniBlooms” (I know…we have a bit of an obsession with small things…mini blooms and little meals!  But we do like big cats and medium-sized dogs).

For this lagniappe (something extra) edition of BigLittleMeals I just want to talk about small little flowers.  We’ve had enough of food!

There are so many choices to make when you’re replenishing or starting a flower bed – and today’s news is filled with stories about the reblooming of people’s interest in gardening during this stay-at-home time.

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Bidens ‘Bidy Boom Bonfire’

The flower I’m focused on at the moment is Bidens.  I’ve never been crazy about them before, but I’m totally into them this spring.  Let me share a few descriptive phrases I found on all those gardening websites which describe these hybrid Bidens:

  • They’re low maintenance and high-performing
  • Strong and sturdy (we hope!)
  • They’re sterile so they don’t waste energy on seed production
  • They’re considered more of a filler than a thriller
  • Bloom till fall (I do wish they bloomed longer…at least through November!)
  • Very vibrant (well…that one is up for debate! 🙂 )

Admittedly, they’re also short-lived, but that can be dealt with.  I’ll have some impressive back-up blooms in the bed.  I’ve read good things about several daylily varieties:  ‘Elizabeth’s Magic’ is lovely.  ‘Gretchen My Darling’ is pretty fine too.  The daylily ‘Michelle My Belle’ –  so bright and bold – would be fabulous – the color blends amazingly well with the Bidens I’ve chosen, but it’s not readily available.

Just so you know – my current favorite Bidens variety is ‘Bidy Boom Bonfire’.  Who in god’s name came up with that name?  I definitely like the BOOM! part and BONFIRE! might be good too, though flaming orange isn’t necessarily a color I’m enamored with at the moment (wink, wink).

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From Swede’s Feeds via Emerisa Gardens

Yes, our choice is Bidens.  It’s ready to go.  Boom! (into our garden, that is).

And – because I have to constantly remind myself that we’re a food-oriented blog, here’s our choice for an orange-y kind of food:  it’s Orange Crud  I mean – Curd, not crud!  A Freudian slip.

Thanks to Katie, our dear 90-year-old Baton Rouge friend, for recommending this old Orange Curd recipe.  It is SO good.  Try it with the fresh strawberries that are just now hitting the market….or adorn your next cake with it.

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Resurrecting the Kitchen Table

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Our vintage oak kitchen table and 4 matching chairs – all in great shape – are for sale on CraigsList.  The set has been up on that site for weeks.  It’s not expensive – yet no one seems to want it.

Our table is just the right size for a family of four.  If you want an intimate little dinner party, you can add the two leaves and comfortably seat eight.

The fact that no one seems to want the set makes me a little sad – or maybe nostalgic.  Nostalgic for by-gone times when families would need that table to all sit down for dinner and maybe even for breakfast.  And the family would talk and the family would listen.  And they would enjoy home-cooked food.  And I get nostalgic remembering casual little dinner parties while acknowledging how infrequent they are now.

Andy too gets nostalgic when he thinks back to his childhood days around his family’s kitchen table, but his nostalgia isn’t always about the food.

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Joy Harjo, Poet Laureate of the U.S.

The current Poet Laureate of the United States, Joy Harjo, the first Native American to hold that position, wrote a poem about kitchen tables back in 1994.  I wonder if she would write the same thoughts today.

Joy Harjo Poem Box

I hope Harjo’s lovely poem inspires you to sit longer at the table.

P.S:  At the same time as I was writing this blog, the table finally sold.  The new owners have 5-year-old twins.  We so hope the table will be a spot where they learn “what it means to be human,” that it will be “a house in the rain,” and that they enjoy “the gifts of earth” at it.

And here’s a simple family-pleasing home-cooked meal for 4-8 at that special spot.  It will give the cooks ample time and energy to enjoy their food –  and to visit.

Baked Penne and Maybe Sausage Pasta

Add some spinach to it, as suggested in the recipe notes.  Substitute mushrooms and zucchini for the sausage if you want to go meatless.  Both elders and young’uns will love it.

Greek (or Maybe Italian) Chopped Salad

You can make this super-quick by omitting a couple of ingredients.  No red bell pepper? Too lazy to dice celery?  Don’t like parsley?  Omit them all – and it will still be a great salad.

Super Simple Shortbread

Instead of serving the shortbread with fresh fruit – if there’s no great fruit to be had, try this Orange Curd recipe from my Baton Rouge friend Katie.  It’s SOoooooo good.

 

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Orange Curd – aka Orange Butter Filling – used as a filling and frosting for a cake

Orange Curd

This comes from an old Softasilk recipe – and was called Orange Butter Filling – after all, “curd” isn’t a real appealing word.  So don’t hesitate to fill and frost a layer cake with it, as well as use it as a sauce for shortbread and/or with strawberries.

  • 1 c sugar
  • 4 1/2 T cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 c freshly-squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 c water
  • 4 beaten egg yolks
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1 T grated orange rind

Mix the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan.  Stir in the orange juice and water.  Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.   Very (very) gradually stir half of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks.  Then add the remaining hot mixture.   Boil everything 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and orange rind.  Cool.

Stored in the refrigerator, the curd will keep for at least a week.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

 

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