Reactive

mom oofLast night I felt the Ooof that comes from being hit low when you realize that someone is angry with you, and you’re not sure what to do next. A parenting choice made at least 4 years ago appears still to rankle the affected offspring, but after apologizing (again) and recognizing that there’s no going back or undoing (even if that made sense), I’m left with various neurotransmitters and hormones sloshing about, and the opportunity to think about managing my reactions to bad news.

When faced with the task of lining up under the big signs marking the “Fight” option or the “Flight” option, I’m almost always in that second queue. It’s stunning how strong that impulse to physically leave can be, and how miniscule a pretext will convince me that I can get away with it. Last night I was struck with the urgency of returning some random clothespins to their drawer in the kitchen, but el Guapo wasn’t falling for it, and wouldn’t let me flee. He also didn’t insist that I fight, for which I’m grateful. At whichever point I make discernible progress on this issue, I’ll do my best to make some notes. For now, I’m going to pivot on a vocabulary word and head off in another direction.

I guess the sought-for contrast to reactive is pro-active (if I understood better what that means it might be a step forward–as it is, I keep it on hand in the event of a spontaneous game of buzzword bingo), but today we’ll just go with non-reactive. So here we go: hunt up a non-reactive saucepan, because I’m going to give you a great recipe for Lemon Curd!800px-Lemon

I’m a big fan of lemon–I like it in pie, I like it in ade, I like it in puckeringly sour candy. And as lemon curd, it is wonderful on toast. There are recipes out there that involve complicated procedures and prize-winning results. These instructions will get you really good lemon curd with a minimum of fuss, and it’s so good that you wouldn’t be able to save enough to enter a competition anyway.

To make Lemon Curd, gather up the following:

  • non-reactive saucepan: stainless steel, glass, enamel,  etc.
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons soft butter: I often use 3
  • 2/3 to 1 cup sugar (2/3 c. is tart and intense)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (likely to be 2 or 3 lemons)
  • 1 to 4 teaspoons fine lemon zest, depending on your preference

This process is unusual for curd, but works very well. In that non-reactive saucepan (aluminum, copper and iron are really what we’re avoiding here–they’ll interact with the acid in the lemon and impart unpleasant flavors) mix the butter and sugar thoroughly with a rotary mixer, just as you do when creaming them for a batch of cookies. Next beat in the eggs. El Guapo has an old-fashioned streak when it’s time to make cookies, and often does the beating with a wooden spoon, but this is a place where you want the electric beaters, lest you later find yourself with bits of cooked egg white in your curd.

While beating, pour in the lemon juice and zest. (The prize-winning recipes emphasize careful straining–I just get the seeds out and don’t worry about the pulp, so mine may have a little more character than the judges would favor.) It may separate and curdle at this point, but don’t worry. You’re now going to shake off the beaters and move to the stove. Stirring constantly (here a wooden spoon or paddle is just fine), cook over low to medium heat until the mixture thickens somewhat, being careful not to scorch. It will continue to thicken as it cools. Store in the fridge. I don’t think you’ll need info on how long it will keep–it’s not likely to hang around once you taste it. Lemon curd is lovely on toast, on crepes, on shortbread, or between cake layers, etc.

In mothering, as in lemon curd, being reactive is a problem. I wish my interpersonal angst could be addressed by something as simple as the choice of which saucepan to use. Alas, I’m certainly not stainless; I wonder if I might look into the possibility of enamel coating?

Our latest batch of lemon curd (photo by el Guapo)

Our latest batch of lemon curd (photo by el Guapo)


 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Reactive

  1. thanks for the recipe! I really love lemon too.;but I wonder if you could use a crockpot to avoid scorching on the stove/ just a thought.
    As far as the other thing, if apologies don’t work, wait 5 years.

    • I wonder whether a crock pot would work? I haven’t had troubles with scorching because I use a kind of wooden paddle with a wide flat stirring edge, and I make sure to keep everything moving. A double boiler would also work, I’m sure, though it would take longer. Your other advice is helpful, too. Time is helpful that way….

  2. Pingback: Lemon curd update–now even easier! | Lori Notes

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