How well do you handle it when things don’t go your way? In the face of life’s inevitable disappointments, are you good at deciding when to persist, when to change course, or when to let go?
As a psychologist, it is clear to me that these discernment skills are essential to a successful, satisfying life. Many people struggle with a disconnect between expectations and reality. It is important for our goals to be realistic. It is helpful to be able to tolerate expending effort and feeling discomfort to reach them, and it is essential to know when to change our plans.
I will never forget something a teacher said about me (to the whole class) in high school. I wish I could remember the context…but this was the message: If each person in this class broke their favorite thing, everyone else would be sitting on the floor crying, but Deb would be trying to figure out how to put it back together. To this day, I still can’t figure out whether she meant this as a compliment!
Now, please don’t get me wrong here, I am not about to make an argument that my current life is full of lemons. I have dealt with difficult health issues and terrible tragedy in the past. These experiences have taught me that I can make a plan and move forward, even if the process is scary and painful.
This blog is my way of “making lemonade” out of the “lemons” inherent in our construction process. While the inconveniences and hassles of demolition and building are in a different category from the tragedies I have faced in my life, they are tricky in their own way and certainly test my good cheer on a regular basis.
Before we started on the project, I vowed that I would find a way to feed us well, to continue to be creative with food, and to continue giving my blog readers something worth reading while we were renovating. I could not have anticipated how much this would help me to maintain my focus and my sanity when faced with the news that my house was collapsing. Or blowing fuses when I try to fire my kiln (right now, in fact), or being hit in the head by wires while I try to prepare a salad.
So, as much as I enjoy a glass of lemonade, I want to make you something a little more fun with my lemons today. How about some lemon curd? I adore lemon curd! I like everything about it except the name. Curd. Just doesn’t sound appealing, right? But let’s make some anyway; there are so many wonderful things you can do with it!
Make this about an hour before you want to serve it; you want to let it set up a bit.
This recipe is adapted slightly from Cook’s Illustrated.
1/3 cup lemon juice, from 2 lemons-ish
2 large eggs, plus one yolk
½ cup sugar (I use organic cane)
2 tbs. unsalted butter
1 tbs. heavy cream
¼ tsp vanilla extract
pinch sea salt
Heat the lemon juice in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until hot, not boiling. Whisk eggs and yolks in a bowl and add the lemon juice, whisking. Return the mixture to the pot and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. It should coat the back of your wooden stirrer (see my picture). Don’t let it get thicker than this; it will set up when it cools.
Take the pot off the heat and stir in the butter, then the cream, vanilla and salt. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface and chill.
Lemon curd is wonderful on top of ice cream or stirred into yogurt. It’s great on Mindfulness Bread, your favorite toast, or pound cake. I like to make little tarts with a cheesecake filling and then top them with lemon curd and fruit. But, I don’t have an oven, so, when life gives you lemons… Here, I have used wheat biscuits as a sort of crust, spread on some cream cheese, added the lemon curd, and topped with berries and violets.
I am going to serve these pretty little “tarts” to myself, my mother, and my daughter for Mother’s Day because we are all good at dealing with adversity!
I wish you all a wonderful Mother’s Day!