I realized yesterday that our living room is just about about the size of the island in Chris’s aunt’s kitchen. Granted, her kitchen is super-sized, but that still tells you something, doesn’t it?
Currently, a huge piece of surface material is taking up about a quarter of the total space, smack in the middle of it all. It makes getting around the apartment challenging. You have to shimmy around it, but mind the wires!, because you might trip like I did this morning, knocking over a speaker that had been playing Lykke Li. (I don’t think it’s broken.)
Chris likes to joke that the entire apartment has become my studio, and he’s not kidding. Lining one wall are foamboards and reflectors and all kinds of surfaces. Lining the opposite wall are stacks of bowls, plates, jars, glassware, silverware, pots, pans, and other props. It’s a delicate situation.
The kitchen is no exception, both in the fact that it’s tiny (I’ve touched on this before), and that I treat it as an extension of my studio. Open any drawer and you’ll discover the tricks of my trade: a rolling pin balanced precariously atop a couple mortars, pestles off to the side, an entire drawerful of random shiny gizmo-gadgets: biscuit cutters, the candy thermometer, a milk frother. And watch out if you want to grab a baking sheet: you’ll have to dig through a mountain of metallica, maneuvering your hand through tiny crevices and odd corners.
Oh, the life of a food blogger.
The truth is, despite having all this stuff lying around, I still find myself gravitating towards simple recipes, today’s being no exception. I like using ingredients that are in season (well, I guess that’s true of many of us), and I like being able to really taste their essence.
Maybe that makes me lazy. Or maybe it makes me a faux-Alice Waters in training? I’ll let you decide.
To tell you the truth, being newly open to baking with citruses and all, I had planned on preparing something a little more ambitious for today. In my head, I envisioned perfect mini tarts filled with silky caramel and topped with this blood orange curd, glistening of course. I really intended to stun you all away with my baking prowess.
But: a) and mostly importantly, I have no baking prowess, and b) there are bills to pay (also very important, come to think of it), so I let my intentions dwindle into this blood orange curd, which ended up being a real treat.
I’m with Kate on this one. The word ‘curd’ just doesn’t do it for me. It rhymes with ‘turd’ for one thing, and ugh, the tongue seems to linger on that ‘r,’ drawing it out so it sounds like you’re insulting someone.
Anyway, as you can see, the citrus obsession continues. (Amy! I’m filling your plate with more citrus!) Please don’t let its name detract from what it is, because that would be doing a great disservice to this recipe.
Though the butter and egg yolk have the effect of mellowing out the acidity of the orange, the citrus flavor really comes through. I like how blood oranges aren’t super sweet; it really helps keep the sweetness factor in check. And I like how the curd is creamy, like a buttery jam. It tastes really good on plain toast (in particular, it pairs really well with this poppy seed bread we have in the house).
I was surprised with how the color turned out, because the juice was such a vivid coral, but again, mellowing occurred and the pinkish-red turned into a pretty pastel orange. Don’t you love lovely-looking food?
Other ways in which to use your curd (ugh, that sounds so dirty):
In other words, you can pretty much do whatever you feel like with the stuff. So go, go and make your blood orange caramel tarts, see if I care!
BLOOD ORANGE CURD
Makes about 1 pint
12 egg yolks
3/4 cup freshly-squeezed blood orange juice (from around 3 blood oranges)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (8 Tbsp), cut into Tbsp pieces
Place the egg yolks, sugar, blood orange juice, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan and turn the heat on to low. Whisk constantly (or the yolks will curdle), for about 10 minutes. At this point, the curd should become really foamy, then thicken up. When it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, run the ingredients through a sieve into a medium bowl. Immediately stir in the butter a little at a time until it all melts and becomes incorporated. Let cool and refrigerate.