Today was my co-op day for Jacob’s class. I was working outside, at the round brown table under the big juniper tree, helping the kids make flowers out of enormous coffee filters and green pipe cleaners. They painted them with liquid water colors – vibrant springtime greens and pinks and oranges, yellows and purples, bright turquoise. Jacob and a handful of other kids concentrated on their blooms as his teacher and I watched. “I love the colors,” I said.
“I picked them for spring,” she said.
“Today is the first day of spring,” Jacob replied, eyes on his paintbrush as he dabbed orange onto the flower in his hand. “It’s my Grandma Diane’s birthday.”
“Oh,” said Teacher Leslie. “You could make this flower for her!”
“Well yeah,” said Jacob nonchalantly. “Except she’s – well, she died when I was a baby.”
“Oh.” Teacher Leslie glanced at me. “Well, you could still make one for her.”
“She would have loved one,” I said. “Springtime was her favorite.”
“Okay,” said Jacob. He finished his flower, and held it up into the air.
“This one is for Jacob’s Grandma!” Teacher Leslie hollered at the sky. Jacob smiled, and I did too.
By the end of the day there were dozens of drip-drying flowers clothes-pinned to the fence. They burst with color, heralding the arrival of spring.
One of them, with the brightest orange petals, carried birthday tidings as it lifted in the breeze.
My mom loved lemon curd, and lime curd, and probably would have loved my current favorite rhubarb curd too. I’ve posted about curd before, and that one is good, but I’m loving this one right now. It’s a lemon-kissed lime curd from Orangette, a recipe that Molly recently posted and that comes to her from her mom. This is billed as a lime curd, but because I used sweet Meyer lemon juice it ended up having a more lemon-lime taste than a true lime curd would; also the sweetness of the Meyer meant that it was less puckery than say a Eureka lemon-lime curd would be. (Though by all means if you don’t have Meyers, try it with whatever lemons you do have.)
2 large eggs, beaten
1 stick unsalted butter, diced
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons lime zest
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
A pinch of salt
A couple things: I opted to use the faux-double-boiler technique I learned from Heidi Swanson to make this curd, though Molly makes hers over direct heat. (Medium-low). Molly also strained hers through fine mesh to be extra sure no eggy bits got through, but I opted to let it ride so that the bright bits of zest remained throughout.
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer and set it over a pot of barely simmering water. (See here for technique.) Whisk firmly until the butter is melted, and then continue whisking gently until the mixture thickens and looks almost custardy. (You’re looking for it to hold the mark of the whisk when you lift the whisk out.) This took 12 minutes for my first batch. (Molly says it will take 10 to 12 minutes, and I didn’t time the second batch I made; just watch the curd until you see that creamy thickness.)
As soon as it’s done, remove the curd from the heat. Spoon into little jars and chill well before serving. Molly recommends spreading it onto Walker’s shortbread, which is pure genius. (As she says, “It’s an ideal texture for frosting a cookie, or for filling a cake, or folding into whipped cream to make a mousse.”) But don’t underestimate the restorative power of curd on crisply golden toast, especially with a nice cup of tea.