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This week I had my first chance to cook with meyer lemons. What a delight! Their skin is smooth and canary yellow, and the smell, well, it’s just plain wonderful – a mix of sweet, citrusy lemon flavor with a hint of floral notes that makes me wish I could wear it as perfume. The flavor of meyer lemons is commonly described as a cross between a typical lemon and a mandarin orange. I think they are a joy all their own.

They only fruit for a very short time in January, so if you see them at the market one week, they may not be there the next (unless you live in California). I picked up about a dozen last week when I saw them at my local market, and I made a meyer lemon curd, marmalade, and vinaigrette.

Meyer lemons grow well indoors, but you have to be diligent in pruning and caring for the tree. I’d like to find one this summer and take extra good care of it so that the last week in January can always be Meyer Lemon Week! instead of Is The Snow Actually Falling From the Sky Already Grey?! week.

The meyer lemon curd was a beautiful match with this gluten-free rosemary flatbread I made on Sunday. I’m saving the rest of the curd for some buttermilk sandwich cookies this weekend.

Meyer Lemon Curd
(originally from The Perfect Pantry)

1/2 cup butter
1-1/2 cups sugar
Grated zest of two Meyer lemons
1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
6 eggs

Put all ingredients, except eggs, into a nonreactive bowl set over a pot of simmering water. When the butter has melted and before the mixture is too warm, gradually whisk in the beaten eggs. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Place the curd in a container, cover, and store in the refrigerator.

Works great on a sweet or herbed bread, with baked goods, or for lemon bars.

Gluten-free Rosemary Flatbread

3/4 c. your favorite all-purpose gluten-free flour blend (I use Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Baking Flour – sold in bulk now!)
2 tsp Xanthan Gum
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 Tb Olive Oil
3/4 cup Warm Water
1 tsp Sugar
1 Egg
2 tsp Yeast, Active Dry
Small handful of chopped fresh rosemary (thyme works nicely too)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine yeast, sugar and water in a large bowl and let stand about 5 minutes. Combine dry ingredients (besides rosemary) in separate bowl. Add egg and oil to wet ingredients, then add dry ingredients. Mix with a blender for a minute, adding a teaspoon of water if dough moves up beaters. Fold in the rosemary. Scoop onto greased baking sheet, wet your hands with water and spread dough over sheet until smooth (this dough is rather sticky and probably won’t be completely smooth. It won’t matter though, I promise). Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and your house smells like the rosemary fairy fell from heaven and landed in your kitchen.

I can’t wait for next January already!

I try to keep my thrift store trips to once a month, otherwise I’d go totally broke.

Yesterday I found: a beautiful chair, some lovely dishes to go with my white, blue, and buttercup yellow collection, and some sweet vintage stationery.

Oh, I got new shoes too! Here’s a peek –

A good time for cold romps in the snow with Rosie, citrus fruits, and daydreaming of warm afternoons in a new city.

Thank goodness for visits from great friends, the beautiful days of winter, and the pleasure of a warm stroll through the Botanical Gardens.

This impromptu cake began as a batch of muffins. After I added all the basic ingredients and began mixing the dough, it didn’t feel like muffin batter. It felt like a heavier biscuit or scone dough, so I went with it. I added coconut and cinnamon because I had them on hand (they were going to be cranberry ginger muffins) and added a honey and cinnamon drizzle to the top. The texture is very close to a regular scone, and you certainly wouldn’t know it was gluten-free.

It is absolutely lovely with a hot cup of coffee.

Cinnamon Coconut Scone Cake

2 c. Arrowhead Mills Gluten-Free Pancake & Baking Mix
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 egg
1/4 c. honey, plus a tablespoon or so for drizzling
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. shredded coconut
1 tsp. ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
1 tb. raw sugar for sprinkling, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9×9″ baking pan with parchment paper lining the bottom.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and xanthan gum)

In a small mixing bowl, combine all remaining ingredients.

Add liquids to dry ingredients, stir until it is no longer lumpy. Add coconut and 1 tsp. cinnamon and combine.

Spread in the bottom of the baking pan and drizzle a bit of honey over the top. Sprinkle extra cinnamon and raw sugar if desired, and bake for 15-20 minutes or until done.

Miniature versions of my favorite chocolate-covered macaroons, red velvet cupcakes, yogurt-lemon cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, and a tiny version of my vegetarian potato pie, baked for the opening of a miniature book show at WNYBAC this weekend.

I had entirely too much fun making these tiny treats. I also had a lot of help from Sam, my friend and WNYBAC intern who lent her time and mini muffin pan to help make the baked goodies. I think between all the different treats, we made about 400 individual cakes, cookies, and pies!

Note: To give a sense of scale, the plates these little snacks are pictured on are saucer-sized.

Tiny Vegetarian Potato Pie

(with variation – Gluten-Free 3 Cheese Twice Baked Potatoes)

Makes 24 tiny pies.
(or 4 twice-baked potatoes)

1 package phyllo dough
Mini muffin pan/s capable of holding up to 24 mini muffins
(above two ingredients for tiny pies only)

4 large baking potatoes (organic preferably)
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
3-4 tbsp. butter
1/4-1/3 c. organic whole milk or half-and-half (for creamier potato filling)
About 1/4 c. asiago cheese, grated
1/4 c. mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
small handful of thyme, stems removed
Dash of salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Wash your potatoes and pat dry. Poke holes in the potato using a fork or butter knife.

Place clean potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 60 minutes, or until potatoes give slightly when poked.

Once potatoes are baked and cool enough to handle, cut the top of each potato off so that they look sort of like potato canoes. Scoop out the insides from the potato skin, leaving the outer shell as intact as possible (if you are making twice-baked potatoes. If not, don’t worry about cracked potato shells – feel free to destroy those suckers). Scoop the insides into a medium or large-sized mixing bowl.

On the stovetop, place butter into a small saute pan with the garlic over medium-low heat. Allow to simmer for a minute or two, removing from the heat before the butter or garlic burns. Strain garlic out and retain the melted butter.

To the potato, add the melted garlic butter, milk or half-and half, a dash of salt and pepper, thyme, and the grated asiago cheese. Mash using a potato masher or with an electric hand mixer for a smoother filling.

For twice-baked potatoes:

Scoop the filling back into your potato canoe shells, top with cheddar and mozzarella, and bake at 450 degrees for about 10-15 minutes, until cheese is golden brown on top.

For tiny potato pies:

It’s time to prepare the phyllo dough.

Pre-packaged phyllo dough should be stored in the freezer. Place in refrigerator overnight to defrost. To make tiny shells, roll out one package of phyllo dough. Immediately cover with plastic wrap and place a damp towel over the plastic wrap (this will keep the dough from hardening).

Remove one sheet of dough and place on a clean, ungreased baking sheet. Coat with melted butter. Place the next sheet of dough on top and brush with melted butter, repeating 5 times with 5 sheets of dough layered on top of one another.

Use a 2-1/2-3″ round cookie cutter (I used the rim of a mug) to cut out 6 approx. 3″ diameter dough circles from the sheet of dough. Coat both sides with butter and shape in a mini muffin mold. Repeat until all 6 shells are shaped.

Repeat this dough process 4 times until you have 24 little phyllo shells in your muffin tin.

Fill with mashed potato filling, top with mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, and bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or until phyllo dough is golden brown and cheese is bubbling and melted.

Resolutions aren’t my thing, but I will borrow a few words from Laura Marling and say that in 2011, I’d like to work more, earn more, live more, have more fun.