Lemon Tart

While I am getting ready for the superbowl, here is the recipe for another French dessert that I made for Thanksgiving. Lemon Tart is easy to make and very tasty. I strongly recommend making the pastry shell yourself too.

While I am baking some cookies for the superbowl party we are going to, here is my Lemon Tart recipe that I made for Thanksgiving.

If you are wondering whether I have suddenly developed an interest in American Football, no I haven’t. I sometimes watch a game on TV if I have nothing better to do and have been to a few Tech college football games as well. But watching the superbowl is just an excuse to hang out with friends and eat junk food. While we are on the topic of the Superbowl, can anyone please tell me why the game lasts three times longer than it should.

Coming back to the lemon tart, I have made it with store-bought pie shell as well as made the shell myself and I strongly recommend that you make the pastry shell using recipe below.

This recipe is adapted from Simple French Desserts.

Pastry Dough Shell

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy. Beat in the egg yolk and vanilla. Sift the flour and salt into the butter mixture and beat at low speed just until a soft dough forms.
  2. Pat the dough into a disk. Roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle between two sheets of plastic wrap.
  3. Remove the top sheet of the plastic wrap and invert the pastry circle into the tart pan. Gently ease the pastry into the shell without stretching the dough. Remove the plastic wrap and roll the rolling pin over the top of the pan to trim the excess dough. Use a fork to generously prick the bottom of the pastry shell.
  4. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for at least an hour. When it is chilled, freeze it for a few hours (or up to a week).

Lemon Tart

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Grated zest of 3 lemons
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Pastry dough shell from above
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Fill a large skillet full with warm water. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer.
  3. In a medium stainless steel bowl, combine the lemon juice, zest, sugar, eggs, and yolks and whisk until smooth. Add the softened butter. The mixture will now have a curdled appearance.
  4. Place the bowl in the simmering water and stir constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon for 9-10 minutes, i.e. until the mixture is thick and smooth, with a soft, pudding-like texture.
  5. Remove the bowl from the hot water and pour the lemon cream through a fine-meshed sieve into the pastry shell.
  6. Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, i.e. until the filling is set but not browned.

Cool it and enjoy!

Coeur à la Crème

Here is the recipe for Coeur à la Crème. It is easy to make and turns out great.

For Thanksgiving, I made dessert. Here is one recipe. I got it from Simple French Desserts. I have made some minor changes in the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup plain organic yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Fresh raspberries for garnish
  • Raspberry Coulis (recipe)
  1. Stir the cream and 1/3 cup of the sugar together in a large bowl. Beat (I use an electric mixer) the sweetened cream until soft peaks form. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Continue beating, adding the remaining 1/3 cup sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, until the whites form stiff, glossy peaks. Fold the cream mixture and beaten egg whites into the yogurt. Fold in the vanilla.
  3. Line a large sieve with a double thickness of damp cheesecloth, allowing the excess to hang over the edge.
  4. Fill a bowl with the cream mixture. Set the sieve over the bowl to drain. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  5. Unwrap and invert the bowl onto a serving plate. Remove the cheesecloth. Surround the coeur à la crème with Raspberry Coulis and a few fresh raspberries.

That’s it. It is easy to make and tastes great. You can ask Wayfarer if you don’t believe me.

درجن

آج ہماری شادی کی بارہویں سالگرہ ہے۔ اسے منانے آج ہم سٹیک کھانے گئے اور سینما میں فلم دیکھی۔ فلم کا موضوع بھی محبت تھا اور میری آج کی پوسٹ کا بھی یہی موضوع ہے۔

درجن سال بہت ہوتے ہیں۔ بارہ سالوں میں دنیا بدل جاتی ہے۔ کہاں میں ایک 23 سالہ نوجوان تھا جو واہ کینٹ میں رہتا تھا اور کہاں اب 12 سال بعد شادی‌شدہ اور ایک بیٹی کا باپ اٹلانٹا میں۔

ایک شخص کے ساتھ 12 سال گزارنا بڑی بات ہے۔ ان سالوں میں محبت بھی بڑھتی ہے اور لڑائیاں بھی ہوتی ہیں۔ آپ ایک دوسرے کو مکمل طور پر جان لیتے ہیں جیسے کوئی اور نہیں جانتا۔

جب میں نے عنبر کے ساتھ اس سفر کا آغاز آج سے ٹھیک بارہ سال پہلے یکم دسمبر 1994 کو کیا تھا تو اندازہ بھی نہیں تھا کہ ان منزلوں سے بھی گزر ہو گا۔ سمجھتے تھے کہ ہمیں محبت ہے مگر شاید رائی برابر بھی پتا نہ تھا۔

آج اپنی شادی کی سالگرہ منانے ہم بونز ریستوران گئے جہاں کا سٹیک بہت مشہور ہے۔ واقعی بہت مزا آیا۔ اس کے بعد ہم کافی عرصہ بعد سینما میں فلم دیکھنے گئے۔ ارادہ تو جیمز بانڈ کی Casino Royaleدیکھنے کا تھا مگر دیکھی The Fountain۔ محبت، زندگی، موت اور روحانیت کی یہ کہانی معلوم نہیں آج کے دن کے لئے مناسب تھی یا نہیں مگر ہمیں کافی مزا آیا۔

Joël

For Mother’s Day, I decided to take Amber out for a few hours. We wandered around, watched a movie and had dinner at Joël restaurant, which features French cuisine “with Asian and Mediterranean influences.”

For Mother’s Day, I decided to take Amber out for a few hours so that she could relax and have some fun. So we got a babysitter and headed out. We wandered around, watched a movie and had dinner at Joël restaurant, which features French cuisine “with Asian and Mediterranean influences.”

I had quail as appetizer while Amber played safe with shrimp. The quail was very good. For the main course, I got duck while Amber got veal sweetbreads on my suggestion. The duck was good but the veal sweetbreads were heavenly. We finished off with some icecream.

Overall, a good meal. I would recommend the restaurant for special occasions since it is somewhat expensive.

Blog Interview Meme

This is a chain interviewing game for blogs. Here are its rules:

  1. Leave me a comment saying “interview me.” The first five commenters will be the participants.
  2. I will respond by asking you five questions.
  3. You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.
  4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
  5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions. (Write your own questions or borrow some.)

Wayfarer has asked me the following questions.

1. How does it feel to be a dad?

It feels great. It is amazing. Very different from how I imagined it. I am not a baby/kid person. My ideal number of children have always hovered between zero and one. So my reaction to Michelle was a surprise. I would say I started feeling love for her around the time we saw her heartbeat on the ultrasound. I am very protective of her and extremely defensive about anyone disparaging my role as a dad. Say anything about boys being better or girls having it difficult in life or girls being closer to their moms and I come out swinging.

2. What do you like and dislike about Atlanta?

Dislike is easy. I hate Atlanta summers. They are hot and humid. Not the kind of weather I like. I also don’t like the somewhat suburban feel of the city of Atlanta. My feelings about the laid back attitude of people here vary. At times, I get frustrated with it and want Atlanta to become a more fast-paced city like New York, but at other times I like the slow pace of life here.

Another thing about Atlanta is the lack of things like museums, theater, etc. as compared to New York, Chicago or San Francisco.

Among likes, there is the fact that one can drive to the mountains (even if they are not exactly tall peaks) in the North whenever one wants to. There are lots of hiking, backpacking and camping opportunities there. There are also lakes and rivers for a weekend of paddling fun in the summer (but please don’t go into the Chattahoochee river in the metro Atlanta area, it is extremely polluted.)

3. Do you ever miss Pakistan? If so, what about it?

I could take the easy way out and say that I miss my parents and siblings. However, I would focus on the place, rather than people. Having moved a few times in my life, I don’t have any sentimental attachments to any place. Whenever we are moving, I am excited and looking forward to a new place while Amber is starting to miss the old one.

4. How did you and Amber meet?

During our high school and college years, we used to live in the same town. Amber was a classmate of my sister. I knew about her when she started going to the same college in which I was studying. We took the same college bus and there were only about 5-6 girls from our town in our college (the female population among the students at the college was 5-10%.) We first met when Amber visited our home some time in spring of her freshman year. She was a bookworm and wanted to study even though the university was closed for a couple of months due to 3 students being murdered in a student “political” clash. So we talked about the university and freshman Math. It was definitely not love at first sight. But it grew over time.

5. Describe the perfect meal.

That is a difficult one. But here are some great meals I have had. Stuffed lamb roast the Baloch way is great. So was the rabbit stuffed with peach I ate in a restaurant in Blois, France. For breakfast, nothing could beat the patisseries in France. For a regular meal, I would say I like an Italian main course followed by a French dessert. That reminds me of the dessert sample platter I ordered in a Loire valley restaurant. It had more than a dozen varieties and full though I was, I couldn’t stop eating the dessert.

While generally the food at our university cafe wasn’t good, once a week they had lentils and roast chicken which was quite good. I think those tuesdays were the only time I used to eat there.

Now it is your turn. If you would like to be interviewed, please leave a comment asking for an interview.

Brazilian Steakhouse

Last week, Amber and I went to Fogo de Chão for dinner. It is a Brazilian steakhouse tradition known as “Churrasco.” According to the restaurant website:

Churrasco (shoo – rás – ko) has been a culinary tradition for more than three centuries in Rio Grande do Sul (Southern Brazil). In the olden days, “Gaúchos” (Southern Brazilian cowboys) pierced large pieces of meat and slowly roasted them over open flamed pits, while talking about their adventures on the plains.

It is fun the way they serve you at these restaurants. Waiters go around carrying meat on skewers and stop to offer you some if you have the card on your table set to green (“go”). Then they’ll cut a slice of meat right there on the table. When you want a break, which you do since the waiters come very frequently, you flip the card to its red side.

Not only is the meat very good, the salad bar is great too. I have been to another Brazilian steakhouse before, but it was Amber’s first time and I had a feeling she would fill up on the salad. That is exactly what happened. I, on the other hand, had skipped lunch to gorge on the meat.

Atlanta is sort of becoming the capital for these Brazilian restaurants in recent years. There are at least 5 churrascarias here now that I know of.

Highly recommended, though expensive. Dinner alone costs $45 per person. Add drinks and dessert and it could be much higher.

10 + Michelle

It’s been exactly 10 years since “I” became “We”. On December 1, 1994 in Wah Cantt, Pakistan, Amber and I got married. That day, we thought we knew what love was. But we weren’t really aware of the bond between two persons who spend their lives together. Since then, our love has grown considerably; we trust each other completely; and respect is definitely part of the equation. We have found out every idiosyncratic and mundane thing about each other.

There have obviously been ups and downs. There were compromises to make. There were also the difficult times when we lived in different states: Amber in Jersey and I in Georgia.

Overall, these have been a magnificent 10 years. The icing on the cake, so to speak, was provided during this last year with the birth of our daughter Michelle.

Last year, I posted photographs from the day of our wedding to our 9th anniversary. This year, the theme of the photographs is the “icing.”

Michelle is 8 days old Eid Morning
Going to an Eid party Thanksgiving Day

Tonight, we are planning to go for dinner at a South African restaurant.

UPDATE: The ostrich was great. I heartily recommend 10 Degrees South.