TURNING LEMONS INTO . . .
Who doesn’t love lemon bars? I mean, really, what’s not to like? Especially on a warm, sunny afternoon, served with a tall glass of freshly brewed iced tea. Or at the end of a backyard picnic of burgers and a slew of homemade side salads like Asian Slaw or Cuban Black Bean. Nothing says “satisfying” quite like a plate of lemon bars!
But for me, these little gems can be, oh, so much more than a simple bar, dusted with powdered sugar and passed on a plate. For me, lemon bars can make a perfect ending to a beautifully prepared meal served around the dining table. All it takes is a little more effort, with a dose of Farmhouse Fusion imagination on the side!
By now, you know me. You know that I look at every meal, every recipe, as an opportunity to infuse something seemingly ordinary with something wonderful from the garden or farmers market. Recently I was in a pinch one afternoon as guests were due to arrive shortly for Braised Lamb Shanks (or something equally wonderful – at this point I can’t quite remember what I was serving). I had only a couple of hours to go before they arrived and, as often happens, I had forgotten about dessert.
Since this was to be a hearty meal, I wanted to serve something light and refreshing for dessert. So I looked in my pantry, to find only a lonely box of lemon bar mix which I had kept there for one of those times when I knew I would be asked to bring a plate of cookies somewhere. By the way, the mix was Krusteaz Meyer Lemon Bars. They are way better (and way easier) than any lemon bar I’ve ever made from scratch! I decided I’d make them work somehow to create a perfect ending to the meal, so I got to work and 45 minutes later, they were ready!
But I didn’t want to just serve lemon bars. I found a couple of pints of fresh blueberries in my refrigerator, and while the bars were baking, I decided to make a quick Balsamic Blueberry Sauce to pour over the lemon bars. All it took was the blueberries, ½ cup of sugar, and a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. After cooking the mixture over medium for 15 minutes, I added 1½ teaspoon of top grade Tuscan balsamic vinegar. And voila! Dessert was almost ready – a Farmhouse Fusion dessert at that. When it came time to serve the dessert at the end of our meal, I simply placed a couple of small lemon bars in the bottom of an ice cream dish, then drizzled them with blueberry sauce and topped them with a dollop of whipped cream. They were beautiful, refreshingly delicious – and almost ridiculously easy! Ahh, sometimes life can be so satisfying!
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