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by meg

I have a startling confession to make. We don't plan our meals.

At the moment, we're in the editorial phase of sketching out the next edition of the book, and while we are maintaining the blog and doing a little bit of recipe testing and development, we're mostly in a pattern of just cooking what sounds good at the moment, using ingredients we get at the farmer's market.

By any standard, our grocery shopping habits are not organized. We buy what looks good and then figure out what to do with it. However, there are always a few key items that we keep in our fridge regardless of season or inclination--parsley, lemons, yogurt, and green onions to name a few. Because we use those ingredients so frequently, we usually chuck them in the grocery cart without too much thought.

Sometimes, though, this means that we end up with two bags full of lemons. In the normal course of our cooking, we would not be able to use two bags of lemons, and neither of us is crazy for lemonade. But one of the best things about knowing how to cook is knowing how to use things you have too much of.

Lemon curd is one of those impressive little recipes that will make you look like a kitchen wizard. Whether you spread it on brioche or scones, marble it into a cheesecake, or put it in cute little jars and gift it to friends, it's a handy thing to know how to make.

I really love the recipe that's in Joy right now. It's pretty stone simple--all the ingredients are whisked together over low heat until thick, then strained into a bowl where lemon zest and vanilla extract are added in to good effect. Even better, it uses whole eggs. Meaning: no leftover egg whites to deal with.

A couple things: stir or whisk the curd constantly. This isn't really a good time to multitask. The good news is that it takes less than 10 minutes for the curd to thicken, so you won't be marooned on lemon curd island for very long. If you have one, use a saucier to make this (a saucier is basically just a saucepan with tapered sides). It helps prevent the curd from sticking in the edge where the sides and bottom of the pan meet. But any old saucepan is fine--just use a spatula to get into those corners so nothing curdles or scorches.

Other things to make with lemons: Salt-Preserved Lemons, Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes, Meyer Lemon Marmalade

Easiest Lemon Curd
Makes about 1 2/3 cups

Whisk together in a medium stainless steel or enamel saucepan until light in color:
           3 large eggs
           1/3 cup sugar
           Pinch salt
Add:
           1/2 cup strained fresh lemon juice
           6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Cook, whisking, over medium-low to medium heat until the butter is melted. Whisk constantly until the mixture is thickened and coats the back of a spoon or spatula. Scrape the curd into a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl, and strain the filling into the bowl. Stir in:
           1/2 teaspoon vanilla
           Zest of 2 lemons
Let cool, cover, and refrigerate to thicken completely. This keeps, refrigerated, for about 1 week.

Joy of Cooking App for iPad and iPhone

After three years of collaborative effort with our friends at Culinate and Scribner, it is our pleasure to introduce the Joy of Cooking for iPad and iPhone! Please check out this full-featured, digital version of the 2006 edition. In addition to the recipes and indispensable reference information our readers know and love, the app has many features that are brand new to JOY:

  • Built-in recipe timers (you can have multiple timers going simultaneously)
  • Search for and filter recipes by key word, ingredient, cuisine, season, technique, diet, and more
  • Create shopping lists from within the app
  • Convert any recipe to metric automatically
  • Give voice commands or have recipe steps spoken to you
  • Create menus in the app
  • Share recipes from within the app
  • Color photography

Truly a JOY for the 21st century! Download by directing your browser to www.joyofcookingapp.com. Don't forget to review the app!

Welcome to the Joy Kitchen!

Welcome to our freshly-remodeled website! Here you will find our blog, where we frequently share recipes (new and classic), kitchen tips, cooking and storage techniques, as well as news and the occasional ode to our favorite tools and ingredients. You will find these organized into categories at the top of the page (above the filmstrip of our latest posts). In our All About JOY pages, you can learn more about the history of the Joy of Cooking and the Rombauer and Becker families. Please don't forget to share your feedback in the comments. Enjoy!

For a tour of the Joy Kitchen, click here.