Thursday, April 22, 2010
When life gives you lemons, make lemon bars?
I suppose we've all heard the saying, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."
Well, readers, life sure has given me an orchard full of lemon trees. I know that, despite making promises to some of you regarding upcoming recipes, I've been noticeably absent from my beloved blog lately, although I did find a bit of time for some shameless (or shameful... you decide) self-promotion in the form of a Facebook page. If you haven't already, feel free to become a fan. Or "like" me, as Facebook has now decreed. It's where I will eventually be making announcements and taking suggestions.
In the meantime, back to these lemons. My first bushel of lemons came to me as the result of the numerous doctors appointments I've had in the past few months. Since I was thirteen years old, I have suffered from PCOS. After one surgery when I was fifteen and several years of medication, things were always kept in check. Recently, however, I became unchecked. The pain I experienced throughout my adolescence has now invaded my every day life. Just as doctors had little explanation all those years ago, they are even more clueless now. However, the doctor who has been overseeing my care has offered several suggestions, which has led my boyfriend and I to our current decision. When I go back to my next appointment, I will undergo a type of drug therapy that essentially mimics menopause. That's right--at twenty-four years old, I will become a woman in her fifties or sixties. For several months, my health will be monitored, particularly my pain, and if we determine that it has improved during the course of this therapy, I will then have a hysterectomy. If the drug therapy does not work, then I will come off of it with no repercussions except being just as lost as I was before, if not more so.
For the past week, I've been keeping these lemons under wraps, saving them for a special occasion. Meanwhile, I've actually been a bit overwhelmed by the future and what I'll have to face very soon. There is no way of telling how I'll react to the drugs I'll be given, and that fear of the unknown has been quite intimidating. To go along with that, of course, has been the looming thoughts of possibly 100%, without a doubt, absolutely losing my ability to have children, and exactly what that means to me, as well as one person in particular who means so much to me. One of the few things that got me up and at 'em after nearly a week of bumming and slumming at home was the hope that there would be some news on a position I applied for within my department.
Ever since I laid out my plans to enter the master's program, I knew that I was working toward this one position: an opportunity to work side-by-side with a faculty member in the department, which would eventually culminate with the chance to teach a class solo. Everything about the position was everything I wanted. Even more, I felt like the position was made for me. After substituting several classes over the semester for various faculty members, I felt like this opportunity was exactly what I needed and everything I could dream of. After I learned which faculty member would possibly be a part of the program, I was even more enthusiastic, as I knew it was someone I had a lot of common interests with, and I thought it was with whom I could work well and go far. This convinced me even more that this position was custom made just for me. It was perfect.
I, however, am not perfect, and perhaps that was my downfall. I received my rejection e-mail this afternoon. After some "positive" fluff and attempts to encourage me to apply next time, next Spring, I was handed another bushel of lemons. Next Spring, I will be at the end of my studies in the master's program, and it will be too late. But thanks anyway, I suppose.
Right now, I have no idea where my life is going, or even what I want. However, as I lie here in bed with no sign of sleep in my near (or even distant) future, I've realized that I have got a shit ton of lemons, and not a damn thing to do with them. So rather than sit here and think (or cry) anymore, I present to you, loyal readers, lemon bars. Because why make lemonade when you can make lemon bars?
In the meantime, I'm not sure when my next post will be, as it seems I've got a lot to contend with right now. But I promise not to stay gone too long, and as soon as I'm back in the kitchen again, you all will be the first to know.
Creamy Lemon Bars
20 shortbread cookies (I used almond Chinese cookies)
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
powdered sugar, for garnish
Food processor (or my trusty Ninja)
9x9 baking dish
aluminum foil (not pictured)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Pulse the cookies in the food processor until they are thoroughly crumbled. Add the brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, and butter, and pulse until the crumbs begin to stick together.
3. Line a 9x9 baking dish with aluminum foil, and press the crumb mixture to the bottom and about a 1/2 inch up the sides. Bake it for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
4. In a clean food processor, cream together the sugar, cream cheese, and eggs until smooth. Add the flour, lemon juice, lemon zest, and baking powder and pulse until smooth.
5. Pour the mixture into the crust, smooth it over, and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the center is set.
6. Refrigerate for two hours and sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving. For easy cutting, pull the uncut bars out of the baking dish using the aluminum foil lining. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into individual bars.
Original recipe courtesy of Kraft.