“When life gives you lemons, make Lemonade”
Just another one of those “let’s be positive!” phrases, I thought to myself the first time I heard it.
Rather ironically however, this phrase has really stuck with me over the years, especially this week.
Zoe and I just started the first week of our internship in Ohio. We were excited to have such an amazing opportunity. Our first day, we met a whole bunch of other interns who were all passionate, bright and talented. Some were MBA students; others were finance; sales; engineers… It’s only when I sat in the room amongst such talent that I realized how little and small I was. Thoughts of self-doubts started creeping into my mind. How will I ever be able to outperform or succeed in such a competitive environment?
Suddenly I no longer felt the smartest or the luckiest person in the room.
The first time Zoe and I attempted to make meringues – I had the same “humbling experience” – feeling small and tiny. We had made a batch previously that turned out extremely well. We started mixing, whisking blissfully with complete confidence that “this batch” would be perfect. I was sure our family would be blown away by our newest concoction. After all it was our second time making it. Doesn’t practice makes perfect right? Nothing could go wrong.
When the timer rang, the tray was pulled out to reveal flat white blobs. What did we do wrong?
Our attempts to please our family with our “amazing” baking skills turned out to be “last minute” “let’s save the day” project of scrambling to fix up our “somewhat inedible mistake”. Let’s just say it was a very, very messy day – a day when life unexpectedly handed me lemons and we decided to make lemon curd.
I had never had even tasted lemon curd before that day. But the idea of having something brightly colored to mask our flat meringues seemed like the best option. We grabbed eggs, honey and lemons and threw it all in a pot. We cooked it down, strained it, cooled it, leaving it aside for later in the evening.
“Our dessert today didn’t turn out well, so don’t expect anything much.” We kept trying to warn the rest of the family of our rather embarrassing disaster.
As we watched each of them plate up the-now-pancake-flat meringues and a spoonful of thick yellow curd with berries, I felt my heart sank. I felt like the tiniest person in the world. With a prayer in my heart, I watched as my parents took their first bite.
One second, two seconds…. a surprised look and a smile appeared on their faces
“This is so good!”
Zoe and I looked up, “What? the meringue tastes good?”
“No…what is this yellow stuff? Its so good.”
What the lemon curd? Not the meringue? We both quickly grabbed the spoon to taste the lemon curd. One lick was enough…it was really, REALLY good.
The lemon curd saved the day. Tangy yet sweet and very fresh from the burst of lemon zest we added in. I can picture it in my head, as clear as daylight, my little cousin running up to the table to dip her finger into the sour-sweet goodness that had just become the show-stopper of the evening.
So what do you do when life hands you lemons? You make lemon curd.
From a person feeling so small and tiny, I suddenly felt so accomplished. And that’s what Zoe and I did again this time. We decided to spend our free time cooking, trying out new restaurants in town, and signing up for a gym membership. Somehow things turned out better. I didn’t grow smarter overnight, but I did grow to love the little things along the way – the time I spent with my manager and staff asking endless questions until I felt they had enough; the moments I spent huddled at my desk searching online what random words meant; the meetings I sat in admiring the talent that was in this company. It was humbling, but beautiful. Somehow the sun did start shining and life didn’t seem quite as bad as I thought.
This lemon curd has now become one of our favorite recipes. It is practically fool-proof. We’ve kept this little secret to ourselves for the past year and we decided it was time to share it with you. Time and time again it never fails to impress our guests – on cake, on meringue, on crumbles, and I bet even on toast. Lemons, however sour, might not be half as bad as we think they are. And life may never seem as bad it is as you try to make do with what you have and work hard.
LOOK OUT: With this amazing lemon curd, we have two more amazing recipes coming up in the next few weeks that will showcase how incredible this lemon curd is. So stay tuned and watch out!
Ingredients – makes 2 Jars (2 Bowls)
- 6 large eggs
- 1/2 cup honey
- zest of 4-6 lemons (about 2 tablespoon)
- 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
How to Make:
- Mix together the eggs, honey, lemon juice and lemon zest in a medium non-reactive (ceramic, stainless steel, or nonstick) saucepan or pot. Do not use any reactive (aluminum, copper, iron, and steel) utensils when making this recipe.
- Cook the lemon curd over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. This takes about (about 5-10 minutes). It’s ready once the curd coats the back of a spoon and a clear path is left when you run your finger through it. Do not let the curd go over over 170 °F (77 °C). Eggs scramble around 185 °F (85 °C) so be careful!
- IMPORTANT: Strain the curd with a sieve and then let it cool completely. If you don’t strain it you will find cooked egg bits and it will not be smooth.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week