Get in Formation: Lemon Squares

For the recipe only, click here.

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It is safe to say that very few moments in life leave me standing, staring mouth agape. I have been fortunate enough to have a few such moments in the last weeks; where talented women have been the subject of my awe.

Let’s cut straight to it and talk about her.

Beyonce.

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The Formation World Tour was my first time as audience to Queen Bey and her cast of incredible women talent. It was my first time standing for hours, holding on to every single moment of vocal acrobatics, strategic wind, crystal-encrusted glam, and synchronized strutting, that only Beyonce can provide. As one of the adoring peasants in the crowd, I was mostly impressed by the details of the show itself, including, but by no means limited to, the magical cubic visual element that served as her only stage adornment, her inclusion of dancers of all shades, and the casual professionalism with which she interacted with the crowd. It was honestly just impressive. I left affirmed that she loves her craft and those who appreciate it. It was well worth the coins spent.

This theme of lemonade– taking something unpalatable and creating sweetness and relief– was appropriately invoked by Beyonce throughout the visual album as well as the show. I couldn’t help but examine how we use lemon to enhance the mundane, but also how lemons themselves often need sugar to be enjoyed. Lemon water is offered to spruce up the most pure beverage. After all, what’s life without the occasional puckering of experience? Lemon water becomes lemonade with the addition of everyone’s favorite drug, and suddenly it is summer and life is good.

Formation was full of the vengeful, red, independent-womanness we would expect from any good Beyonce montage. However, the water– that essential element without which lemonade does not materialize– was the real star. Water was the reminder of what connects us, what allows us to be alive and stripped, the surprise element that brought together the whole shebang.

The show was basically some kick-butt art, enjoyed with thousands of my closest Bey-friends. If you have the chance to experience leg two, reward yourself.

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In the process of gathering things for my new home in the fall, I have been looking for my first real art pieces to display. The click-hole that is the Instagram suggested follow list has led me to some really great (and some really not-so-great) art. Thus far, I have landed on a few pieces that I look forward to hanging in a few weeks.
IMG_6553My affinity for representing the strength and connectedness of women has unintentionally seeped through to my art selection. In form, talent, and purpose, women are as varied as the world’s hues. However, we are still bonded in a sort of mystery and unpredictability.

Fragmented. Textured. Colorful. Bold.

Much like the Queen, I’ve been captured by the artists themselves. Their ability to tell histories and convey emotions in a single image. Like a perfectly baked treat: made for everyone and just for me at the same time.


The status of women is so important in our society, we have designated a medical speciality devoted to promoting and preserving the health of women, the babies they produce, and the families they support. More often than not, we fail our women (yes, even and perhaps especially, in medicine). We make their conditions acidic and cheap. However, we can not escape the essentiality of women’s success in the fabric of our lives. The ways in which women are able to take the pieces, tell stories, and create completeness; adding just enough sweetness to any situation as to not erase the sour that is the truth.

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Lemon Squares

  • Servings: 12 bars
  • Print

Ingredients:

For crust

  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter

For filling

  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Directions:

  1. For the crust, mix the flour, sugar, and butter with your hands until it clings together.
  2. Press into a 13×9 inch pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
  4. For the filling, beat together eggs, sugar, and lemon juice.
  5. In another bowl, sift together flour and baking powder.
  6. Stir into egg mixture.
  7. Pour over baked, cooled crust.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
  9. Cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
  10. Cut into bars, and enjoy!

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Art by @reallyjsmn (silhouette), @bennybing (Sade) and @esosaparfait (not pictured).

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Lemon Squares

For the full blog post, click here.

IMG_5856

Lemon Squares

  • Servings: 12 bars
  • Print

Ingredients:

For crust

  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter

For filling

  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Directions:

  1. For the crust, mix the flour, sugar, and butter with your hands until it clings together.
  2. Press into a 13×9 inch pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
  4. For the filling, beat together eggs, sugar, and lemon juice.
  5. In another bowl, sift together flour and baking powder.
  6. Stir into egg mixture.
  7. Pour over baked, cooled crust.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
  9. Cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
  10. Cut into bars, and enjoy!

Bittersweetness: Mixed Berry Pie

For the recipe only, click here.

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Perhaps it’s my constant fidget or sense of restless when free time presents itself, but I have developed a fondness for cleaning, organizing, and simplifying. In preparation for my move to school, I managed to accomplish a significant chunk of packing this weekend. Never mind that I don’t move for another two months. Why wait?!

I envy those who can pack all of their belongings into one car. I am pretty sure that will never be my life, but I see no harm in the constant pursuit. Purging, packing, donating and sorting– happily. The best part is realizing how little you need, and how much you adore certain effects. Whether now or later, the purge will happen. I do not like clutter. I will not move with unnecessary items. Believe that.

With Round 1 of cleaning complete, and the freshness of my lighter closets lingering, I received a text from my best friend:

Im going to miss you.

 

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The worst part of going through my items is realizing how much I will leave behind: friends, coffee shop nooks, my favorite treadmill at the gym, the comforts of home, knowing the shortcuts… the list goes on. The excitement of this new chapter comes with the realization of not being able to enjoy those you love as much as before. The sacrifice necessary to achieve higher education in general, and the medical degree specifically, is somewhat unparalleled, yet completely worth it for those with the passion. The new must be made familiar. The uncomfortable must be made your own.


Blueberry pies are a common, beloved pie in my house. Someone always begs for the scratch-made version for both the winter and summer holidays. As with many recipes, when you find a good one, you reuse and repeat. This is comfort. This is familiarity. For some strange reason I decided to switch it up, and make a mixed berry pie this weekend. It could have been delirium from cleaning or confidence from packing, but it sure felt like a good idea at the moment.

I must admit, the first time I made this, I failed. I neglected to account for the excess moisture of the strawberries and blackberries, and somehow used less cornstarch than I normally would for my blueberry pie. What was familiar was suddenly no longer. Distracted by what I had not encountered before, I had forgotten to carry over what made my pies delicious. Starting from scratch, but tossing what I had known to be good. Big mistake. Don’t worry, I adjusted and made another, much better, pie. The recipe below reflects the winning result. I wouldn’t leave you with a blunder.

There was a lesson in my flop.

While I am eager to rid myself of what can be considered “old” and start anew in medical school, I would be foolish to approach the unknown, unequipped with the goodness that I have acquired thus far. My friendships, education, personality, and accomplishments, all contribute to my capabilities, no matter how daunting and foreign the task may appear.

The sweetness that is this last summer before I begin, is mixed with the tart of loss. This unpleasant taste is a reminder, however, of what not to throw out in transition. Present or not, I will carry the things I love along for the journey, adjust accordingly, and enjoy the result.

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Summer Mixed Berry Pie

  • Servings: One 9-inch pie
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 pie crust (for a good homemade one, try this)
  • 5-6 cups fresh mixed berries
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 + 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Roll out the dough to a large circle and place in an un-greased, 9-inch pie pan. Freeze for 30 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the berries with zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Add sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon, making sure the berries are well coated and the cornstarch disappears.
  3. Place berry mixture in a colander and let excess fluid drain.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  5. Fill the pie crust with the berry mixture, piling high in the center. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.
  6. Let pie cool for at least 2-3 hours before serving.

Summer Mixed Berry Pie

For the full blog post, click here.

I used the extra dough portion from a cream pie I previously made. Normally when you make pie dough, you make two portions– one for the bottom, one for the lattice on top. For topless pies, you can freeze the second half for later use!

Waste not, want not.

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This post is a part of the monthly link-up party, Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Susan and Mike at Simply Sundays

Summer Mixed Berry Pie

  • Servings: One 9-inch pie
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 pie crust (for a good homemade one, try this)
  • 5-6 cups fresh mixed berries
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 + 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Roll out the dough to a large circle and place in an un-greased, 9-inch pie pan. Freeze for 30 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the berries with zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Add sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon, making sure the berries are well coated and the cornstarch disappears.
  3. Place berry mixture in a colander and let excess fluid drain.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  5. Fill the pie crust with the berry mixture, piling high in the center. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.
  6. Let pie cool for at least 2-3 hours before serving.